Tuesday, 1 January 2013

❆❆❆ Christmas 2012 ❆❆❆

Christmas 2012... well it's typical of me that while everyone else is writing their synopsis of 2012, and wishing Happy New Year, I'm just getting around to telling you about December and Christmas! I guess it's better late than never. Well I hope so anyway. 
 I really had been looking forward to Christmas for what felt like forever and it has gone by in a flash. I always feel sad when it's over but I am still enjoying spending these relaxing days with my little family. So here's what we've been up to...
We got our tree on Friday 30th November, ready to decorate in time for the 1st of December. It's a Fraser Fir, my all time favourite type of Christmas tree. It was a little more difficult this year as one of us had to run distraction with Little R while the other one tried to put on the lights and then the decorations. I used to be a rather fussy Miss when it came to the fairy lights, well I mean D used to put them on and I used to observe and give rather strict directions and oh how times have changed, I'm just so happy to get the tree up and I just give D free reign with the lights, what's the point in stressing? Right? Well I don't have time anymore, Little R and bump are keeping me rather busy and I don't imagine that changing any time soon! So D does the lights (and did a good job too) and then I did the decorations and Little R amused us greatly, it was a lot of fun. We have mainly red and white decorations, not to follow any trends or fashion, it's just what I like. So here's what it looked like...
I treated myself to a little Christmas purchase... well it felt like rather an extravagant purchase... an Emma Bridgewater Joy plate. Some people are able to furnish their kitchen crockery entirely out of Emma Bridgewater which does amaze me slightly so I was more than happy to be able to invest in the little plate. I really wanted it to start our own wee tradition and use it as our plate to leave out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve and that's what we did this year. It was such fun!
December has been a very busy month as amongst other things I filled the advent calendar with lots of fun things to do. One thing I was desperate to do was to visit the christmas display at a local garden centre. It was such an amazing place. There were animatronic Santas everywhere. Little R loved it and to top it off there were little trains hidden all about the place and as he is already a train fanatic this definitely was a hit for him.

The next adventure was to visit the local farm. At Christmas they take you on a tractor ride and one of Santa's elves reads a story on the way. When the tractor stops you take a walk to a field where the reindeer live and then to get to feed them... super duper. Little R had sooo much fun at this, not to mention his Mummy & Daddy & Granda. After feeding the reindeer carrots we went to Santa's workshop and made a little bag of reindeer food to take home and to leave out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. And then we got to meet Santa... I was worried that Little R wouldn't like that part but he was great and Santa was too. 
Haha the next job was to make some gingerbread men. I really wanted Little R to help but he's still a little too young for this to hold his attention so I just made them myself. I'm hoping in years to come he will help me because I'd much rather do it with him. This story has rather a tragic end to it as the gingerbread men didn't live for very long... 
My two little dachshunds helped themselves to the gingerbread men on the tree. I don't think you can really comprehend what a feat this is because they are only little doggies and they reached the highest man close to the top of the tree. Look at the two little monsters, don't they look like butter wouldn't melt! Well it turns out they are rather fond of gingerbread!  
In December I also finished work and started maternity leave. I am so very thankful to be off work because it was really exhausting in the last month. I gave my all in work because it's so busy and then I was fairly useless by the time I got home and Little R is so energetic so I had to go to bed when he did! Ah at least it's the winter and it's dark outside at 8pm, worse having to go to bed at 8pm when the sun is shining and children are still playing outside! Anyway my last week was particularly exhausting, no wind down for me I can tell you, so when I left work on my last day I arrived home to a lovely hot bath, with a new christmas magazine, some lovely treats, new christmas pyjamas (which did actually fit over the bump!) and candles everywhere. I felt extremely lucky, overwhelmed and very emotional. D finds it difficult to surprise me and this time was no different, I was particularly difficult, I won't go into it but I'll just say that after all D's attempts he had to march me up to the bathroom to reveal my surprise... oh dear I am hard work at times!! Anyway it was such a lovely treat for which I'm very, very, extremely grateful.
A job I really love in December is wrapping presents! I had decided what design I was going to use in about September - brown paper, red and white butchers twine, a handmade label (bought from ebay - someday I will make my own) and some festive washi tape. Oh I had such fun wrapping these presents. Without blowing my own trumpet I just thought they looked beautiful. Sadly most presents go to children who this pretty wrapping is wasted on but hey I had fun doing it so it was worth it in my book. I just love when presents go under the tree, makes it look more festive. Also D moans for days when there are no presents so it's worth it just to make him happy to - he appreciated my efforts which makes me happy too.

I did some crafting in December too. I made some salt dough decorations which I sadly don't have a picture of but my favourite was the one with Little R's handprint. I painted it white and sprinkled sparkly glitter on it. I really wish I had done it last year to capture his first christmas but sadly I wasn't really on the ball, oh well. Another craft I just had to do was to make Little R his own Christmas Stocking. My word, I made rather a meal out of this job because it took me about a whole week to draw out the stocking pattern. For some reason I didn't like any of the ones I found online and thought it best to draw one out myself, and finally I got it right (D teased me quite a lot about the huge mountain I was making out of this job!). I also made a right mountain out of picking the fabric, again D helped but teased me quite a lot. Anyway I'm super happy with the fabric I picked and decided to make the bump a stocking too (think I could be a bit busy next year!). I picked a fabric by Kate Spain which had two different colours in the range, complementary but different. I used this tutorial but used my own pattern. Then to personalise the stocking I added a white felt letter R to the band of the stocking, I think it looks the business and it was just the right size to fit all the treats from Father Christmas - stickers, clementine, crayons and other bits and bobs. I could have bought one but I just felt that this was something that I wanted to make for Little R myself so that he could have it forever and know that his Mummy made it with a lot of love. 
Christmas Day was sooo much fun. We had a little Elf outfit for Little R that I picked up from Sainsbury's as soon as Christmas things came into the shops. D wasn't keen on it when I bought it but he absolutely loved it the moment Little R put it on, on Christmas Eve. I just love the photo of him under the tree as I think it captures our Christmas perfectly. We opened the stocking in bed as Little R likes to get up pretty early so we did this bit in bed before we ventured downstairs to see what Santa had left. We didn't I mean Santa didn't go overboard as we think Little R is still a little young so he got a little piano, books and a shopping trolley (he loves running about with his cousins so we thought, why not? Plus we're getting him a little teaset for his birthday, I'm not into gender stereotypes and he likes making 'cuppa tea' for us so again why not?). We knew that his uncles were going to get him train things as he is a train fanatic due to his Granda working for the railway so we left that to them, as you can see the train set is a hit!
After we opened presents we went out for a Christmas Day walk with the doggies. It was a lovely day, dry and bright and not too cold but cold and damp enough for me to enjoy my presents. D & Little R got me some absolutely B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L wellies, complete with wellie warmers (I have never had any of these before but seriously why not, they keep your toes super toasty!) and wrist warmers all from Joules. I love the bottom photo because it looks like Little R and I have fallen out but we were just having a little rest and Little R is swinging his feet and chatting merrily, tooooo cute. I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the doggies but they were enjoying their walk too much to stay still... they haven't been out for a proper walk in weeks so they didn't stay still for too long!

After our Christmas Day walk we had some lunch and then Little R & I went off for our nap. Dinner was all prepped and it was time to relax. My brother joined us for dinner so it was just the four of us. We had to wait for dinner as my brother had to work for a few hours on Christmas day so by the time he finished Little R were up from our nap and it was time to get the dinner on and have our starter. We had smoked salmon bellinis and prawns with chilli, garlic and ginger on toasted ciabatta. These went down a treat, the prawns were specifically requested by D and he enjoyed them very much. Then the main course was Roast Beef. I absolutely love taking photos of food and nice dinners. I was a little worried that people in blogland might think this was slightly insane but I'm very happy to say that I have seen many people posting pictures of their Christmas dinners and this made me smile. So dinner was Roast Beef (just didn't fancy turkey), mash and roast spuds, cauliflower cheese (a christmas must in my family), roast carrots & parsnips, roast onions, stuffing, brussel sprouts and lashing of gravy (we are also gravy nuts in my family and I'm very slowly and steadily turning D into a gravy nut too, well it's been 16 years and he isn't quite as mental as my family are which means more gravy for us, but he's nearly there!!). I love decorating the table at Christmas but I went for understated this year, I left my new table cloth do the work... red and white polka dot oilcloth. Dessert was unphotographed but absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. My brother doesn't really bake but took on the challenge for Christmas. I must admit I was a little apprehensive but I need not have been for he made one of the best desserts I've ever had - Chocolate Roulade with spiced winter berries. Yummy Scrummy. After Little R went to bed the three of us played scrabble and went to bed very happy at having such a relaxing and wonderful Christmas day in great company. 

Mostly over December and Christmas we have been doing a lot of this... Little R and I have been napping together most days since I have been off work, I don't seem to have much stamina at 8 months pregnant so I'm enjoying relaxing with him (although I'm slightly worried that I am creating bad habits). And then when he goes to bed in the evening I have been going to bed too and reading my christmas magazines (with a little treat or two! A chip shop from my home town does the most amazing ice-cream with melted marshmallow, D has been kind enough to pick me up some and bring it 30 miles in a cool bag! Normally I couldn't eat too much of it but I have a seriously sweet pregnancy related tooth!). I have only just discovered the joy of Country Living... it's so beautiful but I don't want to get too hooked as it also makes me quiet envious of the owners... think I might save it as my Christmas treat!

We have also watched The Snowman about 100 times since the beginning of December, Little R absolutely loves it. We get requests for "Snowman, Boy" at least a couple of times a day and we fell in love with the new animation The Snowman and the Snowdog (I almost cried my eyes out watching it for the first time on Christmas Eve). So now we get requests for "Snowman, Boy, Dog", ahh it melts my heart. 
Artwork courtesy of D and sketch pad courtesy of Granda.

So I'll leave you with a snap shot of a December day in my family, enjoying time together, a little glimpse of the advent calendar (never really got a good enough photo of it to show you but we loved using it), Little R nibbling on a gingerbread man I didn't put on the tree (one of the few), the doggies getting a little couch time (they aren't really allowed up anymore due to Little R and the new baby on the way, but hey it's Christmas) and our Christmas hats (I forgot to wear my antlers).

I hope you had a very lovely Christmas and I hope that 2013 has lots of amazing things in store for you. Thanks for reading, following, commenting and for making this blogging malarky a world of fun.


Helen xx


  1. Hi Helen,I loved catching up with Your Christmas,it all looks truly special,especially little elf ,such a cutie.
    Wishing You all a happy and healthy New Year. Enjoy all the sleep You can get :o)
    take care,love julieXxXx

    1. Thank you Julie, your comments always keep me going.

      Happy New Year to you and your brood!

      Helen xx

  2. Hello Helen - I've come over from Heather's blog to visit for the first time....I see you've been walking in the grounds of Stormont.....I'm from Cookstown.
    Lovely to read your Christmas blog - you must be a trained typist (or is it keyboard operator now?) else you wouldn't have typed so much...I enjoyed every word.
    My best wishes for a great 2013 and for the forthcoming new arrival.
    (sorry my blog is out of date - time needed!)

    1. Hi Joyce,

      Thanks for the lovely comment. I am always so thrilled to see Northern Irish bloggers, just feels very exciting to me. I know it's hard to get time on the blog but I'll follow you anyway to see when you next get the time to post.

      I wrote the text in two takes, started last night, got too tired went to bed, then picked it up again today when D and Little R were out visiting friends. I wrote a PhD a few years ago and developed the typing skills then I think! But your comment about typing made me laugh, I think I am slightly nuts to be fair!

      Thanks again and Happy new Year to you!

      Helen xx

  3. What a lovely Christmas post, Helen! Everything good in there and memories for years to come in the making, I bet! I did smile at you having to be marched upstairs to your surprise! What a wonderful treat! I have to confess though, that I too am a) difficult to surprise and b) I also have very strict views about the distribution of fairy lights!! Your pics are wonderful and little R looks so happy - fab! And yes, that stocking will now come out and be loved every year from here on in! Well done for making it on top of doing everything else! Happy New Year to you all, including the one who is still a bump just at the moment! E x

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks as always for your lovely comment. I enjoyed finally getting this blog post ready, I'm never organised enough to blog as I go along!

      Teehee I'm laughing at someone else who is hard to surprise.. we are difficult indeed.

      Loving your 12 days of Christmas, your writing is always very profound!

      Happy New Year to you and your family.

      Helen xx

  4. Gosh Helen ..... what a wonderful time you've been having! and many many congratulations on your bump, how exciting x
    love your stockings, clever you!
    love jooles x

  5. Helen!

    Best to you and your family in 2013!

    Shine on!


  6. What a lovely newsy post, your Christmas day sounded and looked lovely, yummy food, lovely decorations, the polka dot cloth just perfect. I like your plate for christmas eve too, it's nice to start your own family traditions isn't it? I would like to walk on Christmas day, but as there is always people champing at the bit to eat at lunch time, and me cooking, it never seems to happen, maybe one year.

    I didn't realise you were eight months along already, gosh, that has flown fast! How exciting!

    I know 2013 is goingto be an exciting and brilliant year for you and yours Helen, I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. Rest up and enjoy being spoilt by your boys.x

  7. What a fab post! Your littl eman is just the cutest elf I've seen :) I'm blogging down south in Limerick and love finding new blogs to read! *Happy New Year* from your newest follower Hazel x

    1. Oh and I've nominated you for a Liebster Award. If you would like to accept it, you can pop on over my way for the details. Hazel x

  8. Aaah! What a lovely post! Your tree looks beautiful - and so does your wrapping! :-)
    And that little elf! How cute!!!!!

  9. What a lovely Christmas and a very cute little elf ... thanks for popping by my blog ... lovely to 'meet' you ... Bee x

  10. Such a cheerful post, your pictures of your happy family time are really lovely! Thanks for visiting me!
    Wishing you a happy week!
    Helen x