Getting ready for winter (and Christmas)

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I’ve been getting the house winter-ready recently. By that I mean I’ve started a bit of a de-clutter before the onslaught of the festive season. Then, the house will get filled up again with everything that Christmas brings with it i.e. food, drink, pressies, the Christmas tree, decorations etc…

In the course of my de-clutter, I suddenly realised how much The Camouflage Company I use to keep everything organised. I have at least one piece in every single room in my house, including the bathrooms, I even have some organisers in the boot if my car.

The number and variety of the range’s storage and organisation pieces has slowly crept up on me over the years. I love them. They work really well with my home decor, are well made and really do the job. What more could you ask?

Besides, working with Louise and Corrine on-air is always so much fun. They are sisters and believe me they really do behave like sisters, regardless of whether they are on telly or not. They do make me laugh a lot.

As part of the festive preparations, I have been thinking about food as well. Mum is coming to stay and I will probably have people over for drinks at some point, so that will require making food for everyone as well. I needed a little helper, and thought that the KitchenAid Mini Stand Mixer would do just the trick.

I got it in Matte Black, and it looks so cool and modern in my kitchen. All my other appliances are either silver, black, or silver and black, so it fits in perfectly.

It comes in a whole array of other colours too. If you know a particularly girly cook who loves pink, then Guava Glaze is definitely the colour for them! For those who like to make a statement there is the vibrant Hot Sauce red or for a retro vibe the HoneyDew pastel green is a cool choice.

It’s about 20% smaller and 25% lighter than the full size stand mixer, making it much easier to fit into your kitchen – well, certainly mine, where counter top real estate is at a premium!

Though it is smaller and lighter, you don’t need to worry about performance as the motor is still as powerful as the full size option.

So now I can get started on my Christmas cake! This will be the first year I have ever baked a traditional Christmas cake… ever!

I am feeling the pressure slightly, as my father was a Master Baker and dear old Mum does love a nice slice of Christmas cake, as I do.

I like my Christmas Cake with lots of nuts and lots of fruit (but no dried peel, I’ve never liked it, I used to pick it out as a child) and of course lots of brandy too! I’ll only bake a small one, as it’s just myself and Mum, but I still want it to be perfect! My KitchenAid mini stand mixer has inspired me to give it a go.

If any of you out there are regular Christmas cake-makers and have any good tips I would really love to hear them!

So far, in my mini stand mixer, I’ve whipped up pancake batter for friends visiting last week, and a pizza base for dinner the night before. I can see the party food for the upcoming season this year being prepared at home, rather than shop-bought!

If you love your KitchenAid and have a stand mixer already, we also have a KitchenAid deal on our website at the moment that’s definitely worth checking out. You can save 20% on all of our accessories, including mixing bowls, beaters, whisks, and pasta makers.

Once November strikes, I think we all definitely shift gears in our head and really do get into the winter and Christmas mode – I know I do.

Each year there are certain things that herald the arrival of that moment. The passing of Halloween, the changing of the clocks, the Christmas decorations going up in the streets around your town, perhaps. At QVC though, it’s often the arrival of the big beauty Today’s Special Values. The Gift of Gorgeous Skin from Elemis will be on-air any day now, and is already available to order early online. It is (if you’ll excuse the pun) a cracker!

This year it is the six-piece Gift Of Gorgeous Skin collection, in a choice of two fragrances. Exotic Blooms offers refreshing notes of Amazonian water lily, water lemon flower and bird of paradise. Or, you can go for Skin Nourishing, featuring a calming blend of milk proteins, oat extract and camellia oil.

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The gorgeous Exotic Blooms range has been created to launch with QVC, meaning you’ll be one of the first customers to discover and enjoy this pampering, heavenly scented selection.

Both collections contain a Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm, Rehydrating Ginseng Toner, Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, one large gift box, and one small gift box.

Plus, if you Exotic Blooms, you get Shower Nectar, Hand Wash, and Hand & Nail Lotion in the gorgeous scent. If you opt for Skin Nourishing, you get the Shower Cream, Hand Wash, and Hand & Nail Lotion in the comforting formulation.

As a write, this the Elemis Today’s Special Value is available to order online now and proving popular beyond anyone’s expectations, so get in early before it sells out. This is the perfect seasonal gift to yourself, as well as for friends and family. The value is huge.

Time for me to get back to my winter/ festive de-clutter and tidy-up, before I head off to get all of the ingredients for my first ever Christmas cake. Remember all baking tips are gratefully received!

Until next time,

Miceal xxx

P.S. Just for fun, Catherine Huntley and myself were having a great time dressing up in some Frank Usher recently. I love this hat, and think it would be perfect for Mum to wear to midnight mass on Christmas Eve, but I thought I’d try it on first though!

Us, having fun at work, certainly not! Xx

4 Comments

  1. SheMag November 9, 2017 at 8:08 pm -  Reply

    Christmas cake tip? Make it in September! Well, next year maybe, but in the meantime give it a whirl anyway. It’s much easier than sponge cake, honestly, but it does have one thing in common with the lighter cake…the raw mixture is far nicer than when it’s cooked! Get that whisk and bowl licked clean! Enjoy and let us know how you get on!

  2. Susan November 9, 2017 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Beautiful photo of you and Catherine! Lovely friends. Can’t wait to see your Christmas cake! Good on you!!x

  3. Eileen Archibald November 10, 2017 at 6:11 am -  Reply

    Hi Miceal, lovely to read you are making your Christmas Cake this year. At the moment I have ten cakes made and I feed them for at least six weeks with Tia Maria. I make them for friends and family, some I get paid for and others are gifts. I make various shapes and sizes depending on who the cake is for, 4″, 6″, square, round and oval. When I was in full time work I made about 22 cakes as well as baking during the year. I was not professional but they were all made with love which is I am sure how your cake will be.

  4. Vanessa Roberts November 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Miceal, This year I have made 4 Christmas cakes, 3 for gifts to friends and family and 1for my husband and I. I adore making them, from the soaking of the fruit in brandy, to the wonderful aromas which fill our home whilst they are baking! My advice to you is once the cake is baked and cool, give it it’s first feed of a tbsp of brandy and repeat this weekly! I’m not using marzipan and icing this year, I have decided to take the glazed fruit and nut topping route. Then I shall tie a beautiful ribbon around each cake prior to gifting them. Good luck with your cake, can’t really go wrong when you consider all the fabulous ingredients.
    Also Miceal, thank you so much for the story behind the candle burning in the window of Irish homes. What a beautiful thing to do.
    Take care, dear Miceal xxx

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