As Christmas approaches this really is a time when everyone fortunate enough to have a log fire, will gather around as a family and enjoy all the wonders of a fire but we thought you may like to hear our 10 best fireside tips!
1. Roasting Chestnuts - Perhaps not so common these days, but roasted chestnuts are delicious. You need a Chestnut Roaster which is a metal pan with holes and a long handle. Wash the chestnuts and cut a cross in them to avoid exploding! Put into the fire and they should be done in about 20-25 mins. They will need a shake every 5 mins or so. Once cooked, removed the skins, leave to cool, then enjoy!
2. Making toast - Ideally you need a toasting fork to hold the bread at an angle over the fire, but best done over very hot almost white logs ideally without flame. This will allow the bread to brown quite quickly so keep checking it. It may take some practice but when you get the fire just right, it will toast very quickly. It is actually rather fun and quite rewarding to have cooked your own toast - great for the children, but just make sure you have a long toasting fork!
3. Roasting marshmallows - Probably best to use a similar long handled fork, but I think everyone knows how to roast marshmallows. Just be careful not to leave them too long as they will drip all over the fire and make a real mess on the hearth!
4. Chubby Bunny game - Here's a good one. Get a few of you around the fire with a bag of marshmallows. The one who can get the most in their mouth and clearly say 'Chubby Bunny' wins!!
5. Snuggling - This one takes little imagination - perhaps turn the lights down or off, and light a few candles and put a few cushions around the fire and snuggle up in front of a good soppy film!
6. Board games - Scrabble, monopoly, trivial pursuits - you name it there are so many that you could play as a family lying on a rug around the fire.
7. Christmas Quiz - Try the internet or the newspapers for a good Christmas quiz - Just make sure the teams are fair if varying ages - we don't want any family quarrels!
8. Charades - Always a great one for after your Christmas lunch. Get yourself into a couple of teams, select some names of TV programmes, films etc onto little pieces of paper and pass them round.
9. Listening to your favourite Christmas music - Well, what more can I say, you know your favourite ones, but how about "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree" - Brenda Lee; "Santa Baby" - Eartha Kitt; "Just Like Christmas" - Low; "Fairytale of New York" - The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl; "Merry Xmas Everybody" - Slade and finally "Lonely This Christmas" - Mud
10. Preparing for Santa - This is the really fun bit, preparing for Santa with the children. Just before bedtime, putting out the mince pies, the carrot, the glass of sherry/brandy/whisky and finally a sprinkling of flour so that they can see his footprints in the morning!!
Otherwise if you don't have a fire, see our latest video which will provide you with the sound and ambience of a real woodburning fire. Play it through your computer or TV!