Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year...


Good morning friends!  Here we are at the end of what I feel was the fastest year ever!  I actually love this day and look forward to staying at home tonight with family and friends and raising a glass of bubbly to 2012.  I will be making a few nibbles for later on and prepping for another big dinner tomorrow! I hope you all enjoy tonight and I look forward to visiting everyone in the New Year!


Have a Happy and Safe New Year!!
Anne xx

Images via Pinterest

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Right Choices...


As we reach the end of another year and get ready to start a new one, our thoughts will be turning as always to making our  new years resolutions!  More often than, not I have a list as long as my arm, only to break most of them a few days into January. This year I have decided I will try to make better decisions and choices, rather than resolve to do a whole heap of things that require huge effort and dedication !!  So do you like making resolutions or do you bother thinking about it at all?

Hope you all have a good day!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Light lunch....



Unfortunately I woke up this morning with the start of a head cold and sore throat. so I don't think I will be heading out to do battle in the overcrowded shops!
We started the day with pancakes (Sarah insisted on having the chocolate spread with hers!!), so in an effort to feel somewhat virtuous today, I have made a lovely fresh healthy winter coleslaw which we will have with  prawns  marinated in chilli sauce for our lunch!!







Hopefully I will be feeling a bit lighter today after eating salad... instead of gorging on chocolates and cake !! This is also a great way of using any vegetables you might have lurking in the fridge before doing a restock again for New Years!!
 I shredded some cabbage , red onion, peppers, grated carrot and spring onions and  tossed them in some french dressing with lemon juice. Stir fry for a few minutes to warm through and serve with prawns!


Hope everyone has a good day!!
Anne xx

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas 2011


Hi Everyone! Just popping in to say a quick hello!  We had a lovely Christmas here! All feeling very full and sleepy, so  will most definitely be heading out and about tomorrow!! Hope everyone had a nice few days, and I look forward to catching up with you all soon:)




Sarah and a furry pal!


Endless Tea breaks...



Stood over here  alot!!


Getting the table ready for dinner...




Chocolates don't last too long around here!!


Only allowed a photo because it is Christmas!





Wearing  hats from the cracker pulling!!


My favourite dessert .... Christmas plum pudding!


I hope you all enjoy the rest of the holidays! We are off to the sales tomorrow to see if we can grab a few bargains!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Merry Christmas....


Greetings everyone!
The kids have just finished school until January, so we are all set and organised
 for a lovely and relaxing Christmas. I did my last bit of gift shopping yesterday,I couldn't resist the little reindeer below
 for myself as he looked very lonely on the shelf!!
 The big food shop is also completed, so I can finally kick back tonight and chill with all the family!:)


I would like to thank all my followers and friends
 for taking time out to visit my blog
 since I started in July, and for leaving the lovely comments!:)

 I wish you and all your families a happy and safe Christmas!!

Anne xxx

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Last Minute Bits...


Hi everyone! Today I am off to Dublin  to do my last bit of shopping. We are edging towards the big day, so I am sure everyone is nearly finished buying presents now!! After this it will be all about the food preparations for me! I am feeling a few pounds heavier already just thinking about it!!.The turkey and ham are ordered so I am  not too worried about sorting everything else. Also the weather has become strangely mild again for this time of year...so at least we are able to get out and about, unlike last year when we were snowbound for days!

Have a good Wednesday:)

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Just Have Cake...


 Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday but I had to travel home to Cork by myself on Saturday afternoon as Sarah wasn't well enough to go! I collected  mum and we went to my brother's family out in the country. When I woke up Sunday morning, it had frozen solid outside over-night and the cars could not get out of the village without sliding back down the hill. I ended up having to stay until yesterday, so I am way behind as usual with everything Christmas week, but trying to keep calm and carry on!! Sarah is on the mend but not fully recovered yet.


 As usual I came back with some lovely goodies from mum's kitchen.  A yummy chocolate log and her traditional Christmas cake (She adds a fair drop of whiskey)... just to make it taste better! I have the recipe but never attempted one myself! I was going to ice and decorate it... but as you can see it has been cut already (hubby enjoyed a large slice last night). So if all else fails today, I will be sitting beside the Christmas tree, drinking copious amounts of tea and enjoying cake. Hope you all have a lovely day:)

Friday, 16 December 2011

Happy Weekend...


Hi  everyone!  Hope all are well. We had a little snow overnight, so it is looking really festive around  here this morning. I am supposed to be travelling South to visit family, but I have to wait until tomorrow now because Sarah is sick! Is everyone shopped out yet or have you lots more to do? 



On a different note, I finally found a corner for my little twig tree in the sunroom and it looks lovely at night with the fairy lights twinkling! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend:)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Lemon Tart....


I am sure everyone will be eating far too much chocolate and heavy cakes over the festive period, so today I am posting a recipe for a classic lemon tart. Ouick and easy to prepare and light enough to eat as a dessert after a huge meal, this is sure to be a winner on the Christmas menu list!

Ingredients.

For the base
225g plain flour
125g butter
30z caster sugar
1 egg

Filling...

4 large eggs
125g caster sugar
rind of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
175ml carton of cream

Directions...

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the egg, then stir in flour and mix to form a soft dough. Chill for 30 mins in the fridge. When ready roll out pastry and fill a 9 inch flan tin. Prick all over with a fork. Cover with greaseproof paper and place baking beans on top. Bake for 20 mins in 190c oven. Take out and remove paper. Reduce the oven heat to 140c.

To make the filling, beat the eggs, sugar and cream together. Stir in the juice and lemon rinds. Pour into the prepared pastry case. Return to the oven and bake for 40 mins until golden and firm. Dust with icing sugar when cool.






If you wish you could dress it up with a raspberry coulis drizzled on the plate, or add some chocolate shavings to the top! I think it tastes just perfect left as it is...I am finding it hard not to demolish the whole lot here by myself this morning!!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

An Icy blast...

 The weather over here has changed drastically. It seems to have turned somewhat baltic overnight!  There was even a  flutter of the white stuff  falling this morning on the school run. So today I  think I will  be staying indoors...


Lighting a big fire...



Wrapping some Christmas gifts...


 While listening to this man to really get in the festive spirit!

Have a lovely day everyone!:)
 

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Decorating with fairy lights...

Sometimes it is not always possible for people to decorate their home or apartments with big Christmas trees. Perhaps people are spending Christmas away from home and only need to decorate on a small scale. I think fairy lights are a great way of adding a festive glow and cheer to a room without having to fork out on huge trees or ornaments. Here are a few of my favourite pictures all featuring fairy lights...

Add interest to a fireplace with balls intertwined with lights...


Surround your vintage pictures and frames with fairy lights...


Pile the lights into coloured vases and  jewelled toned glasses for a festive glow at night...



Make a decorative display on a side table...


Love the letters lit up with lights...


If you have an overhead centerpiece decorate with a wreath and lights for a softer glow...

All of the above ideas could be used in any size room at Christmas. I think everyone loves the magic of twinkling lights  and they add a soft cosy vibe to every room!  Battery operated ones are available in most hardware stores or use regular ones for tables near sockets.  Happy decorating:)
Images via

Monday, 12 December 2011

Some festive weekend scenes...

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. It is hard to believe there is only two weeks left to Christmas. I got a bit  of shopping done yesterday when I hit  Dublin with the girls:). It was a cold damp day but a stroll around the Christmas market,  blasting out Christmas tunes soon put us in holiday mode. Here are a few pics we took along the way...





The  Ouayside Market...

Fun on the carousel...



Lovely roasted Chestnuts...




Warming hot toddys!



Santas Grotto...




Some festive decorations...

I hope everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit!  I have loads more shopping to do yet so I better crack on with it!  Have a fantastic week!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Weekend Time...



Hi all! I hope everyone has had a good week and is geared up  for a fab weekend!  Myself and the girlies are off  into Dublin to do a little bit of shopping and I am hoping to take in the Christmas market down in the docklands.


It is set in a unique waterside setting with a vast amount of stalls selling all types of festive goodies and treats. I am looking forward to sampling some tasty food and perhaps having a mulled wine or two. I love discovering new varieties of cheese, and all the little jars of chutney and preserves you can pick up at these Christmas foodie markets.



Wishing you all a lovely weekend!!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Festive Chocolate Muffins...


It is a horrible windy rainy day,  so there is only one thing to do and that is to stay indoors and  bake some nice indulgent treats. I decided to go for these chocolate  festive muffins which I  have adapted from my regular cupcake recipe...

ingredients...

8oz self raising flour.
8oz caster sugar.
4oz cocoa
8oz butter
4 large eggs
3 oz dark chocolate melted.

Topping.

4oz butter
8oz icing sugar
2 oz  chocolate melted.

Directions...

Preheat oven to 180c. Line your muffin tin with festive paper cases. Mix together  flour, sugar ,cocoa and butter. Add the eggs and whisk until you have a smooth mixture .Add the melted chocolate and stir. Spoon into the baking cases and bake for 20 mins in the oven. Cool on a wire rack while making the topping.

For the topping ,just beat the butter and icing sugar until soft and creamy. Add the chocolate then pipe or swirl the topping on to the cakes. You can let the kids decorate how they wish. I added coloured cherries for a festive touch and I  dusted them with icing sugar.






Sit back and enjoy with a steaming mug of coffee or hot chocolate!
Anne xx


Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Some more decorating...

 Hi everyone! I've moved on to the living room with the decorating and decided to stick with the traditional colours of red and green in here. This tree is my favourite because a lot of the decorations and ornaments are from our first home and some the kids collected when they were small...


Our Christmas tree...




Some mantel decorations...

More of my Santas...






I love the scent of Christmas candles and pot pourri...


I found this gold angel  in an old antique shop near our home years ago...



I love this crib as we have it from when we were first married, and the kids always loved putting it out at Christmas. I hope everyone is getting organised . I just have a few little bits left to do in the sunroom and the decorating will be finished! 

Have a fab day!