Gingerbread Village Decorating

We had family visiting this Christmas and I decided to choose a variety of fun, creative tasks for us to share on the kitchen table on Christmas Eve. Alongside some mince pie baking and puzzle making, I bought a ‘Create A Treat’ gingerbread village decorating kit. This was so enjoyable and I was so pleased with the results, I just couldn’t wait to share the finished village with you!

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The kit came complete with everything needed to assemble and decorate all of the (five) mini buildings within the gingerbread village. The gingerbread pieces were all flat packaged and were all carefully snapped into individual building pieces, later to be assembled with the use of the (rather yummy) icing. There was more than enough icing and plenty of very tasty sweeties…. (some of which didn’t quite make it onto the house, of course). The sweeties (Canadian) consisted of Jelly Hearts, Pucker Ups, Multicoloured Mini Beads and Jelly Beans… How yummy?!

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Above, you will see a ‘Toy Shop’, ‘Chalet’, ‘Regular House’, ‘Gabled House’ and a ‘Building’ all lovingly assembled and decorated by myself and my lovely family on Christmas Eve. I think I’ve started a new Christmas Eve tradition and I hope to do the same next year with a different kit. Do you have any similar Christmas Eve traditions? Did you manage to do any Christmas Eve crafting? I’d love to know and I really hope you’ve enjoyed seeing our village. If only all villages were as sweet at this one!

Ho Ho Ho… It’s Christmas Party Time

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Anyone who knows me well will know that I take any opportunity possible to host a party. I just absolutely love the excitement of the planning, the fun in preparing and decorating and the pure joy of seeing all of my guests enjoy themselves. It’s just an absolutely fabulous feeling and I’d probably host one a week if I was given the chance!

I set up a fortnightly crochet club whilst living in Bath, Somerset a few years ago and I’m really happy to say that it is still running on a regular basis. Last year we enjoyed a Christmas meal together at a local restaurant, but I thought it would be really lovely to host a Christmas house party this year. Andrew (my husband) and I moved away from Bath to buy our first house almost two years ago and we live in a fairly rural location. Most people travelled over an hour or more to get to us so I really wanted to show everybody how grateful I was for travelling so far and spending their weekend with us.

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I have lots (some would say far too many) cookbooks in my personal collection. They really do come in handy at times like this. I flicked through them all a few days before the party and chose a few party nibble recipes. The day before the party (on the Friday morning), I woke up very early, did the food shopping and began preparation. I finally finished the preparation at 6:30pm the evening before the party and treated myself to a hearty portion of fish and chips and a large glass of wine afterwards… (which I have to say went down very well!)

The party menu consisted of:

  1. Savoury Cheese Palmiers
  2. Puff Pastry Sausage Rolls
  3. Cheese Filled Christmas Tree Biscuits
  4. Sweet Chilli, Cream Cheese, Basil and Tomato ‘Holly’ Biscuits
  5. Cheese Selection
  6. Mint Chocolate Cupcakes with Meri Meri ‘Nutcracker’ cupcake toppers
  7. Chocolate Orange Layer Cake with ‘Christmas scene’ decorations
  8. Hot Chocolate Decorating Station
  9. Winter Mocktails
  10. Sweet Chilli Crisps

Recipes were courtesy of the following books, which I thoroughly recommend for any party:

Cupcakes From The Primrose Bakery, Great British Bake Off: Children’s Party Bakes and Cakes, Home-Baked Gifts With Love: Marks and Spencer.

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Notice one of our miniature poodles hiding underneath the table? Obviously all of the food preparation she did tired her out… *giggles. You’ll also probably notice the very grey weather outside. Luckily the party was indoors, so we didn’t need to worry too much about the rain outside (typical British weather for this time of year, which is perfect for feeling cosy indoors but can make photography rather challenging!)

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Alongside the Winter ‘Mocktails’ I thought a ‘Hot Chocolate Bar’ would be a fabulous idea. I had some Whittards Luxury Hot Chocolate in the cupboard, so this was made with milk and served with a very generous amount of cream. My guests then helped themselves to a rather indulgent selection of chocolates, mini gingerbread men and marshmallows. All of this was served in my rather beautiful Cath Kidston trays and Santa mugs.

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When Andrew and I lived in London several years ago, we started a tradition of going to see the Nutcracker Ballet on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately since moving to the South West, we haven’t been able to keep the tradition. As soon as I saw these Meri Meri cupcake toppers, the happy memories rushed back and I just had to have them. They looked beautiful and were very well received by our friends.

For the cake, I used a Ginger Ray ‘Merry Christmas’ cake bunting topper, which did a perfect job of helping a standard chocolate cake stand out on a Christmas party table. I also used some edible toadstools and non edible reindeers to finish the Winter scene. The red, green and white sprinkles and chocolate orange Lindt balls were extra additions I added to give the cake that extra special touch.

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My friend of 15 years, Laurie (left) stayed with me (right) this weekend before starting an exciting new life in Dubai, so here we are posing for a photograph before the party (and enjoying a festive tipple or two) before the guests arrived!Β My Mum kindly sent the miniature poodles some Christmas jumpers, just to ensure they were dressed for the occasion (of course).

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Here are some of the beautiful gifts I was given at the party. Many people also bought useful items along with them which were used at the party and were very well received. One of my other gifts (not pictured as of yet) Β is now living on our Christmas tree! This was a crocheted tree decoration wrapped in beautiful tissue paper. I adore handmade gifts and it will be treasured for years to come! How special is that?

I’m pleased to say that the party was a huge success and we all had an absolute blast. So much so, we completely forgot to take photographs after this point… doh! (a sign of good times, hey?!) Do you have a party (or two) planned this Christmas? If so, have a super duper time and I really hope you enjoyed seeing lots of snippets of ours!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you in 2017 and thank you for all of your support this year.