Thursday, 19 December 2019

Festive












We've decorated the tree, the gifts are (almost) all wrapped and the cards have been posted. With just one week to go until Christmas Day the excitement level is increasing and we've been taking time to enjoy everything about this most wonderful time of the year. We've visited a Christmas tree festival, seen Santa on his sleigh and enjoyed the school's Christmas celebrations - Lily was a rapping King!

Our little tree is spending it's third Christmas with us and has three new decorations this year. A little robin, a snow covered house and a star which Lily made at school. The living room lamps keep getting switched off, so we can sit in just the glow of the fairy lights. The tree is slightly wonky but to us it is perfect, and I expect I'll feel a little sad when I have to return it to the garden again in January.

In the kitchen I've enjoyed a change from making mince pies by baking gingerbread cookies instead. I use this recipe here but with the addition of some ground cloves to give them more of a festive flavour. Lily assisted by rolling the dough and cutting out shapes of stars, snowflakes, Christmas trees and snowmen, and, just like the mince pies, they're disappearing fast. I've strained (and tested πŸ˜†) the blackberry vodka and bottled some as gifts, and also made up some jars of hot chocolate mix to give away.














At the weekend we had the greatest surprise when we awoke to a covering of snow.  Lily had been super excited to decorate the tree but it was nothing compared to the thrill of snow, especially on the lead up to Christmas. Lily made a snow angel and there may have been a brief snowball fight. ❄ We enjoyed a leisurely walk and, although it was a very cold morning, afterwards we were able to warm ourselves with a hot drink in front of an open fire.





As we made our return along the riverside I was lucky to spot a long pine branch on the ground, a suspected casualty of the recent strong winds. I must have looked a bit of a sight carrying it over my shoulder but I knew it would be perfect as the base for my door wreath. I collected a handful of pine cones and also added them to the wreath, together with some holly and rosemary from the garden. It smells amazing.

Aside from the period of calm between Christmas and New Year, this is probably my favourite time of the season. Most of the preparations are complete and I can relax and enjoy myself knowing everything is taken care of, except from perhaps a little food shopping, icing the cake and baking some more mince pies.
Will someone please pass me the Quality Street?

J. X

52 comments:

  1. Oh how lovely to have snow. The perfect accompaniment to all your festive doings. Beautiful decorations. I can imagine how excited Lily must be. Enjoy your run up to the big day. Just food and wrapping to do here. Oh and a little festive baking. B x

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    1. We had some snow. Sadly, it has since disappeared, but it was wonderful while it lasted. I will, no doubt, be baking some more mince pies before Christmas. They've been very popular this year. X

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  2. It sounds like you're on track with everything there and even the weather's cooperating with a sprinkling of snow, how beautiful it all looks. I used to love this time when my children were small, I'd purposely build the excitement for them to fever pitch then be annoyed with myself when they wouldn't sleep. Happy memories. Your wreath is fabulous.

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    1. I always feel much more relaxed once the last present has been wrapped. This year Lily is the most excited she has ever been. X

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  3. I'm a little envious of your snow making everywhere look so crisp and clean. I'd love just enough to cover up the brown and muddy garden for a little while.

    We love to have the main lights off in the evening and sit by the lights from the tree and maybe a couple of LED candles. So cosy and restful after a busy day.

    I would happily swap you a whole box of Quality Street for one of your beautiful mince pies....lol.

    Have a lovely day.
    Hugs-x-

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    1. It was lovely to have the snow, Sheila, if only for a short while. The garden is back to being wet and muddy once again. X

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  4. Your scenery is gorgeous! Love the sheep picture, too! -Jenn

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  5. Really lovely photographs. I adore the little advent socks.
    xx

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    1. Thank you, Joy. Only five left to go now. X

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  6. Now I feel even more festive... and I didn't think that would be possible

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    1. I'm not sure I believe that. Your festive preparations are amazing. X

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  7. Oh Jules, your photos are stunning! Real snow! We never get snow here on the coast, not even when the 'Beast from the East' struck. Your tree, your mantel, your pretty decorations, all so lovely. Lily must be so excited! Best, Jane x

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    1. Thank you, Jane. It was such a surprise to wake up to snow. X

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  8. Your snowy photos are lovely - none here for us although it was promised for last weekend but it's just been grey, wet and miserable. I like Lily's star and your door wreath looks very pretty :-)

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    1. Thank you, Eunice. The original forecast was for sleet, which usually just means rain, so it was a lovely surprise to wake to a snowy landscape. X

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  9. Ooh...I feel as though I’ve just stepped into Christmas! x

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    1. I'm beginning to feel more festive by the day. X

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  10. _Everything_ is _Perfect_!!!!!

    Even to a frosting of snow.

    You have done perfectly too, with everything done. And time to sit back and enjoy.

    You have the perfect right, to congratulate yourself, on your Wisdom. !!!!!!!!

    Gentle hugs...

    "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
    Jack Frost nipping at your nose
    Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
    And folks dressed up like Eskimos…"

    ♬ 🎢 ♫

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    1. Thank you, WoW. It's perfect for us, at least. It's now time to relax and enjoy the season. X

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  11. What a beautiful post. Your mantle is quite lovely and the new decorations lovely.

    Very impressed with your wreath - nothing like that is going to get crafted at Bag End this year, even if I was to make the time I don't think I could do anything that stylish.

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    1. Thank you, Jayne. I was pleased I went with a red ribbon for the wreath this year. X

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  12. Save me the green triangle!

    Lovely photos - jealous of the snow!

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    1. As long as you leave me the strawberry creams. X

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  13. Such a lovely post. It sounds like you have Christmas all sorted and are ready for some family time. Your tree looks lovely I am not surprised that you are turning the lights off and just enjoying it. I love your snowy pictures, it was a beautiful day wasn't it. Your wreath is lovely, I bet it smells heavenly, what a great idea to add rosemary. Enjoy your relaxing week x

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    1. Thank you. It's a good feeling to know my preparations are mostly complete. Now is the time for family, relaxation and a glass or two of mulled wine. X

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  14. So enjoyed your Christmas photos, my friend.
    The cookie one is my favorite!
    And the snow!!!
    Enjoy, my friend.

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    1. Thank you, Billie Jo. The cookies may have since disappeared! X

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  15. Wow! Spectacular photos! You are so prepared and organized. I love the wreath, and those sheep!!! How nice that you had a dusting of snow.

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    1. Thank you, Stephenie. I like to keep our Christmas celebrations quite simple, so I can relax and enjoy some family time. X

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  16. Definitely festive! I love your tree and all the decorations, especially your wreath! All your hard work and preparations paid off - you are ready for the holidays and not frazzled, unlike some of us! I wish you and yours a very happy Christmas, Jules.

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    1. Thank you, Bless. I like to try and keep things simple, which means I can enjoy the season without any added stress or pressure. It also allows me time for eating even more mince pies! :)

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  17. Your Christmas decorations are so beautiful. I think snow is a must for a perfect Christmas season. πŸ˜ƒ

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Jules! πŸŽ„

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    1. Thank you, Nil. It would be wonderful to have snow on Christmas day. X

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  18. The snow certainly turns the place into a wonderland, it's beautiful. Merry Christmas and enjoy a relaxed lead up to Christmas. I'm fully prepared already and cheated a bit and bought treats instead of baking. It's been too hot to be in the kitchen but I have a feeling I'm going to be dragged in there this weekend as the kids want their annual special treats. xx Susan

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    1. I love snow, it really adds to the festive mood.
      I don't blame you for not baking in the heat you're experiencing just now. Relax and enjoy your celebrations. It's a good feeling when you're all prepared. X

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  19. Such beautiful snowy photos, Jules. So very beautiful to have that dusting of Christmas time snow. Meg:)

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    1. Thank you, Meg. The snow was quite magical while it lasted. X

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  20. Such lovely photos and utterly perfect to have a well-timed sprinkling of snow last weekend.
    Have a wonderful Xmas. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Vix. I just wish the snow could have hung around a little longer. X

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  21. Christmas looks like it's going to be absolutely wonderful for you and the family and you get snow as well you lucky things.

    Love the star Lily has made. While part of me is glad we've moved on from certain school activities, a lot of the Christmas sparkle disappears when that happens. I miss the cards, calendars and decorations Amy and Tom used to bring home. It's such a lovely time of the year with little ones.

    The wreath is lovely. If I'm ever in your neck of the woods expect a knock on the door for a taste of the blackberry vodka! xx

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    1. Sadly, the snow has all gone now. It would have been wonderful to have some for Christmas.
      Yes, I love all the Christmas events and activities which come with having a little one in the house, although finding opportunity for gift wrapping can prove challenging, if you know what I mean.
      You would be more than welcome to a taste of the blackberry vodka, but I have a feeling it will be disappearing almost as quickly as the mince pies. X

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  22. You make me feel ashamed. I've never been a big one for Christmas decorations and for 10 years I spent our winter in New Zealand where, as it's midsummer, Christmas is rather different to say the least. For the last two years I've made a real effort and my house has been quite Christmassy but this year I seem to have been thrown. Looking at your decorations did make me feel rather wistful though. Perhaps tomorrow.....

    However if that is the view from your window then I have at last found someone with a view I would consider as beautiful as, although completely different to, my view. Your surrounding countryside is, however, beyond doubt more beautiful.

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    1. My decorating style is definitely minimal effort. Anyway, you've been busy with baking all those Christmas cakes and have also had other priorities. I hope you're feeling much better now.
      Sadly, that is not currently the view from my window, although one day I hope to have one very similar. X

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  23. You sound very relaxed in this week before Christmas …
    Your photographs are all so lovely and I think it's extra special to see a sprinkling of snow - even if it doesn't last 'til Christmas.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    All the best Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I used to find it very stressful in the run up to Christmas, but I've made a few little changes in recent years and I'm much more relaxed about it all now.
      How I wish the snow had lasted until Christmas. Hopefully we'll get some more in the new year. X

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  24. IT all looks wonderful, so festive,. I also love that calm time between Christmas and New Year. I hope Lily enjoys her Christmas; I'm sure she is beside herself with excitement. Happy memories in the making. Wishing you a peaceful and happy season. X

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    1. Thank you, Eloise. Our excitement has increased over the weekend following a visit to the Christmas market. We're now looking forward to the day itself and some time to relax between Christmas and New Year. Sending you my very best wishes for the season. Xx

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  25. All your decorations are indeed festive; especially that row of little stockings. And the door wreath is fab as well - nature seems to be cooperating with you this winter season.

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    1. Thank you, Susanne. I like the house to look nice and festive but it's a shame the snow didn't hang around. I hope we'll get some more in the new year. X

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