Once upon a Christmas eve…

Christmas Eve 2019
Peaceful and bright

Christmas Eve is here and, in the spirit of sharing, here is a snapshot of my life today.

Knitting

My Aran jumper is progressing. I have completed two full repeats of the pattern and haven’t needed to resort to checking the printed version for several rows. It’s so easy to see where I am from a combination of memory and reading my knitting (for those unfamiliar with that phrase, it’s where you can look back at the rows you have completed and be able to see what you should be doing on the row you are on). I am already looking forward to wearing this jumper, even though it is barely started.

Reading

I borrowed the first Elly Griffiths novel, The Crossing Places, from my friend at the weekend and galloped through it. My verdict was that the story was gripping, but there was something a little unsatisfying about the novel and I found her relentless use of the present tense wearying. I also found I didn’t care much about the central character, and, in fact, it was the character of the captive girl – barely glimpsed – which held much more promise.

Since finishing that book, I have started my re-read of the second book in the Well World series by Jack L Chalker, Exiles At The Well Of Souls. I love this series from the 1970s and it’s more than time I caught up with it again.

Smelling

On me:
Jo Malone – Jo Loves White Rose and Lemon Leaves

In my home:
Yankee Candle – After Sledding

Eating

Apart from vast quantities of chocolate, my Christmas plans are a simple bacon, eggs and chips meal today, then a lovely joint of pork for tomorrow’s meal followed by Christmas Pudding and Rum Sauce (what Christmas is made of if you ask me).

Listening to

Christmas playlist:
Chris Rea – Winter Song
Michael Ball – As Long As There’s Christmas and Happy New Year
Roy Wood/Wizzard – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and Rock’n’Roll Winter
David Essex – Only A Winter’s Tale

In my head:
Michael Jackson – One Day In Your Life

Well, that’s it, apart from a heartfelt hope that every one of you has a chance to pause in the chaos of this life and mark the season with a moment of warmth and light and love.

A bricks and mortar Christmas

Christmas gift shopping. You can love it, you can hate it; you can buy into it, or you can opt out of it – no matter which way you cut it, you just can’t ignore it. I’m trying to do as much of my shopping as possible offline, from bricks and mortar shops in my home city and this is working well for me. I have had to resort to ordering one gift online, but I’m really hoping that is the limit for this year.

I’ve also found that it is a mistake even to check online to see if local shops have the things I’m thinking of in stock because the result will not necessarily bear any relation to the stock they actually hold. For example, I failed to find one particular item in town yesterday so I looked online and found the local branch of a stationery chainstore claimed to be carrying it. I changed my plans for this morning and walked into town, only to learn in the shop that they didn’t have any stock and the item was discontinued so they were unlikely to have any ever again.

Some you lose.

Despite this setback, since I was in town so I thought I’d just check in the bookshop where I found three different versions of the very thing I was looking for and also several other inspiring items, making significant inroads into my gift shopping.

Some you very much win.

Speaking of local shops, somewhere in the past three months, whilst I’ve been busy with my move, the niche beauty retailers Space NK have opened a branch in my home town which is just perfect for gift shopping. Note that: gift shopping. Not walking in, trying on perfume, then deciding you just can’t leave the shop without buying it for yourself.

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As soon as this fragrance hit my wrist, I knew I was lost. It is exactly what I want to smell like right now. It’s not a favourite of yesteryear, it’s not something that reminds me of a particular place or time (although I am getting a slight hit of 1970s bath cubes, which I can’t imagine anyone as sophisticated as Jo Malone was intending). It is right here, right now, au courant, fresh new me. I love it.

How is the approaching holiday season making you feel? Are you full of fresh ideas, enjoying established traditions, or wishing you could hide in a cave? Shopping online, or enjoying searching in local stores? I’m fascinated by how everyone approaches the season with different intentions.