Merry Christmas

Home made Christmas Wreath

#Merry Christmas

To all the people who have made my life brighter this year with their writing, their images, their ideas and their inspiration.

Yes I mean you!

The readers, friends who cajole, inspire, support my ramblings and my thoughts however dark or bright they might be and who comment and share in the moments with me.

Recycled Slate MemoRecycled Slate Chalkboard

I have not written as much this year as I did last year. I am disappointed about that but my health has changed the way my life was going and I have had to learn to adapt to the way things have become. The new normal for me for the time being. I do not know what next year will bring. I only hope that it brings better health, less stress and more happiness for all of us. I hope that I will write more next year, both poems and happier posts, sharing good news with you all. This year has been a new kind of difficult, challenging in so many ways but I am hopeful for a brighter future.

Rosehip Syrup Herbal TeaPlum & Ginger Jam

As for Christmas in our home I figured out a few months ago that this Christmas was not going to be the usual what can we all buy each other that we don’t really need scenario. I have not had a proper job for two years so I informed family and friends that if I couldn’t make it, then I wouldn’t be doing it. Thankful that they accepted this I set about making their gifts and I have included here some of my snapshots of the things I’ve made.

Home made Decorations Truffles & GingerbreadSpiced Plum Sauce & Chocolate Truffles

So I embraced my creativity in other ways. Thanks to the people in a group or two that I joined on Facebook I have learned how to make things with foraged fruit and herbs, some of which will be given as gifts. I remembered that I enjoy cooking and making things so tried my hand at biscuits, truffles, gingerbread and cakes. I also made oils for cooking, jam, herbal massage oils and teas. I have made scented bath salts, Jewellery and Christmas decorations. I am also using recycled packaging wherever possible for these gifts. I also joined a group which showed me so many things that I had forgotten like ways to reuse and rethink and repair and recycle. I have so many wonderful ideas planned for next year that I want to try.

I have been cooking for weeks, trying things out and some have been gratefully received and others have driven my partner crazy. If I fancied making something new I set about finding a recipe to give it a try. He could not understand why I wanted to mess about with it all, but on limited means and I have made the most of the opportunity having learned new skills this year and revived older ones which I have forgotten. I spent a wonderful day recently with my sister where we made biscuits together, it’s something I don’t think we have ever done, we learned together and I loved the process.

Gingerbread Biscuits

When I have not been able to sleep, often In pain I have got up and made something. It hasn’t cost me much, only time and energy. Sometimes on my feet for hours, I have been exhausted but nevertheless for these simple things I have had a sense of accomplishment, which has been so important to me.

Plaited silks bracelet Vintage Crystal Beads BraceletShooting Star Biscuits

Homemade gifts are not everyone’s cup of tea. I have noticed a shift in the past few years where it has been more acceptable than it used to be, for that I am extremely grateful. I think it is lovely when someone has taken the time to make you something and it’s appreciated it is much more personal. I understand that not everyone has the opportunity or the skills to do that, but if you do then why not? It has brought back the real meaning of Christmas to me and I have made my gifts and are giving them to special people with love. So far they have been happily received and compliments abound. Especially with the foodstuffs.

This year we are at home in the South, much as we are missing our beloved Scotland I have dreams of a Christmas spent in our cottage of the future, especially when they play the reruns of the film The Holiday on television. I want to decorate our little place with things from the garden and the woods, home made decorations and lights on a tree a roaring fire in the house and the smell of woodsmoke and pines, while I cook the Christmas dinner, all snuggled up together with the family. I still have those dreams I’d like to fulfil.

So whatever you are doing for these holidays, however you choose to spend them. I hope that you are with people who mean a lot to you and you spread a little happiness.

As we look forward to a new and exciting year ahead, things can only get better.

With love and best wishes…

Merry Christmas everybody.

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Preparing for Christmas…

So we are now less than a month away from Christmas and I am wondering if I should decorate the trees? I was thinking that I might make some tiny handmade decorations for these little ones, although they will have to be weatherproof as these two already live outside.

These babies were grown from seeds dropped from pine cones collected from our home in Scotland by some people who are very special to me and have now moved to the other side of the world in Australia. Before they emigrated they gave them back to me and one day when they’ve grown they might be taken back to their homeland. Meanwhile they are about 12 ins tall, keeping me company in the South and reminding me of home and them.

As we get nearer to Christmas I will miss my friends even more and cherish the memories we have of last year when I got to visit them for a few days before they went. I am lamenting the fact that this year I won’t be able to send the silly gifts and home made things to one of my dearest friends, but I will hold them close to my heart and as always send them love. The distance is just a number, until we meet again.

Christmas, The Holidays How are you spending them?

This was going to be my “Happy Christmas” post when I began it last week.

We are still enjoying or enduring the Holiday period here in the U.K. As we head now towards New Year. I am grateful for the fact that I am enjoying it.

This Christmas I knew would be vastly different for us and I honestly did not know how it would go. After the year that we have had it couldn’t help but be. It is the first one where we have not had Kato physically with us, he was here only in spirit. He entered my thoughts daily and although I looked for signs I did not see any. However I still felt that he was part of the family here enjoying Christmas morning together.

The past week we have been getting ready for the occasion and I have never felt so unready before. I went for a job interview the week before and it went well. I came out with such a positive feeling about both the job and myself and hoped that I may be offered one of the two positions they had spoken about. That weekend, my partner told me to call my friend who was emigrating this week and book a ticket to visit her. It was a wonderful thing to do, I feared that she would be too busy but she jumped at the suggestion. So I had a fabulous time with her and her family before they went, I came back having felt such love, I was on cloud nine.

On coming home I tried to fit in getting the house “Christmassy” but had only just enough money to get food and a few small gifts for family, so had to buy gifts wisely. Whilst my partner and I sold a few items, the people came to collect. The truck went this week, I didn’t feel stressed about letting it go. The relief that we would have funds for the shortfall again this month outweighed that.

It also meant that Hope, my Beautiful blue car has been brought out of the garage and I  able to drive her again for the first time in months again thanks to the assistance of friends who made sure that she was safe for me. I played Santa and delivered gifts and cards on Christmas Eve and got to see and hug another friend I have not seen this year.

So being broke has been the new norm for this past year along with so many other emotions. But as we end the year I can’t help thinking we have lost a lot of people. Not just the ones who are old, but the ones who are taken far too soon. When faced with this situarion, you cannot help but rethink how you wish your life to be as the new year approaches.

I did not hear about the job, but that did not stop me from applying for many more this week. At some point, someone will offer me one, when the time is right so I must trust that the right one will come along too. It felt like I have turned a corner being invited for an interview can do that to you. Lift you up spirits and all and make you concentrate on the positives.

However recently my partner has been ill, he is feeling very stressed out about making ends meet but it has all come together just in time and he is wondering where the next bit will come from, looking for things he can turn around for a little profit to keep our heads above water until that elusive job comes along. But his heart is heavy and it’s making him tired and he is in pain with the various health issues he has and damage to his body over the years. He has been told to take it easy by the doctor, but the doctor knows that he doesn’t know how. Which can be a bit of a cycle for him, it also makes me worry about him.

This Christmas we did not get fancy gifts for each other. He bought me something lovely when we were in Scotland in the Autumn and I have kept it for Christmas. I bought him something he needed, a pair of boots to keep him comfortable whilst we walk the dog together and our present to each other was our beloved Roki. For Birthday, Christmas and my Birthday. No other gift is necessary as we have the love and happiness that he brings us. We collected our new baby seven weeks ago and he is the family we craved to have again.

We awoke on Christmas morning and all piled onto the bed for a big family hug. The day was mild and bright and we made plans to go out and see it. I did not spend the morning wrapping gifts for others as I had in previous years. I had managed to wrap the few that I had bought and most had already been given by then.  We sat talking, played music and had a lovely breakfast of smoked salmon omelette which is an all family favourite. I thought about the big Meal that I would make later and planned to speak to my friend to wish her a safe journey.  Our Christmas Day was non eventful to the outside world but just right for us. We sent and received messages of good cheer to family and friends but to see the face of your child as you give him presents on Christmas Day was just the perfect way to spend it.

Our boy had two fleece blankets which were donated by the emigrating friend and he was so thrilled with them. He had a rope toy which I had given him a couple of days earlier when I had returned from my trip and a woven cloth toy, which in our house is known as “A wonderful fling to be flung” which my mother had made for him. He also had some treats and was so ecstatic that he didn’t know what to play with first. So he just decided to pick up as many as he could at once, throw them all into the air and then roll on them. He is happy. I sent a message to his old family Thanking them for the most wonderful gift to us and received a touching response.

It was late evening by the time I had prepared and cooked our Christmas meal which meant we were up until very late and watching the films on the TV till the early hours. It didn’t matter so much. On Boxing Day I collected my brother and took him to our sister and her partner’s house for a feast. It was lovely, I haven’t seen any of them in months it was just nice to sit around and enjoy a meal, we also watched a funny film and laughed together.

They say it becomes different as you get older, but that is the true meaning of Christmas to us. We have love. We are not in Scotland for the first time in three years we have stayed at home. That in itself felt a little  bit odd but less stressful for me as I didn’t have to pack or travel Christmas week and it never quite feels like the holiday until you arrive at your destination.

My good intentions as to how we should spend Christmas did not come about, again we did not decorate the house for the occasion. My partner said it wasn’t important and we just ran out of time before the big day. This Christmas was about sharing Love and Time, after all who knows how much of it we have left, that was the most important thing and we achieved that.

So however you have spent yours and however you choose to spend the holiday time you have left, I hope that you enjoy it.

I want to Thank you for following my blog since I began in February, for the friendships that grow along the way and the support that you have shown me over the past few months.  I hope that we all continue on our journeys through the next year and find new inspiration, experiences to write about and I will enjoy hearing about yours.

The Daily Post – Festive