Winter Celebrations

Over the last few weekends, I’ve celebrated the birthdays of some of the best men in my life – Adam and my Dad. I love celebrations of any sort and get wonderfully excited for birthdays and Christmas, especially as celebrating for other people also means celebrating yourself, and this year, most of the presents could also be enjoyed by me too!

Adam’s birthday has been many months in planning, ever since I decided it would be nice to go away for the weekend. As we both love food and everything about it, the BBC Good Food Show seemed like the perfect treat and we’d discussed going to one for a while – it was also a lucky coincidence that there was one on his actual birthday in Birmingham! I wanted to stay somewhere nearby so it wasn’t a rush and after scouring many hotel and B&B sites, I found a lovely little place tucked into the quaint town of Knowle on the outskirts of Birmingham.winter-celebrations-5winter-celebrations-1 We arrived at Deer Park Farm later than intended on Friday (DIY takes up more time than anticipated!) and were relieved that the check-in was swift and simple – we’d been give n the key code for the door of our chalet and could let ourselves in! It was warm and cosy inside, although much smaller than I’d expected and the “kitchenette facilities” didn’t actually include a hob or oven which was disappointing as we’d brought lots of food to cook. Luckily, Adam had earlier suggested that as we’d arrived so late, Indian takeaway was the way forward, which I was so thankful of – “hanger” really gets to me, does anyone else get this problem?!

The Saturday was Adam’s birthday so we spent the first part of the morning opening presents in bed and getting up and ready for a day at the food show in the NEC, which took FOREVER to get in and cost a ridiculous £12 for the day to park! Not realizing it would take nearly an hour to cover what should have been a 15 minute journey, we were running a little late and had to battle the wind and rain quickly to get into the supertheatre in time for the show slot. Anyone that lives in the south will definitely understand quite how cold it feels whenever you go anywhere north of Bristol! You never think it would be that much of a difference, but trust me living by the sea is like being in a warm bubble compared to everywhere else!winter-celebrations-2The actual show was brilliant, we got to see Mary and Paul in action, which was hilarious and helped by the inappropriate cameraman. Straight after, I’d booked Adam onto a “Meet the Brewer” session which I thought he’d enjoy, though as it was extra cost and it really didn’t interest me, I left him alone next to “Dave” the rotund beardy stranger who seemed like the a-typical ale drinker, and heading off around the stalls.

The only negative I’d say about the show is the crazy number of people. I’ve been to exhibitions before lots of times with work, but never have I seen an exhibition space so crammed. Too crammed if I’m honest, it stopped you getting to the best tasters. Elbows at the ready (sorry, not sorry!) I explored all manner of jams, chutneys, bread, fudge, and more importantly…alcohol. I’ve not been to a food show before and I was not prepared for the amount you end up drinking! Those little tasters soon add up and a delicious cocktail of gin, rum, whiskey, cider, multi-flavoured vodkas and wine was making me a little giddy, and not to mentioned starving!

By this point, the brewery thing had finished and I collected Adam from his rather drunken stupor (they were given 6 pints to try in an hour and it’s rude not to finish them right?!) and we headed off in search of something for lunch, preferably completely different and exotic. We settled on burgers -buffalo and kangaroo as choices. I actually really enjoyed my kangaroo as it was the first time I’d tried it and I’d describe it as a mix of chicken and beef. It’s lean and almost gamey, a bit like a light venison. Delish!winter-celebrations-4winter-celebrations-6We spent the rest of our afternoon enjoying the sights and delights of the show, buying some Christmas pressies along the way and sampling everything we could get our hands on – that’s the point right?! We then followed with Adam’s cake (a huge pork pie I made for him) and lots more ale – the perfect tactic for me not to put any weight on as I’m not a fan of either!

With a trip to the pub that evening postponed due to ridiculous weather outside, we then had a lovely relaxed Sunday enjoying spa treats (Adam had never been to one!), a delicious afternoon tea and then popped in on my best friend Sally on our way home!


Dad’s birthday was equally glorious as my brothers came home from university for the weekend. I had a tummy full of butterflies on my way home as it’s really not often we’re all back together and I was really excited for a lovely evening out together.

Presents included all of Dad’s favourite things – machinery in the form of a pressure washer, chocolate, alcohol, snacks, bacon (a make your own bacon kit we found at the food show funnily enough!) and some beautiful old skis that mum found in a vintage shop.


Heading out the The Cosy Club in Taunton, it accommodated both vegan (Harry’s on a mad one at the moment) and healthy (as am I apparently – I even turned down the burger options for a vegetarian Moroccan melange of superfoods!) options for dinner, accompanied by nattering that only families are capable of and all the red wine.


After another merry drink in Pitcher and Piano (do both these restaurants exist countrywide? I’ve only ever seen them in the south west, but then again, I don’t get out much! 😉 ), we all headed home feeling full and excited for cake (mainly me tbh as oh mumma, I knew what was coming!). As I posted earlier this week, the cake was a chocolate extravaganza, and, yep, it tasted just as good as it looked!