My kind of Christmas

Christmas drnks

Hello all – just a quick check in. Hoping that you have managed to find some time over the weekend to relax and enjoy the festivities? Ours was a busy one. Because Christmas Day fell when it did, it meant the Hub had quite a bit of time off. Normally he’d work until lunch on Christmas Eve and then be back in the car for the day after Boxing Day. As it happens, he worked one hour on Christmas Eve, then we went over to Cirencester for a last-minute wander round the shops and a chance to try to feel a bit more festive. Child No1 said this year is the least festive she has felt – I think it’s the weather that’s robbed us of a that extra special festive oomph! But, with Michael Buble’s Christmas CD blaring out in the car, we did a good job of getting int he spirit on our day out! Continue reading

In defence of the Christmas Card

So, the Christmas card is apparently falling out of fashion…? Instead people are preferring the seemingly soul-less social media festive greeting or a pre-Christmas text (sent to their entire address book). It got me thinking why… is it time? Cost? Apathy? A cultural shift? Well, let me, just for a while shout out for the humble Christmas card and fight it’s corner just for a moment…

One of the bonuses of working from home some of the week, is that I am here when the postman arrives. He’s nothing to look at and if I’m honest, I reckon we have a different postie everyday anyway. I rarely see him and when I do he always look different! When I was out at work everyday, I would come home to find that someone (normally the Hub) has collected the post from the doorstep and opened anything vaguely addressed to him. Which meant that I would be left with the junkmail/bank statements/bills! They’d be perched on the corner of the dining table, dropped there as he made his way through to the kitchen to grab some lunch and forgotten about. The thing is, I rarely got to open the ‘exciting’ post… the Christmas cards! Sometimes he would leave them propped open, but more often than not added to a pile on the side until I got round to putting them up – not realising who had sent us cards until it was too late to send one back in return…. Continue reading

The tunes have started…

Much as you want to, you now can’t avoid them… they’re everywhere – on TV adverts, in the shops, in the shopping arcades and even the BBC TV channel ident tunes have added some Christmas jingles to their normal offering, to make it more Christmasy! The festive songs and tunes have arrived…. and now, spending time in a radio station means I really can’t escape them! Thankfully, the presenters I have the pleasure of seeing and listening to, when I’m there have chosen to avoid the real clichéd tunes. They’ve opted for things like The Darkness (a great track and title!) and Coldplay’s Christmas Lights (this took the accolade of being the first Christmas tune I allowed to continue playing on the radio last week!)

I wrote a post last year in my daily Advent posts about whether Day 8 was too early for tunes… for some people I realised December 1st is too LATE, but there others, who like me (middle name Scrooge), prefer to wait a little longer. But as I said, unless I sit in the house with the lights off and the TV on mute, there’s no avoiding it now, so we might as well embrace it! My post last year here has some great links to YouTube videos for some of the tracks that I really never get sick of over Christmas! Do take a look – there are some great ones there (in my opinion!) and it does get you feeling festive!

Here’s a couple more for you, starting with Coldplay (easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen live) though never saw this one performed live! So I may be a little biased, but it’s a song that grows on you, I reckon!


This one – another offering from the lovely Michael Buble  – is a staple on our Christmas iTunes list. Talking of which, when we went away last year to North Wales, we took the iPod and loaded it with all our fave crimbo tunes, which we played non-stop all week! Over 120 tunes, from all sorts of artists! By the end of the week, even the Hub was craving a little bit of 80’s & 90’s nostalgia!

And how could I not include the old crooner himself… Bing and White Christmas… just perfect!

Have a great day!

MJ xx



It’s not quirky… it’s tradition..!

Funny what December does to people, isn’t it? We see the best and worst of people over the Christmas season and I find that fascinating. As I’ve mentioned before we’ve tried to get away over Christmas every couple of years and sometimes we’ve gone with family and other times, like last year, with friends. Sometimes, it’s just us… our little gang of four. But you know, they’ve all been brilliant times in brilliant locations and sometimes – as in North Wales in 2004, we’ve had snow ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!! Could it get any better?!

Capel Garmon, Christmas Day 2004

Capel Garmon, Christmas Day 2004

Having said in previous posts that I have mixed feelings about the build up to Christmas, I am a bit of a traditionalist in some ways when it comes to Christmas Day. If you think about ti, you take in adulthood some of the traditions you had a child and then bringing those into a relationship means combining two sets of family traditions and from there you kind of create your, unique, quirky take on ‘doing the Christmas thing’!! Continue reading

OK… I give in… 25 days to go!

Just a quick post today…. but I might be back later!

I was going through some of my old posts from last year and came across a few I wrote during Advent. So over the next few days I might redirect you to a couple of my favourites!

This one was written on the first day of Advent last year, with the intention of posting once a day. I’m not promising that this year, but I will try to post a few interesting Christmas related bits and bobs over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, having read the blog from last year, I can follow this up with another Christmas related read from the lovely Susan Buchanan. Her new book  Return of the Christmas Spirit has just been released and has shoulder barged its way up the reading list on my Kindle – it’s my next read, so I can’t give you a review…. yet! Mind you if it’s anything like her other books, it’ll be just the thing get you feeling festive, as the holidays approach!

Return of Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan

Return of Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan

Stand by for a new post on your Christmas traditions…. let me know about the little quirky traditions you and your family keep to every year.

Bye for now,

MJ xx

The BIG question… the one we dread!

What is the most difficult / heart breaking question a parent can be asked at this time of year….? While I’m not a parenting guru, I do happen to have 14 years experience (more than some people have in their careers and they call themselves experts?!) so let me shed some light on this tricky topic….

In trying to keep my promise to Child No1 about not banging on about how much I dislike aspects of this time of year, I’m currently searching for my festive Mojo! Yesterday I started the Christmas cards, having completed a therapeutic culling of the list a few days ago! And I even started buying a few little gifts on my weekly shops. I also found this cute little shop on my occasional foray into Summertown, when I’m up in Oxford – a new shop, run by a delightful couple selling trinkets and gifts which would be fab for Christmas – I’ll spend some money there next week, for sure. I know the Mojo is there, despite my finest efforts at sounding like Ebeneezer Scrooge… and the reason I know it’s there is that I can hear the bell… you know the little tinkling in the dead of night when everyone else is asleep. The sleigh bells that tell me HE is picking up lists and checking on the naughty and nice kids. The reason? Because I still BELIEVE….. if you haven’t seen The Polar Express, you’ll have no idea what I’m on about – stay with me…

Continue reading

Isn’t it funny?!

Just a short post today..but funny how things turn out. Tuesday has turned into catch up day and after a manic weekend skipping round the lanes of North Cornwall this weekend and a busy day in Oxford yesterday I know today will be a day of emails, meetings, washing, careers event (No1 child – not mine!) and shortly a 3km run to blow away this nagging headache. But as I was catching up with the news this morning I strayed onto my Facebook page to be greeted with one of those features where it lets you share your ‘on this day last year’ memory type things! You know the score… some of it can be quite funny, especially if (like me) you’ve been ‘doing’ Facebook for a number of years – you do forget the funny things you post!

Well this time last year I wrote a blog post about the start of the nest emptying process… or rather the fact that No1 & No2 are growing into independent young people and we’re just going to see less of them. Reading back through it made me smile – take a look here at what I wrote! In short No2 child had just left for a week away with school, No1 was off to the theatre with school, their lives were starting to change and I could see all of this coming without really being able to anything about it – and why would I?

The funny thing is, while No2 is not on his residential this week, he’ll be late back from school tonight – “Got rugby tonight mum, might be a match, dunno… see you when I see you…”, No1 is volunteering at a careers event at her school (one she should be attending anyway) and then I have to rush her home, feed her and get her back to school so she can go on yet another school theatre trip. The school are nothing if not consistent!! But when I look back over the year since that post, the drifting away hasn’t been so hard. Involvement in cadets has meant No1 has been away more than ever before – village fetes, camp-outs, residential trips, military exercises… you name it and we haven’t had time to breathe! Just this morning over another hurried breakfast we were trying to organise the next family weekend away, only to find it clashes with a birthday sleepover she wants to attend… cue lots of huffing and puffing! Some things never change!

Because it’s been a year of change for me I’ve probably not noticed the little shift as much as I might have done in my more predictable routine of yesteryear. As things settle for me in the New Year (fingers crossed), it may become more apparent that while I have been looking in the other direction, my babies have gone. And in their place…. let’s hope it’s not our version of Kevin and Perry!


And on that disturbing thought…..

Have a lovely day, I’m off for a jog/plod/bimble!

MJ xx