5 years blogging and a look back on 2016

I can’t believe it was this time 5 years ago that I set up Morgan’s Milieu, back then it had a different name and a different purpose. It all started because I wanted to be a writer, I’d started writing a novel and had read that I needed a blog too so that I could get my name out there. My very first post went live on 30th December 2011 and it seems so long ago now.

The early years of blogging were okay, I blogged about once per month, if that, and it wasn’t regular at all. I had no purpose that I could think of and ended up writing rambling posts about nothing most of the time. 

Finding success is all about taking action. You can read all you want, but nothing will happen until you execute.

Pat Flynn

Then I stumbled onto parenting blogs and suddenly I knew where I belonged.

About a year ago I began taking blogging more seriously and in the last year I’ve made money through my blog, I’ve had some wonderful review opportunities and worked with some great brands. 

I’ve learned that I love to write about fashion, and getting the opportunity to review clothes is something I would’ve dreamed of doing years ago! 

Helping other mums is important to me, making their days easier and making sure they know it’s okay to take time for themselves once in a while. When writing posts about parenting I always try to add in a message to other mums. 

I attended two blogging conferences this year, BML16 in June, and Blogfest 16 in November. I loved them both but in different ways. At BML16 I met up with a lot of the people I chat to online and despite having a hiccup on the way into London it helped to build my confidence as a blogger. I learned a lot from the sessions I attended but also learned that I don’t have to think of it as school, it can just be about meeting lovely people. For me Blogfest was slightly different, I LOVED hearing the talks, listening to powerful women talk about having the confidence to put yourself out there. It really resonated with me and I’ve vowed to do more of that next year. I don’t need to be afraid of where blogging might take me.

Working with brands this year has been a highlight, I enjoyed working with Nurture (a healthy children’s drink), many fashion brands including House of Fraser, Stationery subscription boxes, date night boxes and many more. Next year I hope to improve my work with brands and continue to make significant contacts.

The thing that has made the most difference to my productivity this year has been Aby, from You baby Me Mummy. Her free courses this year have helped me to be more productive, they’ve helped me learn what I enjoy most about blogging, what I’m best at, and what I need to work on. I have a plan forming for 2017 and thanks to Aby’s help I’m sure that it will be my best year yet. 

But the very best thing for 2016 has been the friends I’ve made. Steph, my co-host for Post Comment Love has been lovely and looked after me when I was at BML16. I was so scared, and stressed, but she stood with me, chatted, and we had a lovely day. Steph’s support and friendship this year has been great. Vai, from Rambling Through Parenthood, has been a brilliant supportive buddy throughout Aby’s courses and we plan on meeting up at some point in 2017. Then there’s Helena, The Queen of Collage, over the last few months we’ve chatted online almost every day and we’ve helped each other out. She is someone I would consider a true friend and I cannot wait to meet her in person one day. And finally Catie, from Diary of an Imperfect Mum. Catie is a lovely blogger and she understands most of my references when talking about my boys because her boys are of similar age. We chat online, and again, I would consider her a real friend. These wonderful bloggers, and many more that I haven’t mentioned, have made blogging a less lonely venture and I look forward to making more real connections with people during 2017.

  • Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'

C. S. Lewis

If 2016 has taught me anything it’s that I can do anything I put my mind to, and you know what? So can you!

Let’s make 2017 our best year yet!

What's on your Christmas soundtrack?

This time of year you spend a lot of time in the car, travelling to see family, playing Santa and delivering presents, so you need a great list of music to listen to while you're on the road. Over the years I've gathered a few favourites I like to listen to during the festive period and below you'll find 10 (of the many) that are on my list. What's on your Christmas soundtrack?

  • If music be the food of love, play on

William Shakespeare

One of my favourite singers is Michael Bublé, I've got a few (okay, a lot) of his albums and I love "Christmas". You'll notice that I've picked a few from this album because to me, listening to Michael Bublé sing Christmas songs is wonderful.

Post Comment Love 16th - 18th December

It's the last Post Comment Love of the year! Stephanie and I have had a wonderful year hosting Post Comment Love and reading your brilliant posts has made us laugh, made us cry, and entertained us. We are both looking forward to a break but will be back in the New Year to read more of your great posts.

It's so busy this time of year it's easy to get behind on things, which is exactly what I've done lately. I'm catching up on my #pocolo reading and commenting but I'll get there. I'm hoping to catch up properly over the break. 

Like I said, this week is the last Post Comment Love of the year, closing on Sunday at 11pm, but we'll be back on 6th January to host the first #pocolo of 2017. 

Read stories to your children this Christmas

Reading to my sons has been one of the biggest joys of being a mum. Whether it was watching them fall asleep as I read The Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss or listening to their questions about the stories it's always been the best part of my day. As they got older their interest in hearing me read to them has almost disappeared, BP (now 12 years old) never wants me to read to him, and LP (7 years old) enjoys reading by himself but will, occasionally, want me to read to him.

  • There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.

Walt Disney

While BP isn't keen on reading LP loves to read and I encourage his reading whenever I can. He has read a wide range of books and continues to search for new books and stories to enjoy as he grows up. He's just started on the Beast Quest series of books and he's already on the final book in series 1. LP's solo reading does him good, it inspires him, it teaches him new words, and it stops him from being bored.

  • You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax all you need is a book!

Dr. Seuss

Christmas is a brilliant time to read to your children, it gives you a chance to sit with them quietly and enjoy a story together. A soft, expressive voice is essential, and of course you need the right story.

The Night Before Christmas

I was asked recently to review the ebook The Night Before Christmas. This is a story I have never read but always heard snippets of in TV shows like Friends (when Phoebe claims she wrote it). I always wanted to read the book to find out what the rest of the story is like. So when I was asked to review the ebook I was a little excited. Not only would it be a good read for LP but I would enjoy it too.

  • It was the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring,
  • not even a … BEAR ?
  • Clement Clarke Moore's much loved poem is brought beautifully to life in this gorgeous picture book with a twist- as Santa visits a family of bears on Christmas Eve.

I read the poem to LP on an iPad and while I read the words LP looked at the pictures. The pictures are bright and beautiful, more bright than I expected. From his cabin bed LP could see the pictures well and didn't need to strain to see them. 

The poem itself is wonderful and leaves you with a warm Christmassy feeling. I did have to explain to LP that St. Nick is another name for Santa as we've only ever called him Santa but apart from that LP enjoyed the story.

While I won't be letting LP read this ebook before bed I will be putting it onto his iPad for him to read whenever he likes. That's the beauty of a digital book, you can read it on any device.

The Night Before Christmas ebook is available on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Kobo for £1.49, and on Barnes and Noble for $2.99.

Keep inspiring

Tonight pick up a book and read to your child, inspire them to go on adventures and enjoy the written word. The english language is a beautiful thing and each story uses it in different ways to portray their meaning. I will continue to try and read to LP and once he's decided he's too old for that I will encourage him to keep reading. 

  • A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.

C.S. Lewis

Will you read to your child tonight?

Post Comment Love 9th - 11th December

It's time for Post Comment Love again and I'm back for another week of reading and commenting on your brilliant blog posts. We're almost at the end of the year, Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is ready for a break. I can't wait for a break myself and am looking forward to catching up on reading.

I've been slowly getting over the flu this week, I've still got a cough but am feeling better. My head is clearer and I'm able to get stuff done, or at least try anyway! 

Has Christmas crept up on you? It has me, I realised yesterday that there's just 16 days until Christmas Day and I haven't started buying any presents for my family. To say I'm in a bit of a panic is an understatement. Not only have I got to get organised for hosting Christmas Lunch but I've got to do a lot of shopping too. I have no idea when I'll get it all done, more organisation is required. I'm going to have to have a schedule. 

Inspiring our children to read with Penguin Random House Children's

Whether you're a big reader or not it's hard to argue with the fact that getting your children to read classic children's books (or you reading to them) is a good thing. Stories like Treasure Island, Oliver Twist, and Black Beauty inspire a generation of readers and (hopefully) writers. I have loved reading since I was a child and the Hubby gets through at least one book per month. The types of books don't particularly matter either, I love anything from romance to science fiction and the Hubby loves non-fiction as much as he loves fiction. As reading parents we're hoping we can inspire our children to enjoy reading as much as we do.

diary of a young girl by anne frank, Clover Moon by Jacqueline Wilson, Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher, and The Witches Vacuum Cleaner by Terry Pratchett

Books we loved as children


A couple of favourites that come to mind are Black Beauty and The Diary of a Young Girl. My nan gave a copy of Black Beauty when I was around 10 years old, it was a gorgeous deep red hardback cover with no pictures. I remember it being very small and the text was tiny. I started reading Black Beauty one Christmas when we were staying with my Nan and I fell in love with the story. Written from the perspective of the horse I found it intriguing and I truly empathised with the horse. The descriptions of having a bit shoved into its mouth and how it felt to have someone climb on its back moved me. While I lost the book (boohoo!) many years ago the story will always be one I'll remember.

We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words.

Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

The Diary of a Young Girl is Anne Frank's diary and it's another one that will stay with me. At the time I read the diary I had no idea what it was about, I didn't realise it was about her time during the war. I was still quite young, around 11 or 12 I think, but again the story moved me. Because it was a diary I found it easy to read and was drawn in. Anne's descriptions of some of the more difficult times made me cry and I wished I could've helped. I still have a copy of The Diary of a Young Girl, it was in a Reader's Digest compilation and it's so old that some pages have gone missing. I will keep that book for as long as I can because not only do I love the story (so much I'm getting it on my Kindle) but it provokes memories that make me smile.

Just one short passage from the book.

I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. 

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

While my boys wouldn't be interested (or at least I don't think so) in reading Black Beauty or The Diary of a Young Girl my love for the books will stay and I hope that at some point I will be able to pass these stories on to my granddaughters.

The Hubby

When I asked the Hubby to tell me about two books he loved reading as a child he said, The Lorax, because it's awesome, and The Hobbit for the same reason. Asking him to say something more descriptive resulted in him laughing at me. But having read both books myself I can do the describing for him!

The Hubby read The Lorax when he was about 7 or 8 years old and I'm sure the language was the most enjoyable part. Dr Seuss' use of rhyme and funny words is entertaining for young readers but the story in The Lorax teaches too. I love the last few lines and having read the book to LP I know he loves them too. 

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues. 

Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

At 11 years old, during the first year of High School (or Secondary School - whichever you call it!), the Hubby read The Hobbit. A teacher read a passage out in class and the Hubby decided, from hearing the passage, that he'd like to read the rest of the book. 

I first read the Hobbit when I was around 28 I think, I'd never heard of it until that point. I loved it though, and having seen the movies I still prefer the book. I always enjoy reading the chapter with the barrel rides. If you haven't read The Hobbit, you really should.

So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings. 

J. R. R. Tolkein, The Hobbit  

I have read The Lorax to both our boys and they loved it. I must've read that story to LP hundreds of times and I'm sure it will stay with him long enough that he will want to read to it to his children too. The Hobbit is a little too complex for LP at the moment but give it a few years and I'm sure he'll read it, it's a classic and I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't get him to read it!

Getting our children to read

Big Prince

When BP was a baby I read to him all the time, from nursery rhymes to short tales I spent hours reading. As he lost interest in the nursery rhymes I moved on to longer stories but he always seemed to want to either play while I read or he fell asleep. At the time I thought his falling asleep while I read was a good thing but I don't think it was. Because he fell asleep he missed out on the story and by the time we got around to reading again he'd forgotten what was happening. Whether it was the sound of my voice or that he didn't like the stories his introduction to reading put him to sleep, did that tell him he didn't like it? 

These days BP doesn't like to read, we asked him to read The Hobbit recently and we had to keep reminding him to read. He doesn't do it by choice. We've spent money and time trying to convince him that reading is good but we haven't managed to find the book that will pull him in yet. 

Little Prince

LP loves reading. I went through the same routine with LP that I did with BP, I read to him every day. When he was in bed and settled I would sit next to his cot and read nursery rhymes and LP would lie awake and listen to every word. It wasn't until I left the room that he would sleep. As he grew up and we moved on to more complex stories he would ask questions as I read and if he didn't understand a word he would ask what it meant. It's only been in the last few months that he's been more interested in reading to himself rather than me reading to him, but he does still enjoy the occasional story from me.

I've read many Dr. Seuss books, The BFG and other Roald Dahl books, and lots of other stories to LP and he's benefitted from it. His vocabulary surprises us sometimes and I can only put that down to how much I have read to him. 

New books

It's not just the classics we should be encouraging our children to read, newer books are important too. The newer stories incorporate new technology, talk about things that may not have been in books in the past, and the stories are more diverse. From boy spies to investigative teams of children the stories inspire our children and show them they can do anything, I love that. 

Penguin Random House Children's publishes a wide range of fiction, picture books and children's classics and some of the worlds favourite authors including Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Jeff Kinney, Jacqueline Wilson, Rick Riordan, Cathy Cassidy and Terry Pratchett and popular character brands such as Peppa Pig, Peter Rabbit and The Snowman.

A Christmas Present Challenge

Working with Penguin Random House Children's this Christmas season is brilliant. Like me, they think that books make the best Christmas presents, with incredible adventures and unforgettable characters the stories can last a lifetime. 

When they sent me a package with three books inside I wasn't sure what to expect.

Would I be given books my children would love?
Would I have to find some other child that would love to read them?
Would I want to keep the books for myself?

The package arrived in wonderful Christmassy packaging; a sparkly purple envelope. I tore it open and pulled out the books, they were all new and I didn't know anything about them but I was excited.

The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner - Terry Pratchett

Fourteen fantastically funny stories from master storyteller Sir Terry Pratchett, full of food fights pirates, wizards and crooks!

Poor Mr Swimble is having a bad day. Rabbits are bouncing out of his hat, pigeons are flying out of his jacket and every time he points his finger, something magically appears - cheese sandwiches, socks... even a small yellow elephant on wheels!
It's becoming a real nuisance - and he's allergic to rabbits. His friends at the Magic Rectangle can't help, but the mysterious vacuum cleaner he saw that morning may have something to do with it...

This story sounds brilliant. I judged it by its cover (naughty, naughty!) and thought it wouldn't be a story for LP but I having read the blurb I've changed my mind. I'm sure LP would love to read this story and others and I'd love him to enjoy reading Terry Pratchett books because I know there are so many of them to choose from! I'll be giving The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner to LP for Christmas.

The Christmasaurus - Tom Fletcher

The magical, moving and bestselling first children's novel from Tom Fletcher.

Forget everything you thought you knew about the North Pole, and set off on a Christmas Eve adventure with a boy named William Trundle, an elf named Snozzletrump, Santa Claus (yes! The real Santa Claus!), a nasty piece of work called the Hunter, and a most unusual dinosaur...

Snozzletrump and the Hunter made me certain that this book is perfect for LP. While some might know Tom Fletcher from his time in the group McFly I know him from his amusing stories about The Dinosaur that Pooped. LP loved those books and we have read them time and time again. Once LP finds out that Tom is now writing stories for children his age I'm sure he will be eager to read The Christmasaurus.

Clover Moon - Jacqueline Wilson

Introducing the brilliant and brave new heroine from the wonderful world of the bestselling and award-winning Jacqueline Wilson. 

Clover Moon's imagination is her best escape from a life of hardship in poverty-stricken Victorian London. When tragedy plunges her into a world of grief, Clover realizes that everything she loved about the place she called home is gone. Clover hears of a place she could run to, but where will she find the courage - and the chance - to break free? And could leaving her family be just what she needs to find a place that really feels like home?

I have never read any Jacqueline Wilson books, or at least I don't remember doing. And unfortunately I don't think this one sounds like something LP or BP would want to read but luckily I have a niece that it would be perfect for. I'm sure she will love reading, it sounds like a great book for the girls. 

I'm so glad I decided to take part in this challenge, giving books for Christmas makes me feel good because I know they'll be used time and time again.

What stories did you love as a child?

I was sent the 3 books new books listed free of charge as part of the Brit Mums and Penguin Random House Children's Books Christmas Present Challenge. All opinions are my own.

Maintain your immune system with Redoxon multivitamins

I'm just recovering from the flu and although I still have an awful cough I am feeling a lot better. For about a week I was sneezing, coughing, couldn't breathe, and my whole body ached. But of course I'm a mum and I have to continue regardless of how terrible I'm feeling. Thanks to Redoxon multivitamins I've been able to help my immune system and this time the illness hasn't lasted as long as it usually would.

When I was a little girl I remember hating autumn and winter because I knew I'd be ill most of the time. If there was a bug going around in school I would get it and suffer for more than a week. I don't ever remember having a 24 hour bug, they always lasted longer. My body could never cope with the colder weather and went into shutdown mode. 

My immune system is not the best, I'm the kind of person that catches everything. The winter months are the worst with colds and flu around and I tend to get prepared beforehand by stocking up on lots of lemsip and cold capsules.

A few years ago I went to the doctors to get help recovering from the flu, I told the doctor I thought I had the flu and she said,

If you had flu you wouldn't be able to get out of bed.

Like I have a choice!

I'm a mum. No matter how terrible I'm feeling I still have to drag myself out of bed to make sure my boys get ready for school. 


The other day, when my nose was bunged up and my muscles ached so much I just wanted to crumble in a heap, I realised how truly awesome mums are. Whether upbeat, upset, or ill, you carry on regardless.

  • You ache all over.
  • You sneeze and cough every few minutes.
  • You want to sleep.

But rather than spend the days in bed allowing your immune system to attack the flu virus you continue as if nothing is wrong.

  • You get out of bed and get the kids to school.
  • You do the weekly shopping.
  • You cook dinner every day.
  • You clean the house (or put Christmas decorations up!).

And by 8pm you are completely wiped out, you can barely lift your fingers and all you want to do is sleep. Of course being bunged up means you don't sleep and yet you get up the next morning and do it all again. 

Everything that needs to be done gets done, it may take longer than usual but it gets done.

That's what makes you amazing!


Over the past month I've been trying out Redoxon Every Day multivitamins and I know what you're about to say...

They didn't stop you getting ill!

Well of course they didn't, they're not magic tablets! 

What Redoxon multivitamins do is help maintain your immune system. So, if you're like me and you could do with a helping hand you might benefit from trying out these multivitamins.

About Redoxon

Redoxon Triple Action effervescent tablets contain a combination of Vitamin D, C and zinc. You dissolve one tablet per day in water to make a refreshing orange drink. 

To be honest, when I learned they were effervescent tablets I was a little put off, I don't like the idea of it and every other effervescent tablet I've tried ends up leaving a horrible film on top of the water. I expected the orange flavour to taste awful too. Let's say my expectations were low.

As I dropped the huge tablet into the water I scrunched my nose and was not looking forward to drinking the water. I could see the tablet dissolving and as it did it released an orange colour into the water. The film I'd expected to see on top of the water slowly appeared. 

A refreshing morning drink

Once the tablet had dissolved completely I picked up the glass and inspected the orange water. Apart from a few bits in the bottom of the glass I couldn't see any evidence of the tablet. The film on top of the water had disappeared and it looked like a regular orange drink. 

I held my breath and took a drink.

With eyebrows raised I took another drink, and another. It was a refreshing orange drink. 

Despite my expectations I enjoyed the drink and since that first time have been eager to have my multivitamin every day. 

Why use Redoxon?

  •  To top up Vitamin D when there's less sunlight. During summer months Vitamin D is mainly formed in the skin through UV-B sunlight, and functions to help support the immune system. Latest figures show that in the UK more than 20% of adults have low Vitamin D levels in their blood. Public Health England recently shared guidelines advising that people consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 milligrams of Vitamin D to help support bones, teeth and muscles. Redoxon Triple Action tablets contain 10mg of Vitamin D.

  •  Your body can't store Vitamin C for any length of time. Sometimes you need extra help and Vitamin C helps you feel energised when you need that additional support.

  •   Your skin is the body's first line of defence. Zine can help maintain your skin. 
Redoxon Triple Action effervescent tablets are suitable for Adults and children aged 12+.

Multivitamins for your kids

Of course children are a pain when it comes to multivitamins and if they see something they don't like the look of, like the orange drink, they won't drink or take it. That's why Redoxon have Gummies, tasty multivitamins that look like jelly sweets.

The Gummies come in three tasty flavours; orange, strawberry, and papaya and are suitable for children aged 4 years and up. 

Each 25 pack (RRP £2.49) is resealable to keep those gummies fresh and on the back of the pack is the recommended dose.

Children aged 4-8 years: 2 gummies per day
Children aged 9-13 years: 3 gummies per day
Adults and teens aged 14+ years: 4 gummies per day.

Redoxon products are available at national stores including Boots, Sainsbury's, Superdrug, Tesco and Waitrose.


As a gift to you, my lovely readers, the team at Redoxon are offering you the chance to win a Winter Health goody bag.

What's in the bag?

Redoxon products (including Triple Action effervescent tablets and gummies), a scented candle, hot chocolate and a mug, winter socks, 2017 diary, and a £50 Tesco voucher.

I love my winter health goody bag and I've used the socks many times already. The diary will definitely come in handy and I'm looking forward to a tasty hot chocolate when it's snowy outside. 

To be in with a chance to win the Winter Health Goody Bag simply enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

Giveaway closes on 15th December 2016 at 12:00am.
1 Goody bag available.
UK residents Only.
No cash alternative.
The winner will be notified within 3 days of the draw. 

Post Comment Love 2nd - 4th December

Welcome to Post Comment Love, the linky Steph and I have been running for almost a year now. Link up a post written this week and we'll show it the love it deserves. We love seeing newbies link up and are so pleased that you decide to come back every week, our little community has grown over the year and it's so nice to see familiar names and new ones too. 

This week I'm feeling sorry for myself, I've been hit with a flu bug or a cold of some sort. I've got a foggy head, the sniffles, I'm sneezing constantly and feel like my arms weigh a ton! I'm doing my best to fight it, filling up with Lemsip and pills and carrying on like all good mums do. It's so tough to keep thoughts in your head when you feel this way, one minute you're concentrating on what you're doing and the next you're overcome with sneezes and forget what you were doing. 

At least it's almost the weekend!

If I'm still feeling rough I expect I'll be spending the weekend resting.

The last couple of weeks I've been blogging a little less than usual but I have been working on stuff behind the scenes. From installing Twitter Cards to trying to arrange exclusive content for my subscribers it's been taking the focus away from the blog but once I get into a better routine I'll be back to regular programming. 

I began my Perfect Proposals series this week too, it's a chance for you to tell your engagement story or for you to make up a story if you're not engaged. I want to hear about your wedding too. People enjoyed my Marriage Proposals post a couple of weeks ago I decided to turn it into a series so if you want to share your story get in touch!

I spent yesterday putting up Christmas decorations so I'm wiped out today, I think a well-deserved hot chocolate and a sit down is in order!

Blogger Showcase Lucy from Lucy's Locket

Lucy is mum to 8 month old Lilly and as a working mum she uses her blog to reflect on life. Lucy describes herself as positive, independent, and kind, and likes both coffee and tea! Read Lucy's answers to our Blogger Showcase questions over on Stephanie's blog.

You can find Lucy here:


Feel free to grab the badge Lucy:

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Each week you'll be able to link up from either of our sites and between us Stephanie and I will comment on every post linked.

The rules; Link up your best post written in the last week and we'd like you to comment on at least two other linked posts, as well as the hosts.

Help us spread the #PoCoLo word on Twitter and include the badge on your post.

Please do pop over and say hi to this week's Blogger Showcase. It's always nice to get a comment or two.

If you'd like to be featured in our Blogger Showcase please do check out the questions and email your answers to us at postcommentlove@gmail.com.

Thank you for popping by.

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Planning Christmas lunch for a large party

Last year I invited family to our house for Christmas Lunch and on Christmas day 15 people arrived expecting to be fed and watered throughout the day. Right now our family is going through something (I'm not ready to write about it just yet) and it's important to get the entire family together to enjoy these special times. Again, I have invited our family for Christmas Lunch and this year I'm expecting 18 people which means it's going to take some planning. If, like me, you're expecting a large party for Christmas Lunch I've got a few tips for you.

Time for food

Once everyone has been invited you need to settle on a time for serving the food and for Christmas Lunch it tends to be later than usual. We'll be serving (as long as everything goes to plan) at around 3pm, and will expect everyone to have arrived before then. When you know what time you want to be serving your meal you can let your family and friends know when to arrive.

Have a seat

Tables and chairs are an important part of hosting Christmas lunch (duh!) and if you're inviting lots of people you'll need to make sure you have enough space for everyone to sit and eat. Plan where everyone will sit, how you will arrange your seating area, and count how many seats you'll need.

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.
Washington Irving.

We have a large lounge with a dining table we can extend but even with that I'll need an extra table and lots of extra chairs. I'm lucky we still have an old table in the garage that I can pull out. 


It's Christmas and you've invited people over for lunch. They will expect the table, and your house, to be decorated.


Decide on a theme, it could be colours, or style, but make sure anything you select fits into your theme. These days there are so many places you can find beautiful decorations for your table, I saw some lovely table runners in Tesco that I'm going to buy, as well as the place settings. I want to go all-out this year and am even planning some candles for the table, if I can find the right sort.

gold Christmas table decorations

I've loved this table runner ever since I spied it in Tesco.

And this candle holder from John Lewis would look perfect in the middle of the table.

Plates and cutlery is another thing to think about, do you have enough? Will you need to purchase more plates or a whole set? Will you need extra wine glasses? Consider every aspect of your table.


I would've thought that by the time Christmas Day comes around your house will already be decorated but on the off chance it isn't you might want to consider adding a touch of Christmas to your home. Putting a Christmas Wreath on your front door is a lovely welcome to guests, and some jolly wall hangings will make them smile. I recently went to The Range in Derby and picked up a few extra pieces for our house, I can't wait to get them up!

The lunch

Planning on feeding 18 people all at the same time is challenging but it is possible. I have catered for large parties at Christmas more than a handful of times now and I'm fairly confident I've got it down (famous last words!) but I always stick to a plan. 

I use Google spreadsheets to plan out my meal and I start with the turkey. Before the big day I work out what time everything needs to go in the oven or on the hob. I write the times in my spreadsheet and organise them so I know when my potatoes go in the oven in relation to when the turkey is cooked. It sounds complicated but having a timetable makes the whole cooking process much easier.

cooked christmas turkey on a bed of sprouts

I've only done one Christmas lunch where I didn't have a timetable, and that's when my turkey (it was totally the turkey's fault) decided to not cook in time!

Timetables are a huge help, I cannot stress enough how easier your life will be if you have a timetable.


This is really more of a personal choice, you could serve wine or soft drinks and that is up to you. We serve a sweet wine, it's one we've had many times before and know everyone likes. For those that don't like wine, or don't want to (or can't) drink alcohol we serve soft drinks and that can be anything from Coca-Cola to J2O.


Having spent the majority of the morning in the kitchen I don't want to have to spend more hours in there preparing a fancy dessert. At the same time though I want to prepare a dessert that will wow everyone. Finding a great dessert that is easy to prepare and looks amazing is a difficult task but you can do it.

Frozen soufflé with raspberries and blueberries and a berry coulis.

Individual desserts that can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you're ready are perfect. Last year I made frozen soufflé with raspberry and blueberry coulis (picture above) and it went down a treat. It looked great and tasted good too, everyone loved them. This year I'm going to attempt something a little different; cheesecake. They'll still be individual ones and I haven't quite decided on what type but I have a fair idea of what I want it to look like, so it's a start.

Fun Times

Once the meal is over and everyone moves away from the table you'll need to have some entertainment ready. It could be a board game, a Christmas movie, or even a quiz game you could play on the TV like Best Guess. Team up and guess at the answers, it's bound to be an entertaining afternoon.

For those who don't want to play Best Guess there's always Top Trumps, or Monopoly!

Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won't make it 'white'.
Bing Crosby

The best tip I can offer is to enjoy it. Yes, it's going to be stressful and you'll be run off your feet but once it's all done and you can sit down you'll realise just how much you enjoyed it.

I have teamed up with a group of fellow bloggers who also wanted to share their tips and memories for the Christmas season.

Stephanie at Life at 139a has some some Christmas crafts, find out how (and why) to bleach pine cones, how to make a Christmas wreath and inspiration for some gorgeous gift tags.

Catherine at Growing Family is sharing her tips for bringing the outside indoors this Christmas. Find out how to make easy pine cone tree decorations, how to use Spring flowering bulbs to create lovely homemade gifts, and how to choose the perfect real Christmas tree.

Jingle Bells, Christmas smells - it really does. Nicky at Not Just The 3 of Us is talking about the memories that Christmas decorations evoke.

Jane at Maflingo has great ideas for festive treats to make with the kids this Christmas. Find out how to make Santa Fruit Skewers and Festive Chocolate Pretzels.

Jocelyn at The Reading Residence is sharing some fun and easy Christmas crafts for children. Find out how to create a Christmas centrepiece, a festive arty keepsake and make kids placemats.

Kirsty from Hijacked By Twins is planning every meal including how to use up those precious leftovers. Find out how to make a delicious toppings for the perfect leftover Christmas dinner soup. This recipe will make you want to cook extra just for the leftovers.

Caro from The Twinkle Diaries shares a simple idea for creating edible Christmas tree decorations

If you're anywhere near the UK capital this Winter, Nell from the Pigeon Pair and Me tells you how to enjoy the festive fun of London - for free. She also gives her top picks of Winter family shows, and explains why Christmas with kids is a magical time of the year.

Are you planning Christmas Lunch for a large party?
What are your top tips?