The theme of Christmas this year seemed to be relaxation for us-pure uninterrupted festive family time, with a self imposed social media silence allowing me to focus solely on the little ones in my life.
And look how relaxed they are too!
So let’s go back to the beginning…My parents stayed over at our house on Christmas Eve so they could wake up with the boys the next day and check that Santa had been- and Peter and I rustled up a coconut fish curry (recipe here) for supper.
We woke up at the late time of 9am on Christmas morning (I know, the best present of the day for me) hurriedly checking if Father Christmas had been…
We then spent a lot of Christmas Day in our PJ’s enjoying a leisurely brunch of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and pink champagne, opening presents under the tree (the boys got a lot of LEGO) before a chance to relive our childhoods by introducing Oliver to Home Alone 1 (he’s since also watched Home Alone 2 and in his words, thinks they’re ‘the best films in the world’)!
Actually let’s just take a moment to fully appreciate how accomplished these films really are. They’ve absolutely stood the the test of time, Christmas classics that look like they were shot yesterday, total must-see festive films for all the family (even if Home Alone 2 was more violent than 1 and made me hide Oliver’s eyes and my own, several times).
Oliver was enthralled by both movie and we all laughed at the finale when Oliver announced, ‘Wow, Kevin is super-clever’!
I actually don’t want to believe Macauley Culkin ever grew up. He’s still 8 right?
Xander getting to work with his LEGO present. You can spot me laid on the chaise longue in the background. Told you our Christmas was relaxing!
…After the present opening, smoked salmon eating, champagne quaffing, Home Alone watching, it was time we finally got dressed for the main event-
The boys were gifted perfect Christmas Day clothes by Mamas and Papas (Alexander’s braces over his chic Parisian style outfit is just too cute and suits his gregarious character) and Oliver’s perfect Christmas jumper adorned with reindeers and chic chinos will be worn again when it’s passed down to Xander next Christmas!
Oliver wore Ralph Lauren Kids striped shirt underneath his jumper which he chose-think he’s a fan of print clashing like his mother!
For me, it had to be a red dress c/o Fever London for the big day!
…Oh and our cute, cuddly photobombers are c/o Squishable. The softest, most huggable stuffed animal toys I think I’ve ever set eyes on- the hedgehog is MINE!
Our new furry animal family take a seat on the chaise longue! They put a smile on Xander’s little face that’s for sure!
It’s almost like having another (much quieter) child or a dog without the mess!
Alexander loves Mr Hedgehog too and he’s currently come out with us on a few day trips (he’s so big, I actually questioned whether he needed a car seat of his own)!
And how sweet is this little cuddly ball of love, Panda?
He and Octopus are now permanent fixtures in our lounge and I’ve been sneaking in cuddles too!
I can totally see why these cuties have over 900,000 fans on FB! Flipping heck!
….Now back to Christmas Day, at around 4pm we made our way to my parent’s restaurant The Olive Tree in Rodley, Leeds.
It was the first year they’ve opened for Christmas and to a packed house of 200 too. I think they’ll be opening their other restaurants next year due to the demand, and it was fun to have a lively Christmas meal in pretty surroundings, a real contrast to our chilled out morning!
Peter and I dined on baked sea bass with spinach and feta with roast vegetables while my brother, folks and the little ones opted for traditional turkey and all the trimmings.
We were all so hungry we forget to take pictures! Sorry! It was delicious though!
Hotel Chocolat also gifted us a divine chocolately hamper the family have been dipping into too! How lucky are we?!
I did manage to balance out all the indulgence with some runs throughout Christmas and following my own advice, didn’t beat myself up for steering away from my usually virtuous way of eating! It is Christmas after all and it was FABULOUS!
…The weekend after Christmas saw us head to Liverpool, one of my most favourite cities in the world.
Alexander had a good time (honest)! Supa Firebird pushchair was the talk of Liverpool town-c/o Cosatto.
Liverpudlians are the friendliest, kindest people I’ve ever met and the city has everything you could want or need: culture, captivating architecture, it’s so clean and sparkly everywhere, has a myriad of diverse restaurants, every shop you could imagine from designer boutiques to major stores (hello John Lewis, when are you coming to Leeds?), family entertainment, countryside, dramatic coastlines…Oh and their Christmas decorations were dazzling too!
We stayed at the Scandi-style spa hotel Novotel in Liverpool One, bang in the centre of the city and what’s more, kids go free!
Upgraded to an executive suite (thanks guys) the views of Liverpool from our room were simply breathtaking and we were blessed with sunny weather for our stay too.
Crisp winter air bathed in bright sunlight is so good for the soul isn’t it!
Peter grabbed some glorious shots during our trip-he even caught the sunrise here over the Liverpool Cathedral…
And, by night….
How striking is this reflection of Liverpool in the River Mersey?
…While we were there, the boys wore some chic designer jumpers c/o of Petit Fashion with the bold blue and black Moschino Boys Peace Sweatshirt and striking fox and snowflake statement Catimini knitted wool sweater.
Smart but comfortable and warm, they are the ideal winter wear for cool boys everywhere!
…Funniest expressions ever! Love Alexander’s appreciative smile of his brother’s half-smile here!
Both boys wear with Zara kids jeans. Oliver wears Ralph Lauren Kids shirt under his jumper.
…We ate, played, swam in the hotel pool, braved the sales, headed to the Ice Festival in the centre of town and most importantly, continuing our festive theme, RELAXED!
At the Ice Festival-
On a Santa ride.
Oliver and Xander wear John Lewis coats.
Oliver tried Candy Floss for the first time.
It was a real Christmas of firsts here.
It was actually the first time Alexander agreed to wear a hat, even if it was mine!
At the fair, where we won cuddly toys on hook a duck games and Oliver and I rode a Santa roller coaster (we both screamed madly, despite it only being about 7ft tall)!
The Ice Festival is definitely worth a visit!
We had so much fun!
Yes the boys argued a bit during our break-mostly over toy trains (what’s new?!) but overall, they were well behaved and grateful for their fun little Christmas, it’s wonderful that at their age they can now appreciate it more…
Here’s my favourite picture of my sons. Butter wouldn’t melt huh?!
What a lovely break. It really has proved to be the most wonderful time of the year for us..With no school to hurriedly prepare for or work to worry about, it was a perfectly restful and restorative few days.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas too.
As a new year beckons, I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support and love for this blog and our family adventures, it means the world to me, thanks so much for reading you awesome lot,
UPDATED POST: Sadly the hedgehog, despite not being played with often and handled with care (he sat on the top of the bookshelf in the playroom) appeared to have a fault and tore at the top. Disappointing and thus I can’t recommend these products.
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