Christmas has well and truly arrived in the Submarine (snazzy nickname for our Exeter student house) and since December hit, we’ve been indulging in all kind of festive activities.
Saturday evening saw me shaking off the horrendous hangover I’d been suffering and visiting Exeter’s Christmas market. In a word, it is adorable. We bought enormous sausages, resisted all manner of delicious desserts & baked goods, and ended up coming away with a small, sparkly cactus and a wicker penguin – now safely installed in the living room and dressed in a santa hat and a bandana, naturally.
We finished the evening by eating ridiculous amounts of Haribo, Doritos and the cheapest cookies you’ve ever seen, and, most importantly, watching Love Actually. I’ve recently decided to add Love Actually to my unofficial list of very favourite movies – a very select list. I just love it. I will never, ever get bored of watching Hugh Grant dance around 10 Downing Street, and the soundtrack is so lovely.
The festive fun continued on Sunday: I had a Christmas lunch at Bill’s with my best English girls. Bill’s is a new addition to Exeter since I was last here in first year and it’s one of my very favourite spots. We’d had this booked for weeks and we were all very excited. We ordered Bucks Fizz all round, pulled our crackers and donned our stylish cracker hats. The crackers also included a joke and a piece of spiritual wisdom, which was only slightly ruined by the fact that three of the four of us had the exact same joke/wisdom combo.
The food itself was fab. I started off with a prawn and avocado salad, and then I’d opted for the traditional route of turkey & all the trimmings. They brought out all of our dishes and then huge dishes of honey roast vegetables, new potatoes, and roast potatoes. We sent most of the potatoes back (as the waiter said, who needs that many carbs) but everything was absolutely delicious.
After we were done with the Bucks Fizz, we ordered a Bill’s speciality called a Hedgerow Fizz, which consisted of sparkling wine, elderflower cordial, and a blackberry floating in the top. Definitely one to recreate at home.
For dessert, I had fruit crumble, which was served in a teacup – nice touch, Bill’s. Lucy went for the traditional Christmas pud, and Alex had a chocolate torte with mint ice cream that tasted just like real mint, rather than mint flavouring – unusual!
The final touch of the meal was four tiny little mince pies. We persuaded Alex – not a mince pie fan – to eat hers, and then, slightly uncomfortably full, we all made our way back to our house. Between Film 4 and Channel 5, we had a solid afternoon watching more Christmas films, this time Muppets Christmas Carol followed by Miracle on 34th Street. If my children are not as adorable as Mara Wilson was, they’re being sent back.
And finally in this festive little round up: yesterday, we embarked on an epic Christmas baking session and made at least a thousand cookies. We then got to test out our decorating skills, and all in all I’d say we were very successful. I’m a bit of a dab hand with the writing icing, if I do say so myself.
It’s two weeks until I leave Exeter for home, and we’ve got all kinds of more festive plans lined up in the meantime. Who says Christmas can’t last a month?
*Credit for the majority of the pictures goes to my housemate Sophie & her shiny new camera!