50 / 52 {please}

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Robb | Please don’t become a miserable teenager.  Your smile is just too gorgeous.

{I blame a man at work who keeps telling me how sweaty/miserable and grumpy his teenage son is}.

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Alfie | This week you had your School Christmas Concert where you were an All Black rugby player.  We sent you off with this last minute sweat band {always last minute, over here!} and you fiddled with it that much during the concert, that by the end, it was more like a chef’s hat on your head!  Please don’t stop being so entertaining, you are far too funny.

“a portrait of the bois bach, every week, in 2014″

Bois bach, de chi werth y byd  xxx

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{worn} arc coat

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I can remember walking into arc when it was in Chester, spotting this coat and falling in love with it.  I can still remember trying to close it when I was pregnant with Robb, and being very disappointed when I couldn’t…but still wore it anyway.  And he turned 12 in the Summer…

That’s how far this coat and I go back.

Thursday. The day that just kept giving and giving…

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It all started when I first got up in the morning and realised I was able to go another day without washing my hair.  And then, due to our amazing parenting skillz {read as slight cock-up…}, I had to get to work early to finish early, which meant I missed the whole ‘just brush your teeth, Alfie’ saga that still seems to be  happening seven years down the line…

3 coffee’s down {and about double that number in chocolate bourbon’s}, we had the cutest delivery ever to work, this tiny newborn Christmas tree, you can see above.  I say newborn because at one point I was holding it like it was a baby.  Broody?  ME?  Noooo…

And just like that saying, “you wait for a bus then two come along”, another tree arrived!  This time a fully grown one and not one that is going to need a lot of love and singing to help it grow for the next five years plus.  Oh, and water!  I need to remember to water it.

As hard as it was to do it, I pushed ALL OF MY WORK to one side, put Michael Buble on loud and got decorating that baby.  During which I managed to get most of the office involved in the hunt for an extension lead, I cut everyone off from the internet, someone’s computer shut down and the tree fell over about five times.

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And, I kid you not, another gift arrived!  This time from a client…apparently a girl can never have too many post it notes…?!

And before I could decide to re-arrange the tree again, it was time for me to leave work and head to the Schools Christmas Concert.  Cute, dancing elves, super cute animals and the best dancing reindeer I have ever seen!  What more do you want from a Christmas Concert?!

All finished off by One Direction, George Ezra, Idris Elba, a bath and a glass of wine.  Not all at the same time, obviously.  Bloodyhell no, Thursday was great but not that great! ;)

Dangerous Food Company // Llyr & Dom

Never has the phrase “Alcohol, because no great story started with a salad” been so apt!

Like jam?  Love your chilli?  You are going to love this stuff!  Llyr and Dom are the duo behind ‘Dangerous Food Company’ specialising in chilli jam.  I was meant to meet up with Llyr one weekend to do the interview, but in true ‘Llandrillo-style’, there were a few hangovers that morning, resulting in our dog getting the fright of his life with some jam being pushed through his cat flap!  Anyway, the dog recovered and my jeans have got slightly tighter thanks to so much cheese with chilli jam on top being eaten…

walesonline.co.uk - source

walesonline.co.uk – source

Firstly, please tell me this did really start over a pint in the pub?!   And what number pint were you on, when this idea came up? ;)

Yes it did…and it was pint number 6!

And, how does chilli jam come into conversation with mates in a pub?

Dom had a recipe for the Chilli Jam.  He used to bring jars to the office in our last job (we both worked together for an Irish dairy), for us to scoff with cheese on lunchtime.  It was a great recipe and added a load of flavour.  When we heard we were being made redundant, we thought sod it, why not try and make this full time and see if we can sell it.

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What was your process during the trial batches?  Was it still just the two of you at this point?  I actually typed pint then, so answer whichever feels more comfortable! ha! ;)

Dom is the master chef.  I’m not really that good with making jam!  I work more on the sales side (that’s where I’m good apparently)!  Trials took a lot of batches to get it right.  The Ghost one, which is our best seller and made with the hottest chilli in the world, took about 30 batches to get it just right.  Too much chilli and you couldn’t taste the fruit, so start again.  I think we have it just right now, must be ok, sold about 500 jars of Ghost at the BBC Winter good food show in 4 days.

We started off with the Red one, and added the Jalapeno, following the same recipe as the original one and it worked out well.   Our ideas were simple, different chilli, with a different fruit and sweeten it up with sugar.  The aim with each one is that you get all 3 sensations at different stages when you eat.

We thought we would trial our 2 first new products at Conway food festival last year to see if we had a product people would buy.  We sold about 400 jars over the 2 days and that’s when we realised we had a product!  We were both made redundant about 3 weeks later, and thought, if we don’t give it a blast now, we never will.  And that’s where the journey started…..

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You’ve had experience working in the cheese industry, did this play a part in this?  Also with taste testing and choosing your flavours for the jams?

Yes 100%.  We wanted something to go well with Cheese.  We think we have it.  It’s the same market that I have been working in for the last 15 year so a natural fit.

Flavours are all done by trial.  Dom asked me one day for a blue fruit to go with the ghost one (that’s the colour he wanted the label), I said blueberry and he made a batch.  Each flavour is made this way.  Obviously we don’t get it right first time!

I take it the jam still isn’t made in your kitchen?  Where is it now made?

Dom was able to make about 1,000 jars per week at home. His house stank of chilli and fruit, and he was working 60 – 80 hours a week to make it.  We now have a factory in Ruthin making it for us.  They can make 5,000 jars a week, so this really helps us focus on selling the product rather than making.  Dom has worked with the production team a lot to make sure we got the batch sizes for the ingredients just right.  Going from 20 jar makes to 500 jar makes is a bit of a challenge.

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I’ve seen a few photos of you attending food markets?  Where can we see you appearing next?  Any Christmas markets?  Local?

We are at Chester Christmas market up until the 14th December.  We are also at Prestatyn Christmas food festival up till Christmas eve.  These are our last ones for 2014.  We are working local for now.  Deli’s and farm shops in North Wales.  We are working with Blas Ar Fwyd in Llanrwst to help us distribute.  We are doing a lot of tastings as well for the next couple of weeks with all of our delis and farm shops.  Tweedmill, Hawarden Farm Shop, Rhug etc etc.

Speaking of Christmas, I’ve seen the gravy recipe on your website, will this be on the table come Christmas Day?  Personally, when I’m cooking a roast dinner, the roast and veg can do whatever it bloody wants, but the gravy, that needs to be PERFECT!  Got any tips for which chilli jam to go with Turkey?

The jalapeno goes well with Pork.  Ive not tried with the turkey gravy before.  Maybe you could try it and let us know which one is best?  Maybe the red chilli one would work well?

What does Christmas look like in the Jones household this year?

Christmas will be in Thailand this year.  Blondie marc is getting married so off there to watch him tie the knot!  It’s been a hectic 12 months and we are really excited about 2015 and where we will be in 12 months time.  We are working on some new jam flavours also.  So, any recommendations your readers can give us for what fruit to best go with Scotch bonnet chilli would be appreciated!

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You heard the man, get your jam on and get back to him!

Find the Dangerous food company {plus recipes, where to buy it and more} here: website, facebook and twitter.

Auntie Di’s Dressing Up Box

…complete with a massive frame!

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^^ Mam and Dad {I know, I know, no hope for me is there?!}, being photo-bombed by Alfie & Olivia.

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Apparently, there was a bit of a stand off between Alfie and Owen.  Both are always wanting what the other has.  So when Alf had the Santa trousers on and Owen had the jacket, there was one mighty stand off as to who was to take their item of clothing off first and hand it over.  Owen did go to take his jacket off, but then decided against it last minute and then with a smirk on his face, pulled it right back on in front of Alf.   I’d have loved to have seen that!

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Judging by this photo, Owen might have won!  Not that you would tell from his face…

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But, Auntie Di’s Dressing Up Box always, always creates a bit of a stir!  There’s a huge scramble to see what’s there…and it never takes too long for the big kids to join in.

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Introducing Carys, the funniest and wittiest Christmas Pudding I know.

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^^  Notice where Mam has put Dads moustache… :0

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^^ Picking your outfit…it’s a tough job!

I think it’s fair to say we all love and look forward to the Edwards Christmas Party.  Singing and dancing along to Shakin Stevens while getting ready {well, the bois bach and I, anyway}, the laughs on the mini bus on the way there, the kids wondering when is Santa arriving, catching up with those that you don’t see enough of, a glass too many of red wine {Cheers Low!} and then lots of singing on the way home…or so i’m told ;)

Good times.  And a huge thanks to those who arrange it and of course to Santa!  Or as Alf called him, ‘that guy who was having a pint with you all at the bar’…oops!

Finish this post in style, Alf.

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 Joining in with all the festive fun over at stickyfingers, go check it out.

48 / 52 {edwards family christmas party}

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Robb | How perfect are his teeth?!…not perfect is the poor quality photo…

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Alf | How perfect is his ‘i’m all dressed up, I’m excited and I don’t know what to do with my face’ face?!

Who us?  Ooh no!  We absolutely hate the thought of getting dressed up and making fools of ourselves at our annual ‘Edwards Christmas Party’… ;)

Coming up, a few photos from Auntie Di’s Dressing Up Box, which is always a hit with the kids.  And my Mam and Dad.  Always the first up there, wrestling with the kids to get to the best costumes before them.  You thing I’m joking?!…