Saturday 31 December 2022

Christmas 2022

Hello, again! Finally :)
Thank you all so much for all your kind comments and messages on my previous post, both privately and on here. You have all been so kind, especially as I have been absent from this space for a little while. It will be time for a good catch up in the next few days, but first I thought I should write a few lines before this year ends. 

I have enjoyed a lovely Christmas. Simple and relaxed, which is just how I like it to be. The last day of school term came around very quickly in the end, and the very next day we were on our way to Edinburgh to visit the Christmas markets. If you have been reading here a while, you might remember this trip was originally planned for Christmas 2021, but I made the decision to postpone due to the constraints of travelling etc. I have to say, Edinburgh looked beautiful all decorated for Christmas. The markets were bustling, but not too crowded and everyone looked to be having a wonderful time. Our hotel was excellent, and we were staying right in the centre of the city, so we were ideally located for seeing the sights and visiting the markets. Everything was fine until the second evening. We had already enjoyed a ride on the carousel and I booked for us to go ice skating, which is something we love to do at this time of year. Once we had been kitted out, Lily sped off confidently and I followed at a slightly more controlled pace :) It felt good to be back on the ice again. Everyone was having fun, even those who could barely stand. Christmas music was playing and it was all so very festive. Then it happened. Almost as though in slow motion, I could see a young woman begin to stumble quite close to me. Then as I slowed, gently swerving to avoid her, she tried to steady herself by grabbing hold of me, but instead I was pulled right down, onto the cold hard ice, on my back. I was in pain, and the impact left me feeling badly shaken and nauseous. After a minute or two I was able to stand and a very nice young man came to assist me off the ice, by which time it was clear I wasn't seriously injured, just very badly bruised and in shock - thank goodness! It could have been so much worse.  

The following morning it was also becoming increasingly obvious that I was finally succumbing to the cold virus which had been doing the rounds at work. Smiling to myself, as I had been telling my colleagues for the last few weeks that it would get me just in time for Christmas :) I just found it odd, that rather than feeling the need to 'feed' this cold, I had lost my appetite instead, wondering if perhaps I was still just feeling shaken up by my accident. On arriving home I thought I should take a covid test, just to rule it out, only to discover I had a positive result!

As you might expect, I have been having to take things easy since then. Thankfully, my mild Covid symptoms have completely disappeared, but I now realise my sore back is going to take a while longer to recover.

It was still a lovely Christmas, I just made some adjustments. I didn't bake my own bread on Christmas Eve, I bought an iced sponge cake from the supermarket and Lily had the important task of adding the festive embellishments, I didn't bake the mince pies until the 28th and nobody even noticed! The door wreath never materialised. Lessons learned - I really dont have to try and do it all. The girls were here for Christmas Dinner, and all in all it was a very relaxed affair. We managed to get out for a short walk in the woods on Boxing Day but the wet weather has seen us spending most of our days at home. 

Boo has been very well behaved and all the Christmas decorations remain intact. The house is in disarray, the kitchen cupboards contain far too much chocolate and the coffee table is hidden beneath the usual pile of Christmas detritus. I have been procrastinating for as long as possible, but I think I will need to tidy it all up very soon.

I am still feeling rather fragile, but intend to concentrate on building up my strength over the next few weeks. 

Thank you, again, for always taking the time to stop by and read my little blog. Sending warm wishes to you and yours for the coming New Year. May it bring you peace, joy and happiness. 

J. X

Friday 23 December 2022

Down but Not Out


I have spent the last few days enjoying some festive fun in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, while I was there I sustained a slight injury, and on returning home I have also tested positive for Covid once again.  Hey ho!
Back soon. 

J. X

Wednesday 21 December 2022


Solstice blessings. Peace, love and light. 

J. X

Merry and Bright


Post title unashamedly 'borrowed' from the gift tag, which was attached to one of the very lovely and thoughtful gifts I received today. People can be so kind. 

I can't say I'm feeling terribly merry or bright just yet. I'm leaning more towards exhausted and wrung out :) It has been a rather eventful couple of days, after all.  But today was my last working day until the New Year, the car has had it's new tyres fitted, and I have some very exciting things to look forward to. Not least tomorrow, when I will be travelling somewhere I have been looking forward to going to for a long time now :)

It has been a day filled with sparkle and laughter. Wonderment and joy. And I am beginning to think I will feel much more relaxed now that I have finally finished for the holidays. I have most things crossed off my list now, having delivered my very last Christmas Card this evening. I just hope I haven't forgotten anyone. I only have some food to get in, which I will do towards the end of the week, and the gifts still to wrap - of course! :)

There was some more excitement this evening, when Lily was awarded the Student of the Month trophy at her Karate Class. I am so very proud of her. She only started the sessions in March this year and it is something she really enjoys. 

Another early night again for me. I have a busy day again tomorrow. 

J. X

Tuesday 20 December 2022



Yesterday, Lily's school enjoyed their annual Christmas celebration in the village church. I say annual, and yet it hasn't been held for the last two years because of the restrictions. Therefore, this year's service felt rather special, and it was so lovely to see children and their family members gathering together again, after all this time. And of course, nothing is quite so festive than some tiny children acting out the Christmas story and singing 'Little Donkey.' 

It seems like no time at all since Lily played the part of an angel when she was in reception class, and yet next September she will begin her final year of primary school. It has all gone so fast and I'm still in denial :)

The day didn't actually begin terribly well. All the snow had melted away, the car had a flat tyre, and then I was needed at short notice to cover for a colleague who was feeling unwell. Even though it seemed like a huge invonvenience at the time, there was a silver lining. The flat tyre didn't occur when we will be travelling later on in the week. And also it was one of the tyres, which believe it or not, I had already arranged to get replaced at the garage today. Working the additional hours also prompted my new contract to be drawn up, so I will be in my current position until the spring, at least. 

Thankfully, I was able to relax a little in the evening. The day had taken it's toll just a little. Not too long to go now. 

J. X

Sunday 18 December 2022

December Weekend


I never meant to miss posting over the last couple of days. In fact, I had also hoped to spend some time catching up with a bit of blog reading, it's just that I've hardly stopped. 


Friday passed by in a blur, filled with Christmas Carols, tiny Angels, Kings, and Shepherds. Then in the evening, I attended my work's Christmas party, which was a lot of fun, and everyone had such a great time. I went with the sequined dress in the end, and I am happy to say it received several compliments. It actually felt good to dress up and make a bit of an effort for once. The dress was a lovely fit, and with it being a little bit stretchy, felt very comfortable to wear, even after I had helped myself to a generous plateful (or two) of food from the buffet :)

The following morning, I was delighted to discover that it had snowed again overnight. It looked ever so pretty, although getting about proved to be difficult. Even so, it was a very festive morning I spent in the town, finishing off my Christmas gift shopping. There was a brass band playing, carol singers, and of course a beautiful snowy backdrop. Better still, I managed to get everything I wanted, and a bit more besides. A box of mince pies somehow found their way into my shopping bag :) 
In the afternoon, I put together our Christmas Crackers. My gift isn't going to be much of a surprise, but I made sure I didn't read any of the jokes before placing them inside. Making them was probably an added hassle I could have done without (noted) but it was quite nice to add some more personal touches to each one, and they are going to look lovely on our Christmas table.

Today I finally got around to drying some orange slices to hang on the tree. I've done this for several years now, and I love how they look against the glow of the fairy lights. I've also strained the Winter Spice Vodka, which had been steeping in a large kilner jar at the back of the kitchen cupboard, since the end of August. I might have enjoyed a small glassful this evening - all in the interests of quality control, of course

In between, I have wrapped and delivered a few more presents, I've eaten more mince pies than can be considered a reasonable amount, and I've thought about the possibility of not doing Christmas at all next year,  but going on holiday instead!*

J. X

*Only joking. Lily would never allow it :)

Thursday 15 December 2022



I really don't tolerate cold weather very well at all, but I haven't found the recent low temperatures too unbearable, that is until today. It has been freezing all week, and so incredibly chilly that I made sure Lily has been wearing a pair of leggings underneath her school trousers each day! But it was -9° when I took her to school this morning! A little 'fresher' than I would like. 
It also doesn't help that I have been feeling tired today, as I had woken several times during the night.

An ordinary day, it began as usual for me, by putting some food down for Mog and Boo. Who, if appearances were anything to go by, hadn't eaten in days :) Next, I topped up the bird feeder, with a reminder to myself to buy some more fat balls next time I am in town. I also put out some fresh water and some small pieces of bread. We've been receiving plenty of visitors on these frosty mornings. My favourites, as always, are the robins.

This afternoon, I was, again, helping at the Warm Space event in the village. And after it proved to be so popular last week, I baked some more of the mincemeat shortbread, which went down a treat, and disappeared just as quickly.

An unexpected, last minute cancellation of plans, meant we have, at least enjoyed a less hurried evening.  Now, it is an early night for me, as tomorrow I will be spending the day rounding up Shepherds, Wise Men and Angels!

J. X

Wednesday 14 December 2022

O Christmas Tree!


Much like our new bauble, I sourced our Christmas tree back at the beginning of the year. And yes, it is artificial. Lily wanted to go big this year, which for us would have meant having to get a cut tree. And as many of you know, I don't like the idea of a tree without roots.

Although I usually prefer a living, potted tree, I do quite like this one, because of its lack of symmetry and realistic shape. It is neither too big nor too small, and just the right width that it doesn't dominate the room. Also, it would probably withstand the attentions of a small kitten should he ever be inclined to give it a closer inspection :)

It is much lower maintenance than a real tree. I don't need to water it on a regular basis, or constantly vacuum up pine needles, although I had forgotten just how long it takes to unfold all those branches. 

If I'm being honest with you, I think I might just have been converted. Although, next year, I might consider a real tree again. Just a small one. In the kitchen. 

J. X

Tuesday 13 December 2022



You might not think it from looking at this photograph, but Boo has not yet attempted to climb up the Christmas tree. He will occasionally take a gentle swipe at a bauble or two but has, so far, allowed all of the other decorations to remain untouched. I think I will keep him ;)

Christmas is gradually building to a low simmer here, and yet I am still not feeling quite in the festive mood. I've managed to buy all but one of my gifts (As always, I'm trying not to think about the wrapping!), I've written all of my cards, and yet somehow it all seems a little flat this year. I don't expect the current climate is doing anything to help the situation, and I have noticed the stores here are already running down their Christmas supplies. 

I realise that with working longer hours, I haven't had as much time as I would have liked to prepare this year. Something to address another time perhaps. Then again, I'm probably expecting too much of myself as well. After all, I am very good at that :)

It is my work's Christmas 'do' this weekend, and to mark the occasion I have treated myself to something new to wear, that is neither practical nor outdoorsy! Two dresses arrived yesterday.  Yes, two! The first one I ordered went missing in the mail, and so I ordered myself another. Of course, the first one eventually turned up, albeit two weeks later than it should have. Now, they are quite similar in style and I really like them both. So, I just need to decide. Do I go with sparkles or sequins?

J. X

Monday 12 December 2022

Herdy Bauble


Every December I buy a new decoration for our tree, and this year was to be no exception. Only this one I got way, way back in January, and tucked it away safely in a drawer. That was until last weekend, when I took great joy in finally hanging it up on our Christmas tree.

This gorgeous little sheep bauble has been hand felted from actual Herdwick fleece, and he has the most adorable expression. He is sitting beautifully, high up on the tree, in between Peter the Polar Bear and Glittery the Mouse Angel, who are keeping a watchful eye on him Now he just needs a name.

J. X

Sunday 11 December 2022

Cold and Frosty Morning


Thank you all for your kind and understanding words on my last two posts. I am relieved to say that after another good night's sleep, Lily has finally turned a corner and appears to be back to her usual self once more. You can probably imagine what a relief this is. 

With this in mind, I thought it was about time we got out for some gentle exercise and fresh air, with a short stroll around Grasmere. The fields were white and frosty and it felt bitterly cold. Thankfully, we were wrapped up well, it was definitely a day for big coats! You can't tell from these images but there was still snow up on the higher fells. 

We enjoyed a short walk up to Allan Bank, the local National Trust property, where they had some musicians playing Christmas Carol's, and some paper Christmas crafts available for children - we came home with two tree decorations. 

We then went for a wander through the woods before retracing our steps back towards the village.

The little Gingerbread shop was busy, and I'm not surprised. As we arrived, Lily was the first to smell the delicious aroma of freshly baked gingerbread from the opposite side of the river. And I might just have bought myself a pack :) 
In the window there was a delightful gingerbread house on display. I was a little disappointed to discover it wasn't made from actual gingerbread, but it still looked lovely and festive. 

On the way back to the car, my hands became rather chilly. I meant to put them in my pockets to keep warm, but I had already filled them with pine cones for my Christmas wreath :)

J. X

Saturday 10 December 2022

Feeling Better

Although it was a restless night for me, Lily, at least, slept soundly throughout. And this morning, I am very relieved to say, she appeared a little more like her usual self. Another quick check of her temperature and I felt myself relax, realising that my worst fears were unfounded. She is still looking red in the  face but has, at least, eaten today, and she has been drinking plenty of water. 

Overnight, we got a covering of snow. Usually, Lily would be so excited to go outside as soon as she could, but this morning she simply enjoyed looking at it through the window. She has spent the day resting, and I'm sure she will feel the benefit of another good night's sleep. 

Today, I started writing my Christmas cards, and at Lily's request we have decorated the tree. I almost tied myself in knots trying to untangle the lights, but it is all looking quite lovely now. 

J. X


It had been a regular Friday morning. We were looking forward to the end of a busy school week, then driving out to see some Christmas lights in the evening. But by lunchtime, Lily was looking worryingly pale and complaining of feeling cold, both of which are most unlike her. And instead she was actually feeling rather hot. 

There have been many cases of illness in school recently, several requiring hospital treatment, so I knew to keep a very close eye on her. 

I brought her home and she spent the afternoon lying on the sofa, often struggling to keep her eyes open. She even fell asleep on a couple of occasions, with Boo by her side. But I thought it that she should stay there rather than going to bed, as it would be much easier to keep a close eye on her. I was grateful that despite her now flushed face and feeling hot, her temperature was only slightly above normal. That said, I was half preparing myself for a visit to the hospital later in the night.

It is early morning now, and she seems to have slept okay. I will check her temperature again shortly, and take things from there.

It will also be very telling when she wakes up and sees what has arrived during the night. ❄️

J. X

Thursday 8 December 2022

Little Star


This one has been a conplete star today. Early this morning, I dropped him off at the vets, then late afternoon I picked him up again. There was slightly less of him this by this time, but he appeared to be none the worse for his experience. In fact, for a while, he seemed even more lively than usual. He was treated to a well deserved meal of fresh turkey this evening, and I think he might just sleep well tonight. He was very well behaved throughout and I believe he enjoyed lots of cuddles from the staff at the surgery. 

It has been another incredibly chilly day. It was -5° this morning, so I replenished the bird feeder and then I broke the ice on the container pond. Fortunately the pavements were mostly clear but the rooftops were all white with frost and there were icicles hanging from the corner of a house in the village!

While Boo was being well looked after, this afternoon I was helping at the Warm Space event again. This week I took along some Mincemeat Shortbread, which disappeared rather quickly. It is a favourite of mine, and so much quicker than baking individual mince pies. The recipe can be accessed via the side bar, although I will put up a link later on, when I can get on my laptop. There were a few more people attending this time. Hopefully, there will be even more next week, if word gets around.

J. X

Wednesday 7 December 2022

A Christmas Carol

It has been another cold and frosty day. On my journey into work, I was treated to a clear starry sky and just as I arrived the big, bright moon dipped below the horizon.

A long but enjoyable day, and with a temporary change to my usual job role. A change is as good as a rest, after all :)

I have just returned home from watching a performance of A Christmas Carol. It was a community theatre production, in which my friend was playing the part of one of the ghosts. I've just messged her with my congratulations on a fantastic opening night. The whole cast were amazing and it has been a really enjoyable evening, filled with an enormous amount of talent and enthusiasm. 

Time for bed now, as I'm feeling very tired, and it's going to be another busy day tomorrow.

J. X

Tuesday 6 December 2022

Frosty Day

It has been incredibly chilly here today, so it was a relief this evening when I could finally warm myself with a mug of hot tea.

Early this morning, the ground was covered in a light frost and the edges of the sky were tinged with a gorgeous pink glow.  The almost full moon lit my journey to work, and the air felt bitingly cold. It was a quiet and still start to my day, just the way I like it. 

I've had a hectic time of it, going back and forth. I often think I try and do too much, but then Tuesdays and Wednesdays are my busiest days. I get to catch my breath momentarily on a Thursday, before another full day on a Friday, to finish off my working week. I'm just always grateful I get to do something I enjoy :)

On my way home this evening, I noticed the Christmas tree all lit up on the village green. It looked rather lovely, and quite different to how it appears in the daylight, as is often the way. 

This evening, I have baked some mincemeat slice ready to take along to the Warm Space later in the week. It smells delicious. I hope they will enjoy it.

Tonight, I have put another blanket on my bed.

J. X

Monday 5 December 2022



As you can see from the above photograph, Boo has made himself very much at home now, although I'm not quite sure how he will be feeling after his impending visit to the vets on Thursday. I won't go into detail, but I'm sure you can guess what it is for ;)

It has been a very ordinary day. I did, however, manage to squeeze in a trip to the recycling centre to clear out several bags of clothes and also a couple of other items, which have been languishing in the boot of my car for several weeks now. That's another job checked off, much to my great satisfaction.

This afternoon, I deliberated over buying a small Christmas tree for the kitchen like I usually do, but I think I'm going to give it a miss this year and just string some lights instead. It will be one less thing to stress over. Not that Christmas trees are in anyway stressful, but keeping Boo away from it could be. He hasn't shown any interest in the decorations on the mantel yet, but the real test will be when we put the tree up in the living room. 

J. X

Sunday 4 December 2022



Lily slept much more soundly last night and even though she is still coughing on and off, she insists she's feeling fine. I know better than to disagree, as much like her mother, she doesn't 'do' being ill. Instead, we plough on regardless, until such time as we have to admit defeat. That said, the advent chocolates disappear rapidly each morning, and she does appear to be quite unaffected by this virus, and so for that I am very grateful.

The weather today has been typical of this time of year. Even when the sun shone, the sky looked colourless and grey. The air felt damp and cold, and even our favourite walk failed to lift the spirits as much as we would have liked. A walk I insisted would do us some good, as I always advocate fresh air to blow away any residual germs, and so far it seems to have worked. We wrapped up well against the chill of the afternoon. Hats and gloves are needed most days now, a sure sign that winter will soon be here. 

I've been though all my gifts and checked some items off my lists, and I am happy to say that I have less remaining to do than I had initially thought. Although I am slightly regretting my fanciful notion of making my own Christmas Crackers this year. In my defence, this was back at the end of the summer, before I realised I would be working such long hours. Oh well, I could always just buy some instead. 

J. X

Saturday 3 December 2022

A Crafty Morning

Lily and I have enjoyed a lovely morning at our local Wildlife club session. We created some sparkly pine cones for our Christmas tree, painted cards with added bark embellishments, and cut out paper lanterns. It was our last session of the year, so I'm glad we were able to attend, even though Lily had spent the previous night coughing and had been quite restless. Despite feeling tired, she had insisted we still attend, and it was lovely to see some familiar faces and wish them well for the festive season. 

This afternoon, I went into town and managed to make some more progress with my gift shopping. However, I must make sure I get the last of the items on my list sooner rather than later. I have a habit of reaching this stage in my preparations and becoming complacent, when in fact there is much more still to be done. And please don't worry that I am putting unnecessary pressure on myself, I just don't really enjoy shopping - at any time :)

J. X

Friday 2 December 2022

Lists, Lights and a Latte

This evening, I spent a short while writing out some lists. This will have one of two outcomes. I can either feel incredibly organised and smile smugly to myself as I cross things out once they have been accomplished, or I will put unnecessary burden upon myself, then end up feeling stressed and wrung out. I will feel quite satisfied if I can achieve somewhere in between. I am one of those people who needs to feel under some slight pressure in order to get myself motivated enough to do anything, and I do love a good list, especially at this time of year. And for those of you who take a far more relaxed approach to your celebrations, please let me in on your secret :)

Prior to my very essential list writing, we took a trip out to see some Christmas lights at a nearby National Trust property. 

The pretty display is new this year and is combined with the later opening hours of the gift shop and cafe, which I took full advantage of. 

I now have another gift which can be crossed (smugly) off my list. I also enjoyed some delicious hot mulled wine AND a Gingerbread Latte! 

J. X


Thursday 1 December 2022



Here we are again. It is the beginning of a new month and what is, in this house at least, the official start of our countdown to Christmas. If you have been reading here for a while now, you will know I have, for the last couple of years at least, posted a little something each day during December, and I would really like to continue this tradition if I can. I love having this reminder of my days throughout the month. The reassuring comfort in the familiar, and also the joy in discovering new ways of celebrating the festive season.

It is still a little too early for us to put up our tree, but this evening I added a few decorations to the mantel and some bright fairy lights now surround our new wooden advent calendar. I had originally intended to buy one of those candles, which can burn down a short amount each day.. However, with very limited choice, I decided this would be a far more suitable option instead, especially what with Boo running around and wreaking havoc :) It is a lovely, simple design and the little star on top gets moved along each morning right up until Christmas Eve. The chocolate filled stockings are hung below the ledge, just above the fireplace.

It has been a gentle start to the month. This afternoon I was helping out at the village Warm Space initiative, where my home made sticky ginger cake was much appreciated, and where I enjoyed plating several games of dominoes. I won best out of three, although I have been challenged to another match next week. How could I refuse! I think this time I'll bake mince pies.

J. X

Wednesday 30 November 2022

First Frost

It was a pleasant surprise to wake up to more seasonable weather yesterday. Overnight we had received our first real frost, and during my journey to walk I felt quite spoiled, being able to enjoy the quiet of the morning. The sky was clear and bright and the surrounding fields sparkled in the sunlight. A welcome change from the mild damp days we have been experiencing in recent weeks. 

Thank you so much for your kind messages regarding Mog. I am pleased to say she is completely recovered now, and back to her usual self. Even my 5am wake-up calls have been re-established! I must admit, I had been quite concerned to begin with, as until this recent setback, she had never previously shown any signs of illness. Not bad going for over seven years. And Boo appears to be growing bigger by the day. He really is the sweetest, most affectionate little ball of fluff. 

And I'm also feeling much better now. It turns out there was a virus doing the rounds at work, and thankfully I got off lightly compared to most.

Looking back, November has been a quiet month, and if I'm being honest it felt as though I had wasted some of my days. In hindsight, I think I needed this time to pause and reflect. Looking ahead, December is going to much more busy. I am still not feeling as prepared as I would like, but I hope I might be making some headway after the weekend. 

This evening, I've hung Lily's Advent stockings and tucked a festive, foil wrapped chocolate into each one. Whilst doing so, I whispered a grateful thanks to last year's me, who clearly decided it would be a far better idea to leave each individual stocking firmly tied to the garland, and saved this year's me an hour or so of unnecessary faffing. A small win, but a win nonetheless :)

J. X

Sunday 20 November 2022

Colours of Autumn


November is hurrying by, and I haven't been in this space as much as I would have liked. Not that I have much to report - my days have been rather ordinary. 

Mog and Boo are getting more and more used to their shared living arrangement. Unfortunately, it seemed that when I rescued Boo, I also 'rescued' a virus, and although Boo was completely asymptomatic, it did result in a trip to the vets for Mog. She is totally fine now, of course. In fact, she appears even more playful than she was before, and my mornings have become much more lively :) 

Speaking of viruses, I was a little unwell myself last week. It wasn't serious, and fortunately it didn't stop me from getting out and enjoying a gentle walk in a fleeting moment of autumn sunshine. And thank goodness I did, the weather so far this month has been pretty dismal. I'm certain Novembers never used to be so dreary. I have memories of far more bright autumn days and clear blue skies, but perhaps, in reality, they were always damp and grey. 

I've been resting as much as I have been able, and have spent some time crocheting the blanket for my friend. I really need to start making more progress soon, before her baby arrives!


The vibrant greens of summer have given way to pale golden grasses and the bracken, which covers the fell side, has become a rich russet brown, gradually retreating and revealing tracks often hidden during the summer months.

My thoughts are now turning towards the end of year :)  Now that my working hours have increased, I have been feeling more concerned than usual as to how I am going to find enough time to organise everything, but I am reminding myself what is really important. For me, this year it will mean sending a few cards, exchanging some small gifts, and an appreciation for the warmth and joy of the season. This year, more than ever, will be especially difficult for so many. 

Today, we are forecast snow up on the higher fells. Winter is on it's way.

J. X