Saving the birds and No New Year Resolutions | Champagne Twist

I have long given up on making new year’s resolutions.  Partly because by this time of year, i.e. the 2nd of January, I’ve broken half of them.  But I have started to implement my plans to help encourage birds and beneficial pollinators to my outdoor space.  I’m starting with the birds by making sure that I supply various foods to sustain their diet during these cold winter months.

January and February tend to be the coldest months of the year, and food is very scarce both for food gardeners and wildlife.  I’ve taken advantage of the Christmas and New Year sales and purchased a bird table and bird food supplies.

Wilko is my go-to bird food supplier, I normally buy a tub of 50 fat balls for £4.  The birds which especially love these fat balls are robins, blue tits, magpies and the occasional big pigeon.


In an effort to attract a wider variety of birds and to tempt the blue tits away from my already blossoming honeysuckle, I’m trialing these suet blocks.  So far, however, they are not at all tempted by the, preferring to stick to the fat balls.  I’m think maybe I need to give the birds a bit more chance to discover them, or move the blocks elsewhere in the garden.  I’m hoping when the bird table arrives, I can place the blocks on it, and save my poor honeysuckle!


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I also placed a bird seed feeder outside, but again, the birds are not biting. Oddly, I’ve never had much luck when it comes to loose bird seed.  A few years ago, I was filling a seed feeder, when I spilled some on a now defunct garden table. I went inside to get something to clean it up, and in the few seconds I had turned my back, a family of squirrels appeared in the garden.  For a split second, I thought I was a Disney princess, and the squirrels had come to visit me in my fairy tale garden. Then I remembered how I spilled the bird seed.  I admit I was more than a little hurt that the fantasy didn’t pan out, and more than a little bit cross that at least 10 squirrels, came from nowhere to deprive the birds of their lunch.

I’m glad to say that the squirrels have not returned in such numbers, although we do get the occasional visit from a solo squirrel, one who I suspect keeps digging up my raised beds. But thanks to the neighbourhood cats, mainly stays out of the way on the roof tops.

While I hope that encouraging birds into the garden now, will encourage them to help me control the snail and slug population later in the Summer, I’m also doing this to help increase the local bird population. Some species have been declining for years, so every effort I make can only help them flourish.

I’m looking forward to receiving the bird table, and hopefully a bird feeding stand, currently on waitlist, and will review them, along with the bird food in due course.

This may not be a new year’s resolution in the true sense, but I’m glad that I’m actually doing something that will help the environment.  Far better than trying to be more healthy – that kinda went out the window yesterday morning when I ate 6 Spiced Blueberry Panacakes for breakfast, which I covered with icing sugar (not so bad on sugarless pancakes), vanilla yogurt (quite good) and half a bottle of maple syrup (ooops!).

Wait, blueberry is a super food right? Maybe I can still keep my ‘be more healthy in 20’ resolution then!

OK maybe not.

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.


Happy New Year, love from Champagne Twist


Champagne Twist

The CT Show, Episode 5 ~ Resolutions now live!


Episode 5 of the CT Show has just gone live – here’s the link, enjoy!

sewing challenge 2016 homemade clothing , accessories and soft furnishings

Sewing Resolutions

We’ve reached mid January.  How did that happen? Reaching this significant moment, it’s time to plan my Summer wardrobe.  After half a week of very cold weather, I’m over it. Winter coats, fluffy jumpers, wellington boots … enough already. I want to wear t-shirts, floaty trousers and sun hats.

But first, I have to make them.  Over the years I have gathered a huge stash of fabrics, trimmings and sewing patterns, and while I have half heartedly attacked this stash, this year, I fully intend to make a serious dent in my fabric collection and fill my wardrobe with lovely, hand made, unique Spring and Summer clothes.

So I hereby state, I, after the end of this month, will not buy any more fabric until I have reduced my stash by at least 20%.

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Cue massive fabric shopping spree.

Are you a sewing enthusiast? Do you have a mountainous stack of material ready to stitch? Do you have more than one large jar of fabulous buttons? Share your sewing stories and plans with us! Please comment below and subscribe to Champagne with a Twist, to follow my Sewing Resolutions and results for 2016.