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What is the traditional Christmas dinner recipe and what time do you need to start cooking it?

THE big day is getting closer. But what will you be eating Christmas Day? If you’re traditional, it will probably look similar to the below… What is included in the traditional Christma…

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THE big day is getting closer.

But what will you be eating Christmas Day? If you’re traditional, it will probably look similar to the below…

Vegetables particularly associated with the meal are Brussels sprouts and parsnips

Getty – Contributor 2 Vegetables particularly associated with the meal are Brussels sprouts and parsnips

What is included in the traditional Christmas dinner?

Traditionally, the meal can take place any time from the evening of Christmas Eve to the evening of Christmas Day itself depending on the country – but in the UK it is usually consumed December 25.

In the UK, the dinner usually consists of turkey served with stuffing, gravy and often accompanied with pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and vegetables.
Vegetables particularly associated with the meal are Brussels sprouts and parsnips.
Typically, dessert is Christmas pudding or sometimes mince pies or trifle served with brandy butter or cream.

To stop the turkey drying out, baste it every hour as it cooks

Alamy 2 To stop the turkey drying out, baste it every hour as it cooks

What time do you need to start cooking your Christmas dinner?

What time you start cooking your Christmas dinner depends on factors such as what time you want to sit down and eat and how big your turkey is – and if you’re enjoying a full turkey or just the crown.

Generally speaking, the secret to cooking your Christmas dinner perfectly is by planning a thorough to-do list and making sure your turkey is thoroughly defrosted before the big day.

According to the NHS, the following guidelines should be followed for defrosting your bird:

  • In a fridge at 4C (39F), allow 10 to 12 hours per kilogram. Be aware that not all fridges will be set to this temperature.
  • In a cool room (below 17.5C/64F), allow around 3 to 4 hours per kilogram, or longer if the room is particularly cold.
  • At room temperature (about 20C/68F), allow approximately 2 hours per kilogram.

When your turkey is fully defrosted, put it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it – or cook it immediately.

And, when it comes to cooking the meat, depending on you oven, the following is a rough guide, in an oven preheated to 180C (350F, gas mark 4):

  • allow 45 minutes per kilogram, plus 20 minutes, for a turkey under 4.5kg
  • allow 40 minutes per kilogram for a turkey that’s between 4.5kg and 6.5kg
  • allow 35 minutes per kilogram for a turkey of more than 6.5kg

You should also cover your turkey with foil during cooking but uncover it for the final 30 minutes get the skin nice and brown.

To stop the meat drying out, baste it every hour as it cooks.

Vegetables will take much quicker to cook, but if your prep them early, or the night before, you will save yourself time and stress when it comes to getting everything cooked.

Thrifty food blogger reveals how YOU can cook Christmas dinner for less than £1

Living

When is National Sickie Day 2018 and what are the worst excuses for calling in sick?

TEMPTED to call in sick? You aren’t alone. But what day of the year is statistically when the most amount of people call in sick, and why is this the case? When is National Sickie Day? Tradit…

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TEMPTED to call in sick? You aren’t alone.

But what day of the year is statistically when the most amount of people call in sick, and why is this the case?

 National Sickie Day is the day when the most people call in sick and take the day off workAlamy National Sickie Day is the day when the most people call in sick and take the day off work

When is National Sickie Day?

Traditionally the first Monday in February is the day when the greatest amount of UK employees take the day off work due to illness.

In 2018 this will be on Monday February 5.

The figure next year is predicted to be higher than previous years thanks to a combination of factors.

These include it falling after Super Bowl Sunday, the first weekend after Dry January and the first post-Christmas pay day.

 The first Monday of February is known as National Sickie Day as people typically take the day off after the first post-Christmas pay dayAlamy The first Monday of February is known as National Sickie Day as people typically take the day off after the first post-Christmas pay day

What do people do on National Sickie Day?

While many spend the day nursing a hangover or recovering from illness in bed, some people take the day off to interview.

According to Hyper Recruitment Solutions, a quarter of February’s interviews take place on this day.

This is because many people re-evaulate their life after Christmas and spend January planning any new career changes ready for February interviews.

 Lots of sport fans take the day off as they stay up to watch Super Bowl SundayGetty Images Lots of sport fans take the day off as they stay up to watch Super Bowl Sunday

How many people call in sick on National Sickie Day?

According to Employment Law Experts (ELAS), it was estimated that the amount of employees who were to call in sick on the 2017 National Sickie Day was 350,000.

They predicted this will cost the UK economy around £45million, thanks to lost hours, wages and overtime.

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Living

What is Aussie flu, what are the symptoms and how is H3N2 different from normal influenza? All you need to know

A POTENTIALLY deadly strain of flu is heading here from Down Under – meaning Britain could have it worst flu season in 50 years. But what is Aussie flu, and how is it different from the norma…

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A POTENTIALLY deadly strain of flu is heading here from Down Under – meaning Britain could have it worst flu season in 50 years.

But what is Aussie flu, and how is it different from the normal winter bug? Here’s what we know…

 Aussie flu is a potentially deadly strain of the winter bugGetty – Contributor Aussie flu is a potentially deadly strain of the winter bug

What is Aussie flu?

Around 170,000 cases of flu have been reported in Australia this season, which is two and a half times more than last year.

The strain of flu is called H3N2, and public health expert Professor Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, told BT.com it’s “almost inevitable” the winter bug will hit Britain this winter.

He added: “The reports from Australia suggest the UK might be in for the worst winter flu season for many years.”

The number of flu deaths in Australia over their winter has not yet been released, but it’s thought to be the worst in many years.

 Professor Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, told BT.com it's 'almost inevitable' the winter bug will hit Britain this winterAlamy Professor Robert Dingwall, from Nottingham Trent University, told BT.com it’s ‘almost inevitable’ the winter bug will hit Britain this winter

Professor Dingall told the Daily Express that this is the most serious flu epidemic since the 1968 pandemic that started in Hong Kong – and killed a million people worldwide.

H3N2 is a mutated strain of flu, meaning the vaccine in Australia has been less effective than hoped.

Mum-of-two Jennifer Thew, who’s originally from Germany, was one of those to die from flu in Australia in September.

She died from acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by flu – even though she worked as a medical receptionist and had been vaccinated against it.

Speaking on This Morning, Dr Chris Steele warned that the winter virus could be a huge strain on the NHS, if hospitals aren’t properly prepared.

 If you don't recover after a week, it could be a sign that you know a more serious strain of fluGetty – Contributor If you don’t recover after a week, it could be a sign that you know a more serious strain of flu

What are the symptoms of Aussie flu?

Symptoms of Aussie flu are similar to those caused by normal flu, but they are more severe. Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Sore throat and cough
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Muscle ache
  • Fatigue
  • Runny nose and sneezing

People should recover from normal flu within a week so, although the cough and fatigue may last longer.

So if you’re still really ill after seven days, it’s a good indication of something more serious.

Aussie flu can lead to pneumonia and other potentially fatal complications.

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Mum-of-three admits she wishes she never had Christmas babies because her kids get ‘short-changed’ with presents

A MUM-OF-THREE has admitted she wishes she never had Christmas babies, calling their birthdays a “bloody nightmare”. Cat Sceats, 46, from Dorking, Surrey, has three children, two of who…

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A MUM-OF-THREE has admitted she wishes she never had Christmas babies, calling their birthdays a “bloody nightmare”.

Cat Sceats, 46, from Dorking, Surrey, has three children, two of whom were born on the days before and  after Crimbo.

 Cat Sceats is mum to December babies Tilly, now 19, and Max, now 15, as well as daughter Daisy, now 22Samantha Brick Cat Sceats is mum to December babies Tilly, now 19, and Max, now 15, as well as daughter Daisy, now 22

She said: “Everyone thinks Christmas babies are magical.

“While it’s lovely to be in the maternity unit with the fairy lights and trees lit up – the reality is somewhat different.

“Christmas birthdays are a bloody nightmare! I very definitely didn’t go out of my way to have them then – in fact I was two weeks overdue on each occasion.

“Both of the children were very much wanted. But if I could pick their birthdays again, I’d have them slap bang in the middle of summer!”

 Cat claims Tilly and Max get forgotten about and short-changed when it comes to gifts because their birthdays are so close to ChristmasSamantha Brick Cat claims Tilly and Max get forgotten about and short-changed when it comes to gifts because their birthdays are so close to Christmas

Tilly, 19, arrived on Boxing Day in 1997 and Max, 15, popped out on Christmas Eve in 2001.

Daughter Daisy, now 22, was born in September 1995.

English teacher Cat told how she hates the fact that well-meaning friends and family are so stressed and time-short throughout December that birthday presents are the last thing on their minds.

“It really annoys me that throughout their childhood and teenage years, my kids’ birthdays have been consistently forgotten,” she explained.

“People are just too stressed or too focused on other things to make the effort of buying birthday presents around Christmas.

“But it isn’t my children’s fault – so why should they miss out?”

Cat told how it’s impossible to organise a birthday party for her kids so close to Christmas as everyone already has commitments.

 Cat finds it impossible to organise parties for her December babies - and hasn't done so since they were very youngSamantha Brick Cat finds it impossible to organise parties for her December babies – and hasn’t done so since they were very young

“Tilly’s birthday is on the 26th December – and everyone is far too full to eat birthday cake and way too skint to buy yet another present for her,” she said.

“Max can remember his favourite birthday – it was when he was six.

“Only one friend came for tea and some birthday cake on Christmas Eve.

“I had tears in my eyes when he recalled how much fun it was. It sounded like something out of a Dickens novel!

“The one and only time I organised a birthday party for Tilly was when she was five. But no one turned up. The mums all forgot!

“I even arranged it a few days earlier so as not to intrude on plans over Christmas. It was hopeless. I gave up organising parties after that.”

 Cat even injured herself while trying to make their birthdays specialSamantha Brick Cat even injured herself while trying to make their birthdays special

As for those who do remember to send birthday gifts, Cat has been left speechless at what has arrived.

She recalled: “One year a family member sent a birthday pressie for Max, but not for Tilly.

“How do you explain to small children that an adult must have forgotten or been too overwhelmed by Christmas?

“Both of them have been re-gifted a right old selection of “found in the present cupboard” type of pressies over the years.

“They have last minute panic stamped all over them!

“It’s pretty obvious when they start to unwrap them that zero effort has gone into them. A particular ‘favourite’ of mine was the tie-dye candle in the shape of a seal – for a toddler!

 Cat said when it comes to presents that have arrived, she's been speechless by how inappropriate they are - as have Tilly and MaxSamantha Brick Cat said when it comes to presents that have arrived, she’s been speechless by how inappropriate they are – as have Tilly and Max

“One of my best friends is famous for sending perfectly chosen and beautifully wrapped presents for everyone at Christmas and for their birthdays – except for Tilly and Max that is!

“She freely admits that by the middle of December she has run out of steam. They get an Amazon voucher.

“My heart also sinks when I spot the envelopes popping through the letterbox – invariably with a tenner in them.

“One year to make an effort for the kids, I took them sledging on the 24th to make it special for them. Within an hour on the slopes I’d broken my ankle and spent Christmas in plaster!”

Even the kids’ grandparents are guilty of “present neglect”.

 Cat said even the grandparents are guilty of neglecting the December duo when it comes to their birthdaysSamantha Brick Cat said even the grandparents are guilty of neglecting the December duo when it comes to their birthdays

“The kids never do as well as they would if they had birthdays throughout the year,” Cat admitted.

“I know this because my other daughter is a September baby and has always been spoilt rotten when her big day arrives.

“The bottom line is that Christmas birthdays are a disaster. Kids always feel they are hard done by.

“In the past they have behaved badly or kicked off.

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