Hannah here: The crazy work deadlines, sickness, late-paying invoice stress and house work of the last month have, I am pleased to report, been smattered with Christmas loveliness.
Firstly, a pathetically brilliant Christmas Lights switch on in Faversham; long candle lit tables, rows of tented food stalls steaming in the cold night air. A countdown, another countdown, and another, still no lights. The band starts up, and we shrug our shoulders and get back to our burgers. In the middle of Jingle bells and a mouthful of Malteaser cake, and with no ceremony whatsoever, the lights finally sputter to life. Priceless.
Next, our annual trip to London to soak up some, albeit crowded, London Christmas shizzz (although Carnaby St was a bit rubbish this year- giant headphones?!). My mister and I snuck in some especially toothsome Yalla Yalla wraps whilst the babe slept in the buggy and MAN they were good. And (top tip!) impressively cheap for London. Next up, an impressively tinsel-decked Soho pub and declarations that there is nothing quite like Christmas in a British pub. Then a late afternoon constitutional down Carnaby St to Liberty, in the waning light.
Liberty; to soak up the Christmas decadence, those monochrome gables, the impossibly expensive antique Berber rugs, the stretched-face Oxford St matriarchs. A lovely reader said hello (I blushed and gabbled), Frankie chose an impressively subdued bird for the tree, she kissed the enormous stuffed Polar bear in the stair well and I snuck an oversize Chocolate Liberty gold coin in the shopping basket. It’s about the most commercial Christmas thing we do, but if you’re gonna feed the capitalist machine, might as well feed it at Liberty, yah?
In the days that followed, I attended a delightful morning of Christmas makery with some of my besties, a welcome full stop in a crazy week of deadlines, which you can read more about here. A day trip to London with the selfsame brilliant women followed shortly afterwards, a birthday surprise for one of the group, SANS BABIES. OMG it was so exciting. Coffee and doughnuts on the train, conversations not interrupted by unreasonable toddler requests for ice lollies, maundering down the Southbank dressed in it’s Christmas finery, finger licking piggery at Wahaca followed by the Matinee performance of 3 Winters at the Littleton, which was excellent, and sobering. Everything about the day was food for the soul.
Then of course, there are all the Christmas traditions at home. Bing on the record player. Morning excitement about Jack Frost. Holding Frankie up so she can hang her Liberty bird on that exact branch right there, NO, not that one, that one. Stringing up our Peparkaker cookies on the tree, subsequently finding empty strings and a trail of crumbs, and now, as I glance around, realising that they have almost all gone. Lighting candles, finding small, perfect little Christmas trees in enamel buckets that I simply could not leave the market without. Making a King Winter pine cone ornament with Frankie in the woods, and hanging it carefully on the tree.
As per usual, this was supposed to be split over a couple of posts but toddler then mother sickness has prevented it so here we are with a behemoth of a blog instead. Did you get this far? High five yourself. And have a very merry Christmas.
P.S I am guest pinning for Folksy this week from today! Woohoo!
P.P.S Any freelancers out there find themselves doing this insane juggling act of a little time Chirstmassifying, then a little time (and late into the night) working?! I'm finding it hard to truly switch off. I'm grateful for the flexibility but a little part of me misses the clean delineations between work and play that a 9-5 offers. Anyway. One more feature to write before Christmas then I'm done.