Never mind the story of the Three Wise Men this festive season – this year, it’s Wise (ish) Words For Everyone that will be entertaining your favourite child this Christmas.

Whether it’s for your son or daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild or any youngster you think the world of, Wise(ish) Words For Everyone is a personalised, 50-page grin-inducing book, bursting at the seams with useful and funny advice – and it’s guaranteed to make a small person’s Christmas Day.

All you have to do is go to Wise(ish) Words For Everyone website, add the name of the child you have in mind, and the platform does all the hard work for you, with their name emblazoned on virtually every beautiful page and incorporated into the sage and sometimes silly aphorisms.

It’s fun to make, free to preview and you can add your own touches to create a one-of-a kind-gift for that special child in your life. It’s made in minutes – but will give a lifetime of warm-fuzzy feelings and some great lessons for your favourite kid to live by.

Each unique book of Wise(ish) Words is crammed with stunning design where you choose the style and colours and to what extent you’d like the wise(ish) words to be heartfelt or cheeky, and hit create. You can edit at every stage to lovingly tailor the book’s mottos and maxims even further for the child you have in mind.

You can choose a digital PDF version at £7.95, a softback version for £23.95, hardback for £29.99 and a deluxe version for £39.95.

Have a look at Wise(ish) Words For Everyone and make your own book for that special someone here:

Wise(ish) Words For Everyone is the latest offering from The Book Of Everyone – a gigantic grin-inducing, lip-wobbling celebration of the individual, whether it’s your mum, your dad, your gran, your granddad, your partner or your lifelong friend. Because everyone needs to feel loved and unique. And knowing that you share 50% of your DNA with a banana or a billion atoms with Shakespeare is really very important.

Enter to win one via the the Rafflecopter below. It’s as simple as following @kateonthinice on Twitter and tweeting something like this with your 3 wise words for kids.

https://twitter.com/BookOfEveryone/status/935847075505373184

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out more competitions on UK Prizefinder

Box-baked cheese is a new term to me but one that immediately grabbed my attention as a very much a cheese lover.

 

Box-Baked Cheese

Drizzling this molten cheese with orange blossom honey gives the finished dish wonderful layers of flavour.  A perfect partner to ripe festive fruits.

 

Box-baked cheese

  • Preparation time:5 minutes
  • Cooking time:20 minutes
  • Serves: 8 as a starter or cheese course

Ingredients

2 x 250g boxed Camembert) 6 sprigs thyme, plus extra to serve 50g walnut pieces 4 ripe conference pears 8 fresh figs 4 tsp orange blossom honey

Method

  1. Remove the cheeses from their boxes and peel away the wrappers.  Remove the stickers from the boxes and place the lids under their bases for support.  Return the cheeses to their boxes.  Score the top of each cheese in a criss-cross pattern with a sharp knife and use the tip to push the thyme into the cheese.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5.  Place the cheeses, in their boxes, on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until wobbly in the centre.  Meanwhile, spread the walnuts out on a baking tray and add to the oven with the cheese for the final 5 minutes of cooking.  Quarter the pears, remove the cores and cut them and the figs into wedges.
  3. Scatter the tops of the cheeses with the toasted walnuts, some more thyme leaves and a drizzle of honey.  Serve with the pears and figs to dip.  Simply return the cheese to the oven if it starts to become solid again.
Get ahead

Prepare to the end of step 1, cover and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours then continue from step 2.

Recipe from http://www.waitrose.com/Christmas

 

Can you believe that it’s almost Christmas? There is no doubt that years seem to go faster as you get older. It won’t be long until you’re putting up the Christmas tree with your children  and cleaning up the mess made by your devilish elf-on-the-shelf.  I really should try to find one of those this  year. But Christmas isn’t Christmas until you attend some markets with unique gifts and mulled wine, although sometimes it can be a struggle to find the best ones. With the help of Stagecoach, who offer cheap bus fares, we look to find some of the most Christmassy markets in Britain.

Remember to wrap up warm when venturing out to some of our top picks! I suggest layers especially as the temperatures really do seem to have dipped in the last couple of weeks. You’ll be singing some of your favourite carols in no time.

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle transforms into a winter wonderland at Christmas time, with decorations travelling down the long and narrow street to create that festive feeling for the people of the city. The market is located at the top of Grey Street, just under Grey’s Monument where you can find wooden huts that are built and decorated specially for the Christmas period.

Newcastle in my experience is always fun and I remember a lovely Christmas Pantomime there once with Little and Large.

But what does the market have on offer? What makes it different? The Newcastle Christmas Market brings cultures together and celebrates differences, perfect for small children wanting to experience a big world. Tradesmen and women from across Europe come to bring a touch of their country to Newcastle – you’ll get to witness one of the best atmospheres in the country during this festive time. From foods to ornamental items, you’ll be spoilt for choice with what you can purchase. You might even find the perfect gift for that special person. If you’re into Ice Skating, head down to the Centre for Life to show off your skills in Times Square!

Open: 11th December – 17th December

Birmingham

For 12 years now, the German Christmas Market in Birmingham has been a top attraction to those wanting to venture outside of their own city and travel to a spectacular Christmas market. Located in Victoria Square, it makes a beautiful setting for any family photograph – lights descend down the centred fountain and the iconic carousel is at the top of the steps creating an uncanny version of Santa Claus’ Village.

With a collected 180 stalls, you’re bound to see something unconventional. You might even be able to snatch up a unique gift for your little one, whether this is a piece of jewellery or a handmade toy – make sure your other half distracts them whilst you make the purchase. Grab a hot chocolate with marshmallows and have a stroll around the village.

I used to work in Birmingham a lot and a Christmas market might be a great reason to return for a visit.

Open: 17th November – 29th December

Exeter

Take a trip to Exeter this year to discover the magnificent Christmas market on the West Front of the Cathedral – creating an enchanted atmosphere. With the Cathedral towering over, you will be able to take a long walk around the different wooden huts and experience something from each continent of the world – perfect for introducing your kids to different cultures.

Unlike previous years, the Exeter Christmas Market will now have a bandstand which will host the entertainment for the evening – with local bands, singers and choirs spreading the magical spirit by singing some of our favourite Christmas carols that allow the kids to get involved. If you can’t get enough of Christmas markets in Exeter, there’s two more – one on Castle Street and Fore Street – don’t be afraid to pop down and indulge yourself in more Christmassy treats and I’m sure your little ones would be more than up for it.

I had very sad times in Exeter a couple of decades ago and perhaps it is time to go back to what is undoubtedly a beautiful and compact city.

Open: 16th November – 17th December

Lincoln

Indulge yourself in the historic culture of Lincoln by attending their Xmas market or over 280 stalls surrounded by the iconic castle and cathedral – allowing your little ones to have a real sense of magic on your family trip out. From freshly cooked food to some of the most exceptional gifts, you’ll be able to experience something different from this market that will make you want to return the next year.

Not only are new stalls put up outside, but shops along the cobbled streets come outdoors to sell their products too! Creating the perfect atmosphere up the steep bank. Not only can you shop in the market, whether this is for hot food or baked treats, you can also take a trip on the big wheel and other fairground rides – once you get high enough, you might be able to spot one of Santa Claus’ elf in the crowd – so make sure you’re on your best behaviour to remain on this year’s good list. Although the duration of this market isn’t long, it’s worth going!

Lincoln is so associated in my mind with Christmas so I highly recommend this one!

Open: 7th December – 10th December

London

If you’re heading to the capital this Christmas, why not take a trip to the Winter Wonderland situated in Hyde Park. Full of festivity, there’s nothing that you and your family can’t do at this market, from ice skating, to circus’ and even Cinderella on Ice, whatever your family desires is available here – although booking is strongly advised as there is a high demand of certain activities and attractions.

There’s no excuse not to attend this Winter Wonderland as it remains open after Christmas has ended! Remember to take your camera and capture plenty of selfies, you don’t want to miss the moment where your littles one’s face light up when meeting Santa Claus himself. Once you’ve tackled the magical kingdom of Winter Wonderland, why not take a stroll to Buckingham Palace to take photographs outside of the iconic landmark – you might even see the Queen if you’re lucky!

Open: 17th November – 1st January

So, what Christmas market will you be heading to this year?

 

https://www.visitsouthdevon.co.uk/whats-on/exeter-christmas-market-on-cathedral-green-p1432623

http://visitbirmingham.com/birminghams-frankfurt-christmas-market/

https://www.skyscanner.net/news/the-uks11-best-christmas-markets

http://www.instyle.co.uk/celebrity/news/best-christmas-markets

 

 

Lucy At Home

Luscious  is the word I would use for this beetroot and  dark chocolate yule log recipe

Dark Chocolate Yule Log

 

Beetroot and dark chocolate yule log recipe

This easy roulade doesn’t taste of beetroot, instead the vegetable adds richness to the chocolate, and makes the sponge lovely and moist.

  • Preparation time:25 minutes, plus cooling
  • Cooking time:45 minutes to 55 minutes
  • Total time:1 hour 10 minutes – 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients

300g fresh beetroot, scrubbed and topped and tailed 200g butter 200g plain chocolate 1 tbsp instant coffee granules or powder 4 large free Range Eggs, separated 175g caster sugar 75g plain flour, sifted Icing sugar, for dusting

For the filling

75g Dried Cranberries 2 tbsp brandy or orange juice 250ml pot Vanilla Cream

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 32 x 22cm swiss roll tin with baking parchment. Cook the beetroot in simmering water for 15–20 minutes or until tender, then drain and cool. Remove the skin and trim, then blitz the flesh in a blender until smooth.

2 Melt the butter with the chocolate and coffee in a medium pan over a low heat. Leave to cool for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the caster sugar until thick and pale, then whisk in the cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in the beetroot and flour.

3 Whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks then fold into the chocolate base. Pour into the prepared tin and spread level. Bake for 25–30 minutes until just firm. Lift the cake out with its paper onto a wire rack, cover with a clean damp tea towel and leave to cool completely.

4 To make the filling, soak the cranberries in the brandy or orange juice for 30 minutes. Whisk the cream until just thick then stir in the cranberries and any juices. Turn the chocolate sponge out onto a clean sheet of baking parchment and trim the edges neatly. Spread with the cream, leaving a border around the edge, then use the paper to carefully roll the sponge up. Transfer to a serving dish and dust with icing sugar. Chill until ready to serve.

Get ahead

Make the chocolate sponge up to 3 days ahead and keep, rolled up but unfilled, in an airtight container. To freeze: make the chocolate sponge and fill, roll up, cover and freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly before dusting with icing sugar to serve.

Recipe from http://www.waitrose.com/christmas

 

This Mama

_

Winnettes

Should you sleep with your pet?

Should You Sleep With Your Pet

 

Do you sleep with your pet?

Do you sleep with your pet? That’s quite a personal question but if we are honest, many pet-lovers welcome their dog or cat to snuggle up as the perfect hot-water bottle.

Do you let your dog or cat sleep in your bedroom or on your bed? You are certainly not alone, as a survey commissioned by leading pet insurer Animal Friends found that nearly half of owners sleep with their pets. This made me smile – perhaps just like important questions about whether you want children or not, you view on sleeping with pets should be right up there when assessing potential partners.

So is it a good idea to welcome your pet into your bedroom? Fitted bedroom specialists DM Design has analysed the arguments both for and against this decision:

The case for pets being in the bedroom

 

A study carried out by the Mayo Sleep Clinic, a leading clinic based in Arizona, USA, supports the case for welcoming your pets into your bedroom. For me, this is welcome news having the pets in the bedroom is all part of the fun of having them. Plus it is a guarantee of waking up to a friendly face.

After surveying 150 patients — 49 per cent of whom owned at least one pet — the researchers found that over half of those with animals in their let them sleep either in their bedroom or on their bed.

However, the study also revealed that those who did felt safer more secure, more relaxed and had a better night’s rest. On the other end of the scale, just 20 per cent of those with pets said that they experienced interrupted sleep due to their pets ‘snoring’, ‘wandering’ or ‘whimpering’ when they were in the bedroom. My pets rarely disturb my sleep and I think they would be more likely to leap out of bed and deal with armed robbers than my husband who would sleep through anything!

Lois Krahn, the author of the study, commented: ‘Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to incorporate into as many aspects of their life as possible. Because humans spend considerable time sleeping, a pet owner’s desire to have animals close at night is understandable.” Just like having a high tog duvet, I find the presence of animals in the bedroom comforting.

Dr Krahn also pointed out from the study’s results that people who slept alone — whether due to being single or because their partner had to occasionally travel or work at night — “more often spoke of the beneficial companionship stemming from a pet in the bedroom or on the bed”.

This isn’t the only instance where research carried out at the Mayo Sleep Clinic has revealed results in favour of having pets in the bedroom.

In a study of 40 healthy adults who had their sleep evaluated with a dog in the bedroom over a five-month period — with both the humans and dogs wearing activity trackers for the research — it was established that people slept better when the pet was on their bed. However, sleep quality was sacrificed when people allowed their dogs to sleep under the covers with them. This could be an issue for us as my Beagle is definitely an underdog.

In regard to this particular study, carried out by Mayo Clinic’s Centre for Sleep Medicine, Dr Krahn acknowledged: “The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom.

“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won’t negatively impact their sleep.”

The case against pets being in the bedroom

 

Although the Mayo Clinic has released studies in favour of having pets in the bedroom, the institute — or more specifically their Sleep Disorders Center — believes that people who have difficulty sleeping should consider keeping their pets out of the room.

In a survey of 300 patients, of which 157 had one or more pets, 53 per cent of pet owners suggested that their sleep was disrupted to some extent on a daily basis. Snoring was also reported in 21 per cent of those with dogs, as well as seven per cent of those with cats.

With these results in mind, John Shepard, the medical director of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, advised: “Every patient has to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with pets and make a personal decision about the sleeping arrangements in the household. Some people are very attached to their pets and will tolerate poorer sleep in order to be near them at night.”

Meanwhile, Derek Damin, of Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Louisville, USA, believes that people who have asthma or obviously pet allergies should refrain from letting their animals on their bed or even in the bedroom. This is “to give your nose a few hours a day to recover”, Dr Damin explained.

However, he was keen to add: “But if you’re not allergic, there’s really no big issue with having a dog in the bed. It’s fine as long as it doesn’t disturb your sleep.”

It appears then that so long as there aren’t any issues with allergies, personal preference takes precedence when deciding whether or not to allow pets into the bedroom. There are also other options to explore, rather than having them sleep on your bed.

Sources:

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/half-brits-pets-sleep-bed-10109148

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3360114/For-good-night-s-sleep-let-dog-snuggle-Pets-bedroom-make-people-feel-safer-secure-leading-better-rest.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4865190/Letting-dog-sleep-room-gives-better-rest.html

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020215070932.htm

https://pets.webmd.com/features/pets-in-your-bed#1