2018 – I’m Ready For You!

After a fantastic Christmas and New Year I’m ready for what 2018 has in store. Happy New Year!

It’s been a few weeks now since my last blog and I’ve been well and truly in hibernation mode. Just before Christmas, my wife Sarah and I took our three daughters on a trip of a lifetime to Lapland for a few days to meet the Big Guy (pictured above). It was like a dream – absolutely magical. A friend of ours had taken his kids about 12 years ago and so for years he had been encouraging us to go. With our girls being 8, 5 and 2, we thought this would be the right time. Our youngest really loved it but she’ll probably be too young to remember it, however for the older two (and for us!), it was so special.

I loved everything about the trip but my personal highlight was driving the husky sledge. The dogs were magnificent. I’ve been daydreaming ever since about my dog have a litter of puppies and then insisting on only travelling around North London on a sledge on wheels pulled by excitable Vizslas. We flew home just before Christmas so full of excitement – I’m really glad we decided to book it and go.

Christmas itself was spent in the medieval village of Lavenham in Suffolk (pictured above) where Sarah’s Mum lives. We got there on Christmas Eve and picked up our turkey from the local butchers (Lavenham Butchers) who kindly threw in a load of venison steaks for us too. We didn’t think it was wise to tell the kids so soon after Lapland that they were eating Rudolph’s cousins! We couldn’t believe it when the door rang on Christmas Eve and we answered it to a choir of carol singers – I thought that sort of thing only happened in films.

Sarah’s Grandad Joe was with us for Christmas too, and it’s always so nice to see our kids play with their Great-Grandad – they have a really close relationship with him and we’re all looking forward to his 95th birthday in a couple of weeks. After I’d cooked Christmas Lunch we settled in to a few games of Harry Potter Cluedo (above), which our eldest has become ruthlessly good at over the past few weeks.

I was obviously on Santa’s good list in 2017 as I got some great Christmas presents, including the Lego Millennium Falcon, which was so much fun to build. I’m currently guarding it from my two-year-old at every opportunity.

New Year was spent across the road (I live in the house opposite my parents – pictured above with my two sisters) with my sisters and their families. All the cousins had a sleepover together and then spent New Year’s Day climbing all over their Grandparents while we had a lie in – result!

Now January is here, we’ve got a lot planned but top of the list is working on our fitness, as Sarah and I are both running the London Marathon for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital this April. I’m going to be continuing with building work on my own house and have spent the past week trying to get our home life as organised as it can be while the construction work takes place. My go-to cook book at the moment is The Roasting Tin (pictured above) by Rukmini Iyer, who also did some of the food styling on my book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself (a steal at £4.00 with The Book People in the January Sale at the moment, here). Rukmini’s book is perfect for mid-week dinners that you don’t need to think about – put it all in one pan and throw it in the oven – so easy. She also has some healthy recipe ideas on the BBC Food website this week, including the chicken and chorizo tray bake that we made last night and our kids loved. There’s usually not much baking for me in January but I’ve got a special cake idea up my sleeve that I’ll share in a couple of weeks. Until then, Happy New Year and Happy Baking!

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