“To all mothers and daughters everywhere, don’t give up this fight”
This was one of the messages written on a banner at St Botolph’s Church last week, which hosted the Eve Appeal’s annual Festival of Carols. It’s a carol service dedicated to those who have been affected by gynae cancers, and I was thrilled to be able to attend this year.
The church was lit beautifully by candlelight, and the resident choir were wonderful. It was lovely to sing along with some of my favourite carols too, despite the sore throat from a lingering cold. It all made for a very atmospheric setting, with a real feeling of peace and reflection, and positive thoughts for those affected by gynae cancers. Humbling doesn’t cut it.
So now I’m heading into the Christmas week with gusto. I have one or two little gifts still to wrap, our Big Shop is happening this afternoon, and I’m looking forward to a busy Christmas Eve spent helping Santa with Christmas deliveries, food prep for a small Boxing Day lunch I’m hosting for some close friends, and a final once over to make sure everywhere is clean and sparkling.
I feel very lucky to be able to leave the hosting to someone else this year, we’re heading up to the in-laws for the big day. I’ve been absolutely swamped with just general life stuff, and I’ll be honest, I’m really looking forward to finishing up my jobs on Christmas Eve so I can flop down onto the couch with a nice glass of wine and a Christmas movie (Santa Claus the Movie with the legendary Dudley Moore is an absolute favourite in our house, so I expect it’ll make an appearance again this year!) Christmas Day will be spent relaxing with a glass or two of something fizzy, so I’ll hopefully be back up and running in time for my hosting duties on Boxing Day.
Have you managed to have a day off yet? It’s my absolute top tip for surviving Christmas- make sure you find a little bit of time to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries! I absolutely adore Christmas, but tiredness can lead to frayed tempers, so I always try to force myself to find a bit of me time. We always have a nice walk after Christmas lunch too, it really clears the cobwebs and livens everyone up for the evening festivities (don’t want to risk Aunty Muriel dozing off on the couch before the Queen’s Speech with a glass of sherry dangled precariously in one drooping hand!)
One thing I will say- it’s not Christmas without my mum’s bread sauce. I absolutely love it, and I’ve even been known to have just bread sauce on a sandwich for supper around Christmas time! My mum makes it by the vat load, and it’s never enough. It’s easy too- the secret’s in infusing the milk with a whole onion studded with 4 cloves and 1 star anise for a good long while before you add it to the breadcrumbs and melted butter. And she always adds in a good glug of double cream to finish it off- totally fattening and probably really bad for you, but if you can’t be indulgent at Christmas, when can you be?
I’ll finish off this post with a little anecdote. I had a Skype call a couple of days ago from my sister. I answered, and instead of seeing her or my niece as usual, the camera was just on the top of her Christmas tree. It took a moment, but I then spotted some enormous spider webs, and the star at the top of her tree was sort of moving with these little black dots! It couldn’t have happened to a worse person- my sister’s terrified of spiders, and as it transpired, there had been a little egg sac deposited in the middle of the tree under a branch, which unfortunately hatched when the tree was brought into the warmth of their house. What a disaster! Perhaps a real tree might not be the way to go in future….
So, from all of us here at Sylk, we wish you a very Merry (spider free!) Christmas, and a happy, healthy 2017!