Tag: christmas

Christmas 2016

Happy new year and all that guff. Yep, I’m glad all the festivities are over. You see, I’m not a massive fan of Christmas. There’s too much pressure, faff and fuss for just one day. Anyway, by the time the end of term came around, I was exhausted and just grateful for the two weeks break. My parting end of term gift? A cold! I was a sleepy, snotty, coughing mess for the first part of the holidays. Then Phil came down with something worse for the remainder of the holidays, meaning all we pretty much did was sleep and veg out, trying to rid Crafty Chai towers of the plague.

sunrise

But having a less than mediocre Christmas did get me thinking about what I want our Christmas next year to look like, colds and flu notwithstanding. One thing I realised is that I need to get my shit together for Christmas way earlier than I did. Not just buying presents, but organising decent card, festive treats and thinking about what we’d like to do during the festive season. Because while I enjoyed being lazy and binge watching the latest Netflix sensation, it’s not how I want to be spending all my time away from school. I realise that I was really tired and needed to spend some time recuperating but I also felt that I was wasting my two weeks off. Next year, I want to make sure that there’s time for vegging out, but also time spent seeing a few friends, going on some lovely walks and spending more time reading and crafting.

Newgale

In my head, next Christmas, I envisage a whole different picture. More fresh air, less time on the sofa. Trying out great, healthy plant based meals, less cheese and crackers. More time reading, less junk TV. Focus on the special things, make new traditions and plan lovely things. I want to make sure that the foodie treats we have are worth it, and just mindless eating. I want it to be something I enjoy and not regret. So I’ll be planning next Christmas with military precision, making sure that there’s time to enjoy it, without worrying that time is being wasted.

My first Vegan Christmas

One of the reasons I loved Christmas in the past was the food. The variation, the amount and the excuse to eat whatever you wanted, whatever the time. As I’ve got older, I’ve wanted to stuff my face less, as I only spend the next few months trying to work it off! As we were spending Christmas here, just the two of us, we knew we didn’t want to spend loads of extra money on crap food that we would only regret later. Therefore, we wanted our first ever vegan Christmas dinner to be amazing. Here’s what we ate:

Breakfast: Pancakes with Tofurkey bacon, fruit & maple syrup. *drools*

Vegan PancakesNow, you know about my pancake addiction so when Phil saw Kirsten Henry tweet this recipe  for 5 minute vegan pancakes, we knew what we would be having Christmas morning. We got up near enough usual time, went out for a lovely long dog walk with Poppy, then came home to get our pancake on. The recipe is very easy, as was the Tofurkey bacon. We devoured them in minutes! Delicious!

Christmas Dinner: Roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots and shallots with sprouts, homemade stuffing and Tofurkey roast.

Vegan Christmas dinnerI’d seen people tweeting about the Tofurkey roast for a while and we weren’t sure if we should have it, go with something else we’d tried before, or just go big on the veggies. When we saw it for sale in Simply V in Cardiff, we knew we had to get it. We decided not to try it before hand and just wing it. If it wasn’t good, we had plenty of veggies to eat. Well, we didn’t need them! We both really liked the Tofurkey roast. It had a good texture and flavour and I loved the stuffing in the middle. Now, it’s not like turkey. It’s not meant to be. It’s meant to be a substitute and it’s a pretty decent one in my opinion. So much so that I’ve bought another one, for the freezer, from my local Holland and Barrett. On sale too! As there were only two of us, we had plenty of leftovers, which I put to good use!

Boxing Day: Tofurkey Sandwich

Tofurkey sandwichI had this Boxing Day evening after having an epic lunch at Phil’s parents house. Thick cut bread, Pure Sunflower spread, a generous helping of cranberry sauce, thick slices of Tofurkey and layer of stuffing. All washed down with a brew and a portion of hummus crisps. It was epic!

Christmas leftovers (day 2): Tofurkey salad

Vegan Christmas leftoversI hate food waste so was keen to eat up anything I could before it could go off. Hello epic veggie salad. I had the final few slices of Tofurkey, left over roasted veg and stuffing and as much salad as I could fit on my plate. Lush.

Christmas treats: Homemade mince pies and stuffing

Vegan mince piesAs we were having Christmas at home, Phil wanted to make our own mince pies. I can see why, as they as much tastier than shop bought. These were really easy to make too. We bought some Jus Roll shortcrust pastry (Don’t judge! Delia Smith uses it!) and Waitrose own mincemeat. The stuffing is a really easy recipe that I got from my mum, consisting of breadcrumbs, sage, onion and egg. I replace the egg with yoghurt and it did an okay job. I think I should have used more though, as it was a bit crumbly. Still good though!

Christmas Treats: Vegan snacks and hamper

Vegan Christmas presentsIf you’re ever wondering what to buy a vegan for Christmas, food is always a winner in my opinion! This is a collection of all the food I got for Christmas. I have Nakd bars at school every day at break, so they are always welcome. I also like to keep a treat box for when I can’t get any vegan cakes or snacks out and about. Phil got me a vegan hamper from Archie Browns, which is pretty much the stuff on the right hand side. If you’re having a go at Veganuary, then it might be worth as it’s got bits and pieces that will come in handy.

So there you have it. I think we did pretty well for our first vegan Christmas. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything at all and think I ate less as a result, meaning I don’t have to feel quite as guilty as I usually do, post-Christmas. Think I even deserve an extra Round Up!

Merry Christmas?

Christmas used to be my favourite celebration of the year, next to my birthday. I loved every bit about it, from the lights, to the eating and drinking. It was the best time of year. Then I developed depression and the pressure to be happy when all I wanted to do was give in to how I was feeling became overwhelming. Now, any kind of festive or celebratory occasion fills me with dread. There’s so much to do, so much hype, so much pressure on being merry and happy. It can be too much. There’s pressure to have the perfect tree, the perfectly decorated home, Pinterest worthy gift wrapping and a blog post worthy outfit to boot. Add in to the mix the pressure to see people and be ‘on form’, hide how I might be feeling and be full of festive cheer, it makes me all a bit ‘bah humbug’. While I don’t feel that I suffer from depression at the moment, I still have days which can be a chore and Christmas is a time where I feel like I should be overjoyed with Christmas spirit but I’m certainly more like Scrooge than Buddy the Elf! Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy spending time off work, with Phil and Poppy, going for long walks, doing the kind of things we enjoy doing, as long as I maintain a routine, I know I’ll be fine and enjoy it in my own way, but it’s still a bit of struggle. Instead, while I’m not going to be inviting the neighbors round to enjoy perfect homemade festive treats, we’ll enjoy our own calmer version of Christmas.

Eco wrapping

Depression isn’t the only issue I have with Christmas. There’s an awful lot of waste and greed exhibited at Christmas. Why do we purge on food and wine during a week or so over Christmas, only to almost starve ourselves in January to detox from all the gluttony? Doesn’t it seem bonkers?! As we’re having Christmas at home this year, we’ve really scaled back on everything food and drinks wise. I really don’t need to eat so much that I need to put my joggers on! But it’s not just the food and drink, it’s all the waste of resources in wrapping presents and sending cards, only for them to be put in recycling at the end of Christmas. I know it really does sound bah humbug, but surely there has to be a better way. To counteract some of the waste this year, I’ve given a few charity donations in place of Christmas presents and because I’ve run out of Christmas cards, stamps and time, I’ve given money to Restore, an Oxford based mental health charity, in place of sending cards to everyone. Phil also came up with a genius eco-friendly gift wrap idea. Instead of spending loads on wasteful wrapping paper, bows and tags, he reused Domino’s flyers, magazines and newsletters to wrap Christmas gifts. I think they look fab. Very festive, colorful and eco-friendly. I’m definitely going to do this next year.

Restore donation

I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas, whatever it looks like. And if you are struggling,  the Samaritans are available for anyone who needs them.

Poppy’s First Christmas (with us!)

How was your Christmas? It seems like it was ages ago doesn’t it? Ours was very lovely and very relaxed. We spent most of it at home and had my Mum up to stay. My OH’s Mum & Stepdad cooked Christmas for us all, which was lovely, and Poppy was bathed in attention by everyone! We’re very lucky in that Poppy is pretty easy going when we’re around. She loves having people over as it’s another person who’ll rub her belly so it’s fair to say that Poppy had a pretty good Christmas too.

Sleeping dog

We were careful not to overfeed her with treats, but as we wanted her to be entertained during Christmas dinner, we bought a massive pizzle from our local pet shop. It was huge! We cut it in half, and even then it was almost as long as Poppy. But it worked and it kept her busy during lunch, which is what we wanted. Given the opportunity, Poppy will eat all day, every day, so we had to make sure she didn’t make herself sick so we took the pizzle away from her before she finished it so that she didn’t over do it. She was exhausted from the pizzle, the general attention and running around while the food was cooking. She was so tired that she slept in on Boxing Day and continued to sleep a lot during the day. Result!

Beautiful dog eyes

Walking her over the festive period was quite tricky. Not only were we all in lazy mode, but the weather wasn’t particularly nice. While we’ve all got raincoats, including Poppy, none of us wanted to go out in the rain. After a particularly unpleasant drenching recently, I’ve bought some new waterproof trousers to go over my jeans when I’m walking her. Typically, I’ve not needed them since I bought them, but judging by the forecast, I’m probably going to get to wear them a lot over the next few days. Hands up if you miss summer!

waterproof trousers

We didn’t seem to take many pictures of Poppy over the Christmas period, which she was probably grateful for. The one thing we wanted to do was take a picture of her in a Christmas outfit, but we left it too late and couldn’t find one. So we’ve got to be more organised next year because she would look awesome in a little Santa outfit!

How was your Christmas? Did your pets get any presents from Father Christmas?