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 🙂
We had a wonderful time at Holly and Richard’s.
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.
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 🙂
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.
Holly made her first ever Christmas cake.
It was perfect. Exactly how I like it. Packed full of fruits and nuts with a generous layer of marzipan. So good.
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.
It must be said that Holly and I were a force to be reckoned with at Rapidough – we trounced our opponents.
My favourite game though is Mah Jong. I intend to play a lot more in 2013.
I didn’t win overall but this was one of my winning hands – well, the part that scored anyway.
We went on a lovely long walk on the day after Boxing Day near Arundel.
Which way shall we go then Richard? Through the mud, or, through the mud?
The children voted for the muddiest and wettest looking route.
Come on girls, we can do it 🙂 After 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.
Sunshine waits patiently for someone, anyone, to throw a stick for her.
Why are these three cheeky monkeys 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.
Thank you very much, Holly, Richard, Lucy and Emily, for hosting such a wonderful Christmas.
Our next stop was Ian and Helen’s. Plenty of time to sit quietly and relax.
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.
Ian cooked some amazing meals for us.
My favourite was the chicken cooked in cream with tarragon and served with mashed potatoes and green beans.
This parsnip and apple soup, served with a choice of breads including a home made wholemeal, was delicious too.
We caught up with Matt, Mera and Jack too. Jack brought Harvey some magic tricks which was a good choice as he loves those.
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.
Plus we had the beach almost to ourselves.
It seems that little boys never tire of throwing pebbles in to the sea!
In case you were wondering, yes, their feet and legs did get wet 🙂
We walked along towards the town.
More pebbles and more water.
There were even some hardy souls surfing.
Ian and Helen treated us all to afternoon tea at The Victoria Hotel which is on the seafront in Sidmouth.
It is one of those delightfully old fashioned, quintessentially English hotels.
We took afternoon tea in the large room overlooking the sea.
And still managed to eat a huge evening meal at Ian’s!
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.
I had toast and boiled egg with a latte which was all wonderful.
I was very tempted by their gorgeous granola but instead bought a bag to have at home.
I had another slice of toast instead with peanut butter and strawberry jam.
We then popped in to see my cousin Miranda who lives a few minutes walk from the bakery.
Miranda made her own Christmas tree with driftwood she collected from the beach.
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.
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.