At home by the fire

At home by the fire

At home by the fire is a guest blog written by Emily and Rob Inman with the purpose of giving an insight into life living with a Wood burning stove.

Ignite Stoves & Fireplaces supplied and installed their Charnwood Arc stove into their beautiful central Lincoln home in September 2016. Since installation the young family have been documenting their experiences and sharing with us all what life is like, living with a wood stove.

Mince pies and chestnuts roasting.

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Sometimes we find we dream about these perfect days and try to set them up for the kids, only to end up getting so stressed that you actually ruin a day and give up trying to do nice things. This has happened to us so often, making an experience picture perfect and then actually regretting that you even woke up. What I am learning as the children grow up is that sometimes these moments come best when there is less instruction and more “winging it” happening. Our weekends are precious time anyway so having a “Christmas day” can actually be quite difficult to achieve, but the Saturday just gone, our time at home really was a blessing. I had been reading that morning about the atrocities of The world and thinking about how easy life in Lincoln is. Here I was about to stand and make mince pies and what some people are witnessing at this same moment is complete horror. In a way I think that set my mind for the whole day, just to enjoy what was happening. We turned the TV off and actually put on Christmas music and just enjoyed it. The children asked a few times but they had their toys out and in the end entertained themselves for hours. It just so happened that in this time I was able to produce some mince pie puffs which were warmly welcomed by myself. but Rob unfortunately was worse for wear from an outing the night before which meant he didn’t get the full pleasure from having them warm.
These were a very quick and easy treat which I would urge you to have a go with as it literally took me half an hour to have two batches made. It is the most simple method ever: cheat and buy your puff pasty and cheat and buy your mincemeat! Hey, who knew I was so domestic! Seriously though, the point of these is to make something you can enjoy quickly.
So cut your pastry to shape, you will need a piece for the bottom and a piece to go on top so make sure you have enough cut before you start.
Fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Place lid on. Crimp edges with a fork. Cover in egg wash. Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C.Rest on a cake rack and then dust with icing sugar. No joke, DONE!
They really are that simple!

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To add to our seasonal abundance of fun we also decided to try roasting some chestnuts on our stove. Our fire is a closed one, so Rob sat with the door open and his pan of chestnuts resting on the hot wood underneath.
I should have really done a bit more research into how to cook them, but as far as I was thinking we just left them until we heard a couple pop and then excitedly cut into them whilst burning our fingers.
It worked really well and with some Cadburys Festive Friends (love them) we had a little Christmas feast.
As we sat there with the kids I couldn’t help but think about how lovely a day I was having. I wasn’t stressed, I had achieved the things I wanted to do and the children were happily entertaining themselves allowing Rob to recover and me to just get on.

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Sinterklaas

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This is one of my favourite traditions from living at home. I would think it is about 10 years ago now that my parents started celebrating Sinterklaas. This is the celebration of the feast day of Saint Nicholas. It is a traditional celebration mainly recognised in the Netherlands and a lot of the surrounding countries. It is a celebration of gift giving on the evening of 5th December. The 6th is actually the feast day.

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We celebrate Thanksgiving.

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It isn’t a very British tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving as the Americans do. They obviously celebrate it as part of their history in remembrance of the first harvest of the Pilgrims in the new world. However for me I feel it is just as important to have a month to think about what you are thankful for and to celebrate at the end with families and friends. We started celebrating thanksgiving 3 years ago. We make an extra long table which stretches the whole of the living area and we have both sides of the family all round to dinner. It has now become tradition and we hope to host this meal every year for all those who can come.

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Lagom

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You know that it is something I can talk about for hours, hey, you’ve read my blog posts. While we were away in Cornwall in the summer I picked myself up a new book about LAGOM; the Swedish philosophy about living by just the right amount. You will know that I like to talk about Hygge and even trying to create the feeling in my life and within my soul, but it seems that Lagom could be the newest life trend coming from the Scandinavian countries to teach us to live better.

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Having a fire but no fireplace.

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I think what a lot of people worry about when they want to install a fire is that often they think they don’t have a place for it. They don’t necessarily have a traditional fire place or any kind of recess where they would put a stove. Our case is one that proves it is not necessary. And in fact, we placed our fire in a spot that had absolutely nothing special about it at all. It is simply just by a wall. OK, it’s also in the middle (ish) of the room but even that isn’t necessary.

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