Move over Kirstie Allsopp.

Christmas gifts.What can be better than a homemade Christmas present? So the chutney is so lemony it makes your ears squeak. The elixir is overly potent and my friend swears she will kill me if I give her husband any more feathers but I know the recipients of these gifts will enjoy a little of the countryside being bought into their homes during this season of confinement, especially when the gifts are wrapped in my potato printed homemade wrapping paper.

potato printed wrapping paper

potato printed wrapping paper

Hurrah, Kirstie Allsopp, see my festive delights and weep.

The Twelve Days of Christmas



St Peter’s on the Wall, Bradwell.

Like many people I find the festive season stressful. This year, one look at the hoards of stressed out shoppers almost made me cry off the whole thing.


However, Christmas should be enjoyed, whatever your religious beliefs. For all of us in the Northern Hemisphere it is a little patch of light in the dark months. It is a time to think of those we care about and those that need caring about. It is a time to reflect and feel the turning of the year.

So this year Christmas has found me in a myriad of little ways. This is my recipe for 12 things to do over the Christmas period to rediscover your own reason for a winter celebration.

  1. Play a game with your loved ones. (I played gin with my dad…once we remembered how.)
  2. See the geese arrive. (There’s few places better than The Wash for bird spectacle at this time of year.) geese-on-the-wash
  3. Eat roast dinners with friends. (Three and counting.)
  4. Have a kiss under the mistletoe. (Accomplished…never you mind with whom.)
  5. Welcome back the light. (Waiting for the solstice for this one.)winter sunlight North Downs Way
  6. Sing Carols in a beautiful place. (Even if religion is not your thing then these are beautiful songs. I went to the simple Othona advent service at St Peter’s on the Wall in Bradwell.)
  7. Go to a holy place. (Whatever that might mean to you. I visited the underground delight of Royston Cave. A place where two ley lines cross.) wall-of-carving
  8. Give gifts without expecting anything in return. (I made my fabulous mechanic Doug happy.)
  9. Buy yourself a present. ( A new pair of binoculars.)
  10. Embrace your winter layers. (Can you beat the 11 items of clothing I once wore on a cold day?)
  11. Fall in love with winter trees. (what’s not to love?)


    by MLP

  12. Mmmm. you tell me what this should be.

Back where I belong.

Only Debbie could invent a five prong marshmallow toasting fork. photo: Simon houstoun

Only Debbie could invent a five prong marshmallow toasting fork. photo: Simon Houstoun

Back out in the woods with my gang of volunteers, toasting marshmallows on a big bonfire while tawny owls called amid the trees. Mulled wine, baked potatoes and good friends providing the perfect antidote to an excess of Christmas shopping. Came away full of festive spirit. Hope everyone enjoys the season in whatever way means the most to them.