Lists, mum life

Top 6 Food & Drink Christmas Gifts

There are far too many great food and drink Christmas gifts out there to choose from, with many long-standing brands bringing out various specials just for the season. However, I’ve come across a few that are sure to hit the right spot with almost anyone this Christmas. Well, almost anyone in my family at least!

Ellis Gin

I discovered this gem at Helensburgh Winter Festival earlier in the month. Ellis gin is handmade in Glasgow and in small batches, with only a couple of flavours currently available. I opted to buy the bramble gin in a bauble for a Christmas gift, though they had plenty of choice in terms of bottle size and gift packs, with the option of a small bottle and glass, or gin and mixer combos. I love trying new things and supporting local makers so this is a no brainer if you like to give unique gifts that are made with love.

Johnnie Walker White Walker Limited Edition

If you’ve any Game of Thrones fan friends or family (over 18) then this will be sure to warm up their winter. The show has partnered with Scottish whisky Johnnie Walker for this limited edition collectors bottle named White Walker. A homage to the White Walkers on the show, this brand new whisky is best served straight from the freezer.

Dean’s Glitter Shortbread

Dean’s Shortbread is a fabulous, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread brand from Huntly in Scotland. Their traditional shortbread rounds can be found in many supermarkets, and they offer a great festive flavour range. However, their glitter shortbread adds some much needed sparkle to Christmas, without steering away from the traditional flavour. This one is sure to go down well with nans and for those ever expanding gifts for teachers, coaches, lollipop men/women, and anyone else society has told us we should be gifting at this time of year! With a £2.99 price tag it’s a perfect add-on for a bigger gift too.

Peaky Blinders Rum/Whisky/Gin

 Well Sadler’s Ales have gone all in with a range of Peaky Blinders spirits. Fans of Sadler’s and of the TV show will appreciate that there are several different gift options on offer, with variations of their spiced gin, spiced rum and whisky available to purchase. If you want to pay homage to the show and Thomas Shelby himself, then the Peaky Blinders gin is the ideal choice.

Saltire CandySaltire-candy-christmas-gift-food

Another great discovery from Helensburgh Winter Festival was Saltire Candy. They make all of your old fashioned boiled sweet favourites, all beautifully packaged forany occasion. They also had some flavoured fudge which we tried (the Hebridean sea salted caramel fudge was my favourite) and a few varieties of the traditional tablet and macaroon which looked like the perfect stocking filler. They were only a couple of pounds for each little bag. Plus you’re able to personalise many of their gifts too, for that extra special touch.

Fry’s selection box

A great gift for any chocolate lover in your house. It’s a collection of the three Fry’s favourites – chocolate cream, peppermint cream and turkish delight. Obviously the latter isn’t to everyone’s taste but I think Fry’s creams are fondly remembered by some of the older generation in our family for sure. I first found this gift in B&M but have since seen it pop up in a few stores and supermarkets, and it’s pretty inexpensive as far as Christmas gifts go – around the £2-3 mark you’d expect to pay for a selection box.

mum life, Unlikely mum makes

Unlikely Mum Makes: Homemade Candles

This last week I’ve been particularly busy doing the big house clean in preparation for winter. You know, the big clean you do before the Christmas tree goes up?

So once the cleaning was done it was time to jump right into the Christmas spirit. This year I decided to start making some Christmas candles as I love nothing more than the smell of Christmas in the house! Plus they make great little stocking fillers (if made well!). After posting my attempts on Instagram, a few people were keen to see how I did it. Candles are surprisingly simple to make if you know how.

I chose to make some orange & cinnamon and mulled wine scented candles, but there are loads of Christmas and wintry scents you can make. Here’s how to make your own Christmas candles exactly like I did:

What you need

Homemade-candles-christmas

  • Soy wax
  • Tin can
  • A pot and some boiling water
  • Candle wicks
  • Blue tac
  • Coloured crayons
  • Glass jar, tumbler or similar

How to make your candles

1. The first thing to do is set up the pot and water to start heating. Then grab your tin can – I used a soup can, but I guess anything of a similar size and metal will do. Fill the can with wax as much as you can, then place into a water bath to start melting. I bought a big 2kg bag of soy wax, which does plenty. You can also use paraffin wax (I think this might be cheaper in some instances?) but soy wax is more natural. I found that a 1kg bag makes about 10 of the candles made below.

You’ll notice as the wax starts to melt that it evaporates slightly, and at this point it’s best to top up the tin a bit. I topped up my tin 2-3 times in order to get 3 candles from the one tin.

Important point: remember to keep stirring your wax!

2. Now it’s time to set up your candle(s). You can use a glass tumbler or dish from the likes of Ikea if you’d like, however I opted to recycle some dessert glasses. There’s a leading brand that makes said desserts, and the likes of Aldi and other supermarkets stock their own brand dessert pots and cheesecakes which come in similar glass containers.

Whatever you choose, you need to fix the candle wick to your candle jar/glass. I I found pre-fixed  candle wicks ones on Amazon which came with stickers and a wick holder, the ideal kit for beginners. Take one fixed wick, add some Blu tac to the underside of the fixing, and stick to the bottom of your jar. Repeat this for however many candles you choose to make.

3. While the wax is melting, chop up some bits of your chosen colour of crayon to add to the tin. It’s worth bearing in mind that the soy wax candles are really white, so if you’re going for a red candle for example, I’d recommend adding some red and some brown crayon in there to achieve the desired colour. You don’t have to add colour, the candles still look fab white, but it helps to distinguish the scents if you’re going to try a few different ones. I chose to make one batch red, and one batch orange. Although I could have definitely added more brown to the red one as it came out paler than I’d hoped!

4. Once your wax and colour has all melted, turn off the heat and remove the tin from the water bath. Now choose your scent and add around 2ml (not quite half a teaspoon) of it to the melted wax. I used fragranced oils, opting for mulled wine for my red candles and orange & cinnamon for my orange ones. If you’re keen on keeping things more natural you can use essential oils rather than fragrance oils. Stir in your chosen scents well, so the fragrance mixes evenly in the wax.

5. Now it’s time to pour the wax into the jar. Be careful to hold onto the wick so it doesn’t bend or float around in the wax. Once filled, tie your wick around a pencil or use a wick holder to keep the wick evenly in the middle of the candle.

Once all your candles are filled and wicks firmly in place, simply sit back and relax – you’ve got about 2 hours or more for your candles to set! I left mine for most of the day just to be sure. Once set, remove the wick holder/pencils and trim your wick to the desired length (no more than an inch above the wax).

6. For decoration, I simply used some Christmas ribbon (from Aldi, however you can get similar ribbon almost anywhere for around the same price) and glue dots to hold in place on the glass. If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not decorate with glitter and glue, snow spray and stencils or draw with a marker if you’re quite the artistic type.

Hey presto, you just made a Christmas candle!

Unlikely-mum-makes-festive-candles-homemade