It all seemed so easy a few weeks ago. When Christmas felt like an age away and plans were being loosely discussed, your response was casual, almost cavalier. 'We'll have it at ours', you said, barely giving the size and scale of hosting Christmas dinner a second thought. Once said, almost immediately forgotten. Until now.
Beer has several properties that make it a perfect libation with food - water, carbon dioxide, hops and, quite often, bitterness (although not all beers are bitter), myriad flavours, diversity in body, texture, mouthfeel - all of which are very useful in cutting, contrasting, or complementing what we eat.
Each family has its memories and traditions and they will all be different. If, as adults, we are asked to describe our childhood, more likely than not, it won't be long before we alight on a family tradition.
The holiday season is here and with it comes an increased acceptance that getting wasted is the social norm. Which is fine for normal drinkers, but for alcoholics the Christmas season poses the risk of relapse and endangers themselves and everyone around them.
The other day we were talking about the kids and whether they'd been good this year. You finished off by asking me what I'd like for Christmas. And I said dismissively, 'Oh, nothing.' But I realised later, that wasn't exactly true.
This is the better meaning of Christmas: not that we receive from a supply that will never end, but that, in the dead of night, in acknowledgement of the limited resources that this world has, we recognise our common worth and equality and share what we have with those who have less.
You know what, nude tights are actually one of the most ridiculous creations. As well as falling to pieces through one use, they are literally like a sausage skin. If you have ever made your own sausages you will know that pulling on that thin membrane makes absolutely no difference to the appearance of that sausage.
Most countries in the world produce a fortified wine: a wine that is strong, and often sweet, made by adding some brandy spirit to the wine. For many people Christmas is the one time of the year when they will buy such wines, so here is a round-up of three fortified wines from classic European centres of excellence for this style:
I was very often late simply because my mornings were slowed down by my inability to select an outfit with speed and efficiency from my cluttered wardrobes. There was no order but clothes were generally thrown in the night before without any thought.
We all have a specific take on the world based on our experiences and upbringing. We can't change that but we can change our reaction to situations or news stories. We can recognise when we're making a judgement based our opinions rather than facts. We can consider all sides of the story. If you're scared. Admit it. If you don't understand. Ask a question. Just as a child would do...
Despite the warnings, 5 December, and the days and weeks that surrounded it, still proved to be a major challenge for me. Although I was aware that people were going to don blackfaces, I couldn't help but be surprised by the scale of the practice. Children and adults alike wore their afro wigs, red lips and gold earrings with pride...
It is Friday lunchtime, and my family have joined the throng of holidaymakers piling onto an aeroplane preparing to leave London for Bangkok. We're laden with backpacks, pillows, teddy bears and tantrums as we battle our way back towards row 37.
The observant may notice there are two versions of the bread in these pictures. I actually made three. We'll draw a veil over the first. The second was a bit solid. By the third, I'd cracked it. Please think of it as my present to you, dear reader. Happy Christmas and thanks for stopping by.
There already seems a lack of expertise among some of those who commission TV programmes about religion and ethics. In a recent video aimed at programme-makers which claims to explain the BBC's Religion strategy for BBC One. It doesn't mention religion until 25 seconds from the end!
I'm Pete Jackson. Six years ago, in late September, I quit drinking. It wasn't my first attempt, not by a long stretch, but I hoped (and six years later I'm still hoping) that it was my last.
For Christmas all I want is the following: A bath. Alone. You know without being interrupted ten minutes in by a screaming toddler. I want to be able to smell a lovely Lush bath bomb and not a rotting Thomas the Tank Engine Toy approximately one inch from my face.