Etsy Made Local Festive Market Southampton 2019

Etsy Made Local Festive Market Southampton 2019

How hard is it to find unique gifts for that special someone? You know, that person that’s super difficult to buy for, the one that has everything. I always find that a local Christmas market is usually the place to buy a gift for these people you might get stuck trying to find a gift for.

The third annual Etsy Festive Market in Southampton was the biggest yet!

Local independent Etsy makers showcased some incredible gifts in real life in The Spark Building at Solent University.

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How to make homemade recycled Christmas crackers

How to make homemade recycled Christmas crackers

I love a seasonal ‘how to’, and if you do too you’ll want to check out my festive makes from previous years under the ‘Seasonal’ section in the menu.

This year I knew I wanted to make some of my Christmas gifts and crackers are a little luxury that really lend itself to a festive make and gift that goes down well.

I don’t know about you but I loathe spending money on Christmas crackers because they are really expensive, usually rubbish and a horrible drain on the environment.

I first tried making recycled crackers last year and they went down a storm with friends and family, so I’ve decided to make them again and refined the process a little.

There’s plenty of things you can use from your home to make these, and the key to making sure they are made from recycled materials is good preparation.

Here’s my step by step guide to making your own Christmas crackers…

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Winter Solstice at Stone Henge 2018

Winter Solstice at Stone Henge 2018

You can travel the world but some of the most awesome adventures really are right on your doorstep.

I joined the Pagans, Wiccans and Druids, for the magic of Winter Solstice, and it was the perfect end to 2018 and a way to totally re-energise for 2019.

Heading to Stonehenge in Salisbury for the solstice celebrations, made me feel spiritual, present and connected.

In many ways this experience helped me in ways I can’t ever thank it for. Yes, it sounds totally hippy but, it really healed some wounds and besides that, it was a truly incredible experience.

If you’re looking for epic experiences in the UK, this has to be on your list.

Take a look at my trip in 2018…

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20 years of The Victorian Christmas Festival at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

20 years of The Victorian Christmas Festival at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

ad*  This year the Victorian Christmas Festival returned to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to celebrate 20 years of the iconic event that’s become a landmark event in the countdown to Christmas.

As November drew to a close and the first day of advent dawned I knew it was time to get a hearty dose of festive spirit.

And, what better way to capture some of that seasonal magic than with a little bit of Christmas cheer, historic attractions and plenty of entertaining characters!

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Wild Kitchen & Autumn Foraging at Lydford Gorge in Devon

Wild Kitchen & Autumn Foraging at Lydford Gorge in Devon

As the seasons transition from Summer to Autumn suddenly the hedgerows become abundant with fruit and berries.

I’ve always wanted to give foraging a go but, I have never known where to start and I wouldn’t want to eat something poisonous! đŸŒ±

Lydford Gorge host the most amazing seasonal workshops and on a trip to Devon I joined the Wild Kitchen experience.

Here’s a look at my day foraging and cooking…

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Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market 2018

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market 2018

It’s well known that Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market is one of the best, regularly getting featured in top 10 festive markets guides nationally and internationally.

I go every year and it always helps kick start the festive spirit, take a look at this magical market…

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Gunwharf Quays Light Show Spectacular 15-23 November 2019

Gunwharf Quays Light Show Spectacular 15-23 November 2019

Well, well, well Gunwharf Quays is pulling it out of the bag this winter and we’re only in November.

Last night I caught the first public showing of the new Light Show Spectacular at the outlet shopping centre in Portsmouth and I’m so glad I did!

Pull on a cosy coat, grab family and friends and go and see this great free show that’s going to spark the start of those festive feelings.

Here’s a slice of the magic to give you a sneak peek…

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Celebrating DĂ­a de Muertos at Wahaca in Southampton

Celebrating DĂ­a de Muertos at Wahaca in Southampton

AD* | The Day of the Dead is all about celebrating life! This, along with Halloween, is definitely my favourite adopted seasonal celebrations and it’s a huge excuse to eat ALL the Mexican food!

Wahaca invited me to a DĂ­a de Muertos dinner party, creating a cosy corner where we tried some tasty tacos and quesadillas.

Naturally, I was there with bells on!

Like Mexican food? See the delicious dishes from Masterchef 2005 winner Tomasina Miers…

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How to make apple and blackberry gin

How to make apple and blackberry gin

Who doesn’t like the spirit of the moment? Thanks to restrictions lifted by the government we’re all enjoying a gin resurgence and the industry is booming.

We have a lovely collection of gin but a few ropey old bottles have remained in our alcohol cupboard for far longer than I care to admit.

I love making my own gin infusions and I shamelessly stole this idea from a friend who shared her recipe with me on Instagram. This is a great way to make a plain gin something special and worthwhile drinking. It also would make a great gift, two years ago I made earl grey gin which went down very well with all who received it.

Here’s how I made it, it’s really simple and will make you look like a domestic goddess, Nigella eat your heart out!

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Festive wreath making with Teacups and Tutus

Festive wreath making with Teacups and Tutus

I’ve gone wreath mad this year, I’ve already got three up and I am planning a fourth if I have time!

I made my first proper foliage wreath this year thanks to Teacups and Tutus in Southampton who hosted a Christmas wreath workshop with cuttings supplied by Sweet Pea Florists.

Take a look at this festive class and the wreath I created that’s now hung on the door.

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