Sunday, 29 December 2013

The ‘weird time’ between Christmas and New Year

I was listening to radio 2 on Friday afternoon, and the DJ was asking listeners to text and phone in with what they were doing on this ‘weird time’ between Christmas and New Year!  Love that description – weird!

Well, as you will have noticed from my previous post, one year we had a baby!  I stayed in hospital until New Year’s eve that year. We have celebrated his birthday in different ways but several years took him and friends to London to the science museum.  It was usually very quiet and it was a lovely diversion from Christmas.

Nowadays we always have the time off work, and relax!  We sleep in late, get up slowly, maybe see family and friends or entertain here at home (today we have family coming for a buffet lunch).  Hopefully, the weather is cold and bright and we can go for a walk.  Yesterday we walked along the beach at a nearby town, Littlehampton. It started off sunny and bright but look at the menacing clouds!  They made for great photos, but not so good when it started to rain.

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We never go shopping!  We don’t got to the sales straight after Christmas.  I always feel I’ve done enough shopping before.  We eat and drink far too much!  We love to have a big turkey so we can eat it for days.  I’ve just finished off the last bits of meat with a casserole/soup and stewed the bones for stock.  We always snack  in the evening while watching tv and sipping wine.  We’ve enjoyed watching ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ this year.  It is a murder mystery sequel to Pride and Prejudice.  We always go to bed later than we normally do!

My one little teeny tiny regret is that I clear the dining room so we eat in there for Christmas.  It won’t get changed back to my craft room until tomorrow!  I’m dying to do a bit of sewing or scrapbooking!

And the decorations?  I am still enjoying my tree with it’s twinkly lights, but must admit a little part of me wants to get them all down now and cleared away!  They will stay up until after the New Year but not sure they’ll make the twelfth night this year!

What do you like to do in this ‘weird’ time of year?

Friday, 27 December 2013


We didn’t take many photos this Christmas.  It’s been really dark and miserable.  Lots of wind and rain, and some poor folks have been flooded and/or lost power this Christmas.  Thankfully, we have been OK.

Here’s a couple from Christmas Day:

Lucy with her presents

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and Nicholas with his:

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We had a lovely Christmas Day with BIL John.  He had an ipad from his 2 sons who live abroad, so we were able to speak with them and see thier families via facetime.  Amazing!  Here he is with Maurice posing with the iPad!

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It’s Nicholas’s birthday today, here’s what he will spend most of the day doing:

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I thought I would show you more of the ggifts I’ve ande this year now everyone has opened them:

Lucy’s owl cushion

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NIcholas’s blanket and cushion to match:

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A chicken for Tash:  This is my friend who I gave the 25 presents to, and this was her Christmas Day gift.  I had to make a practice one (on the left) so I’ve kept that one!  The pattern is from Cotton Ginnys, who have a lovely range of ‘critters’ to sew!

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Bunting for several friends:

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Plus of course the quilt that I made for my niece’s baby.

I’ll be back later to show you the rest of my advent presents!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve

12.01.04 013It’s evening time now.  The presents are all wrapped and children’s stockings filled.  The dining room has been cleared of all my craft stuff and the table laid for tomorrow’s breakfast.  The vegetables have been bought and the stuffing made for the turkey tomorrow.  At last!  Time to take a moment and relax.

The tv is on showing an old Victoria Wood Christmas show.  I love her ‘Lark Pies to Cranchesterford’.  I am waiting for ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ at 9pm.  It’s the last in the series and we’ve loved it!  I am sitting by the Christmas tree with it’s twinkly lights and there’s a huge pile of presents this year!  The kids have bought us several presents and we’ve already had a little prod and poke trying to guess what they are!

I am sipping a glass of white wine.  It’s a new one to us, one of our special Christmas wines.  It’s a French Touraine, from the Loire valley.  It’s sweeter than we normally drink, but we love the citrusy aftertaste.  Perhaps we’ll go there on a wine tasting tour one day!  Maybe we’ll eat a mince pie or two later.

It’s a lovely calm feeling, and now I am ready for the big day itself!

Merry Christmas to all my blog friends.  Hope it’s a good one!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Giving thanks

This season I am giving thanks for:

a nice warm cosy house, in which I can shelter from the awful wind and rain we are having at the moment.

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I am thankful that my family are all around me.  My immediate family all live close by, and I can share Christmas with them.  Maurice has 2 nephews who live abroad, and we will miss them this Christmas, but wish them well.  We were able to meet up with one of them for dinner on Thursday night at Gatwick as he was on a quick business trip.

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I am thankful and thinking about all my lovely friends.  We’ve been to a Christmas ‘open house’ today at one of my friends.  Her house looked, sounded and smelled lovely and Christmassy, with sparkly decorations, Christmas music in the background and mulled wine heating on the stove!  This year I made quite a few lengths of Christmas bunting for my friends, which they all loved!

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But I still enjoy the magic of time on my own to sit in my twinkly cosy lounge and watch Christmas movies!  I love The Snowman and Blooming Father Christmas.  Last night we watched A Christmas Carol.  Maybe we’ll watch another one later.

Advent presents:

A lovely big soup bowl/mug!  Fabulous for my home made soups!  I’ve already used it.  Some gorgeous wooden Christmas phrases for my scrapbook, and a lovely Christmas scrapbooking page kit.  Thanks Burn!

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Saturday, 21 December 2013

All through the House….

are signs of Christmas!  There are the obvious signs like the Christmas tree and decorations in the lounge and hall, and a few decorations in the dining room.  Christmas 004

But what about the more subtle hints?

Sitting here at the kitchen table there is an opened box of Christmas shortbread laying next to me, a jar of mincemeat to remind me to make mince pies.  Christmas 007

The fridge is full with food we don’t normally have, and the wine rack is full to bursting with lovely wines for the Christmas period.Christmas 014

Upstairs in my bedroom, there are carrier bags full of presents waiting to be wrapped.  That’s my staging place.  That’s where I keep them as I buy and then get them all out form time to time to check if we have enough, and if it is fair between the kids.

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In the dining room, there are rolls of wrapping paper standing in the corner.  I use the dining table as my wrapping station.  Scissors, tape and gift tags are all to hand, and the table is an easy height to work at standing or sitting.

Remember this box of presents?  Well, here’s what was in them!  Maurice had a new shed and I bought him a ‘shed survival kit’ all on our budget of £10!  It was a few years ago now, and we’ve kept up the tradition of the £10 budget as it makes it more fun!"

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There’s already plenty of presents underneath the tree.

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Now the kids are grown up, they don’t decorate their bedrooms, but there is a chocolate advent calendar in each of their rooms.  Getting empty now.  This year I sewed an advent panel, and it’s up on the wall in the hall filled with chocs for me and Maurice!  (He forgets every day!!)

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Outside there are a string of coloured lights along the porch.  Maurice has put them up this year, but I don’t think they have been turned on yet!  Maurice is the only one who will sit in the lounge next to our big Christmas tree and not turn the lights on!  I do think it looks rather sad without it’s twinkly lights!

What signs of Christmas are around your house?

Be back later with advent presents for last couple of days!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Santa Claus

A pictorial one for you today!  Here are some of the Santa Claus’s around my house at Christmas.

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They are all red traditional Santas!  I do have some rather lovely Santas that are not red and white, but it’s too dark to photogrpah them right now so I’ll show you them later.


Meanwhile here are my advent presents for day 18 and 19.  A scrummy bar of nutty chocolate (think I’ll hide that from the family!), and some coasters that remind me of Candy Crush!  (I am a bit late to the party and have only just started to play Candy Crush.)

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Christmas Dinner

We always have a big turkey.  DH and I love to eat cold turkey, I very rarely make anything different with it, just cold turkey and vegetables is good for us!  We’re happy to eat it for days!

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I have tried cooking the turkey under different regimes over the years, but one of the most successful for me is a Delia Smith recipe torn out of a magazine years ago!  The idea is to cook it intially at a high temperature for 30 minutes or so, then reduce the heat for 3 or 4 hours depending on how big the turkey is, and then take off the foil and heat the oven high again for the last hour or so.

Here’s my favourite stuffing recipe:

Spiced Carrot and parsnip Stuffing

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, grated

1 small parsnip, grated

25g butter

1 tsp ground cumin

100g fresh breadcrumbs

2tbsp chopped coriander

grated rind of 1/2 orange

1 egg, beaten


Fry onion, carrot and parsnip in butter for 5 minutes, until soft.  Add rest of ingredients.  Mix well. Cool.

This is from another magazine article torn out years ago!

And a turkey basting mixture:

4fl oz coarse red wine

2 generous helpings of mushroom ketchup

3 oz soft brown sugar

1 rounded tsp salt

3 tbsp oil

1 flat eggspoon of mixed spice

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 pint stock reduced down to 4 fl oz before using.

Mix together and baste turkey regularly throughout cooking.

This one even older, hence the measurements!

And what do we have with the turkey?  Chipolatas wrapped in bacon, roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, sprouts, gravy, cranberry sauce, mustard, and bread sauce.  I have followed special recipes for the vegetables before, but this year I think I’ll keep it simple.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

To Do list

It is one week until Christmas Eve.  What is still left to do?  What should I do as a priority and what can I leave out?  christmas 004

Not much on my weekly planner this week, except finish off the buying presents for Nicholas and Lucy.  I should start thinking about food and planning for who is here for which meal!  Oh! and the wrapping of presents.  Trying to do s few each day this week.  I feel as though I am in pretty good shape for one week before the big day.

It’s almost too late to sew anything else, but I have one more gift to sew.  I am hoping to get to the Eternal Maker in Chichester today for some pretty fabric to make another cushion.  I’ll show you later!

I didn’t show you my advent gift yesterday!  It is so dark and not easy to take photos, but here are yesterday and today’s gifts.  A packet of Christmassy tissues, and some lovely pins!

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Monday, 16 December 2013

Hark the herald angels sing…

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Brighton Festival Chorus concert which I mentioned earlier.  It is an annual event with the choir, the London Gala Orchestra and the Brighton Youth Choir.  It is a fantastic event with a full stage of singers and musicians!  Maurice and I are always in awe that we are watching so many expert musicians, especially as we are not at all musical ourselves.

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Photos from 2010

The concert is full of well known Christmas music from orchestral such as ‘Winter Wonderland’, modern classical pieces, children’s music, and well–known Christmas carols.  We always have a bit of fun with ‘The twelve days of Christmas’, and this year there was a great arrangement, including lots of other Christmas songs.

The concert is conducted very ably by James Morgan, (BFC musical director) with 2 soloists, Juliette Pochin (mezzo soprano) and Jonathan Brown (baritone).  Both have very rich voices.

The finale includes a carol such as ‘Hark the herald angels sing’, with the fabulous descant from the sopranos  in the choir.  It really does sound like angels singing!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Deck the Hall

Remember we decorated the hall this year?  It looks very different now so I have bought new decorations.  (It looks much better in real life, it so dark today it’s hard to get a good photo.)

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I bought the wreath from the garden centre, and added to it with cinnamon sticks, red baubles and coloured lights.  I decided to showcase the cards by placing them on the plate rack.  Add in my fibre optic angel and a vase full of sparkly Christmas flowers, and that’s my hall this year.  Here’s a picture of it a few Christmasses ago for comparison:


The angel and lights are still there! 

On to advent presents!  Here’s day 14 and 15, some lovely sparkly threads and a ball of wool in gorgeous colours!

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Finally, I have been very busy this autumn making things to give as gifts for Christmas.  Here is one I can show you – a baby quilt for my niece’s baby.  Not the best picture as it is so dark today!

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Saturday, 14 December 2013

There’s no place like home…

at Christmas! 

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We have been at home for Christmas all our married life.  I can’t imagine not being here really.  We have been out on Christmas Day to family gatherings but always woken up and opened our presents at home. Maybe one day we will go away for Christmas, might be nice to try.

As a child we used to visit grandparents in another part of the country for Christmas.  I can remember worrying how Father Christmas would find me as I wasn’t in my own bed! But luckily he did find me and left me a pillow case full of presents. I remember big Christmas gatherings around my grandmother’s table, roast turkey, roast potatoes, lashings of vegetables and all the trimmings!  I remember being surprised when everyone got a sixpence in their bowls of Christmas pudding!  I didn’t work it out until many years later that my grandmother had put them in as she served the pudding!  Happy memories!

My advent present today is some lovely threads, needles and dressmaking pencil.  I’ll take a photo tomorrow when the light is better.

Friday, 13 December 2013

A White Christmas?

A lovely thought, but very unlikely here on the South Coast of England. are offering odds of 9/4 for snow on the ground in London on Christmas Day, 2/1 in Glasgow. (Not sure what that means exactly, but I think it’s more likely in Glasgow!)  The nearest we got to a white Christmas in recent years was snow in early December in 2010. december daily 044

Today’s forecast from The Met Office, is for a dull, grey day with a high of 11 degrees C and a low of 5 degrees C overnight.  It’s likely to stay the same over Christmas.  I shall be quite happy with that, as BIL is driving here on Christmas morning, (about 1.5hours) and he is bringing the turkey!  So we need to have the roads clear otherwise no turkey!

Days 12 and 13 advent presents:

Some fun polka dot scissors and a notebook.

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Wrapping Paper

Let’s talk about wrapping paper!  There is plenty of it in the shops at this time of year, rolls and rolls of it!  You can have shiny, colourful, Christmassy, childish, traditional, all sorts!  And it is generally so cheap.  There are usually buy 2 for the price of 3 bargains to be had.

This year I’ve bought these 3 rolls:

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I love the craft and red!  The shiny red one seems to have appeared from nowhere into my wrapping paper bag.  I’m guessing that Lucy bought it.

How I wish I could wrap presents beautifully!  I see lots of lovely ideas in magazines and on Pinterest.  Look at these lovely ideas!  But I cannot even wrap a box neatly!  You’d think with all my paper crafting and sewing that I would be better at it!  I wonder of there is a course? *Sigh*

Onto my advent parcel for today!  Some gorgeous Christmas tree brads!  Perfect for my Christmas pages that I am planning on doing when I get all this sewing finished!

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Finally, thought I’d share with you a picture from our lounge.  We decorated the tree in red and white this year.  We are very pleased as it showcases the little felt ornaments I made earlier!  Just needs a red/white fairy for the top.

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