Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A Shiny New Year!

Well, a very 

Happy New Year 

(somewhat belatedly)
to anyone who happens by this little contribution to the 
I didn't intend to be away so long but what with one thing and another...

So what has been occurring these last ten days or so?

Christmas morning saw us at home and opening presents with all the girls, plus Mr U-t-B and the eldest's boyfriend.  Then Mr U-t-B, Miss U-t-B and I headed south to my parents near Portsmouth, for a delicious lunch with all of my family.  As usual, my Mum's cooking was delicious, and the company lovely, but I was too busy enjoying it all to remember to take any photos!

After a cup of tea and a yummy mince pie...

Ooh - and that's a Nigella 'Ham in Coca-Cola' in the background.  I'd forgotten how good that recipe is!

 (My sister had made the mince pies, but purely co-incidentally, she used exactly the same recipe as me - Katie Stewart's - and had used a snowflake cutter for the lid!  Great minds think alike...or, as my cousin always used to say, fools seldom differ!)

...we bundled into the car and headed off, Liverpool-bound, to Mr U-t-B's sisters, where the adorable Ralph was waiting for us and hoping that we'd be careless enough to drop a few tasty morsels for him to snaffle.  Sadly for him, the turkey sandwiches with cranberry relish were far too delicious for us to let even a small bit head his way.

I think the smell of turkey and other Christmas fayre is torturing Ralph here!

Hanging on every word of his master's voice.
 Boxing Day saw us on the road again, over to Manchester (well, Greenmount really) to Mr U-t-B's other sister, where we caught up with the rest of the family.  Poor little Hannah was teething...

'My poor face!'
 ...but she still looked adorable in her lovely red velvet dress.  Miss U-t-B had been dying to see her cousins...

A lovely time was had by all, then we hopped back into our chariot and headed home, for we had entertaining of our own to do the next day, as Sophia, her Mummy and Daddy and her grandparents were coming over for a meal.

I tried out a recipe from the Good Housekeeping Christmas Special for the main course - Beef Stew with Scarborough Fair Dumplings, serving it with mash, carrots and green beans.  I was pleased with the stew as sometimes I'm not so keen on ones made with beer, but this was yummy!  Pudding was either fruit salad or a de-constructed lemon and berry 'trifle', which goes together in a matter of minutes and is nice and light, being made from yogurt rather than cream and custard. It all seemed to go down well!

Since then, we've mostly stayed at home and kept ourselves busy with one thing and another.

 There was some serious admiring of lovely presents to be done...

This beautiful claret jug was from my sister.  I absolutely love it! (And it was very naughty of her to be so generous...)

The desk has acquired a new and very useful tome.  Can you spot it?

Hard to miss, isn't it?  'Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management' was from my sister-in-law, and officially it was not a Christmas present, but just because she saw it when she was mooching around an antique shop and knew I'd like it! Also very naughty!

It is so interesting to dip into!  

A timetable to bring order to your days...

Wonderful adverts, some so politically incorrect I probably won't post them here lest the PC Police put a black mark by my name...

Bimbo window cleaner! Sounds like a 'character' from The Benny Hill Show.

 Illustrations of all the latest gadgets to aspire to...

Ideas for entertaining...

Must try harder when having people over to eat - remember to buy contents of a florist's shop!
 Ideas for new and worthwhile hobbies to take up...

I knew there was something missing from my repertoire!  This year I will learn to create sculptures with my table linen!
 Guidance on matters of etiquette...

Love the last sentence!

I have also been keen to dip into these books and do some baking...

...but with a serious backlog of baked goods in the house, decided to wait a while (till my waistline has gone back to where it was before the festivities!)

And I've also been thinking ahead with this one.  Is it too early to start thinking about next Christmas?

There have also been quiet times for contemplating the great mysteries of life.

Like this...

The grand de-clutter has been continuing - these are the tub-less lids (plus a couple of lid-less tubs) found in my cupboards. Is there a plastic tub monster who makes merry with my plastics when I'm not looking?  

We also had some 'bright' ideas.  

Idea one was to wander from room to room making a list of jobs that need doing.  This is only half of it - eek!

The first afternoon after we'd made the list we crossed off several jobs and felt deeply smug.  The next day we realised we'd gone for the 'soft targets' and that most of the other jobs on the list require considerable time, motivation and in some cases expenditure to achieve.  Looks like I might be too busy to do much blogging this year...

A big thank you to everyone who helped make my Christmas a lovely time!

Hope your Christmas and New Year was a time of happiness, and that you haven't started the year with a 'To Do' list as long as ours!


  1. What a lovely post! Sounds like you had a marvellous time. Love the book, bet it's such a great book to dip into! Great idea on lists for each room, I do that every year too, it can be scary though eh?

  2. Hi Alix, my, you've been busy - but it mostly looks lots of fun (apart from the to-do list). I've got the Christmas Crafting In No Time too - and the speed I go I'd better get started now!

    Mrs Beeton's book looks brilliant - I was amazed to read that she died when she was only in her 20's. Of exhaustion I expect!

    How could you resist Ralph's pleading look? Hard cruel woman.

    Happy New Year!

    ps We too have a plastic tub monster. Ours lives in the cupboard under the stairs and, at random times, throws the containers all over the floor.

  3. All looks pretty wonderful and I could just eat another mince pie! Happy New Year to you and your family, x

  4. You are one lucky lady to have a copy of Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management! And it is in such great condition. I just watched The Marvelous Mrs. Beeton on YouTube over New Year's weekend. Did you ever see it?

    Wishing you a happy and creative New Year Alix!

    Hugs from Holland ~

  5. It looks like you've had a gret holiday season with lots of good gifties. I have a list too which is a few pages long...eeeek. I even considered not blogging...for about two seconds:)

  6. I enjoyed your post very much. Would love an evening with your new (antique) book...lucky you. And I am very fond of your snowflake pies. I must look for a snowflake cookie cutter. I have been seeing such cute posts with the snowflakes. Happy new year to you.

  7. Happy New Year Alix, looks like you had a lovely time.....love the Mrs Beaton Cookbook x

  8. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my recent post. You sound to have had a wonderful Christmas and I love the beautiful presents you have shown. I would covet any one of those. Your to do list sounds a very good idea. It helps to concentrate the mind instead of being in a flap and achieving nothing at all.

  9. Lovely presents, I have a 1920's version of Mrs. Beeton'a and I love it!

  10. Definitely green over the Mrs Beeton book, lucky you!
    Love that ham recipe, Hubby hates the smell of it boiling but loves the end result.
    Happy New Year to you and yours alix. xxx

  11. That is one scary "to do" list.. have made a small start here!.... Lizzie