So here it is, my very last post before Christmas! I’ve been writing this blog for 10 years now (I know!) and every year, I say the same thing: if you’re cooking the Christmas lunch – and getting stressed about it – remember it’s your Christmas too. I’ve got loads of tips here to make the day as stress free and laid back as possible for you, so you can enjoy your Christmas day with your family and friends. So find a quiet corner, Treat yourself to my perfect frozen whipped cream hot chocolate, grab a notebook, have a read through and take few minutes to make a plan. And remember, it’s basically just a big roast dinner, and this guide will help you do most of the work on Christmas Eve so you can spend as much time as possible with the family, and as little as possible in the kitchen on the big day!
I love a good surprise, so when John Lewis very kindly invited me to team up to choose a surprise gift for a fellow blogger, I was delighted. I was teamed up with the gorgeous Sam Squire, the uber stylish blogger behind mens fashion and lifestyle blog ImSamSquire. My boys are obsessed with Sam and particularly love his cool outfit shoots and I wanted to put together a really stylish mens grooming kit that would impress Sam, as well as give you a few last minute ideas for gifts for the stylish man in your life
Our new kitchen/diner space is finally finished, and I’m absolutely loving having another space to decorate. Let’s face it, the kitchen is where I spend most of my time, and having the tree and decorations in it has made the space even more special. If you saw our simply hygge Christmas dinner party (DO make that slow roasted lamb in sloe gin – it’s delicious), you would have seen some of the decorations. I just wanted to do a bit of a roundup and recommend a few things to you. If you’re doing your decorating this weekend, have a look at the Christmas decorations from Next. Honestly, they’ve got so many lovely quirky things – you won’t be disappointed
Last night, we spent the most magical evening in London. I always love going to London at this time of the year to look at all the lights (my Dad used to drive us to London and drive down Oxford Street when we were little – it was one of the highlights of Christmas!) and we were especially lucky to be treated to a gorgeous sail down the Thames with MBNA Thames Clippers, London’s fabulous riverboat service, alighting at the London Eye to catch the festive production of Peter Pan at the National Theatre. It’s such a lovely, lovely way to travel too.
Ahh, Miss Lyra. What would I do without her? She’s such a constant in my life, getting me up and about every day (I can usually get to about 9am before the first moaning starts, nagging at me to go walkies), keeping me company all day while I’m working, listening patiently while I chat to her about work issues and complain about unpaid invoices, hiding behind the sofa when we argue, and generally making my life a lot happier (there’s the rolling in fox poo and getting the bin out all over the kitchen floor, but we’ll skim over those bits). So what better way to show your appreciation for your four legged friend than a little gift or two? Here are a few suggestions on what to buy your dog for Christmas.
This weekend is one of my favourites of the whole year. The first weekend in December (or possibly the second, depending on timing) is tree decorating day. The men of the house go out and forage (okay, not exactly forage) for a Christmas tree, and we spend a lovely day with Christmas songs blasting, digging through all the decorations from the loft (they always bring back memories, don’t they?) and decorating the house. This year, as it’s the first year we’ve got our lovely new open kitchen/diner, I really wanted a kitchen Christmas tree and the boys did a fabulous job finding me the perfect one. To celebrate all this hygge activity (remember hygge? The Danish concept of warmth and family and cosiness), we decided to invite some lovely friends and – with a little help from Simply Beef and Lamb – found the perfect festive recipe: slow roasted lamb in sloe gin.
It’s finally December! Which means everywhere you click there are Christmas gift guides. I LOVE a gift guide – people always hunt out the best pressie ideas while I’m sitting here scratching my head for things to add to my Christmas wishlist. This year, I did start a little list on my phone whenever I saw something nice that I couldn’t really justify buying for myself. I think Christmas is totally the season where you can ask for luxury things and little treats! I’m not expecting them all, but if Santa’s reading, I promise I’ve been a really good girl!
So it’s Stir-up Sunday this weekend, the day when families traditionally make their Christmas puddings. This is a two-day kind of Christmas pudding recipe so I tend to start it on the Saturday then finish on Stir-up Sunday. Whenever you start this recipe, bear in mind that the finished pudding takes 5 hours to steam, so don’t start it too late in the day! This one is a vaguely orange and cranberry Christmas pudding, as I like the colour and flavour combo, but feel free to use whatever ingredients you fancy.
I know I say it every year, but if you’re cooking the Christmas lunch/dinner this year, it’s really important to remember that it’s YOUR Christmas too. I’ve got loads of tips here to make it as stress free as possible, so grab a drink, have a read through, and get your plan in order. At the end of the day, it’s just a big roast dinner, and this guide will help you spend as much time as possible with the family, and as little as possible in the kitchen!
Every year when it’s coming up to Christmas, we have the same old conversation about whether we’d go away and spend it somewhere else. We’re generally divided. The boys aren’t so keen, but I’d love to spend Christmas somewhere cool (sometimes we just need to break out and do something a bit different). Here’s my pick of five AMAZING destinations I’d love to visit over the festive period. So, pack your bags, book your flight cheaper with Hotels.com deals, and give your family something unique this Christmas – the whole wide world!
If you’re a ‘last minute Larry’ like me, there are still plenty of wonderful things to buy, and often, if you hang around for a bit before ordering, you’ll find there are quite a few deals to be had. First things first, though, you need a mince pie and a glass of fizz….
I’m not a huge fan of the Christmas jumper. Not in a ‘bah humbug’ way, really, but there’s just something about a bulky, colourful jumper that doesn’t really suit me. Every year, though, I see everyone else wearing them and want to join in. So is there such a thing as a stylish Christmas jumper? I went on a little hunt, and I found some proper Christmas crackers!
So it’s 1st December, which means I can finally start to mention Christmas without people throwing things (who am I kidding? I’ve been doing it for weeks already). I’m a complete Christmas-a-holic, and absolutely adore a Christmas advert too. I still cry EVERY TIME that single tear rolls down the face of the Man in the Moon, and every time Mog the Forgetful Cat accidentally ruins Christmas, I well up all over again.
The Christmas shopping has begun in earnest, so I was delighted to discover a gorgeous new website that’s going to be verrrry handy indeed. Join up and tell Lyst your favourite shops and brands, and you can see them all in one place. Once you’re logged in, you choose which brands and shops you want to follow, save items to buy later and even flag items so Lyst will let you know when they’re on sale – genius! There are items from designer brands like JBrand, Gucci and Michael Kors and retailers like Zara, Selfridges, Asos, Topshop, John Lewis and The Outnet. The lovely people at Lyst asked me to choose a few of my faves, so I’ve chosen carefully, just in case Mr E is reading…
IT’S NEARLY HERE! If you’re hosting Christmas lunch/dinner this year, here is everything you need to do, including lots of tips to make it stress free and ensure you spend your precious time with your family and friends, and not too much chained to the oven! Remember, don’t panic, and just think of it as a roast dinner on a slightly larger scale.
Before you start, grab a cuppa and have a read through:
Lovely Asda sent me a very festive hamper this weekend: not chocolates, or chutney, no, the best kind: MEAT!
Of course, not everyone wants to eat a traditional roast turkey at Christmas, and Asda’s Extra Special range has some stunning alternatives, including an Extra Special rack of venison, and a unique six bird roast, with British turkey, skinless duck fillet, chicken breast, wild pheasant, partridge and pigeon. The thought of these ‘bird within a bird’ roasts sometimes puts me off (how do you cut off the skin and inedible bits of each bird?) but Asda’s chefs have worked hard to create a dish with all the nice edible bits. It’s covered in a lattice of oak smoked streaky bacon and all you need to do is shove it in the oven. It serves 10 and costs £40 – in store now.
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