BLOG_Christmas 1Since my last post, I’ve had some extremely sad news. Last Saturday in the early hours of the morning, one of my cousins was killed in a road accident. He was only 42. This was then followed by my father in law’s death following post heart surgery complications. He died in the early hours of Sunday morning.  What a weekend. We are now a family in mourning.

Despite the inconsolable sadness, we, as a family, want to make Christmas extra special that will be filled with laughter, tears but above all, many moments of celebratory toasts to a life lived to the full. My father in law was a larger than life figure who grabbed life with open arms and took every opportunity to enjoy it. So whilst my husband’s family may be grieving they can take comfort from the fact that their father had a fulfilling life and the end was quick and painless.

BLOG_Christmas Tree

This year’s tree

Christmas will be at our place with the entire family gathered round. We have already decorated the tree with lots of different baubles. There are multi-coloured lights around the tree which are twinkling away downstairs as I write this. We have the outdoor lights along the front of the house and over a couple of shrubs. It looks very festive at night.

I haven’t bought many presents this year. I’ve decided that what is much more meaningful for me is the time I spend with my family doing things like going to a Christmas Carol Concert, going to the theatre or catching a movie at the cinema. Yesterday we went as a family to watch the new Paddington movie. It was great fun.

My mother is spending Christmas with us this year and I am so pleased she is with me to help me through this difficult time. She is a great support.

BLOG_Christmas Mince Pies

Mince pie, anyone?

I have already started doing bits of Christmas food shopping. I have ordered the turkey for Christmas Day and bought the gravy. I have got boxes of mince pies that will be served as dessert with delicious brandy cream. We also have the Italian panettone. I have bought lots of different savoury snacks to serve with drinks before Christmas lunch. I have stocked the larder up with plenty of potatoes (for the roast potatoes), chestnuts to cook with the brussel sprouts, mixer drinks like soda water and cheese biscuits for the cheese board. Liqueur drinks like Baileys, Cointreau and brandy are in the drinks cabinet. The brandy, whiskey and port have all been decanted into crystal decanters.

The fridge is full of fabulous cheeses like Stilton, Brie and Cheddar. Little cocktail sausages, an enormous piece of smoked salmon and some fresh tortellini make up Christmas Eve’s dinner which will have an Italian theme to it.

BLOG_Christmas Panettone

The panettone

I have bought the Christmas crackers to place on the dining table at Christmas. The Christmas candles are all ready as are the Christmassy table napkins and underplates. I am not very artistic when it comes to laying the table but my husband is the creative one so I will leave him in charge.

I think I have done the bulk of the Christmas preparations. Oh no, hang on….I still have to get sparkling water, carrots, brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, mustard, parsnips, stuffing…Oh maybe I’m not as ready as I had thought…. Oh dear, I think I’d better stop writing now and hit the shops.

How are your preparations coming along for Christmas?

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Ciao for now


Key to the colours
The expressions in blue relate to Christmas and general vocabulary and the phrases in pink are collocations, phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions that you can use anytime.