I like to look back on my Christmas photos from over the years I've been blogging, so here (a little later than normal) are the ones for 2012. It was all rather a rush in the end - we were still wrapping presents and tidying up well into the evening of the 24th, but we made it in time for the 25th and all had a lovely day. The sun even shone too - so welcome after seemingly endless days of grey.
I'll begin with Sid and Cynthia as I thought of them...
...though they've now been re-named Snaky and Violet. This photo was taken when I finished Violet at 01:30 on the morning of Christmas Eve. They were well received, it seems size matters when it comes to cuddly snakes and they were far bigger than both A and N expected which was a Good Thing.
Now to Christmas baking. I didn't go overboard in variety this year, just mince pies, gingerbread biscuits and cake. However I did make far too much mincemeat and had to make five batches of pastry for the mince pies to contain it all. The mincemeat recipe I used is here
(I would use this recipe again, but would make only half the quantity), the mince pie pastry recipe is here
(the best!), gingerbread biscuit recipe here
(it's from Rachel Allen's "Bake", I use it every year for figures but haven't yet got round to making a gingerbread house) and the chocolate fruit cake recipe can be found here
(I make this every year too - I'm not a fan of traditional Christmas cake and this (from Nigella's "Feast") is an excellent alternative)
The finished chocolate fruit cake is in the cake stand and dome (a recent bargain at £15 from Ikea
) on top of the piano - I'm not fond of marzipan and icing either!
My favourite Christmas card illustration of this year.
Now a quick tour of the tidy bits of the house set for Christmas...
Decorating the tree - they did a really good job, I didn't need to do any re-arranging after they'd finished.
Christmas cactus flowering right on schedule (purely by chance!).
Ready for Santa.
Christmas Day cat.
Christmas Day sky (as seen through the back door window) - look, blue bits!
Christmas Day sunshine. The dangling paper snowflakes I'd made last year made a re-appearance this year. I'd hoped to add to them, there's still time...
Christmas dinner. Just the four of us - how we like it.
This year I did remember to order new candle for the angel chimes, so there was one area where I was more prepared than last year.
New Christmas lights - a little blue white for my liking, I realise now that I prefer "warm" white.
Now to some photos of a little walk we made on Boxing Day - lots of images of fence posts, bare branches, black birds and wintry skies - such beauty in simple things at this time of year.
And today we made a little family bike ride to the loch. The sun struggled to break though the clouds and later on we had flurries of snow.
And finally, for the record, a round-up of a few photos from earlier in the month, when it was still cold and clear.
The moon at sunrise.
Frozen sandpit accoutrements.
Program and notes from my last concert before Christmas and probably the point at which I most felt I had that Christmas feeling. A friend came along to listen and brought her daughter and A too. I think they enjoyed it, sort of - it's not quite Gangnam Style I suppose...