CHERYL GIBBS: My family got their just desserts on Christmas Day

Helen Mirren's cheating was a triumph in Calendar Girls
Helen Mirren's cheating was a triumph in Calendar Girls
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Wow what a Christmas – manic doesn’t come close, but it’s how I love it.

Picture the scene in Home Alone when the family is running late to catch their plane and it’s total chaos. Now you’ve got the picture of my family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We spent Christmas Eve evening together, which started off at South Parade Pier listening to carols, which the kids loved.

I’m embarrassed to admit it was my first visit to the pier since its refurb and I have to say it was impressive.

The carols were held in the Gaiety Bar and I loved how, despite the décor and modernisation of the place, it still retains the old feel of its ballroom past.

After that it’s become traditional to go back to my sister’s for drinks and a curry which we did and which was also lovely.

However, half way through the evening we received a call from my mum to say she had broken down at Portchester and needed rescuing!

Honestly, Christmas Day was as manic as they come, but I love it.

My niece and nephew, Hollie and Lewie, are at ages now where they ‘get it’ and not only were they both excited, but Hollie has now inherited my feelings about tradition and wants everything to be the same as the year before which of courses I love because it means I don’t have to be the one saying it. Plus for some reason she has more influence than me!

Every Christmas before dinner, I usually get up and say a few words about people less fortunate and to recognise how lucky we are to have each other, but this year I handed the baton to Hollie and Lewie and despite being only nine and seven they did a darn good job, so that’s another thing passed on

The day went without a hitch except for one thing. This year Michelle came up with the idea that she should take the starters and I’d take the desserts to help our sister Jo. Great idea I thought and I did take the desserts, but I told my sister’s husband Shaun that I had made the crumble.

However, I ran out of time so I bought two from Marks & Spencer and put them together in a Pyrex dish so it didn’t look perfect. Remember Helen Mirren in Calendar Girls?

Let’s just say they went down a treat... and I think I got away with it!

COSY MEAL FOR TWO AT FOUR

As Christmas is always so busy in our family Matt and I made one night over the holidays to go for a meal, just me and him, and what better place to go then Four London Road.

Just up the road from us in Horndean, Four London Road is an Italian tapas restaurant, right next to the Ship and Bell (which makes a great pre-meal venue).

The last time we went was on my birthday but we were jet-lagged, having just arrived home from Mexico that morning. So we wanted to go again and it didn’t disappoint.

I highly recommend it for those wanting a special meal out.

MY PAYBACK FOR CHEATING

Another Christmas error! Not only did I not make the crumble I said I did, but I also forgot to take any accompaniments with me.

I honestly didn’t think about the fact that if you’re going to ‘own’ desserts that should mean the whole thing in its entirety.

But it honestly didn’t enter my head to take cream and custard with me. Thank goodness my sister Jo is a mum and had custard in the cupboard.

But I forgot the cream and the ice cream which was a massive faux pas, especially as one of the desserts I took was profiteroles!

Note to self: must do better next year...