Pre-Christmas Christmas

My family will be scattered across the country on Christmas Day, spending time with families-in-law, grandchildren, parents and niecephews.  My mum, who spent four years of her childhood in America, wanted to gather us all to celebrate Thanksgiving, but when that proved impossible, fixed on yesterday for our pre-Christmas get-together.  We met at my sister’s flat to cook, eat, catch up and celebrate.

IMG_0431Table decorated with red and blue paper.  We will bring out the linen and coloured glass for Christmas Day, and not mind about the washing and washing up.  And yes, Z’s flat does slope that much (London subsidence).  And yes, there were more chairs!

We started with smoked salmon and cream cheese, with spring onion, lemon juice and black pepper on thinly sliced brown bread, in homage to my granny who made platefuls of this for every gathering.

IMG_0428 Platefuls were duly consumed and then we sat down for butternut squash and ginger soup with herb croutons …

IMG_0478… and turkey, stuffing, smashed parsnips, red cabbage, roast potatoes and lots of lovely salty gravy.


I was too excited (and too full!) to take photos of the pudding: my mum’s amazing macaroon cake and apple sauce, chocolate brownies and two types of ice cream.

Dad’s cousin and her brother-in-law popped round for coffee, champagne, more cake and chocolates in the late afternoon, then it was off to St John’s Smith Square for Bach’s Christmas Vespers 1723, a celebration of Christmas music including Giovanni Gabrieli and Erhard Bodenschatz as well as Bach’s Magnificat in E-flat and In dulci jubilo performed by the wonderful Oxford Baroque.

IMG_0509(You aren’t really allowed to take photos but I hovered at the back to take this picture of the Church as everyone was leaving.  It is so beautiful, my photos don’t do it any kind of justice).

IMG_0515On the way home we stopped off at a friend’s Christmas party for mulled wine, mince pies, a giant Christmas ham and luxurious amounts of cheese, before falling into bed to dream of organ preludes and real Christmas.

And since no party is complete without a festive outfit, a photo of what I wore, taken at the top of my sister’s stairs in bad light and a hurry.  A mix of old, new, sober and sparkly, high-street basics and a few things I really couldn’t afford but loved too much to leave in the shop.  Probably my favourite kind of outfit.

IMG_0467CardiganBanana Republic T-shirt: Uniqlo Skirt: L. K. Bennett Shoes: Manolo Blahnik Necklace: Victorian seed pearl horseshoe

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!

About these ads
This entry was posted in celebrations, concerts, life, London, love, outfit, seasons, shoes. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Pre-Christmas Christmas

  1. It looks like a wonderful party. What are smashed parsnips? They sound delicious.

    • Philippa says:

      They are what you do when you’ve parboiled the parsnips and realise there’s no room in the oven to roast them … or at least that’s how they were invented in our house!

      Boil parsnips until edible, pale and uninteresting. Melt a fair amount of butter (with a dash of oil to stop it burning) in a saucepan. Add your parsnips and flavouring of choice (lemon and thyme, rosemary and sage are all good) and salt and pepper, push down on parsnips with the back of your spoon until a bit bit broken up (or smashed … I think in a fancy restaurant they’d be called ‘crushed’, but ‘crushed potato’ to me means lumpy mash, and also reminds me of a poor sad potato whose hopes have been dashed). Reheat gently in the butter until the outside bits are softly fried and golden, and the inside is tender and a bit mashed. Eat!

  2. The colours in your skirt look glorious! Smashed parsnips are my absolute fave. Also roasted Jamie Oliver style with lemon and oil and with yams and pumpkin and pears! Am loving all the ingredients in this pre-Christmas celebratory dinner. Hilarious the slippy slope in the flat, I miss those London flat days!

  3. Jacquetta says:

    Macaroon cake! This I must try. What a lovely day you had. The Church looks amazing, such a great idea to go to a concert on your pre-Christmas Christmas. Your skirt is gorgeous, and I have serious Manolo envy.

  4. Yum the food looks delicious and your outfit is wonderful. I am on the same boat, my family is scattered all around the country.


  5. Tabitha says:

    Christmas Vespers how lovely and wonderfully civilised, thanks for the welcome back!

    • Philippa says:

      Thanks for coming back! I don’t mean to gush, but I really have missed you. I breathed a sigh of relief when I found that your blog had un-disappeared (at least I could keep referring to your old posts, which I do surprisingly often) – and danced a little jig to find the new one. Hurrah hurrah!

  6. Pingback: Carols from Queen’s | pins and noodles

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s