Tag Archives: christmas

Helloooo 2013!

10 Jan

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Happy New Year everyone,

The first ten days of the new year have been lovely so long may that continue. Here in Perth there was a heatwave over Christmas and New Year and I found myself longing for bitterly cold weather, the grass is always greener on the other side!

Christmas was really lovely, both our big dinners were lots of fun. Bread sauce was a revelation and I will be attempting to recreate it at some point in the future, a pot luck dinner party is a really great idea as everyone shares the stress and there are lots of different and new foods to try. On Christmas Day we had a delish dinner with my relatives in the evening both the turkey and ham were cooked on the BBQ then served with roast potatoes and an array of hot and cold salads. The pudding was lit and served later on in the evening and it was a lovely relaxed day over all with a nice swim in the ocean before dinner. A success over all! I received some beautiful gifts which I will do a post on soon, two new cookbooks if you don’t mind along with lots of other great stuff!

New Year’s Eve was spent drinking french champagne with our lovely neighbours by the pool, it was so hot that we had to keep jumping into the water to prevent spontaneous combustion or melting! There weren’t any fireworks as I had thought, it seems Perth does a huge display on Australia Day which is January 26th so NYE is a more low key affair in the skies!

I would imagine I am similar to lots of people with new year’s resolutions to eat healthier, lose weight, do more exercise and drink less! My plan is to set myself a challenge each month as I feel a month is doable. So this year I am embarking on a Dry January inspired by the lovely EnglishMum. So far so good … although the hot evenings are not helping as I would love nothing more than a glass of white wine by the pool but I’m holding firm! I am going to break it for Australia Day though, my reasoning being if you are allowed to break lent for St Patrick’s Day then its only fair. When in Rome …

My plan for both February and March is to eliminate sugar from my diet. I’m spending this month reading up on it and slowly getting prepared food wise … so once I know exactly what I am at I will share the details. For anyone interested in trying this Sarah Wilson’s Blog is a good place to begin.

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So how was everyone’s Christmas and New Year?? Any exciting new year’s resolutions?

Any suggestions as to what I should do per month after March,with a health benefit? All suggestion gratefully received 🙂

Here’s to a healthy and happy 2013


Christmassy Time

19 Dec

Christmas is fast approaching .. although it feels nothing like it to me as the sun is shining, I’m thousands of miles from my family and no one has asked me what I am doing for New Years today yet!
However I am doing my best to create a Christmassy feel for us so I’ve decorated our little abode,  while deciding on a theme I had toyed with something understated and tasteful like this …..

Chic Christmas TreeHowever I don’t do understated particularly well and the Christmas feeling needs a bit of help this year so I went for  “All Out Tacky” instead!

2012_12_05_14_42_339726240938784123_4945572_Hudson 2012_12_13_12_01_345443233755100562_4945572_X-Pro III have baubles hanging from every spare wall space and have taken to wearing this around the house, do you think it makes my ears look big?

Elf hat I’ve even explored my crafty side (if I have one!) and crocheted some decorations .. I started with a star

Crochet star

Progressed a little better with some Christmas trees …

Christmas tree crochet And eventually had something worthy of hanging on the wall …

2012_12_17_06_03_348162262391387407_4945572_RiseI hadn’t crocheted since I was in primary school but once I had watched a couple of simple tutorials on youtube I was flying at it again. I used this pattern for the bunting trees and this one for the star. I found the abbreviations and the different names for the stitches confusing at times but this link was really helpful in that.

So our first Christmas in the heat is nearly upon us (I spent one other Christmas in Australia in 2004. I was in Melbourne, it rained, I was miserable!) We are hosting a dinner party on Sunday, turkey with all the trimmings is the plan and our guests are all either Irish or English and away from their families so everyone is invited to bring along a family tradition. I am doing carrot and parsnip puree as we always have it and Dave’s Mum makes the most delicious potato stuffing so we are going to attempt to recreate that (hopefully the awful Australian potatoes won’t be a spanner in the works) we have even been cultivating two thyme plants especially! Our English friend is making Bread Sauce, I have absolutely no idea what this is and am very intrigued to find out. I’ve ditched mulled wine in favour of this chilled cocktail from food blogger Katie Quinn Davies (she’s Irish living in Australia so its appropriate). It should be a fun food-filled evening!

Xmas cocktail

On Christmas Day itself we shall be with my lovely Irish-Aussie cousins experiencing Christmas on the beach eating a BBtQ’d turkey with salad. Its forecast to be 38 degrees so there’s a good chance there will be very little eating but heaps of sitting in the shade melting done!

The postie has delivered lots of exciting pakcages in the last few days, most with strict instructions not to open until the 25th … but I had a peek at one or two and I am glad I did as we now that this adorable decoration on our tree …

Santa boot dec

In case we forget where we are I have also placed some exotic flowers around the place … gorgeous aren’t they?

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Only 6 more sleeps til Santa arrives ….

What are you all up to for Christmas? Any unusual family traditions? In our house we call it “Eat Yourself into a Coma Day” … I’ll miss that

SJ xx

What to buy for Christmas?? Buy Irish of Course!!

1 Dec

As it’s the first of December it’s ok with me now to talk about Christmas ..

When we were young I don’t remember the run up being so long, there always seemed to be months between Hallowe’en and Christmas. However I do remember standing on the table in our kitchen being helped into my pyjamas (All dressing was done on that table, until now I have never realised it might be odd!) and being so scared that Santa would look in the window, realise I was not good-as-gold and bring me a bag of coal!

Oh, the incredible excitement of Christmas morning, being barely able to get down the stairs with anticipation! While the presents were amazing, for me,  it was seeing had Santa eaten the mince pies and more so had Rudolph had the carrot! The half eaten mince pie and teeth marks in the carrot would bring squeals of delight from us. The year we found reindeer hair/fluff left on our fireplace was without doubt a highlight of my childhood. Imagining how magic Santa must be to not only get himself and all the presents down the chimney but also a Reindeer!! Santa truly is amazing but my parents must have loved Christmas Eve and morning a lot too, good thing there was the odd red cow among all the black & white ones eh?

I have listed below some Irish companies that I love and have purchased gifts from throughout the year as-well as for Christmas. I won’t be too specific with what I have bought for fear of ruining some surprises. It’s nice to have that Christmas morning anticipation even when we are all growed-up!

Firstly, if you want a daily giggle follow Tara and her company on twitter or like them on Facebook. Trust me, you will laugh!
Beautiful slate products from coasters (which can also be used to serve butter!) to table runners, memo/chalk boards to plant markers. All functional,  pretty and reasonably priced they come beautifully packaged too.

Garrendenny Lane – I have loved this site and blog for a long time but only recently made a purchase. I sent this lovely map of Ireland to a friend living in Canada who won’t be home for Xmas. It was delivered straight from the site and arrived within a week! An ideal present for someone who won’t make it home this year.

Green Saffron – I adore these spice mixes! Sirak Masala (available online or from farmers market) and Murgh Tandoori are my favourites but the Balti, Rogan Josh and Tikka Masala have all gone down really well! Each pack comes with easy to follow instructions and tips.  I am looking forward to trying the Christmas Turkey Delight around December 26th.

Donegal Rapeseed Oil – Healthier than alternatives and tastes really good! There are other Irish rapeseed oils around now too which I have not tasted, we have no need to buy all foreign oils any more!

Sleek.ie – this might seem like a treat for yourself but once Lorna sorts you (or me anyway) out with some fantastic control underwear the sight of you in your party dress will be a treat for everyone’s eyes!! Great customer service and fantastic products.

Danucci Chocolates – Salted Caramels. Have to be tried to be believed

8Degrees Brewing Beer – Brewed in Cork by a Kiwi and an Aussie, a lovely present for a beer lover and a good addition to your christmas puddings, cakes, mincemeat or accompaniment to your cheese board (any excuse!).

Funky Christmas Jumpers – Lots of fun to wear one of these on the big day and also really popular for the annual 12 Pubs of Christmas fun!

Hairy Baby – T-shirts, aprons, bags and baby clothes with hilarious graphics and slogans! My Mam’s name is Mary so have been thinking of getting this one for Dad .. hee hee!

Cookbooks are always appreciated by cooks and food enthusiasts alike. Here are my favourites from this year.
Edward Hayden: Food to Love

If you are not familiar with Edward you are in for a treat! He is a lovely personable and really funny guy who I first met when I did a cookery course in Dunbrody House with my sister, Mam and Aunties,  everyone fell in love with him. I have since attended lots of his classes and met him at various shows. His book has lots of great recipes & ideas and I have used it many times since getting it for my birthday in September.

Niamh Shields: Comfort and Spice

A Waterford girl living in London cooking up a storm and making my mouth water on regular occasions with her blog. Slow cooked pork is her signature dish her book is not only beautiful but packed full of great recipes you will want to try immediately.

Lilly Higgins: Make, Bake, Love

This is one book I am hoping will be bought for me rather than me buying for someone else. Lilly’s blog is so aesthetically pleasing that I cannot wait to drool over the pages of her book, which she styled herself! WANT.

Only 24 more sleeps …

SJ x