Monday, 14 December 2015

Christmas love it or stress it

I LOVE Christmas but having spoken to people & read various blogs it strikes me we put too much pressure on ourselves to create a perfect day & spread ourselves too thinly.

For me Christmas is not just about THE day its the build up & traditions.   I'm by no means perfect & stress about the usual things like money, when am I going to have time to wrap the presents & what to buy that awkward relative but I don't stress about Christmas day itself.

A lot of people seem to worry about squeezing in as many relatives, locations and activities into 24 hours as possible and making it all perfect. Some peoples schedules are dizzying and just what is perfect?

How can you enjoy yourself if you are clock watching, wondering when you can finally stop being a taxi & enjoy a large drink or single handedly feeding 15 people the perfect roast.

For me as long as I've seen my friends & family in the lead up to Christmas seeing them on Christmas day isn't the number one priority. Don't get me wrong it's lovely to see people but it's also lovely to relax & enjoy your children & their excitement.  Plus isn't that what boxing day is for!  With regards to the meal isn't it just a posher roast.  Why stress about it?

I always organise a big friends & family get together a week or 2 before Christmas I see everyone in one large swoop and I love it.  I also think it eliviates the pressure to squeeze too much into Christmas day itself.

It's one of my favourite Christmas events & has become a tradition.   I also love our annual panto trip, the kids Christmas concerts, the tree buying, seeing Santa & garden centre bauble browsing.  These are my Christmas bursts of happiness. It's not just about Christmas day itself.

I guess what I'm saying is remember people spread the Christmas cheer over a few days & don't stress about making just one 24 hours in the whole year perfect.  Kids will cry maybe grown ups too. Drinks will be spilt & no one will eat the sprouts even though its a new wondrous recipe.

Remember to enjoy yourself & note to self remember next year to actually pay into the Christmas saving club not just join!


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

White Clay Dough Christmas Decorations

A few weeks ago I saw some beautiful white reindeer Christmas decorations on The Imagination Tree website.

The dough only used 2 ingredients plus water & looked straight forward so I thought I'd give it a go with the kids.

My first problem however was working out the quantities. The recipe is American so uses cups. After several Google attempts I think I've found the right measurements. I had no idea it was so varied. For example 1 cup of flour is 150 grams but cornflour is only 130 grams!

You need:
1/2 cup cornflour 65 grams
1 cup bicarbonate of soda 180 grams
3/4 cup water 180mls 

Mix the dry ingredients in a sauce pan.
Pour in the water and heat.
Use a medium temperature & stir continuously.
It will start to bubble & thicken. 
Once it begins to come away from the sides & form a ball remove from heat & cool.
Once it's cool enough to touch you can knead briefly & then shape.

We used star, snowmen, bell and holly leaf cookie cutters.

The stars didn't work as I couldn't get them out of the mould however the rest were fine.

Remember to make a hole to thread ribbon through. I used a plastic straw to do this. 

You can then either air dry for 24-48 hours or oven bake. The website I got the inspiration from suggested 1 hour at 100c but ours took approx 2 1/2 hours to dry out.

Once dry & cool we decorated ours with felt pen & holly ribbon. You could paint, use glitter pens or leave white.

We also tried a second batch with red glitter in but it turned the dough pink & I don't think we heated it enough as it was very sticky.

The kids loved making them & I would definitely attempt it again.  Ours are a little misshapen but lovely none the less.

Why don't you have a go?

If you do let me see your results.