Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Christine and Tony Bull: Let it shine!

Christine and Tony Bull pulled out all the Christmas decorations, and even upcycled some with fresh paint as they created Christmas cheer, weeks in advance for this special EastLife Christmas feature. Former owner of The Lounge, who loves her new job as Welfare Co-ordinator at the Pakuranga Park Village created pure magic with a glass Christmas tree that weighs a ton, baked Christmas cookies, set up the table with a beautiful platter, candles, hand-crafted table runner, cutlery holder, jute Christmas trees, baubles and more!

Tony and Christine Bull. Photos Wayne Martin

What do you love most about Christmas?

We love decorating the house, finding, or making that perfect gift for each person and seeing the looks on their faces when they open their presents. I love Christmas carols, fruit mince pies but most of all I love the time it gives us together as a family which is spread far and wide these days.

Your Christmas ritual/ tradition?

Placing our family sitting Santas on the sideboard brings Christmas to life in our home, they have been a part of our family for the past 24 years. When the kids were little, I would dress them all up in their Santa suits and visit friends on Christmas Eve… now it’s finding the craziest Christmas hat or glasses to wear on Christmas Day and planning our holiday.

Best Christmas gift?

Has got to be the ‘I love EWE’ $2 gift I got from Tony a few years ago but the gold watch I received when I was eight-years-old is very close behind as it was the year I knew for sure that Santa was real—my sister Lyn and I were sleeping in a commer van and Santa managed to open the door and fill up our sacks, and we didn’t even hear him, and there wasn’t a chimney on site!

Christmas décor tips?

A tin of spray paint does wonders to revitalise last year’s decorations. Update your decorations every year with one new quality item. Recycling and reviving items of interest is a huge part of our lives and making Christmas decorations out of things we salvaged throughout the year like shells and sacks makes each display a little different.

Signature dish on the festive occasion?

We have always started Christmas Day off with a breakfast. Fresh croissants, pineapple, mango chutney and ham. Delish. A Christmas meal is usually a late lunch and salmon is a favourite in our home, baked, smoked, or marinated you will always find it on our Christmas table beside the baked ham and lamb. Trifle is Tony’s absolute favourite and thankfully my mum makes a superb dessert.

Favourite getaway?

Other than Ireland in 2014 we have spent our Christmas break on the Coromandel Peninsula for the past 30 years. We now enjoy sleeping in our Yurts and the totally relaxed lifestyle that beach life brings. We have fun playing lawn games in the park with our lovely neighbours and family.

Christmas wish list?

That all the people we know, and love have a wonderful happy, healthy and safe Christmas with the people they adore. That all the people stationed overseas come home safely and that the people who inspire us every day look forward to a wonderful rewarding year ahead.

RECIPE: Summer Cheese Ball

  • 250gms of Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 2 tsp of horseradish
  • 1 tsp mustard (Dijon or grainy)
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • Half cup dates chopped
  • Half cup cranberries chopped
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together with a gloved hand.

Lay out a large piece of plastic food wrap on the bench and place the mixture in the centre, bring up the edges of the plastic wrap so that you can roll the mixture into a tight ball or log, twisting ends so that it is fully covered. Place in the fridge and leave to set for at least 2 hours before serving it.

When ready to serve, roll in toasted nuts. I use a mixture of whatever I have in the cupboard, but they must be toasted and ground in the blender.

Finely sliced spring onions or some red onion can be added if desired.

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