An Early Christmas Party

I love buffets. There's something about them that appeals to my controlling side…..
The greedy git in me loves the idea that I can eat as much as I like. Then there's the fussy eater in me that likes to be able to be able to decide exactly what's on my plate without fear of offending my host.
And of course buffet meals are generally served at parties and whatever the occasion, happy or sad, it's normally a meal shared with friends and/or family.

At the moment the big event looming in my calendar is….. Easter.  Nah, of course it's Christmas.  And although for once it will just be me, DH and the children sitting down for Christmas lunch I'm certain at some point friends and family will drop by so I plan to have a few special tasty bits and pieces put by to feed visitors in true Black Country fashion. (Most Black Country folk will try and feed their guests 'til they burst - it's a matter of pride!)

Naturally I will be baking mince pies stuffed with my own home-made mincemeat and freezing them, and maybe preparing a few easy to assemble hors d'oeuvres to keep in the fridge….. HAHAHAHA! Did I mention I have seven children? I will naturally be buying in some boxes of frozen stuff and trying to pass them off as home-made!

Which brings me ("finally!" I hear you sigh) to the point of my "what's the story?" photograph this week. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the #britmumsxmasdo in London last week where as well as swilling wine before noon! and having a good old cackle with a few of my lovely blogging chums I also got to try out some very tasty nibbles and Christmas treats on offer from the supermarket, Morrisons.

I arrived at the event with Sam from The 40-year-old Domestic Goddess who I'd spotted in a nearby coffee shop. I was queuing up for my overpriced flavoured latte (which I ended up being too nervous to drink) when I spotted what I thought was her. Taking a deep breath, hoping I wasn't about to accost a complete stranger who just looked like the woman I remembered from Britmum's Live in the summer, I tapped her shoulder and smiled. Luckily I got a big smile back - she seemed as pleased to see me as I was to see her!

Anyway, this meant I could walk into the venue with someone I knew. Almost immediately we found even more friends (also first met at Britmums Live 2013) and formed a giggling group all ready to make the most of our break from "real" life and have some early festive fun.

Which brings me back to the buffet! The room we were in had not one but four buffet tables loaded with cakes, sweet treats and nibbly bits all beautifully styled. I am a sucker for the "shabby chic" look so was particularly taken with the gingerbread men and mince pies artfully arranged around some vintage style kitchen utensils.
It seemed a shame to spoil the display but to be honest none of us took much encouraging to eat like we had been starved for a week!

I did mutter to Sam that everything on the buffet would make me bloat thanks to my mild wheat intolerance but decided to risk a repeat of what happened after the last blogger afternoon tea. On my way home  a kind young man on the tube got up from the "pregnant or disabled" seat and offered it to me! I didn't like to tell him what he thought was a cute baby in the making under my dress was in fact the after-effects of too many scones! Anyway, my feet were aching by then and I was glad of the seat.

I have to say,  I was very impressed with the range and quality of the Morrisons party treats I tried. The fruit cake in particular could easily be passed off as home-made! In fact Neil Nugent, their top chef who had come along to give us some seasonal cooking tips, told us they treat their Christmas cakes like home cooks would, maturing them to give them the rich flavour.

My top tip from the event would be to cheat and buy in your Christmas goodies and just be creative in the way you display them.
I loved the fruit cakes displayed on gold platters and rough wooden boards, with nuts and sweets scattered to add colour, texture and contrast.

Gold-wrapped chocolate coins in jars and gingerbread men with candy canes - all looked fab! Add a few candles and Christmas decs and your party table is complete!

And my highlight of the day? Realising that with every event, every month, every blog post, every linky I am feeling less like the new girl. And this event was a #magicmoment for me because it felt like a proper Christmas party with real friends. So to all of you who lingered for a chat or clinked glasses with me -Cheers! Happy Christmas!

Disclaimer: I received free food and a goody bag at this event which was organised by Britmums and Morrisons.
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