Nothing says Christmas to me more than the smell of woody spices such as cinnamon and star anise combined with the faint pine smell from the Christmas tree and the fruit cake cooking slowly in the oven. Yes, I must confess that I do love the festive period and I love my home to smell wonderfully festal as I deck my halls with bells and holly. However, scented candles and even burner oils whilst lovely never seem to fill my home with the smell I am longing for and they can also prove quite costly, my little trick requires that you use an small slow cooker and a range of natural herbs and spices that will really give an authentic smell.

Pick up a small second hand slow cooker or find one that you won’t need to slow-cook your lamb in. Place the christmasfollowing ingredients into the slow cooker:

1/2 orange, sliced

3 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

1 inch fresh ginger crushed and sliced

1 teaspoon cloves, whole

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3 star anise

Fill the crockpot with water about 1 ½ inches below the rim and place on a low setting with the lid off. Soon your house will smell of festive happiness.

You can also use this technique for getting rid of lingering food odours. Simply place few tablespoons of baking soda with water in the bow of the slow cooker and add three drops of lemon pure essential oil. Place the crockpot in whichever room is most in need of a little freshening and set it to LOW with the lid off. The odours will soon disappear!

Have fun and experiment with different odours.

About Seren Charrington-Hollins

Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon. When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year. Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles. Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations. Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras. Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade. To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life. Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen