Last week I was invited to attend my very first Christmas in July event with Asda.
My day started at 5am as I had to get the 6.25am train from Bournemouth to London Waterloo to ensure I arrived on time for their 9am start. I had forgotten how busy trains to London are in the morning but thankfully managed to get a seat to enjoy the journey and was pleasantly surprised to find the train had free WIFI. Sadly this stopped working as the train got more crowded.
Navigating the tube is so much easier with no children in tow and I managed to navigate my way to Bank with no issues at all. Finding the venue proved a little more tricky as the trusty satnav on my phone refused to play ball but I found it eventually.
The event was held in the Dutch Hall in Austin Friars which is a simply stunning Grade-II Listed building set in the heart of the banking district and I was greeted with a Bucks Fizz at the door and received a brief introduction to the event before being allowed to explore.
It was quite a relaxed affair with a pianist tinkling the ivories in the corner of the room, whilst we chatted to the Asda buyers and colleagues about their range of Christmas products. I started at the chocolate stand and immediately fell in love with Hollie the Hippo and her friends which are perfect stocking fillers and the chocolate christmas tree with salted caramel baubles is top of my wishlist.
Next up was Christmas decorations, clothing and homeware. I have had the same decorations that we re-use year after year at home but this year I am determined to get some new ones.
Gold is a very fashionable trend for this Christmas and they had the most beautiful gold christmas tree topped off with a sparkling crown and I fell in love with their christmas star lights.
Asda also have a good focus on their gift range with quality beauty products, novelty toys for kids big and small and luxuriously soft cushions and throws.
It is however their food range where Asda really shines through and teaming up with award-winning chef James Martin and has added a delicate twist on firm family favourites. Looking at their range of fish and meats I felt like I was shopping in Harrods and their lovely butcher showed me how they made their delicious Extra Special Beef which is filled with a delicious hot and herby horseradish and parsley stuffing.
The real winner for me however was the Gammon in ginger beef joint as my family all love a gammon joint. The vegetable dishes also looked delicious and would save hours slaving in the kitchen and my favourites included the Extra Special Stuffed Onion bauble and the Extra Special Sprout and Emmental Gratin.
If fish dishes are a preference for you then the Extra Special King Prawn and Avocado Terrine is a real show stopper and the Extra Special Caorun Gin & Orange Smoke Salmon was recommended by James Martin himself.
You cannot so Christmas dinner without thinking of yummy desserts and Asda have gone all out on theirs. With a huge free from range which includes a gluten and dairy free gingerbread house and Christmas Tree shape cupcake pack there is something that will suit everyone. My kids have their eyes on the Christmas Pudding Smash Cake where you smash the chocolate cake open to reveal scores of milk chocolate malt balls and gold star sugar sprinkles and the deep filled mince pies are delicious.
To wash down all the lovely food I got to try there was full bar with some of their recommended wines and cocktails to sample. Some of the other bloggers were sampling Mud Slides but I decided to go for the London Lady cocktail, which is made from gin, Prosecco and grapefruit – it was so refreshing and certainly a cocktail I will be making at home.
Finally there was a look at some of Asda’s predicted top toys for Christmas. I am a big fan of their wooden toy range as we are owners of their wooden train table and dolls house. This year they have a large wooden kitchen and a gorgeous wooden dolls house to add to their range as well as lots of smaller stocking fillers.
To finish off the event, they welcomed in James Martin himself to give us a cooking lesson. He made cooking look so easy and has inspired me to cook from scratch more often and his butternut squash soup recipe sounds amazing.
My first Christmas in July event was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to visiting more, but maybe next year as I had to cut my day short due to childcare.
Why not check out my video of the event below (James Martin starts from 3:36).
Have you been to a Christmas in July event – did you get any inspiration?