Sunday, 3 January 2021

Doing Nice Things


Happy New Year! I hope you all enjoyed Christmas, wherever you are and however you celebrated, and had some time to relax. Ours was really quiet, one of our quietest ever, but that was no bad thing. After the very busy weeks leading up to Christmas I was quite happy to slow right down and think about nothing more than what food we were going to eat that day and where we were going to go for a walk. It was exactly what I needed. Of course we missed seeing family and friends, and I know that was especially hard for Bella and Angus, but the empty days were consciously filled with as many nice, relaxing things as possible. 

Our Christmas Day was always going to be the four of us once we knew that John's parents would not be able to travel down and stay with us as they usually do, and so that felt quite cosy. We put the turkey in the oven, exchanged our presents, went for a walk late morning and then came back to open the fizz and start cooking the rest of the late lunch,

John did most of the cooking and I looked after key details like laying the table using my tried and tested selection of: and old white flat sheet, a gold spotty table runner I bought in the clearance section at Sainsburys, my Grandma's solid silver cutlery set and white linen napkins that I embroidered with Christmas motifs a few years ago, plus some candles and greenery snipped from the tree.

We had done most of the Christmas cooking before the day ( I had made the cake, yule log and other things and John had pre-prepared the turkey gravy) and so in the days following Christmas we lived off leftovers; ham with bubble and squeak, turkey, ham and leek pie, cold meats with pickles, not to mention all the cheese and crackers. I made a batch of gingerbread dough with the intention of baking some little house biscuits on Christmas Eve, but we ended up leaving the dough in the fridge for three or four days, and it was absolutely fine. It was actually nicer to bake and ice our gingerbread in an unhurried fashion. Every year I want to make a big gingerbread house but previous experience has told me how incredibly stressful I find this. It either won't glue together, or pieces crack, or my icing looks terrible....but making lots of individual house shaped biscuits satisfied my desire for some festive baking and fiddly icing, but without the pressure


We have had some glorious walks over the last week. Blustery, blow-away-the-cobwebs Boxing Day beach walks.....

....stormy, pewter-skied, and bitterly cold walks in the wake of Storm Bella.....

...and the most beautiful, frosty, crunchy-underfoot walks. 

We even had snow showers on one day. It didn't settle - it rarely snows much down here on the south coast, so close to the sea - but it was exciting, and I know that many other areas of the UK have had snow for some days. I'm jealous, I don't mind admitting that, but we did get to jump in some icy puddles.

Ziggy has had a marvelous Christmas; lots of turkey, lots of lying in front of the wood burning stove and lots of scampering and sniffing on long walks.

I've grown to really cherish the days between Christmas and New Year. Usually, I'd find this lack of routine quite unsettling but, after the busyness of Christmas, I relish the absence of structure. As well as all the eating and walking, we have been doing jigsaws, reading, playing with Christmas presents and watching films. 

(A quick update on Angus's arm: it is healing well. He's had the provisional cast removed and a new one put on which comes off in four weeks, and no longer needs to wear the sling. Xbox playing can continue.)

I received some lovely, thoughtful gifts for Christmas. Best of all was a stack of new books, three of which are cookery books, and I've had a very nice time flicking through these. 

These simple, stylish handmade mugs from Winter's Moon are both beautiful and useful, and John did good by supplying me with some much needed new slippers and pyjamas.

It's the first day back at work for me tomorrow, and Bella and Angus return to school on Tuesday. I don't know what this term will hold, the situation is so uncertain and rapidly changing, but I feel ready to make the transition back into a different routine and embrace January.


  1. Absolutely LOVE your posts! Thank you!!

  2. Glad you were all able to enjoy Christmas together even if it was different from other years.Be thinking of you tomorrow as you start back a new term.

  3. Your quiet Christmas and the days afterwards sound as relaxing and wonderful as mine. I am glad you had that break, well deserved and truly needed. Your food looks lovely, and the pictures of your walks are great, too.
    We've had snow yesterday, just in time for the last day before starting work again.

  4. What a shame you can't bottle and sell your brand of Christmas this year it sounded delightful - with three small grandchildren now ours was a tad more chaotic but fun!! I love your wee gingerbread houses and could just reach in to your photo to have a flick through those new books!
    You would have loved it up here (West Yorkshire) we have had snow - enough for the local kids to go sledging and build snowmans and me to wander around snapping photos.
    Here's wishing you and your family a Happy New Year, a fully recovered arm for Angus and the end of the virus soon. x

  5. Happy New Year Gillian. Really enjoyed reading about your Christmas holiday, it sounds blissful. Fingers crossed we can settle into some kind of routine over the next few weeks x

  6. It sounds like a lovely calming and quite magical Christmas.

    I have two of your new books and I am yet to dip into them, it will be a real treat to do so in the quiet days of January.

    Happy New Year to you all.

  7. Happy New Year, may it be a balanced one for you and your family. Love to see a NY blog from you and the lovely pictures. Kids greenstick fractures heal quick, thank goodness. Next year don't use the greenery from the Jew tree, it's very deadly. Lots of cattle die each year of nibbling on the branches.

  8. I wish you the best year I can think of.
    I enjoy reading your posts: they make me feel happy! Thank you.

  9. Feeling your relaxed vibe today. My big girl isn't going back until the 18th January! Jo xx

  10. Your food looks yummy!! Walking by the ocean must be wonderful. We live 3 hours away from the coast so no quick walk. Yours looks great. I love the slowness between Christmas and New years and I don't even work. It's just there are less people out and about. Hoping Angus' arm heals well. And your daughter is getting more and more like a young lady!! Oh, I jotted the books down. I have the Magnolia one and here in the US, Target carries their brand Hearth and Home. she has great style. Cheers to you!

  11. Those slippers look so cozy and comfortable! I may look for a pair like that. What a lovely Christmas you had - it is nice to have the calm and you will treasure this time together as your children grow up. Glad to hear that Angus is recovering quickly - kids bounce back quicker than we could!

  12. Happy New Year! I always get that urge to make a gingerbread house too. Your little house biscuits are really beautiful.

  13. Seems like a lovely Christmas, although quiet. I think the idea of "dainty" gingerbread houses great & glad that Angus's arm is getting better. Hopeful New Year, take care, stay safe & hugs from down under.

  14. I also look forward to your posts. Thank you

  15. Happy New Year I love all your photos, cooking, crafting and walks in the countryside. I also love the gingerbread houses too and I think you are right....way more simple and enjoyable than putting one together and then having to break it to eat it anyway. Stay safe I hear lock downs are happening again over there. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia


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