Hello there, how was your Christmas? I hope it was all you wanted it to be, and it didn’t pass too quickly? Ours seemed to disappear in the blink of an eye, although it was a thoroughly enjoyable time spent with family and friends.
I can’t believe it’s been six days since I was last at the Q, but I just wanted to drop you a line before the end of the year to thank you so very much for the support you’ve given to the blog in 2016.
I really enjoyed reading about your Christmases past, and uncanny how so many of us share similar memories. Thank you so much for taking the time to get in touch when you were so busy. It was great to hear from so many of you.
It’s probably because we are roughly the same age, but it made me smile to know that for some of us, things never change. Traditions, favourite foods, Christmas stockings and best present ever, I guess that’s what it’s all about.
We had a wonderful surprise when Colin’s daughter Vicky, who was away in New York this Christmas with her boyfriend Lewis, called to let us know that he had just proposed to her on the Brooklyn Bridge! He presented her with a fabulous diamond solitaire, which, as she said, was the best Christmas present ever. We are all thrilled, and will be looking forward to celebrating together later on today.
That was on the 23rd and we were still buzzing with excitement when Sam and Jack came to stay with us on Christmas Eve night. Having raised a glass to the newly engaged couple and stuffed ourselves full of a whole host of calorific nightmares, we spent a very enjoyable evening together in front of the fire.
We opened our presents in the morning and I was given some lovely presents, but my surprise from Colin was in the garden – more on that later! The boys headed back to Bedfordshire and Colin and I drove towards Swindon where we were treated to a fabulous Christmas dinner at Lucy and Simon’s.
Not only had he cooked a turkey, but venison marinaded in Port, roast potatoes, chestnuts, vegetables and all the trimmings! It was an absolute feast, and we ate as much as we could. Honey did her best too although she, like Lucy, had fallen foul of a horrid bug that I know many of you have struggled with and is very much like flu. Not pleasant at all!
In spite of that, Honey was excited to have her Christmas presents and then happy to put her coat on and take the pram we had bought her for a little spin outside, bless her. She had some lovely gifts but her favourite by a long way were two sheets of stickers! She stuck them everywhere and this morning I was still peeling them off various articles of clothing!
It was lovely to meet up the following day with Simon’s parents, his sister and her family, and, of course, Henry and George. We didn’t get round to charades, but did have some fun reading out the cracker jokes at the table! We headed home after a delicious lunch to meet three of Colin’s children; Lily Richard and Joe, who were on their way to see us at home. We played Cards Against Humanity, which isn’t for the faint hearted, I have to be honest! Call me old fashioned but give me a game of Snakes and Ladders any day!
The anticipation I had alluded to in my previous blog about the whole family getting together today (30th) was in its infancy then, and numbers were only confirmed yesterday. Although we sadly won’t see everyone, I’ll be feeding twelve adults and Honey! Slow-cooked gammon in muscavado sugar and roast turkey with all the trimmings is on the menu, but I’ve cheated with the puddings and let Colin buy those. Not sure little Calla would enjoy the choices but, as you can see, she is growing so quickly and getting more gorgeous by the day.
I’ve spent relatively little time in the kitchen this Christmas, but something I will be adding to my pan collection is our Today’s Special Value from Cook’s Essentials. The three pans come in four different colours for under £35 (excluding P&P). Everything you could need to update your collection of pans or for someone setting up their own home.
In fact, if you’re short of space or time, or maybe want to learn to cook and eat a little more healthily, then I have truly innovative kitchen product for you from Panasonic. It’s our New Year’s Day TSV and is a combi microwave with a 23 litre capacity, 16 automatic programs (including cooking food based on its weight), a convenient drop-down door and a catalytic lined oven which then self-cleans at high temperatures.
Microwaved food can be browned in here, or you could roast something in the more traditional way. It’s even got a child lock to keep little hands out of hot places! Find out more on our QCommunity page. It’ll be really special to see the New Year in with you, so I hope you’ll be there just before midnight for the countdown!
Oh, I nearly forgot to tell you about my surprise Christmas present from Colin! There it was standing in the garden on Christmas morning! Something I’ve wanted for a long time – a bird table! His timing is perfect as I’m with Richard Jackson on the 7th January when he has a wonderful offer on his magical bird feed! I hope to get the birds to my table before that and have some pics for you then.
Well I’d better gather my photos together before I post this, and while I was scrolling through them I found some I’d taken over the year of various sunsets in various countries – magical memories.
I do want to thank you before I close, as without all your kind words, regular responses, comments and contributions to the blog, it wouldn’t be the fabulous support network it now is. Ali’s Army will march into 2017 better than ever, and I pray that for all of us it will be a kind year, and one filled with all that makes us happy. Take care and I’ll look forward to hearing from you next year.
With my love,