Just a quick note to you all to wish you a wonderful festive season. I’m writing this on the Monday evening before Christmas, with one more day at work before I can really focus on cooking for the day itself.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be wondering exactly what you can cross off your ‘to do’ list without actually doing it, in an attempt to stay calm and serene (haha!) in the last few days before Christmas. I always think I’m fairly organised but then I get that ground rush effect when time speeds up and suddenly we’re almost there and I’m not ready! But I’ve learned not to worry if I don’t serve up three different stuffings alongside the turkey, or if one of the puddings isn’t homemade. I only have eight to feed on Christmas Day – it was 19 last year – and the 13 with us on Boxing Day will be happy with ham, baked potatoes and salad, so I’m really trying to remember that it’s all about getting together and enjoying the company of loved ones rather than exhausting myself by providing a banquet.
This year will be the first Christmas that we don’t have all our children with us. Charlie is in Val D’Isere in the French Alps working as a ski chalet chef – he has a group of 14 to cater for, so next year I have plans to retire from my position of head chef and let him take over! We will miss him, but I suppose having your offspring grow up and use their wings is what being a parent is all about – it shows you’ve done your job properly.
Bex and Billy will both be with us, along with two of my brothers. Then most of my family descend on us for Boxing Day – I’m really looking forward to it. We tend to keep to the same traditions each year and that includes our decorations – the oldest is the angel on top of the tree which Bex made when she was three, twenty years ago. The cotton wool head is a little lopsided but she’s hanging in there!
We have two trees, one with red lights in the sitting room and the other with white lights and silver decorations in the conservatory end of the kitchen. Each year I buy something new from QVC and this adorable reindeer was my choice this year. I resisted his charms last year but when I saw him again on one of our Countdown to Christmas shows I knew he had to be mine!
I managed to get the cake finished early this year – in the photo here next to the homemade cranberry sauce I’ve just made (which is really quick and easy to make and SO much nicer than from a jar). In an attempt to be healthy I haven’t iced the cake with sugar and marzipan but used nuts and cherries instead. But if I consider the amount of alcohol I’ve fed the cake over the past few weeks I think I’m really only kidding myself about the health bit!
Having successfully lost some weight during the autumn (thanks to Christianne Wolff and her Body Rescue book, which will be available on QVC in January) I will be trying to avoid totally over-eating this year, but I’m not going to be obsessive about it – after all, if you can’t enjoy eating at Christmas, when can you?!
I hope you are with family or friends on Christmas Day, and that the day brings whatever makes you happy. Christmas can heighten any sadness or loss you’ve faced over the past year, and my thoughts are with you if happiness seems far away at the moment. I hope you find some peace, at least.
With all my good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. I’ll be back with you on air on QVC with the Morning Show on Tuesday 30th. Hope to see you then!