Friday, 31 December 2010

Is there a New Year's Eve equivalent for Bah Humbug ?

.. in which case happy (Bah Humbug ) New Year's Whatever.

I've never quite understood NYE. A kind of forced joviality and contrived spontaneity ... the worst combination. Reckon hedgehogs have the right idea ... hibernate until the whole ghastly winter experience is over.

Looking forward to a day in bed tomorrow - might as well start the year as I intend to continue.

Friday, 17 December 2010

This time next week ...

.. we'll be lighting the fire, warming up the mulled wine, hanging up the stockings and probably shovelling the snow from the front path at this rate. This afternoon I got caught in a blizzard . Luckily I was in a rather lovely shop and so had to wait it out whilst browsing all the loveliness. Worse places to get snowed in I guess.

The boys are blundering around the place, taking up a lot of room and eating everything in sight. The fridge is empty and the house is a mess but what the hell, the presents are wrapped and no-one has gone down with swine flu ... yet.

In amongst he mayhem I actually found time to make some Christmas cards. Simple but sweet.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Men and Christmas

Not two words you often see sitting comfortably together in a sentence.

Husband let out an exasperated sigh last night after managing all of 4 Christmas cards. Mind you that's more than he's managed in previous years.

So for all you hard working ladies out there who are single handedly managing the shopping, cooking, cleaning, carol services, teachers presents, children's stockings, in laws gifts, cards, tree, food etc etc . Here's a joke my lovely friend just sent me. Apologies for the bizarre layout but it's the best I could do by copying and pasting. Enjoy.

Proud to be English!
men were sitting together bragging about how they
 had given duties to their new
     Terry had married a woman from
Greece and bragged that
 he had told his wife she needed to do all
the dishes and
 housework. He
said that it took a couple days but on the
 third day he came home to a clean house
and the dishes were
 all washed
and put away.
     Jimmie had married a woman from
Italy.  He bragged
 he had given his wife
orders that she was to do all the
 cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. He
told them that the
 first day he
didn't see any results, but the next day it
 was better. By the third day, his house
was clean, the
 dishes were done,
and he had a huge dinner on the table.
     The third
man had married an English girl. He boasted
 that he told her that her duties were to
keep the house
 cleaned, dishes
washed, laundry and ironing twice a week,
 lawns mowed, windows cleaned and hot
meals on the table for
meal. He said the first day he didn't see
 anything, the second day he didn't see
anything, but by
 the third day
most of the swelling had gone down and he
 could see a little out of his left eye,
just enough to fix
 himself a
bite to eat, load the dishwasher, and call a

Friday, 3 December 2010

My Luvverly Secret Santa

... has excelled herself . I'm feeling very spoilt as every morning I get to open a present that has gorgeous written all over it , well not literally , but the contents are.

This morning I opened a pack of letter stickers to go with the papers I received yesterday. It's a lovely way to build up an idea of a layout .. day by day.

Thank you Santa XXX

Peppermint Bark

For all of you who are snowed in for yet another day , here's a foolproof , fun-to-make , even more fun to eat recipe. Thanks to my sister for providing.

Take as many slabs of white chocolate as you like - I used 5 bars of the Basic white chocolate from Sainsburys which are only 30p per bar.

 Melt them however you like , microwave is fine, in a jug. Grab a 10 pack of peppermint candy canes ( 99p from Sainsburys ) .

Stick them in a thick plastic bag and arm the children with a rolling pin.

 Stand well back as they bash the living daylights out of them.

Sprinkle a layer of the crushed canes onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Pour the white chocolate on top , sprinkle with the remainder of the crushed candy canes and bung it in the fridge.

This is the worst part - you have to wait a while whilst it all hardens. When it's well and truly solid whip it out of the fridge and let the children smash it to pieces. I defy anyone one to make this and not eat it all in one sitting . I would have taken a photo of the finished product ... but it's all gone !

Thursday, 2 December 2010

My Christmas Manifesto

Should have snow more often , I've blogged more today than I think I have for the whole of last month.

I'm using my blog as a holding place for all of the journalling I plan to include in my " Journal Your Christmas" album. Here's my manifesto for this year's celebration.

  • This year , like all those that precede it, I'm aiming to keep it simple. This makes me laugh even as I write it, as 'simple' is not a word I often apply to my life.
  • My eldest son asked me this morning what my favourite Christmas memory was and I have to admit that I struggled to think of one immediately. Not because I don't have any but because I have an absolute ton - an embarrassment of riches really. As my mother embraced the rituals of Christmas with her typical verve and zealousness , I do too and I reckon my sons will in years to come. So this year's aim is to get the memories down on paper so that they can read about them in years to come and so the Christmas spirit will pass on down the family line ad infinitum.
  • I plan to shop my socks off . Not necessarily spend , just look, wonder, admire and enjoy. The shops are stuffed full of those nonsense 'gift ideas' that turn up in charity shops 6 months later. But in amongst the nonsense there are some real gems . I love to ferret out those little trinkets that make me smile as I anticipate the recipients' reaction as they open them on Christmas day. Shopping is an art form ... little and often is my motto , liberally interspersed with a sampling of those ridiculous Christmas coffee flavors like gingerbread mocha latte - whatever that is ! But boy does it taste good and why not. 
  • Go with the flow. Nothing is going to irritate , frustrate or annoy me . Not even the inevitable kitchen item that will be under the tree for me from DH .... last year's bread bin, the year before's salad servers. Bring it on I say .
  • Plan the last week before the boys break up with military precision. Large doses of ME time, more of that gingerbread frothacino nonsense and maybe even a manicure or some such. Remember that when school breaks up all hell will let loose.
  • Let others do the cooking . Why not ? In fact meals these days are more like assembling with all the luscious ingredients available at even the most humble of supermarkets. Avoid those ghastly Iceland 500 nibbles for £1 type bargains. Might as well eat cardboard with cheese on it. Go for simple snacks like a selection of cheeses and a vat of red wine to accompany. I'm such a control freak that you usually can't keep me out of the kitchen but this year will be different. Famous last words.
  • More walking . Now that I'm superslim it's so much more pleasurable and just think of all those positive endorphins that will course through my bloodstream.
  • Enjoy the moment.

As its snowing outside I might as well blog

Don't often get the opportunity to write that in December.

I'm taking part in Shimelle's "Journal Your Christmas" class this year . Can't believe I haven't done it before what with Christmas running through my veins the way it does. I've probably been too busy upto my ears in gingerbread houses and Christmas Fair gifts to find the time before.

Anyway here's what my Christmas is looking like so far :

1st December - out come the Advent calenders ... posh ones this year . I haven't even been allowed so much as a sniff of them this year.

... but then I get to open up a present a day from this gorgeous pile of goodies every day in december, courtesy of my Secret Santa at the Cheam Crop.

Here's the view from the bedroom window this morning. More snow please.

And finally a little beauty of a lamp that I picked up from a strange shop called Clas Ohlsen - a kind of town centre version of Ikea, for a meref £6 , now that's what I cal a bargain. I'm planning on putting it up in the Christmas room ( more of that later ) but it's so lovely I really just want to keep it in the kitchen and gaze upon its beauty whilst I do the ironing.

Ever played that game ?

... the one where you have to say if you had to lose a sense which one would it be ? Most people go for smell I reckon , thinking that if they weren't tempted by food they'd probably lose a few pounds . I know the one I couldn't do without is the sense of hearing .

In fact if I went blind tomorrow, I'd still know it was Christmas from the sounds around me. Out shopping the other day I heard the unmistakable din of the Bentalls Shopping Centre Bears and found myself rushing over to get a closer peek at how they looked this year . They never fail to disappoint in all their cheesy gloriousness. And there they were resplendent in full Victorian garb awash with train sets and fireplaces, garlands and stockings, piles of presents and a few of Santa's little helpers and a polar bear or two thrown in for good measure.

I had to suppress a tiny squeal of delight - God forbid if the boys had been with me , they would have run a mile . Never ones to gasp in amazement or clamour for a ring side seat, they would rather leg it in case Mum decided to join in with the singing which I have been known to do . Let's face it our job here on earth is to embarrass our kids.

So there we have it , the sound of Christmas - Bing and his mates belting out a jazzed up version of White Christmas, karaoke style, whilst the Bentalls Bears lip synch along for the pleasure of a hundred or so tots bundled up in their buggies straining for a closer look at this extraordinary spectacle.

I can't help but wonder what the workers in Korea must be thinking as they construct these visions of a Western Christmas in the heat and humidity of their sweat shop factories ready for export . They must think the British are completely bonkers . And thank goodness we are.

 So the Bears have been installed and now Christmas can officially be pronounced open.

Boys , if you're reading this I'm planning on taking you along to see them this afternoon and yes I will be singing along especially as they have a rather snazzy version of " All I want for Christmas is Yooooooou.......... " this year.