Thursday 14 January 2010

Christmas in the wood

Yes I know that Christmas is eons ago and I'll probably get round to finally updating you about our New Year holiday sometime in June... but for now here you go (before I find something else to distract myself with!!)

Fans of True Blood may or may not be aware that the hunky (do I sound old saying 'hunky'??!) Stephen Moyer (yeah probably, oh well!), who plays the lead male character 'Bill Compton', is actually from Brentwood in Essex (yes, the UK!).

Another rather sexy, but younger, blonder and less toothy export to come out of this town is none other than my own rather lovely boyfriend; and this Christmas was spent with the people responsible for his very presence on this planet (thanks guys!) as well as his older brother and some close family friends.

To say my present haul was large would be a huge understatement - I'm not bragging, I didn't get cars and diamond rings but I did get some lovely thoughtful gifts and I'm really chuffed with them all. I'm not going to bore you with a full list or all the pictures I took on Christmas Day, but here are some snippets from the day:

One of my requests for crimbo gifts was a slow cooker. I really like the idea of being able to chuck a load of veg and meat into a pot, set it going and bugger off to work for the day just to have a nice pot of yummyness awaiting my return.

So I asked for, and thankfully got a Cuisinart 'Cook and Hold' slow cooker. It has a great (I think) feature where, after the cooking time has elapsed, instead of just switching off it keeps the food warm for you. This prevents any overcooking that might result from your warming up your food in a microwave when you get back! (see, thought of everything me ;-))

Nice huh? well I think so anyway ;-) If I come up with any tasty nutritious recipes I'll be sure to pass them on.

I also asked for a pair of Vibram FiveFinger shoes as I was quite curious to try them out.

I'm getting a bit bored and not just a little fed-up with my running-related injuries and increasingly concerned by the numerous articles, like this one posted on the the Telegraph's website by Will from WLR, promoting barefoot running over sinking our toes into over-priced, over-cushioned, over-supportive shoes - it's a wonder our lower limbs actually know what to *do* anymore when we break into a jog!!

After all, if I'm returning to basics with my eating (more of that to follow), why not apply the same school of thought to my exercise and technique?!

Here are the shoes:

Yes they do feel *incredibly* weird - wearing gloves on your feet, who'd have thunk it?!

And no, I haven't gotten out for a run with them yet, it's been a wee bit too nippy for that!! When I do I'll take pics, just so you can all laugh at me and my weird shoes, I doubt you'll be the only ones!! ;-)

Other than that I got some nice books, a couple of lovely necklaces, a beautiful black scarf with stars on it, and some other bits and bobs, I definitely did rather well!! :-)

Oh and I nearly forgot about this jewellery box - how gorgeous is this?!

One of Joe's Mum's presents was a new breadmaker and we got her the same one we have, the Panasonic SD55, it's awesome and she's already experimented with making rye bread (her fave) using the special kneading blade it comes with.

Joe got loads of gift, including a nice bag and watch. I got him some CDs too (old school huh?!), here's him with the Foo Fighters Greatest Hits album, very pleased :-)

I also got him an album by Them Crooked Vultures (Dave Grohl's side project)

My son got the new Black Eyed Peas album as well as In Silico by Pendulum, got to educate the boy ;-) he thinks they're great too, glad he's got as eclectic a taste in music as I do!

Amusingly, Joe, his Dad and older brother all bought each other bottles of the same wine

Bring on the chateauneuf du pape baby!! :-D

One of the presents my son got that is really quite cool is an EyeToy. It's mad, you can interact with the funny little furry creature!

Anyway, that's enough about the presents - onto the rest of the day!

I didn't photograph the main course as I was too busy shovelling it down my gullet, but I did manage to snap the starters, aren't these the most wonderful imaginative dishes going? Such wonderful colours!

Can you guess what's there?

Okay there was smoked salmon, hot smoked trout, smoked mackerel, crab and caviar (an oceanic treat!), served with avocado, dill, quail's eggs and some rather wonderful rye bread, all the way from Finland.

Joe's uncle brings it over with him when he visits and it's delicious, quite sour but really tasty and it keeps forever which has earned it the moniker of 'travelling man's bread'.

If only we could buy it over here but I've not seen it sold anywhere :-(

And here's a picture of us all, in the lovely new conservatory, about to tuck in :-)

The food didn't hang about on the plate for long, I can guarantee that!

Like I said I didn't snap the mains but I'm sure you can picture for yourself what it looked like, turkey, roast spuds, brussels sprouts and loads of other veg - standard issue Christmas loveliness :-)

Before I finish, here's a pic of me and my lovely son, whom I just discovered yesterday to my chagrin that he is now *less* than 3 inches shorter than me (having grown over 4cm in the last few months) - arghh! This time next year I'll be the shortest person in the house (bar the cats of course!)

Isn't he handsome? Although I am ever so slightly biased ;-)

Dinner was followed by drinks and good conversation, great fun and can't wait to do it all again this year - though hopefully in my own new home in London, would be awesome to play host and return the festive favour for once!

Hope all your Christmases were equally good.



  1. Lovely Christmas post :o)

    And how about them Vibram 5-fingers? One of the guys in my team at work has a couple of pairs and says they're great. It'd be good to hear how they fare for actual running outside and... I was thinking I'd like to use a pair in the gym, but I'm not sure about the safety aspect of such soft shoes with heavy weights around the place and doofuses dropping them etc. ;o) Do let us know how they go!

  2. thanks :-)

    yeah, they're kinda cool but kinda weird (probably like me!!) :-D

    I think they're getting more popular amongst the crossfit community, see and and they train with big bloomin kettlebells!!

    I plan to wear mine to the gym at some point, they'll be great for the elliptical as well I think!

  3. Am very curious to know how to feel when you go running or is it just for indoors? Lovely picture too and I love your slow cooker. It even looks nice :)


  4. The shoes do look awesome..and your Christmas sounds lovely :) x