The lead up to Christmas seems to last for ever, with all the preparations, planning and hard work to get everything together. But then in the blink of an eye, its all over and its the day after Boxing Day with the delights of “leftovers”!…
I’ve had a very happy family Christmas and I hope your time has been good, whatever you’ve done and whoever you’ve been with. Its a great time of year but I admit to always being a teensy bit glad when its all over and everything has gone well…
All the presents have been opened and liked, the Christmas dinner has been a success and there have even been a few treats on TV (Downton was fab but I’m sad to see it go…).
Our Christmas Day
Our Christmas was very relaxed as I don’t have small children any more so don’t do that getting up a 6am (if lucky) routine. I did get up quite early but by choice to get my wood fired aga going for the cooking ahead and to get my room ready for guests. My brother and his girlfriend joined us this year but not until mid afternoon.
I and my two grown up children had the morning to ourselves and were cosy with a roaring fire, the aga going full pelt and plenty of tea and coffee while we opened our presents to each other. Our house is an old farmhouse with two lounges, one of which is decorated in a deep red and has been for the last decade. We have always had Christmas in here, opening presents by the log fire and this year I put up a second tree. Neither are very traditional, but with three cats its impossible to have something real (needles and cats don’t mix) or anything too low (jumping cats and trees don’t mix either). They’re also pre-lit which is a necessity for me as I loathe detangling fairy lights…
This December its been very mild outside and it the temperature was still in double figures so we had to actually open a window at one point to avoid overheating. Hardly anything to complain about though… The news of flooding across Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, within only a few miles of us, is very sad and its heartrending to think about the families whose homes have been damaged and who have had misery and worry instead of presents and a day of eating and drinking. We have been very lucky not to have had anything but grey days and lots of rain.
The decorations that we’ve put up feature many of the baubles and lanterns that used to belong to my mum, many dating back to the early 1960s. I like to think that it means that she is still here with us and its a nice way to think of her at Christmas rather than dwelling on how much we miss her.
Some of the glass baubles have seen better days so this year I put the most fragile with some more modern smaller ones on one of mum’s vintage cake stands as a colourful display for the coffee table in the family lounge.
I made the giant granny mandala under it last spring and while I love the muted pinks and blues and pastel shades, its not that Christmassy so I spent a bit of time last week putting together another one in more traditional reds and greens.
This was the centrepiece of the Christmas table but sadly I forgot to take a picture! This year we had beef wellington, which I do using a recipe by Gordon Ramsay (and a handy You Tube video for the method). Timing is crucial and everything else needs to be ready as the beef needs to be just blushing when its carved. It was a success again but we were too busy serving and then eating to do snaps.
One thing we did take a photo of was the Christmas meat pie that my brother bought for High Tea on Boxing Day. He likes to cook too and this was the first time he had attempted a traditional pie using hot water crust pastry. It was fabulous… inside it had chicken, gammon, sausage flavoured with lemon, whole boiled eggs, olives and chorizo and the pastry was brilliant. Its spoiled us forever now for shop-bought pork pies, even ones from the bakery…
Today my daughter returned to London as she is bartending over New Year at Brown’s in Kingston and I spent a bit of time this afternoon taking a much needed walk in the lovely sunny fresh air. When I thought about it, I hadn’t actually set foot out of the house since Christmas Eve morning.
So, on the way back from Doncaster rail station I popped into the gardens at Brodsworth Hall, which are beautiful at any time of year but were stunning today. I’m getting more pictures ready and will post up my virtual walk tomorrow. Although its a Bank Holiday here, I am intending to do some organising in my home office/studio as its been a bit neglected recently and is looking messing and unkempt. After seeing the manicured gardens today, I’ve been inspired to make serious improvements!