Sunday, 21 December 2008

Yum Yum!

Today we have "entertained" (top phrase!) my in-laws here at the HenHouse.  The hard work is over and I am now relaxing with my laptop (well, I was until Blogger started playing up).  

We increasingly find it difficult to know what to buy for our parents for Christmas, they're of an age where they either already have everything they want or are in a position to be able to buy it themselves if not.  So last year, I gave hampers as gifts.  I make lots of preserves in the Summer months when all the lovely English soft fruits are in season, I make chutneys in the Autumn and Seville Orange marmalade in the New Year, so a lot of the hard work is done before Christmas. And of course, in the run-up to Christmas, I can be found baking various goodies.  Mr HenHouse's parents are very grateful recipients of all my little efforts and I thought I'd take a few snaps to show you this year's gift.  (I should have remembered to take them in daylight, sorry about that!)

There are 3 types of marmalade, 3 types of chutney and 4 types of jam.  There are also some elderflower cordial and some mince pies with homemade mincemeat and some Christmas pudding truffles.  I've popped the baked goodies into little boxes wrapped in Christmas paper, the treats nestled inside in starry tissue paper with some cellophane and a pretty ribbon on top.  I also bought a jar of gorgeous honey from Bridport Farmer's Market, a big flagon of cider and the Munchkin has made a little paper Christmas tree and I've popped in his class calendar for next year.  Note to self: need to start making cider and honey!

I also packaged up a mini hamper for my chutney-loving brother-in-law. There are six different varieties this year.

In the background, you might have spotted our little tree in the dining room.  This is a pretend tree which I used to have in my flat back when I was a single girl.  You'd be able to tell this if you looked at it close-up because there are lots of decorations in the shape of shoes and handbags and feathery ones, too!

The Munchkin certainly enjoyed himself today, having his grandparents visit and tucking into some yummy stuff, too!

Talking of yummy things, this week I received my parcel for the "Cosy Night In" swap organised by Mel and Lesley.  My gifts came from Andrea in Devon.  Oooh, the excitement (something for me amidst all this present buying and preparing for everyone else).

I'm rather liking that retro-looking paper label the P.O. have affixed...


Getting very excited now, serious damage has been done to the box...

Pretty wrapping.  Almost too good to open (almost, I said!)  I've saved all the ribbons and the dinky painted hearts.

At last!

I am the lucky recipient of an embroidered cushion, a lovely-smelling candle, some heart-shaped bath bombs (these also smell yummy), a heart-shaped keyring and a lovely china cup and saucer which was filled with Roses choccies.  They lasted all of ten minutes, I can tell you!  Thank you very much Andrea, for putting such a lot of thought into your parcel and your own time and effort in finding and making several of the items, too.  Andrea was also kind enough to get me the CK Christmas bag from Tesco as I hadn't found any of them myself.  Andrea is somehow managing to wait until Christmas to open her goodies; she's a woman of stronger willpower than I!  Thanks also to Mel and Lesley for organising the swap.  

Hope you've all had a great weekend.  Come back soon if you fancy a gander at our Christmassy cottage...


  1. Hello Hen...Just popped in, feeling stronger...have watched Larkrise to Candleford, which has really made christmas come alive for me!

    Lovely swap.....glad you have enjoyed it....

    Thank you for wishing me better....

  2. What wonderful hampers, well done you :)

    Beautiful swap goodies, I too like Andrea am saving one or two for Christmas, though it is hard not to peek :)


  3. Hi Hen, What gorgeous hampers! I would love too receive them as a present, and all hand made! And what lovely gifts you received in your swap.

    Love Lou xxx

  4. Hi Hen, I reckon you must have 27 hour do you have the time to produce all these wonderous goodies..beautiful cushions in the last post and chutneys and jams,all so lovely. what a wonderful swap present..the cushion is gorgeous, I imagine it's going to the West Country..speaking of which,I'll look forward to seeing the cottage all 'blinged' up in it's Christmas finery! x

  5. The gifts for your family are so beautiful - and made by you!

    I would love to participate in a swap! Perhaps next round, thanks!

  6. You have such talent, what with all those delicious things. I am always amazed at the creativity that women have in side them.

    Kindest regards

  7. You are so organized. I wish I were like you. You are such an inspiration.


  8. and yet again you amaze me with your domestic goddessness :-) the hampers look fab - i do something similar but buy it all from the farmshop as i would probably give someone food poisoning if i made it LOL
    the swap parcel is gorgeous - i kept all my ribbon and tags as well :-D love your goodies!!! Lx

  9. What a gorgeous hamper! I have always wanted to create a special hamper but have not done so yet. I thik I will try it next year although I dont expect my first attempt will be as lovely as yours! Have a happy Christmas!

  10. Such wonderful hampers Hen - They must have been so gratefully received. (A lovely idea, as I know what you mean about parents at a stage where they have everything that they need/want.)

    Glad to see that you were spoilt too!

    Merry Christmas,

  11. What lovely hampers! I've made chutney myself this year but only the one kind. Maybe next year I will be a bit more adventurous.
    Lovely swap goodies, everyone seems to of put so much effort into the swaps.
    Take care
    Merry Christmas
    Beki xxx

  12. Have a lovely Christmas!

    love Lou xxx

  13. Those hampers look fantastic. I am sure they will go down a treat! Looking forward to seeing the Christmassy cottage X

  14. Happy Christmas Hen and family....hope you have a fun and festive time!xxxx

  15. The hampers looks terrific.
    I am in the middle of putting ours together. We have a mushroom/oil thing that I can't remember the name of, sloe gin, chocolates, marshmallows, chocolate covered nuts, chutney and I still have to make fudge, coconut ice and cookies. They shall never look near as good as yours though!

  16. Gosh! Your hampers look good - I'd be extremely happy to receive one of those!
    I made up hampers for two friends last year & they were very pleased with them - they make a fab family gift.

    Wishing you all at the Hen House a very Merry Christmas!


  17. Those hampers look great!
    Merry Christmas!

  18. Those hampers look full to the brim of lovely goodies, such a thoughtful gift.
    Hope you and yours all have a great Christmas.
    Lisa x

  19. Your hampers are fantastic. Last year my friend put together an Italian themed hamper in preparation for our trip to Italy filled with Italian decorations, food and wine and even wrapped in italian newspaper, my parents loved it.

    Victoria xx


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