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Thursday, 5 December 2019

How Are Your Christmas Preparations Coming Along? 🎄

Mince Pies & Sherry, Mistletoe, all Christmas Traditions 🎅🏻





When I first told my American friends about mince pies at Christmas, a few years ago, they thought i was talking about meat pies!  Although these delicacies used to be filled with meat, such as lamb, they are now a sweet dish and filled with an assortment of dried fruit, with perhaps a hint of brandy. They are best served warm, in my humble opinion, and here in Devon, we serve them with a dollop of clotted cream. Yummy scrummy! 

 



 

I usually partake of a glass of sherry with mine, to really get me into the Christmas spirit. This is ideal for when you're writing your Christmas Cards or wrapping the presents, with Christmas music playing in the background. 

 
 
The mince pie in the photo is a tiny bite-sized one, but they are usually larger than that. I have tried all sorts of shop bought ones, but I much prefer the ones I make, using my own pastry. Here in the United Kindom, in the Stuart and Georgian times, mince pies were very much a status symbol at Christmas. Hard for us to imagine that now. Rich people would serve them to their guests in all sorts of different shapes. Having pies like this meant that you were very rich and had truly made it in the world, as you were able to afford the most expensive pastry cooks. 

Sometimes, when watching Downton Abbey and period dramas like that, I often think that I would like to have lived in those days, when sherry was served out of decanters and your clothes were all laid out for you. In truth, I fear I would have been the poor little housemaid, getting out of bed at 3.30 in the morning and cleaning out the grates, before the Lord of the Manor  came down for his breakfast in the morning!  Oh well, a girl can dream. 

On Christmas Eve, little children over here usually leave out a mince pie and  a glass of brandy, for Santa when he calls, along with a carrot for his reindeer. 

Another tradition at Christmas time is the hanging of mistletoe. Believe it or not, this tradition goes back to the days of the Druids - that is, long before I was a twinkle in my father's eye! It was supposed to bring good luck and ward off evil spirits. It was also used as a sign of love and friendship in Norse Mythology, and that's where the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe comes from. 

 

 
Mistletoe images courtesy of Pinterest.com

Most of my older Followers know how much I love vintage Christmas images, so I thought I would post a few of them today, from my Christmas Board on Pinterest. Some of these images very much remind me of my childhood - simpler times somehow.













I’ll leave you again for now.  The house here is now fully decorated, and I’m now feeling very festive.  Hope you’re all looking after yourself, and remember .... 









Tuesday, 26 November 2019

It's Beginning To Look ....

Well, hello there everyone. We are still being deluged with rain here in heavenly Devon, and the days are getting shorter and shorter.  But, I'm pleased to say that I'm doing quite well on the Christmas front. Most of the presents have been bought, and today I popped out to get the Christmas Crackers and the chocolates. 





Now how long those chocolates will remain unopened, is anyone's guess. Never mind lasting until Christmas itself!  You see, I have little willpower I'm afraid. But I shall try really hard to be good 😊.

I know that my friends in America are building up to celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday. I hope you have a lovely day and that you will be able to spend it with loved ones, whether it's family or friends. I'm sure  the table will be groaning with all sorts of tasty food! 



 Of course we don't need a special day to be thankful for all the good things we have in our lives. We should give thanks every day, for the love of our family, for the gift of friendship, for our homes and all those other things we have in our lives. 

As I write this, my little Cavapoo pup, Benji, is celebrating his first birthday. He was eight weeks old when he first came into our home, and he really does have such a sweet personality. He follows me everywhere like a little shadow!  Here are a few pics of his first year.  In the first photo he was 8 weeks old and I had just gone to collect him and bring him home 🐶.












I will probably put the tree up this weekend, so that will be fun. It's funny how we are all excited when putting all the baubles on the tree, yet at the beginning of January, we are pleased to be packing it all away again, as we attempt to get back to some sort of normality. 

Anyway, I shall close again for now. Enjoy the rest of the week everyone. 

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Sunday Solace



Good morning, good afternoon or good evening, depending on when you are reading this Post, which I'm writing here in ye merry olde England. 

Today I am grateful for a few dry days, as we have had constant rain since the end of September!   There has been severe flooding in many parts of England over the past few weeks, and it's heartbreaking to see the terrible damage caused to peoples' homes and businesses.  The Army have now been called in to help out.  The trouble is, when this sort of thing happens, it can be up to a year before people are able to get back into their homes. So as I sit in the comfort of my own warm home, I do give thanks. 

Although I love the longer days of Summer, what a wonderful backdrop of stunning colour Autumn provides us with. I thought I would just show a few pics to remind us of the beauty of nature at this time of the year.  These photos were all taken at Dartington Gardens, which is only a twenty minute drive away from where I live. The gardens there look wonderful at any time of the year...

 

 

 

 

 
 
 A few years ago in my Blog, I used to have a Sunday Solace feature, so I've decided to bring it back for a few weeks.  I thought I would bring you some inspirational quotes - quotes that I have always loved. I do hope you will enjoy them.....

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt by the heart." (Helen Keller)

"Keep your face always towards the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you." (Walt Whitman).

"What we think, we become."  (Buddha).

"It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light." (Aristotle Onassis).

"Try to be a rainbow in somebody's cloud."  (Maya Angelou).

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." (Aesop) 

Well, it's time for me to leave you once again. I hope all is well with you and that you have a good week ahead.


For those of you who are interested, you can see photos of my Summer garden in my new Featured Post today. Just look for it on the right hand sidebar of the Blog 😊


Saturday, 9 November 2019

Lest We Forget ....

We Will Remember Them ....

Just simple images of remembrance in my Blog Post today, to remind us of all those men and women who died that we may be free. 











This weekend, let us remember all those brave servicemen and women, who made the ultimate sacrifice. I will be thinking of a Grandad that I never knew, my dad’s dad, who died on foreign soil, aged 27 years. 



Every year, since 1923, there has been a British Legion Festival of Remembrance, held at The Royal Albert Hall in London, which remembers all those who have lost their lives in conflicts.  This year a unique tribute was given to acknowledge those involved, both past and present, culminating in a special parade of some of the last surviving veterans who fought and served in 1944.  Her Majesty the Queen and all members of the royal family attend this special event. 




 



Wednesday, 6 November 2019

November is here....

Hallo again little peeps.  So! November is here and it won’t be long until my favourite time of the year is with us once again.  



For those of you that are in Autumn at the moment, have you got used to the clocks going back, and the darker evenings that are now with us?!  It takes a bit of getting used to, doesn’t it?!  To be honest, I don’t really mind the darker evenings, as we can make our homes as cosy as possible.  I’ve always got a book on the go, but I tend to read even more during these shorter days.  I just love how a book can transport you to another place and you can lose yourself for a couple of hours.  



I can never have too many books.  At this time of the year, I also love to settle down and watch a good, romantic Christmas film.  I know - soppy, but I love them.  Especially as most of these films take place in America, and there is always snow, and the houses are gorgeously decorated.  Deck the halls, and all that! 😊🎄.  Of course, the house is decorated with pretty candles, which all adds to the cosy mood.



I have to admit to putting up just a few Christmas things - the rest of them will go up at the end of this month .  Too early do I hear you say??  Not for this girl!








I really like to get all my Christmas cards written by the first week in December, at the latest, and my presents bought and wrapped.  That way, I can really enjoy the lead up to Christmas, and just spend the time eating mince pies and drinking sherry!  NO! I jest - honestly 😊.



Here are a couple of Autumn pics for you.  The first one is the colour in my own garden at the moment, and the second one was taken at Saltram House, a magnificent, Georgian National Trust property nearby. 





Well, I’ll leave you again for now.  Hope you enjoyed the pics. By the time I write my next post, I suspect the house will be fully decorated!  Bye for now.




Sunday, 27 October 2019

Friendship .... Such a special word ❤️




Good morning everyone.  I’ll start off by wishing you a very happy Sunday.  Yesterday, we were being deluged with the wet stuff here in deepest Devon, but I’m delighted to say that the sun is shining today, so I will be heading off to take the pup for a walk once I’ve finished writing this Post.  I’m afraid that too many wet days doesn’t do much for the mood of this writer!  I keep thinking to myself...”come on now.  Winter is approaching, and you live in ye merry olde England.  IT RAINS, and you should be used to it by now.  SO GET OVER IT!” 🙈🙈. 

Last night, over here,  the clocks went back an hour, so it will be dark just after 5pm, I would think.  I’ve often thought that some animals have it right, when they go into Hibernation for a few months.  What would you take into your cosy little Cave if you could do that?!  Assuming that we all hibernated on our own, in order to refresh ourselves and be  ready to face the world once again in April.  My cave would certainly be decorated with pretty twinkling lights, photos of my family, lots of music and lots of books.  It might be rather nice to just hang out in pyjamas for those few months.  

Anyway, enough of all that - today I thought I would write a few words about friendship.  What is the definition of friendship?  This is what I came up with, courtesy of Mr Google, or, as a feminist, I suppose I really should say MRS Google.



Friendship for most people is a combination of affection, loyalty, love, respect, and trust. ... True friendship is when someone knows you better than yourself and takes a position in your best interests in a crisis. Friendship goes beyond just sharing time together, and it is long lasting.

Interesting that is refers to long lasting.  That isn’t always the case, of course.  Sometimes people enter our lives and we can share a strong friendship, but then they move on.  I firmly believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason, at any given time.  There is no doubt in my mind that good friends help us to deal with stress, and, generally, give us a sense of well being.  Able to be our cheerleaders when we need them, to celebrate with us during the good times, and simply be there for us in the bad times.  Quite honestly, I simply can’t imagine a life without my girlfriends in it.  



With true friends, you can simply be yourself, warts and all, and they will still love you- how wonderful is that?!  Each friendship is unique and should be treasured.  I also believe that friendship means a deep connection and commitment to the other person.  Some connections, of course, are deeper than others, but each important in their own special way.   I always think it’s amazing when we meet a certain person and it just feels as if we’ve known them for ever.  The  connection is instant.  They know us better than, say, someone who has known us for forty years or more.  Isn’t that incredible?!  Perhaps we had met each other in a previous life ... who knows?  



So if you have a good friend, and perhaps you’ve had a little falling out, give them a call, or send them an e-mail.  Life is too short to bear grudges.  So then, I’ll leave you again for now, as the pup is looking at me with sad eyes, and I must take advantage of this sunshine whilst it lasts!  Hope you’re all keeping well, wherever you are.  Take care ❤️



Here is the pup! Benji,  my eleven month old little Cavapoo. How could you resist those eyes?!



My apologies!  I don’t know why the typing has gone a bit funny today! 🙈