Hitting the perfect dinner party balance of style, flavour and not being stuck in the kitchen can be hard, so here are 3 of my favourite winter party recipes: Mulled Cider, Baked Camembert and Pumpkin Soup.
They are all perfect for a festive catchup, a Christmas feast or a New Years knees up. Minimum set up, maximum flavour – without overwelming your guests. And, every one of these is vegetarian (just swap the chicken stock in the soup) and scrumptious.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than exploring London – and even more so in December. So, I gathered my favourite festive finds, to create my 12 days of London Christmas Trees (2018 guide).
One of my most treasured photographs from my New Zealand childhood is of my siblings and I gathered around a Christmas Tree. Well, I say my siblings – it’s me and my sister (my brother is already gone, probably off already reading this ‘How xxx Works’ book, ready to quiz us) and I’d love to say we have gathered about in our prettiest dresses in perfect bliss.
But we’re not – we’re both dressed in Pyjamas in varying stages of crumple, and I’m being told off because as usual, I’m opening my presents with a snail-like pace, frustrating the adults who want to go and relax. Oh, and it’s probably 27°C so we’ve got the deck doors open to let a breeze through.
Christmas is becoming increasingly commercialised, but it’s also a time where people really do think of the kindnesses that they can pay forward. In that spirit, I’ve been writing charity gift guides since 2014 (which have also helped me buy meaningful presents for those friends and family who are notoriously hard to buy for as well…) as well as supporting great small businesses who are making a difference in the world.
Blogger gift guides are pretty well established now, but as ever I couldn’t just do a normal one – it needed a slightly Adventures of a London Kiwi twist (I even spotted a couple of little sheep fellows – hey, you can take the blogger out of New Zealand…)
I grew up on the other side of the world, but that doesn’t stop me embracing the traditions of a winter Christmas – especially the sheer cosy joy of a Christmas afternoon tea. This year the Wellington Lounge of the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane has a fabulous twelve days of Christmas theme that will delight the senses of the most hardened grinch.
Disclaimer: We were delighted to be a guest of IHG and afternoontea.co.uk to review the beautiful 12 Days of Christmas Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane.
The InterContinental London Park Lane stands proudly today on the very site of 145 Piccadilly, the Queen’s former childhood residence. Sadly 145 Piccadilly was to suffer the same fate as many in London during the war, being destroyed in the blitz. Between 1968 and 1975, work began by Sir Frederick Gibberd on the design and construction of the luxury hotel – and the hotel was opened by His Grace the 8th Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley on 23rd September 1975.
Every single year there are 11 of my favourite Christmas traditions that I insist we fulfil without fail. And if we can’t, I’ll find a workaround that somehow leverages them in, anyway – here’s looking at you 3-foot high neon green Christmas tree of ’15.
London is one of my favourite cities to spend Christmas in. Whether it snows or dawns a clear blue sky there is something magical in cool December days spent under strings of fairy lights.