Christmas, Holidays

Christmas Already?

Yes, it’s Christmas already! I love Christmas; I do. But sometimes I’m not so sure when we start seeing the Christmas decorations galore in October. Why do they need to be in the shops in the month of October?? I remember when I was little and not seeing anything Christmasy until the first week of December. That’s right December!! The year goes fast enough. I don’t want Christmas in October. I want Christmas in December. It belongs in December.

I have found that keeping myself from enjoying the Christmas goodies until December; there is nothing good left to buy. I have tried to hold back and wait, but it’s no good. I needed to buy tinsel a couple of years ago to decorate the outside table. It was two weeks into December. I headed off to the shops and started searching. Well, there was nothing left. I love the big thick tinsel. I wanted red and green, the traditional colours. Did I find any? No. I had to use the thin falling apart tinsel that I had at home in the just in case decorations box.

So after that bad Christmas decoration experience, I have had to succumb to buying my decorations early. If you want the good stuff, you need to get in quick. Sometimes you get lucky, and the shops start their sales on the Christmas goodies in November and you can get some good bargains. But at times I don’t wait for the sales and buy early. If I see something good and I can afford it, I just buy it.

We received the Kmart catalogue the other day, and it was full of Christmas goodies. I have put together a little board to show you eight pretty Christmas things. I might just have to go and check it out. Yes, I am going to buy my decorations early!!

kmart xmas

Christmas Wreath with Berries 45 cm   $10.00 (aus)

Christmas Print Cushion – Robin   $10.00 (aus)

Ceramic Reindeer Lantern   $8.00 (aus)

Silver Tinsel Tree 90 cm   $5.00 (aus)

Snow Scene in Jar – Deer in Christmas Forrest   $6.00 (aus)

Stackable Christmas Doll Set   $8.00 (aus)

Woven Christmas Star   $8.00 (aus)

Glass Drink Jar with Straw   $2.00 each (aus)

I think there is quite some good stuff there and priced reasonably well. Just remember if you want to purchase any of it, get in early!

How do you feel about Christmas? Do you think the Christmas decorations are in the shops too early?

Happy Early Christmas shopping!





P.S This isn’t a sponsored post. I just wanted to share with you a little Christmas goodness. And maybe I might just be buying some of these myself xx






Product reviews

Lucky Smart Snax Review with a giveaway

Ok, I love eating nuts (and I’m not being rude here!) Nuts are one of my favourite snacks. I don’t think that there is any type of nuts that I don’t like. A handful of nuts is a nice little snack that you can have any time of the day. And sometimes I mix it up a bit and add some dried fruit, sultanas and dried cranberries come on over!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to receive a sample of the Lucky Smart Snax range. Boy was I excited to see all the different assortment of nuts and dried fruits. I wanted to open every single packet and start trying them straight away. I withheld but once the kids saw all of these goodies they were opened and indulged in! I am very happy that my kids love nuts too as they are a full of nutritional goodness and are a delicious snack choice.


The popular range of nut snacking mixes, Lucky Smart Snax have been re-launched in the Dried Fruit & Nut aisle. The Lucky Smart Snax range has been extended to include six products – all of which have been specifically formulated to meet individual needs.

Here are the six yummy Lucky Smart Snax packets, opened, eaten, photographed and eaten some more:

Lucky Smart Snax Power – Oven Roasted Peanuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts and Dark Chocolate. Gives a boost of natural energy.  The mix of oven roasted peanuts, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts combined with dark chocolate make this a perfect snack to help you power through each day.


Lucky Smart Snax Cardio – Almonds, Sultanas, Cranberries and Blueberries. Is a delicious mix of natural almonds and berries – to keep you pumping through each day.


Lucky Smart Snax Womens – Cashews, Almonds, Brazil Nuts and Walnuts, a source of Vitamin E, iron and good monounsaturated fat, as well as calcium, folate and selenium.

luckynuts3Lucky Smart Snax Recovery – Oven Roasted Almonds, Peanuts, Cashews and Pepitas. Is a good source of protein, a vital nutrient that is important for body systems, growth, muscle development and recovery from exercise.


Lucky Smart Snax Low Carb – Brazil Nuts, Peanuts, Pepitas, Almonds and Walnuts. Is a tasty mix of nuts and seeds that is perfect for people watching their intake of carbohydrates.  Nuts and seeds are one of nature’s super snacks and fit perfectly in a balanced diet.


Lucky Smart Snax Digestive – Oven Roasted Almonds, Peanuts, Hazelnuts, Cranberries, Sunflower Kernels and Pepitas. Is a source of dietary fibre to help maintain a healthy digestive system.


Look at all those delicious nuts and dried fruit! Now I can tell you that I have sampled every packet, and (ahem) not just once. I loved each and everyone! And all of them were a favourite with the kids too.

At home I like us all to have a snack sometimes on some nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I find that they are a perfect way to fill in the in-between mid-meal snacking because they are all packed with nutritional goodness, and they taste great. Lucky Smart Snax are the smarter way to snack!


If you would like to see the Lucky Smart Snax range, you can find more information on their website:

You can also find them being sold at Coles, Woolworths and independent supermarkets – IN THE DRIED FRUIT & NUT AISLE (near the sultanas and the other Lucky nut baking products).

RRP:  $4.99 each

But before I go, I have some great news that Nuffnang and Lucky Smart Snax have given me 1 x Lucky Smart Snax hamper which includes the whole range – 6 products to giveaway.

All you need to do to be in the running for these yummy super snacks is answer this question:

“Which Lucky Smart Snax product would be your favourite and why?”

Leave your answer in the comment section below by Midnight on Thursday 20th November 2014 for your chance to win.

The winner will be contacted by email after the closing date. This giveaway is open to Australian Residents Only.

This competition has closed.

Good luck!







Baking, Cakes, Recipes

Nutella Stuffed Cupcakes

Nutella is a pantry staple in our house. I always hope that the kids will want it on toast for breakfast so I can grab a spoon and start eating it. Once I get the taste I can’t stop. But don’t worry I do stop after I have licked the fifth spoonful!

This recipe of Nutella Stuffed Cupcakes is a favourite and of course I love it because it has Nutella in it.


Nutella Stuffed Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Cupcakes
Serves: 12
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 teaspoons Nutella
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan forced. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together milk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.
  4. There are two ways for preparing these: Option 1: Scoop a spoonful of batter evenly into the muffin tray. Drop 1 teaspoon Nutella into the center of each cup. Top with remaining batter to completely cover the filling. Or Option 2: Scoop the batter into each of the muffin liners. Drop 1 teaspoon of Nutella into the centre of each cup. Then using a tooth pick or cake skewer swirl the cupcake batter over the Nutella. You just need to cover it up a little bit. This will give you a Nutella swirl effect on top.
  5. Place into oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from Damn Delicious

 Look at all those yummy teaspoonfuls of NutellanutellacakesTo get the Nutella swirl effect on top, you can use a toothpick or cake skewer and swirl the cake batter over the Nutella
nutellacakes2 nutellacakes1 nutellacakes3A centre of choccie goodness!

These cupcakes are easy to make and taste nice warm. The texture is lovely and moist. I don’t know how long they will stay fresh for as these are all gone within two days.

Do you have a favourite recipe that uses something for a yummy centre?

I have enjoyed sharing this recipe with you so much so that I am going to head into the kitchen and make these again!

Happy baking,



5 Things To Make You Smile

Around Basil and Chook today, I’m sharing 5 things to make you smile…

1. doglove

2. awwww-moment-with-the-new-puppy

3. puppy-dreams

4. sweet-bull-terrier-pup

5. doglove1

What is making you smile today?

I hope you are having a happy Monday!


garden, In The Garden, Veggie garden

My First Harvest

My garden is going well. It won’t be too long now until there will be an abundance of edible goodies to harvest.

These gorgeous beetroots are my first successful harvest (some are still growing). I’m very happy with these three guys. My last attempt at growing beetroot didn’t even get to this size. I think the dirt was too compact for them to grow. They didn’t even reach golf ball size!


The beans have such cute little flowers, don’t you think?


The wild strawberries are just popping up everywhere.


Have you ever tasted a wild strawberry? They are little bursts of sweetness. Here is one that is just starting to turn red.


And with the lovely sun that has shone over on my backyard, the zucchini’s have just jumped ahead in growth. Look at this one, I reckon I need to get my zucchini recipes ready!


What do you have growing in your garden? 

You are more than welcome to share your garden or someone else’s. It could be the garden down the road or the park that you have in your town. You don’t have to have a veggie garden. It could be plants that are flowering or trees that are growing. It could be planted in the ground, containers or bins.

I would love to see what you have in any garden. All you need to do to join is add your link at the end of this post, and we can pop on over and have a look.

You can now join in with me via Instagram. You can just share your garden photos and tag using #_inthegarden_

Happy gardening and enjoy your weekend x



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Exciting changes ahead!


I am just letting you know that there are some exciting new changes happening here at my place.

Things are in motion at the moment so that’s why I haven’t been around here lately.

Most of it will be finished soon so I would love you to come back for a visit and say hi!



Baking, Bread, Breakfast, Kids, Recipes

Monkey Bread

Can you smell this amazing cinnamon sweet bread? If only there were a scratch n sniff screen.

This yummy treat is Monkey Bread.

I made this for my kids during the school holidays.


Have you had Monkey Bread before? It is balls of dough smothered in a brown butter sauce and cinnamon sugar then after it has been baked you cover it in a sweet, sticky vanilla glaze. It’s delicious, gooey and oh so good!

You need to prepare the dough for this recipe the day before, and you put it in the fridge. Overnight it rises in the fridge so in the morning you just need to roll the dough into little balls.




Monkey Bread
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sweet Bread
Serves: 14
  • 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1¼ cups warm full cream milk
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 cup (120g) icing sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream (or milk for a less creamy texture)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  1. Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir it around a bit and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Add the milk, melted butter, sugar, eggs, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes (using a dough hook if you have a stand mixer or using a hand mixer). By hand add enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. About 5 cups total.
  2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Do not over-knead, which will yield a tough, chewy bread. The dough is ready when it is smooth and when you can poke it with a finger and it springs back. Form dough into a smooth ball and place into a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. I greased the bowl with cooking spray. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Make the coating: melt ½ cup of butter in a small bowl. Mix granulated sugar and cinnamon together in another small bowl. Set aside. You will use the rest of the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla later.
  4. Spray a 10-12 cup bundt pan with cooking spray. I used a large baking tin and lined it with baking paper. Set aside. Punch the cold dough down very gently to allow the air bubbles to release. Pull apart pieces and roll into balls, about 1.25 inches in diameter. You will need 40-45 balls total, so be modest with their size. Dip each ball, one by one, in the melted butter and then generously roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat them. You may need more cinnamon-sugar depending how heavy you coat each ball. Arrange them in the bundt pan as you go. Cover the pan and allow dough balls to rise again for about 45 minutes at room temperature.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C/150°C fan forced. Melt the remaining ¼ cup of butter and whisk in the brown sugar and vanilla until combined. Pour the buttery mixture over the dough balls in the bundt pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cover loosely with foil if the top browns too quickly. Cool for 5-10 minutes and invert onto a large serving plate.
  6. Top with the glaze. Simply whisk all of the glaze ingredients together and pour over the bread. You may either cut the bread into generous slices or let everyone pick off the gooey pieces themselves. Monkey bread tastes best served on the same day, but will stay fresh for 3 days if stored covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
This recipe was adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction






So what do you think of this yummy gooey warm goodness?

My kids were hanging around the kitchen waiting for the Monkey Bread to cool so I could drizzle it with the glaze. You just want to make sure the Monkey Bread has cooled slightly as you don’t want the glaze to melt.

Monkey Bread is a pull apart of sticky bites of goodness. We devoured this warm, and we found it was best eaten on the day. And just a little warning: there might be some licking of sticky fingers.

Mum, can we have some more, please….

Happy baking!