Please can I just take a moment to express how full I am right now? I think this year sets a personal world record for the largest amount of food consumed in the shortest amount of time!! The good news is, I don't regret it one bit. It's only Christmas once a year! #Yolo.
As many of you know by now, I currently live in London, and have done for the last 5 years, but when it comes to Christmas, I head back to Surrey where the parents are based and spend about a week there.
This may come as a surprise to you (seeing as Hospitality is my middle name and I'm usually the first at the bar/on the dance floor on a night out), but when it comes to Christmas Eve, I could think of nothing worse than going out! When your job involves doing a lot of networking and socialising, sometimes its nice to just (try to!) switch off for a few days, and really appreciate the precious moments with your loved ones. Christmas is the perfect time (and probably one of the rare times in the year) when we can actually do this, so I like to make the most of it.
When I was little, my parents would always make Christmas the most magical time for my brothers and I. The house would always be decorated with Christmas scenes and filled with festive cheer, and Christmas Eve was always a MASSIVE deal! All of our close family and dear friends would come over, and Santa would come and visit us and give us all of our wonderful gifts. It was amazing, and I will certainly make sure that my children experience the same magicality that I did. It's the reason that I STILL am obsessed with Christmas!
Even though my two brothers and I are all over the age of 27, the household is still always decorated beautifully once Christmas approaches...
It's become a tradition for me to come home (usually a couple of weeks before Christmas) and help my mum decorate the tree. I love it!
This Father Christmas has been part of the family for at least 15 years. What a babe.
Christmas Eve in my household usually involves wrapping presents, Christmas films/programmes, a few games of cards, either a takeaway or a tasty, homemade meal (depending on how stressed the Mother is feeling as she prepares for the family to join us on Christmas Day!), and a few glasses of Champagne, obviously! One of my brothers, Nadim, is almost always working on Christmas Eve (he's currently playing the part of Raoul in Phantom of the Opera in the WestEnd, you should definitely go and check that out by the way!!), so he comes over with his family on Christmas morning, but my other brother, Kareem, will usually join us on Christmas Eve which is lovely.
My mum always does the Turkey, and ever since I can remember she cooks it overnight. It goes in the oven at around 11.30pm, and slowly cooks throughout the night. This year it tasted even better than usual!
Juicy Turkey, yum!
This year, I woke up at around 9am on Christmas morning. No matter how old I am, I always get that instant excitement that IT'S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAASSSSSS!!! The morning was quite chilled. I had a cup of coffee, helped out in the kitchen, and then headed upstairs to get ready before the family started to arrive just before mid day.
We always have the most gorgeous Christmas chocolate baskets from Panache.
The family Christmas stockings were laid out ready for us all to open together.
Baloo received his gifts too, obviously!
One of the tables (we have 3 big tables usually) ready for Christmas lunch.
Everyone arrived at around lunch time, and we all enjoyed plenty of champagne as we celebrated being with each other on this special day of the year.
We sat down to eat at around 3pm...
Starters are served!
A delicious selection of Salmon, Prawns, Fois Gras (my fave) and Salad.
... followed by what I can only describe as the Naaman Christmas Feast...
Christmas lunch with ALL of the trimmings.
I had to get a close up of this ridiculously sexy stuffing. Stuffing is my FAVOURITE. Mmmm... stuffing.
What's a Christmas lunch without a good glass (or 4) of red?
Oh. We're no way near finished yet. Next came the dessert...
This was the naughty Nutella Cheesecake that was made for us by our dear friend. It was possibly the best cheesecake I've ever laid my fork on. Thankfully there's still a bit of that in the fridge. Not for much longer!
Also on the dessert table was Chocolate Log, Mince Pies, Fruit (lol), and a Lemon Tart.
Last but not least, came the Cheese boards...
If you look at the picture, you can see the triangular shaped cheese just in front of the Satsuma's. This is the best cheese you will EVER try! Brie, with truffle filling the middle. Go and find it immediately, and thank me after.
We didn't get up from our tables until around 7.30pm. That's a solid four and a half hours of eating. I should think so too!
Some of the family left at around 8.30pm, and the rest of us carried on celebrating with drinks, dancing, and plenty of fun!
I'm sad that Christmas is over, but as a family we have lots of exciting things happening over the next 12 months, and as a brand, well... you'll have to wait and see what we've got in store. You won't be disappointed!
I hope you all had a truly wonderful Christmas, and please feel free to share your festive photographs and stories with us at U&I Lifestyle by sending them over to me - firstname.lastname@example.org. My team and I will share our favourites on our Social Media platforms!
Until my next blog post... Happy New Year!