If you're anything like me, you'll know that shopping for gift wrap at this time of year requires a serious amount of self-restraint. Bespoke luxe wrapping paper? Yes please. Glittery washi tape? Yes yes yes. Holographic rose-gold ribbon? Oh, go on then!

However, this year I've decided (a tad reluctantly) to forego my obsessive and expensive gift-wrap-purchasing habit and stick with just the one, plain and simple wrapping component: brown paper.  

Of course, when I decided to pare things back a little and just use brown paper, I had to come up with a few different takes on how I was going to use it to wrap my gifts...and of course I just had to share these ideas with you! So, without further ado, here are my four, proper-creative, brown paper gift-wrap ideas! 

1. Polaroid & Twine



My first idea is a really simple and cheap way to personalise your gifts without the need for name tags. I've used a print of an Instagram from earlier in the year (as I didn't want to stick a family member's pic on here!) but, in essence, the idea would be to use a cherished and potentially festive picture of the both of you as a sweet way to jazz up some plain brown paper.  

You can get these square prints from Cheerz.com for 30p each- a serious steal in my opinion, as they make a fantastic addition to any present, as well as a lovely keepsake once all the wrapping paper has been thrown away!

Pro tip: I found it easier to wrap the twine around once I'd stuck a little masking tape or blue tac (don't use sellotape as it will rip the photo) to the back of the picture, in order to keep it in place. 


You could also use the prints as gift tags for bigger presents or even place settings for your Christmas table...

+ I love the thought of ordering a load of prints of old Christmas pictures or Instagrams from the year, sticking them in a pretty scrapbook like this one and giving them out to relatives. You could even annotate the prints with funny quotes and memories to make them all the more personal!


2. Alphabet Stamps



My personal favourite, this is an incredibly easy way to personalise a bit of brown paper gift wrap. I chose to stamp just one initial on my sheet of paper, but you could just as easily do a full name or even little phrases in different colours...it's totally up to you!


You can buy alphabet stamps pretty much anywhere but these are the ones I have. Plus, the super duper festive red twine I used to tie this gift can be found here.

Pro tip: with the twine, buy a £1.99 sample instead of a spool- you get a good 10 metres in the sample, which I found was enough to wrap all my presents this year! 


3. Handwritten Memories



This gift-wrap idea is for those that might have slightly more time on their hands and an extra-special person to wrap presents for. Don't get me wrong, this is an incredibly easy craft but it might take you a little bit longer to do and you simply might not have the time (or the memories) to do it for every single person on your list!

The basic idea is to get a sheet of brown paper and write out a long stream of memories and funny phrases that you share with the recipient of your gift!  

I used a white chalk marker for this, but I think gold or silver pens would work equally as well. You could also add ribbon or twine to this one if you wanted, but I think the contrast between the white pen and the brown paper makes this decorative enough as it is!


4. Watercolour and Twine



My final idea is a little artsy but nonetheless incredibly easy to achieve if you're willing to put a tiny bit more time and effort into your gift-wrapping sesh.


Simply grab a tin of watercolours (you could use felt-tips if you have less time) and paint a few leaf and berry shapes across your sheet of brown paper. Wait until the paint has dried and then use a fine-liner to scribble some extra details on your design. You could jazz the design up with some glitter or stickers if you like- but I quite like keeping things simple and rustic-y, so I just finished wrapping my parcel with some bright twine and a twisty pinecone decoration!  


+ those are my four brown paper gift-wrap ideas! I hope I've inspired you to plump for a frugal (ish) Christmas like me and do away with all those rolls of expensive paper that just end up in the bin anyway! If you do give any of these designs a go, I'd love to see a festive Instagram or too... I'm over at @thefreckledfieldnotes! 

Do you have any gift-wrapping ideas or tips that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love + Merry Christmas,

Sian x

4 Brown Paper Gift-Wrap Ideas

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


If you're anything like me, you'll know that shopping for gift wrap at this time of year requires a serious amount of self-restraint. Bespoke luxe wrapping paper? Yes please. Glittery washi tape? Yes yes yes. Holographic rose-gold ribbon? Oh, go on then!

However, this year I've decided (a tad reluctantly) to forego my obsessive and expensive gift-wrap-purchasing habit and stick with just the one, plain and simple wrapping component: brown paper.  

Of course, when I decided to pare things back a little and just use brown paper, I had to come up with a few different takes on how I was going to use it to wrap my gifts...and of course I just had to share these ideas with you! So, without further ado, here are my four, proper-creative, brown paper gift-wrap ideas! 

1. Polaroid & Twine



My first idea is a really simple and cheap way to personalise your gifts without the need for name tags. I've used a print of an Instagram from earlier in the year (as I didn't want to stick a family member's pic on here!) but, in essence, the idea would be to use a cherished and potentially festive picture of the both of you as a sweet way to jazz up some plain brown paper.  

You can get these square prints from Cheerz.com for 30p each- a serious steal in my opinion, as they make a fantastic addition to any present, as well as a lovely keepsake once all the wrapping paper has been thrown away!

Pro tip: I found it easier to wrap the twine around once I'd stuck a little masking tape or blue tac (don't use sellotape as it will rip the photo) to the back of the picture, in order to keep it in place. 


You could also use the prints as gift tags for bigger presents or even place settings for your Christmas table...

+ I love the thought of ordering a load of prints of old Christmas pictures or Instagrams from the year, sticking them in a pretty scrapbook like this one and giving them out to relatives. You could even annotate the prints with funny quotes and memories to make them all the more personal!


2. Alphabet Stamps



My personal favourite, this is an incredibly easy way to personalise a bit of brown paper gift wrap. I chose to stamp just one initial on my sheet of paper, but you could just as easily do a full name or even little phrases in different colours...it's totally up to you!


You can buy alphabet stamps pretty much anywhere but these are the ones I have. Plus, the super duper festive red twine I used to tie this gift can be found here.

Pro tip: with the twine, buy a £1.99 sample instead of a spool- you get a good 10 metres in the sample, which I found was enough to wrap all my presents this year! 


3. Handwritten Memories



This gift-wrap idea is for those that might have slightly more time on their hands and an extra-special person to wrap presents for. Don't get me wrong, this is an incredibly easy craft but it might take you a little bit longer to do and you simply might not have the time (or the memories) to do it for every single person on your list!

The basic idea is to get a sheet of brown paper and write out a long stream of memories and funny phrases that you share with the recipient of your gift!  

I used a white chalk marker for this, but I think gold or silver pens would work equally as well. You could also add ribbon or twine to this one if you wanted, but I think the contrast between the white pen and the brown paper makes this decorative enough as it is!


4. Watercolour and Twine



My final idea is a little artsy but nonetheless incredibly easy to achieve if you're willing to put a tiny bit more time and effort into your gift-wrapping sesh.


Simply grab a tin of watercolours (you could use felt-tips if you have less time) and paint a few leaf and berry shapes across your sheet of brown paper. Wait until the paint has dried and then use a fine-liner to scribble some extra details on your design. You could jazz the design up with some glitter or stickers if you like- but I quite like keeping things simple and rustic-y, so I just finished wrapping my parcel with some bright twine and a twisty pinecone decoration!  


+ those are my four brown paper gift-wrap ideas! I hope I've inspired you to plump for a frugal (ish) Christmas like me and do away with all those rolls of expensive paper that just end up in the bin anyway! If you do give any of these designs a go, I'd love to see a festive Instagram or too... I'm over at @thefreckledfieldnotes! 

Do you have any gift-wrapping ideas or tips that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear them in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love + Merry Christmas,

Sian x


It's December! It's actually December guys! This can mean only one thing...it's officially time to get started on whipping up some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer.

I don't know about you but I have a few foodie staples that I have to at least try and make at this time of year- otherwise I find I get to June and suddenly I'll start having random, intense cravings for all the mincemeat (of the fruity variety) and Bailey's hot chocolate I missed out on at Christmastime.

So, to prevent such a catastrophe, I like to make sure I've got all the staples covered...and one of those staples always has to be roast chestnuts.


The taste of roast chestnuts always reminds me of a holiday in France a good few years back when, as a family, we (yes, we actually did this) sat round an open fire and roasted fresh chestnuts on a shovel. It was just before Christmas and I promise you, I have never felt more like a living Christmas card in my entire life!

But it was, of course, an unbelievably perfect way to start the holidays and now I can't have a Christmas without, at some point, eating my weight in chestnuts...      


So, if you'd like to make a dish of these festive nuts (!) for yourself, you will need:

* 800g unshelled chestnuts
* 3 sprigs of rosemary
* 100g butter
* 2 teaspoons of salt
* 2 teaspoons of fresh black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to around 220c/425f and place a large sheet of foil on a baking tray.
2. Place the chestnuts, flat side down, on a work surface and carefully score an 'x' on the rounded side of each nut.
3. Soak the scored chestnuts in a bowl of hot water for a minute (to help them steam whilst they're roasting) and then drain and pat them dry before placing them into a bowl.
4. Add the rosemary, butter, salt and pepper on top of the chestnuts and toss everything together. It will feel like there is a lot of butter going in with these guys but don't panic! It will all melt in the oven, I promise you!
5. Arrange the chestnuts in a single layer on the centre of your pre-prepared baking tray and gather up the edges of the foil around the chestnuts, leaving a large gap at the top.
6. Roast in the oven until the peel begins to curl up and the chestnuts are cooked through. This should take around 30-45 minutes.
7. Transfer the chestnuts to a dish, scraping off and adding any yummy seasoning stuck to the foil as you do, then toss everything together once more. Add extra salt and pepper to taste, and then serve!


Crispy, salty, chewy and earthy...aah, there's nothing better!

Do you have a certain Christmas treat that you absolutely have to rustle up at this time of year? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

Rosemary Roasted Chestnuts

Friday, 2 December 2016


It's December! It's actually December guys! This can mean only one thing...it's officially time to get started on whipping up some good old-fashioned Christmas cheer.

I don't know about you but I have a few foodie staples that I have to at least try and make at this time of year- otherwise I find I get to June and suddenly I'll start having random, intense cravings for all the mincemeat (of the fruity variety) and Bailey's hot chocolate I missed out on at Christmastime.

So, to prevent such a catastrophe, I like to make sure I've got all the staples covered...and one of those staples always has to be roast chestnuts.


The taste of roast chestnuts always reminds me of a holiday in France a good few years back when, as a family, we (yes, we actually did this) sat round an open fire and roasted fresh chestnuts on a shovel. It was just before Christmas and I promise you, I have never felt more like a living Christmas card in my entire life!

But it was, of course, an unbelievably perfect way to start the holidays and now I can't have a Christmas without, at some point, eating my weight in chestnuts...      


So, if you'd like to make a dish of these festive nuts (!) for yourself, you will need:

* 800g unshelled chestnuts
* 3 sprigs of rosemary
* 100g butter
* 2 teaspoons of salt
* 2 teaspoons of fresh black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to around 220c/425f and place a large sheet of foil on a baking tray.
2. Place the chestnuts, flat side down, on a work surface and carefully score an 'x' on the rounded side of each nut.
3. Soak the scored chestnuts in a bowl of hot water for a minute (to help them steam whilst they're roasting) and then drain and pat them dry before placing them into a bowl.
4. Add the rosemary, butter, salt and pepper on top of the chestnuts and toss everything together. It will feel like there is a lot of butter going in with these guys but don't panic! It will all melt in the oven, I promise you!
5. Arrange the chestnuts in a single layer on the centre of your pre-prepared baking tray and gather up the edges of the foil around the chestnuts, leaving a large gap at the top.
6. Roast in the oven until the peel begins to curl up and the chestnuts are cooked through. This should take around 30-45 minutes.
7. Transfer the chestnuts to a dish, scraping off and adding any yummy seasoning stuck to the foil as you do, then toss everything together once more. Add extra salt and pepper to taste, and then serve!


Crispy, salty, chewy and earthy...aah, there's nothing better!

Do you have a certain Christmas treat that you absolutely have to rustle up at this time of year? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


We're getting to that time of year again, aren't we? 

Real or fake? Turkey or beef? Elf or Home Alone? Mince pies or no mince pies? Aah- so many festive decisions to be made and so little time!

Hopefully, however, I can help you out with just one of those decisions, namely the dreaded- How To Dress The Christmas Table. I say dreaded, it's not really that big of a deal BUT every year I always feel like I should do something a little special and every year it ends up being a simple case of 'let's just get the nice plates out and light a couple of tealights'...
  
So, this year I decided to try and come up with a few, really simple and really quite frugal, Christmas table ideas that can be mixed and matched and added to whatever bits and bobs you've already got in the cupboard. I have, however, bought a couple of extra pieces to add to my collection this year, so I've included links to all the items used in case you did fancy getting one of two extras for your own table! 

Anyway, let's get to it!

I had a few ideas about what I wanted my place settings to look like, so I decided to put together a little moodboard in order to refine the overall look that I wanted to go for... and avoid the 'I Want Everything In Glitter' Christmas decor purchasing that I felt sure would follow the initial Pinterest-inspiration-fest.       

As you can see, I'm a big fan of keeping things pretty simple and organic-looking. I love love love anything rustic, earthy and warm in theme, so my Christmas table settings had to follow suit but with a couple of extra-special-festive twists here and there.

I decided to create three different looks: Robin, David + Eve. Each one has a slightly different style but you could easily mix + match all three to create a quirky overall tablescape. 

Robin

For this first table setting, I wanted to use an idea that I'd spotted on a recent shopping trip to John Lewis. Instead of laying the cutlery out beside all the plates on one of their display tables, they'd wrapped the knife and fork up in a little bag and tied it to the napkin with a pretty ribbon. I loved the little pinecone design and the country-feel of the tartan napkins... so I just had to get these for our Christmas table and we will definitely be using them come the Big Day. I think it's such a cute idea and you could re-use the little bags for favours or treat bags later on in the day! 


IKEA STROSA Mint Green plates, only available in beige now //  John Lewis Ruskin Tartan napkins // + Cutlery Bags // Wilko Basic White Candles


H&M Home Washed Linen Table Runner (really quite cheap, easy to match with everything and very on-trend)


If you want to get super crafty, you could even design your own little cutlery bags using these plain ones from Hobbycraft. If I'd have had more time, I would have loved to have sewn people's names or created my own little printed designs onto some personalised bags for everyone.


David

For this setting, I went for a more vintage-y look with a touch of copper and a classic red, white and green theme. The old-fashioned side plate adds a little pop of colour to match the tartan napkin and the copper pan brings a quirky edge to an otherwise quite simple look. I also dropped the cutlery bag in favour of adding a good old soup spoon!  


Vintage plate, you can find similar in most charity shops // John Lewis Copper Pot


I have to admit something about the place cards here, I tried so hard to make one of those pretty Mini Rosemary Wreaths that circulate on Pinterest at this time of year... but I totally failed. Like, almost crying with frustration, failed. SO instead, I made this little bunch of rosemary and popped the name card on top. If you're more inventive than me, you could punch some holes in the card and tie it through with some pretty string to keep everything together but, I'll confess, I was pretty done with the whole rosemary thing by this stage so I just left it as it is- no shame!  



Eve

For the final look, I wanted to go a little off-piste and utilise some mini bobble hats we've had hanging around the house for years. I think they came with little bottles of Innocent smoothies but I've always thought they would make great, winter-themed place settings!


H&M Home Linen napkin // innocent Little Bobble Hat (not sure if you can still buy these anywhere but you could try and knit a few yourself!) // Wilko Pinecone and Berry Pick



To make this little place setting, all I did was grab a twisty pinecone pick (you can buy these in almost any shop that has a DIY wreath or garland section), thread it through a little hole I'd punched in my name card and then twist it round the bobble of the hat. It was really as simple as that- and not a fiddly bit of herb in sight!





And that's your lot! Those are my three Country-Themed Christmas table ideas to help you jazz up this year's place settings without spending a month's pay on Salvaged-Wood Stag's Head Candle Holders and Personalised Parisian Glass Plates (yes, both do exist). I hope you feel a little more inspired to create something a bit special for your friends and family on Christmas Day- I'd love to see a festive Instagram or two if you do!

Also, what's your favourite bit of Christmas dinner? Pigs in blankets? Roast potatoes? ... Sprouts?! I'd love to know in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x 


Country-Themed Christmas Table Ideas

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


We're getting to that time of year again, aren't we? 

Real or fake? Turkey or beef? Elf or Home Alone? Mince pies or no mince pies? Aah- so many festive decisions to be made and so little time!

Hopefully, however, I can help you out with just one of those decisions, namely the dreaded- How To Dress The Christmas Table. I say dreaded, it's not really that big of a deal BUT every year I always feel like I should do something a little special and every year it ends up being a simple case of 'let's just get the nice plates out and light a couple of tealights'...
  
So, this year I decided to try and come up with a few, really simple and really quite frugal, Christmas table ideas that can be mixed and matched and added to whatever bits and bobs you've already got in the cupboard. I have, however, bought a couple of extra pieces to add to my collection this year, so I've included links to all the items used in case you did fancy getting one of two extras for your own table! 

Anyway, let's get to it!

I had a few ideas about what I wanted my place settings to look like, so I decided to put together a little moodboard in order to refine the overall look that I wanted to go for... and avoid the 'I Want Everything In Glitter' Christmas decor purchasing that I felt sure would follow the initial Pinterest-inspiration-fest.       

As you can see, I'm a big fan of keeping things pretty simple and organic-looking. I love love love anything rustic, earthy and warm in theme, so my Christmas table settings had to follow suit but with a couple of extra-special-festive twists here and there.

I decided to create three different looks: Robin, David + Eve. Each one has a slightly different style but you could easily mix + match all three to create a quirky overall tablescape. 

Robin

For this first table setting, I wanted to use an idea that I'd spotted on a recent shopping trip to John Lewis. Instead of laying the cutlery out beside all the plates on one of their display tables, they'd wrapped the knife and fork up in a little bag and tied it to the napkin with a pretty ribbon. I loved the little pinecone design and the country-feel of the tartan napkins... so I just had to get these for our Christmas table and we will definitely be using them come the Big Day. I think it's such a cute idea and you could re-use the little bags for favours or treat bags later on in the day! 


IKEA STROSA Mint Green plates, only available in beige now //  John Lewis Ruskin Tartan napkins // + Cutlery Bags // Wilko Basic White Candles


H&M Home Washed Linen Table Runner (really quite cheap, easy to match with everything and very on-trend)


If you want to get super crafty, you could even design your own little cutlery bags using these plain ones from Hobbycraft. If I'd have had more time, I would have loved to have sewn people's names or created my own little printed designs onto some personalised bags for everyone.


David

For this setting, I went for a more vintage-y look with a touch of copper and a classic red, white and green theme. The old-fashioned side plate adds a little pop of colour to match the tartan napkin and the copper pan brings a quirky edge to an otherwise quite simple look. I also dropped the cutlery bag in favour of adding a good old soup spoon!  


Vintage plate, you can find similar in most charity shops // John Lewis Copper Pot


I have to admit something about the place cards here, I tried so hard to make one of those pretty Mini Rosemary Wreaths that circulate on Pinterest at this time of year... but I totally failed. Like, almost crying with frustration, failed. SO instead, I made this little bunch of rosemary and popped the name card on top. If you're more inventive than me, you could punch some holes in the card and tie it through with some pretty string to keep everything together but, I'll confess, I was pretty done with the whole rosemary thing by this stage so I just left it as it is- no shame!  



Eve

For the final look, I wanted to go a little off-piste and utilise some mini bobble hats we've had hanging around the house for years. I think they came with little bottles of Innocent smoothies but I've always thought they would make great, winter-themed place settings!


H&M Home Linen napkin // innocent Little Bobble Hat (not sure if you can still buy these anywhere but you could try and knit a few yourself!) // Wilko Pinecone and Berry Pick



To make this little place setting, all I did was grab a twisty pinecone pick (you can buy these in almost any shop that has a DIY wreath or garland section), thread it through a little hole I'd punched in my name card and then twist it round the bobble of the hat. It was really as simple as that- and not a fiddly bit of herb in sight!





And that's your lot! Those are my three Country-Themed Christmas table ideas to help you jazz up this year's place settings without spending a month's pay on Salvaged-Wood Stag's Head Candle Holders and Personalised Parisian Glass Plates (yes, both do exist). I hope you feel a little more inspired to create something a bit special for your friends and family on Christmas Day- I'd love to see a festive Instagram or two if you do!

Also, what's your favourite bit of Christmas dinner? Pigs in blankets? Roast potatoes? ... Sprouts?! I'd love to know in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x 



We're getting to that time of year again when everything is made to be shared... warm open fires, mulled wine, hot chestnuts (more on these later), big old casseroles and, of course, ladles and ladles of creamy hot chocolate.


I love the feeling of (literal!) warmth and togetherness that comes with serving up a huge batch of hot chocolate for everyone to sip, but I'm often disappointed with how some of the shop-bought powder stuff tastes when you try and make it for a big group of people. Don't get me wrong, I think instant hot chocolate is a perfectly yummy treat when you make it for yourself but, when I'm making it for all the family, I'm always after something a little bit more authentic and...well... a lot more chocolatey!  

So, this year I made it my mission to find a classic (but simple to make) old-fashioned hot chocolate recipe and, of course, once I'd come across it I had to share it with you all...


I've totally stolen this delicious recipe from Jamie Oliver- but I've also added a couple of little extras to make it a bit more me. The wonderful thing about hot chocolate, however, is that you can literally make it any way you please. Last year, for example, I improvised my own version with a spoonful of Nutella and a splash of orange extract and it was one of the scrummiest things I've ever had the pleasure to concoct. So don't hold back! If you want to add a load of extra flavours, go ahead!

But, if all you want is a lovely, creamy and traditional mug of thick hot chocolate, then try this on for size.    

To make a jugful that will serve eight delighted chocaholics, you will need:

* 2 tablespoons of Horlicks
* 2 tablespoons of cornflour
* 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
* 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
* 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
* 1 pinch of ground ginger
* 100g dark chocolate
* 100g milk chocolate

Added to...

* 2 pints of semi-skimmed milk (or dairy-free alternative)

1. Pour the milk into a large pan and bring almost to the boil over a medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, grate both types of chocolate and stir together with all the other dry ingredients.
3. You need around ten heaped tablespoons of the dry mix per two pints of milk. Simply spoon the tablespoons of mix into the hot milk, give it a good whisk and allow everything to bubble away before serving. For that authentic, old-fashioned chocolate, it needs to be super thick (Jamie says 'almost claggy'- love it) and sumptuously smooth before it's ready to pour.


The dry mix alone also makes for a fabulously simple DIY gift idea- just make up a massive batch, decant it into a few little jars or milk bottles, tie a pretty label around the top & voila! Instant Christmas happiness for all.  


I hope you give this recipe I go, I'd certainly love to see a cosy-looking Instagram or two! I know that I'll be whipping up a batch of this special hot chocolate on Christmas Eve to share with all my family- and I absolutely can't wait to see their smiles when they get that first, rich and creamy sip!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

Hot Chocolate to Share

Friday, 25 November 2016


We're getting to that time of year again when everything is made to be shared... warm open fires, mulled wine, hot chestnuts (more on these later), big old casseroles and, of course, ladles and ladles of creamy hot chocolate.


I love the feeling of (literal!) warmth and togetherness that comes with serving up a huge batch of hot chocolate for everyone to sip, but I'm often disappointed with how some of the shop-bought powder stuff tastes when you try and make it for a big group of people. Don't get me wrong, I think instant hot chocolate is a perfectly yummy treat when you make it for yourself but, when I'm making it for all the family, I'm always after something a little bit more authentic and...well... a lot more chocolatey!  

So, this year I made it my mission to find a classic (but simple to make) old-fashioned hot chocolate recipe and, of course, once I'd come across it I had to share it with you all...


I've totally stolen this delicious recipe from Jamie Oliver- but I've also added a couple of little extras to make it a bit more me. The wonderful thing about hot chocolate, however, is that you can literally make it any way you please. Last year, for example, I improvised my own version with a spoonful of Nutella and a splash of orange extract and it was one of the scrummiest things I've ever had the pleasure to concoct. So don't hold back! If you want to add a load of extra flavours, go ahead!

But, if all you want is a lovely, creamy and traditional mug of thick hot chocolate, then try this on for size.    

To make a jugful that will serve eight delighted chocaholics, you will need:

* 2 tablespoons of Horlicks
* 2 tablespoons of cornflour
* 3 tablespoons of icing sugar
* 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
* 1 pinch of ground cinnamon
* 1 pinch of ground ginger
* 100g dark chocolate
* 100g milk chocolate

Added to...

* 2 pints of semi-skimmed milk (or dairy-free alternative)

1. Pour the milk into a large pan and bring almost to the boil over a medium heat.
2. Meanwhile, grate both types of chocolate and stir together with all the other dry ingredients.
3. You need around ten heaped tablespoons of the dry mix per two pints of milk. Simply spoon the tablespoons of mix into the hot milk, give it a good whisk and allow everything to bubble away before serving. For that authentic, old-fashioned chocolate, it needs to be super thick (Jamie says 'almost claggy'- love it) and sumptuously smooth before it's ready to pour.


The dry mix alone also makes for a fabulously simple DIY gift idea- just make up a massive batch, decant it into a few little jars or milk bottles, tie a pretty label around the top & voila! Instant Christmas happiness for all.  


I hope you give this recipe I go, I'd certainly love to see a cosy-looking Instagram or two! I know that I'll be whipping up a batch of this special hot chocolate on Christmas Eve to share with all my family- and I absolutely can't wait to see their smiles when they get that first, rich and creamy sip!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Last week, I hit over 10,000 views on this blog...a fact that has left me completely and utterly gobsmacked! When I started The Freckled Fieldnotes a little over a year ago, I could never have imagined that my teeny tiny blog would reach such an incredible number. It's amazing for me to think, not only of how much I have grown in the space of year, but also of how much further I have been able to push myself creatively through simply writing and updating this blog- and it's all thanks to you wonderful people!

So, in celebration of such a massive personal milestone, I thought I would put together a special giveaway for all the lovely readers that have helped me get to this point...and what better gift is there at this time of year than a little hamper filled with lots of cosy and seasonal treats?


If you want to win this lovely hamper, all you have to do is like my page over on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling me all about your favourite, cosy Christmas memory! 

The deadline for entering is  30/11/16.


A few Terms and Conditions:

- This giveaway is open to UK entrants only (due to shipping costs!)
- Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below
- One winner will be chosen at random through the Rafflecopter widget
- The product offered to you in the giveaway is free of charge and there is no purchase necessary
- The winner will be be contacted through either the email address or twitter handle provided
- If you win and are contacted, you will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen
- The giveaway will run from 12:00 AM GMT 16/11/16 until 12:00 AM GMT 30/11/16
- All entries will be moderated and any duplicate, false or incomplete entries will be deleted
- All items are either brand new or handmade by myself + I cannot be held responsible for anything damaged in transit

Phew! Now all that's out the way, let's take a look at some of the things you could win!


Inside the hamper...

* A pair of cosy, cashmere-blend socks
* A starry, gold-foiled notebook for all your Christmas plans
* A handmade, clay star garland
* Some yummy Strawberry + Clotted Cream Cornish Shortbread
* An exclusive trio of 'Little Fieldnotes' prints
* A handmade, lemon + tea Cornish soap
* Some Teapigs Popcorn tea for those cosy film nights
* & a little thank you note from me!



And here's the Rafflecopter widget that you can enter the giveaway through:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway competition is only open for two weeks- so get going! I really hope you can enter this one. I'm so excited to send it off to brighten up someone's winter evenings!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

Hamper Giveaway

Wednesday, 16 November 2016


Last week, I hit over 10,000 views on this blog...a fact that has left me completely and utterly gobsmacked! When I started The Freckled Fieldnotes a little over a year ago, I could never have imagined that my teeny tiny blog would reach such an incredible number. It's amazing for me to think, not only of how much I have grown in the space of year, but also of how much further I have been able to push myself creatively through simply writing and updating this blog- and it's all thanks to you wonderful people!

So, in celebration of such a massive personal milestone, I thought I would put together a special giveaway for all the lovely readers that have helped me get to this point...and what better gift is there at this time of year than a little hamper filled with lots of cosy and seasonal treats?


If you want to win this lovely hamper, all you have to do is like my page over on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling me all about your favourite, cosy Christmas memory! 

The deadline for entering is  30/11/16.


A few Terms and Conditions:

- This giveaway is open to UK entrants only (due to shipping costs!)
- Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below
- One winner will be chosen at random through the Rafflecopter widget
- The product offered to you in the giveaway is free of charge and there is no purchase necessary
- The winner will be be contacted through either the email address or twitter handle provided
- If you win and are contacted, you will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen
- The giveaway will run from 12:00 AM GMT 16/11/16 until 12:00 AM GMT 30/11/16
- All entries will be moderated and any duplicate, false or incomplete entries will be deleted
- All items are either brand new or handmade by myself + I cannot be held responsible for anything damaged in transit

Phew! Now all that's out the way, let's take a look at some of the things you could win!


Inside the hamper...

* A pair of cosy, cashmere-blend socks
* A starry, gold-foiled notebook for all your Christmas plans
* A handmade, clay star garland
* Some yummy Strawberry + Clotted Cream Cornish Shortbread
* An exclusive trio of 'Little Fieldnotes' prints
* A handmade, lemon + tea Cornish soap
* Some Teapigs Popcorn tea for those cosy film nights
* & a little thank you note from me!



And here's the Rafflecopter widget that you can enter the giveaway through:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway competition is only open for two weeks- so get going! I really hope you can enter this one. I'm so excited to send it off to brighten up someone's winter evenings!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x

As it's Bonfire Night tomorrow night and hoards of bundled-up people across the country will be gathering round fires to mark the fifth of November, I thought it would be fun to share some scrummy recipes with you to help your own celebrations go off with a bang!



I've chosen a rather sugary selection of Bonfire Night delights here (couldn't help adding in the slight rhyme there, sorry) but I also always have a real hankering for some warm and savoury 'cosy food' at this time of year. If you're in charge of catering for friends and family this Firework Night and you need some savoury inspiration to go with your sweeter treats, why not take a quick look at a few of the yummy hearty meal ideas I've collected over on Pinterest? It honestly makes my stomach rumble just looking at them!

Anyway, on to the sweet stuff...

Sparkling Shortbread Stars

These sparkling stars are an adaptation of  this recipe that I used for the biscuits in my Cosy October Box. I left out the chocolate and nuts this time and simply covered my shortbread in some edible gold glitter for an extra shimmery, whizz-popping effect!  



To make thirty biscuits, you will need:

- 360g flour
- 250g unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- edible glitter, optional

* Place the butter in a mixer and beat on high for three minutes. Then, add the sugar and the salt and beat for another three minutes.
* Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg. Beat for another five minutes.
* Add the vanilla extract and the flour and then slowly mix until everything comes together into a ball.
* Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and place in the freezer for around fifteen minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180c/350f.
*  Take your dough from the freezer and gently massage until it becomes ready to roll out. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to roughly half an inch thick and cut out your stars.
* Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for around twelve minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool.
* Once cooled, gently brush the top of each biscuit with a sparkling layer of golden glittery dust!



Gnarly Cinnamon Toffee Apples

A warming, spiced take on the traditional toffee apple, this recipe is a slightly messy one to tackle... but stick with it (haha) the results are delicious! Slightly adapted from a recipe on Waitrose.com



For six apples, you will need:

- 300g soft, light brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. golden syrup
- mixed nuts, optional


* Scrub your apples to remove any waxy residue that will prevent the caramel from sticking. Take six, sturdy branches (with parchment paper wrapped around their tops!) and stud them into the core of the apples. If you have any trouble doing this, try jamming a chopstick into the apple first before gently wiggling the branch in. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
* Put the sugar in a heavy-based pan with 100ml cold water and the cinnamon sticks; heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Once its dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and add the butter, vinegar and golden syrup. Boil for fifteen minutes to the soft-crack stage, which is when a little caramel dropped into cold water separates into strands that then harden.
* When your caramel is ready, remove the cinnamon sticks and take the pan off the heat. Quickly dip each apple into the caramel to coat it and then roll it in a bowl of the mixed nuts. Leave the apples on the baking sheet to set.  


Crumbly Cinder Toffee

Cinder toffee, or honeycomb if you want to be boring (!), is a lovely bubbly and crumbly treat that can be eaten as it is, or smashed up and sprinkled over ice cream for an extra special dessert! This recipe is taken from  BBC Good Food



For a 20cm chunk, you will need:

- butter, for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 5 tbsp. golden syrup
- 2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

* Grease a 20cm square tin with the butter. Mix the caster sugar and syrup in a deep saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted.
* Once melted, turn up the heat a little and simmer until you have an amber-coloured caramel, then as quickly as you can turn off the heat, tip in the bicarbonate and beat in with a wooden spoon until it's all disappeared and the mixture is foaming. Carefully pour everything into your pre-prepared tin.  
* The mixture will continue bubbling in the tin, simply leave it and in 1-2 hours. After, the honeycomb will be completely hard and ready to eat!


And that's everything! Enough sweet treats for everyone to happily munch on around the fire...
  

I hope you all have a wonderful (and safe) Bonfire Night tomorrow evening! What sort of recipes do you like to get out at this time of year? I'd love to hear all about your traditions in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


Bonfire Night Treats

Friday, 4 November 2016

As it's Bonfire Night tomorrow night and hoards of bundled-up people across the country will be gathering round fires to mark the fifth of November, I thought it would be fun to share some scrummy recipes with you to help your own celebrations go off with a bang!



I've chosen a rather sugary selection of Bonfire Night delights here (couldn't help adding in the slight rhyme there, sorry) but I also always have a real hankering for some warm and savoury 'cosy food' at this time of year. If you're in charge of catering for friends and family this Firework Night and you need some savoury inspiration to go with your sweeter treats, why not take a quick look at a few of the yummy hearty meal ideas I've collected over on Pinterest? It honestly makes my stomach rumble just looking at them!

Anyway, on to the sweet stuff...

Sparkling Shortbread Stars

These sparkling stars are an adaptation of  this recipe that I used for the biscuits in my Cosy October Box. I left out the chocolate and nuts this time and simply covered my shortbread in some edible gold glitter for an extra shimmery, whizz-popping effect!  



To make thirty biscuits, you will need:

- 360g flour
- 250g unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- edible glitter, optional

* Place the butter in a mixer and beat on high for three minutes. Then, add the sugar and the salt and beat for another three minutes.
* Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg. Beat for another five minutes.
* Add the vanilla extract and the flour and then slowly mix until everything comes together into a ball.
* Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and place in the freezer for around fifteen minutes. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 180c/350f.
*  Take your dough from the freezer and gently massage until it becomes ready to roll out. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to roughly half an inch thick and cut out your stars.
* Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for around twelve minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool.
* Once cooled, gently brush the top of each biscuit with a sparkling layer of golden glittery dust!



Gnarly Cinnamon Toffee Apples

A warming, spiced take on the traditional toffee apple, this recipe is a slightly messy one to tackle... but stick with it (haha) the results are delicious! Slightly adapted from a recipe on Waitrose.com



For six apples, you will need:

- 300g soft, light brown sugar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- 30g unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp. golden syrup
- mixed nuts, optional


* Scrub your apples to remove any waxy residue that will prevent the caramel from sticking. Take six, sturdy branches (with parchment paper wrapped around their tops!) and stud them into the core of the apples. If you have any trouble doing this, try jamming a chopstick into the apple first before gently wiggling the branch in. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
* Put the sugar in a heavy-based pan with 100ml cold water and the cinnamon sticks; heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Once its dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil and add the butter, vinegar and golden syrup. Boil for fifteen minutes to the soft-crack stage, which is when a little caramel dropped into cold water separates into strands that then harden.
* When your caramel is ready, remove the cinnamon sticks and take the pan off the heat. Quickly dip each apple into the caramel to coat it and then roll it in a bowl of the mixed nuts. Leave the apples on the baking sheet to set.  


Crumbly Cinder Toffee

Cinder toffee, or honeycomb if you want to be boring (!), is a lovely bubbly and crumbly treat that can be eaten as it is, or smashed up and sprinkled over ice cream for an extra special dessert! This recipe is taken from  BBC Good Food



For a 20cm chunk, you will need:

- butter, for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 5 tbsp. golden syrup
- 2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

* Grease a 20cm square tin with the butter. Mix the caster sugar and syrup in a deep saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted.
* Once melted, turn up the heat a little and simmer until you have an amber-coloured caramel, then as quickly as you can turn off the heat, tip in the bicarbonate and beat in with a wooden spoon until it's all disappeared and the mixture is foaming. Carefully pour everything into your pre-prepared tin.  
* The mixture will continue bubbling in the tin, simply leave it and in 1-2 hours. After, the honeycomb will be completely hard and ready to eat!


And that's everything! Enough sweet treats for everyone to happily munch on around the fire...
  

I hope you all have a wonderful (and safe) Bonfire Night tomorrow evening! What sort of recipes do you like to get out at this time of year? I'd love to hear all about your traditions in the comments below!

In the meantime,
All the love,

Sian x


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