Image Map


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

I'm freeee!!!! Much as I love my job (and I really do), there are points of the year when I really need some time off. Yesterday was my last day in work for 2010 and I've got so much holiday left to take that I'm not back in work till 10th January. Squeeeee!!! Ok, so this is mildly spoiled by the fact that I have to go in on 4th Jan to do my PDR as the boss has been struck down with the lurgy and couldn't come in yesterday to do it. But still, loads of time off work! HUZZAH!

I'm spending today violently boshing away at the housework; Santa does not visit a messy house. It will all get done today. I have no wish whatsoever to still be hoovering and dusting on Christmas Eve. I will change the bedding then because new sheets and new pj's are de rigeur on Christmas Eve, but I want the housework over and done with as soon as possible. Once the boring stuff is finished I can get on with the fun Christmas tasks, namely reading, watching films and eating mince pies.

And what does my reading list consist of? Well, I hopefully have the following waiting for me under the Christmas tree:


A great big cheesey yay!

A nostalgic, oh-my-god-I-adore-the-Church-Mice-books yay!

A fingers desperately crossed that SOMEONE buys me this as all the people that I thought were getting it for me turn out not to have done, hopeful sort of yay!

But before then, I always take great seasonal comfort in curling up with these. All kids books, but that's a) because I love kids books and b) I'm usually very short of time pre-Christmas day and have no time or attention span for anything longer.

Holly in Love by Caroline B. Cooney
I will not hear a word of criticism about this book. Yes, it's an early 80's teen novel and they're not renowned for being great works of literature but who wants to sit down with War and Peace at this time of year? This book is full of very sweet teenage romance, snow and lashings of cocoa and hot buttered muffins. Yum!

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden
Oh Rumer Godden, why don't more people read your glorious books? The children's books are some of my absolute favourites and the adult books are really rather wonderful (ok, I am not so keen on the ones set in India but China Court is utterly marvellous). The Story of Holly and Ivy is festive, magical and brings a tear to my eye every time.

These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
It's not necessarily Christmassy per se, but the section in These Happy Golden Years where Almanzo takes Laura sleigh riding is perfect. All of the Little House books do winter in thoroughly atmospheric style.

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
The Christmas descriptions are just wonderful. As is the rest of the book, but I don't always read it all at this time of year.

The Best of Times by Michael Morpurgo
This was a new addition to the bookcase last year. The illustrations are very beautiful and Mr Morpurgo always writes a good story, regardless of length.

And I'll be watching a random assortment of Christmas films and the Christmas special episodes of:

Father Ted (which gets extra points for featuring a young Kevin McKidd)
The Smoking Room (genius. Buy it. Buy it now. It's really very cheap. And then I'll have some more people who'll understand me when I quote it and that will make me oh so happy.)
Bones, esp the Christmas episode from series 1

And Noël from series 2 of The West Wing. It's right up there on my list of best tv episodes ever. It's not happy but it's seriously brilliant, plus it's beautifully played out over the sounds of the prelude to Bach's Cello Suite No.1 (my favourite piece of classical music). Ooh, the very thought of it gives me goosebumps.

On the ipod will be the following:

My very favourite Christmas carol. I don't know why I'm so drawn to it - perhaps it's the age and the words - but it haunts me.

I also adore this one - a 17th century carol written by a missionary among the Hurons in Canada which blends the Christmas story with native religious ideas. My teacher in Year 6 at primary school taught it to us and I honestly don't know anyone else here who knows it.

And because I am a massive cheesemonster, my all time favourite Christmas song. Get me drunk and I'll sing it all for you.

I love a bit of Paloma too, even if this is a bit of a grinchy song.

So there you go, that's some of the stuff I like to do to get in the mood for Christmas. Not that I need much help. In case you haven't guessed already, I LOVE Christmas. I know some of you aren't so keen though, so I do apologise if you're feeling bored by me recently. I shall return with an outfit post tomorrow! I look like Mrs Mop today.


  1. Ugh I'm so JEALOUS. I have to work up to and including Christmas Eve and I am incredibly unhappy about it. It does not make me feel festive one little bit.

    PS If I get the Debo Devonshire book I'll totally lend it to you, I'm hoping for it as well but god knows why seeing as no-one has asked me what I want this year. *sigh* brat brat brat.

    Get cleaning!!

  2. Ah, we've got The Waitresses on in the office as I type :) Have a lovely relaxing time off - once you've cracked on with the housework!! xx

  3. yay! For a break from work it does feel so good especially when you've been working so hard :)

    Sounds like an amazing relaxing time :)

    My cleaning isn't getting done till after christmas but that's because I'm not going to be here and my energy is going to be spent carrying masses of things on the train to get to my family :)

  4. It is getting so Christmassy now and guess what the necklace arrived! It is fab - thank you SO MUCH!!

  5. I'm very envious of your time off, sounds lovely! I love Rumer Godden, my favourite is The Dollshouse. I used to get it out of the library all the time as a kid. I've been trying to find an old copy, but no luck yet!

  6. I haven't read any of those kids books, I feel like I've been missing out. I have to work up until Christmas Eve so all my cleaning will need to be done then, boo hiss xx

  7. Very jealous that you get to finish for Christmas already. We generally work through until about 12:30 on Xmas eve to make sure everything is sorted for the bank hols, the same for New Year.

    Enjoy your assorted Christmassy things- I'm not a huge fan but I do have to admit to fancying a watch of Love Actually at some point this week!

  8. I love love love christmas too! I'm so excited :)

    Christmas Wrapping is my absolute favourite xmas song! Have a wonderful time lady :) xx

  9. I'm really getting in the mood too, even though I've still got 2 more days of work, boo. I ALWAYS read the Hogfather (Terry Pratchett) at this time of year, best alternative Christmas book ever! And I will be watching love actually this week, otherwise Christmas can't happen...x

  10. Wow you have ages off you lucky girl. I love the Churchmice books and adore Ballet Shoes i've not reread it in forever x

  11. i officially don't have enough time before xmas to do everything i have to :(
    whcih means i'm even wildly jealous of your cleaning time!!
    one of the lightbulbs exploded yday morning, as i was late to leave for work, and i haven't been allowed home since (due to my dad being over-protective of the snow, and not letting me leave his house) i am quite concerned that when i get back, there may have been a few bits of glass i may have missed :(

  12. Thankyou. That post got me into a really christmassy mood :)
    Merry christmas <3

    Connie x

  13. Aah so jealous of all your holiday time! I'm only working 6 days in next 2 weeks rotas, but unfortunately haf of them are 'holidays' (xmas eve, boxing day, jan 2nd) - did them last year and not impressed I've been landed again! Hope you have lots of fun reading time - never mind the dusting! :)

  14. Its always good when holiday time comes round. Thanks for posting the fudge recipe the other day. I`ve got to try it out.

  15. You deserve a nice long break after how manic your life's been lately, I hope you have a lovely break.
    My giveaway prize arrived from you today and it's beautifully wrapped so I'm saving it for Christmas day!

  16. Ballet shoes is my favourite book ever. I read it over and over and over as a child.

  17. ballet shoes is an amazing book, i love it, i remember the day my dad gave it to me, i was so excited<3<3 please take a look at my blog *the top one*
    thanks xxx

  18. Oooh I hope you have the best time! I would love the book by Deborah Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, did you hear her Womens Hour special a few week ago on Radio 4 she is such an interesting woman?
    Another fan of the smoking room here, not seen it or ages though as since I quit it makes me want to smoke, so funny though.
    Have the best time off!
    Kandi x

  19. Dear Alex, you haven't bored me one bit. I've absolutely loved your Christmas posts!

    I want to buy Smoking Room but I haven't a bean in my bank account 'til Thursday. I shall remember to do it then. Another Amazon order came today... I have been treating myself a little too much on the book and DVD front.. oh and Ebay! I shall blog some of my Christmas presents to myself!

    I love Rumer Godden she writes beautifully. I can't remember exactly which books I've read I'll have to check. I love all the stuff about four rooms.

    The carol is gorgeous and the song with Paloma and the lovely Josh is great. Paloma used to to out with Christos a while back. I see her and Josh out at parties a lot.

    I hope you get all your books and thank you for helping me get in the Christmas spirit xx

  20. Oh my word, Alex, such a lot of time off. I'm most jealous! Are you sure Santa doesn't visit messy homes?? Eeeek! Might have to do a little tidying - ugh, not my favourite thing to do! Rumer Godden is such a familiar name, must google it in a minute. As for Laura Ingalls, we are watching the first series (of a boxed set of 9 DVDs) of the Little House on the Prairie. Would recommend!

  21. Hahaha, the book with the girl in the riding clothes looked like she was doing a really awkward squat thing - the chair is hard to spot!

  22. Ooh me again, just wanted to say thank you very much, my golden package arrived today!! Can't wait to get into it!
    Kandi xx

  23. I love Christmas too. It’s just that magical time of year where nothing else matters!
    All those Children’s books look lovely, I really want to read Ballet Shoes, it’s one of Jacqueline Wilson’s favourite children’s books and I have been meaning to lookout for it for a while.
    Talking of Ballet, my Iva Ibboston book arrived from you the other day, again thank-you so much, it is now on my bedside table awaiting to be read :) x


I'm easily pleased - a simple comment will cheer me up no end. So do drop me a line below...

Sorry to readers who prefer to comment anonymously but I am getting clobbered with spam at the moment so have had to disable anon comments. Feel free to get in touch with me in another way!