In between days

I always think of the week between Christmas and New Years as a bit of a no mans land in terms of time. It’s a funny period where most folk aren’t feeling particularly festive anymore but aren’t quite back to normal either. I’ve especially felt this this year. A combination of putting up decorations far too early in retrospect (1st December!) and then Christmas being marred by poor old Dan having the flu has left me feeling a bit all over the place these last few days. In fact, I’m pondering next year delaying the start of festivities until after Sophia’s birthday in order to have the oomph to observe the 12 days of Christmas and keep feeling festive until Epiphany on the 6th. Sophia is not so keen on this idea….

I also didn’t manage to take any photos on Christmas Day itself as Dan was still feeling pretty rough so I was trying to keep all three relatively well behaved and chilled at his parents in Surrey (am sure I failed miserably-sorry Chris and Paul!) I’m hoping others might have pictures to share in due course 🙂

I think part of my restlessness is the break from normal routine. I miss our groups and seeing friends regularly, the novelty of lazy mornings is wearing off and cabin fever is setting in (a condition considerably exacerbated by the horrific weather). The kids are feeling the same and I think we’ll all be feeling more settled once we get back in the swing of things next week.

Reading back, I’m unintentionally coming across quite negative and reflective. I’ve had a lovely Christmas this year. It was wonderful to spend time with the Durdin contingent (even if it was cut short) and the kids enjoyed the run up to Christmas and the day itself without too many tears or tantrums. Sophia sweetly announced to me several times that although she was looking forward to getting presents, she was more excited about celebrating Jesus’ birthday which nade me smile. I think we got the balance right this year.

We’ve also very much enjoyed catching up with friends and family who are usually at work, school or university. Definitely a plus of the holidays! A beach trip with our old Brighton friends turned into soft play to escape the wind and a most enjoyable afternoon was spent catching up with one of the families we very much miss!

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Babies making friends 🙂

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Impossible getting a good pic as always!

Hoping you’ve all had a great Christmas season and are feeling relaxed and peaceful.

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Christmas Eve Walk!

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'Traditional' stocking picture

A sedate Christmas, flat-sitting and an ambulance

After the excitement of Sophia’s birthday died down the anticipation and run up to Christmas was slightly marred by everyone getting sick. An odd bug whose main symptoms seem to be extreme fatigue, loss of appetite and a nasty cough. Everyone came down with it bar me so I’ve been pottering around looking after everyone.

However we still managed to have a lovely Christmas spent with friends up the road and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so calm and relaxed at Christmas! Church was attended, presents exchanged, good food eaten and mandatory viewing watched…and all in the company of dear friends.

Said friends headed off to visit family on Boxing Day and kindly let us flat sit until their return which was a blessing as everyone was still poorly and recovering is much more comfortable on dry land with a big sofa, proper beds and a bath (and far too much TV for when all too tired for anything else)!

The calmness was briefly disrupted by the out of hours GP calling an ambulance for Isaac last night after he had a very high temperature and laboured breathing but paramedics declared a trip in wasn’t necessary. I’m pleased to report that he’s looking better today already and our gentle end to the year has resumed.

Oh…and my wooly challenge? Not a complete success! I knitted (and really enjoyed doing so!) both the big girls ballet slippers and was really pleased with the result but faltered when it came to the babies. The pattern had some incorrect instructions and to be honest, when it came to the cabling was beyond me. Luckily Mum came to the reduce and knitted some for Thea using my wool for me-thank you again Ma! She also showed me another pattern and have me some wool to knit some felted slippers for Isaac which will hopefully be done before his birthday (the 18th). So I didn’t quite get there but 3 out of 4 had slippers in Christmas Day and I’ve learnt my lesson about giving myself enough time and not worrying about changing patterns if needs be.

So there you have it, a brief round up of the last two weeks for us and I’ll leave you with some photos for your viewing pleasure.


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Nigella’s Christmas Puddini Bonbons!

This year we decided to make Christmas gifts for both sets of Grandparents; there was two-fold reasoning behind this decision, firstly that I thought it would be more meaningful to give a gift that Sophia had made and secondly, because I have NO IDEA what any of the four Grandparents would like – they genuinely seem to have everything they need!! So when I stumbled upon this recipe I knew we were on to a winner!

We chose to make them while we were in the house in Exeter as we had more space to spread out and do it and most importantly, a normal sized fridge which was essential! The recipe was incredibly easy and required few ingredients but the end result was really striking and festive so it was a good recipe for an (almost!) 3 year old to do most of herself. I won’t teach you how to suck eggs as you can clearly follow the simple recipe yourself if you chose to make these but I did document the process of making them so thought I’d share those photos.

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Turns out crumbling Christmas pudding is a very sticky job!

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Eager as always to do the washing up…how long will this last? Definitely making the most of it for as long as it does!

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Showing super-human restraint in not licking her fingers until the decorating was finished!

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Ta Da!

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I made a couple extra for me and Dan to sample (as if they were foul I wouldn’t give them away!) but was not disappointed, they were chocolately, Christmassy and very indulgent – yum!

Just a quick aside whilst we’re on the topic of homemade gifts…I’m getting there with my knitted slippers, no one pair is complete but I’m confident they’ll all be done in time to be under the tree or in stockings!

I have to admit, I did start to over think the homemade gift idea, worrying that people would think we were being cheapskates…etc (in the end we just bought presents for the kids and for our friends we are spending Christmas Day with) but then a friend happened to link me to The Gift of Death by George Monbiot and it reassured me that we had made the right decision, especially as any presents we had chosen to buy would have unfortunately ultimately probably been in the ‘tat’ or ‘novelty’ category with no real meaning or sentiment behind them. Sophia really enjoyed making these gifts for her Grandparents and I reckon that’s much more important than buying them a wooden duck ornament or another cookbook that they don’t need or want.

I’d definitely recommend reading this article, especially at this time of year and will leave you with a quote from it.

‘Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.’

A wooly Christmas challenge

Where has the last week gone?! I think another round up would be in order but last week was a quiet but social week with lunch with friends a few times, dancing and the Breastfeeding peer support group I volunteer at so nothing particularly noteworthy to blog. Although at the weekend Sophia surprised me by writing M’s, i’s, a’s, o’s and b’s on her etch-a-sketch. Amazing what they pick up without you knowing! And yesterday I took Sophia and her friend to our Monday home ed group where they found a game in which you have to match letters to the picture cards and they both impressed me with their sounding out skills. Good times!

But enough rambling and onto the main reason for this post…

We are spending Christmas Day with some friends who live just up the road with their daughters; Sophia’s best friend S (same friend as above) and her baby sister T (who Isaac spends his time trying to poke and grab-but with love I’m sure!)

I decided a while ago to adopt the following adage for Christmas:

‘Something they want
Something they need
Something to wear
Something to read’

And as such had decided to knit slippers for my kids and S and T (to fulfil the ‘wear’ element for mine) for Christmas gifts. However it is the 27th November and I haven’t started so my challenge is to knit all 4 pairs before Christmas. It should be doable especially as the baby ones are small but there are a few things on the patterns that I haven’t done before (cabling and I cords to be precise) so am hoping I master them quickly.

I am doing these for Isaac and T; both using wool from my stash- some pumpkin worsted weight for him and a variegated DK for her with pinks, blues and yellows. The pattern calls for DK so hoping that using worsted weight for his won’t be a mistake!

For the girls I have chosen this pattern to tie in with their love of dancing. S’s will of course be done in pink (her favourite colour!) and I haven’t decided what colour for Sophia yet-she claimed blue was her favourite colour the other day but do I risk choosing blue and then her wanting pink like S?! We’ll be in Exeter next week (Dan has to work there for a week so we’re going with him) so I might actually get her to choose some wool from one of the wool shops there and just not tell her what it’s for!

So I have made this challenge public in order to give myself extra motivation to get it done in time. I’ll keep you updated.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of my little man-Sophia is at her friends today so I’ve an afternoon just me and the boy which is lovely and relaxing-especially as he’s napping right now! (I hasten to add that he is asleep in his bed now…not pinning me to the sofa!)

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