I believe

Miracle on 34th Street

In the words of Susan from Miracle on 34th Street

I believe… I believe… It’s silly, but I believe.

So, have a very Happy Christmas.

And, enjoy the Magic…..

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Oh Christmas Tree!

Louboutin Christmas tree

This week we will put up our Christmas tree.  When it comes to decorating, I have a very strict (some might suggest something of a control freak) approach, and we only hang white lights teamed with silver and gold baubles.

However, inspired by the Louboutin 2012 tree, I did wonder if a radical new theme should be introduced?

Or perhaps, I will just keep my fingers crossed for a beautiful new pair of shoes under the tree instead.

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304 Hours…..

Christmas Moose

According to an article which I read recently, the average mother spends an absolutely staggering, eye-popping 304 and a bit hours (or if you prefer, nearly 13 days) preparing for Christmas:

288 hours shopping

4.19 hours wrapping presents

3.03 hours decorating the house

9 hours cooking Christmas dinner

Having written, reviewed and re-written my festive “to do” lists and menus, I have decided to shave at least 20 minutes off my Christmas dinner cooking time this year, by forgoing criss-crosses on the bottom of sprouts.

Instead this weekend I used the “time saved” (plus some…..) individually piercing an extra large bag of cranberries for an all-essential bottle of festive gin!

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Cinnamon Sticks and Christmas Craft

Cinnamon Stick Christmas Craft

 Image source:  1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Whilst I am in constant awe and openly envious of anyone who can seemingly effortlessly create beautiful home crafted items, it has become abundantly clear that although I can whip up a cake or a batch of biscuits, craft is another matter altogether.  I have in the past been known to attempt to pass off my own crumpled glue splattered efforts as those of my children – this is no longer a viable option since anything they now produce is vastly superior than mine!  So, to avoid any further embarrassment I generally give craft an extremely wide miss.

This week however, buoyed up by Christmas spirit and encouraged by Pinterest (yes, I should know better), I made my very own cinnamon stick wrapped candle.

Cinnamon Christmas candle

Suffice to say, my attempts at wielding a glue gun were a sticky disaster, leaving in its wake a number of scorched partially melted candles and a nicely blistered finger.  So instead, I deviated from the suggested method and improvised with a couple of elastic bands, which I “craftily” hid behind the ribbon.

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Let the Christmas Light debacle begin

Christmas sparkle

Since yesterday was 1st December and there are now only 22 sleeps to go (and counting), putting up our outdoor Christmas lights this weekend was, in my opinion, absolutely compulsory!

As I mentioned last year, the hanging of Christmas decorations and lights and the aligning of trees has a tendency to become something of, to put it kindly, a “tussle” or, more bluntly and certainly more aptly, an all out domestic war zone.  Hanging our outdoor lights, doesn’t so much mark the start of the festive season but more signals the start of “open season”.

This year to add fuel to an already simmering raging fire, I had kindly bought and sneaked into the house an extra 300 lights.  And am slightly ashamed to admit that I did dash out at the weekend for a further 100 when no one was looking my way!

Tangled Lights

Over breakfast on Saturday morning I sketched out my desired configuration, then leaving the lights laid out in the front porch retreated fast…..and left my husband (or perhaps more aptly given his “happy smiling face” my Christmas Grinch) to get on with the job…..

Lights going up

From past experience I have learnt better than to try to assist with the hanging of the lights, and certainly know there is no value to be gained from passing comment on how they have been hung.

And, at the end of the day when switched on they lend the house a lovely Christmassy sparkle and if I squint and tilt my head just a little you can almost imagine that the bulbs are neatly lined up and pointing in the same direction!

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Apple Chutney

Apple Chutney

Christmas is coming and will be here before we know it…..you may have spotted the ever so tasteful countdown Santa I have added to my sidebar!

As Santa counts down, I have been making Apple Chutney.  Since this chutney needs about 3 months to mature, making it now will mean it is just about ready for Christmas.

Although if I were to be a little more honest, my seemingly hyper-organised culinary preparations were not so much driven by critical timing as by the fruit bowl being full of far too many apples – a number of them just ever so slightly past their best!

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For this Apple Chutney recipe you will need:

450g apples*
175g onions
225g sultanas
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
200g soft light brown sugar
600ml malt vinegar

* I used eating apples from the fruit bowl, but you could use cooking apples if you prefer.

  • Wash peel, core and chop the apples into (smallish) cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.
  • Finely chop the onions and add to the apples.
  • Measure all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl, cover with a tea cloth and leave to stand for a couple of hours.
  • Transfer into a large saucepan and bring to the boil.  Turn the heat down and allow to simmer uncovered for approximately 45 minutes, until the mixture has reduced, thickened and turned brown.  Remember to stir frequently or it may stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Leave in the saucepan to cool slightly then pour into sterilised jars.
  • Store the chutney in a cool dark place for 3 months to allow the flavours to mature.

Let the countdown begin!

Have you considered it yet?  Because to be honest I hadn’t!

Countdown to Christmas
Image source

But this timely reminder popped up on Facebook this week, and having double checked the facts on my calendar, it does seem that the unstoppable roller-coaster which is Christmas will be here before we know it…..

So, all I can say, is let the countdown begin.

And, the shopping of course!

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Festive but Frazzled

With only 7 days to go now until Christmas and less than 24 hours to go until my parents arrive from England, and following a full fortnight of crazed top speed preparations, the house is finally decorated and aside from some last minute food shopping, I am ready ….

As I breathe a sigh of relief, it does occur to me that for the last two weeks I have been behaving like a mad woman!  And, it makes me not only question my behaviour but also what it is about the approach of the festive season that has made me feel it necessary to clean every inch of the house?  Would it really be so awful if Santa were to spy a speck of dust on the family room skirting board as he backs out of the chimney? (Let’s just hope he remembers to wipe his boots before he walks across my cream rug!).

http://www.reusableart.com/v/christmas/santa/santa-20.jpg.html

To be honest, I cannot come up with a rational or sane explanation for my recent behaviour.  However, I can conclude, that albeit frazzled and complete with a chipped manicure, I can now slip into Christmas with my domestic pride fully intact.

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