It’s been a while since I did a post – not sure why.  Christmas and life intervened – which is just an excuse really.  Anyway the only way to break the duck is to get on with it, apologies in advance for a quick albeit belated Christmas review but I had to start somewhere!

So Christmas has been and gone – it’s such a funny time of year.  Such high expectations, such a lot of work, such a lot of competing demands and wants, such lovely things going on – it is a roller coaster of emotions all tied up in a Christmas cracker – well actually ours wasn’t as I forgot to put the crackers on the table this year!


Christmas cake

The best thing – having my children around – plus the food, although this year they were staggered, the children that is not the food, and in fact there was only 3 of us for Christmas dinner so for the first time ever I cooked Christmas dinner without a turkey.  Instead we went to the Suffolk Food Hall, a lovely food emporium under the Orwell Bridge a bought a Phill Truin chicken.  It was about £28 and fed us Christmas Day, then fed the rest of the tribe when they arrived – cold with baked ham Boxing Day, Chicken, Ham and Leek Pie the day after, soup and sandwiches in between.  It was delicious and the staff at the Food Hall were really helpful.

I made lots of foodie gifts this year – Beetroot and Ginger Chutney, Christmas Chutney, Sweet Chilli jam (from my home-grown peppers and chillies, pickled pears, fudge, and lots of jams.  Great stocking fillers and fun to make.

The one thing that says that it is Christmas for us is, maybe somewhat oddly, having sausage rolls on Christmas morning.  I can’t remember why I started this tradition and they are a bit of a pain to add into the mix of things that have to be done on Christmas morning, but it would not be Christmas without them.


My favourite home-made thing though was my Advent Tree.  Completely home-made – save for the baubles.  We found branches in the garden and cut them to size, tied them together with twine (a lot of swearing and a bottle of wine was needed for that), threaded Christmas lights around it and then added one bauble for every day of Advent finishing off with a fairy on Christmas Eve.  It was less calorific than the traditional advent calendar, cheaper than the designer ones (Star Wars, Moulton Brown, Liberty’s etc) and lots of fun.  Definitely something to repeat next year.  So that was a potted version of my Christmas.


Advent Tree

So now the decorations have been packed away again – except some of the lights which have somehow stayed in place in my kitchen – I seem to have creeping permanent displayitis!

How I have 10 boxes of decorations I do not know – and in fact this year I did not buy any new ones which is a first I think. They are all sealed up and labeled waiting to be unveiled again next year when somehow the lights will have managed to get themselves into knots, several baubles will have broken and the odd decoration will have disappeared.

January has limped along – it has not been dry despite my initial good intentions and it has in fact been a bit of a struggle –  the year has not seemed to have kick started itself – maybe it was the snow, maybe we are just too cold in our house without the central heating – but it has all been a bit ‘whatever’.  But February is just around the corner and although it is not my favourite month – it is tinged with ‘will winter ever be over’, I am determined that it will be a fun one and I am also determined to push the renovations on.  the house renovations have actually started although all we have achieved so far are a lot of pipes and mess, but our builder actually starts in March and my brother is coming over to help before then and the plumber and electrician are going to be here so things should start moving ahead.  I just have to order insulation, plasterboard, windows, bathrooms, skirting, doors, and decide on the colour of the render, how much boarding to have, location and style of radiators, flooring and position of plugs, sockets and lights – not much to do then!  I suspect February is going to pass in a blur of catalogues and decisions.  Somehow Christmas doesn’t seem so bad after all!

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