A snowy goodbye to 2014

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

It was a cold but cosy end to our time in England.

Overnight, the skies opened up, covering the Peak District in a thick blanket of snow and we awoke to stunning views over the hills outside the window.

I stepped outside onto the balcony to breathe in the sharp, cold air and take in the panoramic winter landscape across Hope Valley.

In my flimsy pyjamas, the chill rapidly burrowed itself deep into my bones, and I quickly retreated back inside to a cup of steaming tea. From a cosy seat on the sofa, we enjoyed the view from the warm comfort of home for a few hours.

But nature was calling us through the window, and it wasn't long before we gave in to its summons, bundled up in our warmest winter woolies and stepped outside again. Snow is much more fun when you're in it.

Everybody knows that the best antidote to feeling cold to the core is a long late lunch by the fire in a traditional English pub.

By the time we left our seats and wrapped up in scarves and hats once more, the sun had disappeared and darkness had spread across the village.

But if anything, Hathersage looked even prettier by night. I admired the twinkling Christmas lights which lit up the snow still carpeting the ground beneath them.

It was almost time to bid farewell to snowy England, and to 2014. 

But it really was the greatest of endings.

Thanks to my lovely brother and sister in law for supplying a couple of these beautiful pictures.

Weekly Wonderings 5 - The Festive Edition

Saturday, 27 December 2014

I have a confession to make…I think I am addicted to Christmas. No, I mean really. My obsession with all things festive has reached such heights that I keep reminding myself of this guy I once saw on ‘The Big Breakfast’ who kept his tree up the whole year round, had ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ on repeat throughout the day and ate a full turkey dinner every night of the week. I think I could probably get on board with this kind of lifestyle.

However, before I got too carried away with the Christmas cheer this week, I first had to reign it in a little as it was Mummy Bags' birthday.

As we settled in for our celebratory lunch at Cigalon in central London, I thought about all of those poor souls like my mummy who are unfortunate enough to have birthdays at the end of December and who have suffered through years of 'joint Christmas and birthday presents'. I made a mental note to make up for this by treating mum extra specially well on her special day in years to come.

But it's a pretty difficult feat to forget about Christmas altogether when you're as addicted as I am.

This week, I’ve mainly been wondering: what exactly is it about this quintessential Christian holiday that has got us all hooked?

It has to be because it’s pretty much the only time of the year that all generations of a family get together.

 Or because they generally make a lot of effort to dress up and get into the spirit of the occasion.

Or best of all because said generations come together in said outfits full of festive goodwill and collaboration - a very pretty picture!

This year was extra special because we got to meet Jim’s girlfriend Inger-Johanne at long last. She is from Oslo and it was interesting to hear about the various differences and similarities between a traditional Norwegian Christmas and ours.

On Christmas Eve, we took part in one of these traditions by sharing a pot of ‘rice porridge’, or julegrot with a whole almond hidden in it. Rich was the lucky recipient of the nut, and therefore was gifted a special marzipan pig as a prize.

Almost too cute to eat...almost

It was also a special year, because we had two new members of the family to share Christmas with: on the Byles side of the family, our niece Amelie... 

And on the Bagley/Witney side, our nephew Ollie.

Spending time with them both has made me realise that there is nothing more special than a Christmas with little ones.

As Rich and I got to celebrate two Christmases this year with both of our families, I was reminded once again of all of the best parts of Christmas that both of our households have in common.

Sticking to Christmas traditions like going to the local Church's carol concert on Christmas Eve...

Jim definitely didn't regret volunteering to be this year's Joseph...

Heaps and heaps of food... 

Washed down with gallons of drink...

And lots of festive cheer.

It’s been a fantastic Christmas back in England in the cold. 

And to top it all off, it has just started to snow!!

3 things I particularly appreciated this week:

1. Spending Christmas with the one I love

2. Feeling part of a huge, loving extended family

 3. Feeling incredibly spoiled with all of my fantastic presents

Until next year!!

I’d love to hear about what you have been up to over the Christmas period!

Polly xx