Best of Board Games

Can I let you in on a little secret? Board games are my favourite part of Christmas. Sitting down with friends or family, bowls of nibbles, a good drink and an amazing board game is so relaxing- especially with a real fire in the background (I love my parents’ woodburner). So, here’s a little list of my absolute favourites.

Mapominoes– literally my favourite game ever! There was a Christmas Day incident a few years back where my sister (in her twenties…) may have shed a few tears and being torn away from The Only Way is Essexmas for a round of this one. Imagine a game of dominoes, but instead of numbers, you have countries. Other than that description (which is awful), you just have to play it- it’s amazing fun.

The Logo Game– if you want to realise how much of a capitalist, consumerist culture we live in, then this is for you. Quick to pick up, easy to play and fun for all ages. This one is particularly funny to play with Chris’s parents as his Dad inevitably loses which does not go down well!

Articulate– you know the one! Describing the word on the card without actually saying it? Hours of entertainment.

Absolute Balderdash– kind of like call my bluff. Each round you have to all make up a definition of something, which will be read out along with the real answer- the aim is to work out which one is real, but somehow the true answers are normally more ridiculous than the ones that are made up. This also gets funnier the more drinks that are downed whilst playing it.

Cluedo– I love this one. So much so, I’ve got an exact system for recording my guesses and thoughts on the litle pre-printed sheet. I actually bought a new copy half price in Tesco about a month ago, so worth looking around for some good deals.

Monopoly– a true classic. And one that I never play because EVERY time I suggest it I get the response  of ‘But we’ll be here all night’ …Yes, and?

Now, down that mince pie and get on with a board game or two. Nothing like a bit of competitive spirit before sitting down to Christmas dinner!

Winchester Christmas Market

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While it’s nowhere near the same scale of the German markets I visited, I love the market that comes to Winchester each year. Although Winchester is lovely all year round, I think it really comes alive at Christmas when the lights add a magical touch to the city. I had a quick stroll round last Thursday after work, enjoyed  a mulled wine and picked up a few Christmas presents. All in all I’m feeling really festive now.

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The market stalls are all scattered around the cathedral, which makes it feel very special. After a walk round the market, we managed to sneak into the cathedral, where they were setting up for a carol service- it was all rather lovely.

5 Ways With Mince Pies

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Most of us love a traditional shortcrust mince pie at this time of year, but if you’re looking for something a bit different, I’ve rounded up a few different ideas:

Shortcrust mince pies- the traditional and best. I like to make my own shortcrust pastry to this Jamie recipe, then once cut and in the tins, I add ready-made mincemeat, top with a lid or a star of pastry and bake for 15-20 mins at 200C in a fan oven.

Puff pastry mincemeat swirls– super easy to throw together in a hurry, try this recipe for starters.

Puff pastry mince pies– another idea, these are a flakier, more indulgent pie.

Filo mincemeat parcels– try this recipe for a lighter, crunchier mincemeat treat.

The non-mincemeat festive pie– I love these Pear and Cranberry tarts- delicious.

Weihnachtsmarkt #3- Bielefeld

Next up, a daytime visit to the Bielefeld market. Bielefeld is a town relatively close to Gutersloh, but much bigger. We were hoping for a much better market, but unless we missed the main action, it was actually pretty disappointing. The food was our main draw here- We settled for a lunch of currywurst as well as an Amaretto Hot Chocolate- lovely!

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Christmas Drinks- The German Edition

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As my computer seems to have swallowed up my Brussels photos, never to be seen again, I’m moving on from Belgium to my trip last week to Germany. My sister is working near a town called Gutersloh for 4 months, so I spent 3 nights there visiting Christmas markets and seeing what life is like on a UK Army Base.

I expected Gluhwein, but what I didn’t expect was the massive array of drinks on offer! Continue reading