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The progressive dinner & Christmas competition

My top thing to tell you is that in am wearing my first pair of hand knit socks! Not knitted by me but they are brilliant!

20131223-100225.jpg more about these shortly….

As you can see from today’s list, things aren’t too onerous chez Mollie&Claire. I have quite a bit of wrapping to do and Mollie has quite a lot of snoozing to do….

20131223-100038.jpg and later on D and I are off out for dinner with friends which will be really nice. Tomorrow will be a bit busier with food shopping with my Mum at 6am (aaaarrrggh), seeing my godson at 10am and making a rabbit Christmas tree with my nephew & niece for Flora after that… However I am ready, I have made my lists and I have no knitted items to finish! I cannot quite believe how organised I have been this year!

My last-to-finish knitted item was needed for yesterday. Yesterday was the progressive dinner and Christmas competition…. Last New Year, Mum, Gayle my sister and our friends Sam and Josh, having admired each other’s Christmas Trees over the holiday season, decided to hold a competition this Christmas and in an alcohol fuelled excitement came up with the following categories:
Best Christmas Tree
Best homemade decoration
Tackiest decoration
Most lights on a tree
Best foil decoration
Least effort made
Most Christmassy room
Best tasting edible decorations
Best Christmas theme
Best knitted Christmas item
Best Christmas outfit
Best gift wrapping
Best wrapping paper theme

I know. Bonkers. We have decided to simplify the categories for next year. However in our defence we had been drinking fizz when we came up with these. Anyway, back to yesterday. We agreed the best way to do the judging was a progressive dinner. Starting at Sam & Josh’s for canapés, then to mine for a starter, to Mum’s for main course and to Gayle’s for pudding, presents and scoring. Not a bad way to pass a wet Sunday!

We arrived at S&J’s to be confronted by this singing Santa in a bath, which Sam’s Dad had bought and which everyone immediately agreed eclipsed everything, even the blue glittery high heel decorations Sam had acquired from Family Bargains. There was never any doubt after this that they had tackiest decoration in the bag….

20131223-103026.jpg I can’t remember what it sings but twice was enough!

Sam’s contribution to the best homemade decoration was this fabulous string of stockings.

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The colours remind me of this post and this post by Terrimm over at A Conversation With Moo. I don’t know why, I think it’s the colours. As an aside if you don’t read her blog, you must! A black Labrador and crochet – what more do you need?!

Next stop was my house with bruschetta for a starter. I think this might be the easiest thing in the world to prepare! My version is just very thinly sliced French stick (needs to be a day old) toasted lightly, drizzled with good quality Spanish olive oil and topped with chopped ripe plum tomatoes and torn basil, with a grind of salt and pepper to finish up. It was very popular and I ended up having to make an entire second platter as it was demolished so fast. (And last night before he went to work D had what was left of the tomatoes on a piece of regular bread toasted! I have mentally added this to my repertoire of things D will happily and willingly eat without commenting on the salad content…!). My red throws were admired, as was my Christmas bathmat – my niece brought both it and my Christmas hand towel down from the bathroom to show everyone and would have tried to bring my duvet down if her Mum Gayle hadn’t suggested people could go and admire it in situ!

Then off to my Mum’s for main course of roast Mediterranean vegetable lasagne. It’s the St Delia recipe and is so delicious! The recipe is from Delia Smith’s Vegetarian and Summer cookbooks, both of which are well worth owning! You can find it at Delia Online here. The perfect party dish when you’re feeding vegetarians like me!

Sam and I had been pretty sure that one of us would win the best homemade decoration… But Mum had risen to the challenge and knitted a robin!

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Finally we went to Gayle’s where we had pavlova, and Christmas biscuits hung with tinsel on the tree. As they were the only household who had made edible decorations, they pretty much knew they’d won that category! We then did the judging. I am pleased to say I won the best Christmas tree and most Christmassy room but as expected lost out on the best knitted ornament to that robin! My niece was delighted that her teddy Timmy won best Christmas outfit 😄

My family gave their gifts to Sam and Josh, and they gave us theirs – which is where my hand knit socks come from! The hand knits were saved for last. Mum had made Josh a beautiful blue sleeveless pullover: (sorry about the picture quality!)

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Sam had crocheted a fabulous ripple blanket for Mum in Debbie Bliss 4ply:

20131223-133021.jpg How yummy is that?!

And of course I had made Earth and Sky for Sam:

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He very kindly took a selfie of himself wearing it this morning so I could show you him wearing it.

20131223-133321.jpg Not bad eh?!

All in all a fantastic day was had!

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