Welcome to the last instalment of ‘The most wonderful time of the year!’ with my twelve top tips for Christmas!
Ninth Day of Christmas – festive fun and fundraising
Now I know I wanted to plug all things local, but I could not resist mentioning the Southbank Centre which includes the Royal festival Hall, Jubilee Gardens, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery. Unfortunately Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery are closed until 2017, but it is still worth a visit, as there is always so much going on.
The Southbank Centre’s What’s On magazine details the upcoming events such as Bump Roller Disco, which runs through to January and is part of the ‘Join us this winter’ section. There are several fun events for all the family, and the best part is, many of the activities are raising money for charity. Rebecca Ferguson joins the Huawei winter concert in support of The Prince’s Trust. Some of the other fabulous events include a dance marathon, a zumbathon, a charity fashion show, a charity auction, a sing for a supper karaoke and much more.
From the 1st through to the 12th of December, the Southbank Centre are having 12 Days of Giving with Waterloo Food Bank, where each day non- perishable food can be donated to them for local families in need. The websites gives more information about which items can be donated, on particular days.
So if you cannot get hold of a copy of their events magazine or for more information on everything I have mentioned, see, www.southbankcentre.co.uk/ and click on the What’s On section.
Tenth Day of Christmas – looking after yourself and looking out for others.
No one wants to be ill at Christmas, but if you are, what help is available? Well, my first port of call would be www.nhs.uk NHS Choices, where you can look up advice or search for the nearest pharmacy.
You could of course be super-efficient and ask your local chemist for their Christmas opening times and make a note just in case.
Lloyds Pharmacy have some stores open on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but the nearest one I could find that is open on Boxing Day is in Romford. See, https://www.lloydspharmacy.com/en/info/christmas-opening-hours.
If you are concerned about elderly neighbours and are not sure how you can help, Age UK is a brilliant charity which offers some good advice and assistance. They have a freephone helpline number and will direct you to a local branch. See www.ageuk.org.uk for all the information.
Eleventh Day of Christmas – Recipe for a delicious Christmas
I know I mentioned food with friends on the fourth day, but that was in relation to eating out and buying food, but what about actually making something yourself.
My first choice when looking for a recipe on the internet is the BBC’s Good Food Guide. It is a magazine and advertises for subscriptions, but it is still a great resource. With clear instructions, details about recommended daily allowances, easy to navigate information from ingredients through to where to buy, it is a must for all cooks; be they experienced or novice. See www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/category/christmas for inspiring Christmas food ideas to suit all budgets. There is also more from the BBC at: www.bbc.co.uk/food/occasions/christmas.
Want to try something different and impress your friends and family? Well, aroundtheworldin80bakes.com/…/27-jamaican-black-rum-cake-the-most, has the recipe for Jamaican fruit cake, and other cake recipes from around the globe.
I found a beautifully laid out website: https://www.bakingmad.com/theme/christmas-recipes which makes me want to grab my apron and jump in the kitchen.
Lastly, here are a couple of websites for well-known household names:
Twelfth Day of Christmas – ‘If music be the food of Love, play on.’ William Shakespeare- Twelfth Night.
So I started this special blog with Andy Williams and the Twelve Days of Christmas, so how fitting is it to end with a music quote from Twelfth Night on the twelfth day. See what I did there?
Okay so to start this whistle-stop tour of the best or worst (depending on your taste) Christmas Music.
As you can imagine there are several lists of top Christmas songs, so I have just chosen a few number ones, and a few websites.
Fairytale in New York with Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues seemed to top many of the polls, see http://www.independent.co.uk › Culture › Music › News, musicradar.com and mirror.co.uk.
Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song was top of the poll on top40.about.com › … › Holiday Music › Christmas Music
Of course Wizzard, Wham and Band Aid are played every year, everywhere you go, and also feature in the polls. If you want a head start for the annual Christmas Quiz, have a look at, https://en.wikipedia.org/…/List_of_Christmas_hit_singles_in_the_United…
As Frank Sinatra sang in My Way, ‘And now the end is near and so I face the final curtain…..’ Yes, reluctantly I am at the end of a mammoth jolt through ‘Christmas.’ I hope that you have enjoyed reading these blogs as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing them.
I hope you will join me again.