Wednesday 29 December 2010

Slowing to a Stop

I'm having trouble remembering what day it is. And then when I do I realise that this is the only time of the year that it really doesn't matter! I'm wrapped up in that warm, cosy, fuggy sort of feeling that Christmas week brings, a feeling of being detached from the real world for a while, as if the clocks have all stopped.
Days have been filled with lounging around in jim jams, long baths, good reads, and rather too much refereeing for my liking (one small house + two over excited boys = war!)
But there have also been quiet moments, long lie-ins, time for slow cooking and some joyful evenings spent in Australia, which in our cricket loving household has definitely made a certain someone's Christmas.
Family have visited, the house has been lit by candle light and laughter while they feasted and made dinosaur balloons with us (as you do). Now we're looking forward to welcoming in the New Year at home with good friends and more laughter.
New games and books are being enjoyed. Friends and loved ones have been very generous and I have plenty of inspiration for the New Year ahead.
Today the outdoors called, so we wrapped up warm and headed here again, through the thawing ice and snow and peasouper fog for a bit of bracing fresh air. Just what we needed to wake us up again and now we're back in the warm, turkey curry on the hob and an evening of Upstairs Downstairs ahead. Bliss.
(My present from Woody, from the wonderful Girl's Own Store)

Hope your Christmas is going slowly and pleasantly too!

In answer to a couple of questions:
Snowflakes - sadly I am a complete non-crocheter (wrong genes I think) so I can't share the pattern. I boughtmine last year for a couple of pounds on ebay and then came over from America. Hope that helps and thanks for all the lovely comments. Love Sxxx

Friday 24 December 2010


Christmas Eve is possibly my favourite day of the year, even more exciting than tomorrow. It's the anticipation. Since we've been married we've developed a few traditions for this special day which I couldn't be without.
Early in the morning I head for the town. Not for any serious shopping but to pick up everything I've ordered and maybe a few last minute treats. There is something so wonderful and cheery about seeing all the stall holders and shop keepers I shop with all year today.

First stop is Harrisons for our box of fruit and veg, artfully packed and carried to the car for me (beat that for service supermarkets). Then onto Meakins the butcher to collect the turkey and trimmings.
In the lovely Victorian market hall I picked up the cheese, butter, salmon and potted shrimps I am rather partial to.
Then across the square to the wonderful delicatessen run by an Italian family how really know how to do food and festiveness.
And then there was just enough time to pause and listen to the Salvation Army band play carols in -7C. Brave souls and very much appreciated.

Everyone had a merry Christmas or a joke or smile to give today and its a precious feeling I will treasure all year. As Margot Leadbetter says "Christmas doesn't come in a van, it's what you make of it that counts" and I couldn't agree more.
Then it was time to head for home, pull out the icing sugar, cocoa and other delicious things to make our Yule Log.
And now with sticky fingers, the sun setting and carols on the radio, I'm just about ready. Roll on tomorrow. Peace and goodwill to everyone and a very merry Christmas!

Monday 20 December 2010

Home for Christmas

Finally - we're all at home, the lights are on and things like uniforms and bus timetables and packed lunches can all be put to the back of our heads for a while. Oh I am really enjoying cosying up in our nest.

The snow that came was just a dusting in the end but I would usually pay thousands for that at Christmas so it will do nicely and around here it looks spectacular. I do feel dreadfully sorry for everyone who is stranded and stressed. It's still so icy cold here, minus -14 C this morning again. It may warm up before Christmas but I'm rather enjoying this prolonged Arctic blast, exciting almost.
I am very grateful to pottering around my little kitchen as the radio bring news of growing chaos out there on the roads, rails and at the airports. We're lucky to have family close at hand.
Snowflakes have found their way indoors too, hanging in the kitchen window looking out over a very cold, very wintry scene.
Today I've been busy wrapping for Britain. Can't believe I've finished it.
And now the end of the day is here, my favourite time of day at this time of year, time to light the tree and the rest of the house.
But most of all I'm enjoying my two little men being at home, watching them making sofa beds and snuggle in to watch Christmas favourites on tv. Memories are made of this. Merry Christmas.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

All is bright

All around the house things are twinkling. Lights, baubles and decorations are filling our little home with festiveness.
Our Christmas has become a very colourful occassion and it looks rather pretty. Pity the light is too dim for decent photography. But secretly I love these few weeks of short daylight, because Christmas brightens the darkness and the long nights are exchanged in June for almost endless twilight; so all's fair really.
And it looks like we may be deep in snow again by the weekend and I'm in a little bit of a flap about how much time there is, or isn't, left to run all my errands. But the orders are in with the butcher, the fishmonger and the greengrocer so, even if we have to trudge to town to fetch it all, we won't go hungry.
And there's a little more decorating, wrapping and tidying to do. But we'll get there.
P.S. Just to answer a couple of questions I've been asked; the boots were from Clarks in the sale and the bauble lights are from WHSmith and are half price at the moment!
Thank you for all the lovely, lovely comments. I appreciate them so much and I'm sorry I don't have chance to catch up with everyone very often. They mean so much. Thanks!

Wednesday 8 December 2010


Naturally I'm not what you could call a risk taker. To be honest I'm rather cautious but yesterday I couldn't resist the urge any longer to get away from the main roads and see how the landscape around the village has been transformed.
I'm so glad that I did. The lanes from the school were pretty hairy but the farmers have been very busy keeping them clear of snow and a few piles of grit on the tricky bends have made it a bit easier to negotiate. 
Magical is the only way to describe the scene. Dawn and dusk brought delicate, pink tinged skies and the ice crystals clinging to every branch and leaf are breathtaking.
The past few days have been been like being in The Snow Queen. Winter's spell is cast over us.
Tomorrow we're expecting a thaw and perhaps the spell will lift. But for now I am enchanted and only wish it would stay for Christmas.
P.S I have been messing about with the format of my blog so I could get larger pictures in - no idea what I've done! Things are looking rather odd. Hope to have it fixed soon!

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Simple December Pleasures

Bright bauble lights that I popped on the dresser to test that they worked, but somehow can't bear to take down. The festive season has begun.
Deep, deep snow. Even the shed looks pretty.
Scarlet berries and evergreen leaves against the crisp white snow.
My view; growing more magical by the day.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Snowy Dawn

I didn't think we were due for this. All the forecasts predicted snow in the east or the far south west so, even though we're quite high up, I hadn't expected a blanket of white to greet me this morning. But how exciting! I'm such a big kid and get that very same thrill when I draw back the curtains and see the world transformed.
And as it's Saturday and my day for a lounge about in bed for a while, I got to enjoy the sun rising over the hall and the farm, sip a quiet coffee and curl up with my favourite festive magazines. Bliss.
This year the honours go to Country Homes & Interiors and Homes & Gardens for featuring the cosiest Christmas homes, I found Country Living a little bit below par I'm afraid. But I have really enjoyed these two and will spend this afternoon snipping and glueing and putting together my annual festive scrapbook.
Outside it is completely perishing and has been all week. On my way to work yesterday the car thermometer measured -6 C which was a bit of a shock for the end of November. Winter is definitely here. In the woody hollows along the lane from town, the frost has remained all week and the final leaves from the last of the blazing beeches have fallen to ground.
The hedge at the end of our tiny garden is full of little birds, queuing for the feeders and bird table. The east wind has brought the teeny red polls back from Scandinavia and the reed buntings are back from their summer by the river and are resident in the garden again. This morning so far we've been visited by starlings, blackbirds, a nuthatch and a black cap, chaffinchs, great tits, blue tits, coal tits, a jay, bramblings, house sparrows, a dunnock, a greenfinch, our robin and lots of goldfinches.
I do love the birds and I try hard to keep them fed and watered through the colder months of the year. It makes me very happy to have my feathered friends back in the garden although my furry friend has been paying them rather too much attention!
Today is going to be a cosying up day I think. Woody is running the annual village 10k road race this afternoon (mad!) so we will venture out later to cheer him on, but for now I'm snuggled up in the kitchen, the boys are absorbed in a Lego adventure and there is buttered toast and hot chocolate to savour. Happy days!