Tree Trio

We put up our tree, then we put up another, then another.  Three trees later and I’m feeling a tad festive, although I may have to build an electrical sub-station to cope with the power surge.  I did say that I was going to go the whole hog this year!  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. big christmas treeblack christmas treeChristmas treeChristmas lights

My Christmas Playlist – #NTChristmasPlaylist

When the National Trust NI contacted me and challenged me to create my favourite five Christmas songs on one playlist, I just had to get involved.  I do love Christmas, the sad bits, the happy bits, the twinkling trees, the cold, snow and ice, even the Brussels Sprouts.

Naturally enough I have some favourite Christmas songs too, songs that just make things all the more festive.  As some of you know, we lost our son, our first baby at Christmas time, as a result of that, there are a couple of songs that were once my huge favourites that I just can’t listen to any more, they are now tinged with far too much sadness for me.  So over the last couple of years my playlist favourites have changed a little.

Here it is then my revised Christmas Playlist, guaranteed to get me in the Christmas spirit.

1.  The number one spot goes to “Oh Holy Night” I am not a religious person, but I do love this carol, I love the words and the hauntingly beautiful music.  My favourite version though is this one.  A duet by Aled Jones as a boy and Aled Jones as a man!  Yes the power of television, they took a recording of him singing this as a choirboy and halfway through they spliced in him today as a fully grown man singing with himself.  It is wonderful.

2.  Next up, I’m jumping from carols to crooners with “Silver Bells” the version by Dean Martin, because everyone should have a bit of Deano in their lives.  This song makes me think of New York at Christmas, the open air ice rink at the Rockerfeller Centre, the giant Christmas tree, the shop front of Macy’s and of course FAO Shcwarz.

3.  Another crooner tune, Nat King Cole “The Christmas Song” (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)  This song is just the epitome of Christmas for me.  With his silky smooth voice Nat King Cole paints a picture of the perfect Christmas.  It never fails to stir the child that is still inside me, the one who also wants to “spy, to see if Reindeer really know how to fly”

4.  Back to the Carols again, this time a less known one in UK, it is used much more in America and in fact that is where I first heard it.  “The Carol Of The Bells”, I chose this because it’s different, wonderfully different.  This definitely isn’t the traditional Christmas Carol, but it really does sound like Christmas to me.

5.  My final choice was a toss up between two songs.  “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl or “Driving Home For Christmas” by Chris Rea.  The Irish woman in me says that I should pick The Pogues, it is a great song, however, it is also a song that as the Christmas period wears on, it begins to wear me down!  So my choice is Chris Rea “Driving Home For Christmas”, this song makes me think of all those people, all over the world, desperately trying to get home to their families.  I think of people in airports, ferry ports, train stations and traffic jams, their only thought is whether they will make it home on time for Christmas.  We all deserve to be surrounded by our family and friends at Christmas, so lets hope a little Chris Rea will get everyone safely back to their loved ones.

So there you have it, my Christmas playlist.  Songs that I will definitely listen to over the next few weeks, songs that I will play as we decorate our trees, make gingerbread and wrap presents.  Songs that I will play in my kitchen, to drown out, the girls playing their Disney Mickey Sings Christmas CD in the playroom!  

Why, not have a go and create your playlist too, you can tweet it using the #NTChristmasPlaylist and you might even win a festive hamper and have your playlist used in selected National Trust shops.


How Does Your Garden Grow? – Nov 21st

Life has finally started to return to normal in our house.  After two weeks of sickness, chest infections and throat infections, we seem to be on the way up again.  My immunity must be really dreadful at the moment as I seldom pick up bugs from others, but this time I was just about wiped out, so I apologise for disappearing off the internet radar and off Annies lovely linky for a couple of weeks.

This week has been a real mixed bag on the weather front.  We have had very strong winds and rain and then got our first proper frost of the season.  It was delightful to open the door and see that winter sunshine along with the smell of winter frost.  Even though I was feeling lousy, it really did lift my spirits to hear that lovely crispy crunch under foot.

frosty leavesfrosty apple
I am still amazed at just how many leaves are still clinging on, even though we are rapidly approaching the end of November.   The Yellow Acer is still full of bright leaves.  The Oak tree has started to turn brown and there are still a few Acorns to be found.  My Beech trees are a mixture of brown and gold, but still full of leaves and my beloved Corkscrew Hazel has really only started to turn now.  I envisage a very soggy garden in the coming weeks, as they all drop off and get soaked by rain and snow.

acerAcornBeech TreeCorkscrew Hazel

Speaking of snow – yes, this week we have had our first snowfall, albeit not very significant and by lunchtime it had pretty much all melted away, but if the predictions from The Met Office are correct, we will see many snowy days throughout this winter.

snowy leafsnowy branchsnowy cotoneaster

For now though, rain has returned, hanging off the branches like thousands of little diamonds.


I am delighted to be back on form and linking with lovely Annie from Mammasaurus for her beautiful How Does Your Garden Grow linky once again. It is a real treat for the eyes and I have truly missed not joining in and not being online to enjoy it.

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?