Thursday, 6 January 2011

Christmas Pressies ....

Thank you for all your lovely comments on  my last blog post and apologies for scaring some of you with Sid's photo :-)  I will warn you in future if Sid is going to star in a blog post.

I thought I would share with you some of the things I made by hand or thrifted for Christmas pressies this year.  I have already blogged about my chocolate covered ginger and vanilla sugar, these went down very well.

I also made some rum truffles with cranberries this year too.  I got dragged into a Secret Santa which, to be honest, I didn't really want to take part in as I already have a big family to buy for - bah humbug me :-)  Now, I didn't want to go and buy something that would just be chucked away so thought I would make something instead.  Luckily I picked out of the hat a close work mates name and I knew she would love something made of chocolate or handmade (she wanted one my little ladybird clips for her birthday :-)).

I made her these rum truffles with some cranberries in them.  They were yummy - of course I had to do some controlled taste testing for safety reasons ;-)

Here is the recipe if you want to give them a go, they are really easy to make:

200g plain chocolate
75g butter
1 tsp vanilla essence (or rum if you want rum truffles - I put 2 tsp rum in mine :-))
225 icing sugar - sifted
2 tbsp double cream
Handful of dried cranberries or whatever other fruit or nuts you think would suit the recipe.

Break the chocolate up into a bowl, add the tsp of vanilla essence (or the substitute).

Melt down in a microwave or in a pyrex bowl over hot water.

Gradually sift in icing sugar and add cream in intervals.

Stir in any fruit or nuts you would like to add.

When completely mixed together pop the mixture into the fridge to firm up a bit.

Take it out of the fridge and scoop out some with a spoon.  If it has become too firm then pop it in the microwave for around 20 seconds to soften again.  Roll into a ball, when all the truffles are made roll into icing sugar (or nuts or chocolate sprinkles) to cover them .

It was really nice making these for my friend as middle Sweetpea helped.  As I was working Boxing Day we spent Christmas afternoon making them together to take to work on Boxing Day.

I found this fab book for my Granddad Pete who has a garden full of gnomes.  In fact it was rather hard to part with this book and some of the photos were so funny :-)

I really need to find my Granddad one of those big toadstools!  I think I want a gnome for my garden now as they always make me smile :-)

This last present went down really well with the my parents and my in-laws.  We got them an A4 calendar made up with photos of the children and us through the year.  Here are some of the photos I picked for it.

At our fav location, the Marina in the village.

My hubby and little sweetpea at the seaside in Mallorca at our fav bar.

At Angelsey Abbey, when you gotta go you gotta go :-)

The older Sweetpeas at Waterside Antiques trying on the gas masks, this photo really makes me giggle :-)

Little Sweetpea looking cool at a wedding we went to in June.

In a war bunker in Mallorca, I was trying to take a landscape shot when middle Sweetpea popped up.

Me and Sweetpea at a wedding in June (excuse my crappy hairstyle but somehow the kiddies and Mr Sweetpea looked fab but I forgot myself - typical :-)).

The calendar was fantastic quality and we will be doing this again next year I think.  I got them from Boots who use Photobox to produce them.   It took a while going through my hundreds of photos but was well worth it as the parents were so chuffed with them.

Hope you are all having a great week.


  1. Another lovely recipe to try! I really love the Gnome book! I have a real passion for toadstools! Love that! The idea for a calendar with pics of the family is a really good one, Wil's niece did the same except it was just pics of her new little boy, such a lovely thing to keep too. Have a happy evening,
    Andrea x

  2. Its great when you can put a lot of thought into making something for someone and you have done a great job here!
    the photo calender is such a good idea might have to pinch it for next Christmas!

  3. I love gnomes and the big toadstool is really good, you will have to find one !! All your lovely pics made me smile :-) especially little Sweetpea at the wedding xx

  4. Lovely recipe - again :0) The calenders are fantastic, gorgeous pics of your family life - really laughed at the potty one.

    The new banner is fab at the top of your blog too xx

  5. Love the "pop-up" in the landscape shot:)
    It's perfect!

  6. Thank you for a lovely post. Your photo calendar idea is great, and I bet the recipients loved your sweet family pictures. I loved the one of little sweetpea in the sunglasses - I have a similar one of my two daughters when they were little which always makes me smile years later!
    Helen x

  7. What lovley photos - your hair looks fab! I once got to the eve of a wedding and realised that hubby and kids were all rigged out, and I had forgotten to get myself sorted out! xxxx

  8. Chocolate truffles for a Secret Santa pressie are a great idea.
    You've certainly got a flair for present making and buying, and you obviously spend a lot of time and effort on choosing too.
    The calendar is a lovely idea. I really like the photo of you and little sweetpea at the wedding. It looks like a photo taken when you were both unaware of it, but it looks great and really captures the moment.

  9. what gorgeous pressies, and I love your photos. I did a photobox picture book for 2010, you can set it up to be a month for 2 pages, with a lovely design at the back - it's so nice to actually have photos printed off - very easy just to keep them on the pc forever. A calendar is such a lovely idea, bet it was gorgeous!

  10. Love the gnome book - we have a few gnomes in our garden which we inherited - I keep meaning to find some friends for them.

    I do love the potty picture - a perfect one to show her first boyfriend ;)

  11. The recipe sounds yummy! Love the gnome book and the calendar is a great idea, especially if you have lots of great photos like that! :) x

  12. The calendar photos are really lovely. What a great idea! Love the gnomes too. I have to admit to having a couple in my classroom. Have a great weekend. Ros

  13. Handmade presents are just the best...they say "i love you" in a way that nothing else can. I love your calendar, it is something that will be treasured for sure :)

  14. The calendar is a great idea for a gift, so personal and unique and you've chosen some gorgeous photos for it.

  15. Lovely photos and I'll definitely be trying your recipe. Garden Girl and Garden Boy made me some lovely coconut mice for Christmas but I gobbled them up before I thought to take a photo (in my defence, they were very tasty). Your post has reminded me to check with Garden Dad if he took a pic when he helped them make them.

  16. rum balls are a holiday tradition with my family! yours look yummy! love the photos you picked for the calendar! i think the wading and pottying are my favorites. so cute!

  17. Great photos :O)

    I have tagged your lovely blog - please pop over to mine if you wish to accept but no worries if not!

    Jo x

  18. The gnomes and your little bean on her potty in the grass made me giggle! Great photos, thank you very much for sharing, some fabulous memories for you no doubt and wonderful to make up a calendar for your family members.

    Sending happy new year wishes to you,
    much love
    Julia x x x

  19. Hi Zoe.. Love the new title... it looks so gorgeously summer (I cannot wait!. I love gnome book - I have a secret earn for a garden gnome, but I doubt Dan will let me. Have a great weekend. Lou xx

    p.s. I've just changed my title to one photo but seeing how pretty your looks I might have to change it back! xx

  20. Great recipe. I might try making them.

  21. Your recipe for truffles looks quite yummy. I made my husband some raspberry truffles this year for Christmas and he was quite excited. In fact, I didn't even get one before they were gone! I do like your suggestion of the dried from fruit in them, as I've never heard that before. Maybe dried cherries?

  22. Lovely photos, recipes and info. I know what you mean about getting kids ready and not having much time for yourself :) It didnt look that way mind you, you looked like you were trendly supposed to look that way :)


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