Christmas is by far my favourite holiday. Not for religious reasons, but because I get to spend time with family and friends. Those 3-5 days staying with my parents in my home town, visiting friends from high school, cooking and eating too much delicious food, and spending way too much time with my brothers and parents, which ends in the good old Christmas fight. There is no better time of the year.
I was excited for my first cold Christmas this year, but not missing out of that family time. Lucky for me, I had tons of fun and exciting things planned for my first Christmas abroad and in winter.
First things first, the work Christmas Party. And being a massive foodie, I was excited for this. Lunch at Gordon Ramsay’s Foxtrot Oscar. The restaurant is quite small, but the chefs simply out did my expectations. Due to my food allergies and issues, it’s always worrying eating a new place, but this place tailored whatever I chose off the menu to my dietary needs. The dessert was the best part, of course. Sorbet with almond crumble, Mmmmmm, delicious. Needless to say the only way this day could have gone better was to have Gordon come and cook the food himself.
Nothing screams English adventures quite like a traditional afternoon tea for Christmas Eve, and what’s that? Gluten free and all you can eat!! Yes Please!! The idea of all you can eat is always appealing until you’ve eaten the first cake tier. All the cakes, scones and sandwiches were uber tasty, but one round was all I could muster, and even that lead to the tightening of the clothing. It was of course chased down with a shot of mulled wine, Mmmmmm!
I’ve always thought the idea of cooking a Turkey with all the trimmings would be a fun way to spend Christmas day. After spending the ENTIRE day on Christmas cooking, I’m now not so sure it’s a good idea.
Having never cooked a turkey before, some research and planning needed to go into it. We bought the 10,000 ingredients needed for stuffing, roasting a turkey, vegetables and of course gingerbread cookies, all that was left was to cook it all. So the day started with Christmas waffles. Then moved onto gingerbread men, and then the main event the TURKEY! Seriously I spent the entire day cooking. The turkey needed basting, and then the stuffing needed cooking, and then more basting, and then mulled wine. And before I knew it, it was 6pm in the evening and we were finally ready to eat.
The turkey actually turned much better than I expected. And I was happy to eat it for following 4 days for 2 meals a day, haha.
Mulled wine was another thing I wanted do make at home. It’s such a delicious drink, and not something I’d had back home. The mix of red wine, cinnamon, orange, cardamom, and other Christmassy spices, is simply divine. I did get a little carried away, and drank far too much of it over the Christmas break, but at least I know how to make it now. And will totally be taking this new found deliciousness back to Aus when I move home.
Tradition back home is that we always go to the movies on Boxing Day. So this year was no different, although a slightly fancier version. The cinema near my house is quite small, and is set up like a lounge room. Each seat is like a lounge chair. You can get wine, nachos, pizza, salad, and popcorn, practically anything you want at the bar. It was one of the best movie experiences I’ve ever been too.
There are few touristy things I haven’t done around London and the aquarium is one of them. Going on a Saturday afternoon between Christmas and New Year was probably not my finest idea, but nothing like an afternoon with the fishies to get your mind of the coldness. It’s quite a cool aquarium, with loads of fun species to see, and it’s super interactive. Best to avoid school holidays though and always buy online before the day, as you get fast tracked entry and it’s generally cheaper.
As I’ve gotten older, New Years Eve doesn’t have the same “OMG I have to get drunk, and party the night away” feelings as it used to. And after waking up sober to begin 2013, I was ready for a little more adventure this year. Though we probably should have gone into London City before 11pm to get a good seat for the fireworks. And after being directed down the Strand, we reached St Pauls Cathedral and decided surely we’d see the fireworks over the smaller buildings here. Well as we waited along with thousands of other to ring in the new year, sure enough we sure NOTHING! Not even one firework, a small spray from the building near us, but we heard the fireworks, and they sounds super amazing.
This was rather disappointing, and led us straight into the nearest pub to down a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Much to my surprise, or not really, I woke up New Years day with a killer headache, the inability to even lift my head off the pillow for the better part of the day. Yep, London New Years will be one to remember.
So I survived my first winter Christmas, YIPPEEE. I didn’t see snow unfortunately, but there is always next year. Not sure I enjoy winter Christmas’s over Summer ones, although there are Christmas Jumpers during winter, so that’s a pretty big selling point!!!
Peace out for now…..