Blog & News / Christmas pudding

TIGERS & STARS

TIGERS & STARS

This week I've discovered how fun making tiny puddings really is. They only need 6 hours in the Aga, as opposed to 8 for the other sizes. 8 hours sleep is a decent stretch, so I can put the others in to steam overnight, then hoik them out again when the Bee trots in the next morning around 5.30am...but tiny puddings is a different game. Now most people would put them in first thing in the morning, and get them out early afternoon. But in fairness most people haven't been breeding at quite such an epic rate for the last few years, and don't have three pre-school aged children to get up, feed, dress and cajole out of the door to wherever we're going that day. So after several attempts at getting this right, my new preferred method is to put the tiny puddings in early evening, set my alarm for 2am, and get them out then. It's much easier to go back to sleep knowing I have a decent amount of time left, rather than lying awake from 4am wondering if the Baby is actually stirring, or just turning over. Happily they're so cute I can forgive them (the puddings, I mean).

I also had my first parents evening this week, to discuss how the Bee and the Bear were getting on at Nursery - which made me feel like a proper grown-up, although clearly I'm not...I had two 15 minute slots booked, and somehow managed to talk for nearly an hour. To be honest, there was wine and pretzels, and I was definitely on the verge of viewing it as a night out. Which I accept is rather tragic. Eventually I was evicted, and came home at 10pm, able to report to Grizzly that the Bear needs to work on using his hands to put his wellies on, and the Bee has more stars than anyone else (she and I have a silent understanding of the star system...every morning she picks something off the floor between the car and the pre-prep door, knowing it will be rewarded with a star because the current theme is 'Autumn', and there are shed loads of acorns and conkers and brown leaves knocking about...).

Right, I peaked earlier than normal this evening so I'm off to set my alarm for 1.30am. Happy days! I shall leave you with a picture of some Wellingtonia cones we found this weekend at Bedgebury Pinetum - I'm hoping if the Bee can regurgitate 'Wellingtonia' when she rocks up tomorrow morning she might be on for a double star! #tigermotherextraordinaire

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MINIATURES

MINIATURES

Christmas pudding production has slowed somewhat over the last ten days due to me spending around 9 hours at our local hospital on three different occasions with two different children (they're both fine now - the Bear broke his finger and the Baby dented his head on the hearth). I did A&E twice, fracture clinic and the paediatric assessment unit, often with all three in tow, and often for hours at a stretch. It's been epic. This week I also discovered the gin section in Booker.

But back to puddings. These tiny ones are properly cute - and while one might not fill a family of four after Christmas dinner, I've come up with some occasions on which a mini Christmas pudding would be excellent (they are also something interesting and aromatic to carry around in your bag, as I'm demonstrating here):
1) Wedding favours - personalised with the name of the couple and the date of marriage
2) Dinner party - a festive alternative to the obligatory Gu pots
3) Gifts for staff and colleagues - how great would it be to arrive at work on Christmas Eve and discover one of these on your desk
4) Gifts for clients - fab in a Bee & Bear box with some festive brownies and a couple of muffins
5) Teacher thank you gifts - with a personalised message from your offspring

So there you go!

And as well as on-line, you can also purchase aforementioned puds from British Design: British Made in Battle from mid-November onwards, or at the following Christmas Fairs:
11 November - Vinehall School
25 November - King John's Nursery
2 December - Poppinghole

Larger sizes are available.

I'm hoping for a quieter week, and to spend less on hospital parking.
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Ricard & Revelry

Ricard & Revelry

Week two of our summer holiday with Granny and Grandpa (the kids', not mine) has seen us eating Christmas pudding mid-August. Some of the fairs I'm doing this year have asked for marketing images, so I decided to bring a pudding with me from Sussex, in order to take some amazing and Pinterest-worthy pictures. I had a very clear idea in my head about how they were going to look - and all I needed was a matt gold plate, an antique candelabra, and some holly. In reality a rummage through the crockery cupboard, linen drawer and wine rack produced different props entirely. And the pictures looked nothing like the ones in my head.

During the best part of an hour I tried 47 different ways to arrange the table, and got more and more depressed about it. Meanwhile the Bee and the Bear were 'going to sleep' in the room directly above me. This involved feral behaviour on a new level - screaming, and bouncing, and hysterical laughter. I broke off from swearing at the pudding to go and talk calmly to the children about their behaviour...the Bear had morphed into a very small Pete Townshend, and was throwing everything he could get his hands on out of his cot...they had also become inexplicably deaf, almost certainly due to their own noise levels, and completely ignored me. So I went back to my pop-up photo shoot. Grandpa asked if there was anything else I needed, and I put in an order for a G&T. Grandpa said he thought sherry or whisky might look more festive - I explained it was for me not the photo.

By the time I'd finished, the children were still going strong. But I'd polished off the gin and started on the Ricard by then so didn't care and could pass it off as important and really rather special bonding time for them both. I'd also managed to smear Christmas pudding over Granny's carefully laundered napkins and table-cloth I'd secretly borrowed... The children eventually passed out about 9pm. I admitted defeat and set about consuming large amounts of the Christmas pudding. It was made from the fruit which had been soaking in brandy since last October. I passed out myself shortly afterwards.
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Networking & The Notebook

You may have spotted on my posts over the last week or so that I recently signed up to The Notebook, which is a fantastic innovation by an amazing local lady called Oana Liliac. In essence, she is producing a 2018 diary, featuring local businesses and entrepreneurs, who have an opportunity to tell their story, and inspire others, via a page within the diary. 5,200 copies will be distributed in the local area. I met Oana at a networking meeting. I'd never been to a networking event before, and had no idea what to expect. But the meeting coincided with Grizzly being at home to look after the kids, having no family car, and it raining sideways. I explained how important it was for the business that I spent 2 hours in a local pub drinking tea, and off I skipped. Entirely unprepared. I arrived in Grizzly's ancient clapped out Corsa, had nothing to write with, or on, and took no business cards with me. I happened to find the correct number of cards bent in my purse, and someone took pity on me and handed me some paper and a pen. And it was actually really inspirational. The other ladies had some great ideas about how I could grow the business and it was fascinating listening to other people talk about how they were growing theirs. Which is how I met Oana and heard about her project. She came round to the house a couple of days ago to take my picture for the page (she is actually a portrait photographer when she's not doing The Notebook). Obviously the children behaved appallingly and I wondered how anyone with pre-school children ever manages to run a business from home. Clearly they're better at child raising, or perhaps have less feral genes.

In other news, we've got the car back - predictably they couldn't find anything wrong with it. So I expect very soon I'll be regaling you with tales of being stranded in the middle of nowhere on my own with all the children, and lovely Brett being too terrified to come and help me again...

On the plus, we are about to embark, Volvo willing, on our second break of the summer, to stay with Granny and Grandpa in Yorkshire. There shall be no baking for 2 weeks. But the brandy is poised for our return, and it's straight into Christmas pudding production for the next 3 and a half months! Order book opens 1 September, and they will be live on the web-site by then as well.
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