2010 was a pretty big year for us.

We both graduated into our current careers (me a teacher, wife a doctor), we became official residents of a joint flat in Beeston, we made a LOT of IKEA furniture. Oh and the small matter of us having got married in July!

So when Christmas rolled around, there was only one thing for it. We were going to host!


Date: Saturday 4th December

Guest List: RH, MG, JB, JB, LJ, DN, IS, MH, AM, SW

Venue: Ours

Nickname: The Year of the Late Night Tesco Trip

Saturday morning featured an epic shopping trip – don’t think we’ve ever spent so much on vegetables before or since! – and we felt really excited about the evening’s festivities. Our house decorations had gone up earlier in the week, in keeping with the snow which coated Nottingham at that time, and we were ready for our biggest dinner party yet. As Mike and Ilze came through the door first, Mike was gleefully clutching a beautifully made gingerbread house. A terrific start!



The turkey was virtually done and all was on schedule as Matt gave us his fishy starter. (Fishy because it was made of fish, not because there was something slightly off about it!) Then, just as were plating up the mains, WHOOSH!, the lights cut out and we were plunged into darkness! A quick glance outside revealed some engineers doing some late night work on the road in front of our flat. I had a word and they were from NTL, bane of student internet life, and they had no idea when they’d be done.

We had a distinct lack of candles but fortunately a Tesco had recently been erected virtually next to our house (!) so Simon and I raced across the road and returned shortly afterwards with 100 Tealights. Light problem solved! With the food already cooked we were free to enjoy our evening which soon descended into Secret Santa, complete with glasses that doubled as straws and …  It was great night, but we thought we’d have a break for a few years!



Date: Saturday 17th December

Guest List: RH, MG, JB, JB, LJ, DN, MH, IS, AM, SW, PJ

Venue: Mike and Ilze’s

Nickname: The Year Sprouts Tasted Good

Everyone’s favourite courgette chef Mike and his masterful partner (now fiancee!) Ilze wanted to take on the challenge this year and it was safe to say everyone was looking forward to it. Very close to Christmas, there was a real celebratory and festive air about the dinner. To be fair, their flat always looked great and the fairylight decorations came into their own at Christmas time.

Having relocated to Grantham, we needed somewhere to stay, so we pitched camp at the hosts arriving early to watch a completely unflustered Mike and Ilz making their preparations. Sprouts, coated in cream and mixed with cashews and pancetta, were being whipped up along with a host of exciting looking accompaniments. Let’s be honest, the sprouts were the star!


Always important to get rid of those lumps

Pete Janowski, a German footballing legend (see various Gammy Knees posts!) was an intriguing guest, although he couldn’t have anticipated just how much joy Rick and I would get from changing the words to Dominic the Donkey (Giggidy gee, Hee Haw Hee Haw, it’s time for Pete Janowski).


A brilliant evening with more ridiculous Secret Santa masks …IMG_0383…all topped off with Matt sliding After Eight mints down his face. Love it.