Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas and My Cloak

Christmas has melted away again- I feel like the little boy in The Snowman, stood in the garden all sad and alone, looking down at a wet hat and cold potato, with only a scarf to remember the magical episode by.

Except instead of a scarf I've been left with quite a lot of good stuff! After this year's Birthday Present Ordeal- when I asked mum to 'surprise me' but failed to stipulate that the surprise couldn't be NOTHING- I thought I better be tacky and ask for a specific present to make sure I got one. I asked for heated rollers, because I am sick of my hair hanging heavy and straight around my waist like a mad tatty witch's. 

As it got nearer to Christmas I told her not to bother with the present, because I wouldn't be able to give her anything, or anyone else for that matter. Inspired by my friend Lauren, I'd bought jam jars and cellophane bags off Amazon with the intention of filling them with homemade presents... But after buying the Amazon stuff, I ran out of money. I thought about filling them with rocks and calling them Magic Fairy Dream Wishing Stones... Then I thought about claiming they were Jars Filled With Love but as everyone knows I don't believe love is a real thing (it isn't- it's an idea that doesn't exist except in the human mind, like The Moomins or algebra), they'd know I was just giving them an empty jam jar. Or a jam jar filled with invisible bullshit. 

In the end I got some extra cash from a magic money tree I'd had all along (curiously it was plastic, oblong-shaped and embossed with a 16 digit number) and I made chocolates and chutney for everyone. I also went to the swish charity shops near me and found a scarf and some earrings for my mum and a book for my brother. The good thing about family is that they have to pretend to like whatever you wrap up and present them with on Christmas Day. Ha.

I was quite pleased with everything, apart from the chutney which smelt like vinegar soup and tasted like tangy sugar, but the chef at work told me it takes a few weeks to 'mature'... These are the recipes I made from BBC Good Food if you need easy edible gift ideas:

White Chocolate Pretzel Bites (or 'Snowflake Surprises' as I called them)
I used dried cranberries instead of raisins because they go better with white chocolate and also raisins are minging.

Chocolate Hazlenut Truffles
My uncle who is a baker tasted one and said it was actually a grenache, so maybe rename them.

Chocolate and Ginger Squares
If you haven'g got baking parchment don't improvise with tin foil, or you're in for a very tense half hour of scraping and swearing.

Mary Berry's Christmas Chutney
Took bloody hours to make and it takes a month to mature, but it looks like you've made an effort.

The only snag was that they melted a little bit during my four hour coach journey from London to Manchester, but I think I just about got away with it. As my phone isn't working at the moment (O2 sent me a new monthly plan sim card, except they didn't, so my current SIM has been stopped and the only way I can talk to them about it is if I call them from my O2 number) I had no way of contacting anybody, so when I finally arrived in Any Northern Mill Town I had to walk to my mum's house, dragging my suitcase along a windy, hilltop road...

I felt like Charlotte Brontë, walking against the wind, surrounded by hills and bare trees, the old mill visible through thin winter branches.

Finally I was opening the gate and walking by the side of the house to the back door. I passed the kitchen and looked in at my mum, who was sitting at the table facing the window. She looked up in my direction and called to my brother, "Sounds like the back gate is going in the wind!"

Eeeeeeee it was really creepy, like I was a ghost trying to come home for Christmas. It's making me shiver all over again.

Heathcliff, it's me I'm Cathy I'm come home! Let me in at your window-oh-oh-oh-ohhhh!

Luckily, I banged on the window and she saw me. IT WAS VERY EXCITING!

The fire was on and my mum has a lovely little cat called Lily and my brother was home and we were so excited for Christmas! As I type I feel a bit sad because it's all over now...

But let me blog about it so I don't forget.

On Christmas Eve we drove with my gran to the Lakes. We haven't spent Christmas with my cousins for years and years and it was so lovely and fun and Christmassy. It was a bit of a mad, chaotic squash as there was ten of us and three beds but it was the best Christmas EVER. The night before Christmas my mum and my auntie got shockingly drunk, so much so that for the first time in our lives, we all woke up and Father Christmas hadn't left us a stocking.

Santa, you terrible drunk!

I woke up next to mum and told her about Father Christmas' outrageous unprofessional behaviour, then I dozed off again for a bit... When I woke up I kicked my feet out against something heavy and heard sleigh bells jingling. I LOVE CHRISTMAS AND I DON'T EVER WANT TO GROW UP. My cousins weren't so lucky, perhaps they are scarred for life as they had to watch me and my brother open our stockings and THEN their dog Paddy got to open his stocking... Seriously.

(Dogs are growing on me, by the way. Which reminds me... in case you were wondering what happened to my mum's monster lion dog, I did try and get on board and bond with the dog for my mum's sake, even when it was trampling all over me and I was screaming and couldn't get away and the dog trainer was stood in the doorway yelling DON'T BE A VICTIM! at me, but in the end it was too much hard work and it wasn't fair on anyone. The dog found a nice home on a farm with a family who want to put it in shows and I am slightly cured of my Dog Phobia but it doesn't change the fact that they EAT FACES and KILL TODDLERS and THEIR SHIT MAKES YOU BLIND so watch out.)

My younger cousin had to go to work so we didn't open our presents until after dinner. It was nice actually as we forgot all about the presents. Instead, the day was about family, togetherness and prosecco.

The middle sister of my three cousins is very similar to me in the way that sometimes she behaves in a way that others deem a bit unusual, except where I can be a little eccentric, Clo is (and I'm sure she won't mind me saying this) absolutely bat shit crazy. She has been living on a hippie commune in California for a few months and told me that tampons have a chemical in them that makes you bleed more and if you read the small print on a box of tampons it says it in the small print!!


Me and Clo went for a Christmas Day wander in my cloak. The setting was perfect, the fading afternoon light, the craggy, windswept hills... I know I've said I felt like Charlotte Brontë about six millions times already but guess what-

I felt like Charlotte Brontë!

You don't have to imagine it because I finally have some photos of my cloak! You are finally going to get a glimpse of it, are you ready?

Are you terribly excited?

If you say no I'm not putting the photos up.

Ok, good. I'm glad. Here they are:

Do you love it??????

I've now taken the first steps to wearing my cloak in public, but we still have a long way to go before I start wearing it on the tube, to the post office, for drinks etc.

When we finally opened our presents, I discovered that I HAD got heated rollers but as it turns out, I can't use them. I have honestly given it a good go this evening but I am hopeless. Looks like I'm not clever enough to create my own beautiful, bouncy curls and I'm destined to have horrible hair FOREVER.

On Boxing Day two of my cousins and my brother jumped in the freezing lake. Me, my other cousin and her boyfriend went along to watch and I kind of wish I'd joined it but the thought of hobbling along the pier afterwards trying to dry my feet and put my clothes on was hideous to me.

The lake was misty and still and eerily beautiful. To prove my new fondness for dogs I even held Paddy's lead:

On the night of Boxing Day us 'young people' went to the local 'club' for a night of hilarious dancing. I've never seen my cousin's boyfriend dance before and he was throwing himself around the dance floor like a cross between Mick Jagger and Lady Gaga, it was great.

Then this morning mum drove us home again and I feel a bit sad. I'm going to a wedding tomorrow which will be lovely except my hair's going to look SHIT then I'm heading back to London on Sunday.

Can't really be arsed with London but I think at the moment I can't be arsed with ANYTHING, it's not that I have a problem with London. Everyone keeps telling me stories about their travels and I am very tempted but I'm not a big fan of my life at the moment and if I fuck off traveling I would have to come back to this life eventually. Also I can't even save up to buy a new bra, never mind a trip around the world.

The point is... it was the best Christmas ever. When I was in Paris I really missed family time, so it was nice spending so much time with everyone.I'll miss bursting into song and four other family members joining in, and deciding to talk in an Irish accent and everyone else adopting the accent too without question.

I know what you're thinking and the answer is yes, you should get a cloak.


  1. Nice one babes. Merry Christmas xx

  2. Wow - fab cloak and you did well to wait until you had the dramatic landscape to do justice to it! Sounds like a lovely Christmas, too. x