Price Points: Christmas cookie cutters

Selection of Christmas cookie cutters | H is for Home

Yesterday, I was talking about topping your home-made mince pies with Christmas-themed pastry lids. They’re so much prettier than plain old circular tops. There are lots of different shapes to choose from; fir trees, snowmen, gingerbread men, stars, holly leaves… Rather than fiddling around with making the shapes by hand, Christmas cookie cutters will give you quicker results and a more professional finish.

A set of cookie cutters is generally the more economical option than buying them singly. Here are three of the best.

  1. Mini Christmas cutters: £6.99, Lakeland
  2. Set of 3 Croft Collection copper cookie cutters: £10, John Lewis
  3. 12-piece Linzer cookie cutter set: £25.99 Wayfair

Cakes & Bakes: Luxury mince pies

Home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home #recipe #mincepies #baking #ChristmasRecipe #pastry #pie

My home-made luxury mincemeat has been ‘resting’ nicely for a month. It’s now just about ready for me to make my first batch of mince pies.

Making pastry cases for home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home

We’ve got the luxury mincemeat, so how about a bit of luxury pastry too?!

Filling pastry cases for home-made luxury mince pies | H is for Home

I’ve gone for a buttery shortcrust pastry flavoured with almond. The flavours work so well together – and make for the perfect Christmas treat.

Plate of luxury mince pies and mug of tea in front of the fire | H is for Home

Compliment them with a cup of tea or glass of mulled wine, comfy chair and real fire (sleeping dog optional). It’s what Christmas (in fact, winter in general) is all about for us.

Click here to save my recipe to Pinterest for later!

Luxury mince pies
Yields 12
    For the pastry
    1. 180g/6⅓oz plain flour
    2. 70g/2½oz 'tant pour tant' (35g/1¼oz icing sugar + 35g/1¼oz ground almonds)
    3. pinch of salt
    4. 125g/4½oz very cold butter, cubed
    5. 1½-2tbs cold water
    6. A little beaten eggHome-made mince pies ingredients
    Add ingredients to shopping list
    If you don’t have Buy Me a Pie! app installed you’ll see the list with ingredients right after downloading it
    Instructions
    1. Put the flour, icing sugar, ground almonds and salt in a food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine
    2. Add the butter and pulse again until you get to the fine breadcrumb stage
    3. Whilst still pulsing, add the ice cold water until the mixture begins to get lumpy - like dry scrambled eggs
    4. Empty ⅔ of the pastry on to 2 lengths of cling film layered one over the other at right angles
    5. Form the dough into a ball by lifting & bringing together the 4 ends of the cling film. Repeat with the remaining ⅓ of the pastry
    6. Chill in the fridge for ½ to 1 hour
    7. Once chilled, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
    8. Grease a 12-hole or two, 6-hole muffin tins
    9. Lightly flour your work surface, remove your larger ball of dough from the fridge, unwrap and divide it into 12 equal pieces (about 20-22g each)
    10. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ½cm thick round shape. Cut into perfect circles with a cookie cutter (or upturned drinking glass if you don't have one) that's slightly wider than the hole of your muffin tin. **Rolling each pie case individually means that you don't overwork the pastry by re-rolling over & over again**
    11. Gently press the pastry rounds into the muffin tin holes (handy hint: use a small lump of pastry to do this if you have long fingernails!)
    12. Spoon mincemeat into each pastry case and press down gently to level. Don't overfill
    13. Get the smaller batch of dough out of the fridge and again divide into 12 equal pieces (about 11g each)
    14. One by one, roll each piece of dough into a ½cm thick round shape. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. I used a star-shaped cutter but you can make other Christmas-y shapes like holly leaves, snowflakes, fir trees and the like!
    15. Top each pie with the shaped pastry before brushing the tops with a little beaten egg
    16. Bake for 12-15 minutes
    17. Allow to cool in the tin completely before removing
    18. Put on a cooling rack or serving plate and sprinkle/dredge with icing sugar
    Print
    H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

    Top 5 Christmas gadget gifts to get this holiday season

    Gold paper wrapped Christmas presents

    It’s that time again! The most wonderful time of the year. The season that brings families together in the spirit of giving and joy. Depending on how good you are with picking presents, there might just be a tinge of terror mixed in with all the merriment.

    We’ve all been either the perpetrator or the recipient of what can honestly only be described as a less than stellar gift. Maybe even a terrible one. We’re looking at you, pair of socks and multi-coloured, comedy sweater!

    As much as we know that gifts are not really what Christmas is all about, it certainly helps to feel confident about the presents you bought and to see sincere joy and amazement in your loved ones’ faces. If in the past you’ve stood in shops, helpless and surrounded by too much choice, this article’s for you.

    We’ve decided to take on the role of Santa’s elves and help you come up with some fantastic gift ideas. We’ll focus on gadgets in this post. Gadgets always make great gifts because they tend to be functional and useful, new ones are launched each year, and there’s such a variety available today that it definitely isn’t solely the domain of dads or teenagers any longer.

    So, without further ado, let’s see what great Christmas gadget gifts you can get to help spread some festive cheer this season.

    XBOX ONE X

    Xbox One X

    Proudly dubbed the “World’s most powerful console” by its creators, you can rest assured that any console gamer in your family would be absolutely thrilled to receive this gift. Playing games in native 4K HDR has been the dream of gamers for a long time now. To make things even better, all pre-existing Xbox One games will be compatible on the X so it’s a great choice as an upgrade. Especially considering the recent release of some big game titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Origins and Shadow of War that can now be taken full advantage of.

    Who’s it for?

    Practically any console gamer you know would be ecstatic with this gift.

    Alternatives

    • PlayStation 4 Pro: Very similar to the Xbox One X, this console was brought out as a more powerful version of the PS 4. Although not as powerful as the One X, PS is known for the most tantalising, exclusive games.

    DJI Mavic Pro drone

    DJI Mavic Pro drone

    What might have seemed like just a fad a few years ago, they have proved to be anything but. Drones are still popular and more in demand than ever. We’ve only recently begun to realise the potential for these awesome gadgets, for even the average person. From shooting incredible holiday videos to drone racing with VR headsets, they’ve captured the imagination. The DJI Mavic Pro Drone is a higher-end drone and comes packed with capabilities that more than justify that price tag. It has a 12.35 megapixel stabilised camera that can shoot 4K video in up to 30fps and boasts a 27-minute flight time.

    Alternatives

    • Parrot Bebop 2: This is a more affordable and slightly lower-end alternative. The biggest downsides being that it’s not as easy to pack up and go as the DJI and doesn’t feature the same build quality.
    • GDU O2 Plus drone: A more direct competitor for the DJI Mavic, this drone features almost all the same capabilities and has a very similar aesthetic.

    Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

    Amazon Kindle E-reader

    What better gift can you give to the bookworm in your family than a Kindle e-reader? A device that lets you store hundreds… even thousands of books on a single, hand-held, lightweight, portable, tablet-like device? What’s even better, is that the E ink electronic screens are anti-glare so that they don’t strain your eyes and can be read in bright light with ease. Some newer models also come with built-in LEDs to self-illuminate in low light conditions. To top it off, these devices provide you with the widest access to books straight from Amazon itself. The Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis are variations that come enhanced features such as higher resolution screens and the Oasis is even waterproof.

    Who’s it for?

    Anyone who loves books and is constantly on the go.

    Alternatives

    • Kobo Glo HD: The Kobo Glo HD is a like for like replacement for the Amazon Kindle. It’s definitely one of their staunchest competitors in a market dominated by Kindle. This specific model has a similar screen and most of the same features as the Paperwhite.

    Sphero R2D2 droid

    Sphero R2-D2 app-enabled droid action figure

    Since the start of the Star Wars story all those years ago, our hearts & minds have been captured by the adorable and capable android, R2-D2. This unlikely looking droid managed to be both cute, yet completely indispensable with its emotive beeps and bleeps and multitude of tools. The newest in a line of in-phone, app-controlled droids, this one promises to be just as much fun and rekindle your love for Star Wars.

    Who’s it for?

    It’s suitable for all ages. As long as you can play games on an app you can handle this droid. A fantastic gift for any Star Wars fan in your family or one who has a love for novel gadgets.

    Alternatives

    • Sphero BB-8 app-enabled droid: The BB-8 managed to do the seemingly impossible: become a worthy successor to R2-D2 and be just as adorable. It came out a few years ago and reviews have been mostly positive.
    • BB-9E app-enabled droid: This is the “evil twin” of the BB-8. Most users will prefer the BB-8 but this is a great addition if you want to complete the collection.

    We hope you’ve found some fantastic and appropriate Christmas gift ideas on our list! Now, with your shopping list done you can finally sit back, relax, and take in all the merriment going around this festive season. If nothing else, maybe you’ve found an idea for a present you yourself want and can now go hint to your family members. And don’t forget to set up your workstation for the new year with a desk from Jason L!

    [disclosure*]

    What every interior designer needs to be successful

    What every interior designer needs to be successful

    Being an interior designer sounds glamorous, and while it’s a lot of fun, it also requires hard work and dedication. You not only have to be good at what you do, but you have to know how to work with different types of people.

    Home-owners are either picky or they don’t have a clue about what they want. This is when you have to be able to step in and help them find some direction with their thoughts. You’re working within budgets and schedules and have to be fully attentive and detail oriented. See what every interior designer needs to be successful.

    Interior designer swatches

    An eye for décor

    Regardless of your background, you have to be someone who has a knack for interior design. Some of it can be taught, but a lot of it comes from natural talent. There has to be passion and ability present for you to impress your customers. Practice on your own home and see what you come up with. Go shopping and look around online for ideas and challenge yourself to mini decorating tasks. It’ll quickly become clear if it comes naturally to you or if you’re struggling.

    Group working on creative project

    Presentation skills

    As an interior designer, you have to sell your services to the home-owners. They have to fully understand your capabilities, what you’ve done in the past and your vision for their home. One way to do this is to visit each client and go over your presentation together. There’s presentation software online that’s easy to use and will help you get your message across clearly and concisely. This free presentation maker allows you to create professional business presentations without the need for programming or design skills.

    Drawing a smile illustration

    Personality

    Not only do you require the technical skills to decorate homes, but you also need to have a personality. Home-owners not only have to fall in love with your work but with you too. It’s helpful if you’re friendly, enthusiastic and approachable. You need to be able to adopt a wide range of styles and temperaments. You have to portray a positive and upbeat attitude about the project and help them see that you’re excited about your vision.

    laptop presentation

    Patience

    There’s no doubt that you’re going to have to be a patient person if you get into the interior design industry. Home-owners are going to drag their feet, change their minds and have you redo on a regular basis and you have to be prepared to handle it all as it develops. The good news is that patience is a quality you can work on and improve as time goes on. The more experience you have under your belt, the easier it’ll be to adopt whatever comes your way.

    Ideas, ideas, ideas

    Conclusion

    These are a few of the necessary requirements for making it in the industry. Evaluate where you fall on the spectrum and work to improve in the areas where you feel you come up short. This is what every interior designer needs to be successful.

    [disclosure*]

    Get their look: Swoon Worthy boho glam kitchen

    Swoon Worthy boho glam kitchencredit

    We love this space! This Swoon Worthy boho glam kitchen belongs to Kimberly Duran; Pennsylvania-born, Manchester-based, multi-award-winning lifestyle blogger.

    Swoon Worthy is the name of her blog and ‘eclectic boho glam’ is the fitting phrase she uses to describe her style.

    Kimberly’s bold use of black, metallics and print is in evidence all around her house however, it’s in her kitchen that we love it the most. Copper, brass & gold against black is a match made in heaven and so, so current. The open, overhead shelves show off her collection of beautiful glass and china to great effect.

    If you’ve fallen for Kimberly’s kitchen, you’ll love the rest of her home. Go check out her ‘doing up’ story on her website.

    1. Bitra hook rail
    2. Hotpoint PHPN64FAMK 60cm chimney cooker hood – black
    3. Solid marble serving dish on stand
    4. Freight brass pepper mill
    5. DeLonghi – White ‘Brillante’ kettle
    6. Chef non-stick turner
    7. Bloomingville golden flat grater
    8. Monogram mugs
    9. Gold monogram mugs
    10. Spotted porcelain mug
    11. Leopard-print porcelain bowl
    12. Gold ladle
    13. Gold whisk
    14. Gold spatula
    15. Ruffoni kitchen jars
    16. Love Leopard wallpaper, peach

    Get their look: Swoon Worthy boho glam kitchen | H is for Home

    Sweet dreams with Tweak Slumber

    Mini Tweak Sleep Kit from Tweak Slumber containing a luxury lavender candle, room spray, sleep spray, sleep tea and an eye mask

    To celebrate the launch of their new website, Tweak Slumber are offering one of our readers one of their Mini Tweak Sleep Kits.

    The Mini Tweak Sleep Kit from Tweak Slumber contains a luxury lavender candle, room spray, sleep spray, sleep tea and an eye mask. Lavender is well-known to help you relax and enhance your mood.

    Just what you need to help keep you calm in the busy run up to Christmas. Say ‘night, night’ to frazzled sleep!

    To be in with a chance of winning, tell us what keeps you awake at night.

    Mini Tweak Sleep Kit from Tweak Slumber




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