White December


December kicks off with a decision to extend UK airstrikes into Syria. Peace on Earth and good will to all men, indeed. Donald Trump gets into the holiday spirit with an announcement that he wants to ban all Muslims from the USA. The weather throws a wobbly and temperatures are remarkable for the time of year; mid-teens and the mildest December on record. Storm Desmond, Storm Eva, and Storm Frank arrive. Cumbria and the North East suffer torrential rain and their towns are flooded, twice in the month, and their flood barriers are only prepared to cope with a one-in-one-hundred-year event.

I finish uni for the holidays and complete Newsweek, which was nearly as hellish as I had imagined, but I did get to spend an afternoon interviewing Pantomime stars and one day prepping a festive food feature (entirely wrong and not what the lecturers wanted but I had a nice time so oh well!), and I even got something published on our uni website. Slightly underwhelming, as it’s basically a blog post, but something to add to my currently non-existent (probably always non-existent) portfolio.

I arranged my shifts at work carefully so that I could work right up until Christmas Eve, then enjoy eight days off afterwards and not have to return to work until the New Year.

Christmas rolls by relatively uneventfully. I had a quiet day at home with my family, and we spent much of Christmas Day and Boxing Day in a turkey, alcohol, and chocolate induced haze, fairy lights twinkling around us and bathing our living room in a multi-coloured glow so we feel like we’re in a tin of Quality Street.

We cleaned ourselves up by the end of the weekend and threw a party for various family members. It was hugely impromptu and included a mad dash to the only supermarket that was open, but it was great, as unplanned parties often are. Nothing at all happens during the week following Christmas (seriously does anything ever happen then? What even is that week?) but I went out for New Year’s Eve brunch with my blog guru and decided I need to set myself some New Year’s resolutions.

On the blog this month, I marked my visit to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour with a recipe for Golden Snitch bites– perfect for after Quidditch snacking. There was a how-to guide on creating marbled chocolate bars (a great gift any time, not just Christmas!) and my first (and pretty much only) Christmas bake was a candy cane swiss roll, the easiest recipe for a patterned swiss roll you’ll ever see. Re-reading this recipe now, it’s definitely inspired me to give decorated rolls another go! But by far, my favourite recipe on the blog in December was the chocolate orange marble cake (this cake features in all my dreams). So easy. So simple. So nice. So need to make it again. In the week of Christmas, I started to feel uber-festive with my Christmas traditions post, and then I shared a few traditions of my own, as well a few quick Christmas Eve baking ideas.

I was gutted that I didn’t get more festive food up on the blog, especially as I’d got several ideas, but none of them ever emerged. I’m filing them away though and who knows, maybe they will appear next year…

One thing I learnt from December though, is that it’s good to plan ahead. It was a really busy month so I’m trying now to get more recipes planned in advance- let that be my New Year’s resolution!

I’m glad that December is over- January’s like a breather after the hectic season. And on the plus side, we won’t have to see Christmas adverts for another eleven months. (Although this year, at least, they seem to be a bit more tasteful. I can deal with warbled rock and roll classics and precocious children, but last year’s Sainsbury’s advert still leaves a sour taste- in the centenary year of the start of WW1, the soldiers’ share Sainsbury’s chocolate and play football in No Man’s Land, and they pack up their troubles in their old kit bag-for-life. But that’s a rant for another day.)

On a side note, did anyone see the Coca-Cola advert this year? I don’t think I did. Where was Santa Claus, that jingle, or the truck?

If the Coca-Cola advert is the official start of Christmas, then did Christmas even start? (Please, I don’t think I can relive it all over again!)

Things have been quiet on the blog this last week due to my inability to move from my dining table and the cheeseboard (so. much. cheese.) but I’m toying with the idea to upload something tomorrow (two posts in two days. Record.) to make up for it. It’s completely not food related and very off topic and I don’t know whether I like it enough to post it.

Watch this space…

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