Or what I got for Christmas.  Well, one particular present. It seems someone didn’t think there were enough photos of her on display at Christmas, so she got me this with a self-portrait on it. Cool, eh?

Phoebe bauble

In other news, the mince pies went down a treat:

Going, going...

Three little birds, sat upon a log

The diet bit the dust for the Christmas break.  Variously, I can recommend:

  • Mary Berry’s Christmas Chocolate Log.  Recipe here. Picture of our version above.
  • Nigella’s Roast squash and sweet potato soup with buttermilk blue cheese sauce. No need to peel the squash or the sweet potato; we used low fat yogurt instead of buttermilk. Recipe here.
  • The Hairy Baker’s Old-fashioned sweet mince pies. Recipe here. Pastry has orange zest and juice in it. Yum. Even if mine were a little chewy – I think due to my adding too much juice.
  • The Hairy Biker’s Gammon with Spiced Marmalade Glaze and Two Zingy Salsas. Recipe here. As seen on Saturday Kitchen when both bikers and James Martin seemed very flirty with Dervla Kirwan. You boil the gammon in fruit juice, then when it’s cooked roast it with some glaze, and finish with pineapple & chilli and beetroot, apple & mint salsas. Easy enough to do (especially when you can wash up as you go).
  • Homemade cranberry sauce. Very easy; boil cranberries, sugar and orange juice and zest until done. Beats the stuff in a jar into a cocked hat.

Gym (to work all of that off) starts again on Monday!

Phoebe says...

From me, Sarah and of course, Phoebe – who chose this Christmas message.

I’m just ordering Sarah’s last Christmas gift (something she told me yesterday she wanted and they didn’t have in the shops), so a quick message before going quiet for Christmas.

The cake is just about to be iced, the mince pies are done, the turkey is defrosting (!) and the presents wrapped (mostly).  The last few presents and the cake will get done at 3pm, which is when Christmas really starts for me.  Just after 3pm, we’ll join millions of others all around the world with the Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge.  And I’ll know Christmas has arrived.  Each year I forget how much I love this start to Christmas; this year I was reminded early by this post. As you’ll see from my comment there, I get all tingly when ‘Once in Royal David City’ starts; followed by the wonderful language of the service itself – “in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem”, “all those who rejoice with us, but on another shore”… (as Sam Seaborn in The West Wing would say, a little thing called cadence) to the final reading that “In the Beginning was the Word…” and the triumphal Hark the Herald Angels Sing.

May your Christmases be merry and bright, peaceful and restful. God bless and see you soon.

Mmmm cake

The last Sunday before Advent is often called ‘Stir-up Sunday.’  Traditionally it’s when Christmas pudding was made.  As we’re not having one of those this year, we made our cake instead.   I forgot to post this last week; the cake is now safely tucked away coming out only to be ‘fed’ with brandy on an occasional basis before being covered in marzipan and icing.

Why ‘Stir-up Sunday’?  The best explanation I can find is on the website of Woodlands Junior School in Kent – read here.