image via pinterest
What better way to herald the beginning of the festive season than with a gorgeous lunch with my lovely friends Amanda, Laura & Jennie at the fabulous Chewton Glen the other week. Our "Works Christmas Do" as it has fondly become known, is our chance to get dressed up, drink champagne and celebrate our friendship in true Like Mother Like Daughter/Online Stylist,/Lois Avery/Hero style. Argh! I can still taste that pudding now - a hot chocolate mousse with a little Espresso Martini on the side! It would have been rude not too...
Also getting me in the festive spirit has been the Christmas Market at Winchester Cathedral. Wandering round in the beautiful winter sunshine, with a glass of mulled wine and my best friend, looking at all the lovely stalls is my kinda perfect winter's day. And then there is the ice skating of course. I took Bella, my youngest, a couple of Saturdays ago and it's just one of our favourite, magical things to do at this time of year.
Not surprisingly spending time with family featured highly on November's agenda. With the sad news of my dad, my cousin Catherine (who you first met here) came down and cooked lunch for all the family. It was lovely but strange getting together without any parents around - or any grown up Grown Ups as we call it. It's a new chapter in family life and one we've all got to get used to.
Grown up Grown Ups arrived soon after in the form of Catherine's parents, who being the next best thing to my own Mum & Dad have happily accepted their new role as surrogates parents to me and my sister, Jemma. And whilst the miles (they live in Cape Town) may separate us on a day to day basis, there is always Skype and yet more reason to visit the beautiful Cape. Plans are already afoot for 2017.
And finally something that I wouldn't believe I would be saying, a strange juxtaposition, which I touched upon in my last post. When people ask me how Dad's funeral went, I say "It was really lovely". Not what you would expect to hear you might think, and definitely not what I thought I would be feeling as I was dreading the day. But for everything it was, it was truly lovely and a real celebration in his honour. From the poem my sister and I chose and read, the wonderful tribute from a former colleague to chatting to the many, many people who came to pay respects and hearing just the loveliest things they had to say about dad, it certainly made me feel very proud of him. And I think we made him proud. Have you ever organised a funeral? My goodness! What a task! Jemma and I definitely had a little "high-five" moment when it was all over that not only had we organised it all, including a reception at his favourite watering hole, The English Partridge, afterwards, but that it had all gone without a hitch and been a very fitting celebration of him and his life. And if I thought that was a task, then don't even get me started on the process of probate - oh my goodness, even with one of THE most organised dad's in the world, this is going to be a task and a half!
So December is here in all it's sparkliness. A few festive decorations have started appearing and there's even talk of the Christmas tree going up this weekend. The good times are already rolling with a little lunch I hosted for my girlfriends - so good to get back in the kitchen, enjoying cooking and creating a pretty lunch table, and I'm off for an overnight stay with my best friend from school which may involve a little stop-off at Bicester Shopping Village. Well seeing as I'm passing.
In the meantime, there's a fresh pile of magazines and a sofa with my name on it. My yoga teacher, Sally, said it was very important, especially at this time of year, to stop and take some time for ourselves. Who am I to argue!