Happy New Year and welcome to 2013 here at Georgica Pond. There are lots of exciting things afoot here, with plans for the blog and business, and some exciting associations that I will share in the coming months. I just have to get super organised and manage my time more effectively. Not sure how high the resolutions of diet and exercise are going to rate in the coming months! Oh well, one more vino won't hurt.
We had a wonderful Christmas, the first spent in our renovated home. Completely different to the house from last year, which was still being finished with paint barely dry. What a difference a year makes.
Christmas wrapping this year, with three kids, made for a rather gargantuan task. I really wish I had a wrapping/craft room, a la Mrs Spelling. Would make the whole job so much easier!
We hosted this year, and I was thrilled with my house decorations, the theme was blue/white/green and I inadvertently ended up with quite a strong bird theme. Funny how you go off on a tangent you hadn't expected when you spy something cute/cheap in the shops.
With a 6 month old baby and two little kids, plus the pressure of cooking Christmas lunch I knew I had to be well prepared. So I set the table a few days early. That took the pressure off Christmas morning. It took some clearing to be able to see the top of it mind you, about a day's work just removing a year's worth of junk from it. As a result my cupboards are in a terrible state! And you should see the laundry!
This is the blue denim wash rug I had in the library (which had a glass of red wine spilt on it on day one) which is a temporary solution for under the dining table. Because the table is 3.5m long, and 1m wide, it needs a custom make. And in typical procrastinating style, I can't decide whether to do a sisal rug like in the living area adjacent or something more formal with a pattern. Tune in again in a year's time and it will probably still be there!
I bought these two new dining chairs for the ends. They were a fabulous choice indeed, they are well made, heavy, really comfy with a lovely linen upholstery and not expensive. They are a great addition because they balance the room and anchor the table. It all seemed a bit lopsided before.
We also took 4cm off the legs of the table, which is a chore we have been meaning to do for about 5 years now. It was too high and made for awkward dining, so with a lot of short people coming to Christmas lunch it seemed an opportune time to get it right. So at about 11pm on Christmas Eve my poor husband was sawing off table legs (with my muscled assistance) - but what a difference!
Step One - a nice crisp white damask table cloth. This is one item that only comes out for Christmas lunches as it's a bugger to wash and iron.
To continue the blue and white theme, I decided at the last minute to use these scrapbooking papers (below, from Spotlight) which I was going to make tree decorations or tags out of but ran out of time. So instead I thought they would make perfect placemats. They were the ideal size, lovely patterns and for only $2 each could be chucked out afterwards if they got stained. Luckily my family are all neat eaters, so I kept them all.
I wish I could find these patterns in cushions or fabrics!
Next step was these plastic silver chargers which I picked up at Kmart at the last minute for $2 each. Again such a bargain and they look fabulous as an anchor for the dinner plate, particularly if you are changing plates with courses.
I love Christmas because it's the one time I get out the good china and cutlery. I know, you should use good for every day, but I just forget I have it most of the time. We got this dinner setting for a wedding present and the cutlery and glassware too.
For the centrepieces, I bought these recently and added the fake snow, pillar candles and pretty baubles which I bought at Adairs.
I usually buy my crackers at David Jones because they have a really nice selection of quality crackers, which are large, solid and simply decorated. The jokes are still rubbish though!
These gorgeous Nina Campbell embroidered butterfly napkins are from the UK.
Antiqued glass and painted baubles all from Adairs, and they were 30% before Christmas.
These pretty glass wired decorations I found at DJs. They pretty up the candle and help cover up the plastic rim.
Another last minute purchase at DJs were these doves. I bought two for the table not really knowing how they would work and it was a bit congested, so I had to put them on the light.
Christmas Eve - we had dinner out with friends and came home to hastily prepare the snack for Santa and the reindeer. A mince pie, 9 carrots (Charlie insists on one for each reindeer and these were grown in our garden), plus a glass of milk. I'm sure Santa would prefer a Scotch but milk is what he got. Can't be seen to encourage drink driving!
Charlie's lovely teacher gave all her students this Magic Reindeer Food on the last day of school. We sprinkled it outside on the lawn on Christmas Eve.
And yes, Santa did come and he and his crew polished off the lot. ( had to hide the carrots in the bottom drawer of the fridge as I have a very attentive and detail conscious 6 year old).
Snuck up to fill up stockings and sacks and found one sleeping baby. Her first Christmas, so lovely and exciting to have such a little blossom with us at Christmastime. Makes it all so much more meaningful when you are blessed with little people like this to make it extra special. She's sleeping in one of those great Love to Swaddle Up sleeping bags, a fab alternative to swaddling cloths.
Her sack ready and waiting - again a great last minute buy from Adairs.
One down - two to go. Well three, including Daddy's. I love these gorgeous traditional stockings I bought from Little White Company in England a few years back.
Everyone piles on our bed with sacks and stockings on Christmas morning. Great excitement ensues. And the odd disappointment, or a "What is it?" to which I respond "Oh, Santa thought you'd like that, it's a science experiment from National Geographic, I'm sure there's some Skylanders in there somewhere. Keeping looking!"
Charlie is so pleased Santa shops at Smiggle! And got his addendum to his Christmas wish list at the last minute on Christmas Even. Phew, thank heavens for email!
Sorry, photos a bit blurry, but it was all happening at break neck speed and it was only 6am. I think I did well to manage to turn the camera on! Particularly after being up until 1am keeping my husband company while he wrapped his presents - honestly, these people who leave wrapping to the last minute!
Mum gave me this fabulous digital ornament for the tree. You upload your photos and then it plays a slideshow, so that you get a rotation of family photos. Amazing.
The tree was so big and hung so low I couldn't fit any presents under it. So I had to make use of the space under the coffee table instead.
We set ourselves up with some canapes and champagne and started opening some presents before the rest of the family arrived. Charlie delighted with any kind of electronic type of present.
There is something so wonderfully special about having a baby with you at Christmas, particularly their first one.
Poppy was pleased to have anything that resembled shoes or leggings!
My Mum and Dad, oddly coordinated in outfits, toasting the day. Still such an attractive couple after 50 years of marriage.
My eternally youthful and stylish grandmother. Hopie is 80 something, and the Peter Pan of the family.
My sister Ali and Amelia. Happiest baby ever.
My turkey turned out so well this year, I was thrilled. I always use a Donna Hay recipe which involves putting chicken stock in the pan and covering with foil, although one of my dear friends suggested making a turkey blanket which meant wetting sheets of paper towel and wrapping them in foil, then covering the breast to keep it moist. Sounds odd, but I tried it and it was beautifully moist and flavoursome. So not sure what was the secret trick, but it was very tasty.
Mum and Dad with her delicious ham. Always turns out perfectly and we all gladly eat it for the next few weeks!
Dad's always chief carver.
Me and my lovely sister Ali. Many of you are fans of her gorgeous house they built in Wildes Meadow. Probably should have thought to clear all the crap off the fridge, but hey that's life! The dish on the far left, is my grandmother's Christmas speciality. She grew up in the West Indies and this is a spicy sweet potato dish, that consists of mashed sweet potato with chunks of pineapple, with a hefty dash of chilli, and on top it's covered in marshmallows, then baked and browned in the oven. I have been enjoying this for 40 years and it wouldn't be Christmas lunch without it. It adds a sweetness and moistness to the turkey and ham that you can't do without!
My husband's Mum usually makes a Yule Log or Buche de Noel, so he wanted to take charge this year as she lives in the UK. He made this himself on Christmas Eve, between assembling Play Kitchens, mowing lawns, cleaning the pool and stacking fridges with booze. Great first time effort I thought!
After the unwrapping orgy, there were piles of presents everywhere. Not to mention the truck loads of empty boxes and wrapping paper! Which all went to the recycling at the tip the next day.
Poppy changed about 8 times in the course of the day. As long as leggings and pink are involved, she's happy.
My sister made this gorgeous wreath pavlova for dessert for those who don't favour Christmas pudding. It was delicious and festive!
My Uncle serenaded us all this his ukelele having learnt how to play this year. He's always been a bit of a frustrated performer. We had a bit of a singalong after lunch. Tip toe through the tulips anyone?
You never know what you'll find at Coles - these dear little Christmas chocolate cups. What a delight.
Was given this stunning bunch of Christmas themed flowers from one of our family guests. So big it tipped over the vase.
Our little Christmas Pudding! A present from our lovely babysitter, Pam.
Amelia and her great grandmother. Isn't it a wonderful thing that our children can enjoy so many generations.
The kids' table.
I had to take a pic of these shoes - from one of our Chinese guests. My uncle has lived in Hong Kong for 40 years and his business partner has joined us for nearly as many. She's always turns up in the latest designer gear - has done for 30 years. Always amazes us!
Hubby always is the best washing uperer.
This is actually Boxing Day, because it absolutely poured with rain all day on Christmas Day. Such a shame as I was hoping we would spend it around the pool swimming and relaxing, then have Christmas dinner. But it was the wettest Christmas Day in 70 years, so we all huddled inside instead.
But I'm so thrilled with the way the house is coming together. The gardens are growing, and the place is settling into itself nicely. It takes for these things to happen, but they eventually do.
And of course there's Christmas leftovers that get reheated and served up for days and weeks to come!
The headband on Amelia was a joke! In case you wondered if I'd turned hippie!
Relaxed Boxing Day lunch outside. Finally got to use the outdoor area, with the new sunshade we put up the weekend before. Made such a difference to the deck area and has extended the living space from the kitchen out further giving the illusion of a larger house. Plus it was far too hot to eat out here in the midday sun.
My gorgeous girls. So lucky. Amelia is rolling over, eating solids, saying her first word "dadadada" (just like the other two) and is a pure delight. I think I'm enjoying her the most as a baby. It's just been heaven.
I do hope you had a wonderful and happy Christmas. Here's to a fantastic 2013!