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Advent

Salted Caramel Bark Recipe

Salted caramel is one of my favourite flavours. I’m kicking off our sweet treats countdown to Christmas with this recipe for salted caramel bark that I first saw on The Tasty Kitchen.
The ingredients are American cups so I thought I’d share the ingredients we used here in the UK and if you want the American version, you can click the link above 🙂

Salted Caramel Bark Ingredients

  • 300g Milk Chocolate
  • 300g Dark Chocolate
  • 300g Caramels – we used Asda’s chocolate eclairs
  • 2 tbsp Water
  • Coarse Sea Salt

Method

  1. Cut a piece of non-stick baking paper to the same size as your baking tray. We used a –x– cm baking tray.
    Using a damp cloth, wipe the cookie tray before applying the baking paper. This will stop it from moving around.
  2. Put the caramels in a microwave-safe bowl and add the water.
  3. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl and stir the caramels.
  4. Microwave on high for 30 seconds then stir again. Repeat until all the caramels have melted.
  5. Put all the chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl, stir and microwave for 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate has melted. Be careful because it’s very easy to burn the chocolate when microwaving.
    If you prefer, you can place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt it that way. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water.
  6. Spread the chocolate over the baking paper then drop blobs of caramel randomly onto the chocolate.
  7. Using a BBQ skewer or cocktail stick, swirl the caramel to make nice patterns.
  8. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top and refrigerate the mixture until solid.
  9. Remove from the fridge and using the baking paper take the bark and peel off the baking paper. Break into pieces and serve or package into Christmas themed cellophane bags to give as gifts.
Salted caramel bark in a red candy cane shaped snack tray next to a red patterned paper Christmas tree

Tomorrow’s recipe is for Nutella Fudge

Advent Calendars Guide 2018

We have more than our fair share of ways to countdown to Christmas. We have the activity advent calendar, the Christmas storybook advent, the wooden drawers filled with mini tree decorations and each child has a chocolate advent calendar.
In the past, I’ve had a Yankee candle advent calendar and a Christmas charm bracelet calendar and I loved them both.
I’m after something a bit different this year so I started looking early (at the end of August to be honest!) and found some ideas. So here’s my advent calendars guide 2018.

Advent Calendars Guide 2018

When I was younger we had a picture advent calendar to share between four of us. We all looked forward to seeing what picture we would open on our day so the first calendar I’m sharing is one that helps the Marie Curie charity.

Marie Curie Christmas Tree Advent Calendar - advent calendars guide 2018

100% of profits from every product goes towards providing high-quality care to people with terminal illnesses in their own homes.

Yankee Candle

The Yankee calendar I had a couple of years ago was carousel themed and came with a mixture of tealights and votives.

This wreath shaped calendar comes with 24 tealights and a glass tealight holder

Yankee Candle Wreath shaped advent calendar

Terry’s Chocolate Orange & Ferrero Rocher Wooden Advent

In our house, we have to have a Terry’s Chocolate Orange on the treat trolley! Ferrero Rocher chocolates are also a Christmas must-have which is why these wooden advent calendars would be perfect for us!

You have to buy the chocolates yourself but I think they’re great value. They can be used year after year.

Wooden Terry's Chocolate Orange and Ferrero Rocher advent calendar

Baylis & Harding Beauticology Advent Calendar

I’m always pleased when I receive a Baylis & Harding gift set at Christmas so you can imagine my delight when I found this advent calendar available online.

Baylis & Harding beauticology advent calendar

That’s all for now but I’ll be back if I find more exciting advent calendars 🙂

Review: 12 Days of Joy Gift Box

Nothing helps build up more excitement for Christmas like a festive advent calendar. But these days, many of us are ditching the chocolate treats and opting for a more luxurious option.

One perfect example is this 12 Days of Joy Calendar, generously given to me by the online bingo experts at bingo.paddypower.com

Jewellery Advent Calendar

12 Days of Joy - jewellery advent calendar

The calendar features 12 glamorous pieces of jewellery, it is a truly beautiful surprise sat behind every window, just waiting to be revealed.

Forget five gold rings, in this set you’ll get a silver plated necklace and bracelet as well as 10 beautiful and unique charms. Each of them with glamorous crystals from Swarovski.

The set is lead and nickel free and is hypoallergenic. You can use a jewellery cleaning machine if you want to clean the jewellery yourself.

What I like most about this set is that not all of the charms are focused on Christmas, yes most of them are related to the holiday seasons with snowflakes, Christmas tree, and embossed festive text on some of the charms but there are charms that can be worn all year round.

I also love that the whole set is completely customisable, meaning that there are no set guidelines on how to dress up your necklace or bracelet – the choice is yours. You can choose to wear as many or as little charms as you like.

My favourite part of this set has to be the sapphire charm. It is the only charm that offers a dramatic pop of colour, yet is still small enough so it doesn’t completely overshadow all of the other pieces.

I’d say my least favourite charm would have to be the Joy, love, peace, believe, Christmas charm. Although the text makes up the whole of the charm, it is still very small and difficult to read, maybe a different phrase would have been better.

Thanks to Paddy Power Bingo for my lovely advent calendar 🙂

Advent Calendar Activities – Planning Ahead For Christmas

Kaycee and Ella love our activity advent and they’ve already been requesting activities to be added this year! With this in mind, I’ve been looking for new ideas and came up with a list of 80 activities that I can pick from each year. I’m sharing it with you today so you can be prepared when Advent starts 🙂

80 Advent Calendar Activities For Kids

Act out a Christmas play
Decorate the Christmas cake
Make Christmas cards
Write and deliver the Christmas cards
Use Christmas cookie cutters with playdough
Make Christmas shrinky dinks
Make paper snowflakes
Have a Christmas party
Colour in some Christmas pictures
Make a winter scene picture using items collected from nature
Make paper chains
Collect pinecones and decorate them with glitter glue

pinecones

Read the Nativity story
Make salt dough ornaments
String popcorn and hang it out for the birds
Make a bird feeder
Make peppermint creams
Make Christmas cookies
Watch a Christmas movie
Make reindeer food
Read a Christmas story
Write a Christmas story
Walk around your neighbourhood at night to see the  Christmas lights
Decorate the Christmas tree
Make mince pies
Make mulled wine
Kiss under the mistletoe
Go to a carol service
Make hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows
Hang a wreath
Make a gingerbread house
Make edible gifts

edible gifts - caramel sauce in a jar with a candy cane for decoration

Dip candy canes in hot chocolate
Write a Christmas wish and hang it on the Christmas tree
Visit Father Christmas
Wrap gifts
Go ice skating
Eat dinner by candlelight
Read a Christmas bedtime story by candlelight
Make marshmallow snowmen
Sing Christmas songs
Make a Christingle
Visit a Christmas market

Christmas market

Make gingerbread men
Have a family games night
Have a North Pole breakfast
Make snowman pancakes
Write and post your letter to Father Christmas
Picnic in front of the Christmas tree
Have a Christmas tea party
Put your PJs on and watch the Polar Express
Make teacher gifts
Pick out a Christmas tree
Go for a drive to see the Christmas lights
Tell Christmas jokes
Have a red and green dinner
Set up a Nativity scene
Do a Christmas puzzle
Go Christmas shopping
Make glitter playdough
Visit the elderly and take treats
Go Christmas carolling
Hang mistletoe and get a kiss
Have breakfast for dinner
Play Christmas bingo
Make Christmas tags
Have an ice cream sundae
Make Christmas fudge
Have a snowball fight
Build a snowman

build a snowman

Christmas scavenger hunt
Make Christmas fairy cakes
Watch Elf then answer the trivia questions
Go on a sleigh ride
Make a Christmas dessert
Go to your town’s Christmas lights switch on
Go sledding
Paint rocks with Christmas greetings on and leave them out in public for other people to find
Donate food to a food bank
Sort out your toys and donate some to a charity shop

Christmas Pudding Recipe – Slimming World Style

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of Christmas Pudding. I’d much rather have something gooey and chocolatey for my Christmas lunch dessert! However, I know lots of people do like it and this Slimming World version serves 10 with each serving coming in […]

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Deluxe Prawn Cocktail – Slimming World Recipe

I’ve been getting organised for Christmas since September started. Well, actually, I plan for Christmas all year and buy presents in the summer sales to try and keep the costs down! I use Pinterest to look for Christmas craft ideas, homemade gifts and recipes for Christmas […]

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Advent Calendars – Huge Choice Nowadays!

I can’t believe how much Advent Calendars have changed in recent years. The range of different calendars you can buy nowadays is huge. They’re not just for children anymore, either, like they were when I was young.

 

Cardboard Advent Calendars

I have 2 brothers and a sister. The first Advent Calendar I can remember us having was a cardboard one with a glittery Christmas picture and little doors that opened to reveal a picture of a robin or a bell or a Christmas tree!

Traditional Advent Calendar
Traditional Advent Calendar

We didn’t have one each, either, we had to take it in turns to open the doors. I’d open the first one because I was the eldest; it was then an agonizing wait until my turn came around again! On the 24th, there were double doors and we always got a bit jealous of the person whose turn fell on Christmas Eve!

I remember when we got our first chocolate Advent Calendar. We were all so excited and to this day I love the taste of that cheap, cardboardy flavoured Advent chocolate 🙂

Jewellery, Makeup, Candles, Even Beer!

We are now bombarded with every sort of Advent Calendar you can think of. Beauty ones seem very popular at the moment. I can’t think of anything more boring than getting some makeup everyday!
Last year I had a Yankee Candle one and this year I’m thinking of getting a Christmas charm bracelet calendar from Amazon.

charm bracelet advent calendars
I’ve been tempted to buy Ant a wine calendar but I’ve not seen one with just red wine; he’s not a fan of white and rose.

There’s a guide to this year’s luxury calendars on Harper’s Bazaar. I can’t imagine paying some of the prices on that list for an Advent Calendar!

I think this Whiskey advent calendar has to be the most expensive one I’ve ever seen!

Whiskey Advent Calendars
Master Of Malt

Different Ways To Countdown

There are not only advent calendars to countdown to Christmas. I’ve seen loads of other ways on Pinterest and we have 2 different countdowns ourselves. We have an activity advent and a book advent.
The children always have a chocolate calendar and a couple of years ago we added a wooden drawer advent calendar for which I made miniature felt tree decorations and bought the girls a mini Christmas tree to put them on!

I’ve already bought the chocolate advent calendars for the children this year and I can’t wait to show them what I’ve bought!

Ready for Advent :) New wooden advent calendar

Ready for advent

We’ve got an extra wooden advent calendar this year and I really must not buy anymore!

They’ve got the usual chocolate one each

Advent calendars with chocolate

the activity one

Activity advent santa

the storybook advent

Gift wrapped story books

Wooden advent

and the new wooden drawer advent that I got from Home Sense. To be fair, it really is Ant’s fault we’ve got it because he encouraged me to buy it!

I have no idea what I’m going to put in it, though. The drawers are tiny.

Wooden advent with drawers

We’re not having anymore no matter how lovely they are (and we saw some realllly nice ones at Pennell’s garden centre yesterday!)

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