A Christmas Carousel

Christmas you Darling, little, irritating season you! I at once adore you and abhor you: adore you because nothing pleases me more than a reason to make paper chains and create a sense of celebration and abhor you because I'm a girl who likes routine and when  you start throwing egg nogs and Christmas crackers into the mix, my commitments to meditation and loo scrubbing seem open to the kind of negotiation I secretly hope to lose... But here you are again, and obligation really rather insists that I join the throngs shuffling down the high street in a last desperate bid to make sure my families stockings are a-bulging and take myself on the kind of fruitless search for sprouts to accompany the very first Christmas Dinner I have ever made for Richard and I on Boxing day, because sadly family drama prevents us being together on the big day, and thus the poor man will fall out the other side of 2011 without having enjoyed a single sprout should the local supermarkets fail to get their act together and keep the shelves stocked with these delicious festive essentials...

Hells bell I do waffle don't I?

The point of this post you see is not to discuss shopping list shortages, nor indulge my rather curmudgeonly need to whinge about Christmas, but instead to share with you a rather eclectic collection of all those things that are keeping me sane this side of the holiday...

* First up, I am currently devouring Kimberly Wilsons "Tranquilista" because it rather spookily reflects the life I want to lead in 2012. What is a Tranquilista I hear you cry? Well allow Kimberley herself to explain...

"A tranquilista is a woman who embraces her many sides: spiritual (she’s a tranquility-seeker), creative (loves style), and entrepreneurial (calls her own shots). She hearts fashion and philanthropy…entertaining and enlightenment.…She is full of aspirations and always seeking inspiration. Oh, and she sparkles. Literally.”

Yes. That's it: in 2012 I intend to sparkle... watch this space!

* Next up: Sparkly Mulled Wine Spritzer. A recipe of my own devising after supping Marks and Spencers version and quite the most perfect way to enjoy the taste without the often heady effects warm mulled wine can have on even the hardiest of alcohol sodden heads... So simply allow mulled wine to cool, then mix it half and half with soda water, add a glug of apple juice or elderflower cordial for sweetness, add ice and garnish with star anise and a cinnamon stick. Christmas in a fizzy happy glass!

* Now a few links that have made me smile this week...

- Tania Kindersly on blogging - The First Rule of Blogging? Never Talk About the Blog. - Sark on how Succulence is Power... -The Vintage Years: What to Wear On Christmas Day. - Looking forward to making these delicious sage and goats cheese latkes for a New Years Day dinner...

* Next a scrumptiously atmospheric promo video for volume two of Kinfolk Magazine that deliciously captures all the cosy magic of  the simplest of December evenings...

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anSBWHurWiY&w=560&h=315]

* And finally my Darlings a poem I included in one of this years newsletters, from the wonderful Maya Stein. A poem I do believe it might just be worth writing down in the journal you find in your Christmas stocking: a reminder that we do not have to resolve to reinvent ourselves, to wipe the slate clean in 2012, but can instead work with who we are...

How To Start Over

1. resist the temptation to wipe the slate clean entirely. you cannot do this. you are where you are. but you can dust. you can mop. you can cleanse your belly of all the heavy cheeses you ate at last month's holiday parties. you can initiate the day with decaf. you can rake four batches of leaves from the lawn. you can sing, loudly, in the car to no one but the man on the radio who is singing with you. you can decide that the apple pie you are craving will not come from your hands, your oven, your kitchen, but from the bakery aisle at your neighborhood grocery.

2. ignore the titles from the self-help shelves and glossy women's magazines, with their sound bytes of colorful insight. you do not need a makeover, a diet, a religious conversion. you do not need to get more in touch with your feelings. you do not need potassium, or St. John's Wort, or a colonic. you need a walk, communion with shore birds, a rainstorm, a glass of wine in front of a fire, lip gloss, a whole evening of the novel you read only incrementally, at night, before bed.

3. ignore the calendar, the clock, the larger itineraries ticking their niggling bits of time. you will sleep when you need to. you will know when it is time for water, for a shower, for a phone call, for a kiss, for solitude, for Indian food, whatever nourishment you need for your throat, your ears, the palms of your hands, the hunger just under your skin.

4. imagine, despite your unbearable faults and fissures, you are still a thing of beauty, a rare creature, a snowflake, a singular, spectacular atom circumnavigating the tangled astronomy of your life the only way you know how.

By Maya Stein.

We are where we are... and tonight I am knee deep in wrapping paper and Bucks Fizz.

Night Night Gorgeous.x