Friday, 7 January 2011

In the bleak midwinter....

... is not only one of my favourite Yuletide songs because it hints at the Winter Solstice, but it is also the perfect time to invite all your immediate family for dinner. And starter. And pudding. And tea. Which is exactly what I did. It was a long old week, full of severe over indulgence. Scrap that. Out and out Gluttony is more apt.

... nom nom nom.... Christmas in a small toffifee cup of yum

Snow had most certainly fallen. Snow on snow on snoooooow (see what I did there?) Due to all the "I'm-logged-on-and-working-from-home-honest!-"days that we had in the South before Santa day arrived, I was able to get organised to a military standard. I don't know where I would have been without my chest freezer. Best £35 I have ever spent!

I had the starter (white fish goujons a'la Nigella) prepped and ready to be cooked from frozen, along with the rosemary roast lamb which I defrosted and popped in the bottom of the oven to heat through on the day. The parsnips, stuffing, pigs wrapped in pig (oh how I loathe them!) were all pre cooked and were ready to go. I made the pudding the night before (Clementine & Cointreau jelly with cinnamon ice cream -  nom!) along with the bread sauce (who eat's that stuff?! oh... wait... ma famillie ...) so I literally just had veg to do on the day. I'm not too sure why I looked do flustered then.

 We had to re jig our front room to be able to accommodate everyone. And we had to tidy. I had forgotten how much I love having an organised front room. In fact, it is one of my new years resolutions. Yep. 3 guesses how long that lasted.

 I wore my cream square necked dress - which you can see a better picture of here -  but teamed it with brown tights. I spent the day regretting it -  as I felt the need to wear my pinny all day to protect it. Fool!

I finally got a chance to prove to The Beard that I do need my ravenous miscellany of crockery. I had been collecting it all year -  and I was so organised that I had even labelled each dish so I knew what to put in it. No. You are mistaken. Its or-gan-ised, not anally retentive. No.. no... I assure you... you are quite wrong. Or-gan-ised.

I made Ma a lovely, if not a tad small, birthday cake. The wee-ness is my own fault for buying cheap cake tins through work. Heart shaped it may have been. Cake mixture secure it was not. And because I am uber organised, I had put a baking tray underneath, so I had sponge pancakes to help me eat my way though the misery of a slightly flatter than anticipated cake. But all was saved by the wondrous frosting I made. Both me and Ma love Nutella. Not perverted by toast, straight from the jar with a spoon. I told you. Gluttony. And in light of this I chose to make a sumptuous Nutella covering from The Caked Crusader. If you have not checked out her blog and you like a cake with your cuppa, check her out.

It was a Yule / birthday meal, as it was Ma's 50th on the 23rd Dec, hence the cake and jelly & ice cream for pudding! You can't have a birthday party without it. It's just not cricket. You may recall my show and tell post about the blanket just before Christmas? Well, I am pleased to report that it went down a storm! I have never seen someone looked so shocked. She thought I had bought it. And then, when she realised I had made it, she kept repeating "you can't buy this in the shops you know, my daughter made if for me, you can't buy this in the shops". So, it was a success. Hurrahs!

Ma looks on and Nan with mouth a-gog. Dad? Not fussed.

I received some lovely gifts, but mostly money and vouchers to pick my own stuff. I know some folk may think that this sort of gift giving is a bit of a cop out -  but I would rather have something I need or would like than a piece of tat that gets recycled. Or worse. Put on the shelf of shame.

However, the below is not shameful toot. It is a piece made by my dear old Pops in honor of a trip we took to France this year in search of my maternal Great-Great Grandfather. With original ribbons and cap badges at the top and bottom, I became quite emotional. It may have been the half glass of red I had been nursing, over tiredness or smoke in my eye, but I burst into tears. Much to the dismay of the room, who thought I didn't like it. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Once I get some decent nails, it is going straight up on the wall.

There is also proof that blog writing pays dividends. Especially if The Beard reads it. I received from my beloved Coco Madmoiselle parfume and The Good Night Sweetheart boxset. Most excellent!

And then it was Boxing Day. I did breakfast for all -  including impromptu pancakes for my Granddad. And me. Yummers!

My Boxing Day outfit. My trusted wool skirt and a new jumper. From the high street emporium of old lady-ness -  Bon Marche.

Then it was time for a lovely, if laborious, snowy, walk. Ahhh.. the fresh and cold air!

In all, my first big family Yule was a success. I don't think I have ever made so many cups of tea, or asked so many times "can I get you anything?" or "no, leave that there, I'll wash it up / take it out for you".

I hope you all had a fest-tastic time folks! Up next.... 1980's New Years Eve on the Isle!  

Pip! Pip!


  1. That looks like a great day! Well done on all the organising, you'd never know it but I like a good bit of organisation too!

  2. Lovely post about your Christmas festivites and I knew your Mum would love her quilt. The collage of your Great-great Grandfather's WWI belongings and photos is such a thoughtful present.

    Happy New Year to you and The Beard, Land Girl


    P.S. I didn't know you could still buy Toffifee!


    Aren't home made gifts the best? Mine wasn't quite as home-made, I designed a book of wedding photos as had copies printed and bound for my Dad and Father In Law.

    The snowy walk looks fab. We went for a drink while the turkey was in the oven and had to rescue a stranded car (digging and pushing burned off some of the pringles-and-cheese calories though).

  4. PS. I love finding fabness in unexpected shops like bonmarche and (my current fave) Wilkinsons! I got a whole bunch of shabby-chic kitchenware from Robert Dias...sneaked it to the till while the husband was looking at man-gadgets ha ha!

  5. Glad to hear you had such a fab christmas.

    Nutella eh? I have a muffin recipe you might like........

  6. Hey! Tof-fee-feeeeeeeeee is very much still available - but it only tends to make an appearence at Christmas time. In wilkos of all places. And for £2.50 for 48 pieces (i love the fact they are called "pieces") how could I resist? I am pleased to say that I have one layer left - for now.

  7. Your front room is huge! That is what you get when you don't live in London I suppose, I am most envious. And I adore the union jack and owl cushions (yes, I enlarged the picture so I could have a good snoop).

    Your outfits on both days are charming. Plus the photo of your gran gaping made me smile, and the lovely gift from your dad. Sounds like you had a topping festive season, huzzah! x

  8. I got a little bit teary just reading that! Lovely post!

  9. Sounds like you had a very organised party! And it's nice to find someone else that appreciates nutella in it's natural form ;)

  10. What a wonderful party, I hope it was as enjoyable as it sounds! Your house looks lovely too, and I have the same owl cushion - good choice! Love the picture of your family too. Mum and Nan "oh my word isn't it lovely" Dad "Mmmm". Strangely similar to my family's Christmas!
    I'm with you on super organising your plates, it sounds totally sensible and not at all anal retentive if you ask me.
    Can I come to your next party?

  11. I'm not surprised you burst into tears, what a wonderful gift!! It all sounds like a great time was had and you can never be too organised - organised is good. x

  12. Firstly, where did your Boxing Day shoes come from? Tell me this instant.

    Secondly, are you telling us that the Brigitte Bardot looking woman holding the quilt to the left as you look is your mother????!!! Of a 30 year old?? (sorry hun mwah?)

    Looks like you had a fab time, well done on your Yuletide hostessness xx

  13. Thanks for all the comments chicks! I did indeed have a lovely time :)

    PD - YOU SNOOPER! ha ha ha. The owl cushion was bought but I made the union jack from some old curtain fabric. I had it on my tent at Vintage at Goodwood and decided to make it into a keeper.

    LC - The shoes are from Peacocks in the sale. I got them on line before xmas - and I have tried to get some more - but they have sold out of my size. Bums! Knew I should have bought 2 pairs at the time. I LOVE these style of shoes. Do you know what they are called? Its not T-Bar is it?

    And yes - thats me mum :) We started young! My Nan had my mum at 16 and my mum had me at 19. When I reached those ages, my Dad was eyeing me with suspiscion. But I bucked the trend!

  14. I love Coco Mademoiselle too. Your apron's fab and I have to admit I love bread sauce x

  15. LG they are indeed t-bars. I had a pair from M&S and I wore them to work every day but they broke thanks to the gap between the floor and the lift. Anyways, Office have a pair at the moment but they are a bit pricey. Will wait and see if they go on sale in the spring! x

  16. Wow-wee! What a fabulous Christmas! I love the photo of you fretting in your dress and apron- very cute.
    And your front room....huge and lovely! Very jealous.
    Glad you had a great time! xx

  17. How on earth did I miss this Post!
    Sounds like you had a good Christmas, oh, and aren’t you Miss Organised- I would have fallen to pieces if I had to play host, and in all probability would of hid in a cupboard until it was all over- not good with things like that you see!
    I love your present from your pops – that’s really something.
    Love your hair in the Boxing Day photo too- really super.
    Tups xxx


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