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December – a month filled with small pleasures

January 4, 2015

Not only is it 2015 already, (where did 2014 go?) tomorrow I have to face the dreaded return to the office and worse the return of the commute.

Therefore I’m posting December’s list before it gets buried in the grim greyness of back to workitis.

I’ll begin with my Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar as that seems like a good place to begin. 24 pieces of delicious plain chocolate to sweeten the dark cold morning walk to the station.

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A very satisfactory trip to GP which resolved an ongoing dispute I’ve been having with the practice nurse. The result was annoying practice nurse nil and me – about 10.

A tasty curry with my parents at the Star a local Indian where they treat us like family.

My elderly and somewhat temperamental car has been sorted out – dodgy tyre, stuck window etc and I feel safe and happy to drive again.

My parents bought me back a new Vera Bradley laptop bag from Florida. It’s perfect for work.

Pizza night with my Mum and sister.

Coffee with L, B and L

Big niece’s joy when her present of a Frozen sticker album arrived in the post.

Road trip to Bicester Village with L. I met a Scottie like the Radley dog and bought a new Emma Bridgewater Reindeer plate – seen here with my Christmas Day breakfast.

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We went on to Oxford to meet a friend and the Christmas Lights were a joy and delight. Then I turned to walk back up Queen St and there was the most amazing full moon hanging low over the city in a crisp clear indigo sky. It was one of those perfect moments.

This was followed by a yummy Lebanese dinner with H and L.

The amazing view of the London skyline from the trainline as the sun rose. There are sometimes compensations for having to leave home in the dark.

Posting all the presents that need posting in good time – not like 2013 when I was frantically queuing in the Post Office at the last possible minute along with what appeared to be most of the rest of London.

The nativity play at the school where I’m a Governor.

Nanna’s 91st birthday

The poster I designed for work. I’ve received many plaudits for my efforts

The Office Christmas Dinner – I know these are much derided but we actually had fun.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree

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The Southbank Christmas market – it’s not a patch on Salzburg or Bruges but it’s still very pretty and I had an excellent Halloumi wrap with Rosemary Fries.

Book club Christmas get together.

Exciting post I love the sheer volume of snail mail December brings. Twitter, email and texts have their place but there is something very special about handwritten envelopes on the doormat.

Spontaneous cuddles from my nieces when I arrived unexpectedly.

The unexpected view of London as I drove over the crest of Shooters Hill.

Meeting S on the Southbank for hot chocolate and a gossip.

Christmas Concert at the Albert Hall.

Party at FGT. An annual event that never fails to delight.

The Met Christmas tree – the tree in New Scotland Yard does not have baubles it has labels. Each label is a pledge to buy a gift for a looked after London child. Every day when I walked past on my way to work there were fewer labels as those who live or work in Westminster ensured those children would receive a present.

Cocktails with the girls – Turkish Delight cocktail is truly delightful.

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Baby niece in her Reindeer outfit – I wish I could share the photo she looks adorable and had a beaming smile.

It looks like the long, complex, expensive and annoying legal matter is heading towards completion – it should be resolved early in 2015 – alleluia.

My ace friends.

My Christmas decorations.

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Playing games with my cousin’s children.

The annual bun fight at my godparents.

My own Christmas At Home.

Replacing my dilapidated childhood copy of Castaway Christmas.

Lessons and Carols at Westminster Abbey

Christmas 24 – hour upon hour of saccharine made for TV feel good American Christmas films. They were not quality but they made me smile and put me in the right frame of mind as I made Christmas preparations.

My own beautifully wrapped gifts. I really rather like wrapping.

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Learning from last year’s errors and having a more peaceful Christmas Eve.

Reading American Christmas magazines. I simply adore American women’s magazines at Christmas. I had Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, a Women’s Day and a Southern Living. Southern Living is about as far removed from an English Christmas as you can get which is probably why I find it an escapist rather than pressured read. I find the idea of a warm Christmas completely intriguing though.

Christmas morning at the nursing home. I’m not sure my Grandmother knew it was Christmas but she enjoyed opening her gifts and the atmosphere was very festive.

A Christmas Day walk with my big niece and her shiny new scooter.

Some splendid thoughtful Christmas presents from my family and friends. I have plenty to read, some beautiful new stationery, a pile of quality chocolate, Gin, a lovely soft dressing gown, a Vegas memory book and the picture below from my sister.

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Teaching big niece to roller skate – she had some skates for Christmas and we spent some time on Boxing Day focusing on her balance.

Playing with baby niece.

Hosting Boxing Day evening.

Time to knit and reflect.

My half price Amaryllis – I had trouble finding one that did not cost an arm and several legs before Christmas so had resigned myself to doing without then I found one in M&S at a price I was prepared to pay.

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Taking big niece to London for the day to do the Paddington bear trail we found 14. She had a super time, enjoyed eating cake in Costa ‘like a grown up’. I had to drag her out of the large Waterstones in Piccadilly with ‘only three books’ – I have created a monster… We finished the day with a sleepover at my flat where I permitted her to sleep in my sparest of spare rooms.

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Finally finding the solution to decorate the exterior of my dolls house. I’ve known exactly what I wanted for my small Chalet style house for years but couldn’t find any product that would produce the finish I envisaged. Enter an elderly man in the local hardware store who not only grasped what I wanted, he explained what I needed to buy and how to apply it.

Decluttering three large bags of clothes for the Salvation Army etc. if it did not fit and or flatter it has gone. If it was shabby it no longer has house room and if it was beyond repair it’s gone in the rag bag. I can now close all my drawers and am not trying to cram things into the wardrobe. In addition the coat I wasn’t wearing because it was much too big will hopefully keep someone warm who currently isn’t.

This maybe TMI in which case I apologise but before Christmas I was brave enough to go and get the much dreaded ghastly Smear Test done. Pleasingly the result was clear and I need not endure it again until 2017. Hurrah!

I went to a NYE party at a friends and after a sudden spontaneous decision at about 11:45 we saw the new year in on top of One Tree Hill along with half of south east London. There was a stunning view of the London skyline and it’s a good vantage point for fireworks. It was a perfect end to a rather splendid month.

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