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Festive Raspberry Ice Blocks


They’re the coolest little treat for the Christmas feast. In fact, one could argue they’re part of your five plus a day! Fill the freezer up and they’ll get you right through the summer holidays!

 

 

INGREDIENTS
Two punnets of fresh raspberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
One tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/3 cup water

 

METHOD
In a food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth.

Strain ingredients, or keep it rustic with chunks of fruit.

Pour the pureed fruit into a pitcher or a large measuring cup with a pouring spout and pour it into ice block moulds. Cover and insert the sticks, then freeze until firm.

When you’re ready to eat one, run the bottoms of the moulds under warm water for a few seconds in order to loosen the ice block from the mould.

Remove it from the mould and enjoy!


 

Top tips for the table


Christmas is almost here, so if it’s a flawless dinner table you’re after, look no further.

 

 

  1. First things first – where will you have your festive feast? If it’s outside, make sure the table is on a level surface.

2. Depending on your taste, minimalism is always a good idea, so the table isn’t overcrowded. Decorations can be hung from the ceiling above the table to save space.

3. Co-ordination is key. Pick a colour scheme – three colours is ideal. Silver, white and green; red, white and gold…

4. A linen tablecloth in a single soft colour, such as khaki or dark grey, makes for a practical canvas for decorations. Offset this with crisp white linen napkins folded underneath polished cutlery for a clean, elegant look.

5. Natural materials give a rustic touch, and they’re sustainable too. Try strewing the table with branches and pinecones – metallic spray paint can jazz these up. Consider utilising items you already have, or buy decorations that won’t date or can be reused.

6. Little fairy lights or candles give ambience – even in the middle of the day. A popular idea is to stuff strings of thin fairy lights into jars and dot them down the middle of the table.

7. Make sure your flowers align with your colour scheme nicely. Pohutukawas give any table a festive Kiwi touch, while foliage intertwined down the middle of the table offers a pretty, rustic feel.

8. If you’re going to put flowers in vases, make sure the height is just right. You need to be able to see and talk to the person sitting opposite you.

9. Make sure cutlery, glasses and other utensils are the same for a flawless finish.

10. We recommend keeping food off the table and serving from the breakfast bar/bench instead, in order to keep the table from getting too messy.


 

Organising your house for Christmas


Having a home that is well-prepared for Christmas partying is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Something you have forgotten to do, buy or organise can easily chomp away at your sanity.

 

So we’ve put together some fail-safe tips to get you through the silly season.

Prepare the festivities

It’s time to free up the freezer and make space for those holiday goodies. Pack in plenty of party ice. Stock up on artisan canapés and satiating savouries to pop in the oven for hungry

Pre-freeze what Christmas fare you can. Christmas-coloured frozen berries make instant smoothies, sorbets, desserts, and cool off a glass of bubbly fast. 

Borrow or buy a handy bar fridge. Fill up the pantry with extra food – it is better to have unperishable surplus than to run out. Ensure your herb garden is abundant.

Snap up the home baking with Christmas bows from the farmers markets and fairs. These Christmas treats can double up as last minute gifts for surprise visitors, or someone you’ve forgotten.

Thoughtfully have the likes of gluten free, vegan and low-carb supplies on hand. Bowls of cherries top the list!

Double up

Rolls of cellotape; slippery little things… they go missing just when you’re wrapping that extra parcel – so plant some around the house.

The same goes for scissors, gift tags, bows, pens and other such items that grow legs and play hide and seek.

Make sure you know where the spare sets of keys are hidden. The silly season rush catches up with the most organised among us – and Murphy’s Law often rules.

There’s just no time to hunt. Have extras – like batteries, cell phone chargers, top-up medication, bottled water, or any essentials that you often run out of, or misplace – on hand.

Last minute dashes to the store battling the queues, only interferes with the tick tock of the to-do list.

Reminders

Post-it notes – they can blend in with the Christmas decorations quite easily, especially if you choose the creative variety.

No amount of technology can replace these bright, cheery, in-your-face reminders, especially when our holiday brains are jumping around like reindeers.

Keep lists on your phone, on the fridge, beside the bed, anywhere. Just be sure to check them twice!

Fun-filled festivities

Drag out any fun-filled activities, games and silly season Christmas-themed anything. ‘Tis the season for lights, bells and whistles of a frivolous, festive nature.

Dedicate an area of the home for crazy chaos, and forget the vacuuming here. Remember the playful pets too – or your decorations may be toast.

Take stock

Are there enough glasses, crockery, water jugs and other utensils for an extended family visit?

Invest in plenty of festive serviettes – they add to the occasion as well as save on washing up for that nibble or slice of cake.

Wine glass tags are a savvy additional to banish that ‘is this glass mine?’ mix-up for good.

Savvy seating

Organise extra seating for the dining table or lounge if you need to, and be prepared for indoors and outdoors.

There might be a few spills among the thrills, so enrobe the new couch with a colourful throw.

Make more room for gatherings, and store away any extraneous items that clutter the festive home, or block the runway for excited little elves.

Health and safety

As the party season sizzles, so does the summer heat. Give the pets extra large bowls for their water.

Remove any fire hazards from the property, such as trimming trees away from the house. Check the first-aid kit and have extra suntan lotion on hand.

Double check the wiring on last season’s fairy lights.

The more organised the home is for Christmas, the extra warmth it will exude – and it will spell vamoose to any stressful vibes. Create an organised haven for relaxing merriment and there’ll be extra time to spend with those that are lonely during this joyful time.


 

Melinda Collins

Editor’s Perspective: 12 December 2019


While you’re looking after friends and family this festive season, it’s important you don’t forget to look after ‘you’.

Wellbeing Specialist Sarah McGuinness shares her top tips for keeping well over Christmas.

1. Be right here, right now: Practicing mindfulness is probably the last thing you’d think to add to your festive to-do list, but it can be a helpful calming tool.

2. Know that good enough is great: There can be a lot of pressure at this time of year, especially when hosting or staying with family and/or friends.

Be clear about what you can control and what you can’t, and what’s important and what’s not.

3. Be with people who love you in all your glory: There’s almost nothing better than spending time with people who love you for who you are and can make you laugh until your sides hurt.

Find time to be with those people and find ways to help each other take care.

4. Celebrate the goodness: When you get a chance, write down a list of all the good moments from 2019. It might be a list of big things, small things or both.

The idea is to come up with 10 to 20 things that make you smile and feel buoyant.

5. Support the community: There are many families that go without in some way at this time of year.

Consider donating your time or items to organisations that support families or individuals in need.

From the Metropol team, take care, stay safe and have a very merry Christmas. Metropol will be back with you on 23 January, ready to embrace all of the wonders that await in 2020.