Christmas In London: 6 Of The Most Festive Spots In The City
London really comes into its own at Christmas time. From the magical shop fronts to the bustling streets, every corner is decked out with lights and decorations as it transforms into a Winter wonderland for the holiday season.
Between eating Bratwurst and sippin’ on glühwein at the markets, the festive displays are a must-see if you’re in the city over Christmas.
We’ve rounded up our favourite locations so you’ll know exactly where
to head to see London at its most sparkly.
One of London’s most magnificent ice rinks transforms into a
festival of light and Winter wonder. Complete with a stunning 40ft Christmas
tree decorated with mini Fortnum & Mason hampers, it’s a must-see in
Enjoy a steaming Bailey’s hot chocolate while you take in
the dazzling icy scenes or slink off to do some seasonal shopping in Fortnum’s Christmas
Arcade, surrounded by the beauty of Somerset House in all its festive glad rags.
Where to find it: Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
With its 20ft Christmas tree, ornate painted ceiling and
charming Victorian passageways, it’ll make you feel like you’ve stumbled into the
magical world of Harry Potter.
Christmas returns to the cobbled streets of Leadenhall
Market. Originally a meat, poultry and game market, it’s now home to a number
of boutique retailers, cafes and award-winning pubs.
In fact, you might recognise it as it featured as an entrance
to Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the
Philosopher’s Stone. Hagrid and Harry walk through the market and enter the
Leaky Cauldron Pub through a blue door.
Have a mooch around the picturesque pathways, enjoy a glass
of mulled wine and get in the festive spirit at one of London’s most historic
Where to find it: Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch St, Langbourn, London, EC3V 1LT
Ambling around Covent Garden at Christmas is like stepping
back in time. Once home to a world-famous fruit and veg stall, the Apple Market
is filled with crafts, speciality shops, handmade jewellery and mementos. Marvel
at London’s biggest hand-picked Christmas tree festooned with 30,000 lights and
make your way across the cobbled piazza to enjoy some 115,000 lights illuminating
the main square. It’s a sight to behold.
Where to find it: The
Apple Market, Covent Garden, WC2E 8RD
Natural History Museum
No trip to London is complete without feasting your eyes on
the wintry scenes at the Natural History Museum. Set against the beautiful backdrop
of the iconic South Kensington Museum and dripping in fairy lights, it is one
of the most magical places to be this Winter.
Ice skate around the giant Christmas tree and soak up the Christmassy
atmosphere with your friends and family, right in the heart of London. It’ll
put you in the holiday spirit in no time!
Where to find it: The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
Dubbed one of the most elegant clubs in the world, Annebel’s
is a legendary members-only hangout right in the heart of Mayfair.
You’ve probably spotted the ladies powder room popping up all
over Instagram, with its pink onyx basins carved into oyster shells, gilded
swan taps and peony-adorned ceiling – we’d gladly eat our dinner in the loo.
We could talk about its gilt-trim, maximalist interiors and
iconic bathroom décor forever but it’s
the beautiful exterior splendour of this Grade-I listed mansion that steals the
limelight at this time of year.
Rather than following suit with a traditional red and green
fir tree, this year Annabel’s have gone all out extra with an elaborate, white 42ft
faux Christmas tree dusted with snow and dressed with gold baubles. Insta-bait
at its best and we LOVE it.
Where to find it: 46 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London, W1J 5AT
Dressed to the nines and wrapped up in a red bow stretching
across the entire building, Cartier always goes all out with its Christmas
window. Located in the heart of London’s Mayfair, you won’t be able to resist walking
by without getting a snap of its show-stopping display.
Where to find it: 175-177, New Bond St, Mayfair, London, W1S 4RN
Isn’t Christmas in London just charming? Let us know your favourite festive spots in the city below!
It's not Christmas until we're all clad in novelty knitwear and eating Twiglets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Amen.
This year, there’s some absolute corkers out there. From reindeer embellished jumpers, festive Fair Isle sweaters and sequin candy canes, please be upstanding for the best Christmas jumpers 2019 has to offer.
A stand-out Christmas jumper that’s just the right balance of kitsch AND wearable is hard to come by so I’m snapping this one up. A snowy scene, sequins, catchy slogans that make you want to burst into song, I’m here for it.
I wore this on our Camber trip and it’s a lovely low-key festive option. If you’re looking for something classy and versatile, this sparkly jumper is a great choice – it does run a little small so size up for layering!
Festive but make it FRENCH! Two of my favourite things combined, what more could you want. The little red cloaked Santa Claus on his reindeer drawn sleigh in the corner is an adorable little touch to this monochrome number.
I’ve bought this jumper and have given it a good wear this month already, but seriously, M&S Kids is killing it in terms of festive designs! Yes, I did say kids, because their sizing is done on height and it turns out 5ft 4 is perfect for an age 15 in this number (plus it has an oversize fit too so could get away with smaller)! I like that it’s not too in your face, but has a great dose of sparkle and warmth, and long sleeves to which I like for an extra layer of warmth in the mornings.
Once December rolls around I’m on the hunt for the perfect festive jumper/jumpers (can’t just have one). In more recent years, I’ve definitely dialled down the tacky-ness, although have a great stash with bells, music and more tinsel than you can fit on your tree because I can’t bear to part with them. My favourite this year is this one from Topshop, I love the oversized fit and the fact it’s black and white so will go with mostly everything. Also, I love a slogan, and to be honest, this could not be more fitting, because ya girl loves Christmas….A LOT!
When it comes to Christmas jumpers less is more for me! I like a hint of Christmas, just a whisper! Love this LBJ with the simple “I believe” it reminds me of Miracle on 34th street which is my fave Christmas movie.
With trees, stars and fa-la-la’s this Boden number is the perfect jumper for trimming the tree and other festive occasions. In a super soft and cosy cream it’s great for chilly winter days, and I just love the added fun of the brightly coloured pom pom details.
I normally go chunky with my Winter woollies but with the impending Christmas dinner sweats, this thin-knit seems like a bright idea. Plus, it’s got a dachshund on a sleigh on it, so ya know what better way to hint to your SO that I’d very much like my present to bark this year.
I loved wearing this off the shoulder jumper, it’s made of the softest fluffy material that you’re not going to want to take off. The off-the-shoulder neckline and fitted silhouette means it looks a bit dressier than your average slouchy Christmas knit too.
White is always so lovely at Christmas, possibly because it reminds me of snow! I adore these little embellished trees, AGAIN just a hint of Christmas is the right amount. ASOS provides this in curve, petite, tall and standard so it shouldn’t be hard to find the perfect fit.
Amongst Home Alone, Elf and the rest of the crème de la crème, we have the Christmas films that are so bad, they're actually good.
So what if they can’t compete with the perennial Yuletide staples like Love Actually? Let us celebrate all the tip top happy and crappy Christmas movies out there anyway.
With their predictable and far-fetched storylines and corny characters, these are the best of the worst Christmas movies we can’t stop watching.
For your guilty pleasure viewing only
Lauren – The Holiday Calendar
The Holiday Calendar on Netflix is one I love to pick apart, yet still enjoy with every watch – in terms of holiday films it’s actually a pretty good plot and acting, but with all those great obvious storylines like the best friend always being in love with the main character, or the main character being totally oblivious to everything right up until the last 5 minutes! When Abby inherits a magical antique calendar from her wide old grandpa, she starts seeing signs pointing towards love and success at work, but obviously, she’s reading it all wrong, and good ol’grandpa knew that too, so she sets on a path to make her life happen and get her man! My main problem with the film? The fact that Abby is a penniless freelance photographer who miraculously can still rent a fabulous open plan apartment – either someone has great rent control or Santa put her top of the nice list! Either way, great cheese and an easy watch on a Sunday if you need some festive spirit!
Carrie – The Angel of Christmas
I think my favourite awful movie is The Angel of Christmas, a classically cringey Hallmark movie that has everything you need to get into the cheesy Christmas spirit, and bonus, it’s on Netflix. It follows a reporter writing about a family heirloom that of course happens to be mysteriously magical resulting in a totally realistic love story. It has all the plot holes and melodramatic acting needed for a true crappy Christmas movie, and one I love to have on while decorating and getting ready for the festive season.
Maddie – The Grinch
Controversial but i’m going to throw in The Grinch to this list. Don’t get me wrong, i still bloody love it and will 100% be watching it again this year at some point but if I were to rank the all time best Christmas movies this would probably fall to the bottom of the pile for me. I think if you don’t know the original then this movie is totally passable (mostly down to Jim Carrey’s hilarious over the top rendition and a dog called Max who totally steals the show) but when you compare it to the classic Dr Seuss story and cartoon version it just doesn’t quite cut the mustard. But WHO am i to judge… it’s still super festive, makes me laugh and has a lovely heart warming ending so all in all there’s no need to be a Grinch about it.
Danielle – The Princess Switch
Just like most other ‘made for TV movies’ The Princess Switch involves some extremely hard to believe hijinx resulting in your average small-town American girl becoming a proper full-blown royal princess. All these movies truly have me believe that this is the pipe dream for girls across the globe, sitting pretty in a castle, constantly smiling, your only friends are the people who work there: JOY!
The reason why the Princess Switch is my favourite bad Christmas movie is because it features Vanessa Hudgens who plays the aforementioned small-town girl as well as the princess she switches with. There are some solid Parent Trap moments where they have to teach each other how to walk, talk, and they even had a hair cut moment, obviously by the royal hairstylist though because duh PRINCESS!
Each of the Vanessas falls hopelessly in love, loads of people have terrible British accents even though they’re supposed to be in Moldova, and orphan children receive a ton of great gifts. I highly recommend starting with this one if you’re going to jump down the hole of Princess Christmas movies (which I have) because it is the cream of the crop.
Lareese – Jingle All The Way
I love to hate Jingle All The Way. It celebrates everything bad about Christmas: consumerism and cocky men in various suits.
You know Arnold Schwarzenegger’s never going to make it to the store in time, you know he’s going to fail his son immeasurably when he doesn’t get his hands on the elusive Turbo Man toy, you know he’s a sucky father and a sucky shag because he’s always at work, too busy selling mattresses to show up and be present for his little boy.
And don’t even get me started on the fact that his own wife and son don’t recognise him at the parade, in his inconspicuous Turbo Man disguise – a see-through visor. Ok, then.
Stop pretending it’s Turbo Man, Jamie. You’re like seven years old, how many 6ft men with a thick Austrian accent and a suspiciously chiselled jawline do you know round these ends?
Schwarzenegger has never been so wooden, Ted Maltin is possibly the most annoying slimy weasel character ever, the special effects are terrifying and yet, you bet I’ll be there Christmas Eve like a moth to a flame, watching it and rolling my eyes – and that right there is the sign of a very good, bad Christmas movie.
Zoe – The Greatest Store in the World
So I struggled here, because I am of the notion that there really is NO bad Christmas film (that i’d still be up for watching anyway, Nativity 3 was NOT the one, and don’t get me started on Home Alone 3 and 4). So which film is pretty pants but still a MUST WATCH?
One that really springs to mind, is a film called “The Greatest Store In The World”. Admittedly, it was more of a BBC one off which aired when I was around 9 which featured a family whose motor home blew up, so they decided to live in a department store at Christmas. It also had an S Club 7 cameo and a bad Santa who tried to steal the store jewels. It’s so badly brilliant that I tracked it down on dvd and watch it every year without fail (not going to lie, I could recite quite a lot of the script at this point). If you can track it down online, i’d highly recommend giving it a watch, but keep your expectation pretty low!
Another bad-good film is Surviving Christmas which I only discovered last year (maybe because absolutely nobody talks about it). Starring Ben Affleck as a pretty selfish, wealthy guy with a real lack of love and stability who ends up looking like he’ll be spending Christmas on his own. He decides to pay the family living in his old family home to pretend to be his family and do all the festive traditions he wants. The storyline is uber predictable, the comedy is a bit off & rotten tomatoes only gave it 7% but I JUST LOVE IT!
We Tried: ALL the Christmas Sandwiches So You Don’t Have To
The John Lewis ad has been unveiled, Wizzard's on the radio again and most importantly the cranberry smothered sandwiches are giving our mundane lunches life once more. Huzzah! Screw you miso soup, screw you.
We made it our mission to devour the best turkey-laden baguettes and veggie festive offerings of the land, identifying the moist-makers from the barely-even-buttered Christmas sarnies so you don’t have to. Because that’s the kinda teammates we are.
Let us compare filling vs bread ratios forevermore thank you, please. Slap Christmas nibbles in and around our mouths until we smell more like pigs in blankets than pigs in blankets smell like pigs in blankets. Say pigs in blankets one more time.
Find out which Christmas sandwiches, toasties, subs and festive variants made it into our top 10 and prepare to salivate.
Pret: Veggie Christmas Lunch £3.75 Score: 5/5
In short, dear reader: it deserves cult status.
Sainsbury’s: Turkey Feast With Sage And Onion Stuffing £2.40 Score: 3.5/5
A textbook festive feast with generous chunks of turkey. What’s not to love?
Pret: Christmas Lunch £3.95 Score: 4/5
One for the traditionalists. Layers of free-range turkey, complemented by just the right amount of port & orange cranberry sauce, herby stuffing and spinach. A solid stalwart sandwich, sir.
Sainsbury’s: The Christmas Market sandwich £3 Score: 4.5/5
Gherkins in a Christmas sandwich, now that is WILD. Dubious though we were, it was a risk worth taking. Not a classic festive snack as we know it but top marks for originality and taste. Bravo, Sainsbury’s you win the award for best newcomer. Be proud.
Pret: Lobster Roll £5.99 Score: 3.6/5
Those crustaceans are a spenny bunch, eh? Not the most festive of flavours but if you like your prawn posh and your fish fancy, this is your kinda luncheon.
Tesco: Turkey Trimmings Sage And Onion Stuffing £2.50 Score: 4/5
If meat is what you came for, then you’ve lucked out on this triumphant trio of turkey, sausage and smoky bacon.
A handful of peppery rocket cuts through the creaminess of rich brie and cranberry sauce. Topped with a toasted pistachio crumb – unfamiliar territory as Christmas sarnies go but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Pret.
Sandwich sceptics, here’s one for you. Pulled turkey, hickory smoked bacon, Emmental cheese, chestnut stuffing and cranberry chutney spread over a rustic panini. It’s basically like poetry on the tongue.
Pret: Christmas Baguette £3.99 Score: 3.7/5
Everything you’d want from a Christmas sandwich, wrapped up in baguette form. Herby, crunchy, moist – expect an explosion of festive euphoria as soon as it hits your lips. Merry Christmas indeed, you filthy animals.
2019 is the year plant-based Christmas sandwiches upped their game. Hand-stretched ciabatta, check. Butternut squash, check. Lashings of cranberry sauce, check. Our resident vegan digs it!
M&S: Made Without Wheat Turkey Feast £3.50 Score: 4.5/5
This is not a drill: we found a moist gluten-free sandwich. Need we say more? The festive fomo is over, guys.
M&S: Brie And Grape Sandwich £3.00 Score: 3.8/5
Grapes in a sarnie sounds pretty exotic but we can confirm it’s jammy and surprisingly good. We were shooketh.
Costa: Pigs & Blankets Mac & Cheese £3.95 Score: 3.7/5
Ok, so by definition it’s not a sandwich (doh, technicality) but when you take a holiday staple like pigs in blankets and tuck them under a creamy sleeping bag of mac and cheese, it’s going to change the game. They knew what they were doing. Would have again. And again. And again.
Costa: British Turkey & Trimmings Toastie £3.95 Score: 4.2/5
A perfectly crispy indulgent toasty loaded with cheese and all the Christmassy trimmings. You’re hired.
How many festive sandwiches have you tried and what’s your fave?
It’s no secret that we’re big on skincare here at Zoella HQ and as meticulous beauty junkies, we’re constantly on the hunt for products that’ll give us the glow factor come rain or shine.
As we move into the new season, our skin can feel sensitive,
dry, dehydrated and seriously lacklustre due to environmental changes and
central heating. Whilst we habitually adapt our wardrobes with cable knit sweaters
and winter coats, our skin and haircare routines often go unchanged when they
too should benefit from a seasonal switch up.
It’s time to bid adieu to those lightweight oil-free Summer
staples and make way for hardworking formulas that’ll promise to keep your skin
happy right through to the festive period. We won’t rest until we have
perfectly blushed and dewy cheeks to rival the merry man Santa himself.
From rich moisturisers, creamy cleansers and enriching body
lotions – get ready to weather proof your pores with these Autumn beauty
1. Opt for a heavier moisturiser
It may seem obvious but upgrading your lightweight moisturiser for a seriously hydrating cream instead can work wonders for dry skin on both your face and body. Look for non-comedogenic products that contain ceramides for repairing the skin’s moisture barrier which is easily broken down in the Winter months.
2. Layer up right
Apply your face products from the thinnest consistency to the thickest. Start with your serums, then go in with your face oils and finish with creams and SPF. SPF should always be applied last in your skincare routine and before makeup.
3. Give it time to absorb
If you’re layering up several face products, allow enough time between applications for each product to absorb and work effectively. Patience is a virtue!
4. Apply in gentle upward sweeps
Apply your face and body moisturiser in upward strokes to help with circulation and lymphatic drainage.
5. Don’t forget your neck!
Along with your hands, your décolletage is one of the quickest areas to age. Taking the products you use on your face down your neck and chest will ensure you’re keeping your skin supple and hydrated.
6. Be gentle
Use your fingertips to apply your face moisturiser, taking particular care around the delicate eye area to prevent tugging. Use your ring finger to gently tap product in a figure of eight around your orbit bone.
7. Check your ingredients
It might not be necessary to completely overhaul your moisturising routine for Winter but tweaking some products will help keep your skin happy. Look for humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin – these are ingredients that hydrate the skin by attracting water like a magnet.
8. Stick to gentle exfoliation
Without light exfoliation, skin will stay dry and dull no matter how many creams and oils you apply. Opt for a product with a gentle glycolic to buff away dead skin cells once a week to allow better penetration of your moisturiser.
Today's guest post is from Olivia Wollenberg, the entrepreneur behind Livia's, a brand producing delicious free-from tasty treats available in supermarkets across the country. She's taking over our Instagram today and filling us in on what life is like behind the scenes at Livia's.
What was one of your
first amazing recipes?
Our original peanut butter millionaire slab! It inspired our
Million Squares product range which we now sell in 3 yummy flavours.
Has food always been
a passion of yours?
I’ve always had a sweet tooth and been interested in trying
new things but I never thought I would end up working in the food industry.
What is a real pinch
me moment in your career?
Seeing my products in supermarkets and spotting them when
I’m doing food shopping! The excitement never gets old!
Where do you find
inspiration for your products?
I honestly dream them up in my head!
How did you start
I started by developing recipes in my
parent’s kitchen and then got my first listing in Selfridge’s. I now have a
team of 12 and 3 product ranges sold in major UK retailers such as Tesco,
Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Boots and more.
Did you always want
to set up your own business?
Not at all. Until 2013 I had been studying Neuroscience at
UCL and had completed a masters in Paediatric Neuropsychology. I was on route
to pursue a career in academia but realised in the last few months of studying
that it wasn’t as well suited to me as I first thought. I was then diagnosed
with severe food intolerances and spotting that there was a gap in the market
for really yummy desserts and treats made me think about starting my own
business. I was passionate about neuroscience but I’m also hugely passionate
about what I’m doing now and I love it.
What is the best
thing about owning your own business?
When I can see that what I am doing is
having a positive impact on others. I get so much satisfaction from seeing my
team develop and grow and from seeing all our customers loving our products.
The pride I feel when I am tagged in posts is so immense.
What’s been the
hardest part of your career so far?
Not being able to switch off and recruiting the right people
who believe in the same mission.
How do you stay motivated when you’re the one in charge?
I remind myself of the vision and keep going.
What advice would you
give to somebody wanting to start their own business?
pretend to be an expert in everything, hire people who can do things better
than you can. Delegation is the key to a successful business.
Do you have any role
My mum! I would never be where I am now without her endless
If you could only eat
one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
Avocado pesto pasta. We have it every Friday in the office
for team lunch.
What are you having
for Christmas dinner?
Everything! Canapes, soup, nut roast, two different types of
roast potatoes, tonnes of different roasted vegetables, gravy, and the most
indulgent show stopper dessert.
The yearly fear of missing out on a cracking Black Friday deal has probably already set in, your inbox is on its way to being completely flooded, you’ve made a list and checked it twice but it’s currently hurtling out the window...
Black Friday fear be gone, we’ve compiled a handy list of tips to help keep your head screwed on, as well as a list of deals we think are worth taking a look at! We’ll be updating our list of the best Black Friday deals all week so check back daily for an updates.
Lists Are Friends
Santa does it and so should you. Make a list of everyone you
need to buy for along with a budget of how much you’d like to spend and make
sure you stick to it. It’s so easy to be mesmerised by a deal and end up with
more than you actually need, obviously a surplus of gifts means more for you but
in the interest of only shopping for others stick to the list!
All About The Blanket
Blanket discounts are where brands take a set amount of
every product on their site. This is great for the shopper as it’s usually for
a short period of time and the products will go back to full price. It also
means you can shop freely onsite knowing you’ll get the precious savings when
Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
A lot of brands have already started the Black Friday fun
and have varying discounts every day. If there’s a brand you love that’s
switching things up, make sure to check back each morning to see the day’s
It’s Just Stuff!
Always remember it’s just stuff, there’s no need to get stressed and we completely feel you if not getting involved at all is your bag. As our good friend Charlie Brown once said “It’s not what’s under the Christmas tree that matters, it’s the people gathered around it.”
If you're looking for an easy to follow, fool proof guide to perfecting the ultimate cheeseboard, you've come to the right place! Here's how I put mine together for an evening of hosting!
Tis’ the season of the cheeseboard, falalalala, lalalalaa. To be honest, a cheeseboard goes hand in hand with any season and for some, is preferred over a dessert after a meal. I also think a cheeseboard is a sure-fire way to ensure everybody has something they can nibble on if you’re doing a last-minute get together with friends and drinks. For those of us who don’t really cook much (ahem) it is also SO incredibly easy as it requires no chef capabilities in the slightest. Here’s my little run down of how to achieve the most epic of cheeseboards.
Obviously the key ingredient to any cheese board is the cheese itself. Depending on how many guests you are planning to serve the board to (and how hungry they might be), you generally want around 5-6 key cheeses minimum. But what kind of cheeses do you need in order to tick all the cheeseboard boxes?
Strength – You want to try and get a good selection of different strength cheeses. Some people will want something with a bit of a kick, or that’s been maturing for as old as you are, and others will want something a little lighter in taste. A blue cheese is a good default for a bit of strength and a brie is also a good milder choice (always buy more of the brie, it’s usually the cheese most people eat more of)
Textures – It’s also worth thinking about different textures of cheeses too. You should have some harder cheeses like cheddar, jarlsberg and manchego and then softer or more crumbly options like a goats cheese or camembert.
Flavours – I also think it’s nice to add a few cheeses that have different flavours. You could add something with a bit of spice, or a touch of smoky flavouring. A hit in our household is a truffle cheese, or something with a hint of garlic! We even tried one recently with a sweet taste as it had toffee pieces in it (not sure it went down entirely well, but always fun to try!)
Origin – Sometimes it might be nice to try particular cheeses from certain countries. You could do a fully French cheese board, a Greek board, Italian or an “around the world” cheeseboard where you sample cheeses from various different countries (could even make a game out of it if you wanted, where people have to guess). A few mega cheese enthusiasts will always have a favourite country that their cheese is made and produced in, and if you are buying your cheese from a super enthusiastic cheesemonger as opposed to your local supermarket shelves, you will definitely get a better idea of which cheeses are most popular and from which countries.
My Go-To Cheeses:
(list is for a larger gathering, cheeses in bold are musts for smaller groups):
Brie (and lot’s of it)
A melted camembert baked in the oven
Stilton or gorgonzola
Cheddar (Snowdonia black bomber is a fave)
Flavoured Cheese (a couple if you have a larger group)
Crackers and Biscuits
You can’t have cheese without crackers, or something which you can spread on to your heart’s content. As a child who was not really into cheese, the crackers were always my main focus. Did I feel like a more wheaty biscuit like the digestive, or was I after something much thinner with a crunch like a water biscuit? Much like the cheese, you want to have a nice little selection so people can choose what they think might complement their cheese of choice. I also like to add breadsticks and little cheesy biscuits (maybe that’s still the child in me finding those things a great pop in the mouth snack). I also think it’s quite nice to add a small thin loaf of some sort, maybe with olives or a bit of flavour. These days there are so many different crackers and biscuits on offer, beetroot, charcoal, cheese, spicy, wholemeal, herby, seedy and of course, your classic plain varieties. As long as you have a nice selection of a few of those, I think people will be super happy.
Chutneys and Jams
Another very important aspect of any cheese board, is a nice chutney or jam of some kind. The classic is of course pickled onion chutney, but there are so many incredible flavours out there that would make anyone happy to pair with a slice of cheese on a cracker. A few favourites we add are a balsamic fig, or a sweet chilli jam. You also might want to add a bit of quince as this is known as a great accompaniment to a cheeseboard.
Depending on who you have as guests and what you think they might be more into, here are a selection of complementary additions to any cheeseboard. It’s important to have some of these to break up the board and offer a bit of palette cleansing, or they simply just go bloomin’ well with cheese! I like to add hams and olives, which some may say make it a little more on the charcuterie side, but it’s just something that always goes down very well in our house. Along with honeycomb which is a fairly new addition to my cheeseboards but is so delicious with the softer cheeses like brie. My mum, on the other hand, likes a bit more of a crudité style and will add celery, apple, grapes and walnuts to her cheese boards.
Red and white grapes (you can also freeze these so they are like little sorbets)
Oil & Balsamic dip
Now for the fun part, putting it all together to display for your guests. Opt for a slightly larger cheeseboard than you may think, once you start adding everything else around your cheese, it tends to fill up quite quickly. Go big or go home tends to be how I do a cheese board, and it never disappoints.
It’s important to get any cheeses out of the fridge 1- 2 hours prior to serving as some will require being at room temperature to be at their best a little sooner than the other cheeses, so I’ll usually pop these on the cheese board first. You should also pop any baked, or cheese you want to serve melted into the oven to start heating as you start prepping the board.
The first step is laying out the cheese! Some people like to display their cheeses in strength order, allowing people to start mild, and work their way up to the stronger cheese, which then means your palette isn’t ruined with the first taste of a strong chilli cheese, making the brie seem a bit tasteless in comparison afterwards. I tend to spread the cheeses around the board evenly (but in no particular order, I feel like most people I know are aware of the cheeses set out in front of them, so naturally navigate their way around themselves). If your guests don’t know the cheeses, it’s nice at this stage to add little tags or labels alongside a knife for each cheese. You don’t want someone who used the knife in the blue cheeses, to then slice into a brie for the next person to get a hybrid of the two. Make sure each cheese has already had a knife put into it, or already sliced open in some way, as this encourages people to get stuck in. I find sometimes if a cheese looks a bit untouched and perfect, people are less likely to cut into it.
I then start putting the chutneys, jams and salted butter on the board, and I spoon these into small round dishes and pop individual spoons in each. Once you have your cheeses and chutneys laid out, it’s time to start on a few of the larger accompaniments like a few bunches of grapes, honeycomb, olives and hams (which I fold into little pieces so they don’t take up as much room). By this point, the board is starting to look a little more full, so I’ll add crackers in rows filling up the gaps around the board so they are nicely spread around. The key is not being able to see the board, so once you feel happy with your breadsticks, crackers and bread, it’s time to go back to the accompaniment list. I fill gaps with walnuts, pickled onions and fresh figs and then add a couple of sprigs of rosemary if I’m feeling particularly bougie. Now your board is ready to serve! Make sure you give everyone their own small side plate and a knife for spreading (you don’t want them using the cheese knives or they’ll never go back on the board for others to use), serve with a tipple and sit back and enjoy as your cheeseboard gets lovingly destroyed in the best possible way.
I’m not a very sparkly gal so my go-to Christmas party outfit is this Jumpsuit, this will be my 2nd year wearing it but I’m sure no-one will notice, it’s a swanky cut while remaining comfortable and large enough to layer underneath if it’s a proper wintry night!
Let me guess, all the other girls are banging on about sequins aren’t they! I’m going to mix it up and give some face time to the classiest of embellishments; Pearls! I’ve gone for this beaut green velvet tux style dress, a pearl handbag and a simple gold star hair clip. I’ll throw on this little lot with black tights in a hefty denier, a sensible block heel, a boatload of highlighter and even more prosecco!
I love an excuse to dress up all fancy, and Christmas is the perfect op to do so! If I could, I’d choose between these two beauties from Reformation – wrap dresses are my go-to and these feel so luxurious and glam, perfect for a party! My tip is if you HAVE to wear heels, come prepared with copious blister plasters and gel insoles to prevent the burn (or pack some spare shoes if you can!)
If you can’t wear sequins at Christmas when can you eh?! I’m really loving this power dress festive combo that could could definitely rewear as separates throughout the year too. I’d suggest you pair this co-ord with those EXTRA special occasion shoes that you keep at the back of your wardrobe in their original boxes.
Only a dress brighter than my future will do! Unless it shines like Kim K’s cheekbones, I don’t wanna know. ASOS always deliver when it comes to party dresses and this one ticks all the festive boxes IMO. Being a tall lass, I tend to go for longer dresses but maxis can look a tad too formal for the party vibe so this midi is a good alternative. Sparkles – check, covers my modesty – check, room to eat and dance – check. It’s a ho, ho, ho from me!
I am ALL about the Sparkles. Throw some glitter or sequins on an item of clothing and you’ve got one happy Holly. Throw in a rainbow and I practically burst. I’m hoping to get something similar to this dress and pop it with some boot heels. I fall over if I wear proper heels.
If you're hosting Thanksgiving this year, you've probably got a lot on your plate. But hey, as long as you don't pull a Rachel Green and throw beef in your trifle, how wrong can it really go? Be breezy.
To help you mark the start of the holiday season and celebrate all you have to be thankful for, we’ve rounded up a few ideas to inspire your thanksgiving / friendsgiving gathering this year.
From traditional nosh, serving ideas and games, there’s only one mode you need for Thanksgiving Day and that’s feast mode.
What is Thanksgiving and why do we celebrate it?
Thanksgiving is a National holiday celebrated in America every year on the fourth Thursday in November and in Canada on the second Monday of October.
It marks the start of the holiday season and traditionally, involves tucking into a seriously good feast of turducken and all the trimmings with friends and family.
The origins of Thanksgiving Day go back to when Europeans travelled to start new lives in America. In 1621, the ‘Pilgrims’ – as they became known – dedicated a day to give thanks to God and celebrate a plentiful harvest after enduring many hardships that came with pioneering a new land.
They proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and invited their friends both from within the colony and neighbouring Native tribes to a great feast which we now recognise as Thanksgiving dinner.
Use dried flowers and fall foliage
Adorn your table with all the textures and colours of fall by using small bouquets of dried flowers in vases, baby pumpkins and leaves to create a rustic tablescape bursting with nature.
Mix and match your tableware
Play with prints, clash colours, bring out the novelty plates. Nothing’s too kitsch or extra for a Thanksgiving table. Nothing.
Mood-lighting is a must
Use a mix of pillar candles and tapered candles to light your Thanksgiving table and create a cosy ambience. Just be mindful not to place tall candles directly in front of someone’s face – aunt Meredith’s corneas would quite like to see another Thanksgiving dinner, ya know.
Play the “I’m thankful for” guessing game
For those people who clam up at the thought of going around the table and saying what you’re grateful for, you can be excused and give thanks for this game, instead. Less on-the-spot pressure to come up with something meaningful and way more fun – it’s a win, win situation.
Get everyone to write down what they’re thankful for on strips of paper. You can go as sentimental or funny as you like. Fold them up and mix them into a hat or bowl and once everyone’s contributed, pull out the comments and guess who gave thanks for what. Keep it clean, Linda. Keep it clean.
Watch re-runs of “Friends”
Ain’t nothing to get you in the Thanksgiving spirit like Joey with his head up a turkey’s arse and Chandler’s toe/carrot on ice.
Friends blessed us with many iconic Thanksgiving episodes throughout its 10 season long run. There was The One With All The Thanksgivings, The One Where Ross Got High, The One With The Football and The One With Chandler In A Box. It’s the sit-com gift that keeps on giving so whichever season you choose to binge on in your post-feast happiness, you can guarantee it’ll be kick-you-in-the-crotch-spit-on-your-neck-fantastic.
If you’re hosting the big event this year, take the pressure off by delegating dishes to friends and family. You roast the bird and your squad can bring a selection of other classic Turkey Day plates, puddings and homemade condiments to help ease the organising.
Have a game of Cards Against Humanity
The quickest way for your in-laws to find out how inappropriate you are? Yep, this is it. And talking of party games you probably shouldn’t play, Bad People’s another close to the (wish)bone option.
Make it cosy
If you’re inviting a big group over to yours, you might have a Thanksgiving conundrum of butts outnumbering chairs. We’ve all been there. Cheek to cheek, we stand with you.
Throw down some blankets down, scatter big cushions and sheepskin throws on the floor around the TV so everyone can plonk themselves in a cosy spot for a post-feast movie marathon.
Feeling crafty? You can decorate your Thanksgiving table with these DIY wishbones. Once the clay pieces are painted and dry, place them on top of the napkins alongside the place settings for a lovely handmade gift, made to be broken. Find out how to make them here.
Make a mountain of mashed potato
Because every bird needs a carb-heavy sidekick to grace the holiday table. Make way for the MVP of the Thanksgiving table: it’s mashed potato’s time to shine. If you need some inspiration, check out our ultimate mash recipe right here.
What are some of your Thanksgiving traditions? Let us know in the comments below!
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