What to do with unwanted Christmas gifts

Merry After-Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

For us, Christmas is the season to spend quality time with friends and family (and to eat copious amounts of chocolate :P) but it also includes the chance to give loved ones gifts and to receive ones in return. Hopefully, you have all received delightful and enchanting gifts this festive season, but perhaps there are one or two which you aren’t quite sure whether you will use. According to figures released by Ziffit.com, around 60% of people in the UK expect to receive unwanted gifts, amounting to around 81 million unwanted items every year. One in 10 of these unwanted gifts is expected to end up in landfill.

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Rye chocolate brownies

Rye is not the typical flour I would use for baking, particularly not for sweet baking, so when the lovely folks at Talgarth Mill (you know them, they have a traditional water mill and provide us our wholemeal, rye and spelt flours) gave us this recipe I had to give it a go myself.  And…I can honestly say it was a pleasant surprise.  The rye works really well with the chocolate in these brownies.  I did use less chocolate than the original recipe and it turned out great. Read more

Homemade mincemeat

I often feel mincemeat is the herald of Christmas time.  It benefits from being made a good few weeks in advance of the event (the longer the better) but the homemade stuff is worth waiting for.  As well as being much more delicious, when you make mincemeat yourself, you know exactly what has gone into it, can leave out anything you don’t want, and, even better, you can reuse a jar to keep waste down! Read more

Five things you might think are recyclable…but aren’t

Does anyone else find recycling just a little bit confusing? I can’t be the only one. I am fully supportive of the idea that as households, we should sort our rubbish rather than leaving it to someone else, but I think we all need a bit more detail about what can and can’t go into each of our bins. Part of the problem is that there are so many different types of packaging materials we use these days that for the Council to give us clear information would require a small book. Of course, the ideal solution is that we have entirely reusable packaging and don’t have to throw anything away but, let’s be realistic.

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