Saturday, 31 December 2011

And so another year ends ....

This year has gone way too quickly ....

As a self-employed private tutor, I have been fortunate that my student base has continued to expand. My work is interesting & varied & it keeps me grounded & balanced.

I have had a year of worries with my Mother having lung cancer out in Africa & at her worst the oldest daughter & I made a hectic dash out to Africa to support my Dad through a touch & go time.  She pulled through by sheer determination & grit & we then spent 3 weeks helping her to adjust to the restraints of a broken leg & hip due to the chemo.

My two brothers & sister made long journies so we could all meet up with the folks on the farm - a wonderful time catching up with them & their families for a change. 

It also gave me the opportunity to catch up with friends & family in Johannesburg because my sister in law & cousin kindly put us up & had an open house for friends to visit & catch up! Daughter, who kindly took unpaid leave to travel with me, requested a visit to Milky Lane - an ice-cream parlour which was her favourite so we indulged her ....

My cousin is chairman of a Motor bike club so he took us to a vintage bike show .... a first for me but it was so interesting .....

and we joined cousin for a meal out while watchin rugby at a sports pub .....

SO my wish for 2012 is just that the year will bring health & happiness to everyone

Best wishes for 2012 Dee ♥

Monday, 26 December 2011

Festive Greetings

I am a little late but am sending Festive greetings ....

It is lovely having the family home for Christmas & more family expected for Boxing Day. Our table was traditional & relaxed this year.

The warmer, milder weather meant that we could enjoy eating in our conservatory while looking out onto the garden & greenery.

We were so relaxed about it all that we forgot to set the crackers ....

Hope your day was special too

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 23 December 2011

Festive books at home

We always have a few interesting, festive type books at home that we put out for the season.

The Felicity Wishes Fairy book was one of youngest daughters childhood books that she just won't part with as she loves it so much. It is always tucked away with the decorations so it can come out again ....

I was browsing the beautiful Christmas Cooking book & looked up to see "Christmas and how to survive it" on the top of the other pile .... quite a good contrast.

A good chuckle because we are very laid back about the whole family meal & we eat mid afternoon after a very relaxed family day!

Do you have any favourite books you put out? I could do with a copy of Dickens 'Christmas tale' ...

Christmas books at home

Happy reading & preparation time
Dee ♥

Hyacinths at Christmas

I have a tradition of always having sweet smelling Hyacinths in the house at Christmas. It just smells right when the sweet fragrance wafts through the house.

I always start the process off the first week of October with some bought bulbs to 'force' for Christmas flowering.

They are then covered & kept in a dark place until the leaves appear to a reasonable height then they are brought into the warm house & in the light which wakes them up .....

This year, white flowers in time for Christmas, this does not happen often so it is a real treat.
Do you grow any special flowers? What are your favourite?

Enjoy your weekend, ♥ Dee ♥

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Some festive baking ...

My good friend Ellie came by & we indulged in lots of girlie catch up time while baking some mince pies.

Shop bought mince, the lovely brandy mince meat made by Mrs Darlington's, enhanced with lemon zest, some glace cherries & spice was set aside while we tried to decide on a pastry recipe.

In the end we added ground almonds to our home made all butter pastry for a crunchiness & did a wholemeal crumble topping for some, other had marzipan stars to top them.

All together quite satisfying and the ones that didn't quite make it ... enjoyed as a late night snack. Have you managed to fit in any festive baking?

Enjoy your baking if you are doing any,
Dee ~♥~

Happy Winter Solstice day

Today, 22nd December 2011, marks the Winter Solstice in the UK.

It is a day when we can look forward to the days gradually lengthening again & it marks another time in our Winter.

The Pagan symbols associated with this time are all in our Christian traditions - The Holly & the Ivy & Mistletoe ....

Our fresh green wreaths & garlands were made earlier in the month at home, with a bunch of Mistletoe going up this week.  Christmas preparations are in full swing now - hope yours are going well too.

Thanks for stopping by
Dee ♥

Monday, 19 December 2011

Cooking for Christmas

There is just so much inspiration everywhere - the TV is full of chefs rolling out amazing meals that leave one ... exhausted just looking at it!!

Master Chef, the professionals - was amazing but not the sort of thing us mere mortals would tackle; little sign of traditional food that we are comfortable cooking.

So today is time to put in the last order at our amazing local farm shop & to do more than just look at the pictures in this stunning book.

What is on your Christmas menu?  Are you inspired by all the TV chefs or are you sticking with tried & tested favourites?

Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Citrus at Christmas

The bright citrus colours & fruits just seem to be so 'right' at Christmas and we always love to have some in bowls about the house to nibble on when a vitamin C fix is needed or to add to G & T's ....

Somehow ours seems to last better in the cooler conservatory so that is where they brighten up the table.

Do you have them in for the festive season? 
Dee ♥

A pair of Holly Trees

The lovely daughters have sent a pair of Holly trees as an anniversary gift. They look just stunning with all our Christmas things & seem quite happy *fingers crossed* in the cooler conservatory.

They will stay indoors until the Spring when they will be potted into large planters for outdoors.

A most welcome surprise ♥ and they look just lovely with all our festive things.

Dee ~♥~

Monday, 12 December 2011

Christmas is coming ....

At last it is beginning to feel like Christmas - tree is up & it is time to write some cards.

I always find it difficult to focus on the cards with all the other distractions so this morning it is a slice of homemade banana bread & some mince pies (exchanged for banana bread) to get me going.

Have you written yours yet?