Saturday, 29 December 2018

Giving and Receiving

Ah, hello friends! Everyone ok? I am emerging, blinking, from a lovely few days where we've done a lot and nothing all at once. Christmas was joyfully noisy and chaotic, Boxing Day the same, and no-one seemed to mind lunch being served an hour late. Our days have fallen into that delicious rhythm that only happens between Christmas and New Year and every year I think I appreciate this time a little more. Lots of reading, watching films, doing jigsaws, playing games and crafting, punctuated with long walks either on the beach or in the woods. Thank goodness we have Ziggy to force us off the sofa and out into the fresh air. Our diet is mainly leftover turkey, ham and smoked salmon, served with anything that resembles a pickle or chutney. It's heaven. Every now and then I make everyone eat a few clementines, just so we don't get scurvy. 

People moan about the leftover Christmas food but I love it. I love that every last scrap of meat will get used up and that, after the mammoth pre-Christmas meal planning and food shop, I don't really have to think about cooking or shopping for a week. For Boxing Day, John made this pie, omitting the chestnuts and adding some roasted ham to the filling. There are leftover portions of pie in the freezer, and lots of the turkey and leek filling too, which I'm thinking could easily be stirred through pasta or eaten on top of a baked potato. On the 27th I made homemade leftover pizzas, using some goats cheese and tomatoes on one, and shredded turkey with dollops of basil pesto on the other. Both were delicious. Last night I made pasta with ham and peas and tonight we're having turkey and spinach curry. Tomorrow, ham, eggs, homemade chips and beans. I can't think beyond then. Lunch today will be a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese and maybe a little fresh dill snipped from the bunch I bought for the Christmas Day canapes, and I might even have that tomorrow, too! I told you, I am in heaven. Do I think about food too much? Thinking about and talking about what to eat, then eating it, is genuinely one of my favourite past times.

It occurs to me that I didn't show you any of the gifts I made friends and family before Christmas, probably because they were finished at the eleventh hour as usual and then hastily wrapped at midnight. 

Bella, who didn't want a homemade toy this year, requested a bag like mine, but in blue. 

The buckle was added at her request and I think it's a great idea.*

She squealed when she unwrapped it which totally made my day, as you can imagine.

Angus this year requested a raven, from the excellent Edward's Menagerie: Birds. I ran out of black yarn and so this raven is more dark grey and brown than black (and that white beak makes him look disconcertingly like one of those Venetian masks for the plague doctor, if you know what I mean?) but Angus loves him so it's all good.

For my friend Charlotte, a wall hanging woven on my little lap loom.

Sorry about the photos, hopefully you get the gist. It's a bit wonky but she really loved it.

Charlotte gave me the loveliest little dish to keep my rings in on my dressing table,  made by a local ceramicist

I received some new books, always a favourite gift.

And John surprised me with a couple of truly wonderful gifts including this necklace...

...and a print by the talented Brie Harrison. I love her work and just need to find a frame and the right place to hang this. 

I ordered myself this scarf from Seasalt when I spotted it in the sale before Christmas, then gave it to John to wrap up. I know that sounds mad, but I totally forgot about it then was delighted when I unwrapped it on Christmas Day. You see, I have a method!

The winter Craftpod was another lovely surprise, and one that I deliberately kept to one side until all the hubbub was over and I could open it quietly and savour all the treats inside. 


Today I braved the shops for fresh fruit and vegetables, and I need to take Ziggy for a walk soon. John is now back at work but the kids and I are happily pottering around the place. I might do some crochet later.

Thank you so much for your Christmas wishes. It was especially lovely to hear from those of you who read but don't usually comment - thank you for taking the time to write a quick message, it was much appreciated. I hope you all had a happy Christmas and are enjoying these gentle, relaxed days.

 *Pattern here, yarn here, strap here and buckle here


  1. Your blog and photos are an absolute delight! and you have such a talent for photography. I'm always Googling 'how to take better photos' Some suggest artificial/natural lighting, or a fancy camera, or props, or the angle, or sharp/soft focus- the list goes on. We've yet to brave the supermarket; at the moment we are sticking to the safety of the Co-op up the road LOL. Happy New Year to you all. Best, Jane x

  2. I've read your blog for quite a while but don't think I have commented yet! Thank you for the glimpses into your lovely home and family life. I love the simplicity of your style and use of color. Happy New Year to you and all of your family!

  3. Love your little set of Observer books, they are so iconic. Bring back memories and nostalgia.

  4. The days between Christmas and New Year are wonderful aren't they. We are all about the leftovers with pickle here as well. Did Ziggy have a new sheepskin for Christmas? He looks deliciously cosy. Your table is a thing of beauty, and your handmade gifts are lovely. Well done my friend, you have perfected the festivities nicely I think. CJ xx

  5. Happy Christmas break to you and your family. Lovely photos as always & thank you for sharing updates of life with you. I really need to get blogging again, especially need to catch up blog visiting in particular. We've just returned from visiting Hampshire to see family. We went to Petersfield on the Friday for lunch with MIL & brother in-laws family, left my husband overnight at the MIL house. Then myself and the teens stayed with my brother & neice in Havant area where my parents visited too. The following day we had lunch with MIL & drove back home, with a 6 hr trip via M25 or M1 it's exhausting.
    Happy new yr. Cathy x

  6. No leftovers here but I do enjoy reading about your foodie plans for the next few days. I do enjoy the days between Christmas and New Year, the complete lack of structure to our days is perfect to restore energy levels and good spirits. Wishing you and yours a very happy new year xx

  7. Nothing beats homemade gifts especially when they come with a few books and some lovely gifts made with love and care. I rarely comment but trust me for reading your posts full of a way of life and a philosophy I love and strive to live up to. I wish you and your family a very happy new year!

  8. Good evening! !
    It is 9:30 PM on 30th Japan time now.
    It is the custom of Japan's year end.
    In the year end, we say “Yoi otoshi wo” to each other wishing for the coming
    year to be pleasurable.
    The New Year season is the most significant season for the Japanese.
    All the Christmas d├ęcor is switched to the New Year’s in a blink.
    Major New Year icons are the pine tree, bamboo, plums and so on. All of them are symbols of good fortune and longevity.

  9. Leftovers in the freezer and a sigh of relief that the pressure is off! Back to the gym today- I feel like a lump of dough! It's lovely to see your wonderful photos - you have such a talent. Happy and healthy New Year to you and yours.

  10. I have recently found your beautiful blog and I am enjoying browsing over your previous posts.

    Your photos are just gorgeous as is your writings. A feeling of peace comes over me as I scroll down through your pages, taking in all those real life photos and words.

    So happy to hear you had a lovely Christmas, and I send best wishes to your family for the New Year, I hope it is a year of creating memories and happy times.

    I love home made gifts and such, life really needs to be that simple :)


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  12. Happy New Year, I don't comment often, but thank you for a lovely blog. Bev

  13. Hello Gillian, I follow you on Instagram where I'm @occasionalscotland, and now I'm catching up with your lovely blog - just right for these relaxed days after Christmas. We'll be embarking on a renovation of a 1970s house later this year and I'll be showing my husband some of your photos as inspiration for what we might do. Love your style and photos!

  14. That week after Christmas is truly lovely... though I didn't much like term starting on the 2nd this year. We have some friends and have realised that when we are with them we will be sitting at the table around the remains of a meal and already be planning the next... Happy New Year!


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