Wednesday, 31 December 2014

happy new year

Glass Star - Pl├╝mo Ltd
image from plumo
New Year's Eve. Love it or loath it? I'm in the latter camp, I'm afraid. I don't like crowds, I'm not good at parties, I hate forced jollity and that whole countdown thing leaves me cold. Don't get me wrong I won't be sitting at home in the dark wishing it would go away. No, I'm going to light every single candle in the house, cook something lovely for us, enjoy a special bottle of wine and then wish it would go away. Happy New Year!

Sunday, 28 December 2014


Post Christmas bliss - homemade sloe gin, Stilton & crackers, sister-in-law's chutney and enamel hot chocolate/coffee pot (a favourite gift) and the peace to enjoy it all...

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


image from pinterest

So here we are the night before Christmas Eve. All is as calm as it can be in a house with three young boys. Presents are wrapped, the cake is iced (this in itself is a miracle), the turkey and ham arrive tomorrow, friends will come for brunch and we will spend Christmas Eve at home with the air fizzing with excitement and expectation. Bedtime will come soon enough and we will hang the stockings and read A Child's Christmas in Wales and 'Twas the Night before Christmas together on sofa and then finally, finally their sleepy heads will rest on their pillows and the rest is magic... Wishing you a Merry Christmas...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas wreath

Yesterday the sun came out so the dogs and I took a walk around the lanes to forage a bit of ivy for the Christmas wreath. Funny how the dogs are willing accomplices and the children are not. They enjoyed their amble, sticking their noses deep into the hedgerows and I enjoyed the sun on my face and watching the crows flinging themselves around the blustery sky. Back home I snipped the last few hydrangea heads and some greenery from the garden and then spent a blissful few minutes out by the back door weaving the ivy and the flower heads together to create our wreath. This is one of my favourite Christmassy things to do...I love the faded dusty pink of the flowers, the shiny lusty green of the ivy and the euphorbia and that touch of silvery grey from the stachys. Yes, the Christmas wreath reminds us there's no beginning, no ending, life growing and fading, we would do well to remember that.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

precious days

These are the precious days- the last few, when all the preparations will come together with hopefully no stress. We have shopped local (for the most part) this year so most of our present buying is done. It's time to slow down and enjoy the moments as they happen. I light the candles early in the morning - it helps against the winter gloom and their light casts shadows from an early-opened Christmas present (dear friend, you chose well!). The boys are nearly beside themselves with excitement and yesterday we kicked off our holidays with a trip to The National Concert Hall to see The Snowman performed by their orchestra. There was live puppet animation by Matthew Robins- it was just beautiful with intricately cut paper puppets and, of course, there were lots of carols and Christmas songs which we all joined in with. We bought paper cones of fantastic maple and pecan popcorn from the vendors at the side of St. Stephen's Green and enjoyed watching the hustle and bustle of people as we strolled through the park. Today we are at home with nothing more pressing on the agenda than making pancakes and having a family movie night. These are the precious days.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

rain stops play

Simple beauty.
image from pinterest
Oh heck! We were supposed to go up the lane, the boys and I, after school to go foraging for holly and ivy for our wreath. At three o'clock when I collected them from school the rain was pit-pattering and now, an hour later it's pouring down and it's dark. There's nothing for it then - light the fires, light the candles, draw the curtains and wait until tomorrow...

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas traditions

breakfast time
breakfast time by Becca Stadtlander

This is going to sound daft but I do love a good breakfast! Hot coffee is a must, cream is an optional extra, porridge with brown sugar, toast with marmalade or honey. Weekend breakfasts might include buttermilk scones, pancakes with maple syrup, homemade granola or sometimes eggs and bacon. We've a lovely pre-Christmas tradition of inviting friends for brunch on a morning as close to Christmas day as possible. We'll have something sparkling and bubbly to drink, cinnamon poached plums with greek yogurt, smoked salmon with eggs and, in a starring role, plum duff fried in butter and served with smoked bacon, this is possibly the best breakfast of all with the clatter of excited children and the laughter of friends around us making us feel very lucky indeed.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

winter reading

In between playing dinosaur matching games and making Christmas glasses with the boys (paper glasses that when you put them on you think of Christmas.... like you need paper glasses to do that, ha!) I've been sneaking in a bit of reading. And this beautiful little book is perfect- a spooky story with a deeper message and to be honest quite the prettiest snowflake cover (I know, I know books and covers and all that). I've also got A Winter Book by Tove Jannson lined up (short stories, perfect for fireside delving) and How to Run your Home without Help by Kay Smallshaw,  a birthday gift from my husband, which was apparently not intended as a hint.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014


So here's the thing. We have been without the internet for some time...why does it seem like weeks, it's only been a matter of days... And apart from the stress of having to go to friends' houses and the library to work I have to admit it was quite nice not to have it. In the meantime there has been much Christmassy activity here. We have decorated the house from top to toe - lots of sparkling lights and holly and the tree is a most welcome addition to our home. We had a big family lunch with lots of visiting babies and got a mammoth job finished in the garden in time for planting in the Spring. We are looking forward to Christmas day itself but the countdown is so exciting, don't you think...and there's plenty more fun to come!

Monday, 1 December 2014

beginning to look a lot like...

Halley's Comet Postcards, 1910
It's the beginning of December. A starry, Christmassy month scented with cinnamon, spices and tree sap. A month of preparations and tinsel, glitter and baking and yes, a certain amount of dashing around. We are certainly getting in the Christmas spirit. The Advent calendar is up (same as last year) and we'd a mammoth cake baking session at the weekend. Five cakes later we are feeling slightly sultanaed out. The sloe gin is nearly ready to be decanted and given as gifts and Santa lists have been written. Today the boys arrived home with their Christmas cards- drawn by them and then printed (as part of a school fund-raising project) they feature those well known festive characters - Wally walrus, Santa's er, lighthouse and camels, as well as a Christmas cat. Anyway I know it's easy to get frazzled by all the fuss and bother, but really this year I'm planning to enjoy every single second of it. The boys are at lovely ages where Christmas is so magical and I know that doesn't last forever. Happy Decembering!