Christmas 2018! by Heidi Swain
2018/10/08  |  By:   |  Features  |  

I know I say it, and do it, every December, but this year I really am going all out for Christmas and with good reason. My darling daughter will be coming back to Norfolk after her first term at university and I’m determined to greet her with Christmas in abundance! I only hope that my enthusiastic efforts can live up to the festive scenes I have playing out in my head. What I have in mind is a veritable grotto of Wynthorpe Hall Winter Wonderland perfection so I’m planning in plenty of time.

There’ll be the usual production line of mince pies and sausage rolls (*see below) and I can’t wait to try out the fabulous and uber easy cinnamon swirls recipe courtesy of S-J, as well as some festive spiced snowflake biscuits inspired by the Bake Off. I warn you now folks, photos will definitely follow, and possibly not only of my efforts in the kitchen…

This year I’m also trying my hand at a brand-new crafting project, the results of which will hopefully be good enough to decorate the Swain family tree. When perusing the aisles of my local hobby shop for Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls craft-based giveaway gifts (more to follow about that in the next couple of weeks), I also found the cutest woodland creature felting kit.

Inside the box there are enough materials to make a deer, a squirrel and a very quirky fox. On the box they are all wearing blissful expressions and the fox, (can you tell he’s my favourite already?), has a tail bushy enough to rival Basil Brush. They are absolutely exquisite and may well end up as this year’s ‘not just for Christmas’ additions to the hearth.

Or they will, if I can pluck up the courage to open the box. So far all I’ve done is admire the pretty picture for fear of making a mess of them before I’ve even set up the table but I can’t remain in this state of hesitation for much longer. Time is ticking and I know that if I don’t start soon my poor girl could well come home to find a motley collection of dismembered woodland limbs littering the tree instead of a trio of cute critters.

As far as my felting efforts are concerned, photos may follow, it will all rather depend on how skilled I turn out to be with the felting needle…


Heidi xx

Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at The Winter Wonderland
publishes on 1st November in paperbackeBook and audio download.


* Here’s my Easy Cheat Sausage Roll recipe, in case you missed it first time around!

You will need:

  • One pack of pre-made puff pastry (at room temperature)
  • The very best sausage meat you can source
  • 1 beaten free range egg
  • Pepper, a variety of dried herbs or dried chilli flakes (or any other dried addition you fancy)


What you need to do with it all:

  • Roll out the pastry on a floured board and cut into 2 wide strips
  • Arrange sausage meat along centre and brush pastry with egg wash
  • Sprinkle liberally with pepper, herbs etc – or alternatively leave plain
  • Roll to create two long sausage shapes, brush with more egg wash and sprinkle top with any flavourings you have used to help identification when baked
  • Cut to required lengths
  • Bake for 10 mins at 220 and a further 20-25 mins at 180 until golden and crisp
  • Eat!