Merry Christmas and a happy new year

Today, on Christmas Eve I rediscovered the joy of Christmas.  Until this year I tried very hard to capture that spirit of Christmas we always strive to experience but never quite managed it.  I reckon if someone could bottle the elusive festive cheer they could make millions.

This morning however, after a lovely time with my daughter that I felt the festive buzz.  We woke up and journeyed downstairs to enjoy warm croissants and milk for breakfast.  After we chilled in front of a christmas themed cartoon, we baked a cake together.  I always wish I could be organised and bake a cake ahead of time and ‘feed’ it as you should but its always nice to have something to strive for next year… 😉

You never know it might even be iced before the New Year! 
After spending a lovely afternoon catching up with family, we set about doing all the Christmas preparations I remembered as a child.  Watching Bella call for Father Christmas and listening for the bells on his sleigh was delightful and to see the wonder and excitement on her face as she heard ‘Father Christmas’ call out to her was one of the memories I will treasure forever.  
This evening we have laid out the usual treats for Santa and his reindeer as well as a few extra presents – Bella’s well loved dummies. Reindeer dust  has also been sprinkled on the drive to welcome the reindeer.  
I’m sure I’ll shed a tear or two tonight as I come to terms with the fact that Bella is growing up fast.  This year has been an amazing one for my family and for Dollies Daydream and I am grateful for all that I have and the memories I’ve made.  As I move into 2012 I look forward to the unknown.   There will be new journeys, endings and long overdue changes to come.  
Whatever happens, whatever life decides to bring my way I feel very excited at the possibilities and surprises.  I hope you have all experienced at least a little of the Christmas spirit this festive season.  Whatever 2012 has in store for you, I wish you all you wish for yourself and more.  
Wishing you a lovely Christmas.  See you in the New Year xx  

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Dollies Daydream website

What a lovely way to start a grey Sunday morning! Just received the email I’ve been waiting for from Becky.  First looks at my sparkly website.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am and cannot wait to unveil the finished site to you soon.  I love the way Becky can take my brief ramblings and create something above and beyond what I ever dreamed of.

So, with a tweek or two here or there it will be ready for you all to see.  I think 2012 is going to be a great one…. x

(If you want to take a look at Becky’s portfolio or get in touch with her to work har magic for your business check out http://www.beckylord.co.uk. I can promise you won’t regret it!)

Christmas baking

As Christmas is just around the corner, my thoughts are turning to what delicious treats me and my little girl can make in the kitchen.  Although she doesn’t fully understand the concept of baking and insists on decorating the kitchen with half of my ingredients I still have so much fun that I cannot resist seeing her flour smudged face and buttery fingers after out exploits.

One recipe I use again and again to make biscuits is a fridge biscuit recipe which consists of:
100g/half cup of butter
100g/half cup of caster sugar
225g/2 cups of plain flour
5ml/1 tsp baking powder
1 egg (beaten)
5ml/1 tsp vanilla essence.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to form a stiff dough.  Shape into a roll, wrap in greaseproof paper and chill for up to two weeks or until ready to bake.
Cut into 5mm slices and bake in the oven 190c/375f/gas mark 5 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.  Cool and enjoy.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can bake half and save half for later use because if you have someone in your house that is like my husband, bake them all at once and half are gone before you even take them off the cooling rack.

I have in the past made batches of these and instead of making it into a roll, I have rolled the mixture out and used a range of cookie cutters to create Christmas biscuits.  Put them in a jar with a recipe label so they can make their own if they enjoy them and give them as a gift for Christmas.

There is no limit to the recipe.  My daughter and I have made ginger biscuits (just add 2 tbsp/30ml ground ginger) and almond biscuits (substitute the vanilla for almond essence and add some ground almonds to taste) cinnamon and raisin (substitute some plain flour for rolled oats and add cinnamon and raisins to taste).

This year I will be using mixed spice and maybe some apple pieces.  I love how these can be as festive or plain as you like and I never get bored of experimenting! Hope you have so much fun baking this month as we do!