Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

September Christmas Prep 2021

  1. Keep up with the Christmas savings and don’t be tempted to dip into your Christmas savings fund for non-Christmas related purchases!
  2. If you are spending Christmas abroad of somewhere that requires flights or train tickets, then get these booked as soon as possible.
  3. Ensure your passports are still in date for any travel over the festive season.
  4. With the kids back at school, give the family that you usually spend Christmas day/Boxing day with a call and decide between you who will be hosting. Get a rough idea of who will be bringing what part of the meal.  If you are hosting, you might like to do the starter, turkey and roast potatoes, while others might like to bring pre-cooked side veggies or desserts. 
  5. Add dates when family or friends will be staying with you to your calendar and schedule time in a week before they arrive in your diary to freshen up your guest room. Decide if you need to buy new bedding or towels? If so, add these to your master shopping list.
  6. Start getting a rough idea of your Christmas menu plan. It may be the same from year to year with little variation but if not, jot down a rough idea of what you’d like to prepare. You can borrow recipe books from the library or keep a look out for Christmas magazines for inspiration.
  7. Start adding a few bits of non-perishable food items towards Christmas (for a hand list check out this post) to your weekly grocery shop to spread the cost of your Christmas grocery items. You can pay for these items separately using your dedicated Christmas fund.
  8. Finish up with any homemade Christmas cards, tags, crafts and gifts.
  9. Check websites for places you would usually go to for pantomimes, visits to Father Christmas/Santa and diarize when bookings open. If bookings have already opened, book what you can using your dedicated Christmas fund.
  10. Keep up with your Christmas newsletter if you are doing on this year.
Christmas 2021 · food

Tesco Christmas Food Range 2021

Hello Christmas friends,

I love a little sneak peek and grocery store Christmas foods always excite me. The possibilities and menu options seem to be endless and I love to mix and match items from various stores. Today we’re looking at good ol’ Tesco.

I’ve had to do my scouting on the internet to find out what’s available but one of these days, since The Best Christmas Yet is THE place on the internet for all things Christmas related, I will be invited to all the sneak peek events in July. But for now, I will have to play Inspector Gadget and do my own sleuthing.

Let’s start with some appetizers.

These TESCO FINEST TRUFFLE MAC & CHEESE balls are a must for all mac & cheese lovers and will be available from 11 October. They’re nuggets of truffle infused mac & cheese rolled in crispy breadcrumbs and a pack of 12 will set you back £4.

Mac and cheese with a hint of truffle and topped with golden breadcrumbs.

Cheese? Yes please! Available on 15 November, this TESCO FINEST BAKING BRIE with festive fruits like fig and citrus peel, walnuts and brandy glaze will be sure you go to bed on Christmas eve with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head. Anyone else get crazy cheese dreams? This gorgeous looking delight will set you back a mere £6 and would be very welcome on a festive buffet.

Brie garnished with festive fruits, walnuts and a brandy glaze.

Move over stuffing balls and make way for a stuffing wreath! TESCO FINEST PORK, DARK CHEERY & SMOKED CHESTNUT STUFFING GARLAND £6 available from 22 November is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Port infused pork stuffing with smoked chestnuts, dark cherries and dates
Port infused pork stuffing with smoked chestnuts, dark cherries and dates

This pork based wreath is made with pork, port, smoked chestnuts, dark cherries, dates, orange zest and herbs and will have your family thinking you slaved all day in a hot kitchen. It serves 10 people, looks fantastic and proves you don’t have to work hard if you work smart this Christmas.

Moving on to puddings…

Anybody else love a little bit of speculoos? Affectionately known in our house as hairdresser biscuits? Tesco is doing a £4 SPECULOOS PROFITEROLE GATEAU that promises to get your tastebuds going gaga.

It’s a a speculoos spiced sponge layered with sauce and topped with profiteroles and topped with more crunchy speculoos. Sounds like a winner to me.

Available 1 November.

The sponge of this tart is flavoured with shortbread biscuit

I couldn’t find any info about that cute as can be rudolph cake in the background but keep your eyes open for him to delight the kids.

Let us feast our eyes upon this glimmering gold pudding for a moment.

Tesco has pulled out a showstopper this year with this BLACKFOREST CHRISTMAS PUDDING that’s packed with fruit, cherries and chocolate chunks.

Image Of Tesco Finest Black Forest Christmas Pudding

For those free from customers, never fear, Tesco free from is here!

TESCO FREE FROM CARAMEL FLAVOUR CHOC SMASH BAUBLE is filled with white and milk chocolate buttons and looks like a kid friendly treat. I’m wondering if I can find a mug big enough because that looks like it will make a wicked hot chocolate!

TESCO FINEST FREE FROM CHRISTMAS PUDDING is a matured Christmas pudding with boozy brandy-soaked cherries infused with cider. It’s another yes from me.

Tesco Free From Caramel Flavour Choc Smash Bauble - Christmas 2021

I went and saved the very best for last. If you’re anything like me, you love a little bit of Baileys at Christmas, but look what I found!

Tesco has upped their game this TESCO FINEST GINGERBREAD LATTE CREAM LIQUEUR that is available in stores RIGHT NOW!

*jumps in the car and goes straight to Tesco for 3 bottles*

Tesco Finest Gingerbread Latte ICL - Christmas 2021

What have you got your beady eye on from the Tesco range this year?

Christmas 2021 · food · Sneak peek

Waitrose Christmas Food Range 2021

Hello Christmas friends,

I don’t know about you but I love a little moo moo sharoo sneak peek. Someone on the Best Christmas Facebook group posted that Waitrose has released details of some of their Christmas food for 2021 and I for one am extremely excited! I love knowing what’s coming, and if I like the look of the products, I add them to my Christmas food menues.

Waitrose is known in the industry for offering top quality products and as their Christmas food selection; particularly the desserts and bakery section; is in conjunction with the renowned British Chef Heston Blumenthal, you can almost guarantee some sort of spin on quintessential British classics. This year’s selection does not disappoint!

Going through the list, my mouth is watering and I can’t decide what to put on my list. Let’s begin with the appetizers that have caught my eye.

Always struggling for vegetarian appetizers that look the part for Aunt Mabel’s annual visit? This selection of SAVOURY VEGETABLE TARTS are vegan and made with mushroom and leek in puff pastry will leave her wanting more. £5

WaitrosePartnersPressPack_Christmas2021_12SavouryVegetablePiesVegan_HIGHRES

For the more adventurous among us that want something a little different, how about the MIXED DIM SUM WITH A SPICY SOY SAUCE. At £6, you can enjoy authentic flavours without the restaurant price tag.

The colours are jewel toned and perfect to pile high for a sumptuous platter and include purple king prawn har gow, green vegetable gyoza and four king prawn siu mai dim sum served with a spicy soy based dipping sauce. A far cry from the usual limp looking samosas and beige chicken nuggets.

WaitrosePartnersPressPack_Christmas2021_12MixedDimSumwithaSpicySoySauce_LifestyleHIGHRES

The Christmas eve or Christmas day centre pieces are sure to be a crowd pleaser. They have a venison, fish, lamb and even a vegan option; something for everyone.

Some countries celebrate on Christmas eve with a fish supper known as the feast of the seven fishes. This first dish, at £30 will take care of at least three of those fishes. Known as the THREE FISH ROAST, this incredible looking dish features an outer layer of Scottish salmon fillet surrounding cod and smoked haddock with spinach in lemon and dill butter. It’s the perfect light option to serve on Christmas eve before the excess of Christmas day.

WaitrosePartnersPressPack_Christmas2021_ThreeFishRoast_HIGHRES

This VEGAN JEWELLED ROAST WITH A FRUITY CENTRE caught my eye as it is perfect to accompany a meat dish if you fancy a more substantial veggie side dish, or, serve to your family vegetarian and make their heart sing. The humble nut roast got a glam makeover!

WaitrosePartnersPressPack_Christmas2021_VeganJewelledRoastwithaFruityCentre_LifestyleHIGHRES

It not only looks the part with the jewel toned cranberries but the savoury mushroom based roast with sweet caramelised onions, chestnuts and Christmas spiced apricot centre looks delicious. The topping is a crunchy dream of apricots, cranberries, chestnuts, sunflower seeds and pine nuts. At a very reasonable £5.99 it won’t break the bank.

Never fear! Our meat eaters have not been forgotten!

WaitrosePartnersPressPack_Christmas2021_BonelessLegOfLamb_HIGHRES

The BONELESS LEG OF BRITISH LAMB WITH APRICOT AND ROSEMARY served on Christmas day will help you look like you slaved the day away. At £22, the whole boneless leg of lamb with orange and apricot stuffing is a reasonably priced indulgence and even comes garnished with dried apricots and rosemary.

If lamb isn’t your thing, this ULTIMAT SLOW-COOKED BRITISH PORK BELLY FEAST WITH CRACKLING £30, will hit the spot.

WaitrosePartnersPressPack_Christmas2021_UltimateCracklingSlowCookedBritishPorkBellyFeast_SquareHIGHRES

Of course it’s British pork with bone-in and has been slow cooked for 10 hours to create mouthwatering meat with a crisp crackling. Of course you can add gravy, but the dish is served with a spicy apple and cider sauce so you definitely won’t need the apple sauce.

Is your mouth watering yet?

Whether you do cheese as a cheese and wine meal or after the Christmas roast, Waitrose won’t let you down. We have two different Camembert selections this year!

If you’re a Camembert fan, you won’t want to miss this BAKING CAMEMBERT WITH TRUFFLE AND ACACIA HONEY. At £3.75, it’s a steal. Serve with fresh baguette or vegetable crudités and you’re on to a winner.

Or, skip the crudités and try this BAKING CAMEMBERT WITH GARLIC DOUGHBALL WREATH at £6.50.

Perfect for sharing, just bake this tear & share doughball wreath and let the olive oil, garlic and parsley scent waft through the house luring the hungry to the table and let them dip the cheesy, doughy goodness into the caramelised red onion and sherry vinegar chutney.

Anybody for a MOCHA CHOCCA WENSLEYDALE? It’s only £3 and if you’re a Wensleydale fan, or indeed a coffee fan, you’re definitely going to want to scoop a few of these up.

I can’t remember ever having heard of a coffee Wensleydale but it’s sure to jazz up your cheese platter and possibly negate the need for a coffee with an After Eight mint? Or not!

And moving swiftly on to desserts.

Each year, I wait patiently to find out what Heston Blumenthal has up his festive sleeves and once again, I am not disappointed. Feast your eyes on these!

It’s called the HESTON FROM WAITROSE ESPRESSO MARTINI CHOCOLATE TORTE £12 and all I can say is, “Oh, Heston, you had me a espresso!”

This indulgence is a wafer biscuit base, topped with chocolate sponge soaked in espresso martini and topped with salted caramel ganache. Just take my money!

Another Heston creation, the HESTON FOR WAITROSE GIANT CRACKING PENNY £20 is sure to be a hit with the family.

Inspired by the the golden chocolate coins found in Christmas stockings up and down the country on CHristmas day, this glimmering Belgian chocolate crisp outer shell surrounds a chocolate mousse, hazelnut ganache with snuggling up to a chocolate hazelnut base. Don’t mind if I do!

If you’re not a chocolate fan then don’t worry, there’s something for you too. How about this RASPBERRY AND VANILLA PANNA COTTA STAR (price TBC).

Indulgent vanilla panna cotta crowned with raspberry jelly is sure to be just what busting bellies need after Christmas lunch.

But what about all those opportunities before Christmas day? You know the elevenses and teatimes and breakfast times that can’t be bothered with toast. Waitrose has your back!

I have been impressed by the continental selection of treats that Waitrose has to offer each year and this year is no different.

How about this NO. 1 SICILIAN ORANGE NOCCIOLATO PANETTONE for £14? Would you just look at the crispy topping on that.

I can just imagine the flavour of this lightly toasted candied peel and Arancia Rossa di Sicilia IGP Sicilian blood orange paste with the crunchy hazelnut, almond and sugar strand topping. Anybody want a cuppa with that?

It’s not a party without a cake, right? For a touch of Italian flare, this GIANDUIA TORTA DE FESTA for £8.50 is the perfect thing to take along as a hostess gift, for the staff room on the last day of school before the Christmas holidays or for breakfast on Christmas morning.

If you’ve never heard of a Gianduia Torte de festa, it’s the difference btween a panettone and a pandoro and has a hazelnut and chocolate filling with a dark chocolate topping covered in chopped hazelnuts.

Of course these are only some of the festive treats that will be on offer at Waitrose this festive season. I will be doing videos and updated on the Best Christmas Yet channel to show you the range as soon as it hits stores in November.

I know which if these are on my shopping list! What’s caught your eye?

Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

August Christmas Prep 2021

  1. Keep up with the Christmas savings and don’t be tempted to dip into your Christmas savings fund for non-Christmas related purchases!
  2. Make a Christmas card list and update any addresses on your list. You can find a great free Christmas card planning page in our Christmas in July series. If you are really organised, create a template on your computer using sheets of sticky labels so that you can print off all addresses in one go and label your envelopes easily.
  3. Consult your gift list to see who you haven’t bought for and start looking for their gifts. If you order these gifts online, mark in your free Christmas planner pages when they are due to arrive and keep print outs of the order confirmation details in your Christmas planner. Don’t forget to mark down who the gift is for on the order confirmation.
  4. If you’re considering making up hampers for a few of your gift list recipients consider what items you can buy seasonally during the sales. My barbecue loving husband once got a galvanized drinks cooler filled with barbecue paraphernalia like utensils, wood chips for smoking meat,  spice rubs, an apron and a new beer mug. You might like to make up a hamper of gardening/bird feeding supplies for someone – pick up those seasonal items now.
  5. Continue to make Christmas cards, tags, crafts and gifts if this is something you enjoy doing.  You might like to arrange a weekly or bi-weekly crafting night with likeminded friends to get these done.
  6. Keep up with your Christmas newsletter if you are doing one this year.
  7. Clear any time you would like to take as annual leave over the festive season with your boss and HR department. Make sure your partner has done the same.

What planning do you do in advance for Christmas?

Christmas in July · Christmas prep · The Best Christmas Yet

Christmas in July Week 4

I can’t believe we are at week 4 already! Have you been enjoying the series so far? I really do hope so and I hope you have picked up some really great tips along the way.

This week we are focusing on traditions, entertaining and all the little fun fillers that make Christmas into a month long festival of fun and family.

Here’s a sneak peek of this week’s ladies.

Just so you know, all of the digital scrapbooking elements and papers are from Granny Enchanted

Here are this week’s free planner pages download

Christmas planner pages week 4

I would absolutely love to see how you put your Christmas planners together so please post me on social media. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Did you know we have a Best Christmas Yet group on Facebook? Check it out!

Until next time,

Keep Calm and be Merry!

Christmas in July · Christmas prep

Christmas in July Week 3

Hello Christmas friends,

Thank you for sticking with me through our Christmas in July festivities. This week we are looking at Feasting, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day plans. Aren’t these dividers cute?!

There are lots of planning pages to help you plan each and every aspect of Christmas food, Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Download yours below

As promised, here is my Gingerbread Man recipe

375g plain flour

1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda (Baking soda)

1.5 Tablespoons ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

120g unsalted butter, cold & cubed

175g light brown sugar

5 Tablespoons golden syrup

1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade and line 3-4 baking trays with parchment/baking paper. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and butter to a large bowl.

Rub together with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs – or pulse in a food processor if you have one.

Mix the sugar and syrup to the bowl and mix until it become a smooth dough.

Knead the biscuit dough, and then roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out to a 1/2 centimeter thickness and cut out your gingerbread people or other shapes if you like.

Place onto the lined baking sheets and bake for 10-11 minutes in the oven. Cool on a wire rack fully and then decorate as you please.

Don’t forget to tune in for our final Christmas in July planner video next week.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July Week 2

Hello Christmas friends,

Welcome to week two of Christmas in July!

Firstly, a big thank you for all the lovely comments and praise for this series, I’ve been feeling the Christmas love big time!

This week we are looking at crafting, giving and decor. Here’s a little peek at one of the divider pages… isn’t she adorable!

As promised, here is the printable of the Deck the hall music paper that I found online. I have no idea where I found it, I have had it some years but as soon as I find the source, I will link it.

You can find this week’s free planner printables below

If you’ve only just joined, check out last week’s post for the week’s printables.

Don’t forget to check out the video for this week as there are some excellent tips that you do not want to miss!

Let’s chat about all things Christmassy in the comments below.

Baking · Christmas in July

Christmas in July baking: Festive filo scrolls

Festive Filo Scrolls

*3 sheets of filo pastry, quartered

*Rind & juice of 1 orange

*350g fruit mince

*A little melted butter/water

*Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Cut the filo pastry into half and then in quarters so you have 12 rectangles. Place a rectangle on a cutting board and dab the edges lightly with melted butter. Less is more! Place a tablespoon of fruit mince a little way from the bottom short edge of the filo pastry and roll up once to make a small pocket. Fold in the sides as shown in the video then roll up the scroll and tuck the edge under. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat 11 more times until all the fruit mince and filo pastry are used up.

Bake between 6-10 minutes keeping an eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.

Once baked, remove to a cooling rack until just warm. Dust over some icing sugar and serve.

Christmas in July

Christmas in July Week 1

Hello Christmas friends!

It’s finally July and I can finally share with you the gorgeous printables I have been working on for when we start planning Christmas. You heard me right, we’re planning Christmas… in July!

This year’s free Christmas planning printables were inspired by retro Christmas yesteryear. I adore the ladies in their pretty dresses and hope you love them too.

Throughout the month, there will be a Christmas in July planning video per week with handy hints, tips and clever ideas to help you not only get organized but save you festive sanity. Here on the blog there will be free planner printables so you can spread the Christmas planning throughout the next 5 months.

Download Christmas in July Planner printables week 1 below

You can download the calendar pages down below

The photo checklist can be found here

This week’s youtube video:

Print off the pages and go check out the video for all the planning tips, tricks and hacks to get you started. I would love to see how you use the printables and set up your Christmas planning file, so do share pictures on the Facebook page and Instagram and tag me.

Stay tuned for next week!

Christmas in July

Christmas in July!

Hello Christmas friends,

I can’t believe that tomorrow is the first of July! Already! Christmas is six months away and that is why we are celebrating Christmas in July with a new video series on The Best Christmas Yet Youtube channel

and here on the blog we are posting FREE PRINTABLE PLANNER PAGES! If you follow along for the four weeks, you will have an entire Christmas planner for free!