Archive | December 2012

12 Pictures of My Christmas


A month or so ago I mixed up a Christmas cake for my Grandparents – Apricot and Brandy, from a brilliant recipe that let’s you choose your own combination but still comes out wonderfully moist!


I wrapped the cake and fed it twice with brandy, keeping it the dark bottom of my wardrobe …


… and tonight, after a minor-ish slip-up :P, I covered and decorated the cake ready for delivery tomorrow!


On the 9th of December we had friends round for Mulled Wine and Mince Pies …


… and to help us put up and decorate our Christmas tree – a tradition we love repeating every year, so much fun!!


We had a Lady of Light!


I grew a tinsel beard … as you do! πŸ˜‰


Our tree-builders relaxed with a glass of L and I’s special home-brew Mulled Wine – a little more potent than the ready-bottles but oh-so-yummy! πŸ˜›


Our lovely Lady of Light made us gingerbread cookie decorations to hang on our tree – a really sweet and thoughtful Christmas gift!! Maybe I’ll just go and have a little nibble … πŸ˜‰


S took a Christmas photo of my hubby and I for us! πŸ™‚


Some close friends of ours are getting to adopt kids next year, so for D’s birthday party (which being on the 22nd December always feels like the start of Christmas to me!), they asked us each to bring an ornament to put on their tree, which they can tell their kids came from their friends – what an awesome idea is that?! I am so excited that they are soon to become parents and loved making a tree decoration for them!


A few nights ago I settled into a three-hour plus marathon of present wrapping! I genuinely enjoy wrapping presents, but when it comes to Christmas, even I need to do the wrapping with the company of a film! πŸ˜‰ I chose Magnolia – if you haven’t watched it: do!!


For my last photo, because I’m a die-hard believer in a Baker’s Dozen (notice the mention L?!) … by tomorrow evening this little pile of presents will be sitting underneath my lovely in-law’s Christmas tree, waiting for the morning …

Have a very Happy Christmas and a most Blessed New Year!!!

The Christmas Tag!


The very lovely Lauren, who writes over at You Big Eejit, tagged me in this fun Christmas meme! (It’s awful I know, but I’ve only just fully grasped exactly what a “meme” is, I just ignored the word when taking part in one …! πŸ˜‰ ) Lauren knows I’m always game for taking part in one and I’m particularly pleased to be a part of this Christmas tag! Thank you Lauren! πŸ™‚

Apart from half a dozen somewhat hazy Christmases when I was little and a relatively untraditional Christmas lunch with my Grandparents every year, I have very little history when it comes to celebrating Christmas. My parents and sisters don’t celebrate Christmas themselves and haven’t since I was roughly 6 or 7, so all my knowledge of customs, traditions and the religious significance behind the celebrations has come from my Grandparents agnostic and down-played Christmas Day and from reading books and the internet and listening to other people’s experiences.

That all changed for me when I moved out on my own, started dating and than married L. Christmas is now a fixed part of my year and I have very much enjoyed starting our own traditions and collecting memories! I still have that feeling that I have a lot to catch up on, so every year I try to make the most out of every element of Christmas – which definitely includes my own little Christmas series on my blog! πŸ™‚

What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?
Hmm, now that’s a difficult one! I love having over a few friends who to help L and I put up and decorate our Christmas tree, with the help of some mulled wine and mince pies – definitely a part of Christmas I look forward to each year! I enjoy going to our church’s Carol Service and hearing the choir they put together for it every year. I love the moment when my Mum-in-law opens the front door on Christmas Eve and welcomes us inside her lovely warm home for the Christmas week, all softly lit and filled with the gorgeous smells of her home-cooked supper, ready to give us big hugs, welcome kisses, a glass of wine and help us feel like we really have come home for Christmas! Late on Christmas Eve we set off for the Minster (a particular kind of old English Church) and go to the near-midnight carol and communion service with a real choir and candles – amazing!!! And seeing the smile of contentment on my Mum-in-law’s face as she looks round at all her family in her home!

What is your favourite make-up look for the festive season?
Umm … I guess I only end up wearing make-up about a dozen times a year, give and take! After a first try, I’ve never worn anything other than eye-liner/shadow, mascara and lip-gloss. I just hate the feeling of anything rubbed all over my face! Christmas is a time when I wear make-up almost daily, but pretty minimalist: a little of some soft earthy browns, blues or greens eye-shadow that have some glitter/shimmer, black eye-liner underneath to give some depth, a touch of dark mascara and sometimes a bit of very pale-pink lip gloss with some light shimmer in it … that’s me done!

Real or fake tree?
I love real trees! The smell, the natural look, the idea … however, I hate the mess they make!! πŸ˜› L and I have a very small flat and we always go to his parent’s for a week over Christmas, so a real tree would be a waste. We have a very tall and thin fake tree that we put up with our friends and just fits our space. Once we’re home for the week, L’s Mum has a real tree that she decorates beautifully each year – it looks and smells absolutely amazing!! So really, we get the best of both worlds!! πŸ˜‰

Giving presents orΒ receivingΒ them?
Ha! Who doesn’t like getting presents, right?! L hints at my gifts for a few weeks before, so I’m always bursting to find out what he got me when we get to the day – and he does get me wonderful presents! I think though that giving presents just tops receiving them for me – I just love planning gifts for each person, thinking what they will like, making and/or buying the presents while imagining what the person’s face will (hopefully!) look like when they open it and being able to give joy and pleasure to those I love! I am very excited about my Mum-in-law’s gift this Christmas, as I know already that she is going to adore it! I just hope she doesn’t cry …

Do you open your presents on Christmas morning or evening?
Morning, definitely! We all come down in our pjs and dressing gowns and squeeze onto the sofas between the tree and the wood-burning stove. One or two of us act as distributor and dole out the presents in piles, then the attack really begins! We usually have glasses of bucks fizz and hotΒ volovants for our breakfast during gift opening. Eeeeee!! Getting excited now! πŸ˜›

Handmade Christmas cards or bought?
I try to make as many card as I can, using Christmas paper and stickers I buy on sale in January. I keep them really simple, but I still have not yet managed to make all the cards myself, so they get supplemented with bought cards … I try!! πŸ˜› I make most of the Christmas presents myself, so I feel it just about balances out! πŸ˜‰

What’s your favourite Christmas film?
Ooh, this is a hard one … I don’t know that I really have a favourite Christmas film. I haven’t actually seen that many I don’t think – I saw The Snowman as a kid, It’s A Wonderful Life (hopefully never again!!), The Grinch and Love Actually. Although I’m not into girly films that much, I do usually watch Love Actually at this time of year!

What’s your favourite Christmas food?
So much of it is so yummy!! My Mum-in-law is an amazing cook and always does a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings – yum-tastic!! I love Boxing Day Food! The potatoes and vegetable made into bubble-and-squeak, cold turkey and baked ham, lots of yummy cheeses, chutney, fresh bread, sometimes a meat pie too – I do love that meal!! Maybe that’s my favourite? Hmm. You know what, I shall pay careful attention to my food over this Christmas and make a decision on what my favourite is, ok?! πŸ˜‰


I am going to pass The Christmas Tag onto these three lovely bloggers:

Just Live It!

Reinventing The We’ll

Happiness Stan Lives Here

I hope you guys enjoy doing this as much as I did! πŸ™‚

Birthday Cake Fun!

Today was my best friend R’s birthday.

We have this thing where we always make each other’s birthday cakes, or if we can’t for some reason, we arrange for someone else to make the cake.


Making your own birthday cake just isn’t right.

After much debating and several very good suggestions …


… I made a chocolate cake to look like a gingerbread house!

(One reason for this is that one of my presents for R was a set of gingerbread house cookie cutters! πŸ™‚ )


I carried the cake to the restaurant where we were having dinner in a cardboard box and got a waitress to hide it until the right moment …


The waiter brought the lighted cake over and when we started singing ‘Happy Birthday’, a number of the tables around us joined in too!! πŸ˜›


Cutting the rather fragile cake into pieces was a two-person job! Oh well, at least the roof didn’t fall apart until after the candle blowing!!


This photo is here especially for you C! πŸ˜‰


We had lots of fun eating and talking, then went to a bar nearby for drinks and to play Jenga – or rather, our own sabotage competition variations of Jenga … πŸ˜‰

Making the cake was lots of fun and spending the evening with friends and celebrating R’s birthday was even more fun!

Happy Birthday lovely R!!!