Monday, 31 December 2012

The month of December

Started with a visit to the where I used to live in London, in fact walking past the end of my old road, to visit a friend who is involved in an open studio there. It was a lovely chance to eat mince pies and more importantly catch up with her.
A wonderful crisp walk across Blackheath and Greenwich park and knowing that now it's December we can really feel Christmassy.
Eating too many delicious Ecchelfechan
Up and out early to try and finish our Christmas shopping, a successful trip we were back home having bought what was needed by midday.
Wrapping up and sending my Olive Dragonfly Secret Santa gift.
A mismatched week whilst the front room was being decorated - but my it was worth it. Sitting here all decorated and with our Christmas tree is December bliss.
Off to great friends' wedding. Delicious lunch in a local pub, a wonderful service, with the occasional bauble rolling off the Christmas tree, then the reception. Catching up with old friends, some whom I haven't seen for a few years. A lovely way to truly feel festive.
Finally the last week of term. End of term concerts, Reception class nativity complete with arguing Wise Men, class Christmas parties and finally the staff pantomime, Cinderella.
Discovering that what I thought was a book shop very near our home is the most delightful one with it's own reading room and complimentary tea. Ink and Folly I look forward to being a frequent customer.
Meeting dear friends for an annual Christmas meal at Loch Fyne and more importantly catch up.
Most thankful for the above book shop. We managed to find the book we needed for a Blessing in there so no need to go anywhere else.
A quiet day due to end of term exhaustion, sad to miss a dear friends Champagne and Shepherd's Pie party.
A lazy Sunday wrapping presents, Granny Warmth coming up and going out for a local lunch. Then Mama and Papa Warmth coming round for mince pies.
Christmas Eve spent listening to Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's whilst baking sweets for Christmas day. Peppermint Bark a huge success, discovered from Papermash originally from here. Orange and Cranberry biscotti and Chocolate Kisses.
Christmas Eve supper of M&S turkey, bread sauce, red cabbage, roast potatoes, parsnips as an early Christmas gift to Warmth, we were having beef on Christmas day.
A wet drive down to Twin and the Blessings. Mother was already there. Opening of presents, a short walk in the few moments of dry weather, a delicious lunch, Skype call to Pops who was in Jerusalem, having been in Bethlehem for Christmas Eve and the service there. We sang to Pops and apparently the whole of the hotel lobby heard us. Boxing Day walk followed by delicious leftover lunch and then time for us to pack up and say our festive goodbyes.
Getting ready for hosting Warmth's family for our Christmas celebrations. We ate well and I continued my tradition of making a Chocolate Yule Log.
Having so much food left over that when dear friends came for supper the next day we ate leftovers and still have some leftover. As we hadn't had to cook supper breakfast was baked croque monsieur.
Loving reading Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, the perfect December read, even though most of the stories aren't about Christmas. Alys, always by Harriet Lane. Instead of a book by Diana Athill - a present for Christmas last year. Devouring Jerusalem by Ottolonghi, a happily received Christmas gift. Now to plan what to cook.

And for today we're going to see A Christmas Carol, then on for cocktails and home to snuggle up and welcome in 2013.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The fat turkey

'There never was such a Christmas dinner as they had that day. The fat turkey was a sight to behold, when Hannah sent him up, stuffed, browned and decorated. So was the plum-pudding, which quite melted in one's mouth;' Louisa May Alcott Little Women

However you're spending the day today, festive love x

Monday, 24 December 2012

unwholesome food

Today's #shareadvent is 'Carry out a family tradition or start a new one.' Each Christmas we gather new traditions. Maybe this year's is a Christmas tea with Granny Warmth at our home.

'every year at Compton Bobbin the German and Sussex customs were made to play their appointed parts. Thus the Christmas Tree, Christmas stockings and other activities of Santa Claus, and the exchange through the post of endless cards and calenders (German); the mistletoe and holly decorations, the turkeys, the boar's head, and a succession of carol singers and mummers (Sussex Roman Catholic); and the unlimited opportunity to over-eat on every sort of unwholesome food washed down with honest beer, which forms the groundwork for both schools of thought, combined to provide the ingredients of Lady Bobbin's Christmas Pudding.' Nancy Mitford Christmas Pudding

What are your Christmas traditions?

Friday, 21 December 2012

comfort and joy

I'm not sure I'll make the #shareadvent prompt of 'go to a carol concert' today as it's the last day of term and I shall be busy being Buttons in the staff pantomime. So to ensure we do have carols today I give you this quote.

'At this moment Nina came in to say that there were carol singers outside the drawing room window.
'Bring 'em in,' said the Colonel. 'Bring 'em in. They come every year. And tell Florin to bring up the punch.'
Florin brought up the punch in a huge silver punch bowl... They stood against the sideboard, caps in hand, blinking in the gaslight, and very red about the nose and cheeks with the sudden warmth.

'Oh, tidings of comfort and joy,' they sang. 'comfort and joy,
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.'

They sang Good King Wenceslas, and The First Noel, and Adeste Fidelis, and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks.' Evelyn Waugh Vile Bodies


Monday, 17 December 2012

These are the hands

As the bride stood with her father waiting to walk down the aisle on Saturday's wedding this was read.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
And lastly, these are the hands that even wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Traditional Celtic Handfasting Ceremony


Saturday, 15 December 2012


We're at a wedding today so 'hang mistletoe in your home' for #shareadvent is perfect. We've yet to decide where to hang the mistletoe we've bought but I do hope there's at least one sprig somewhere at the wedding...

'The long street was packed with people, and there was a feeling of frost in the air, but no stars, only a dense, muffling bed of cloud almost touching the bare beechwoods on the hidden hills all around the town. In the butchers' shops the dangling turkeys were tied up with red ribbon, and hares decorated with spiked bunches of holly and moon-mistletoe..' Stella Gibbons The Little Christmas Tree in Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm


Monday, 10 December 2012

feast days

Today with #shareadvent it's Gratitude. This post makes me grateful for a festivity to break up the dark winter months. An excuse to see family, celebrate, reflect and be joyful.

'How wise and right feast days were, and how cleverly Christmas broke up the winter ... just when the weight of the cold and darkness were beginning to make themselves felt.' Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to Fortune


Friday, 7 December 2012

hot and shimmering with candles

The prompt for #shareadvent today is. 'Light a candle. Remember. Give Thanks.'

'Audrey stood and looked at the Christmas tree. She had had a good tea, though not as good as she would have liked, or could have managed. Now there was this new and shining thing. The little spindling thuya which she had seen, dusty and lonely, in its pot, stood translated. Its spiky boughs stood out stiffly. bright with red, yellow and pink butterflies, hot and shimmering with candles. 
The point of the flames strained upwards, there was a smell of warm wax. she was too happy to shout or sing. She was so happy that she had a hollow feeling in the pit of her stomach. It hurt, yet she wished that this minute could go on forever. The wonderful tree was true.' Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to fortune.

Monday, 3 December 2012

compounding of Christmas cakes

One of my favourite books is Jane Eyre. I re read it this year and saved this quote for Christmas and today on #shareadvent it's read a favourite book.

'My first aim will be to clean down... Moor House from chamber to cellar; my next to rub it up with beeswax, oil, and an indefinite number of cloths, till it glitters again; my third, to arrange every chair, table, bed, carpet, with mathematical precision, afterwards I shall go near to ruin you in coals and peat to keep up good fires in every room; and lastly, the two days preceding that on which your sisters are expected will be devoted by Hannah and me to such a beating of eggs, sorting of currants, grating of spices, compounding of Christmas cakes, chopping up of materials for mince pies, and solemnizing of other culinary rites...' Charlotte Bronte Jane Eyre

How will you be preparing your home for Christmas?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

a large holly wreath

Anna at Skin and Blister is hosting a wonderful idea of #shareadvent. I'm hoping to join in through taking part with activities and photos on instagram. I also thought I'd try to link some Christmas quotes into this. The first day is Make/Buy a wreath.

'There was a great deal of interest in Christmas decorations; Mrs Bridge very much enjoyed them, but at the same time they presented her with a problem: if you did not put up any decorations you were being conspicuous, and if you put up too many you were being conspicuous. At the very least there should be a large holly wreath on the front door; at most there might be half a dozen decorations visible including the Christmas tree...
Every year, then, the Bridges' home was festive without being ostentatious. A strand of green lights was woven through the branches of a small spruce tree near the front porch, and there was a wreath in each of the first floor windows and a large wreath with a red ribbon and a cluster of bells attached to the knocker of the front door. Inside, in a corner of the living room away from the heat of the fireplace, stood the tree. it's topmost branches clipped or bent so as not to stain the ceiling, and a bed sheet draped around the bottom... Presents were arranged on the sheet and a few small presents tied to the limbs. There was tinsel on the tree, and there were peppermint candy canes and popcorn balls and electric candles, and some new ornaments each year to replace the broken ones.' Evan S. Connell Mrs Bridge

Will you have a wreath this year?