I never came back to say Merry Christmas, largely because on Christmas Eve I was struck down by a terrible lurgy that is just now gone. A terrible sore throat, fever, aching, and headaches that meant I could barely lift my head above the pillow have been my festive season. But! Christmas itself went well (fortunately only I was ill on the actual day and I wasn't essential to the meal preparation or anything else on the day) and everyone else had a good time. Laura was ill before Christmas but had recovered in time for all the food and presents and excitement. I'm not sure if Emily knew what was going on but she liked it.
We did finish the gingerbread house before Christmas though. I made the pieces using the templates from the Tesco recipe but I used my own gingerbread recipe and made sure it had cooked long enough to be a bit hard and crunchy. I rolled out the dough straight onto the baking paper so that once I'd cut the pieces, they didn't get out of shape. The coloured windows are boiled sweets put in the window hole during baking.
I stuck the pieces together using royal icing made from royal icing sugar (next to the normal icing sugar in the supermarket, you just add water, it's brilliant) and it worked really well. The level of faff was quite acceptable.
The day after I'd stuck it all together, I made up some more royal icing and Laura helped me decorate it. Chocolate buttons and dolly mixtures worked well, heavier sweets like jelly beans didn't stay in place very well and we had to wait until the icing had dried a bit.
And it was very tasty too! I'll definitely be making one again next year. Or this year, I suppose it is now! I am going to do a proper new year post, later this week. I need a bit of time with a working head to get my thoughts together.