Mince Pie Filling Recipe| Champagne Twist

This is a quick and simple recipe for the festive season. You can use this recipe for mince pies, or as an ingredient for fruit cakes. A useful store cupboard standby.

Mince Pie Filling Recipe | Champagne Twist



  • 100g glace cherry halves
  • 400g jumbo raisin mix
  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 100g mixed citrus peel
  • 100g ginger
  • 1 tbsp of ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of brandy
  • 1 cup of orange liquor


  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 spatula or spoon
  • 1 large sterilised glass jar


Mix all the fruit and spices together in a bowl and then fill your sterilised glass jar, ensuring that you leave room for the alcohol.

In the same bowl or jug, mix together the vanilla and alcohol, then pour over the fruit mix in the glass jars.

Allow the mixture to steep for at least a week in a cool dark place. The longer you leave it, the better.

mince pie filling - champagne twist
mince pie mincemeat filling recipe

There you go – proper luxury mincemeat. Also serves as a lovely Christmas foodie gift. Just grab a label and some ribbon and you’re done! It’s also a good way to use up all those half empty bottles of alcohol.

3 real ways to save money for Christmas | Champagne Twist


Save 4 Christmas

It’s September. The last Bank Holiday before Christmas has past and now the countdown to the festive season has begun. If like me those plans to become a millionaire by next Tuesday haven’t quite, well gone to plan, here are 3 easy ways to save, so you can enjoy the end of year celebrations, without the worry of how to pay for it.

1 – Save your pennies

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Yes, I know, the last time you did this was around the age of 3, before you discovered £50 notes and YouTube, but it’s surprising just how those little coins can add up.  Get yourself a large jar, tin or piggybank and every time you receive change, remember to feed those pennies, 2p and 5p coins to your little piggy.  Start now and you will have extra cash for those end of year parties, Christmas presents or to give to your favourite charity.


2 – Buy now, save later


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The Summer sales may be coming to an end, but there is still time to purchase those little stocking fillers. For instance, if you have friends and family who love cosmetics and toiletries, take advantage of the last of the sales and stock up now. Don’t wait until December when the prices are jacked up just because the item is packaged in a special edition Christmas box, which is going to be covered in Christmas wrapping paper anyway.


3 – Start a Christmas Fund

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From tomorrow (Monday 4th September 2017), put aside 5-10% of your wages or salary in a separate bank account.  If you can save say £10 a week, every week until Christmas, you will have around £160 by Christmas.  That should buy a round of Crimbo drinks!

But don’t just stop there … if you adopt these simple saving techniques in the New Year, by next Christmas you could save hundreds, maybe even thousands.

Have you got any tips for saving cash between now and the end of the year? Please share in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading and please don’t forget to share, subscribe and comment.


6 things to do now to prepare for next Christmas


Tonight is 12th night and tomorrow Christmas will officially be over for another year. The mince pies have been devoured, the tree de-blinged of it’s baubles and the bottle of Cointreau returned to it’s usual place at the back of the cupboard. Boo hoo.

Now, it’s time to prepare for next Christmas.

Yes, you read that right, today is the day to start planning for next Yuletide.

6 things to do now to prepare for next Christmas.


  1. Pack away your Christmas lights.

    Did you struggle with the Christmas tree lights? Before you throw away your boxes from all your Christmas gifts, cut out a large piece of cardboard. Tape the edges so that they don’t snag your lights. Then carefully wrap the lights around the cardboard. You could use masking tape to tape the end of the light cable, for easy removal. This saves you hours of boring untangling. Cover with some bubble wrap to ensure that they are protected. Don’t forget to remove all batteries from your battery operated lights. Treat your Christmas tinsel in the same way as the lights.

  2. Go shopping.

    Now is the time to stock up on bargain Christmas wrapping, cards, ribbon, tableware and anything you know you will need for your Christmas celebrations 2017.  Why go to all that trouble in December when you can do it now in relative peace, for less money? Don’t forget batteries, sticky tape, baubles, tree decorations, cutlery, crockery and even long life Christmas food, such as Christmas puddings and mulled wine. Ensure you check the use by date and storage instructions.

  3. Reuse packaging and Christmas cards.

    Use strong boxes, decorate with Christmas paper and use to store any remaining Christmas decorations. Create a Christmas box, to store sticky tape, scissors, gift tags etc.  Recycle your Christmas cards to decorate next year’s Christmas gifts – even use for creative gift tags.

  4. Create a Christmas memory box.

    Add photos of your Christmas festivities with family and friends. Decorate with pretty wrapping paper and save your favourite cards and email messages from your loved ones.

  5. Create a Christmas file.

    Decorate an old ring binder with paper, old cards etc, and use to jot down all your vital things-to-do lists.  Include emergency numbers for services, such as local pharmacies, local police station etc. Update your contacts list, to ensure your mail doesn’t go to your loved ones previous address! You can also add your favourite seasonal recipes and drink concoctions.

    Include an itemised list of things you have already purchased for next year, so you don’t repeat buy. Add a small box to hold plasters and other non-perishable items suitable for a first aid kit, a mini sewing kit, safety pins, candles, safety matches, a torch (preferably a hand wind up as opposed to a battery operated one), a small radio, pens and pencils and notepaper, because you can never find these when you need them in an emergency.

  6. Start saving.

    If needs be, open a savings account and set aside some money each week or month for Christmas.  For instance, if you save £20 a month, by December you will have £240 to help ease the cost of Christmas.  £240 would go a long way towards the cost of the festive meal, gifts or even as an extra treat for yourself. Perhaps you could gift the money to your favourite charity, or use it towards unexpected bills or emergencies. Whatever the reason, that money could come in handy and in these uncertain times, it’s always a good idea to have some form of safety net.

These simple 6 steps will give you 6 less things to worry about, so you can start enjoying Christmas all the sooner. Call it an early Christmas gift to yourself 🙂

Do you have any more tips to add to this list? Comment below, I would love to read them. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to ‘like’ and subscribe for more.


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Merry Christmas, love from Champagne Twist



The CT Show – new episode now live


Episode 4 of the CT Show, has just gone live on the YouTube Chanel. Please check it out by clicking the picture below.


3 quick and simple DIY Christmas centrepieces

In case you missed it, and well done if you have, Christmas is nearly here. It can be a very expensive time of year, so if you would like to save some cash but still want to participate in the season’s festivities, why not try these 3 quick, simple and affordable Christmas table decorations?

  • Candle and Cones


Years ago, I purchased a bag of pine cones from my local florist, for the grand sum of 50p. Of course you can collect them for free if you are lucky enough to live near a forest, but note you may have to seek permission first. Pine cones last for years, I keep mine in a cardboard box along with my other Christmas decorations.

Using a large candle, with 3 wicks to represent the holy trinity (it is a religious festival after all), I centre it on a heat proof glass plate, then I cover the plate with the pine cones.

As with all candles, never leave lit candles unattended. Be extra careful as pine cones are great tinder material!

For an alternative, try using a ring oasis, which can be purchased from Wilkos for around £3.50. Ensure that you give the oasis a good soak and then decorate with a mixture of evergreen foliage, baubles, pine cones and other Christmas decorations. Place on a plate, and add a large pillar candle in the middle.


  • Vases and Fairy Lights

If you have 3 or 5 vases of varying heights and widths, you can create a stunning centrepiece.  Fill one of the vases with evergreen foliage, one with pine cones, another with baubles, one with battery operated fairy lights and one with tinsel.


Here I used 3 vases – one was filled with different types of pine cones, another with foliage from the garden and the middle one with baubles and battery operated lights. Instant centrepiece using items I already own.


  • Bauble Cake Stand

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This is cake stand came from IKEA.


Picture source: Ikea.com.

At under £10, it is an affordable centrepiece in it’s own right. Add some baubles, and hang some decorations from the lid and you have made a festive treat for the eyes. Hey, it’s healthier than filling the stand with cake.

Did I just say that?