Tuesday 29 November 2011

Christmas in Advance

Never one to do things in a orderly fashion, I think I'm going for a different approach this year. I'll be celebrating the festive season in advance.

That means I get to drink all the BOGOF bottles of plonk now instead of waiting for the so-called BIG day , much better to pace myself. Mince pies - why wait ? I'll be sated with the little currant infested lard pastries by the second week of December in any event so might as well enjoy them in advance whilst the brandy butter is still fresh in the jar and not tasting like a rancid oil slick.

Presents. Hmm , judging by husband's previous record there's nothing more dispiriting than opening another kitchen utensil on Christmas morning so best to stock up on self purchased Jo Malone and Thorntons special toffee this week whilst the affordable gift sets are still in stock . I suppose there is one benefit to the male ritual of the 5pm on Christmas Eve shopping trip though. The reasonably priced gifts have gone by then so they have to opt for the all singing, all dancing, break the bank option and throw money at it, as my friend pointed out the other day and she should know as she now owns Anya Hindmarsh handbags by the dozen.

I could dole out the children's gifts now . Saves schlepping up to the attic to hide them and now they know where the pokey tool for the loft hatch is , they can go take a look between now and the 25th anyway - and usually do. No need to wrap either.

So that just leaves carol concert, annual bun fight for the perfect turkey at Waitrose at 6am on the 23rd with no-where to store it for the next 48 hours and up to my elbows in pork sausage-meat and chopped onion late into Christmas Eve when I should be watching White Christmas on the telly. I have an answer to all of these dilemmas.

Frozen turkey - why not, its half the price and gets slathered in gunky sauces anyway. I can never get enough of the stuff really so I'll be gorging on M&S turkey sandwiches for the entire month anyway and will doubtless forget to defrost the big bird in sufficient time so it'll be ready for Christmas 2012 .

Will I miss the Christmas sing song at church ? Nope, now that I've got Classic Christmas FM on speed dial, I should be suitably jaded with every Christmas hymn known to man by the 1st of December . And anyway you usually get sat next to a snotty nosed, dribbling infant who'll doubtless infect you with a dose of tonsilitis in time for the 25th so best give it a miss or just sing along at home during November and get it out of my system. And no-one likes stuffing anyway , so that means curtains for the sausage-meat and the Christmas Pud come to that whilst we're on the subject of extraneous festive food.

So there we have it. I'll have done Christmas in advance and dispensed with the rituals and the feasting in advance whilst my trousers can still be zipped up, although not for much longer.

I could never understand as a child, when asked "What's your favourite thing about Christmas Mum" by mother would always reply " Boxing Day". But I can now.

Friday 18 November 2011

Christmas Fair Season

The boys' school very sensibly hold their Christmas Fair at the end of November before the frantic silly season notches up a gear. That gives me a chance to put together some goodies without cursing at midnight that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done, which I'd be doing if it were held mid December.

In fact I can honestly say the last few days have been a pleasure of baking, crafting and wrapping. This year I've made white chocolate drizzled cinnamon loaves, little packets of mulled wine muslin bags which youngest son helped to fill and treat bags filled with chocolate balls and candy canes. And rather lovely they all look too.

Monday 7 November 2011

Two Ways to Spend Money

Can you tell that finances are occupying a good deal of my thoughts these days ?

I have broken down spending into 2 categories :-

1. Undesirable - parking tickets, speeding fines, Customs and Excise, Inland Revenue, electricity bills, bank charges ... you get my drift.

2. Desirable - good causes , spontaneous gifts, scrap-booking stash, happy days out, chocolate, cake ... more drift getting.

This weekend ( apart from the exorbitant cost of the train fare ) I spent a good deal of time on category 2 thankfully ( of course the upside of traveling by train is no need to worry about speeding fines or parking tickets or the duty payable on fuel ) , in the company of good friends , never further than an eight second stroll to the scrap-booking shop and never 2 hours away from another feast of fabulous food ( think chocolate fountains, bacon butties, pecan pastries ) , Rhubarb and Custards, Chocolate Limes, Refresher Bars and Candy Necklaces on tap. Perfect.

I was , of course , at Sarah's Cards Retreat. Thank you girls for another wonderful weekend.

Six delectable classes , make and takes, challenges, bingo , no washing up , king sized, snore free bed, out of earshot of the "What's for tea " cry of hungry teens. I only have to wait another 20 weeks before the next retreat in March , in celebration of which I made this ....

... as my entry for one of the challenges - which was to fashion an item using only a 5" x 7" canvas and scraps leftover from the classes at the retreat. Now I can open a window for every week between now and the next retreat in March ( 20 in total ) and get myself well and truly prepared. 1st window says " Book Place" which I have now done.

Bought myself some stash lovelies too. Ironically though, my scrapping seems to be working in inverse proportion to my stash acquiring. The more I buy , the less I use on my layouts . What's that all about ? In love with simple scrapbooking at the moment - the " less is more"  school of thought. Leaves more time for chatting and eating as well, brilliant on all fronts.