Christmas Gingerbread House 2018 edition – new recipe!

This year, we decided to try a different recipe for the gingerbread house. Previous years have been a little hit and miss whether it would stay up or not. I really wanted a house to stay the christmas distance. After some internet browsing we settled on the Paul Hollywood recipe found on the saga website.

Nice straightforward recipe. The main differences for me was that the syrups were a measured amount (my previous recipe was spoonfuls of syrup which is why I believe my results have not been consistent) and the ingredients are put together by bread crumbing the dry ingredients and then adding the wet. This gave me quite a soft dough but after resting it in the fridge for the recommended time it firmed up nicely.

Pros – What I liked about this recipe was that the dough rolled out nicely and after baking there was hardly any spreading of the mixture. The shapes stayed true which made putting the house together much easier. The house stayed up for days and days, even once we started to nibble at bits of it.

Cons – The downside was, no offcuts – caused in the past by the spreading and then the need to trim 😉 The other big difference for us was (I felt) it simply wasn’t as tasty as my previous houses. The gingerbread had a much drier texture, more biscuity and wasn’t particularly well flavoured.

It’s tricky to know which way I will go next year as it was lovely to have a house look fab for so long but I missed the flavour of old faithful.

Anyway, enjoy the pics. As always, decorated with royal icing and a selection of sweets and treats.



Completed Cosmic Cal 2018

Finally completed this beast. It ended up just over 5 foot square. Made with a 4mm hook and style craft special dk yarn. I estimate the cost in the end was around £40. I started my blanket utilising the remnants of my stash which kept costs down too as I didn’t have to actually find any cash to make a start on this.

What I love about making blankets like these is that you can buy yarn very much ball by ball so it never feels like an expensive project. I didn’t plan my colours particularly. I was inspired by the duck egg blue, denim blue, vintage peach, and the buttermilk yellow. I enjoyed adding colours inspired by the previous row.

You can of course plan your colours in advance for a blanket like this. Helen Shrimpton’s website, where the pattern lives (for free, happy days) has suggestions and yarn packs that can be purchased if that is more your thing 🙂 I do enjoy adding colours as I go along though. Never fully sure what she will end up looking like.

Anyway, do check out Crystals and Crochet for all the pattern links as well as video tutorials.



P.S along with the rest of the world, i now have an instagram page too. Loving adding pics quickly and easily.

Week 8 – Super speedy mobile phone crochet cover.

Week 8 already.

Looking around for simple and speedy patterns led me to a budget bookshop. The Works. This shop is very hit and miss but what they seem to do really well is art supplies and craft books. Super cheap too.

Always good to have a handy supply of books for my crochet group to peruse. You can of course go online for a myriad of free patterns, but there is something pleasing about thumbing your way through a book 🙂

Anyway, the book I picked up for the grand sum of £4 is entitled 30 minute crochet. Guess what it contains!

Some of the patterns are definitely not my cup of tea. That said, this book is perfect for the beginner or someone who is perhaps looking for something speedy that they can whip up in no time.

I spotted the mobile phone cover, a really simple pattern that uses dc (UK)or sc (US) throughout. For obvious reasons I can’t simply give you the pattern here. Do buy the book or have a look online, there are loads to be inspired by. See below for a couple of links to other patterns.

Crochet Crowd mobile phone cover patterns

You Tube video tutorial 

The only part of these mobile phone covers that I can claim as my own is the button, although I’m sure that it was a pattern from somewhere at some point!

I simply started with a magic ring and then crocheted 6sc into the ring. Join with a slip stitch, loosely pull your circle together (not too tight, you want to be able to work into the hole for a few more stitches) then chain up one and then working into your centre hole, sc for as many times as you like to get the desired effect, the more times you go round the bigger the button. Pull tight to close your hole and weave in your ends. Attach to your cover.

If you search for crochet button pattern, you will find loads. Sheru knitting, see link below has a really nice one that I think was the one that I was inspired by. Her site has fabulous things to make, I could spend hours looking at her tutorials. Beautiful.

Sheru Knitting

Hope you like these. All in all, I spent a couple of hours (not quite the promised 30 minutes, but close enough!) making both of these covers and the granny square was inspired by the orange one.




Gingerbread House 2016 edition

As always, Christmas Eve is made up of me and mine making gingerbread houses. See my previous Christmas posts for recipes (although there are very many fabulous ones online). This year we also made two miniature houses for gifts as well as a gingerbread star tree. I have to say Christmas Eve is truly my favourite day during the festive period. Have a wonderful time, love and sparkles xx



Love L x

A crochet Christmas

IMG_2460Yes, I know it’s February, but the following blankets were made as gifts for Christmas hence the title! 🙂 In fact one of these has only just been given as it was completed in January 🙂

I made these over a seven month period which sounds horrendous, however,  there is nothing I love more these days than whiling away a couple of hours in the evening with my crochet hook and some gorgeous yarn. Downside for the other half is I like the big light on to crochet which kind of kills the mood for him (especially if he is watching one of his grey swedish killing type programmes). However, he is also partial to watching Wheeler Dealers or Car SOS or similar. No mood setting needed for those 🙂 Result, happy couple 🙂

Emma's patchwork blanket

Three of these blanket patterns came from the blanket supplement found on Simply Crochet magazine issue no 33. Check out their website for details. The sampler blanket was initially inspired by this one. In fact my first few rows were following the pattern properly but then encouraged by this lovely blog I had my first go at making it up as I go along. Really happy with the result 🙂


What I really loved about the patchwork style blankets was the conveyor belt style of crocheting I was able to do. Once I had mastered round 1, 2 or more, all I had to do was simply do another 20, 45 or in one case 104!!!! Something so very pleasing about small piles of crocheted squares or rounds that are then for the most part put together using the join as you go method. Love this way of putting a blanket together. Once you have all your bits you simply spend an afternoon or two arranging them how you want them and then a blanket will appear seemingly very very speedily. Happy Days.


Anyway, hope you like these as much as I did.

Sampler Blanket
Sampler Blanket





Christmas Gingerbread 2015

IMG_2424Usually on Xmas eve (in fact every xmas eve that I can remember) we have made a Gingerbread house. This year has already looked a little different as we moved house in February, then the oldest children moved out as well. The youngest is already into her second year at Uni so things have been a little less xmassy in general 😦

So with that in mind, this year we decided that as all the children would be with us from xmas eve, we would start a new tradition of decorating the tree with homemade items as well as the gingerbread house. Well needless to say the gingerbread house is still in it’s component parts awaiting icing as well as numerous sweeties. We may finish it tomorrow, we may eat it!

Anyway, for your xmas pleasure, here are the pictures of our fabulous tree, resplendent in popcorn and cranberry tinsel, gingerbread peeps and hearts, red red ribbons, pompoms and a crochet unicow 🙂





Merry Christmas,



Christmas 2014 Gingerbread Village

Gingerbread and UnicornWell as ever,me and mine planned to build a gingerbread house for Christmas. Apologies as ever for the lateness of this post, I decided to be poorly for most of the festive season 😦

This year though after trawling through the internet I found some templates for miniature houses and decided that we would make a gingerbread village. Normally it would just be me and the offspring doing this but this year we had help from wonderful friends, Annabel, Claire and Cat. We had a wonderful morning and as you can see it was very serious work!

Serious concentration - promise everyone had fun
Serious concentration – promise, everyone had fun!

My daughter and I purchased a range of sweeties including jelly tots which seem to prove harder and harder to get hold of each year and then I spent the day before Christmas eve making the gingerbread bits. The templates I used came from Miniature Gingerbread House Template 1 and mini mini gingerbread house template 2 . You can of course google away as I did, there are plenty online.

A dusting of icing sugar
A dusting of icing sugar

I used the same recipe that is featured in my original Gingerbread House article but the BBC good food one is also pretty good (you can find that one on the first template link.

Very, very pleased with the end result just don’t know what we are going to do next year to top it 🙂

Gingerbread Village 2014Enjoy,



Really easy straightforward recipe for a Christmas Yule Log

IMG_9462I found myself watching the Bake Off Christmas Masterclass the other day with my daughter. We spent a perfect hour together with tea, cake and Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Bliss 🙂

Mary Berry, with her effortless style walks us through a chocolate yule log. The yule log has a chocolate ganache topping, and after our first attempt at making this we decided that, although yummy ( it was very,very rich. We thought a chocolate buttercream would make for a lighter alternative. The downside is that it is indeed lighter in colour so visually not as log like!

Anyway, this is a really easy recipe that has worked every time we have made it. Next time I may add some black cherries to the cream filling for an added yumminess.


  • 65g self raising flour
  • 40g cocoa
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g caster sugar


  • 250 ml/300 ml double cream. Mary Berry uses 300 ml. When I made this earlier I had only 250ml left in the carton. This worked fine and I suspect 200 ml would also be enough.

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 250g unsalted butter.
  • 100g chocolate of your choice. I used milk chocolate for this one but whatever your family likes works here. Melt this before you add it to your icing.
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste.
  • around 100g icing sugar, although I tend to add this bit by bit and then taste.
  • a little hot water.


  • Line a 33cm x 23cm swiss roll tin with baking paper. Butter it first, it helps the baking paper stick in all the right places. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs and sugar together until they have become thick and creamy. It will more than double in size too. The only way to really do this is with an electric hand mixer or a food mixer. I wouldn’t even attempt this by hand, you’ll be there all day!
  • Then sift in your flour and cocoa to the egg mixture. Fold this in gently, a metal spoon does this best. Once the mixture is an even colour (nice and chocolatey) you’ll have done it right.
  • Pour your mixture gently into your prepared tin and gently push it to the sides. If you are too rough you will knock your precious air out that you spent whisking in earlier.
  • Place in the centre of the oven and bake for around 8 minutes. The edges will start to come away from the sides of the tin and the cake will have a bounce to it when lightly pressed with your finger.
  • While your cake is baking prepare your work surface with a sheet of baking parchment that is roughly one and a half times the length of your swiss roll tin. Sprinkle this generously with icing sugar. You will be turning out your hot cake straight onto this when it is baked.
  • Peel off the baking parchment. Asbestos fingers help here! Then cut a groove about 2 centimetres from the end of your cake and then using the baking parchment roll up your swiss roll tightly and then leave to cool completely.
  • Once your log has cooled you can prepare the filling and topping.
  • Whisk the cream until it is thick and spreadable.
  • Unroll your swiss roll gently and then spread the inside with your cream. Re roll your log using baking paper again to help you.
  • Place log onto whatever you intend to serve it on.
  • Cut a section of log on the diagonal, and then place it alongside the body of the log to look like a branch. Apologies if this is phrased badly. Hope the picture helps with this.
  • For the topping, in a bowl whisk using an electric mixer, your butter until it is creamy and pale. Add icing sugar, vanilla paste and melted chocolate. Whisk together till creamy, adding a dash of hot water to this makes the mixture light and creamy. Go easy though, only a dash. Too much and your mixture will split 😦
  • You can either pipe on your chocolate icing or spread it on. I used a piping bag with a star nozzle to create the illusion “haha” of a log. However I have made this before and just used a pallet knife to cover the cake with icing and added grooves with it to give it a log effect! Whatever rocks your world. In fact if you have a small child handy, I would let them do it and then get them to find a robin (fake not real!) to perch on the top. I cannot find our robin so settled for a dusting of cocoa and edible glitter.

I do hope you enjoy making this and I promise it is much simpler and more straightforward than the instructions suggest!

Yule Log