Giving Extra to Someone Special

Giving Extra to Someone Special is a campaign being run at the moment by Halifax.  They asked me to take part by sponsoring a gift for a person close to me.

I chose my friend Penny.  This evening we celebrated a year since she completed treatment for breast cancer. What better occasion for a gift?  Throughout Penny has coped with it so well.  She was just so brave and an absolute inspiration.  It’s not been easy of course, and she still lives with the changes it has brought,  but she is truly amazing.

I bought her a purple felt hat and matching leather gloves.  The hat has a touch of the flapper about it and suits her beautifully:

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We drank celebratory cocktails in the Gilbert Scott.  It was too dim to get any photos unfortunately, but the drinks were fantastic.  I also fell in love with the popcorn they brought with our drinks – in smoky butter flavour, yum!

Thanks Halifax, but most of all thank you Penny, for being amazing.

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Christmas food and wine matching

To round off my trio of Waitrose Christmas posts, Waitrose sent me a handy list of wine matching suggestions for all of their Christmas food.

We decided to give the tool a go, and tried a selection of their canapés with the suggested Christmassy twist on a Bellini – adding sloe gin to Prosecco, which I’d never thought of before.  It worked very well.  I made the sloe gin in September 2011.  I made three bottles, and have drunk one each year since.  The flavour has become more complex and mellow over time.  I opened the third bottle to make the Christmas Bellini and oh! It’s heavenly.  I intended to make more every year so I’d have a constant supply of aged sloe gin, but unfortunately it hasn’t happened – I must rectify this in the future.  The canapés were also lovely – I picked a selection from those available at the Finchley Road branch including crostini, filo tartlets, and we particularly liked the mini cheese soufflés.

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There are plenty of other suggestions in the guide, which you can find here.  I really want to try the nut roast Wellington now, they don’t stock it at Finchley Road so I’ll have to track it down.  While browsing the Waitrose website I also found these vegetarian Christmas recipes, which I must try some time.

However, I have a different plan in store for this Christmas – stay tuned!