Christmas, food and all the bits that go with it!

Each year I buy a tonne of Christmas magazines. You know which magazines I’m talking about… the ones that promise you the perfect Christmas. Well, I’ve done it again, spent a small fortune on magazines that will somehow take me to the holy grail of Christmas perfection.

Presents under the tree

Inside they are filled with perfect images of the perfect décor scheme, the perfect Christmas tree, the perfect Christmas countdown, the perfect Christmas family crafts to make, the perfect Christmas menu, the perfect Christmas collection of drinks, the perfect Christmas gift list and it goes on… I love the idea of getting perfection at Christmas but the reality is far from it.

Food

I’m an awful cook, and I don’t know much about putting the perfect scheme together, but I do know I have an amazing family and I love doing our silly Christmas stuff together. So what if I over cook the sprouts and burn the turkey a little, we are still alive and we can laugh about it and that’s what is important to me. Enjoying the time we have together, being silly and doing daft things. So yes, I would love the perfect everything at Christmas but sometimes perfection isn’t really what we need, what we need is for things to just be a little bit okay.

Hubby and I have the same conversation each year about what we are going to cook on Christmas day. We peruse the magazines with the aim of identifying a really first class menu for the day, but after looking at a lot of the ideas and images we come to the conclusion that we wouldn’t eat most of it and it’s all a bit too fancy. We’re simple folk and like old fashioned, simple, hearty food. So we end up doing a more traditional meal of turkey, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, veggies including one or two Brussel sprouts even though there are only two of us in the family that will eat them, gravy, cranberry sauce (although hubby puts mint sauce on his instead of cranberry as he’s a fussy one!), pigs in blankets and occasionally a Yorkshire pudding if we do beef instead. We don’t normally have a Christmas pudding as I’m the only one who’ll eat it, and we often don’t have room anyway! We might get in a cheesecake or something simple just in case.

There are always mince pies in the house, as the kids merrily munch their way through them, and we always have the kid’s version of a trifle, minus the sponge fingers, custard and cream. Yes, I know it’s just jelly, humour me will you?

I did find a fabulous recipe for a Gingerbread Soufflé which I’d like to try, never baked a soufflé and I’m sure it will sink in the middle but I might just have a go at it. Recipe can be found here if you’d like to try it for yourself https://www.yourhomestyle.uk/recipes/desserts/hot-gingerbread-souffle/

I have had a request from hubby to get in some stinky cheese (Stilton fyi) and some cheddars too, which is fine as both the children and I like to have crackers with cheese (although not stinky cheese!). It’s nice to have something different other than the usual chocolate and sweets that are usually abundant at this time of year. I confess to not buying tins of sweets for us at home, we do buy for others, but we usually get given plenty as gifts from friends and family. Oh, and I’m aiming to get hubs a Colin the Caterpillar Advent Calendar this year as he’s been hinting at it for ages! Although it’ll probably be sold out by the time I get to buy one!

Drinks

My kids love their hot chocolate, squirty cream and marshmallows, so much in fact, that we’ve had to cut them down on it to once a week as they were getting into the habit of having one several times during the week. They’ll get a few more this Christmas though as they like to prepare it all. There’s something about giggles when they’re using squirty cream, they sneak a squirt directly in their mouths too! Grim monsters 🤣.

There’s lots of ideas for the perfect Christmas cocktail, I’d love to try some but I have to admit I usually just end up with a G&T with a citrus twist for my tipple of choice and we usually have bucks fizz or prosecco for Christmas lunch. It’s all a bit of a faff, and takes up too much space on the sideboard, plus there’s always the risk something will get knocked off the side with us being quite a clumsy family. I do like the idea of all the loveliness of a cocktail trolley, just not sure it would work in practice.

Decor

I mentioned in the last post about our Christmas decor this year and pointed out some of the trends and how we tweaked the latest trends to suit us. I also mentioned I would be attempting to dig out the deccies from the garage. That has and hasn’t happened. What? I see that confused look on your face. I know. I only managed to get in the garage the day hubby left for work abroad, very much last minute too! So, this meant I didn’t have the manpower to help with the lifting and ‘getting of things up high’, with me being a shortie and all that. I ended up just getting the kids Christmas trees and their box of decorations as they were easy to hand and it meant that at least they got to do some decorating for Christmas. We can wait until Dad comes home and get at least one family tree up before the big day. I’m not bothering with outdoor decorations this year, we haven’t the time to put any up really.

Outfit selection?

So each year I say to myself “right time to really snazz it up this year”, meaning in Becky speak time to find an outfit that’s all sparkly and christmassy. The reality of this is a pair of loose fitting trousers and a top without fail every year. It is essential for the consumption of all of the mince pies!

I did attempt a sequin outfit once, I scoured Pinterest for ideas and identified a really great looking outfit. Sequin skirt, top and shoes. Fab. Well I attempted it. Slippers instead of shoes as we don’t wear shoes in the house. Family trait I’m afraid. Never can see the joy in dragging outside dirt in on carpets and flooring, especially when dogs and people might have peed on the pavement, or spat on the pavement, anyone whose worked in the city will know what I’m on about. And whilst were on the matter why do people feel the need to put their feet up on public transport seats, dirt on clean clothes, really! It’s unhygienic enough when the ‘boys’ in the house miss the toilet seat (mums of boys will know exactly what I mean here!), I certainly don’t want anyone elses ‘ickiness’ in my house or on my clothes if I can help it.

Anyway, I digress, so sequins were donned, and a white top with a cardi to top it off. It looked awful, the skirt showed my massive mum tum and teamed with dark nora batty wrinkly tights (only those of a certain age may get this), the top was a ill fitting and the cardi just didn’t cut it! I looked like a granny gone wrong. I knew as soon as I donned the outfit it was just wrong, so took a pic to prove how bloody awful it was and immediately went to the backup outfit of loose trousers and top! Failsafe, not attractive or particularly stylish but great for slobbing out after Christmas lunch.

Lesson learned. The Pinterest image I found was the look I was going for but I completely misinterpreted the outfit. In the image I found the individual had on knee high boots in black, gold sequin skirt (similar to mine) and a black polo neck top. She was also very slim and as I mentioned in a previous post it’s hard to find images of plus sizers in the type of outfits I like. It’s a learning process and I know what went wrong which is a good thing to come from it. And you get to have a good laugh at my awful choice in footwear!

I still have the skirt even after a couple of years, It’s in the pile of ‘not sure abouts’. It may go to the charity shop, or someone I know might benefit from it. I may be able to make it work with skin colour tights, and keep the outfit light but I may just give up and use the darker sequin skirt instead. I can see how unflattering the skirt is it just highlights the mum tum too much.

So, I’ll be revising my wardrobe choices this year and maybe, just maybe, might don something a little more jingly this year. Funny Christmas jumpers anyone? 😁

Let me know in the comments below or over on the facebook page if you’re planning on donning a fancy Christmas Jumper x

Whatever your choice of food, tipple or outfit this Christmas, I hope you enjoy it.

Decorate to your heart’s content and cherish the moments you have with loved ones.

I will try to post again before Christmas, but until now, take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

Christmas decor trends in our house

And other Christmassy things!

With the month of December almost upon us, some of us may be thinking about digging out the well-worn and much loved decorations and dusting off the tinsel. Yes, it’s that time of year again.

I feel I can mention the C word (No not the really rude one! That’s just wrong!), as it’s almost December and only a few more weeks to go before we all start to overindulge and go into overdrive at how much we’ve spent… really? That much… again! But I budgeted this year! You know the drill.

I’m planning on fighting my way into the garage this weekend hopefully and will drag what I can out and see what is still useable. Much of our tat has been about for years and is looking a little beyond its best. But, sometimes that’s the way I like it. It means it has a story to tell, it’s seen a few Christmases and many changes along the way.

I am trying to be a little more eco-friendly and using what we have rather than buying new. I am using a fake tree – I would love a real tree, and have had a few in the past, but if I’m honest the fake ones we have will have already had their carbon footprint and it would seem such a waste if we binned them. They are a few years old so I’m hoping to keep them in good condition for as long as possible to minimise the damage they would and have done. They were expensive in the first place and are good quality so I’ll continue to use them for as long as I can. It’s better not to cut a tree down anyway, much better to have a potted one and grow it on – there’s lots of schemes out there where you can buy potted trees and when they get too big or after 7 years (assuming they are still alive) then they can go back to the supplier to be planted in the ground and you then start the cycle again. Cutting a tree down doesn’t always mean eco.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

What are the Christmas Trends for this year?

What I do try to do each year is see how the Christmas trends pan out and identify what is predicted for the year and use what I already have in storage and adapt it to suit. Looking at the predicted trends and what has been in the shops for what seems an age now, I know we have quite a few items that I can use this year. I’m not a minimalist when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree. I go for the more is more approach. I like it stuffed full of baubles, silly decorations and of course family heirlooms. This goes against the grain of the less is more trend some have predicted, a more stripped back approach for this year it seems.

The rustic, handcrafted trend is very much in this year, so of your love crafting little handmade gems will come in handy this year if you’re big on handmade. If you’re not a crafter you can still get the look but you’ll have to buy it and there are some super glamorous decorations out there, albeit made with more natural materials such as wood and berries!

There’s also a love of all things DIY still and this means plenty of garlands with dried fruit and foliage, going au naturel. I think the idea behind the DIY trend is due to last year 2020 being a year where we couldn’t see family and friends and do the ‘group’ activities we perhaps might normally have done and so this is a symbol of a new normal and getting back to some of the fun times we may have had in past Christmases.

I have to admit to failing at setting a perfect table display in our house. We have a small, tatty old table that fits the four of us and not much else. We have been meaning to invest in a bigger one but just never got round to it. We’ll probably look to getting a new one next year, we’ve so much on at the moment we just don’t have the time to go furniture shopping. So, I usually keep it simple with our nice John Lewis white crockery and our posh Oneida cutlery set (the stuff that only comes out for special occasions, I’m too clumsy to use it everyday!). I use a simple tablecloth and runner just to make it look a little more festive but that’s about it really. I dream of a huge table with lots of room to create a really elaborate display. I have a friend who puts on the most amazing table displays when she holds her dinner parties, and I’m sure Christmas is no different at her house, she puts so much thought into everything from the wine to the food to the decor. I would love to be able to do such things I admit, but we just don’t live that lifestyle. We are simple folk and rarely have guests over.

It looks like the colour trends are following clothing colours at this time of year, lots of burnished berry tones and natural earthy muted tones paired with gold and bronze. These are many of the colours I use each year anyway, and as we have a huge amount of decorations (7 Christmas trees, yes, you read correctly, 7!) this will not be hard for me to put together a scheme. I try to vary the colour schemes each year although clearly I can’t use colour schemes that will clash with the current wall colours or any of the permanent colour schemes in the house, but I do like to harmonise as best I can. I do let the kids go wild with their trees though, as kids should be allowed to be creative in my view.

Photo by Todd Trapani on Pexels.com

What else will I be doing?

I will be using my new anniversary/Christmas gift mixer this christmas to make some cookies and I think I will get the kids to decorate them, they can use their imaginations, you never now we may end up with another day glo colour on the cookies (long story, for another time maybe). We will probably put a few in for close friends and family presents and also for just munching whilst watching cheesy Christmas movies.

Talking of movies, there are a few films we always watch at Christmas, we were put off last year as I don’t remember Die Hard being on mainstream telly. Christmas isn’t Christmas without Die Hard! I did watch Love Actually though which is also on my list of must see Christmas Movies. What’s your favourite CHristmas movie? Here’s a list of mine, in no particular order:

  • The Holiday
  • Love Actually
  • Last Christmas
  • Lethal Weapon 1987
  • Ghostbusters 1989
  • Gremlins
  • White Christmas 1954
  • Die Hard
  • Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Bridget Jones Diary
  • Bad Santa
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Deck the Halls
  • Jingle All the Way
  • Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2

I’ve quite possibly already peaked on the Christmas movies front as there are loads on daily at the moment and I dip in and out occasionally. If I peak too early I get a bit Bah Humbug, but I’m slowly starting to get into the spirit of things. We popped into a garden centre the other day on our travels and I was getting more enthused by the decorations as I was walking round. I did almost buy something but decided I probably wouldn’t have enough room in the boot along with the luggage from our weekend at the folks!

We booked the Panto this year too. The kids haven’t been to the panto and we were looking at perhaps booking The Play That Goes Wrong, but after the kids watching it over and over on iPlayer I’m all ‘The Play That Goes Wrong-ed out!’ We are really looking forward to spending some quality family time together with a few big belly laughs along the way. He’s behind you… Oh no he’s not!

We are not expecting any visitors to ours this year, although my parents do pop over for boxing day occasionally. We will do the trip to see the kids grandparents down South of which we all thoroughly enjoy visiting. We will take the bigger car this time, it’s got a bigger boot. I need say no more 🤣. It may all be a little different this year all depending on my mum’s recovery from her big operation. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make it to ours as I really enjoy having them both over. I’m lucky to have both my parents still around and hope it stays that way for a long time. It must be hard for some who’ve lost parents, especially if they have lost them recently or if they had a particularly close relationship with them. My heart goes out to you if this is you, you never forget them. This time of year can be tough for many and my thoughts are with them.

The light show!

Every year hubby usually does a big light display in both front and back gardens for the kids but the past couple of years has toned it down considerably. When we used to live at our old house the lights were really bright and you could see them from the car park at the back of the house, I have to say the garden glowed! This year with all the things we have on we won’t have time for a big display so will keep it simple and pop up a couple of strings of lights in the garden. It’s just time that is keeping us from doing a big display. It takes a whole weekend to sort it all out. Time we don’t have free this year. It seems to have come around so fast.

Are you doing anything special for Christmas? Comment or visit us on the facebook page, I’d love to know what you are up to this Christmas.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks Xo

Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Love it or hate it you can’t escape it. with just less than two weeks to go it really is upon us.

Collage of our Christmas trees, image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Everyone who knows me will know I really do enjoy Christmas. I usually have a bit of Christmas burn out mid November as I’ve binged out on Christmas films by then, but bounce back within a week full of plans and gusto on where to put the tree and which colour scheme are we going for this year, which to be fair is a no brainer in the living room as we always have a tree covered in warm soft white lights, soft toy decorations, handmade delights and family heirlooms (or soon to be family heirlooms!). Thankfully my daily décor in the room is usually neutral enough to handle the red, white and greyish Christmas theme I go for, although I’m glad we went with the box green on the walls this time it really makes the Christmas decorations sing this year!

Last year we had a green, pink and purple in the kitchen/diner as we had some funky Orla Kiely style print curtains with a purple and green colourway, but this year its changed a little as we have a navy and blush pink colour scheme. I let the kids go wild on the tree in the diner as we have loads of baubles and I wanted them to feel it was their tree, despite them always being involved in the family tree decorating in the living room. So this year its a pink and purple colourway with the odd bit of blue tinsel and a few blue baubles placed several to a branch, mostly at kid height! I resisted the urge to remodel their efforts. Ok… I admit I let it go for a couple of days and then did a slight bit of rearranging. Only a little bit though, in my defence there were eight baubles on one branch and the tree was starting to lean a little!

I didn’t get as enthusiastic this year as I normally do. Maybe it’s the general ‘feel’ of this year, but I have felt a little ‘un-Christmassy’ on occasion, that’s not to say I’m completely Bah Humbug, just a touch here and there. What I am aware of is that not everyone is happy about Christmas and the pressures and expectations that are pushed onto us this time of the year. It’s not just this year either. For some the pressures and expectations for us all to be the perfect family, have the perfect time, spend vast amounts of money we may not have, cook the perfect meal, panic buying the perfect present, dealing with crowds of people in shops that we really don’t want to be in but can’t justify giving our money to conglomerates like Amazon (I’ve nowt against them for the odd item or two but would rather shop small and local if possible). The constant pressure from Instagram feeds where the perfect Christmas décor starts way back in September so by the time Christmas arrives it’s already become a pressure cooker of emotions and stress. I used to really like Instagram but sadly there are just too many fakers out there making ordinary lives a nightmare.

For some the sheer thought of having to put on a brave face for others is exhausting, leaving them hiding away from the season completely. There may be many reasons why Christmas can leave a bitter taste in the mouth and sprouts aren’t necessarily guilty! For those who have had a bereavement at this time of year they are reminded of it at every step. I can’t imagine what they must be having to do to keep it all together. We shouldn’t judge others for not perhaps enjoying Christmas as much as us. Just like anything we don’t know their story, or what their reasoning is. We are all individuals and need to be supported.

We also need to remember that not all religions celebrate this time of year the way Christians do. I’m not a particularly religious person I’ll admit but I still like to celebrate Christmas in my own little way. I have Muslim friends who put up a tree and give presents and send cards as they like to reciprocate at this time of the year.

So whether you enjoy this time of year or not, it doesn’t matter. You are you, I am me and we may chose to celebrate or not in our different ways.

I’m off to do some wonderfully lovingly made crafts to give as gifts… er… no I’m not. I’m off to buy someone else’s beautifully crafted items 😉

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

xo

There I go again, pondering life…

And it’s little amusements. I have to admit the first bit of my post title gave me an ear worm I can’t shift! Hint: A popular Whitesnake song!!!

I haven’t posted for an age, I’m super busy and it seems as though I have few hours left in the day to do anything these days! To be fair there hasn’t been much going on to write about. The kids seem to have more and more school work to do lately so they’ve been grabbing the laptop whenever they can which leaves me stuck as the old laptop is on it’s last legs – it is eleven years old though!!!

I’ve been pondering a lot but haven’t come up with many answers to any of them 🤣.

Work has been going quite well, it suits me as it fits in with the school day and to be honest apart from ESL barriers it’s fun. I have some great kids in my lovely small classes, even though I have to teach three different classes in one which is a challenge, but, yes overall I’d say its fun. I’m waiting for the school to dot the i’s and cross the t’s and I’ll be a member of their staff as a contractor not through an umbrella company. Keeping fingers crossed the agency doesn’t charge the school too much to release me otherwise it’ll go tits up lol. It’s nice to be able to plan a little bit more financially for the upcoming Christmas season and hopefully a bit more beyond that too. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

We’re back in another lock down, but this time the kids are still in school and so am I. Hubby is working all over the place at the moment so can’t see him being one of the working from home crew this time round. I’m not dreading this lock down so much as it’s not as long or as harsh I don’t think. Although that said if it does carry on longer than anticipated my views may change. Christmas is only seven-ish weeks away and a lock down Christmas isn’t what I’m looking forward to. I need to get planning as I haven’t bought any presents yet! I know, I’m such a bad mother! I get told I hate you mum/I love you mum every day and not even presents at Christmas will change the kids views – 🤣🤣🤣

I’m so not prepared for Christmas. One of my lovely neighbours is completely bonkers and has hers up already! I’ve told her it’s too early and she’s too enthusiastic. Food and wine were used as an excuse when she replied back! I couldn’t quite muster up her enthusiasm so instead of putting our decorations up I decided that we would tick off another of our jobs to do on the ever expanding list – decorating the living room after having lived with the dull grey for almost three years. To be fair it was only supposed to be a stop gap but we have had so much to do to the house it just got put to one side. I know people love Mrs Hinches grey home and have tried to decorate theirs in the same colour scheme but ours was so disjointed and soulless I couldn’t take it any more. Crown paints were perused and a colour from their Period colours range was chosen. Box Tree is so much more ‘hygge’ or ‘gezellig’ as my Swedish and Dutch friends would say.

Work in progress – part 1. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020
Work in progress – part 2. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

You can see I live in a house full of chaos and clutter. It drives us all mad but I guess we’ll never change. I might have to do some more reading up on decluttering and training hubby’s and kids to put things away!

Work in progress – part 3, almost finished. Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

As you can see from the images there’s still a little bit left to do but it’s much more cosy and liveable now. I still have a new carpet to buy and get fitted, I need to get some better lighting in the room along with some nice new cushion covers. Oh, and I forgot, we need some picture frames to put up on the wall as the old ones just fell apart. I’m sure there will be lots of other things we need to get to ‘dress’ the room but as long as the hubby doesn’t say another bigger telly he’ll live 🤦‍♀️.

When we first moved in! Image owned by Rebecca Palmer 2020

Do you like the lovely 1980’s wallpaper and aren’t those wall lights just lush!? This is what we moved to just over three years ago. The whole of the house hadn’t changed since it was built and decorated in 1982. Everything was circa 1982 – the old kitchen still had the date on the carcasses.

It’s not just the living room we’ve been finishing off. The kitchen has had few extras added to it but still isn’t quite done yet. We decided to buy some new posh curtains for the large window we have in the dining area and as we have a dark blue, cream and blush pink colour scheme we chose Orla Kiely Whale print in Navy. They haven’t arrived yet so I can’t post a picture just now, but I will when I get them up. Our picture wall is looking better, although we need to change a couple of pictures as there were a couple of temporary ones that don’t quite ‘go’ but all in good time.

There’s plenty more to do, including finding a space for our slightly more compact tumble dryer that we ended up having to buy even though we have a washer/dryer it just wasn’t enough with the amount of washing we were piling up. Honestly, it seems as though I’m washing for an army the amount we have. There’s only four of us! The new dryer is quite noisy despite being a quieter model so I definitely need to put it somewhere I can hide it and the noise.

My list isn’t getting any shorter, and the slow cooker has been bubbling fiercely for a while now, so I’ll sign off. Hope you’ve enjoyed a sneaky peek at our hard work. Maybe it’s inspired you to tick one or two things off your own list.

Take care, stay safe.

Becks

Xo.

Who let the dogs out?

Woof, Woof, Woof, Woof

Now there’s an ear worm you aren’t going to get rid of in a hurry!

So we all know lock down has been a little strange, but for me there has been one event that stands out in my head and I just have to share it with you.

I was planning to redecorate my downstairs washroom, as Hyacinth Bucket would refer to it, as we’ve been here a couple of years and it’s been on the list of to do’s – you know that list? The one that just keeps getting longer and longer and when you’ve ticked one thing off another five have since been added…

Anyway I digress slightly…

So, I collect my tools, get the bucket of paste and paper ready. I’m one that likes to get everything organised and have a clear space to work in, unlike my lovely hubby who works around things in a space and moves it all as he goes along – drives me slightly crazy at times but they do say opposites attract. After having done all this I decide to go and make a cuppa and grab a biscuit, oops there goes the healthy eating regime. Anyhow, after having a little break and getting side tracked a little, it was half an hour later, I come back to find everything gone!

Yes, I mean everything! Weird. So I call up to hubby, “any idea where the decorating stuff I put ready is, hun?”, “yep, up here” he answers, to which I reply “eh?”.

So I trot upstairs. Alright, maybe not trot up so much, especially with all the Covid calories I’ve been consuming on board, but you get the gist. What do I find when I get upstairs? Hubby has started putting up the wallpaper in our bedroom.

“This is not something unusual” I hear you say. Well, think again. I am now calling this my husband’s mid-life crisis wallpaper you’ll see what I mean by the pictures below.

So there goes my dream of a refined, sophisticated, relaxing and grown up bedroom, with lovely Joules bed linen and sophisticated accessories. I’m now sharing it with… Well… Take a look…

To be honest with you I am very grateful for hubby for doing the hard work as wallpapering isn’t one of my favourite jobs to do, along with painting and housework. I’ve just had a eureka moment and been inspired to do a post on the lazy girls guide to housework… Yes, I’m essentially quite lazy and would do nowt all day if I could except sip Gin and bask in the sun! And in my dreams this is happening. I applaud hubby’s enthusiasm for doing a job that he professes to dislike, and he did a bloody good job of it!

I’m sure it won’t be up for too long, so I can live without my super grown up boudoir for a little while. At least it makes us smile when we look at it even if it may not make for a super relaxing sleep!

So, lovely readers out there, don’t leave your decorating kit whilst you have a naughty biscuit break or you may just face a decorating surprise…

Oh, and if you were wondering this is more what I envisioned for the bedroom. I’m wondering if its ever meant to be?

Photo by julie aagaard on Pexels.com

Have you ever experienced a ‘midlife crisis’ moment?

Comment below 😉

Take care, stay safe

Becks xo