I have only missed one family Christmas, when I had to stay in Bermuda because of work. I was lucky then to have special friends there to spend the day with.
The Shrewsbury Build Up To Christmas
My mum adores Christmas and persuaded me to come back to Shropshire a week early to attend the traditional champagne party of their former neighbours in Kingsland and a Sunday lunch for our friend who lost his wife recently. That couple used to have Christmas lunch with us and it was going to be an odd Christmas Day without that special couple.
The week before Christmas was a flurry of swimming in the Quarry Pool; meeting friends; buying Christmas presents and spending time with my parents. As usual, it demonstrated to me what incredible friends & family I am blessed with.
I squeezed in eating in brilliant Chinese dumpling venue Moli again in Shrewsbury's Market Hall, trying Umai, a new Japanese place which serves incredible sushi and going to The Golden Cross for dinner, which no Christmas in Shrewsbury would be complete without.
Christmas Eve started shopping for treats in my friend's sweet shop Bonbons, a brilliant way to get me in the Christmas mood.
Next it was a relaxed lunch with my parents in Morgans, where I was pleasantly surprised by my delicious chunky chilli.
In the afternoon I wrapped presents, being particularly pleased by the chic outfit I had bought for my niece in Twinkle Twinkle.
Then it was off to St Chad's to view their Christmas tree festival. I was thrilled to find trees from Prestfelde, my Prep School, Dyke Yaxley, my accountants etc
In the evening it was drinks with my brother and father in The Admiral Benbow, somewhat of a Frew family tradition, before dinner at home where my mum had made a delicious fish pie. It was just a shame the family friend who usually joins us for our Christmas Eve dinner was too ill with a bad cold to attend.
It started with mum making us scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, a divine way to start Christmas Day.
Then we opened presents with me loving my Paul Smith socks & Sir Roy Strong book; dad his GCHQ Puzzle Book & Lillet aromatised wine and mum her Estee Launder Modern Muse Nuit perfume.
Our former neighbours, who had entertained us the previous weekend, then came over for champagne. They are a fascinating couple and seeing them is always a joy.
Then we walked to my brother's where we ate canapes & drank champagne while opening more presents. Vintage Veuve Clicquot for me, a Magic Vet book for my niece, such a great gift from her former Vet grandfather etc
Then my brother cooked our Christmas Dinner and it was a triumph.
We started with rich dressed lobster and then his turkey was moist & perfectly cooked with such an array of 'trimmings' & vegetables and excellent wine.
This was followed, after HM the Queen's Christmas Message, by a flaming Christmas pudding with Brandy butter & cream.
I ended the afternoon drinking Glenmorangie Nectar D'or with my brother out of Baccarat glasses I bought for him in Bermuda.
A Christmas Day that could not have been better.
We started this day with porridge, how quickly things change.
Then I went to meet my brother and his family in The Armoury. It was a beautiful walk over there in the sunshine and I was impressed they had a real fire.
Back at mum & dad's there was a last bottle of champagne before mum cooked sublime rare roast Shropshire beef with my favourite vegetables and dad served exquisite wine.
Afterwards my niece played with the dolls house mum has had made for her with working lights and a miniature painting by an artist friend of my parents.
It was another day that could not have been beaten.
Back At My Barbican Place In London
On Tuesday, after a cooked breakfast from mum, I went First Class with Virgin Trains back to London. The first train was overcrowded, & the London train's WiFi did not work again, but it was fine.
Even More Presents
Back at my Barbican place there were more Christmas cards and presents still to open from one of my best friends.
The gifts were incredible. Aromatherapy Associates bath/shower products that I love from The Dorchester; a Diptyque candle; Royal Academy of Art notecards; a Fortnum & Mason Tom Parker Bowles cookbook etc. I was so moved by the thoughtfulness and all this generosity from this unbelievably good friend.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻 (7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - definitely a '7 teddy' Christmas. My mother & brother pulled out all the stops; adore spending time with my charming niece; my friends are the best; and was blow away by my Christmas presents. No tips:- it was perfect.