christmas

7 Happy Things.

Well apparently tonight is one of those looong nights when sleep eludes me completely so, rather than lie in the dark attempting to divert my thoughts away from slightly depressing issues, I figured I may as well get back up and write this post. Thankfully I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow morning so I’ll be okay!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from Donna Hay}

1. Getting our Christmas tree! One of the things I have been most excited about for Christmas this year is that after many years of having an artificial tree my parents decided we could go back to having a real one. I just think real trees are just that little bit better, the smell is wonderful and there is just something a little bit magical about having a real tree in your house all lit up. Plus it’s always so much fun to go out as a family and choose our tree!

2. Spending a lovely Christmassy afternoon with my family. Family time is especially important to me around Christmas time and we had such a nice time decorating the tree, setting up the nativity (minus the Magi and baby Jesus of course) and eating mince pies.

3. Volunteering! I had my first volunteering session at the scheme for young people with Asperger’s and Autistic on Thursday and it went really well. The other people working there are really friendly and helpful and the boys attending the group seem like a really nice group of teens. I think it’s going to be such a rewarding learning experience and I’m looking forward to going back already.

4. Christmas jumpers. Definitely enough said.

5. Looking forward to many of my lovely friends coming back next weekend. I’ve already been informed by one that she has a very busy schedule (mentioning no names haha) but I’m hoping they’ll all have the time to squeeze in time to see me!

6. Sending and receiving Christmas cards. This post has become incredibly Christmas themed but then it is the second weekend of December so I think it’s allowed. But I love writing my nearest and dearest festive cards and seeing a card come through the letterbox always brightens my day.

7. I may or may not have taken the plunge and booked a hair appointment this Friday so come this time next week I might have rather different locks!

Hope you are enjoying the festivities and have a great week 🙂

Sophie x

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7 Happy Things.

Before I jump into all of the brilliant positive things that happened last week, I just want to let everyone know that things are okay, I’m just about hanging in here. Last week was one of the toughest weeks I have had in a while and I also have to apologise that I didn’t get this post up on Sunday, I had an assignment due in yesterday

Things are hopefully going to improve now that I’m not so stressed and the doctor upped my medication so hopefully I’ll be able to see past the blur of pain again soon…

Anyway, moving swiftly on!

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{Image via Pinterest, originally from norrfrid}

1. First of all, as I couldn’t not include this as a HUGE happy thing, the wonderfully caring and heartwarming comments I received on my last post. I was so overwhelmed to get such a kind response and I really want to thank Abigail and Jessica, from the bottom of my heart, you have no idea how much it helped me to read them.

2. December is finally here! Anyone who knows me at all will know that I adore Christmas and everything about it, but the build up is almost the best bit of all. This weekend we had our annual tradition of making the Christmas cake at the beginning of the month, everyone has to take turns stirring the mix and when it’s your turn to mix you make a wish. I also have my little mini advent calendar set up in my bedroom and my fairy lights around my window. This time of year is so magical…

3. Mince pies. My mother and I made the first batch this weekend and they are, as happens every year, even better than I remember. The flaky pastry, the sweetness of the mincemeat. Enough said really.

4. Having my first essay of the term handed in. It may have seemed impossibly stressful trying to get it in but now that it is I feel so incredibly relieved!

5. I finally received my DBS form which means I can go ahead and start my volunteering position with the scheme for young people with Asperger Syndrome and Autism. I start on Thursday afternoon and I’m really excited (and a little nervous), I’ve never had the opportunity to do something like this before so I know I am going to learn so much from it. I’m so looking forward to meeting all of the teens in the group as well as the people I’ll be working with.

6. Seeing my family at the weekend. My parents always know what I need and came to pick me up so that I could write my essay tucked up in my ridiculously comfy bed instead of my horrible (okay I may be exaggerating, but only a little!) uni bed. It was lovely to be looked after for a couple of days.

7. Christmas present shopping! I absolutely love buying presents for people, but it’s even more fun at Christmas as it means buying something for everyone. I always spend lots of time figuring out what to get people and I love finding things that are more meaningful because it’s worth the time spent when you get to give it to the recipient and see their reaction 🙂

I hope you’re all having a brilliant December so far!

Sophie x

A Cheery Catch-Up!

Hello lovely lovely people,

First of all, I hope you all had an absolutely fantastic Christmas! Hopefully you’ve all had a wonderful holiday, enjoyed time with your loved ones and had the chance to relax and have fun. I have definitely adored the past couple of weeks full of their celebrations, it was a truly lovely time with my family and we all had a great time.

Now that all the festive happenings are over, I thought it would be nice to make a little photo recap post for you all to share my family’s Christmas celebrations and traditions with you. The time between the morning of the 24th of December to the evening of the 25th of December all make up the Christmas festivities for us. We start getting everything ready, we have a delicious meal together on Christmas Eve, we jump onto my parents’ bed together on Christmas morning for our stockings…

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Despite being home again this year, Christmas still manages to make me feel incredibly lucky to have such a loving, supportive family surrounding me. It makes me look around at everything that I have been blessed with in my life and be so thankful for all the wonderful things I have. I can’t imagine how difficult this time of year can be for those who are not so lucky and I know that I need to treasure all of the amazing people and the many positive aspects of my life.

I hope you all have an absolutely fabulous new year and I wish everyone a brilliant year in 2013!

Sophie x

Happy Christmas Eve!

Well. That is by far the longest I have ever left my blog without posting. I can’t really explain other than I had 10,000 words of assignments to write and then I’ve been relaxing and trying to build my strength back up. It has been an incredibly long term, with 12 weeks of lectures and reading, but it has equally been a successful term. I know I definitely made the right decision to transfer back home, I have not been feeling much better but it has been so much easier to deal with uni. Plus I’m grateful for the extra time with my family, it is something I should cherish whilst I am still here.

Those of you who know me well will know that I adore Christmas, especially the build up throughout the month of December. It’s such a magical time of the year, full of wonderful festivities. I have been decorating the house, baking, eating lots of mince pies and buying lots of presents. For me, Christmas Eve is one of the most special moments of the year. As a family we spend most of the day getting everything ready together, joining in with all of the fun and preparations. Because my mother is French we have our big Christmas meal on Christmas Eve. We all get dressed up, make up a beautiful table, light all of the candles and sit down for a delicious three course meal together. Each year I’m just as excited for it as the last. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow Christmas…

Here a few photos from when we decorated the Christmas tree. It is another of my absolute favourite parts of the preparations, every year as we open the cardboard box of decorations and lay them all out ready to go up it brings back so many memories. Each year we buy a new decoration each and so they all have a special significance.

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Because I won’t be with Tom on Christmas morning we decided to exchange presents yesterday so it was like having an early Christmas, buying Tom’s present is always something I spend a long time on, I want to get it just right. I think he liked it!

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My presents from him were just perfect. Daisy is my favourite perfume and the Eau So Fresh is even lovelier, spritzing it on in the morning feels wonderful. Ali Smith’s Artful is the book that I went to see her talk about last month and is beautiful. It’s one of those fabulously bound books with several picture sheets at the end. I’ve just started reading it and it is so captivating. I’m feeling rather lucky for having such a thoughtful boyfriend!

I hope you all have an absolutely fantastic Christmas and enjoy the time spent with loved ones 🙂

Sophie x

It’s the Most Wonderful Time!

Hey hey everyone 🙂

Okay so it has been ages since I last blogged and I am sorry for the disappearing act (again!). Basically I still have about 7000 words to write in two and a half weeks so you can imagine things are crazy busy. However I just had to post because it is now December and therefore I am allowed to get properly excited about Christmas!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now then you will know just how much I adore the Christmas period. I’ve waxed lyrical about it many many times, I just can’t get enough of it all. And it’s 23 days till Christmas… The house is starting to feel a lot more festive, as I type this all I can smell is the delicious scent of the first batch of mince pies which have just come out of the oven and are cooling in the kitchen, and I’m listening to my new Christmas playlist!

Making the mince pies is something my mother and I do together. Her recipe is amazing, I have never eaten nicer mince pies. The pastry is perfectly crumbly and buttery, the stars just so festive and the smell of the warm mince meat is wonderful. I love making them with her, we always share out the jobs, she cuts, I mould and fill, she cuts the stars, I place them…

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One of my favourite parts of the countdown to Christmas is the advent calendar. We all share one which my mother buys and surprises us with on the 1st of December. I love the house shaped ones and the glittery snow on this one makes me happy.

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Another part of the countdown that is special for us is the advent candle. I love burning it at dinner every evening with carols playing in the background, and slowly watching the days melt away until all that is left is the number 24 and you know that Christmas is about to start for real…

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And the final Christmassy detail today is a rather special one. If you remember the letter I wrote to my grandmother a few months ago, you’ll know that we all miss the wonderful woman whom I got to call grandma, even if only for a few years. My father’s favourite tradition from when he was a little boy is when he used to make the Christmas cake each year with his mother. So in my house, he makes the cake and we each take turns mixing the batter and making a wish. It’s just another little way of remembering her.

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I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are enjoying the festive period!

Do you like the start of December as much as I do?
What are your favourite Christmas countdown traditions?

Do you have an advent calendar/candle?

Sophie x

The Countdown Excitement.

Hey lovelies!

I hope you all had a great weekend and that your week has started well. I had a rather pleasant weekend despite feeling completely without energy. Tom and I went to stay with his parents and had a comfortable Saturday afternoon spent baking (and eating!) cookies before settling down to watch Strictly Come Dancing with some slices of pizza. Sunday morning we drove to church and then went for a little walk and a coffee (hot chocolate with cream for me) in town. After going home to get some work done as assessment deadlines are looming ever closer I was off out again. This time to meet my parents and sister at the cafe she works at to grab a drink before going to see the switching on of the Christmas lights! It feels like the official countdown period to Christmas has now begun 🙂

Seeing the Christmas lights strung across the streets has made the excitement really start to kick in. Now I’m making mental lists of all the lovely seasonal holiday things I want to do. You have probably all realised by now how much I adore this time of the year and all of the wonderful elements of Christmas. I’m excited to start all of the preparations and truly get into the spirit of it all!

I love all of it… shopping for Christmas presents; baking and eating mince pies; listening to Christmas music and carols; putting up decorations; advent calendars and candles; writing Christmas cards; going caroling; decorating the Christmas tree; wrapping presents; curling up in front of the fire to watch Christmas films; Christmas eve dinner; midnight mass; stockings; unwrapping presents…

This weekend I got an invitation to sing in a Christmas concert in a few weeks time so I’m excited to sing some carols again. With it now being 35 days till Christmas I feel that it is okay to declare my love for it and start the preparations in earnest. As soon as we enter the month of December you can be sure I will  be decorating the house and baking mince pies 😉

Having said that I have four weeks to write my assessments for this semester (I have four to write) so from now until the 19th December I’m probably going to be rather busy and increasingly stressed!

Are you excited for Christmas?
What are you looking forward to most about Christmas?
Any special plans this week?

What I Ate Wednesday No.21 – Christmas Edition

Okay first of all I’m sorry for disappearing for three days (I know it’s not like a job or anything but I don’t like not writing to some kind of schedule!). The Christmas period has been a) pretty busy and more importantly b) absolutely lovely so I’ve not really had the time to read many blogs, let alone write a post myself.

Now I promised I would show you all the wonderful things I indulged in over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and so I thought, what better way to do it than by a What I Ate Wednesday Christmas Day post!

Thank you yet again to the lovely Jenn for bringing us WIAW 🙂

So here it is merry Christmas…

Christmas Eve:

Dressed crab with an avocado salad for starter. Light, fresh and delicious. I adore crab, it’s one of my absolute favourites when it comes to seafood. It has such a lovely subtle flavour and a rather light and tender texture. It is perfectly complimented by the avocado which was dressed with spring onion, chili and lemon juice. You’ll notice that rather large blog of mayonnaise on the side of the plate, call me unsophisticated but I love mayo with crab, it’s somewhat retro but I just think it works!

The main course was crowned by a deliciously tender piece of guinea fowl served alongside of roast potatoes, honey roasted root vegetables (turnip, parsnip and carrots), steamed Brussels sprouts and a generous lug of gravy poured over the lot. It’s one of my favourite meals, honestly I can’t really think of a meal I look forward to more. The food is superb, the anticipation and excitement for Christmas is mounting and the company is wonderful. Here’s what the evening is really about:

Family.

My lovely father and sister, Christmas Eve is all about the four of us being together as a family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My beautiful mother 🙂

We had my parents to thank for this delicious meal and it was finished with a fresh and festive flair (I love alliterations :-P)

Fruit salad made up of mango, lychees, passion fruit and pomegranate. It was the perfect way to end a simply perfect meal.

Christmas Day:

Toasted brioche with blackberry jelly. Rather tasty.

Christmas crackers: an essential part of Christmas lunch.

Our less than conventional Christmas lunch: luxurious smoked salmon on brown bread, spicy spring rolls, prawn filo parcels, tasty bread-crumbed chicken, and incredibly moreish tomato vol-au-vents. It was tasty and quite a treat, I find it difficult to believe that anyone would say no to some party food! But the best part of this meal had to be the dessert:

Ice cream Christmas pudding! Isn’t it a fabulous idea? It had three layers: chocolate, vanilla and praline. It was really yummy, there is no other word for it, and it was quite exciting to cut through it. I particularly liked our incredibly tasteful decorations 😉

So there you have it, my Christmas food from this year’s wonderful celebrations. I had a really amazing time and the food certainly contributed to that!

I hope you all had a really fantastic time this Christmas period 🙂

Happy Wednesday!

What was the best thing you had to eat during the Christmas period?
Which foods do you simply have to eat each year to get into the Christmas spirit?

Sophie x

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