Christmas in a Week?!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

How quick has Christmas come?!  It doesn't seem two minutes ago I was downloading Michael Buble's Christmas album and playing it unseasonably before any hint of Winter was here.  Now in a week's time it will be Christmas Day and before you know it we're into another year.

I've always been a huge Christmas fanatic.  I grew up listening to Christmas music that my mum and me would put on loud while Dad was out at work or in the shed.  I even had my own Christmas tree in my bedroom, growing up.  Nowadays I love to put on all the seasonal albums, classical to pop, and blare it loud in the living room (or bathroom depending on where I am).  This year I've already played to death Michael Buble, (which is a fantastically festive and cheerful album, may I add!), and when I want something a little more relaxing, classical and choral music by composer John Rutter is the perfect choice. I'm not a music snob at all and don't profess to know anything intelligent where music's concerned (which is naughty of me when I have a musical mum and my late maternal Granddad was an amazing pianist and composer himself who once over played in bands alongside the late Roy Castle.)  I'm assuming I didn't inherit the musically talented genes of that side of my family, but I can proudly appreciate most genres of music.

Last Christmas the other half Sean and I saw classical-crossover artist Hayley Westenra sing in concert at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.  It was a lovely stop over trip where we got to meet Hayley herself after her beautiful concert.  

Me meeting Hayley Westenra

Sean meeting Hayley Westenra
 She was such a lovely, friendly girl who openly appreciates her fans and I was so excited to be able to speak to her after quite a few years of listening to her music.  The concert was specifically a Christmas themed treat where she sang songs from her Winter Magic album.  I loved her performances but the only part I wished was different was our seating.  We were up in the side stalls and it wasn't quite the same looking down on Hayley rather than watch her sing face on.  Her new album which came out in the summer was produced with Ennio Morricone and that is an equally fantastic collection of music.  I knew I wanted to see her in concert again so this time I made sure we booked tickets quickly in advance, so when we see her live at the Sage in Gateshead at the end of February we'll have good seating!

I've had a lot going on this year with one thing and another.  My modelling, but more negatively, my fibromyalgia.  I've not had the chance or ability to do lots of Christmassy things I otherwise would have loved to have done, so Christmas this time around has had it's difficulties.  We didn't get to go to a Christmas market in the end (last year we went to the truly festive market in Manchester when we went to the Hayley Westenra concert).  Usually we'd go to the National Trust carols by candlelight at Fountains Abbey too but unfortunately we couldn't make it this year.  I've not really been all that well, fibromyalgia is a nightmare for its fatigue and the past couple of months the pain and stiffness has hit me badly, having me on hands and knees at times.  Depression has a knack of kicking in when you're knocked off your feet so I've tried to remain as sane as I can!  I've tried not to get too wrapped up in what I should be feeling like at this time of year and just to accept and play out each day as it happens.  I did manage to make two christmas cakes and this evening I got round to the marzipan stage.  I actually made two cakes two months ago in October but I messed up with the timing and overcooked them.  One looked worse off so I chucked it but kept the other which looked somewhat salvageable if I doused it in even more rum.  I'm supposed to be taking a cake to the parents on Christmas Day so in a panic I made another cake last week to a different recipe.  So now I have two cakes, slightly different and I'm not sure which is better than the other.  I will have to deal with the icing later this week, when I intend to make some peaky royal icing.

All the presents are bought and wrapped up now (bar one or two that I'm still waiting for from Amazon) and I've just finished a bookmark which I was cross stitching for one of my Dad's pressies.  I found some charts of little realistic garden birds so I stitched them onto a piece of natural aida material to form a bookmark shape.  Finished that off earlier today and here it is before it gets wrapped up!

Dad's garden birds cross stitch bookmark

I have the new TV listings magazine at the ready now and I'm looking forward to some good seasonal viewing as from tomorrow, starting with the Christmas Michael Buble show on ITV ...


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