The Knowledge: Sing out for Christmas

It's Friday – and our experts are here to tell you how to get the most out of your weekend. Jayne Dawson talks to them

Visit it

What could be finer at this festive time of year, the last weekend before Christmas Day itself, than to sing some of our traditional carols?

Those who make it to Kirkstall Abbey on Sunday will be able to do just that in the perfect setting.

With the dramatic abbey as a background, visitors can join in with festive favourites led by local group, The Heritage Singers.

It's an outdoor event so remember to dress warmly, and to sing loudly. The concert takes place from 2-3pm.

For more information telephone 0113 230 5492, email kirkstall.abbey@leeds.gov.uk or visit

www.leeds.gov.uk/kirkstallAbbey

Read it

Life

Keith Richards and James Fox

Life is a very apt title for Keith Richards's autobiography as the 66-year-old guitar hero has certainly lived it to the full.

The book starts with his childhood in post-Second World War Dartford, where he met Mick Jagger, and ends in 2007 with the death of his beloved mother and his role in Pirates Of The Caribbean – and in between are plenty of adventures that Richards, the survivor, is happy to share.

His laid-back charm and contemplative style makes the reader feel that they are having a one-to-one chat, as he talks frankly about his drug addictions, his passion for music and guitars, love for his family and bandmates and how he wrote such classics as Satisfaction and Gimme Shelter. He even shares his favourite recipe for bangers and mash!

This is a raw, honest, unpretentious, very witty and thoroughly enjoyable book, which will change a lot of preconceptions about the rock star and will keep the fans – old and new – satisfied.

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, hardback 20

Listen to it

Various artists

Merry Xmas!

With four CDs of Christmas classics, this album features all of the popular chart-friendly Christmas hits. Songs include Girls Aloud tune I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day, Aretha Franklin's Joy To The World and Doris Day's I'll Be Home For Christmas. With a good mix of old and new and various styles (including choral tunes at the end of CD four), this is a good quality collection, which despite the long tracklisting makes for a well-rounded Christmas album.

Nest building

If you are drawn to anything shiny, sparkly and metallic, Christmas is the perfect time to indulge your guilty, glittery pleasure in your home and create your very own Shangri-la.

You may have a hefty collection of fairy lights all ready to go, but there are plenty of other fabulous, shiny, shimmery items which will appeal to your inner magpie.

For example, why not treat yourself to a gorgeous metallic lamp like the Bourgie range available in various metallic shades including chrome, gold and white gold. Or how about a shiny nickel platter – perfect for handing out those canaps at your drinks party.

Barker and Stonehouse also has a great range of cushions in metallic shades – such as the Dylan Onyx in platinum, to help make your home glitter this Christmas.

Get fit

Each week, trainer Richard Hill, of Iveridge Health Club in Rothwell, Leeds, recommends ways to help you become healthier:

At this time of year there is likely to be a seasonal type of exercise to be had – involving the snow. Try these to burn off calories:

Snow shovelling. Try clearing your driveway and your surrounding area. Half an hour can burn up to 300 calories

Snow walking. Find a field full of snow and set off. Walking in deep snow can burn up to 600 calories an hour

Snow balling. Make targets and fire away. Bending and throwing can burn around 300 in a half hour session.

Recommended by Richard Hill. For information on Iveridge health club, visit www.iveridgehealthclub.co.uk or call 01132 887 666.

Eat it

Snowball Truffles

Makes: 20

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

200g milk chocolate

2 tbsp Lyle's Golden Syrup

3 tbsp double cream

50g cake crumbs

5 tbsp Tate & Lyle Fairtrade Icing Sugar

Edible glitter or tiny stars to decorate

Method

1.Break the chocolate and place in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Leave until melted, add the Lyle's Golden Syrup and stir until smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan.

2.Stir in the cream and cake crumbs and mix well. Put in the fridge for about 1-2 hours until the mixture is stiff enough to handle.

3.To make into truffles, scoop out about 1 heaped teaspoon of the mixture and roll into a ball. Place on a plate and repeat until you have about 20 truffles.

4.Put your chosen finish into a teacup, then toss each truffle to coat evenly and carefully lift out into a paper cases. Return to the refrigerator to chill.

Store in the fridge for up to 4 days

Variation: use 200g good quality white chocolate (eg Green and Blacks) and add 50g chopped glace cherries

Tip: when making plain cupcakes, save two in the freezer to make cake crumbs.

Tip: look out for edible glitter or stars, Lakeland, Squires and Cake Craft World are good sources for fun cake decorations.

IIf you cannot find sparkly decorations the truffles can be coated in sieved Tate and Lyle Fairtrade Icing sugar

Gridlocked traffic on Leeds Road.

Workplace ‘parking tax’ plan for Leeds - but would it stop you driving in to work?