I'm getting pretty excited about Christmas you guys. Only four more days to go. Christmas is one of my favourite times of year although I'm not even the slightest bit religious... I just love tinsel and twinkly lights and presents and food! This year Nick & I are spending Christmas in Brighton which makes it extra awesome, not having to lug everything we're going to eat for three days to someone else's house is definitely a win! This is the first time since we've been together (over 9 years) that we both have Christmas Eve off too, in the past either I've been working or he's been working but not this year. I was thinking about Christmas traditions and whilst I don't really have any with my family I have plenty with Nick and with our friends so I thought I'd share them with you.
The Animal Aid Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre is in early December and it's one of my favourite Christmas traditions. We get up early, get the train to London, meet up with friends and make a beeline for Ms Cupcake to get ourselves nicely sugared up before doing a little Christmas shopping.
Plenty of animal charities have stalls at the fayre so it's a great place to pick up Christmas cards, this year I picked up these, erm, beauties? I wonder if the cat is meant to be the face of the lord Jesus Christ?! Or the ghost of Christmas past perhaps? Whatever's going on I love it!
The Vegusto stall is always one of our first stops, and not just for the free samples! They have great deals on their meats and cheeses and Nick & I stocked up on a whole lot of cheese for us to munch on over the festive period. This year I was super lucky and also won a whole hamper of Vegusto goodies. How rad is that?!
There were two sample size packs of hard cheese, a melty cheese, mushroom burgers, a farmhouse sausage and some dark chocolate in the basket and I can attest to almost all of it's deliciousness - I say almost because Nick scoffed the chocolate before I got a look in! Vegusto are one of my favourite vegan companies and I have a review of their roasts coming up on the blog soon.
Another must at the fayre is a slice of pizza from the Shambhu's catering stand, this year they had vegan coleslaw too and it turns out that pizza and coleslaw are pretty awesome together!
I was super excited by the Ananda Foods marshmallow stall this year, I haven't been the hugest fan of their marshmallows in the past but this year I tried their vegan version of a Wagon Wheel and a chocolate covered, sprinkle dipped 'mallow on a stick and they were both SO DAMN GOOD!
Nick and I shared the Round Up because at almost £4 it was quite expensive, it differed slightly to a traditional Wagon Wheel in that it wasn't completely covered in chocolate but it was the perfect biscuit, marshmallow and jam sandwich and I can't wait to get my hands on another one. The marshmallow on a stick was much cheaper, a little over £1 from what I remember, and equally delicious - I totally kicked myself when I realised far too late that I'd forgotten to get another one to take home.
The day after the fayre we put up our Christmas tree. I love putting the tree up, it's so fun to get out all of the decorations we've been collecting over the years and we always listen to Christmas music which I love, yes, even the cheesy stuff. My Christmas playlist has a pretty great mix of the classics, cheesy 80's & 90's pop, and punk. I'm listening to Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight) by The Ramones right now.
This is our first ever Christmas with a kitty so I skipped putting up some of my favourite glass baubles just in case he got a little over excited and knocked the tree over. He's showing no signs of Christmassy destructiveness so far though, he just sits underneath it and tries to eat the gift tags on the presents.
We even got a little kitty ornament of him made my my friend Lisa, who you might know as Panda with Cookie.
Super cute right? We also got a Teal Cat ornament and a penguin to top the tree with.
As well as sitting under the tree being adorable Rorschach's been great at helping wrap presents, he gets right on the paper and everything!
I wish we could keep him forever!
Christmas is also time for some of my favourite foods, I love a good roast dinner as much as the next Brit' but I'll happily eat that in any month that feels even vaguely wintery and as I live in England that means a July roast dinner is perfectly feasible. VBites, the company that used to be called Redwood Foods, come out with a festive range every year which includes one of my favourite mock meaty things, Smoked Salmon Style Slices.
I love them on brown bread with lots of lemon juice and black pepper which reminds both Nick and I of Christmases growing up. This year VBites have also come up with a Festive Pasty - they don't photograph well but they're freaking delicious. Puff pastry stuffed with turkey style pieces, pork sausages, veggies and a lovely rich gravy. If you get the chance to try these, do it!
Sainsbury's have a chocolate santa this year, I love this kind of cheap milk-like chocolate but I only really eat it around Christmas and Easter time, apparently I like my cheap chocolate in festive shapes only!
I make mince pies every year, I cheat and use store-bought pastry and mincemeat which makes them super fast and easy to throw together.
I love the smell of them baking, they make the whole house smell Christmassy!
Do you have any fun festive traditions? or favourite festive foods? Leave me a link in the comments if you've blogged about it, I love reading about everyones Christmases!