Sunday, 1 December 2019

And December is here

There are certain points throughout the year when I swear you can feel the seasons shifting from one to the next. There always comes a point in September  - a smell of wood smoke combined with a chilly evening - when suddenly I feel like autumn has arrived and summer is definitely behind us. Today, there seemed no doubt that we had turned that page from autumn into winter. I don't know if it was the opening of the first day of the advent calendar, or the sudden drop in temperature, but seemingly overnight there were more leaves on the ground than the trees, and the branches were bare against the grey sky, while the light had taken on that blue-ish wintry quality and the shadows were long.

This comes as something of a surprise to me as I do not really know where November went. Surely it was only half term a couple of weeks ago? These last four weeks have raced by at breakneck speed in between work and life and bathroom renovations, and I find myself slightly alarmed that December the first is so abruptly here. I am not ready for Full Christmas just yet (is it me or are people putting their trees up earlier and earlier?) but I did go up into the loft and bring down the advent calendar, the nativity set and a few decorations.

Isn't it funny how quickly certain things can sneak into your own family's Christmas traditions? I bought the little jar below in Tiger a few years ago for about £3 and it has now become the jar which the holds the chocolates and coins for the advent calendar, and I am quite attached to it. I decided not to do any kind of handmade advent calendar this year, but instead bought the kids one of those chocolate-filled cardboard ones from the supermarket. They were absolutely delighted so it was win-win as far as I'm concerned. Pick the things you want to do. You don't have to do everything at this time of year. 

Other Christmas preparations of mine include reading festive books. The pile below are my current reading matter, a mixture of new, second hand and ones I bought last year but didn't have time to read. My copy of The Christmas Chronicles is only one year old but very food-splattered already. 

We had a very happy hour earlier today doing a little crafting while listening to Christmas music. I bought this adorable collection of twelve cardboard houses from Winter's Moon last year but ran out of time to make them. I'd almost forgotten about them, so it was a lovely surprise to find them in the loft yesterday.

 Aren't they lovely? I would like to live in one.

In non-Christmas news, the bathroom is almost finished. We just need to finish laying the floor, paint the door, and put up the mirror, peg rail and toilet roll holder. Then I will take lots of photos and show you. But it is usable and I love it. The sense of light and space is absolutely wonderful. 

The downside to the bathroom, as we know, was the dust. Absolute filth, everywhere. Depressed by cleaning after work when it's dark and I'm tired, I spent quite a few hours yesterday systematically going through every room, wiping, vacuuming, mopping. In the kitchen I took every single cookery book off the shelves and gave it all a scrub before putting them back.

Bored with my books arranged by colour of spine and never being able to find anything, I decided to arrange by topic. Top shelf: books about food from a certain country, then particular types of cooking (vegetarian, preserving etc), next is family cooking, followed by a shelf full of baking, then on the bottom more family/general cookery books. This task, with the radio on in the background, made me very happy as I'm sure you can imagine.

I had a lovely day out in London last weekend with my good friend Debora. We had a long, chatty lunch together (chicken schnitzel and Black Forest gateaux here) then wandered around Kings Cross which is no longer scruffy and to be avoided, but quite nice. We saw a brilliant exhibition on Cold War Cuban art here and pottered around a really nice covered market.

A few treasures came home with me, including this gorgeous candle holder and a new tea towel.

No, I didn't need a new tea towel, but it's linen and has oranges on it and feels rather festive.

Wishing you all a happy week ahead. 


  1. It all looks scrumptiously cosy, and I love the new tea towel. No doubt it was very satisfying to clean all the dust away and rearrange things, I love to do that. It was a relief to get to December here after writing 50,000 for NaNoWriMo, but now I am panicking that I haven't done anything to prepare except eat a mince pie. Sometimes I wish Christmas was optional. CJ xx

  2. I can almost smell those beeswax candles. That tea towel is so lovely, I'd have bought it too, despite having too many tea towels already. I love your statement about only doing what you want to do regarding Christmas preparations. Every year I have big ideas of what I want to do and then feel like I've let myself down when I didn't get everything done. Part of the season is getting to actually enjoy it, right? This post is a good reminder for me to get out our advent stuff. I've got the calendar I hand sewed last year and I picked up a new one that folds into a little house at the school book fair this year.

  3. Same here about November - it just raced past at breackneck speed, and I am deliberately trying to slow things down a bit for this month.
    The first snow was forecast here for Sunday, right in time for the 1st Advent Sunday, but it never came; we had a rainy morning and suddenly the afternoon saw blue sky and sunshine, so out we went.
    I have not been home this weekend so no Advent/Christmas decorations are up yet, but I will do that soon, maybe even today after work.
    The carboard houses are great! I used to make my own when I was a kid, spending hours drawing them, cutting them out and glueing them together.

  4. Lovely photos as always, and especially lovely for me to see autumn turning into winter at the other end of the country. Here it's been winter for a few weeks now. We've had the first snow, our nearby big hill is permanently white, and frosts are frequent. Christmas this year will delightfully and relaxingly consist of all four of us being together, eating nice things, drinking nice wine and enjoying lots of walks. Not much else. As I write we have 2 joiners, 3 labourers, a plumber and 2 electricians roaming free downstairs as I take shelter in the only habitable room in the house.
    I'll be interested in your view of Christmas Days. I've read it, but won't issue any spoilers.
    One can never have too many lovely tea towels.

  5. Please, Please post update on the bathroom, cos this is our next project.
    (new reader ! )

  6. Those little houses are so cute- they remind me of the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. I love the Beetle with the roof rack.

  7. I just love your bathroom and am inspired to fix up our 'tiny' one in a similar fashion. We have a nice claw foot tub that I do adore but now that we are getting older I'm thinking the walk in shower would be much better. Thank you for sharing.

  8. I cant believe that people are putting up Christmas decorations in November as I have seen on Instagram - wierd!

  9. please could you share the source for the beeswax candles and the metal hoop ?! thank you

    1. Hello, yes of course. The candles are from Goldrick Natural Living and the hoops are the "hanging wire ring decorations" from Rose and Grey.

    2. thanks for replying , I've been searching to find affordable non toxic candles !

  10. Oh my but what happened to November. I am no longer feeling organised - maybe this weekend will be the answer to all of my where has the time gone concerns!? Happy December


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