Merry Christmas!

Christmas Mincemeat Crumble Bars

Happy midwinter everyone! I always seem to be a bit delayed with posts of late. Life seems to get in the way of writing but I thought I would share a few photographs from my Christmas build-up and of course the big day itself.

With Steve being away on tour around USA, Canada and Mexico with his band The Pineapple Thief, we didn’t have the opportunity to put our Christmas tree up until he got home. Being car-less we found a local company who could deliver in Exeter which was very helpful, so thank you Dartmoor Christmas Trees for providing a great service and above all a beautiful tree. Steve and I will certainly be using them again and would highly recommend them as a company.

We spent an afternoon listening to Christmas carols and decorating our tree. Each and every bauble sparking memories. The Christmas angel that was made at Age UK Exeter with the wool that my late mother left behind, the giraffe in the scarf in memory of my nanny who was very fond of the long-necked creature and the handmade trinkets made by friends and family. I was so proud of our decorating and the tree truly looked stunning. Sicily the cat was particularly enamoured! Her little face melts my heart.

To celebrate the tree adornment I donned my baking hat and created some rather scrummy Christmas Mincemeat Crumble Bars. For the easy recipe click here!

I made a pretty little wreath for the front door out of foraged greenery which I was pretty proud of. It cost zero pennies and looks extremely pretty hanging on my front door.

Christmas morning started with brunch. It’s become a Christmas tradition for my friend and neighbour Serena to come on Christmas morning for a bite to eat and a glass of fizz. I created a festive citrus, rose and pomegranate salad and served it with rose yoghurt. Alongside the fruit salad, we ate homemade pistachio and chocolate cake and the obligatory holly topped panettone. Cake for breakfast on Christmas Day is perfectly acceptable wouldn’t you agree? Isn’t it funny how our outfits matched? It was as if it was planned but I can assure you it definitely wasn’t!

Christmas Day was merry and bright and Steve and I managed to get out in the sunshine for a walk as well as stopping off at a couple of our favourite local pubs for a swift half before lunch. It was wonderful to see so many people out and about enjoying the winter sunshine. We even managed to sit outside at The Topsham Brewery. What a treat indeed.

Feeling invigorated from our walk and drinkies we headed home to start lunch prep. I don’t tend to follow the rules when it comes to Christmas foodie fayre. This year I was only cooking for two which was a bit of a novelty and tried my darnedest not to overdo it as I hate waste! All that being said, I roasted parsnips, carrots, beetroot, sprouts and broccoli and served salmon topped with pea and pecorino mousse as the main course. It was seriously tasty and all prepared, cooked and on the table in about an hour. No early morning start for me. It might not be traditional but it was a festive foodie delight. I enjoyed it immensely. I had no room for Christmas pud after all of that so have put it back in the cupboard for another time. New Year’s perhaps?

Steve and I had a quiet evening watching the television with a cheeseboard curated with the most delicious cheeses purchased at the new kid on the block, Pullo. A great little wine and cheese shop/enoteca/cafe on Sidwell Street in Exeter. Since it opened its doors in late November I have visited numerous times. It’s a great spot to try out new wines and sample some fab cheeses. I highly recommend you drop in if you are in the area.

With Christmas done for another year, it’s time to focus on the New Year. I have no solid plans for the night itself but I do know that on New Year’s Day I want to wake up fresh so I can appreciate January 1st 2020 with a clear head.

With regards to New Year resolutions, I don’t really have any apart from trying to live life to the full. 2019 was a year filled with sadness and stress and I don’t want 2020 to follow suit. I am going to learn to say “no” without feeling guilty and on the flip side to that say “yes” a little more to the fun stuff. Take every opportunity that comes my way! You never know when that opportunity will come around again. If there is one thing I have learnt from 2019 is that life is too short to worry about the small stuff.

So, on that note, I will wish you all a very Happy New Year filled with fun and laughter. Don’t hold back and live your life to the max.

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