Unprepared

How is it that every January I decide that this year I will be ready for Christmas by December…and yet when December comes, I am so unprepared?

I started with my notebook and ideas so early…started crafting early…and yet somehow time seems to have slipped through my fingers again.

Next year will be different!

I am laying in bed with my feet on my hot water bottle, listening to the shipping forecast. Carl is out at his Christmas party, and I spent much of the evening Christmas shoppong online. Now to hope it all arrives on time and as planned.

Next year will be different.

I still have a number of errands to run and purchases to make from the actual shops, and have cards to write, wrapping to do…but the turkey is ordered and I am feeling a little easier this evening.

The clock is about to chime the hour…one o’clock. I suspect I shall regret this late night in the morning. But for now I need a page or two of my book, and then I shall sleep.

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The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and Christmas Cards

I spotted this book on the shelves at Foyles several months ago and added it to my reading list, intending to look it up at the library.

I hadn’t quite got round to doing so, and yesterday when I popped into the charity shop on my way home from work, there it was on the shelf, a lovely hardback for just 50p!

As it happens I had just finished my book for the Miss Read Readalong, and this is just the perfect book to follow that.

It is set in 1940, and the story starts when the vicar disbands the choir as all the male voices have gone to war. It is told in letters and diary entries from different charactera points of view. I’m several chapters in, and love it already.

When I woke up this morning, I had the snuffly beginnings of a cold, so I made myself hot tea, dippy eggs and soldiers, and settled down with my book.

Last night I made my Christmas cards, 100 of them! I ordered a stamp from The English Stamp Company and it arrived yesterday, so I got to work. Now I have to write them…..

What are you reading?

On Letting Go Of Perfection

Children are such good teachers aren’t they? I’ve learnt so much about myself since having Jessica.

Looking at our Christmas tree, I see that she is helping me let go of the need for things to be perfect.

Things that would usually irritate me, like two baubles hanging on the same branch..or a random piece of ribbon draped over one side of the tree…or the two baubles which do not go with the rest of them….she has decreed that they all shall be…and surprisingly, it is fine.

So many of the things that make Christmas for me haven’t happened this year. Bury St Edmunds was missed, Christmas lunch with friends was cancelled yesterday, we couldn’t get through the ice to our WI carol concert….

And yet it is still nearly Christmas, time is still passing, Christmas is still coming.

Two weeks to go and I have most of my shopping to do, my cards to make and write…but I don’t feel stressed (yet!) It is a most curious state of affairs.

The house is in chaos and disarray after a new boiler and gas pipes. But instead of tidying, I made mince pies with Jessica. They were gloriously inperfect, but I don’t know when I have enjoyed making them more.

Snow!

This isn’t Jessica’s first snow, but she was so much younger and doesn’t remember it, so when I whispered to her this morning that it was snowing she was so excited.

We’ve had hot chocolate with marshmallows, and she has been sitting in her rocking chair watching the flakes fall.

I’ve got a tray on the bench by our back door to catch some snow for Jessica to make snow sweeties with (melted chocolate poured on to set in funny shapes).

We are hoping our carol concert later isn’t cancelled…looks like our Christmas lunch may be…

Happily yesterday we got our tree up so it feels wintery and beautiful in our living room.

Miss Readalong

Over on instagram, there has started a Miss Read Read Along, or as I think of it, a Miss Readalong! In December we are reading Christmas At Thrush Green.

Just now, Jessica is eating her dinner and I am snatching a few minutes to read a few pages and sip a cup of Earl Grey tea.

I remember seeing Miss Read books on my Mum’s bedside table when I was younger so it feels extra nice to be reading them now. They are such lovely, gentle stories. I have an illustration from one of the books as the wallpaper on my mobile phone!

I’ve thought before that there would be an interesting series to be written on using advice, recipes and tips from the stories. Maybe something to mull over for the new year…

Do join us for the read along if you are on instagram!

Our Seasonal Table in December

Mum has a beautiful vase of twisted willow branches at home, and she decorates them year round, and they are just beautiful. I’ve wanted some for home for a long time but haven’t come across any. A phone call to the florist, and today I collected them!

I think they are a lovely addition to our seasonal table (which in reality is the top of our kallax unit which holds Jessica’s toys).

I am planning tissue paper blossoms in spring, blown eggs for Easter, Valentine’s hearts, autumn leaves, halloween bats…we are going to have SO much fun!

Also on our seasonal table is King Winter, brought from Myriad, and our Melissa and Doug nativity set. It is bigger than I thought it would be, but I really like it.

Pansies and Pumpkins

One of the things I love about going home to see Mum (apart from seeing her of course) is seeing what is new with the porch. The porch is such a happy welcome to her home, and tells you just what kind of person lives there. Currently there is an autumnal wreath on the front door, a few pumpkins on the steps, and a little bank of pansies to one side. On the other side are some bronzey chrysanthemums and glorious cyclamen Some of those photos are slightly blurry alas, and the light was fading, but I wanted to show you how beautiful it looks. We go out for a walk each day, and I usually pop to the shops too. When I come back, the pumpkins and pansies are such a jolly welcome home. Our front door opens straight onto the path, or I would love to do this back home. Maybe I could experiment with seasonal wreaths…

Every year Mum has her Christmas tree, lights and all, in the porch, where the cyclamen and chrysanthemums are now. Tomorrow a new front door is being fitted, as this one lets in so many drafts now, and the lock is slightly uncooperative. Funny to think that the door I have walked through for nearly 33 years will soon be no more!

I’ve tried to share photographs, but everytime I try it says the upload failed…sigh…will post this for now and then try to add the pictures later.