It’s time you made a start on the Christmas Cocktail



I had my first proper Christmas cocktail of the year last night.  While present wrapping.  A dirty martini.  Allegedly, it was Churchill’s favourite cocktail. It’s really not much of a cocktail, but  I’ve always been a bit of a gin-girl so it suits me fine.  4 parts gin to 1 part green olive brine.  You can add a dash of dry vermouth, but I don’t bother.  Shake over ice.  I forgot to hold down the lid and ended up having to lick quite a lot of it up from the counter.  Strain into a glass and serve with a couple of olives.  If there’s any left in the shaker after the lid flies off.  Want something a bit more, cocktail y (as oppose to spilt gin and olive brine)?  Here’s a selection of vaguely Christmassy recipes to try.

Christmas Cocktails

The Refreshing One: Cranberry sea breeze punch

  • Frozen cranberries
  • 1litre cranberry juice
  • 500ml vodka
  • 400ml grapefruit juice
  • 2 limes cut into slices
  • Ice

Pour the cranberry juice, vodka and grapefruit juice into a punch bowl or large jug and add lime.  Add some ice and the frozen cranberries.

The Fizzy One: Sloe Prosecco Royale

  • Crushed ice
  • 50ml Prosecco
  • 25ml sloe gin
  • 25ml cherry brandy
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Fill a glass with crushed ice and pour over the prosecco. Slightly bruise the leaves of the rosemary by rubbing lightly.  Drop it into the glass.  Slowly pour the sloe gin and cherry brandy into the glass so that they sink to the bottom.

Something Warm: Mulled white wine

Fancy something warm, but not a fan of red wine?  Try this unusual mulled white wine.

  • 750ml white wine
  • 100ml madeira
  • ½ lemon sliced
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 5 cardamom pods bruised
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half
  • 1bsp honey
  • A few drops of rosewater

Pour the white wine and madeira into a large saucepan.  And the rest of the ingredients except the rose water.  Bring to a simmer then strain into a jug.  Stir in the rosewater before serving.

Is it a drink or is it a pudding? : Nutella Frangelico

  • 50ml double cream
  • 1tsp Nutella
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 25 g milk chocolate chopped
  • 25ml hazelnut liquer (Frangelico)
  • 1 tsp chopped hazelnuts

Whip the cream till thick then fold in the nutella.  Try for a marbled effect.

In a saucepan warm the milk until simmering.  Take off the heat.  Add the chocolate and stir till melted.  Return to the heat to warm through.  Add the Frangelico

Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and add the whipped cream.  Sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts.

The One With A Rude Name: The Blow Job Shot

You’re supposed to drink this without using your hands.  It could get messy.  Infact, it will definitely get messy.

  • 15ml Baileys Irish Cream
  • 15mils Coffee syrup
  • Whipped cream

In a shot glass, layer syrup, Baileys then cream.  Drink in one go, no hands, or however you like.

Have fun, drink responsibly x


How Not To Kill Grandma: Coping With Christmas

Coping with Christmas

The Aspiration and the Reality

Christmas is supposed to be a joyful time.  An occasion for love and togetherness.  But we all know the reality can be so so different.  Enforced socialising, financial stress, being cooped up together.  It can all put huge pressure on relationships.

We watch happy families in films and TV adverts.  We aspire to be those families.  But we all know our Christmas is far more likely to be bored farting in front of the TV and a few disappointing presents.  Far more Royle Family than John Lewis.  And you know what, I’m OK with that.

Coping with Christmas

It’s just a couple of days.  You don’t need to bottom the house, or get new decorations, or a new sofa.  You don’t need to buy enough food to feed the entire town.  Just plump up the cushions and follow our 5 Point Plan On How Not To Kill Your Grandma.

Your Stay Out Of Jail 5 Point Plan

1 Remove all knives from the house

It’s harder to kill someone when there’s no weapons!  Seriously though, choose not to pick a fight.  We all have a family member who annoys us.  If they truly are trouble makers, don’t invite them.  Or uninvite yourself.  But Great Aunt Bessie going on and on about nothing: just let her ramble and leave the room.

2. Solitary Confinement

Enforced socialising is rubbish.  Make some time to be alone.  Walk the dog.  Tidy the cellar.  Sneak off to the attic for a cheeky snooze.  Even just 20 minutes to yourself will make all the difference.  Set an example and let everyone else do it too.  Teenagers want to slope off to their bedrooms to play with their new gadgets.  Let them – they’ll be far less grumpy.  And younger children might benefit from time to themselves too.

3. Family Therapy

There’s no better way of metaphorically shoving a dummy in everyone’s mouth than a great Christmas film.  If you’ve got to that point where everyone’s over tired, over stuffed, over talked and drunk, then open a box of chocs and stick the telly on.

4. Accomplices

Doing everything yourself? This is no way of coping with Christmas.  You will wear yourself ragged.  And everyone will treat you like a servant.  Or they’ll be resentful that they don’t get a look in.  By the end of the day, you’ll be ready to strangle someone.  Share out the jobs.  Make people feel involved.  Give yourself a break.

5. Calm down!

Being a control freak at Christmas is a sure fire path to murder.  Forgot the holly? Got the wrong napkins?  Cat ate the giblets?  IT DOESN’T MATTER!

Merry Christmas, have a good one!

Coping with christmas





The Big DYP Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Gift Guide

We have scoured the internet, to give you the DYP Gift Guide.  We’ve gone mostly for independent businesses.  And we’ve aimed for some unusual and unique gifts.  If you can’t find some inspiration here, we’re sure you will on some of the websites we’ve mentioned.

The DYP Gift Guide

Gifts for Travellers

Gift List

Scratch The World Print We found this fabulous concept map from Maps International.  It’s the perfect gift for anyone intent on conquering the world.  Whenever you visit a country, you can scratch off the gold coating to reveal the country beneath.

The Yorkshire Beer Experience  If someone’s grounded for the winter, how about a virtual trip round God’s Own County in beer? A kit with lots of different Yorkshire ales.

Gifts for Babies

What do you get for the little person who doesn’t even understand Christmas yet?  They’re probably going to prefer playing with the box and the wrapping paper anyway.

Teething Ring  How about something useful like this teething ring from Little KG Boutique.  It’s pretty too, and doubles up as a rattle.  Very handy.

Wooden Shape Sorter Or a handmade, personalised wooden toy, like this shape sorter from Auntie Mims.

Personalised Silver Plated Baby Spoon For the baby born with silver spoon in it’s mouth, how about a personalised keepsake to treasure as baby grows up.

Gift List Gift List

Gifts for Parents

You know what mums need?  Time off, of course!  So how about an experience.  There’s a tonne of art and craft days at , as well as plenty of other experiences.  Red Letter Days have vouchers for hobbies, crafts, food and drink, dance and music experiences and more.  We also looked at what our colleagues at Not On The High Steet were offering.  We found, amongst other things, a Harmonica lesson, a luxury chocolate tasting evening, and an alpaca walk and fleece felting experience.

Gifts for the Ethically Minded and Over-stuffed

Gift ListSo many of us just have too much stuff already.  How nice would it be to share the Christmas love with individuals and communities that really need it.  Oxfam have vouchers that will buy a goat for a rural family or provide winter warmth for a refugee, or a toilet for a village, and much more.  Good Gifts have vouchers that help people set up micro businesses, buy text books, provide baby clothes etc.  That’s just how all encompassing our Gift Guide is!

Gifts for Music Lovers

If you have a music-lover to buy for, look no further than Guitar Geekery, with mugs, tshirts, posters and more.

Gift Guide

Gift GuideOr the best of musical biographies in the Rough Trade shop. Or some vinyl from an independent record store. To find a local one in the UK, search here or for the USA search here.  They aren’t definitive lists, but they’re a start.


Gifts for Foodies

True foodies are a bit tricky.  Do they really want a kit?  They probably have half the ingredients already.  And they’re probably sinking under a mound of recipe books.  But what about something a bit unusual?  Make your own bacon perhaps?  Or cheese?

Gift Guide

Yorkshire’s finest, Betty’s do vouchers.  Treat someone local to a posh afternoon tea, or a choice from the Betty’s mail order service for those further afield.

Gifts for your Lover

Gift GuideAhem, well, it depends doesn’t it.  Romantic, sexy, practical ?  Well, here’s something cheesy.  Or should we say chocolatey.  A Romantic Chocolate Gesture from Morse Toad.


What about some gorgeous jewellery.  We like this pendant by Kaila Jewellery, if Santa’s reading this, nudge nudge.  And who doesn’t want a swish new watch eh?  This Zoom Beat Watch from Maxout is something a bit different.

Gift Guide Gift Guide

Gifts for Children

Children can never have enough books.  In our humble opinion.  Whatever they’re in to, there’s a book for that.  The Book Trust gives exhaustive lists and ideas for all ages and interests.  Have a browse.  What could be better!

Gift Guide

Gifts from DYP

Of course no DYP Gift Guide would be complete without including DYP gifts too!  Lots of cheeky mugs, prints and teatowels.

Gift Guide Gift Guide




8 things you should do right now for Christmas

Christmas Preparations


Just 17 days to go, it’s time for some serious Christmas preparations.   Need a new sofa?  Deep-cleaning the house?  Forget all that.  Boil it down to the essentials.  Booze, cards, tree, food, presents.  Who cares about the rest?

Here’s eight things you should do right now to prepare for Christmas.

Christmas Preparations

  • Do your online shopping. Remember last year when you ordered everything last minute and had to explain to the kids that Santa had broken down on the motorway? Last date for Royal Mail posting is 21st  But you know your parcel will get stuck at the depot for three days.  Come on, how much stress do you need?
  • Get your cards written and sent. What, you’re not sending any this year?  Aww man, not any?  Here’s five good reasons why you really should.  The earlier you send them, the more likely you are to get some in return, hehe!
  • Book your supermarket delivery slot. Guess what, Tesco’s delivery slots are ALL TAKEN for the week before Christmas in our area.  Already!  Arghh!  ……. ‘scuse me while I do my order….

Christmas Preparations

  • … I’m back.  Bake and freeze some Christmas deserts this weekend. Make up some mince pies and freeze them in their tart tin.  You can bake them from frozen.  Great for those emergency last minute guests.  Or how about making up some Christmas icecream? There’s a recipe here  but you can mix the fruit and spices into ready-made icecream to speed things up.
  • If you haven’t already got your Christmas tree, get it now. Who hasn’t spent days driving round town looking for the last tree.  And not finding one.  And having to cut out a tree shape in green paper and stick it on the wall?  Oh, just us then.

Christmas Preparations

  • Wrapping paper.   Have you got?  It’s surprising how long it takes to wrap presents.  Unless you’re a bloke/cheat who just bungs everything in gift bags.  Anyway, start doing it now, and save yourself drinking time on Christmas eve.
  • Hide the sweets and chocolate. Places that have proved childproof in this house: inside flour packets, behind the most dull looking books, in my sock draw.  Nowhere else is safe.  Plus, if you forget, that makes a nice surprise sometime in the future.
  • And get into the Christmas spirit. Come on, you know you want to.  And if you can’t find any, try the wine instead.

Christmas Preparations


Hygge Christmas Cards with Melissa Holmes

My, it’s busy at DYP headquarters this month.  But that hasn’t stopped us from producing a fabulous new range of Hygge Christmas cards.  And in the spirit of Hygge it’s come about with a lovely collaboration with a great friend.


If you’ve not yet heard of Hygge (pronounced hue-gah) it’s a Danish word that describes simple pleasure, comfort, and good times.  It’s all about being with friends and family, cosying up, happiness, kinship and simpleness.    Well, running a greetings card company is not always simple and cosy, but we do thrive on friendship and family.  So we were thrilled when a friend got in touch with a proposal.

Hygge Christmas Cards


The fabulous papercutting artist and all round good egg called us to see if we wanted to collaborate with her.  How could we say no?  Her designs are amazing, and we couldn’t resist.  This is a first for DYP, and we’re really excited about it.

Hygge Christmas Cards

Melissa Holmes

Melissa Holmes of Holmes-made Papercuts is a self-taught papercutting artist.  She creates her delicate works of art using paper, fabric, watercolour and a scalpel.   Formally a journalist, Melissa shares our passion for words, and combines those with her love of natural surrounds.  Her work often includes flowers, architecture, quotations and typography.  She produces special personalized commissions for clients, as well as teaching workshops.

Hygge Christmas Cards  melissa1

Hygge Christmas Cards

We have worked with Melissa to create a gorgeous range of Hygge Christmas cards.  The artwork by Melissa is inspired by her papercutting and is printed using luxury archival ink on luxury 400gsm paper.  We think you’ll agree, they’re a little bit special.


Happy Thanksgiving to our American Friends!

We don’t have to explain the importance of Thanksgiving to our friends over the pond.  But here in the UK, it’s still a bit of a mystery.  What exactly is  it?

The First Thanksgivings

It all started with those first European settlers in America.  In Canada it’s traced back to 1578.  Explorer Martin Frobisher had been trying to make his way by sea from Britain to the Pacific around by a northwest passage. He held his thanksgiving celebration of surviving the journey.  He held the ceremony on Nunavut Island, with a service to give thanks to God.


And then again French Canadians trace it the early 1600s and the first French settlers celebrating their successful harvests.

New elements to the celebrations were added as new immigrants from Europe arrived, but the turkey thing didn’t really get there until American Revolution when those fleeing the revolution settled in Canada.Thanksgiving

In the USA, the first thanksgiving is usually attributed to the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621.  Puritans emigrated from England in the 1620s.  They took with them traditions of fasting and  thanksgiving with them.  Their Thanksgiving was for their harvest.  But we have to remember that the USA was being settled by people from all over Europe.  They all brought their own individual traditions with them, and put them in the melting pot.  There are claims for instance that Spanish explorers in Texas celebrated thanksgiving feasts much earlier.


Whatever the origins, it was much much later that an actual date was settled on.  And wasn’t until 1941 that the US settled on the third Thursday in November.  Canada celebrates it on the second Monday of October.

The Celebration

So that’s the background.  I guess we’ve all watched enough movies to get the idea of the celebration.  Traditionally there’s turkey on the menu, as far as the food is concerned.  And Pumpkin Pie.  And it’s all about friends and family.  It’s often a much bigger social occasion than Christmas.  There’s obviously a religious part to it, with Thanksgiving to God, but it’s also a cultural secular celebration.

The days after Thanksgiving are given as holiday for many.  Except retail staff, who probably have their busiest day of the year.  Retailers take the opportunity to offer huge incentives for people to start their Christmas shopping.  The Friday after Thanksgiving has become known as Black Friday.  And Cyber Monday: when everyone returns to work and presumably uses their works’ internet to do their online shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving

But it’s Thanksgiving itself that has the real cultural significance for Americans.  We wish you all a very happy day!

Black Friday Sale, 30% Off!

Black Friday

Black Friday Sale

It’s Thanksgiving this Thursday, so all our US friends will be getting ready for the big celebration.  But wherever you are, the third week in November means it really is time to get your shit together with Christmas shopping.  So how’s this for a bit of motivation: our Black Friday sale will give you a MASSIVE  30% off in our shop from this Friday 25th to Monday 28th.  Just use the the code: BF30 at checkout.


Black Friday  Black Friday Mugs  Black Friday Black Friday  Mugs

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Black Friday Black Friday Black Friday Black Friday Black Friday

The Gold Standard

Black Friday  Black Friday   Black Friday  Black Friday  Black Friday


Don’t forget the Thankyou card for all those fabulous presents you’re going to get!

Black Friday


DYP Mugs, Which Hot Drinks Do You Put In Yours?


Have you seen our glorious new DYP mugs?  I bet you’re thinking “just the ticket for drinking Prosecco” aren’t you?  But wait, there’s so many other things you could try.

Irish Coffee

How about the old Irish Coffee.  I always thought the name was just another of those dodgy things that gets “irish” bunged in front of it with no regard for actual Irishness.  But apparently I’m wrong.  it was invented by Joe Sheridan in 1943 at Foynes Port in Limerick for cold damp passengers.  Actual provenance.  Provenance of my recipe, cold wet field somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales circa 1993.  Here it is: Make a cup of coffee. Put whisky in it.  Top tip: don’t use your mother’s single malt because her wrath will spoil the taste.



Soup is a problem.  Do you eat it?  Do you drink it?  Putting it in mugs only confuses the issue further.  I’ll definitely eat mine with a spoon.  But try this mushroom soup anyway: Chanterelle mushrooms, shallots, stock, cream, garlic, salt, pepper and large dash of dry sherry.  Sounds like the sort of supper that needs to be accompanied by Prosecco.  Which raises another problem: you’re gonna need two mugs.

Mulled Wine

Now I used to think mulled wine was wrong.  I mean who would do that to wine?  A travesty second only to putting red wine in the fridge.  But I have since revised my opinion.  It’s not red wine really, and it is rather nice.  I’ve tried loads of recipes including those kits people give you for Christmas.  And none of them are that great.  Plus you have to waste a perfectly good bottle of red wine.  So here’s one that works.  Go to nearest supermarket.  Buy bottle of mulled wine.  Pour into a pan, heat, serve.  No red wine was harmed in this recipe.


Mugs of Hot Chocolate

So I googled this one and now I wish I hadn’t.  Bacon, Hazelnut Bourbon and Frangelico Hot Chocolate anyone?  I like the sound of the “Irish Hot Chocolate” with Guinness, whiskey and Baileys though.  Even though the last time I drank Baileys it mostly ended up down a friend’s broken toilet.

If all of this sounds way too scary, we’ll not penalise you for using your mugs for a good old cuppa tea.  But we’re diggin around in the back of auntie’s sideboard for some Frangelico.  Which according to Wikipedia is made of ancient Italian monks.  And hazelnuts.  Enjoy.

Mugs Mugs Mugs Mugs


2016 Grim Reaper’s Haul: Enough is Enough!

2016 is turning out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Grim Reaper has been at it again.  Tearing his way through the music industry.  Just in the last week he’s had Leon Russel, Leonard Cohen and today Mose Allison.  What a bloody year!   In 2015 we lost Lemmy,  Errol Brown, B B King, and Allen Toussaint, so maybe every year is a good year for the Reaper.  But really, we think he’s had his share this year.   Some of these guys were old, we know they had to go some time.  But please no more!  We asked our resident muso/social media manager to put together a bit of a playlist for us.

Influential jazz and blues musician, Mose Allison, who died today

The Playlist


The Grim Reaper’s 2016 Haul

Just incase you’re too young to know who these guys and gals are, here’s a quick guide to the 2016 departed.

  • Mose Allison, influential jazz and blues pianist, singer and songwriter
  • Leon Russel, American musician and record producer
  • Leonard Cohen, singer, songwriter, guitarist
  • Pete Burns, singer, songwriter and tv celeb, founder of Dead or Alive
  • Prince, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, innovator
  • David Bowie, singer, songwriter and actor, innovator
  • Candye Kane, blues singer
  • Merle Haggard, country singer/songwriter/guitarist
  • Bernie Worrell, keyboardist and founding member of Parliament/Funkadelic
  • Lemmy, bass player and Motorhead frontman
  • George Martin, fifth member of the Beatles
  • Glen Frey best known as founding member of The Eagles
  • Keith Emerson, keyboard player with The Nice, and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
  • Paul Kantner guitarist, singer songwriter, founder of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship
  • Viola Beach, indie band from Warrington, all died in a car accident
  • Maurice White, singer, songwriter, record producer, and member of Earth Wind and Fire
  • Dave Swarbrick, folk fiddler, member of Fairport Convention
  • Robert Stigwood, Australian music entrepreneur best known for managing Cream and the Bee Gees and producer on Saturday Night Fever and Grease
  • Otis Clay, R and B and Soul Singer
  • Prince buster, Jamaican ska and rocksteady singer songwriter and producer