5 Pins & 5 Links : Christmas.

It's something of a relief to take my focus off our house renovations for a couple of weeks at least 
in order to completely embrace Christmas....

This year more than ever I definitely feel in need of the warmth & comfort & the inevitable slowing down that the holidays bring.
I plan to celebrate every single moment of this holiday season.

I am going to be present & participate rather than rush around thinking of all the things that I haven't done or have still to do.

Living in the moment.

I miss "the old days" when shops were shut for days & days & my mother would buy enough food to last a month....shutting off from the full on consumerism that Christmas inevitably brings seems increasingly appealing.

My children don't finish school until the end of this week but my son is unwell & so we are confined to the house for a few days....no bad thing.

This year I will be holiday baking instead of just thinking about it.....
mince pies, cookies, my mother in law's trifle recipe, Jamie Oliver's roast potatoes, cinnamon buns. I'm planning to do it all :)

We'll be seeing all the Christmas lights in town & going ice skating at Somerset House or the National History Museum.

Listening to the music, watching every single Christmas movie.

I am buying with intent this year ....
carefully chosen gifts, not buying as much, buying beautiful books & good reads as always.....
"One thing they want, one that they need, one thing to wear, one thing to read...." 

"Buy less, choose well" - Vivienne Westwood

I have been very aware this year of my children growing older & Christmas traditions, old & new, seem more important & needed than ever.

I decorated our mantelpiece with lots of greenery this year - something I used to do a few years ago but didn't do in our last home because the space didn't lend itself to it.

This past Sunday my daughter saw the finished decorations & immediately remembered how I used to do it in our old house....which we moved from when she was just 3 years old.
I loved that she remembered it so clearly....good memories.

My son is 9 & "believes" simply because he wants to....
he told me the other day that some of his friends have said that Father Christmas doesn't exist, telling me
"i don't know why they'd want to think that?"
And so that's what we are going with for now....and completely lovely it is too.
Not for nothing is "Polar Express" his favourite Christmas movie.

a cosy Swedish cottage ready for Christmas  

the perfect antidote to all that turkey....building the perfect cheese board

gifts for the coffee addict

holiday gift guide for the whole family, I'd like just about everything on this list!

dealing with loss at Christmas-time

all images via Pinterest

12 Sweet Treats for Christmas.

If you can't indulge in sweets & treats at Christmas, then something just isn't right.

It's a good time to do some holiday baking with seasonal ingredients such as orange, cinnamon, nutmeg & to create a dessert with a bit of a wow factor to take to a friend's party or for dessert on Christmas Day.

Here are a selection of some of my favourites....
from biscuits & cookies which would make great gifts or for those moments when you just need something to accompany a movie & a cup of tea....
to showstopping cakes fit for the most special guest....ENJOY!!

candy cane peppermint & white chocolate swirl cake 

gingerbread biscotti

this fantastic gingerbread farm

holiday cookies....cinnamon, orange, cranberries & white chocolate chips

eggnog cake...I don't think I've ever had eggnog but this sounds delicious!

christmas millefeuille

frosted chocolate chip gingerbread loaf

cinnamon bread pudding with salted chocolate rum sauce

chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

peppermint chocolate cake

bread & butter panettone pudding tart

christmas tree forest cookies

all images via Pinterest 
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