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An Australian / Polish Christmas in England

Christmas in London is usually loads of fun, but we have to make it fun because we are usually far from family and friends. As you might know, I am Australian with Polish parents and so growing up my Christmas’s were actually very different to everyone around me anyway! They were a mélange of Australian and Polish.

When I was a child, we celebrated Christmas in the Polish style. It was all about going to Church for what felt like a whole month and the main event was Christmas eve where there was always loads of healthy salads and seafood. Aussies have their summer break over Christmas too, so on Christmas day we would usually go away on holidays for a week or two, camping by the sea or a lake and doing something active or sporty.

My family totally embraced the outdoor life in Australia and they are some of my favourite memories of Christmas time. There weren’t many presents, just one gift each and it was enough.

When I became a teenager, I usually spent Christmas day with my Aussie friends families and so I started to get the best of both worlds! Christmas eve would be with my grandma and family, seafood and church, then Christmas day and boxing days hopping between friends houses having these amazing huge Christmas BBQ’s, with again, loads of seafood and swimming in pools and relaxing in the sun. Sometimes we still went away, but it was not as often.  My favourite was going up to Mount Kosciusko with one of my best friend’s family. We would spend days bushwalking and hiking and it would keep me out of trouble for at least those few weeks!

This year we had so many plans, first we wanted to be in Australia with my family, then possibly in Poland with my husband’s family, then we were going to go away to Scotland for a week and then we were going to have a group of friends around. In the end, it was just me and my husband at home and so we thought we would celebrate our own way! On Christmas eve we made the biggest fish that I have ever made and I have to admit it was the best fish I have ever had in my life! We stuffed a whole salmon with tarragon, dill, loads of lemon and baked it to delicious perfection. What we didn’t eat that day we used for Christmas day, which was a roasted salmon and dill frittata (I ended up adding pastry so it was more like a quiche actually).

This photo sequence was requested by my mother, so this is for you mum!

We had a different dessert every night, but my favourite was the vanilla and saffron poached pears, which I have never done before and as you can see in the photo, I probably added too much crème (oh well…) Our Christmas was little and it revolved around food! On Christmas day we drove to my favourite beach in the UK (sandbanks in Poole) and went for a run up and down the steep cliff face and along the windy, cold beach. It was divine. We loved the drive together as the roads are empty on the way down to the coast and we get a chance to talk and reminisce and when I get down to Poole, I get to perve on all the gorgeous water front houses. (Their floor to ceiling, un-obscured, glazing satisfies my lifestyle voyeur obsession).

When it comes to dessert, I am obsessed with luxury desserts. We don’t usually have many sweets in our house, as I prefer to cook them from scratch. But this Christmas, I went all out and decided to have exactly what I felt like and I am happy my husband approved! So although I don’t usually have a lot of dessert, I prepared different desserts for every day of the holidays and I still have a Scottish Christmas cake with whisky crème to have later today…  So I am making no apologies as I write this blog this morning, with raspberry macaroons and almond mil Nespresso flavoured Christmas coffee.

Apologies to my readers if you were expecting a design blog post today, you can still read about Christmas decorating in my guest appearance in IC Zenith magazine – where I advise on a decorating project from a distance. You can read it in the online magazine by following the link here:

This is one of Mari’s photos just to tempt you to see her gorgeous decorations:

Happy silly season to all of you and thank you for your support this year!


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