Monday 28 December 2015

In the Blink of an Eye

As ever, the build up to Christmas seems to go on forever and then before you know it is all over in the blink of an eye. For me this year the build up was all about baking for my new business, which was wonderful and exhausting in equal measures and far more successful than I ever imagined, but it did rather mean that everything else was pushed to the background. But despite my occasional middle of the night panics that Christmas wasn't going to happen for us this year, it did of course happen and for the most part was just as good as ever.

Decorations and the tree got put up in between rolling pastry and whisking up cakes. Joe helped me decorate the tree which was particularly lovely as he wasn't with us for Christmas this year.

My two eldest sons Ben and Sam, plus my youngest Jacob were all here for Christmas but Joe has taken himself off travelling again. This time only for five weeks to Peru and Bolivia and we did manage a quick Facebook message on Christmas Day but he was still missed.

What made things considerably easier this year was we all decided on a present amnesty in the family (prompted by my lack of time to go shopping... either in person or on the internet). There were still odds and ends exchanged and I gave everyone food hampers of homemade biscuits and jams etc but no-one felt obliged to go out and buy more "stuff" that none of us needed. It was wonderful and I can honestly say none of us missed the frenzy of present opening that is often Christmas morning.

When I told one friend this is what we were doing she was aghast... "What will you do if you don't have presents to open?" Well, we talked to each other, we laughed, we played games...

We went on walks and admired the seasonal berries...

As well as some not very seasonal blossom... what is going on with this weather?

There was also plenty of seasonal eating and drinking with much festive fizz consumed

And some not so traditional desserts (a chocolate pavlova should you ask). But I can honestly say that not one of us missed the present buying madness and not one of us feels hard done by or as though we have missed out.

Despite not eating meat myself, I cooked a turkey (locally reared in our village!) which over three days of various family members and friends visiting has been totally consumed... the last of it going in a curry this evening. To accompany it I made a lentil curry using a curry kit I was given by one of the Cambridge Eat-Up members, Pina...

I put in a few extra tomatoes and would have added a scattering of chopped coriander if I'd had some handy, which I didn't, but it was still very good as a main course veggie curry. And as might be expected the Turkey Korma curry eaters had some as a side dish too!

And so there we are... another Christmas done and dusted and not being very good at relaxing and doing nothing, I'm filling the limbo between Christmas and New Year, clearing out my sewing room and reflecting on how I'm going to combine my new baking venture with my textile work. But one thing is for sure... food is going to feature heavily in 2016!


  1. Glad Christmas was all you wanted it to be Gina!
    V x
    P.S. My husband was born in Peru!

  2. Sounds very civilized, we, John and I had a lovely day, very hot so sea food and salads, phone calls to all the children was enough as I find the hugely extended family a bit much to cope with as I get older! Your cooking venture sounds as if it is getting under way, I loved your textile blogs but also love your cooking ones. Hope that 2016 is all you hope for.

  3. I'm glad it is not just us who forgo the present madness. Ian and I have got very lackadaisical about it in the last few years and we only do it if we can think of something that might be useful and fun. It's a lot less stressful. When I was living in the US a friend once commented to me the reason he enjoyed Thanksgiving so much was because it was all about family, food and football and nothing else. He didn't enjoy the present side of Christmas either. Now I can do without the football, especially American football, but I think the other two aspects of family (or friends) and food cooked and eaten together are worth far more than money can buy.

    All the best for the New Year and I hope you find the perfect balance between sewing and cooking

  4. Sounds like a perfect Christmas.x

  5. Hats off to you Gina. I have been trying for years to scale down the present fest. I think 2016 will be the year of change for you and I wish you well in your new business. I hope a little stitching will creep in when there is a spare moment.

  6. A present amnesty is something I am going to organise NOW! It will lower the anxiety of decision making and stop the accumulation of Stuff. Your mincepies and biscotti were fantastic Gina and were much appreciated by our visitors. I considered passing them off as my own but the acknowledged our lovely local business. Good luck in 2016!

  7. Sounds like a most enjoyable Christmas, even if one son was off on his travels. What a sensible idea to forgo presents this year when time was in such short supply. We are lazy and give everyone money so they can buy themselves what they want.
    A very Happy and successful New Year to you.

  8. We've done no presents for a few years. Christmas is the time I get to catch up with everyone's news, and then to chat as we walk along the Promenade and enjoy sun and sea after a hearty lunch and my niece's baking.

  9. sounds like you had a lovely Christmas Gina. As we get older we have all the things we need, I think a much nicer idea is to go out for lunch or dinner - or as you have done, make a hamper of home made goodies.
    We had an unexpectedly cool, well 28 degrees celcius,so enjoyed our cold ham, prawns and salad. But we followed with traditional plum pud, complete with coins I have saved since before decimal currency came in.
    I hope 2016 brings you everything you want and we will all continue to enjoy reading your blogs, whether about textiles or cooking - or books.

  10. It sounds like a wonderful Christmas Gina! I'm so happy for you that your baking business is a success -- I hope it will be even better (and we'll see more yummy pictures!) in 2016. Happy New Year!

  11. No present unwrapping here either. We both have a birthday in close proximity to Christmas, so each year about this time buy ourselves something we've been wanting all year. I've stressed so much about 'surprise' presents in previous years and they always end up being superfluous. So now we just don't bother, it's so much easier this way.

  12. I love reading about how people celebrate Christmas - as you (and my mum, often!) said to me, it wouldn't do for us all to be the same. So good to hear that your new venture has really taken off and I wish you everything you want it be in the coming year.

  13. What a good idea to forgo the presents. Spending quality time with family and friends is so much more rewarding than opening presents anyway.

    Your new venture looks fantastic. I think I might be glad that I don't live near to you - please say that you are NOT going to do mail order!!

  14. Sounds like a very busy and happy christmas. Hope 2016 is very successful and happy for you x


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