It’s been a while since I’ve written here – I never seem to have a spare moment as organising my daughter Bex’s wedding is proving to be pretty time consuming. We are renting the local community hall so, at the moment, I am spending most evenings threading ribbon through hessian table runners, tying fabric around the top of mini jars of homemade jam and chutney for the wedding favours, and making bunting out of thick rough runner bean string and paper tissue! I am actually really enjoying putting the personal touch into her special day, but there is a slight underlying anxiety about whether everything will come together successfully on the day, only four weeks away now.
But Bex, bless her, put it all into perspective when we were chatting last week. “Mum,” she said. “Providing I end the day as a married woman, I’ll be happy. That’s all that matters.”
Well, I hope the food is edible and the ceilidh band turn up, but I take her point, and I’m reassured by it.
And in the same vein, when I am asked what I would like for Christmas, my true feelings include:
- Happiness and health for my children and all my loved ones
- Enough time to relax, breathe and enjoy the small pleasures in life
- Peace on Earth
But, of course, I can’t deny that it is lovely to receive a treat at Christmas, and there’s even more delight in finding the perfect gift for someone who is special to you. And so I list here a few of my favourite things from our website – some already earmarked to sit under my Christmas tree to be opened on the day by members of my family; and a couple that I would love to have my name on.
GPO record player – I already have this at home and absolutely love its vintage look, just like an old attaché case in battered leather. It plays my collection of old records beautifully and everyone (of my age or similar) who sees and hears it wants one for themselves. The perfect gift for all of my three brothers, who are never the easiest to buy for.
Vagabond hot water bottle foot warmer – when I saw this I knew it would be perfect for my sister-in-law Hazel. She is a fell runner in the Lake District and frequently gets totally soaked and covered in mud when she is training or racing. She suffers from cold feet at the best of times and I think she’ll love this, especially when she and my brother Pete are exploring their favourite parts of Scotland in their camper van, and lacking a few of the creature comforts.
Cozee Home angel plush onesie – I only have one nephew/niece at university at the moment, but this will be perfect for those sloppy days or cosy evenings relaxing with her new friends in halls. The heating is never quite what it could be, but no worries with this snuggly onesie. I picked the navy polka dot as Alice has the most gorgeous red hair and the dark blue really suits her colouring. I hope she loves it!
Multi-coloured Christmas cacti from Hayloft Plants – I have bought a couple of November’s Gardening Pick of the Month, which comes with no delivery charge. I’ve only ever seen these plants with one colour per plant whereas these are really special, with flowers in all shades of pink and fuchsia. They’ll make a great little gift for all sorts of people and it’s always good to have a couple of spare presents, just in case. If I don’t need to give them I will enjoy them myself on my kitchen windowsill. I can’t wait to find out what the December pick will be.
I love our In Cashmere fashion range, beautifully soft and cosy 100% cashmere pieces in all sorts of lovely colours. The scarf is the perfect gift. Only available at the moment in blue/teal colour, I have already secured the oatmeal colour for my son Charlie’s girlfriend Maddie. She grew up in Vietnam and finds our winters cold and damp, so cashmere is the perfect antidote for her. I have bought myself the cowl neck top to wear during the festive season (I bought a size up as I like my jumpers roomy) and I have my eye on the gorgeous cranberry red poncho for another of my sister-in-laws. You can’t go wrong with cashmere at Christmas!
Nutri Ninja – this will be perfect for Charlie. He is starting up a business based on healthy foods (I’ll tell you more about this in the New Year – it’s very exciting and he is doing really well, and is being supported by The Prince’s Trust) and very much practises what he preaches with his own diet. The Nutri Ninja makes it so easy to enjoy healthy, nutritious foods that also taste great.
Simple Simon’s apple strudel – not so healthy, perhaps, but I couldn’t resist this tasty pudding, filled with spiced apple and calvados soaked raisins. I will serve it as an alternative to traditional Christmas Pudding. I normally pride myself on making everything from scratch, and my Christmas this year is smaller than usual with only 12 around our table, but with Rebecca’s wedding only six days before Christmas, and three days working at QVC between the two celebrations, I’m taking a few short cuts this year. Although it isn’t exactly homemade, the strudel is hand made at Simple Simon’s and could be passed off as my own! It arrived today and is safely in the freezer, away from hungry eyes!
And finally… what about me?
Something the children have given me at past Christmases is an indulgence day at a local spa. Recently though, the price has gone up so much it really is too expensive. But we have our very own home spa range at QVC in Elemis and I was lucky enough to order their recent Today’s Special Value; I chose the Sweet Orchid fragrance which is still available for anyone who missed it, and still great value. I will be opening mine on Christmas Day and looking forward to moments of peace in the bathroom, accompanied by my current favourite scented candle from Yankee Candle in Frankincense – very appropriate for Christmas! I also love the Yankee relaxing rituals oil blending kit, so I shall drop a few hints and leave the item number lying around. I can live in hope!
I hope you are well ahead in whatever you need to do for the festive season, and can make sure you slow down enough to enjoy it with the people who matter most to you. After all, that is what is most important. It’s all about spending time with those you love.