Merry Christmas 2012

Well we certainly had a very Merry Christmas and I hope you did too.  We started Christmas at home.  Having trashed the place, we went to stay at my sister Holly’s for a couple of days 🙂

Christmas morning 2012

CHICHESTER

We had a wonderful time at Holly and Richard’s.

H and L preparing Christmas Dinner

They produced a magnificent traditional Christmas lunch of roast turkey, stuffing, bacon wrapped chipolatas, homemade cranberry sauce, brussels, roast parsnips and roast potatoes, red cabbage and bread sauce.  Yummy yum yum.  Followed many hours later by Christmas pudding and endless chocolates and other sweet treats such as Stollen we brought back from Nuremberg.
Christmas dinner

The plan on Boxing Day was for the rest of the family to join us.  Sadly my sister Abi and her family were ill so couldn’t make it.  We really missed you Abi, Jim, Charlotte, Max and Katie 😦

Helen and Ian and Lucy and her family all made it though 🙂Helen on Boxing Day

I really enjoy Boxing Day lunch.  Seafood, cold meats, a spectacular chicken and ham pie and salads.  It always seems more relaxed than Christmas Day.Ian on Boxing Day

Holly made her first ever Christmas cake.Holly's Christmas cake uncut

It was perfect.  Exactly how I like it.  Packed full of fruits and nuts with a generous layer of marzipan.  So good.Holly's Christmas cake

Besides eating way too much and drinking, we played lots of games which was great fun.  The Logo Game was good, albeit baffling at times.The Logo game

It must be said that Holly and I were a force to be reckoned with at Rapidough – we trounced our opponents.Rapidough

My favourite game though is Mah Jong.  I intend to play a lot more in 2013.Playing Mah Jong

I didn’t win overall but this was one of my winning hands – well, the part that scored anyway.Mah Jong hand Mah Jong counters

We went on a lovely long walk on the day after Boxing Day near Arundel.
Holly and Lucy

Which way shall we go then Richard?  Through the mud, or, through the mud?which way? South Downs Way sign

The children voted for the muddiest and wettest looking route.the muddy way

Come on girls, we can do it 🙂H,L and L up the hillAfter walking in sleeting rain and a high wind that whipped up out of nowhere, we made it to the top of the hill and were blessed by sunshine and blue skies.

on top of the hill

Sunshine waits patiently for someone, anyone, to throw a stick for her.Sunshine waiting for stick

Why are these three cheeky monkeys laughing?3 laughing

They are stuck in the mud again!  We walked for about 2 and a half to three hours and despite the rain and mud, mud, glorious mud, it was great to be outside in the fresh air, burning off some of all that food we had consumed.3 stuck in the mud

Thank you very much, Holly, Richard, Lucy and Emily, for hosting such a wonderful Christmas.

the sun came out

SIDMOUTH

Our next stop was Ian and Helen’s.  Plenty of time to sit quietly and relax.
Harvey on sofa

I managed to knit quite a lot more of the blanket I am making for Lara.  It is a checkerboard Afghan knit and I am now over half way through.

time for knitting

Ian cooked some amazing meals for us. Ian cooking in kitchen

My favourite was the chicken cooked in cream with tarragon and served with mashed potatoes and green beans.Ian cooking

This parsnip and apple soup, served with a choice of breads including a home made wholemeal, was delicious too.Parsnip and apple soup

We caught up with Matt, Mera and Jack too.  Jack brought Harvey some magic tricks which was a good choice as he loves those.H and J doing magic

Despite the fercocious winds and driving rain, we braved the outdoors for a walk beside the sea.  The waves were big and at Jacob’s ladder they had flung loads of pebbles on to the promenade.  I actually love being besides the sea when it is like that.  It is very exciting and invigorating and as long as you wrap up well, not too cold either.Jacob's Ladder

Plus we had the beach almost to ourselves.Sidmouth beach

It seems that little boys never tire of throwing pebbles in to the sea!H and J by sea in Sidmouth

In case you were wondering, yes, their feet and legs did get wet 🙂H and J by the sea

We walked along towards the town.watching surfers

More pebbles and more water.

boys beside puddle

There were even some hardy souls surfing.surfers at Sidmouth

Ian and Helen treated us all to afternoon tea at The Victoria Hotel which is on the seafront in Sidmouth.The Victoria Hotel Sidmouth

It is one of those delightfully old fashioned, quintessentially English hotels.Lobby at The Victoria

We took afternoon tea in the large room overlooking the sea.afternoon tea at the Victoria

And still managed to eat a huge evening meal at Ian’s!Dinner at Grandpa Ian's

LYME REGIS

For us, no visit to the South West is complete without a visit to Lyme Regis.  And no visit to Lyme Regis is complete without a trip to the amazing bakery, The Mill.  In The Mill you watch the bakers bake and help yourself to whatever they have just made.  You sit communally on long tables, sharing and passing up and down large bowls of butter, sugar and jam.  The decor and furnishings are simple.  You go here for a friendly, convivial and relaxed atmosphere and amazing food.  Really amazing. Inside the Mill Harvey in The Mill

I had toast and boiled egg with a latte which was all wonderful.egg and toast

I was very tempted by their gorgeous granola but instead bought a bag to have at home.The Mill's Granola

I had another slice of toast instead with peanut butter and strawberry jam.Peanut butter and jam on toast

We then popped in to see my cousin Miranda who lives a few minutes walk from the bakery.Coffee at Miranda's

Miranda made her own Christmas tree with driftwood she collected from the beach.
Miranda's tree

We abandoned our planned walk along the sea front and out on the Cobb due to the rain.  This was a very wet and deserted Lyme Regis but still lovely and we are so pleased we stopped to visit.Wet Lyme Regis

Now we are at home.  I collected the dogs – thank you very much Rebecca and family for looking after them for us – and we are now relaxing at home.  I am confronting my larger than it has been for a while stomach and planning the relaunch of the next phase of losing weight and gaining health.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you had a very happy holiday season and are enjoying the last weekend of 2012.

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in a small village in the beautiful Weald of Kent with my husband and 2 children. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. After all, I live in the 'Garden of England' so it seems silly to not take advantage of that. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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