Blogmas day 7 – Christmas disaster

I share some Christmas disasters – feel free to share yours in the comments!

Hello and welcome to Blogmas day 7! I’ve been blogging every day for a week now and it feels a little strange, but I am grateful for all the likes and comments and happy to know that people are reading them, especially as there is so much content coming out at the moment. I’ve got a bit behind with reading Blogmas posts, but I will catch up!

So last night I went to a Christmas event at a local department store, where I had my first mince pie and first mulled wine. And the English teacher in me has to write this – please don’t anyone write mould wine – it sounds a bit like mulled wine but really isn’t! Anyway, once I’d munched the head off a chocolate Santa tree decoration and heard some Christmas tunes, I was really in the mood for Christmas!

Today I’d like to talk about a couple of Christmas disasters! We plan everything and hope for the best, but sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. Have you had any Christmas disasters? Let me know in the comments!

Candles

This isn’t really my disaster, but it happened while I was there, so if I can prevent the same thing happening to someone else by talking about it, that’s a good thing!

I was spending Christmas with some friends and had gone upstairs for something during the Christmas dinner. As I opened the door to come out of the bedroom where I was staying, the whole stairwell in front of me was full of smoke. There was a fire in the house.

The dogs were with me, so I had to get us all to safety. Not the easiest thing when you’re blind and can’t see where the smoke is coming from. The dogs made a dash for it down the stairs, so I followed. I could hear the front door was open and we all made it safely outside.

A candle on a Christmas scene had fallen over and set the cotton wool and the rest of the Christmas scene alight. The fire brigade were called, and although nobody was hurt and there wasn’t too much damage, Christmas dinner had to be abandoned and it wasn’t what anyone wanted for their Christmas Day.
Please always be careful if burning candles, don’t leave them unattended, put them in something protective like a little jar or candle holder, and make sure there is nothing above or near them that they can set alight.

A huge turkey

It was the first Christmas dinner that I cooked myself and I wanted everything to be right. I got busy with my online order and tried to make sure that I’d got absolutely everything I might need. Of course I got a turkey too. The only thing was, I must have got a bit confused with kg and lb because I ended up with an enormous turkey – so big that I wasn’t even sure I’d get it in the oven! Fortunately it did fit in the oven, but I learned that you need to check the weight, especially if you’re not used to buying large joints of meat, and better still – just get the turkey crown!

Locked out

It was the day before Christmas Eve and I was supposed to be making Christmas food. I took my dog out for a quick walk in the park and my mind wasn’t really on what I was doing. The door slammed shut behind me – with my keys on the table – inside!

It had snowed in the night and after our park trip, while other people were enjoying the snow, I was sitting on the wall with my golden retriever, trying to organise a rescue mission!

Cindy’s snout was so cold, her teeth kept chattering and she kept looking from me to the closed door and whining, as if to ask why I didn’t just open the door and let us inside!

My keys were at a friend’s house, but she had gone into London for the day. Fortunately she still got my message and was able to contact her husband, who hunted around for the keys and then drove round to let me in! I’ve never been so happy to see him!

Moral of the story – whatever else you have on your mind, don’t put a foot out of your door unless you’re sure you have your keys!

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The calendars

So, you know the deal by now – I’m going to talk about what was in my calendars. Let me know in the comments what was in yours if you’re doing one too!

L’Occitane : ultra rich body lotion. Actually I used it today! The rectangular plastic tube made it a bit hard to get it all out, but the lotion itself was lovely and luxurious.

M&S: Korres Wild Rose Advanced Repair. I love Korres products, but I haven’t tried this one . It’s a brightening night cream with wild rose oil that evens out skin tone, moisturizes, and softens skin. Sounds good! So far I’ve only used shower gels and body lotions, and I’m looking forward to giving this a try once the other night cream from a few days ago is finished. You can smell the rose, but not in an annoying way!

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Blogmas day 6 – what do people from other parts of Europe think about Christmas in the UK?

Find out what some friends from other parts of Europe think about Christmas in the UK – what’s the same and what new traditions have they discovered?

I’ve interviewed a number of people from other parts of Europe who have lived, or who are now living in the UK. I wanted to know when they usually celebrated Christmas, whether they had discovered any new traditions, whether the food in England was different to the food that they usually ate, and whether there is anything that they miss from their home country. This is what they told me.

Andrea

Andrea is from Germany and she has spent some time living in England. You can find out more about Andrea on her blog.

The important day is Christmas Eve (“Heiligabend”), the 24th December. While this is in fact a normal working day (only the 25th and 26th of December are official holidays), most shops close at 2pm and most families attend church service in the late afternoon and then it’s time for the presents.

I was used to the Christmas tree being brought into the house on the morning of the 24th December, and then we would all help with the decorations, then have lunch and then the room would be locked until the evening.

In England, my housemates bought a Christmas tree at the beginning of December and started decorating it, and also already putting presents there. Also, there’s the tradition of hanging up Christmas cards on the wall above the chimney which my Mum has since picked up, so this has become part of our own tradition now.

In Germany, we also don’t have Christmas crackers. One year, I brought them home for my family, but they were not too impressed 😉

Germans love their Christmas cookies and gingerbread. This is a very big thing here and I didn’t get quite the same impression in England. However, bringing the whole family together for Christmas and having a real feast (turkey in England, goose in Germany) is something that is rather similar.

I didn’t really miss anything since my Mum made sure that I received a parcel with gingerbread and “Stollen” (a kind of fruitcake). I invited the neighbour’s kids round for several cookie baking sessions, so this was covered, too. With all the decorations and new traditions to discover, I never had the feeling that something was missing.

Madleen

Madleen is also from Germany and she is now living in England. This is what Madleen has to say about Christmas in the UK:

Whilst in England Xmas is celebrated on 25th with a main meal and Christmas pudding and family get togethers, In Germany we actually celebrate Xmas on 24th, Xmas eve and 25th Xmas Day.

We get together with family and friends on 24th sit around the Christmas tree with loads of cake *the traditional Xmas Stollen* and home made cookies and ginger bread men to celebrate Xmas eve.

Some people attend Christmas church services and come home a bit later to share out the gifts “bescheerung”

Santa Clause will make an appearance For the young ones in the family, and if it snows he might come in a sledge pulled by horses of course with his huge sack of gifts and in the Santa costume.
The children have to recite a poem or sing a song before they receive their gifts. All gifts will remain unopened until everyone has had their share and then the big “unpacking” will begin.

Afterwards platters of fruit and sweets will be put on the table accompanied by wine and drinks.

A traditional Christmas eve dinner is potato salad with German Sausages *Wiener wuerstchen or Bockwurst*

I will never even begin to understand the rush and excitement of Boxing day sales.

For me, Xmas is all about creating a peaceful home, eating good food *even there we differ, more about this later, But here in England many people run out to pubs with their friends, and Xmas is not such a “stay at home affair” as in Germany.

On 26th people hit the stores to grab a good Xmas bargain in the boxing day sales whilst in Germany all shops remain shut for 3 4 days at the least.

Also we don’t hang up stockings for Santa to fill, And we don’t give a mince pie and milk to Santa on 24th in the evening and no carrots for the reindeer, however this is a custom I make my daughters do at all times every year!

Yes, although as the years go by, everything is changing a bit. We in Germany would eat Goose, or Duck, and in England its mainly turkey. In Germany our festive food is mainly accompanied by red cabbage and here we have all sorts of vegetables.

In Germany we bake Xmas cakes *the festive Christmas stollen with or without marzipan and currents and sugar icing* But in England we eat Xmas pudding also the biscuits are different.

I miss stollen, I can buy them here, but I like them home baked so I go to bake my Stollen every year with a really good friend in Leipzig! 😉 We bake 20 Kilos in one sitting *it takes usually 1 day* and we prepare the dough for the same in a huge baby bath tub!

I miss Domino Steine *a sweet, fruity, jammy filling surrounded by marzipan and chocolate.
Lebkuchen *ginger bread men*

But I miss the traditionally prepared Xmas duck only my mum and grandma know how to prepare with a plumb and apple filling, and red cabbage to go with it accompanied by potatoes or traditional dumplings 😉

I learned to cope without it, if I’m here and mix my Christmas meal. I cook a turkey crown with red cabbage and potatoes and bake the Christmas cookies that my children enjoy decorating. So I bring Germany that little closer to our home in England.

One thing I miss over here though is everything we’d buy at a German Xmas market/advent market. Gebrannte Mandeln *sugar coated roasted almonds* or cashew nuts and Mutzen and hot waffles / wafers are just a few to name here.

I believe the German markets bring the atmosphere we all need to get into the Christmas spirit.

But if we miss it too much, maybe we can all go to “winter wonderland!” or to the traditional mini German markets all over the country another good tip is: http://www.germandeli.co.uk ” a German supermarket where we can order our German food online.

Salomi

Salomi moved from Greece to the UK. This is what Salomi had to say:

In Greece, Christmas Day is celebrated on 25th December.

I’ve thought about this question for a while now, but no, not really, there’s nothing new I’ve discovered in the UK.

There are no big differences in terms of food. The meat is the same, roast turkey and potatoes, we don’t have Brussel sprouts in Greece and we don’t have pigs in blankets either.

I can’t think of anything that I miss from Greece at Christmas time.

Angelika

Angelika is a German teacher who lives in England. You can find out more about Angelika on her her website.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are Bank Holidays just like in the UK, but the Christmas celebration starts on Christmas Eve, where the shops and most companies finish around lunchtime. Many people go to church and they also open their presents on Christmas Eve.

Apart from the Queen and some Germans (and possibly other foreign nationals), English people open their presents on Christmas Day and not Christmas Eve. Also it seems that only churches have an Advent wreath but unlike German Advent wreaths which have four candles for the 4 Advent Sundays, the churches have a fifth one for Christmas Day.

One big difference in terms of food is that the English Christmas dinner is turkey where as in Germany it varies. Also I had never heard of mince pies and Christmas pudding until I came to England.

My first Christmas in England in 1982 was the only time I was ever homesick. I was used to opening presents and going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve but in England I got taken to the pub before church. That just didn’t seem right to me.

During the first few years I couldn’t get any typical German sweets, so my parents used to send me ‘red cross’ parcels. In return I used to send them some mince pies … until I found out nobody actually liked them 🙂

Thanks to shops like LIDL and ALDI, nowadays I can get almost all the German Christmas sweets I like so much. Now I only need red cross parcels with Marzipankatoffeln, those little marzipan balls that look like potatoes. I wish I could get them here!
This is Angelika’s website about learning German.

Carmen

Carmen is from France and she spent a number of years living in England.

In France, the main celebrations are on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Some people go to mass on Xmas Eve. The Christmas Eve meal starts around 8:30 pm and lasts until Santa comes at midnight.

Boxing Day, Xmas crackers, minced pies, and The Queen’s speech were all new to me.

There are more shellfish in France, such as oysters; the main dessert in France is the Christmas Yule log. In France we also eat goose liver paté and boudin blanc (white meat with port or truffle in a sausage skin) at Xmas time. These are the things that I missed when I celebrated Christmas in the UK.

H3> Nic

Nic moved from Germany to the UK. You can find out more about her on her her website.

The main celebration is on 24th December. Shops are open until mid-day but then preparations get underway for the evening (cooking, decorating the tree, putting everyone’s presents underneath), as that’s when we have our actual Christmas dinner. The 25th and 26th, both public holidays in Germany, are usually reserved for visiting family, having even more food and exchanging gifts.

Christmas crackers were new for me! And wearing the hat that comes with them. And Christmas jumper days at work, which I love. Also eating Christmas pudding, which we don’t have in Germany.

Duck or fish might be more prevalent in Germany but turkey is definitely popular. No Christmas pudding but some sort of festive dessert or the home-made Christmas biscuits: some similar to shortbread but thinner, lots of “lebkuchen” (which you can get in more and more UK supermarkets, it’s a dark dough, similar to gingerbread but less gingery), cinnamon stars with icing…

Foodwise, I definitely miss the cinnamon stars, but I also miss the romantic, promising festivity that comes with having the actual Christmas in the evening, rather than the morning.
Christmas markets are missing, although I haven’t tried the ones that the UK has to offer yet.

Honza

Honza is from the Czech Republic and he now lives in the UK.

The main date for Christmas celebrations in the Czech republic is 24th December

Opening presents in the morning is a new custom for me. We open them in the evening plus the day before the British do.

Carp is the typical christmas meal. Quite often you would buy it while its still alive and have it as a “pet” in the bath before it gets served on a plate on christmas day.

Christmas is not that much of a big deal for me and I don’t celebrate it much since I am never home for it so all it is to me is just a busy period at work so I’d say I miss being on holiday during christmas as a child.

This post was first published on English with Kirsty.

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The calendars

Are you opening an advent calendar this year? If so, what’s behind door number six?

L’Occitane – today I got some conditioner. I have tried this before and wasn’t mad about the smell, but it’s still a good product and I’ll use it!

M&S: today I got a liquid lipstick – Stila stay all day in perla. I got this calendar because I knew there was a lot of skincare in there, but it was nice to see some make-up too. I usually prefer satin creamy lipsticks because I find liquid lipsticks can be a bit drying on the lips. However, this one isn’t sticky (I had a bad first experience!) and I’m happy to have it in my collection for when I feel like a change.

Question for the day

So today’s question is – Christmas jumpers, yes or no? And if yes, what’s your favourite?

I tend to wear more Christmas jewellery than jumpers because I don’t like wool against my skin. If the jumper’s made of something else, I’m fine, but I don’t like woolly things next to my arms or neck! Maybe I should get a Christmas fleece or hoodie!

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Blogmas day 5 – Blogmas and Vlogmas content that I’m enjoying

So today I’d like to tell you about some of the other bloggers and Youtubers whose Christmas content I’m enjoying. I subscribe to so many sites and channels that I’ve limited the number here – but if you’re doing Blogmas or Vlogmas, feel free to leave a link in the comments!

Blogmas

The Cozy Den – you may remember S and J from Germany in my Blogger swap box post. Their Christmas posts include Christmas baking, Christmas essentials and Christmas music!

Covet Luxe – here you’ll find gift guides, and posts about make-up, skincare, and Christmas films.

The little wise owl – for posts on baking, Blogmas ideas, and what the little wise owl has been up to in December.

Girl enters – this is a new blog that I found out about because of Blogmas. That’s one of the things that I like about it – you get to discover new blogs!

Hannah Elizabeth – Hannah Elizabeth is doing Blogmas again- find out where she’s been and check out her beauty posts.

Natalie Gordon has posts on getting into the festive spirit, making your own decorations and a cosy night in.

Nataladalie – for recipes, Christmas music and scents.

Sophie Laetitia – I’ve been following this blog for a while and enjoy her make-up and skincare posts. So far we can read about stocking fillers, nail varnishes for Christmas and a trip to somewhere that will get you in the mood for Christmas!

My pink rambles – This is Joanna, one of the people who inspired me to set up Unseen Beauty.

Vlogs

If you like the Christmas vlogs on Youtube, here are some Christmassy videos. I’ve linked the videos directly, but if you look around or follow the channel, you’ll see the rest of the Christmas content.

Niomi Smart
Jamie Gourdon
Scarlet London
Wavy Kate – the first person who got me into watching advent calendar unboxings!
Emma’s rectangle
Fashion Mumbler – the first person who got me into watching Vlogmas!
Mercedes Whittyy
Wonderful you
Hello October
Soph does nails

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The calendars

So, if you’re doing an advent calendar this year, what was behind todays door?

L’Occitane – I had another hand cream today, this time a floral one. Usually I don’t get excited about floral things, but this is quite a delicate scent and I like it. Anyway the L’Occitane hand creams are always good!

M&S: Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel. I had to look this up. I knew about dragons from my Nip and Fab products, and it turns out that both brands were created by the same person – although Nip and Fab is cheaper! Therefore I was glad to try something from its sister brand! This is a gel that encourages the production of collagen to help skin appear firmer.

Question for the day

And finally my question of the day – when do you start your Christmas shopping, and have you finished? I haven’t finished yet! Sometimes I start as early as the summer if I find something I know someone will like and they have already had their birthday, but usually I start around November time. I can’t do the crazy rushing around at the end of December because it would stress me out too much!

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Answers to the Christmas music quiz

Did you do my Christmas music quiz? If you did, here are the answers

So here are the answers to the Christmas quiz, which you can find here.

1. Silent night
2. Have yourself a merry little Christmas
3. We three kings
4. Frosty the snowman
5. Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
6. Sleigh ride
7. Jingle bells
8. Jingle bell rock
9. Let it snow
10. Santa Claus is coming to town
11. All I want for Christmas is you
12. Away in a manger
13. I wish it could be Christmas every day
14. Walking in a winter wonderland
15. Last Christmas
16. Santa baby
17. The first Noel
18. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
19. The 12 days of Christmas
20. Little donkey

How many did you get?

Christmas tree in Stockholm

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Blogmas day 4 – 12 days of Christmas for dog lovers

A new take on the well-known Christmas song and some ideas for what to buy your dog for Christmas.

Well, the tree is up and it’s beginning to look a lot more festive around here! Getting the singing snowman out made me think about Cindy, my golden retriever who is no longer with us. She didn’t like the singing snowman. I don’t think she understood why it moved and where the voice came from!

She was very much a part of Christmas and I thought I’d do a Blogmas post for our furry friends.

So, to the tune of that other well-known Christmas song:

On the 12th day of Christmas my doggy shared with me
12 wintry walks
11 bonios
10 bags of dogfood
9 canine cuddles
8 furry playmates
7 packs of poo bags
6 tongues a-licking
5 squeaky toys
4 muddy paws
3 dog leads
2 floppy ears
And a waggy tail to show she’s happy!

Here are some ideas if you’re looking for inspiration to treat your furry friend at Christmas.

First of all – dog treats! Some people make their own, but there are plenty of festive treats out there – either normal ones, or special ones for Christmas. The most important thing is to make sure it’s a treat suitable for dogs. Last year my Mum’s dog got these mince pies for dogs and this year I’m getting her some pigs in blankets. Mum, if you’re reading this, don’t tell M!

If you want to give your dog a stocking, there are several available such as the Christmas dinner stocking with 3 packs of treats and two toys.

If you don’t want to get treats, you could get a toy. There are all kinds available, from indestructible frame balls for super chewers to a squeaky reindeer. You know what kind of toys your dog likes. I could buy Cindy anything because she was gentle with her toys, but if your dog is a chewer, it’s better to get something more durable.

Cindy tolerated the reindeer antlers for the photos, but she wasn’t a fan, so I didn’t ask her to wear them for long. If you want your dog to look festive, you could get something like this reindeer collar or a personalised Santa’s little helper bandanna!

Maybe it’s a good opportunity to get something practical. When Cindy was getting older, I got her a bed with memory foam to give her better joint support. There are beds to suit all price ranges and sizes – here’s an example.

Also, as she was getting older, I got her a waterproof winter coat to keep out the cold and damp

Another thing you could do is pay for an activity that you can do together. What kind of things does your dog enjoy doing? Is there a skill that he/she could learn, or a class that you could do together?

Most of all, dogs don’t see gifts in the same way as us, so if you really want to do something good for him or her, take some time out of your busy schedule and go for a walk or have some sofa time with your dog. It’s easy to get carried away with all the preparations and often the best thing you can give is your time.

The other thing is not to let your dog have anything that would hurt him or her. There is so much food around at Christmas time, and some things like grapes, raisins, chocolate and alcohol are bad for dogs. Don’t let your friend spend the festive season feeling sick because they had access to human treats!

What will your dog be getting this Christmas?

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The calendars

So, what was behind door 4 of your advent calendar if you had one today?

L’Occitane: I got a mini of the verbena body lotion, which is great because I like the bath soak from the same range. I’ve never tried a body lotion from this range, so I’m looking forward to that.

M&S: Gatineau Melatogenine Advanced Rejuvenating Cream. I was happy to see another skincare item. It said you can use it morning and night, but it’s quite a rich cream, so I think this will be my new night cream!

Question for the day

So today I’d like to know – do pets join in with your Christmas celebrations? Will they be getting a gift? If so, what is it?

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This post contains some affiliate links. I have not bought all of these specific products, but they are similar to things that I have bought in the past.

Blogmas day 3 – Christmas music quiz

How many of these Christmas songs and Carrols do you know?

Welcome to Blogmas day 3 – and the music quiz! Below are lines from Christmas songs. Some are popular music, others are more traditional songs and Carrols. How many can you identify?You can find the answers here!

1. Sleep in heavenly peace

2. next year all our troubles will be out of sight

3. Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.

4. Were they surprised when before their eyes
He came to life that day

5. Then one foggy Christmas Eve

6. it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you

7. O what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh.

8. Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square

9. The weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful

10. He’s gonna find out
who’s naughty or nice.

11. I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree

12. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,

13. When the snowman brings the snow, when the snowman brings the snow

14. In the meadow we can build a snowman

15. I keep my distance but you still catch my eye

16. Next year I could be just as good if you check out my Christmas list

17. In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

18. Where the treetops glisten and children listen

19. 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtledoves

20. Got to keep on plodding onwards with your precious load

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The calendars

This is what was behind my calendar doors today – don’t forget to let me know about yours if you’ have an advent calendar too!

L’Occitane – today I got an almond soap. We don’t use bar soaps a lot in this house, but these products always smell great and it’ll be fine for downstairs or for popping in my travel bag. I don’t love it as much as the other products so far, but it’s still a nice product, and a decent size at 50g.

M&S: Nuxe Prodigieux Shower Oil. I think the best part about this calendar is all the new brands that I’m getting to try! I haven’t had this before either. I’ve found some shower oils to be very greasy, but I haven’t tried this brand, so I’m happy to give it a go!

Question for the day

So today I’d like to know – which is your favourite Quality Street flavour? Mine were the coffee creams, but they don’t do them any more *cry*! I also like the strawberry and orange creams! Writing this is making me want quality streets now! How about you?

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Blogmas day 2 – childhood memories – how my Nan made Christmas special!

It’s the first weekend of December, which means it’s time for the Christmas tree to go up. For us that means a trip to the loft to get down the tree – well actually trees, because I brought a little one with me when I moved in with S, and all the decorations. Does anyone else love that tinsel smell, which tells you Christmas is on its way?

We went into town this morning. The Christmas music was playing and there are already some little stalls with hand-made Christmas gifts. I didn’t buy anything – apart from a hotdog for lunch – but I enjoy seeing what is available, with S pointing out things that he thinks I will like!

I don’t remember it, but I apparently got into the Christmas spirit at a very young age. I had been chosen to do an “Away in a manger” solo when I was three – but unfortunately chicken pox put an end to my singing career! Ah well! After that I was too shy to take any solo singing parts at school, but I often did readings because I wasn’t scared of standing up in front of the rows of parents and grandparents!

On the subject of grandparents, anyone who read my grandparents and what we learned from them post will know that I grew up with my grandparents, so a lot of my childhood memories are about them.

My Nan loved Christmas! Not just Christmas morning, although she did wake the children up early on more than one occasion because she was so excited (much to the dismay of some of the other adults!) No, she loved the whole month of December – from the first weekend, when we decorated the tree, all the way through to the school activities, buying and wrapping presents, and planning the food!

As a child, the best part for me was that I was very much a part of it all. No doubt it would have been much quicker for Nan to wrap the presents and put up all the decorations when I was in bed, but she didn’t. Of course I didn’t see anything that was for me, but when it came to the presents that were from me, I went to the shops to choose them, and we did the wrapping together. She taught me how to wrap the difficult shapes. At the beginning, she cut the paper for me, but later I learned how to fold the paper and then have a tactile line to cut along. When we went out, I enjoyed the Christmas music in the shops and Nan described the decorations and displays.

As well as the tree, we had decorations that came out every year – the china sleigh for quality streets, the nativity scene with all the figures, and the snowy house scene that my Granddad attached to a rotating cake board that was wired to a music box. The tactile picture that went up on the living room door. It wasn’t made for visually impaired people, but I could feel Santa, his sleigh, the presents, and the raised letters that spelled out Merry Christmas! I think they looked out for things that could be enjoyed by touch as well.

I don’t have any of these things now, apart from a book that they arranged for me when I was very small. You gave the company the name of your child and a few friends, and the company created a book with a story about that group of children. I still have it – and my one was different because my Nan, who had learned how to write in Braille (a system of dots used by blind people for reading), put the words in Braille on transparent plastic and stuck them into the book so that I could read the story for myself.

Another year, my grandparents arranged for Santa to reply to my letter in Braille.

When it was time for advent calendars, we used the same self-adhesive plastic to cut out little Braille numbers for sticking on the doors so that I knew which door I could open to get my chocolate each day.

Christmas was usually celebrated at our house with my mum, my aunt and her children. It started much earlier than my Christmases do now, and the first thing was always children opening presents, followed by adults opening presents, followed by bacon rolls! Then my Nan would make the Christmas dinner – turkey with all the trimmings. Sometimes a stocking was held back for after the main meal.

My Nan isn’t around to enjoy Christmas any more, but I always think of her at this time of year, particularly when I’m doing the things that she enjoyed so much.

What are your childhood memories of Christmas?

Christmas tree in Stockholm

The advent calendars

L’Occitane – today I got a hand cream! I think handcreams are one of the things that L’Occitane does really well, so I was happy to get this little tube. Actually I think there are a few handcreams in there, so I’m looking forward to trying out some more. I already have the full-size one of this one, but it’s lovely to have a mini to put in my bag or in my desk organiser pig!

M&S – another little tube, this time it was Filorga Meso-mask. I’ve never tried this before. Apparently, it enhances skin by improving luminosity and radiance, treats wrinkles and erases signs of fatigue. You leave it on your face for 15-30 minutes and then remove with damp cotton wool. I think I’ll be trying that tonight!

If you had a calendar, what was behind your day 2 door?

Question for the day

So today I’d like to know – what is your favourite food from a traditional Christmas dinner? I have to say the turkey! I don’t think we eat enough of the stuff! I sometimes buy it at other times of the year, but particularly when I was working in London and attending different Christmas meals, I was never sorry to see turkey appearing for the 2nd or 3rd time in December. How about you?

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