Little Loves, The Christmas edition.

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Its been a while since I joined in Little Loves, I have been reading everyone’s contributions but time seemed pretty scarce in the run up to Christmas, this was mainly work related and something I need to address.

Sometimes its difficult to find examples to meet the categories of Little Loves, but Christmas week is always bursting with activities, it seems that this past week seems so much longer than any other week in the year.  We started the week in Lanzarote on a sunshine break which was fantastic and then on Sunday returned home to continue our Christmas celebrations.

READ

One of the luxuries of the holidays is time and I use any spare time to read.  The children loved the children’s club on holiday and I found myself with some time in the mornings on a sun lounger and my Kindle for company.  I read Freya North’s The Turning Point, the story of a long distance love affair, it had such a plot twist in it, I was genuinely shocked, I hadn’t seen it coming.  The book was perfect holiday reading.  I have also read No Run Intended by Hannah E Phillips, a great read for runners and those wishing to run, its autobiographically written as Hannah learns to love running.  It is witty, poignant and very easy to read.  I’m also enjoying Marian Keyes’ Making it Up as I Go Along.  I love Marian Keyes, she is brilliant and her Twitter feed is pure joy.  I was beside myself when she liked one of my Strictly tweets.  This book does not disappoint, it is a selection of her articles, musings and writing and is fantastic.

WATCHED

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In Christmas week there will always be moments that will be remembered over a lifetime.  On Christmas eve, we watched Santa arrive at our hotel on a camel, it was surreal and so funny, the children loved it.

As we have been away I have watched little television.  My highlight was Ethel and Ernest, adapted from Raymond Brigg’s book about his parents.  It was beautiful, evocative and the tears flowed as it ended.  A delightful story showcasing our social history entwined with a  love story all in animation.

HEARD

At the beginning of the week, I loved listening to carols in Spanish.  One evening there was a live band in the town centre playing the carols and it all seemed rather jolly.

On Christmas day, we arrived home around 7pm, to be greeted by shouts of excitement from the children as they peered through the windows that ‘Santa’s been, he’s been’  Thanks to our amazing neighbours we were able to keep up the magic of Christmas as they set up the living room, fake snow, footprints, half eaten carrots and mince pie crumbs and put all the presents around the tree.  It was magical and I was so grateful to our fantastic neighbours.

WORE

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At the start of this week, it was sunglasses and flip flops, as the saying goes, life is better in flip flops.

I have also worn Christmas hats and a jumper.  We had a photo taken at the hotel on Christmas eve and we are all posing in our hats by a tree.  Its rare we have a photo taken together and I try to get one every Christmas.  I got us all dressed in our Christmas jumpers for the flight home too, it was a very happy flight and many were also wearing Christmas jumpers, even the crew.

MADE

We were away for most of Christmas day and my Christmas dinner was a bowl of Heinz tomato soup and a roll when we got home, simple but delicious.  I made Christmas dinner and all the trimmings on Boxing day, it was Christmas dinner number 3 this year but as a vegetarian my mains have all been slightly different.  I made a jalousie with a vegetable and goats cheese filling which was really good.

I haven’t made any Lego sets this week but Mr S and the children have been very busy making up their Lego City and Lego Star Wars kits.  The children love Lego and are so creative and imaginative with their Lego games.

AND FINALLY …

So this has been the final Little Loves of the year and I intend to write more regularly in 2017.  I am currently reflecting on how to simplify and enjoy life more next year.  I’m not normally one to make resolutions but may try to put together a few ideas together in the next few days.  Happy new year and I hope your year is full of sparkle, good health and happy family times.

Thank you to the lovely Morgana at http://www.coffeeworksleeprepeat.com for hosting this linky, its my favourite!

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Christmas Day 2016

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Christmas Day was always going to be a bit different this year.  When we decided to take a sunshine break, it soon became apparent that this was only going to be possible if we flew back on Christmas Day. We carefully  considered this and concluded that it was better to have a week of special family time rather than not go on holiday because of Christmas Day. I was exceptionally organised this year, the message was repeated to the children that Santa would be delivering presents to our home address and we would simply open them a little later on Christmas Day this year.  Santa wrote this in his letter to the children and Tommy the elf’s letters reinforced this too.  In the days before we left, I took all our presents to our neighbours who had very kindly agreed to put the presents out, leave the half eaten carrot and mince pie and decorate our lounge as if Santa had been.   They also very kindly filled our fridge with all the fresh essentials we would need on Christmas Day.  Throughout Christmas Day I noticed all the small kindnesses and sparkles from so many different people, it was what made Christmas  special.

Although the children weren’t expecting presents, I managed to hide away their stockings in my luggage and so when they awoke on Christmas morning they had a few small presents to open.  They were genuinely surprised and happy to have these gifts.  We all dressed up for breakfast in Christmas hats and accessories and enjoyed a lovely relaxed and happy meal.  So many other people were dressed up too in the restaurant and the atmosphere was very uplifting.  Whilst I’m a real stickler for no screens at the table, on Christmas morning it was lovely to see so many people face timing or sharing photos at the breakfast tables, it really struck me how everyone was thinking of and enjoying their loved ones.  During the morning Mr S helped an older lady with her iPhone so she could contact her family, I think it must have been a gift from a family member and she was still learning how to use it.  Mr S was so kind and patient with her that not only was she incredibly grateful but I was so proud of him; between them they mastered Face Time, calls and messages.  During the morning we were able to enjoy the hotel and its facilities, the children were happy playing with their friends and the morning passed quickly and pleasantly.  Our journey home was so smooth and to time, we left our hotel at 12pm and arrived at our front door at 7pm. Our Christmas lunch was a cheese baguette at an airport cafe but we were all in great humour that it really didn’t matter.

One of the really Christmassy aspects of the journey was seeing the Christmas lights.  As we descended into our local airport we could see the outside lights twinkling, they looked gorgeous.  Our drive home took us through local villages all beautifully lit.  In the car the excitement started to build for our return home.  As we arrived the house looked lovely, our neighbours had been over to switch on the Christmas lights and heating and the shouts of he’s been, he’s been as the children peered through the window made everything seem rather magical.

After the presents, we had a very simple tea, soup and bread with Christmas cake and it was soon time for bed.  It was a different Christmas Day but one I enjoyed.  Sometimes there is too much pressure on what Christmas Day is supposed to look like yet given our circumstances for the day we were able to create a lovely little day for us.  The things we weren’t able to do on Christmas Day were simply transferred to Boxing Day when the children played with their presents, neighbours visited and I cooked Christmas dinner.  It was a special two days and a merry Christmas for us all.

 

Tommy’s final visits 


Tommy flew out to Lanzarote with us, he even had his own suitcase and tshirts for the holiday.  It was the most challenging week of hiding Tommy as whilst our family room was large, it was open plan and I had to wait until everyone was asleep to hide him.  In these photos you can see him riding a balloon animal the children had made in their club, sitting on the pool ring, sampling the free toiletries, colouring in, sitting on the Stack’ems etc..  He continued to write a daily letter too.  Again it was sad to say goodbye to Tommy, he really is one of my favourite traditions.  

Tommy Week 2

 

This week has been a very busy one so Tommy’s hiding places have needed to be quick and simple.  I enjoyed making Lego Tommy although Mr S was bemused to what I was doing playing Lego when the children were in bed. Letterbox Tommy has the Santa letters arriving in the post.  My mum did the most fantastic letters again this year so personal and magical. b5f8c7c1-601d-4cf7-8b84-dccb500da839

Christmas Decorations 2016

Our Christmas decorations are similar to last year’s.  I don’t have a theme, simply they are all special to me and our family and all bring a little joy and beauty to our home.  I have added a few new decorations this year.  I started the glass  decorations last year and returned to the same art gallery this year to add a few more to our collection. They are beautiful in the way they reflect the fairy lights  in the evenings.  I can’t resist a hand made fabric decoration so the felt characters were bought at last week’s Christmas market from a craft stall with all takings going to our local hospital.  The nativity tree decoration are new too, bought from the RNLI store at the market too. The town’s Christmas market was fantastic this year for handmade craft items and a great place to shop for different gifts and decorations.  I loved the peg dolly stall, there was a real variety of peg ladies illustrating different hobbies.  I bought the tea lady for our tree and bought my mum a peg lady sewing, both are stunning.  I love the look of our tree, bursting with colour and texture, hand crafted decorations by the children and I mixed with local crafted decorations too. It may not all colour coordinate, the decorations aren’t all evenly hung and it’s a complete mish mash of themes but I love our tree it’s us on every branch.  

Tommy’s home

Our Elf on the Shelf has returned home for his 4th Christmas with us.  I love this little elf so much and the magic and delight he brings to our family.  I hide him every evening and he always writes the children a letter everyday telling them all the brilliant things they did and looking forward to the coming day.   I love the creativity in trying to find new ideas, by the end of this year I’ll have tried to hide him in over 100 different scenarios. Piniterest and the app are fantastic sources of ideas.  If I see mini accessories throughout the year I’ll buy them to help a tableau!  We’re going on holiday soon and Tommy has a suitcase and tshirts ready, I may make him a passport too! Here are the scenarios from our first week with Tommy 2016. I was really pleased with the return when he brought Lego advent calendars, with a little photographic magic and magic dust he shrank the calendars to enable him to hold them on his journey and they were still sprinkled with snow and magic dust in the house!  Here are the other photos too.