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Monday, 31 January 2011

Where I catch up on a month's worth of blogging.

Oh my, it's the last day of January and haven't wished you a merry Christmas or a Happy New Year! Well there you go. Glad tidings to you all - may 2011 be a prosperous year bestowing rays of positivity, happiness and success to anyone who may read Mixed Up Mummy. Thanks for reading.

To not blog about our first family Christmas would be royal shame - but I'll try to keep it brief.

Christmas à la Française
So we made it to Paris for the 22nd December at night with no Eurostar troubles at all and walking to my belle-soeur's flat the snow started falling. So beautiful and we were happy to be in Paris! We were in for 5 days of lots of family, food and festivities and had a lot of people to see.

Now, festivities in France is all about the food. Sister-in-law's partner spent the next morning chopping up all kinds of fresh meat he'd brought from his parents' farm and stringing up sausages around the house. We helped with other preparations - cleaning, wrapping, playing and catching up.
An incredible afternoon consisted of lunch: a yummy tagine au Palais des Sultans which is also a delicious Algerian patisserie (38 Rue Aubervilliers, 75019 Metro 2, 5, 7 Stalingrad) opposite the crazy Cirque Electrique for children in Jardins d'Eole. This was hilarious, visually astounding and rather cool - complete with DJ and after-party.

Une acrobate élégante
Tous les enfants invités au boum après le spectacle

We battled through the snow-storm back to the huge warm apartment that kept Leon entertained with loads of toys and activity. That evening we were treated to delicious sanglier, poires au vin, châtaignes, terrine de saumon et champignons and champagne and enjoyed a righteous feast.

Un vrai festin nous attend! Terrine de saumon
Sanglier, poires au vin, chataignes et terrine de champignon
I love french table conversations - champagne and wine flows - anything seemingly innocent somehow evolves into heated discussions and no ones holds back - fascinating stuff. I just wish I could get in there a bit more. They do go on a lot about food though. And this, I like. I learn to appreciate the individuality of each cheese and love hearing about how the meal has been cooked. Knowing that our chef saw the wild boar alive the morning before and that all the ingredients are not from the local supermarket makes the meal that bit more special.

In France the main Christmas meal is the evening of the 24th and luckily Leon slept a dream upstairs at our gracious hosts, my hubby's aunt and uncle. They didn't hold back on the meal either. Even more champagne, magnificently presented food and piles of presents! This beahaviour went on for a few days which was most welcome. Oysters and prawns from the market, open fires, cheese, foie gras, wine, lots of children, conversation, food, food, food. Each meal was an art it's hard not to think about it.

I'm not sure how you give presents, but in our British Christmas we tend to give one at a time and go through it rather slowly. It takes hours. In France, it was a right moment of craziness where everyone  gives everyone their presents at the same time! I could hardly keep up.

One of the many Christmas trees we were lucky to meet
I was lucky and love ALL my presents but here are a few of my faves

Beautiful fruit bowl and salad serving spoon and fork
Pretty comfy sheep-skin lined polish slippers
Hand-crafted ring from stylish cousin-in-law
Fab but strange bande dessinée highlighting generational differences in a bourgeois family business
Le Sommeil Esquimau - beautifully illustrated book. More for Leon but I love it too!
Handbag from stylish belle-soeur
Guerlain Terracotta Bronzer from another stylish belle-soeur

Leon and some of his presents...
So, our festive family fun in France was a success and we had a lot of fun, were completement gâtées with so many presents over the five days we were there, the Christmas spirit was vibrant all the way through and it was lovely to catch up with hubby's side of the family and spend a loving time of year with them all. We even celebrated again at home with my family with sisters over from New York and EC1. Hooray for new family Christmas!

No place like home - opening presents with Auntie Blondie
Sharing the love with Tia Tonis

I must admit, I missed not going to church, the carols, and the British way - but I should have got my helping of carols before heading off to the land of laicity. Seems like we'll alternate each Christmas between London and Paris - I suppose this is what happens when you get married and share families! And in the distant future we may be the ones hosting Christmas ourselves. Now that's a scary thought.

New Years Eve at home
We planned a decadent night in for just us two (Leon slept away fabulously) and I bought a load of Oysters from Sandy's fishmongers and plenty of amuses-bouches. Our bouches were much amused, and after two delicious bottles of Saumur and Poilly-Fumé and a few hours of merriment and music, we counted down to 2011 and popped the Champers. A brilliant night even if was just us two dancing in the living room. 
Happy 2011!

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