Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve: chocolate tiffin for gifting, early morning candlelight in the dining room, the Landrover full of wood, walking the hills at Loughcrew (it snowed!), ancient stones, new coat and blue skies. It is now evening and the children are in bed. We read A Child's Christmas in Wales and The Night Before Christmas and we watched Nativity. We left out a mince-pie and a glass of port for you-know-who and a carrot for the one with the red nose and now it's time for peace and gentle anticipation...wishing you all a Happy Christmas x

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

winter light

This year we celebrated the turn of the year - the winter solstice - with a candlelit party at home. Family arrived at 4.30pm just as darkness had fallen. They came into the house lit only by candles, there were no other lights on except the Christmas tree ones. We played Christmas carols and drank mulled wine and ate lots of festive food and chatted among the flickering light. Our eyes became accustomed to the candles' gentle glow and the dancing shadows and even though the house was full of people there was a gentleness to the gathering, a reminder perhaps of older times when semi darkness and candlelight was commonplace, when the setting of the sun brought inevitable stillness, when there was peace and quiet and all were safely gathered in.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas wreath

This year's wreath is ivy and rosehips from the hedgerows, euphorbia from the garden, a string of cranberries and some gold sprayed ears of wheat. It is one of my Christmas traditions I look forward to most. There's a quietness to the selecting and picking of the plants I need and the careful work of creating the wreath. It hangs on our rain soaked front door and its glossy green, cheery red and rich gold announce this festive's Christmas time...

Monday, 7 December 2015

December reading

I cannot believe we are in December! The year has flown by. And every month I have enjoyed picking my book as part of Laura's The Year in Books

My year has looked like this:

January: A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli
February: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
March: The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
April: The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt
May: Fox Encounters in the Wild by Jim Crumley
June: The Search Warrant by Patrick Modiano
July: Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard
August: Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
September: Findings by Kathleen Jamie
October: The Hog's Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts
November: Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros
December: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Over the course of the year I have read and enjoyed lots more , especially H is for Hawk and I Capture the Castle and luckily my pile of books is healthily growing so there's plenty for the coming months!

Saturday, 5 December 2015

and we're back

Oh dear. Break in transmission. Entirely down to human rather than technical fault. Ahem. Anyway to make up for it how about some nice photos of what happened in those intervening days?
Carlingford in the non-rain. It had rained for weeks before. It has rained for weeks after. But that day it stopped. That day it was sunny and that day was lovely. We walked around the town and came across a huge antiques shop where, I have to admit, I was in seventh heaven.
Which ties in nicely to the above - two spaniels - agghhhrrrr they are too much! I adore them. The appalling photo does not show their touches of gold or their amused expressions...
The Advent calendar is strung in its usual place along the stairs and over the prints. This year I added numbers on to the little envelopes but otherwise its done pretty well considering this is its third year. It could become a tradition, like the cornflake packet star Kevin made for our first ever Christmas tree and now it's used every year...

My sister and I spent a night in Powerscourt Hotel and Spa.
I say this casually, like it could be an every day occurrence. However that particular sister lives in Italy. That particular sister thought of a plan two (long) months ago and organised with my husband to surprise me for my birthday. That particular sister arrived on my doorstep and whisked me away for a day and a night where we talked and ate and shopped and had facials and massages and steamed in the spa and laughed and swam and chatted and ate again and wallowed in hotel luxury and finally slept. I cannot tell you how good it was and how much I love that particular sister for all her kindness.
P.S. I love all my sisters - I am lucky to have three!