Good morning lovely Rockettes/Rockers 'tis Friday which means only one thing - it's time for
So obviously since we last touched base we've had Christmas
So first up, the impromptu gifts from my other work place, totally unexpected, last year we did a Secret Santa (which apparently didn't go fully according to plan), so this year there was no specifically organised gift plan, we were all simply sharing cards, so you can imagine my surprise when I arrived at work to find these goodies sat on my desk!
Next up signs of Christmas we never have anything like this in the year, so it is definitely a Christmas treat!
Early morning fires are the best, the TV room has always been the coolest part of the house, so its bliss we can now warm it through so easily without it affecting the rest of the house, which is always warmer.
Christmas morning surprises were fun, apologies for the blurry image, I blame the atrocious lighting levels at the time, he was as you can see properly surprised!
Said 17 year old now has a girlfriend (who is absolutely lovely) they met up a couple of days before Christmas to have a walk and then he headed over to her house (we dropped them off), he had bought her a few little gifts, nothing major so you can imagine his surprise when she arrived on our doorstep on Christmas Eve with a bag of goodies, she bought soooooooo well for him, you can see how happy he is opening the gifts here.
Said 17 year old enjoyed reading records out of his Guiness Book of World Records on Christmas morning whilst I was preparing food and hubby had popped for a quick shower
I was really pleased with my Christmas table this year, my Mum bought Christmas crackers (as she always does), but struggled for my all white/silver theme and ended up with crackers with red elements. When they arrived I had a rummage through the old Alice in Wonderland table decorations we had as I knew I had some red Christmas trees and votives and ta-dar the table was sorted!
You can see the Harry Potter tree and the Hogwarts silhouette in the window in the background, together with the sorting hat and a death eaters mask made by my brother.
Christmas dinner went off OK, my Mum was poorly bless her and she is no better at the moment, upper respiratory chest infection, but being asthmatic she really has been struggling to breath, but never the less she came and tried to enjoy her day in between her flu capsules etc.
Our lunch is always chaotic if I'm honest, our mornings are always long and leisurely and relaxing, which is always lovely but the afternoons are always madness. This year I had a cunning plan, I told everyone to be at our house for 12.30pm because they are always late (and I mean always), Mum and Step-dad arrived just after 12.30pm but the rest arrived about 1.10pm - like I said always late!
We had starter around 2pm, but then everyone asked for a 'break' before main, so we ended up unwrapping presents so the 3pm main ended up at 4pm, I dropped one of stuffing dishes on the floor and lost a good 50% of it (it was in foil, so didn't smash but obviously that which landed on the floor had to go).
The rest of the meal seemed to work out OK, pudding was eaten gone 7pm and it was gone 9.30pm when everyone headed home (the latest we've ever had guests on Christmas day), me and hubby headed for sofa and were soon in the land of nod!
I had some lovely presents, I've taken part in two crafting swaps this year, the Advent calendar swap where my present for the 25th was this fantastic apron (which I wore all Christmas day despite not crafting) and a little bottle of fizz (which I had last night it was nom)
The other crafting swap was a Secret Santa Stocking swap, my haul of goodies is below and made me exceptionally giddy because it was predominantly paper based which I love love love and I don't own any of them!
We had quite a chilled day on Boxing day which I was pleased for after the busy Christmas day, me and hubby spent a good couple of hours sorting the main dining and kitchen area, the dishwasher was running full tilt all morning and I popped the new tablecloth in the washer to get rid of the red wine stains (white table cloth and red wine not the best of mixes). But it wasn't too difficult to pull it back in shape and we had a couple of hours just enjoying time together (bliss).
Wednesday was a work day, I know me at work between Christmas and New Year, what the hell is happening to the world, I must admit it made my Christmas break feel really short, added to which college/schools in the area saw fit to make the first 'holiday' day the 25th of December and not returning until the 8th January - I much prefer to have my Christmas break split with a week before and a week after as I've always been a Christmas girl not a New Year girl. The work day did drag but I appeared to be clock watching quite a bit.
Once home we headed out to my Mum's house, she was having a post Christmas gathering, we tend to refer to it as the pig table day, predominantly because one year we sat and noted all the items on the table were pork based with the exception of the coleslaw! This year there were hot roast pork sandwiches (with a side order of the best roast potatoes) and crackling, homemade sausage rolls, bacon and egg quiche, cheese and onion quiche, there was passionfruit gateaux or strawberry gateaux for dessert with strawberries that were still frozen.
Thursday we decided to head to Chatsworth, believe it or believe it not, but we hadn't visited pre-Christmas, we took said 17 year old and his girlfriend and had a fabulous day, enjoying the house and then a wintery walk afterwards.
My favourite view on the way there, was as beautiful as ever.
And the theme this year is Charles Dickens!
So we got to see the frontage to Scrooge and Marley's office
The decorated chair in the chapel was beautiful.
The wood panelled room off from the chapel, had an upside down Christmas tree and then several trees created by the different teams involved in Chatsworth.
This was the plumbers tree made with plugs and tap tops as well as plumbers pipe and plumbers hoses
The electricians had recycled bulbs in their tree which changed colour
My favourite made from floor polishing pads had little knitted Henry Hoovers on them - this was by far my favourite!
A Tale of Two cities corridor was beautiful, all white and papery
With lots of paper stars and snowflakes in the window
My favourite decoration in the main hall was hanging from a balcony
The dining room had the dinner set out for Miss Haversham, apparently all the tableware and crockery were bought by one of the Dukes of Devonshire in the late 1800's so in the period for the theme this year.
My favourite part of the 'Oh Dickens it's Christmas' displays were the paper sculpted houses.
Done by a local artist, 16 books each one of Charles Dickens classics and each one with a different sculpted house set within in.
Some of them were lit, I was amazed at the tiny gutter brackets on each of the houses and the tiny chimney pots!
The sculpture gallery had a stunning tree in the centre
Then we headed outside for some fresh air, said 17 year old and girlfriend went for a wander on their own and we did the same.
The sun was so low in the sky and part of the Emperor fountain pond was frozen.
The odd sculpture from the Beyond Limits exhibition were still in situ, believe it or not that particular sculpture up close is black as black can be, so it was strange to see it with what looked like a pale grey side.
The house looked glorious in the sunshine.
Me and hubby attempted (and possibly failed) on a selfie, so busy trying to get rid of the shadows I forgot to smile!
The peak district looked mighty barren as we trundled back home.
Thankfully the roads were clear, although the same cannot be said for the view out of the window this morning.
So there we go that was the week that was, can you believe that this is the 380th Rocking post that I've labelled as Rocking your World Friday, which is crazy in itself, I've never missed a week (occasionally been late but never missed), which means I've been doing this blog post weekly for in excess of 7 years.
I always find them a therapy in my life as I yearn for balance, it's easy to get swept up in the day to day, that I never take time out to sit back and relax and take stock of the world. There are weeks when I realise that I've worked too much and 'lived' too little, but these help me address the situation and re-balance in the week going forward.
I look forward to posting these posts, I'm grateful to anyone that reads my ramblings on a weekly basis, that catches a glimpse of my life as I travel through it. I feel grateful for every comment that I receive and for everyone that joins in, Kate, Lisca and Carmen have been my main participants this year (actually you might have been my only ones) - thank you for joining in and sharing your life with us and what you have in your grateful bucket that week.
I will of course be continuing this into 2018, for Sunday night we turn a page and start a brand new chapter, the page will be clean and bright and new. I hope you have all had a beautiful and blessed Christmas and festive season and that you enjoy your New Year's Eve on Sunday night, wherever you are in the world, may 2018 bring you the greatest of joys and the biggest of blessings.