Ho, Ho, Ho!!

It’s that time of year again- Christmas and the festive time is very much upon us once again! Is it just me, but I’m sure Christmas comes round faster and faster each year?! So weird to think that this time in THREE days time it’ll be Christmas Day and no doubt right now- all of you will be laying on the sofa, about to burst from all food and drink you’ve devoured! We’ll let that one slide though- it’s Christmas!! (as the seemingly classic saying goes)

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*Insert stereotypical christmas tree decoration photo here*

I hope everyone is having a nice festive period- how about all that rain and wind in England yesterday? It’s starting to get rather cold now, but fortunately not as cold as it has been in past years at this time of year! Whilst everyone in the UK was probably sat, snuggled round the fire, roasting chestnuts and drinking hot chocolate (well most likely running round the shops trying to get last minute presents) I was out, braving the elements in the beautiful woodland with the fabulous people in Circle of Life Rediscovery. Putting the weather aside, (and numb toes and fingers) it was a really good day! Somehow with it being so close to Christmas, it made it feel even more special and magical being in the woods yesterday! Overall it was a really fun day and I definitely think we managed to capture the essence of Christmas whilst in the woodland!

I’m really rather excited about some of the beautiful photographs I managed to capture  yesterday whilst out in the woods!

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Seems like Santa doesn’t live in Lapland… He lives in the WOODS!!

I’m too excited to tell you all about what we got up to yesterday, along with showing off the fabulous photographical evidence! Fire crackling away, out of the rain and under the shelter, we kicked off the day making MINCE PIES!! My sister asked me yesterday what I got up to in the woods, with me telling her we made mince pies all to see her clearly confused face and then pondering questions of “how can you make mince pies in the woods?!” Simple. With thanks to ready made short-crust pastry, mincemeat and the genius clay oven- we made them just fine, and they came out pretty fantastically!

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Carefully crimping the edges for maximum perfection!

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Everyone joining in on the festive baking!

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All done and ready to be popped into the oven… oh wait, wrong setting! Clay oven I mean!

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Halfway there to cooked woodland perfection!
“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

Mince pies went down a storm with both adults and young people, they looked fabulous! As part of the woodland day, we made Rose Hip lip and skin salve- which smelt utterly divine and oh so luxurious! Firstly the beeswax needed to be shredded in order for it to melt in easily with the extracted oil from the Rose Hips.

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Nothing like freshly picked Rose Hips from the wood!

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Bonnie making a fabulous job of shredding the Beeswax.

 Next was to melt the Beeswax in the extracted Rose Hip oil, pour it into little pots and then hey-presto! You’ve got hand made lip/skin salve! In the end I made two pots, as an extra christmas present I’ve decided to give the extra one to my mum- by making it even more personal, i’ve made my own label to stick on the pot! It’s a very lovely and cute extra gift… and who can resist something handmade?!

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Melting concoction of Rose smelling wonderfulness!

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Couldn’t be simpler!

The woodland as a whole had a very festive feel about it, with the pathways strung with multicolored fairy lights from the trees- it looked beautiful and I can imagine, as a child going to visit Santa in his handmade grotto, it would feel very magical! Bonnie and I were lucky enough to find Santa’s Grotto, of course it wasn’t hard to find what with the beautiful festive ornaments sat outside! We had a sneaky peek inside but to sadly find no Santa- probably had fallen asleep somewhere from too many mince pies and mulled wine!

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Festive atmosphere from the heart of the woodland

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A well wrapped up Bonnie with the Christmas tree outside Santa’s Grotto!

 Of course this wasn’t the end to our day- the CLR gang had a couple more activities up their sleeves for the CAMHS participants! Keeping in with the festive mood, we all made Christmasy reindeers out of wood. As Mark was demonstrating how to make a festive reindeer, a feel of confusion was radiating through me as to how one could make a reindeer out of wood… but it happened and wow- it’s absolutely adorable and would certainly make a slightly different centerpiece on the table on Christmas Day!

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Through the smokey haze of the campfire, Mark demonstrates
how to make a Christmasy wooden Reindeer!

After a few hours spent in the woods, our frozen selfs and numb fingers was starting to get to everyone so we decided to take the creativity indoors which was more than welcome- especially with the prospect of hot radiators! No walk out of the woods is complete without taking more fabulous photographs of the scenery! I really love the addition of the fairy lights- If I cared for the up-keep of the woodland, I’d keep the fairy lights up all round year!

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No words are really needed to describe this beautiful scene…

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Group of wooden Reindeers happily sat together… Can’t get over
how cute these are!

To finish up our time spent together as a group (CAMHS and Circle of Life) Mark whipped up a batch of African style pastries, which resembled a lot like doughnuts! In fact they tasted pretty much exactly like doughnuts, sprinkle some sugar on the top of these hot and doughy delights and you’ve got a yummy, festive treat! I was pleasantly surprised at the taste of these, I even asked Mark for the recipe so I can make my own with friends sometime!

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Bubbling pan of doughy delights!

The day was coming to a close, the African pastry delights was certainly a fabulous way to bring everyone together from CAMHS and CLR for one last time in the last few days of 2013. It was good to see everyone again, and was definitely a good day way to end the nearly completed year that is 2013. Wishing everyone a magical, merry Christmas and Happy New Year it was time to say goodbye to everyone and brave the cold once again! In the final moments of being together as a group, I think I managed to capture my all time favorite photograph of the day!

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Daylight drawing in, the fairy lights come out to shine!

Well this may very much be my last blog of 2013, it’s been an interesting and exciting first year of blogging for Circle of Life Rediscovery. I am so extremely grateful and thankful for having such a wonderful opportunity to express my thoughts, adventures and, of course photography since the beginning of January this year! I cannot wait to get back into blogging for a second year in 2014!

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Spreading the Christmas joy from Emma’s Monthly Blog to yours…

I’ll round up by saying I wish you all a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas and festive holiday and New Year!

Roll on 2k14!

Emma x

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