Mr ESLT and I have been together 11 years and during that time he has had the whole of 2 Christmas Days off but that was ok because I didn’t particularly ‘like’ Christmas anyway having lost my mum over a decade ago, my dad not being in the picture and not having any siblings. Christmas for me was never like the sugar-coated advertisements you see on the TV in the run up to the big day. However, this year his holidays fell from 13th December 2017 all the way through to 9th January 2018 (yep he still has the back to work blues to look forward to) and he vowed that we would have the Christmas that dreams are made of and it certainly did not disappoint. 2017 was a pretty tough year and my feet had barely touched the ground, therefore he took the lead on planning and organising things and even though he reassured me on a number of occasions that he had everything covered I struggled to let him do everything as I find it hard letting go (i.e. I am a control freak – I admit it). But he did it and pulled off the most amazing Christmas I have probably ever had. Here’s why….
Boy did we eat; I think from the 1st of December before I shoved anything in my mouth I said ‘well it is Christmas’. We obviously ate all the usual delights that are associated with Christmas – chocolates, party food (I shudder at the thought of ever eating another sausage roll), and of course the obligatory big fat Christmas Dinner with all the trimmings – yum! We also used it as an opportunity to try new things and even bake, something that I haven’t done for quite a while.
Now I’ll be honest I had never even heard of stollen, let alone tried it before I was sent some from ElizabethDbakes. I received some gluten-free cranberry, pistachio and orange stollen* which was absolutely divine (individual stollen bars: £3.50 each). I must admit I usually opt for chocolate when choosing a sweet treat but this was amazing and I felt so Christmassy when eating it. I must admit I have always thought gluten-free meant taste free, this stollen has proven that isn’t the case. Now, I’m sure this could be eaten throughout the year however, if you are a staunch ‘Christmas food is for Christmas’ person then not to worry ElizabethDbakes also produces a whole range of ‘free from’ treats including cakes, loaves, brownies and bars, many of which are also vegan, dairy-free and low sugar.
The only peas I usually see at Christmas are the ones on my Christmas dinner, however this year we went sent some favoured ones to try as a savoury snack from the awesomely named Taking the Pea*. In our box we found Wacky Wasabi, Cheesy Peasy Onion (my favourite), Sweet Chilli Salsa and Smoked Ham (Mr ESLT’s favourite) 12 x 40 g packets = £18.00. They are a great alternative to crisps or nuts and were great to munch on whilst watching Elf for the 400th time and wrapping a bazillion presents, especially as they are a source of protein and high in fibre, something not many bags of crisps could describe themselves as. The great thing about these peas is they are not traditional ‘Christmas food’ meaning we can eat them all year round without feeling awkward about it. Also they are a great handy size meaning great, yet filling food to shove in my bag and to snack on whilst travelling
I love baking, in fact I find it very therapeutic. Unfortunately, firstly I very rarely find the time and secondly, if I’m honest, I’m not that great at it. That’s why when The English Cream Tea Company sent me a Festive Scone Bake Kit* (was £25 NOW £17.00) which included everything I needed to make 4 perfectly plump scones I just needed to add butter, eggs and cream. The kit also contained jam and marzipan holly leaves and red berries to decorate the scone halves with. , making them look super cute. In fact, from mixing to eating only took around 15 minutes – perfect! I must admit I did eat all four as Mr ESLT doesn’t like scones (I know, I don’t know how that’s possible either), they were scrumptious and I was overly chuffed at my baking effort. A standard Home Bake Scone Tin is also available meaning you can make these yummy scones all year round or give it as a gift.
Cheese has got to be the ultimate Christmas indulgence for me and I’ll be honest I have eaten so much of it over the Christmas period, I think I need to give it a wide berth for at least a week or so. Mr ESLT and I are quite boring when it comes to our cheese choices. We normally opt for plain English cheeses like Red Leicester, Cheddar or Wensleydale at a push. So when Mr ESLT received a selection of cheese from Nibble Nose as a Christmas present it gave us the opportunity to try cheeses that in reality we would never have picked for ourselves. All of them were cheddar or Red Leicester which was a win but each had a different flavour from garlic to cranberry and all were very lovely and accompanied our late night TV binges well.
We certainly did. From copious amounts of champagne on board the luxury Northern Belle train to cheap cans of beer on a wall overlooking the Rhine in Basel on New Years Eve and probably most things in between including a LOT of gin. We did also indulge in some traditionally considered Christmas Drinks and also opted for some softer stuff when driving or having a day off the sauce, which one some days was definitely needed.
I have only recently started drinking red wine (apparently that’s a sign that I am now mature, I’m not so sure) therefore this year was the first time I have ever really drank mulled wine and I must admit I was kind of taken with it, maybe a little bit too much. We indulged on a number of occasions at the wonderful Frankfurt Christmas market in Germany and I instantly fell in love with the strong sweet stuff served in cute little cups. It was great for keeping us warm as we wandered around the market the week before Christmas. I then tried it a few times from different bars when I got home but unfortunately, it just didn’t taste the same.
With all the colds, sore throats and coughs going around in the run up to and over Christmas, I glugged back a lovely bottle of honey mead for medicinal purposes of course. I love Mead having previously picked up bottles from Lindisfarne up in the North East of England, however I had not drank it for a few years and forgotten how deliciously Christmassy it is. So when the lovely Lavina from The Continent Hop bought me a bottle as a present from the Leeds Christmas Market, I was overjoyed (thanks lovely!). It was the perfect winter warmer on those cold, dark December evenings and I will definitely have to remember to stock up on a bottle or two next year as well.
I love tea, I drink around 10 – 12 cups a day, so when I was sent the Tea Sippers Tin* from The English Cream Tea Company I was in my element. With lots of choice from chocolate tea through to Earl Grey there was one that was perfect for different times of the day, the biggest decision I had to make was which one to try first. The tin contained 36 individual tea bags which was the perfect amount to see me through a few days of the festive period. Unfortunately I can not find it on their website, however they still have a great selection of gifts and hampers, whether you want to give one as a present or even treat yourself.
I’ve never tried bubble tea however I have passed bubble tea shops that always seemed busy and wondered what it was. Having always been a traditional tea drinker when I received by Boba Life gift box* I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. Opening the box I must admit I was a tad confused. However, I followed the clear instructions and produced a number of different flavour teas using the kit. It did take over 20 minutes to create each drink but it was worth it and I had fun mixing flavours. My favourite was quite a concoction – strawberry boba (the balls), Ceylon tea, milk tea powers and peach syrup – it was delicious. Boba Life offer a subscription box service for £24.50 per month or you can buy the ingredients separately if you prefer some things over others.
We Were Merry
I wouldn’t say I have dreaded Christmas previously, I would simply say it has just been a ‘thing’, it’s been enjoyable, more so since Mr ESLT and I have been together of course with fun times. However, this year, it has been an actual delight from start to finish and there is not one thing about it that given the chance I would change and that is because we had so many lovely things going on including…
Travel always makes me happy and never more so than at Christmas. This year we were lucky enough to visit Frankfurt Christmas Market as mentioned previously. We love Christmas markets, especially German ones. We visited with a couple of lovely friends and their little girl. We had a fantastic time. Not only was it great for us to catch up but it was also wonderful seeing their daughter’s face light up at the sights and smells (mmm sizzling sausages) of the market. We also headed to Basel in Switzerland for New Year which was awesome. We had five days in the lovely little city and enjoyed every second.
We love visiting the theatre, especially musicals. However, as we live in the north of England heading to the West End in London is something that need careful planning. Therefore, we often opt for visiting the theatre in our home town – The East Riding Theatre and that is exactly what we did on Christmas Eve Eve. we headed to the matinée performance of their Christmas show – It’s a Wonderful Life. As neither of us knew the story before hand it was great to watch not knowing what was going to happen. It also really put us in the Christmas spirit. We can’t wait to find out what show they are putting on next year as we will definitely be buying tickets.
Spending Time with Friends and Family
Christmas is always a great excuse to socialise and we took full advantage. We each individually had time with our friends and we also spent time with them as a couple. Everyone always seems more carefree and happy during Christmas but that might have something to do with the amount of booze consumed. We also took the opportunity to spend time with our family. On Christmas Day we celebrated with my nana, my cousin and her partner and on Boxing Day we had a great day with Chris’ dad, step mum and brother. There was a lot of laughter and fun something which we never tire of.
Spending Time Together
The best thing above everything else this Christmas was the opportunity to spend some quality time together. Often we are like ships passing in the night to being able to take our foot of the gas for a couple of weeks was amazing and something we will never take for granted.
Christmas 2017 was perfect and it will be one I will remember forever. Next year might be slightly different as Mr ESLT is scheduled to work, however we will try our best to incorporate a number of things we did during Christmas 2017 into this year’s celebrations and I will try not to revert to being very ‘blah’ about the festive period. We hope you had a great Christmas 2017 too and Ate, Drank and was Merry!
- Gifted products