Hampers, Stockings and food…

Bloody Kirsty Allsop, this is her doing. All her doing. Now this isn’t me slagging her off, quite the opposite in fact. She’s good, she’s really bloody good. With her Christmas crafting and her easy recipes and cocktails for parties. Seriously, the woman’s a God, but she doesn’t half stress me out. When her Christmas Crafting programme went out just over 2 weeks ago, I had my hampers sorted. All planned and they were,in fact, the very next day going to be kicked off nicely. But then Channel 4 lured me into a false sense of security,  powered by pom pom makers and tie-dye pants. The culprit for the mini hamper meltdown? Mince pie popcorn. I NEEDED IT IN MY HAMPERS, I WANTED IT IN AND AROUND MY FACE. That stuff looked so good, one part of me was tempted to break into Sainsburys to get the ingredients there and then. I refrained, of course, because that is in fact, breaking the law. The next day my poor unsuspecting father was sent out with a strict list of what to buy whilst I tore the flat apart trying to find one of my best car boot sale buys ever, the £1 fully operating popcorn maker. He came home in a state of shock, but with everything I needed. I was away, popcorn popping nicely, mincemeat ready to be added to the freshly popped corn (the sweet kind of course, we don’t need to be adding any raw meat in this) and the oven on nicely ready for a ten minute bake. Of course, this looks and sounds perfect right? Now let me tell you something, me being a idiot overfilled the popcorn maker, the popcorn popped alright… all over the maker, the bowl, the kitchen, me, everywhere. My Mum, ever so helpful, rather than help me shut it down to stop the popcorn engulfing the entire flat just sat there tears rolling down her face and laughed at me. Once I stopped cowering on the kitchen floor and removed the kernels from my hair, I tried to add the medium-ish jar of mincemeat to the 30 tonnes of popcorn I made and attempted to stick it in the oven. I think it worked, it looked alright… but the whole way through all I could think was, “BLOODY KIRSTY ALLSOP!”

I am of course digressing, the mince pie popcorn was just one of the treats I decided to (uneventfully, thankfully) make. Pinterest, Sainsburys magazine, Waitrose magazine and Morrisons magazine all are to blame for my hamper obsession. Oh, and Hobbycraft, you 3 for 2 crafting mecca, you. Hampers were made by me last year, as a way to kill boredom in unemployment. But I really enjoyed making them and putting them together and I had some time off before Christmas, so I figured why not? I put together 4 hampers and 3 stockings of food. All had mostly homemade things in. Such as:

Mince Pie (bastarding) Popcorn

Pork Pie (homemade by Mum)

Sausage Rolls (Mum)

Mince Pies (Again, Mum, I did make some of my own stuff…)

Peanut Butter, toffee, chocolate truffles (Morrisons mag)

Candied Cinnamon Almonds (Pinterest)

Hot Chocolate tubes (Pinterest)

Candy Sleighs (Pinterest)

Cheese & Crackers (lack of cow prevented this from being homemade and Jacobs do good crackers)

Apple Chutney (with Apples grown by my Uncles friend)

Chocolate shapes (Ikea do great chocolate moulds for £2)

Chocolate, nut and cranberry wreaths (ala Hotel Chocolat, I picked up a wreath mould for £1.99 on eBay)

Florentines (BBC Good Food site)

Chocolate covered pretzels

and dependent on who it was going too, it had different combinations. I am certain I have missed out something too!

Dobbies, a garden centre near Cirencester has a great hamper making shop, I picked up the hamper boxes for £2-£2.50 and they are pretty big too. I made my best friends stockings to pop their food into for a different take on the hampers and of course, no hamper is without cellophane and raffia. Both can be picked up at the Range for £3.99 for 28m or £1.99 for some natural raffia (which I hated, so any craft shop is good for this) alternatively, Hobbycraft do a 3 for 2 offer on their Christmas crafts in the run up to Christmas and I picked up some great patterned cellophane and raffia.



Needless to say, they went down a treat. Next years hampers will be bigger and better and I am already planning them… I’m thinking of branching out into beauty hampers… hmmm… hmmm… 🙂

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