My boy: Sonny Jim
For years and years, the only thing I wished for at Christmas was a baby.
Though I couldn’t put it on any list or casually throw it into conversation while at the office water cooler, falling pregnant was the one gift I yearned for – and the one thing I feared would never happen.
Having children for some women, some couples, just happens.
For others, it never does.
And for others, it takes time. Lots of time. And doctor’s appointments. And hospital visits. And tests. And needles. And months – years – of heartache.
I was one of the latter. And even though this Christmas will be my little boy’s third, I still have moments when I can’t quite believe it.
When my tot smiles with delight as we put on our matching festive pyjamas, then says “Sonny one, mummy one” while patting our candy-cane clad legs, I could almost cry. Continue reading
An actual perfect moment: My happy boy on Christmas Day
So, how was your Christmas?
Full of cheer, festive fizz and marvellous memories to get you through the next year?
Are you still somewhat stuffed, but ready to eat drink and be merry all over again on New Year’s Eve?
If you are, then I actually imagine you are in the minority – despite what the pictures on Facebook show.
When I was little, my Grandad died on Christmas Eve. My mum had four children under six and, despite finding out mere hours earlier that her beloved dad had suffered a fatal heart attack, she managed to still put on a happy face for us on Christmas day. To open our presents with us. To laugh at our little games. To play, to eat Christmas dinner. To snuggle up and watch festive films. To keep the magic of the day alive for us all in every way. Continue reading
Elf life: Sonny Jim and his little buddy
Eeek! It’s almost Christmas!
I’ve always loved this time of year. The anticipation, the festive songs on the radio, the way a few sparkly lights can brighten up even the darkest of corners. The fact it’s acceptable – encouraged even – to drink Prosecco at lunchtime.
When my now husband proposed, on a sunny beach in Corsica, I had no doubt I wanted a Christmas wedding. And when we did tie the knot, on winter solstice in 2009, we had our own bit of Christmas magic… it snowed!
For years, the only thing on my real Christmas wish list was a baby. Now, this year will be my boy’s second Christmas. And it’s unlike any that have gone before.
Last year, Sonny Jim wasn’t crawling. Or chatting. Or doing much else, other than looking like quite possibly the cutest Christmas pudding ever (honestly, he’s going to hate the photos when he’s big!) Continue reading
Bookalicious’ Llydia Bannocks with daughter Blossom Primrose (photo charlottegreenphotpgraphy.com)
When it comes to Christmas-themed books for children, Bookalicious‘ Llydia Bannocks knows exactly what she’s looking for.
“Pages that create those magical memories, nostalgia and evokes that emotion that stays with us for years to come,” she says.
“Babies will want to discover new and exciting textures, colours and sounds and start to experience those first special sensory memories that conjure up what makes it Christmas.
“Creative, interactive reads are a huge winner, captivating even the most reluctant of little readers. Bold and beautiful laser cut detail, elaborate pop-ups bring stories to life in a three dimensional way.
“But most importantly you want an awesome story that you just want to share for years to come with your friends, loved ones and future family yourself.
“It’s never about the most famous of authors or top sellers and its never about design over substance. When it comes to selecting the most beautiful jacketed books or detailed 3D reads, they must deliver that fabulous story too!” Continue reading
Yum: Mince pie cheesecake
Oh hello Advent! Look, let’s be frank, the chances of me actually finding the time to make this myself are slim to none (have you ever tried Christmas shopping with a toddler?!)
But. It looks gorgeous. So I’m sharing it in the hope someone who isn’t about to spend the next month telling a one-year-old to Stop. Touching. Those. Baubles. will feel inspired.
• 150g Digestive biscuits
• 75g Butter
• 900g Full fat cream cheese
• 200g Caster sugar
• 200ml Sour cream
• 45g Plain flour
• 2 Large Eggs
• 1 Egg Yolk
• ½ tbsp. Vanilla Essence
• 200g Mincemeat
Not just for November 11: Putting your poppy on your tree will keep our armed forces in your thoughts over Christmas too
So, Remembrance Sunday has been and gone. Armistice Day commemorations have been marked with a two-minute silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
I imagine your poppy is still pinned to your lapel, your coat, or your bag… but as the week closes, what will you do with it? Keep it there, until battered by the elements, it falls off? Will you throw it away? Or stick it in a drawer, forgotten about in the muddle of pens and receipts and long-ago-written notes?
Well, if you’re keen to do something more, here’s a custom I started more than a decade ago, when my poppy fell to the floor of our little cottage.
When I was four years old, before I went to bed every night, I demanded my dad check the smoke alarm at the top of the stairs was working.
Thanks to this advert, I was petrified of a fire burning down my home while I slept.
TV adverts were a whole lot scarier in the Eighties. But it did its job. We most certainly had a working smoke alarm throughout my entire childhood and beyond.
And with Christmas now SO CLOSE, the scary truth is that people are 50 per cent more likely to die in a house fire over Christmas than at any other time of year. It’s not difficult to see why. Candles? Check. Roaring fires? Check. Fairy lights. Check. Lots of booze? Check.
Which is why you NEED TO CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM IS WORKING. And if you don’t have one, get one, for pity’s sake.
This leads me seamlessly into a service which, if you live in Essex, you would be totally mad not to take advantage of.