Traditions

The cheese counter at Wally's.

The question was asked on twitter the other day, 'what are your Christmas traditions?' and there were some lovely replies including one from @MostlyYummyMummy and @notesfromhome.

We haven't really started any Christmas traditions with The Boy yet, and it's very hard to say 'This is going to be a tradition from now on!' but this year I have tried. Last year was his first Christmas and, as many as you have done, we decided to give him a decoration each year so that he would have his own collection in the future. (Hope his future wife isn't OCD like me in that all decorations need to be colour coordinated, I may have to have words with her!). I have bought a copy of 'The Night Before Christmas' to read to him on Christmas Eve, not that I expect him to get much out of it this year especially as he tends to turn the page before I've finished the fifth word. We also intended to take him to a nearby Santa's Grotto but well, we've got 9 inches of snow outside and we're not going anywhere for a good few days, so The Boy will have to make do with the knowledge that Father Christmas has visited the house, albeit when he was tucked up in bed.

One tradition that I do have however, is shopping in the world's best delicatessen with my mum for the Christmas 'nice-eaties'. Wally's in Morgan Arcade is amazing! It's an old-style deli which has been going for 60+ years (in one guise or another).

The cheese counter at Wally's.

From the minute you walk in all your senses are bombarded, and it is such a pleasure! The Polish cooked meats, Hungarian salami, French charcuterie, Spanish chorizo and German hams have infused the wood of the traditional counters, floorboards and the beams from which these meats hang. Mixed with the pungent scent of the smoked, blue and speciality cheeses like Stinking Bishop, Black Thunder and Cornish Yarg and wham you think you've died and gone to aroma heaven.

 

Then there's the visual merchandising! There are food stuffs everywhere!

The sweet delicacies

And we're not just talking about on the shelves. You spot some Greek Delight in the distance (I don't like the lemon Turkish Delight, and the Greek version they sell is just the rose flavour) and on your way over you've got to duck under the pannettones and pandoras of every flavour (tiramisu, chocolate, amaretti, limoncello, Grand Marnier, etc) hanging from the ceiling, whilst simultaneously avoiding the baskets of pfeffernusse (white coating, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, jam filled, prune filled, etc) on the floor! It is an obstacle course that I'm happy to come last in.

 

Mum and I always get completely excited in the shop and end up having to do two laps incase we've missed anything! This year I was quite restrained and only spent £49.79, mum on the other hand spent a teenie-weenie bit more than that! Oops, where's the Mastercard?

These are my goodies. The thing is I just know we're going to be eating it all at the end of January!

ShowOff Showcase

Christmas Panic

Whilst in the shower this morning, random thoughts popped into my head: hubby needs to make a snowman for The Boy, what veg can I sacrifice for its nose, how do people insulate their lofts when they've got an attic conversion, I wish my nose would unblock, I'll make the Christmas cake today.

And that's where I stopped. Cold. (Even though the shower was scalding hot)

My oven died on Friday; we think it's the element. I've got a double-oven but the top one's not fan-assisted so it's not as good as the main one; never quite reaches the right temperature. So you wouldn't want to cook a cake that takes three hours plus in it, because you'd have to double that time probably. I'm also not convinced it would cook all the way through, and I'm a bit squeamish when it comes to eggs.

It's also quite small. And this is where the cold panic set in. On Saturday I have to cook a three course meal for my parents, the hubby and The Boy. Not just any meal, and no not even a Marks and Spencer meal. The Most Important Meal of the Year! And my oven doesn't work.

Panic!

I would be quite calm about this but for one fact: there's six inches of snow outside and we live in Britain (ok, that's two facts). Britain freaks out in the snow. More so, Royal Mail isn't coping. What if the repairman  (who is hopefully coming tomorrow depending on whether his man-flu is better or not) has to send off for a part?! It will be sat in the sorting office next to the Glee CD for my niece (I'm so listening to that before I hand it over) and my father's 5-in-1 tape measure.

Mum & I will be ok, we're vegetarian and therefore happy with a plate of mashed potato and boiled sprouts. But I've bought meat for the men (one of my mother's sayings, my sister is also vegetarian. Family get-togethers involve some nice filo pastry thing for us and Meat for The Men. Ugg!). It's a really nice three bird roast. And then there's the roast potatoes, honey-roasted carrots and parsnips, and the stuffing. Oh and the pigs in blankets (both veggie variations and the traditional meat ones).

And my oven doesn't work!

Can you get microwaveable turkey?

Dear Saint Nick


I've (mostly) been a good girl this year. If you could overlook the incident where I accidentally told a class of 8yr olds that you might not exist, that would be greatly appreciated. And I didn't mean to damage hubby's new glasses when I threw a cushion at him, he's clearly got a tougher nose than I anticipated.

So because I've been dutiful, generous, loving and kind, I would greatly appreciate a little something from you in return if I may?

Yes of course a lottery win would be nice. I could give up work, pay off my debts and be there for my son 24/7. (Although if hubby could still do the night-shift I'd appreciate it, we all know what a bitch I can be when I'm tired). And you're quite right, a larger house would be amazing. Then we could have even more crap!

But no, what I'd really like is my mojo back. I'm not talking in an Austin Powers way here Santa baby. Just my 'get up and go', because well it seems to have got up and disappeared without leaving forwarding instructions. I'm sure it was there a few months ago, but no I've checked and it's definitely not where I left it for safekeeping.

It seems like such a small thing, but would make such a difference Father Christmas.

Many thanks,

The Boy's Mummy

P.S. If you've got a spare iPad, that would be marvellous!

Oh Christmas Tree, how plastic are your branches…

In an effort to find my inner mistletoe (I am seriously lacking in the Christmas enthusiasm department this year) I made hubby drag down the trees from the attic on the weekend. Yes I said trees. Plural. One for the living room (three-footer, piddly thing so it doesn't count) and one for the dining room (six-footer, a proper one that shall from henceforth be known as the beast).

On Sunday night I assembled the smaller one as a warm-up to the main event. I dressed it in regulation whites, silvers and blues to match the room. With the oversized star firmly instated at the top I admired my handiwork and couldn't wait to see The Boy's face the next day.

He walked in and ignored it. I pointed it out to him. He looked at me like a teenager would.  "What do you want me to say Mummy? It's a tree. Let's face facts, it's a bit pathetic really isn't it?" said The Boy. (Only he didn't because he's 18 months old and single words are the extent of his repertoire at the moment)

I spent the day mildly disappointed with his reaction and pampering the tree to boost its already inferior ego. The Boy spent the day wondering how to get me sectioned as I had clearly lost the plot.

Last night I decided to tackle the beast. I managed it with some help from hubby, I ended up having to send him away; he was doing it all wrong. I decided to go for the minimalist look. Apparently though, just lights and tinsel aren't enough so on went the obligatory natural wood and golden decorations. I left the bottom third of the beast for The Boy to do in the morning, but didn't hold out much hope.

This morning, The Boy sauntered into the dining room and stopped in his tracks. A look of awe and wonder crossed his little face, and a huge beam broke out on mine. This was the desired reaction! We decorated the tree together just as hoped whilst listening to Christmas songs. When I say 'we', I clearly mean he repeatedly put three baubles on one branch and took them off again. But we had fun!

Oh and I found my inner mistletoe!

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