And very cosy and rather relaxing its turning out to be for us here at No 25 this year.We've not had any real plans in the pipeline so there has been plenty of time for some decent slumping, for lazy mornings, for chomping on chocs/nice cheese/pickled onions etc, for getting to grips with new toys and for a few breaths of fresh air.
Our Christmas was a lovely, lovely day, with the added surprise of a last minute grandma who should have been entertaining the brother-in-law but he was sadly marooned in the snow at home in Cumbria. Poor Uncle P but our little boys were so very chuffed; not just presents but a grandma too!
I'm in danger of needing to be surgically removed from my new Cath jim-jams, a present from Woody and much obsessed over. Oh I am a lucky and very cosy girl indeed.
Wrapped up in a little present to myself, from the Laura Ashley sale, and a mug of something warming I had a blissful hour to myself yesterday just taking in the winter view, the steam train chugging down the valley and the feathered visitors to the bird table (mostly jays and blackbirds yesterday, as well as the coal tits and the shy but very beautiful bullfinches).
It felt like an out and about day though today so we grabbed the bikes and went to find the Manifold above ground, after its long summer in the caves under the Peak.
Tucked between the hills, hidden from the sun, the little track was like an ice rink today and we skated about. It felt so very good to feel the cold on our faces and the cobwebs blow away after a few days of fires and central heating.
The next few days bring birthdays, lunch with friends and squeezing in some more relaxing before the world gears up again. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, thank you for all your wonderful comments and visits to my little blog this past year. Your time and messages mean ever so much to me, sorry I don't get around to reply or visiting everyone as much as I'd like. Warm wishes to everyone for a wonderful year ahead.
Lots of lovely colour has been creeping into our Christmas over the past few weeks. Until recently Christmas has been red, white and green for me. I'm not completely sure why but our decorations have been very Nordic in style and well to be honest I looked at them last year and thought they were maybe a little bit dull. Something was missing and it was colour!
So over the year I've gathered vintage baubles and the sorts of decorations I remember from when I was small. We've got cheery paperchains, colourful honeycomb bells, lots of holly (which we've always had)and this little tree is brightening up the kitchen. We all prefer it so next year we'll go the whole way and have multi-coloured decorations and lights on our big one in the sitting room, so I'm keeping my eye out for more.
And yesterday was the best find of all. My grandparents had just a few decorations in their home and pride of place was given, on the sitting room shelf, to a tiny pipecleaner tree with miniature candles, tiny baubles and delicate glass bells. My sisters and I loved it to bits but sadly it disappeared when they moved to a nursing home and they passed away many years ago. I'd love to have found it but have tried instead to track one down on ebay or in vintage shops, but blimey they go for a fortune - £25 at least, for 8 inches of tree!
So can you imagine how loud my heart was beating yesterday when I popped into one of my favourite charity shops to see one sitting on a table of decorations for a paltry 25p!
Excited doesn't come close. I grabbed the tree quickly, clutching the precious thing very tightly and was about to race to the till when - I can hardly believe this bit myself - saw its twin on the same table! Honestly, I nearly passed out! To be honest I did feel a bit sheepish, handing over my 50p, couldn't help feeling that Cancer Research had lost themselves a fortune so I'll take in a donation next week I think, but oh my I am more than thrilled with my little twin trees.
And I found another treasure yesterday, four beautiful linen napkins, hand embroidered with holly and berries and a vintage tablecloth, all hand embroidered to match. The work that's gone into these is terrific, the edges all hand embroidered too. Someone really laboured over these for their family's Christmas and I'll really treasure them.
We've finally reached the summit of the Christmas preparation mountain this week too. All the shopping (apart from some last minute fresh food) is done, greengrocer and butcher orders are in, teachers presents delivered (hyacninths in Laura Ashley mugs from the sale!), parcels posted off and reserved items collected from town and safely stashed away.
Now let me tell you I am so absolutley ready to shut the door, make a mug of something warm & cosy, turn on the oven and prepare our little house for the celebrations to come. Tons of wrapping, baking and cooking to do mind you but I don't mind that really because now we're all at home and the relaxing can start.
And amazingly we've even got snow to go with it all - how fantastic. Just an icing sugar dusting here, sparkling with frost and perishingly cold, but to be honest for the moment that's fine. The Moorlands looks just like a Christmas card - and actually at Christmas time, what a treat!
Have a lovely Christmassy weekend and hope you enjoy the white stuff if you've got it.
So friends, are the days flying by as quickly for you as they are for me? Where exactly have the last two weeks gone?! Actually looking back on these pictures we've been busy, busy.
Last week my lovely friend Lucy and I whizzed east to Lincoln for the Christmas market (which to be honest was pretty disappointing - lots of cheap tacky gifts and a rather heavy corporate sponsorship feel to the whole thing) so we headed for the lovely antique, gift and cook shops, the soaring cathedral and a cosy tearoom.
Ahh, now this was more like it, beautiful books, vintage jewellery and some very nice cake!
Back at home, I've been merrily flinging a few more decorations about the place.
Cobbled together an outfit for a first time shepherd
Spent a few ours making paperchains for just about every room in the house.
Posted a few cards into the red box that's set into the wall of one of the village cottages. Brought home the essential read of the season (for anyone reading this not from the UK, this magazine is the weekly TV & Radio listings magazine produced by the BBC and the double Christmas issue is a festive tradition in its own right. I never buy it any other time of the year and as Woody writes TV previews for much of his work it is a bit redundant to be honest, but it wouldn't be Christmas without it - especially for Woody oddly?!) And made a start on the Christmas baking
Time seems to be vanishing doesn't it. Have a lovely weekend, hope its festive and not too busy for everyone.
For most of the past few days I've been having a good old think about what all this festiveness means to me and my little family. I'm very lucky that Christmases past have been filled with fun and warmth and lots of love.
When I find my mind having a wander (usually in July!!) about what I'm looking forward to at Christmas, these are some of the things I treasure.
Christmas Looks Like:
~ two happy, smiling, wide-eyed boys
~ twinkling fairy lights
~ snowy fields (hopefully), stark hedges and bare skeleton trees
~ festive shop windows
~ paper chains
~ special story books
~ shiny glass baubles
~ my darling dad in his bow tie
Christmas sounds like:
~ Carols from King's College Cambridge on Christmas Eve
~ "He's Been!"
~ Nat, Bing & Frank
~ sleigh bells
~ laughing friends on our Christmas curry night
~ the bustling market
~ chatter and laughter in the choir house after the carol service
Christmas smells like:
~ satsumas and tangerines
~ frosty air
~ sausage rolls baking in the oven
~ Norway spruce
~ turkey giblet gravy
Christmas tastes of:
~ bread sauce and cranberry jelly
~ all sorts of cheese
~ jam tarts
Christmas feels like:
~ warm and cosy
~ precious family time and fun with special friends
~ fresh, sharp & raw on a Boxing Day walk
~ clean sheets and new pyjamas on Christmas Eve
~ smooth and crumpled wrapping paper
~ Peace & Joy & Love
What does Christmas mean to you, I'd love to know...