Peace, Joy and Love be With You… ✨🙏🎄

“Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Christmas Eve has settled upon us once again, with its magical promise of celebrations, joy and peace, and the prospect of a tasty roast dinner in good company and a present or two for the children…

The Adoration of the Magi by Albrecht Altdorfer

As is usual at this time of year I get a tad overwrought at my workload. I do love making my children happy, and spending time with my family, but the preparations are time consuming and stressful. By Christmas I’m usually done for.

I felt this year I was managing better than previous festive holidays, but in my perceived invincibility my body had other ideas.

I convinced myself I didn’t have time to slow down, I was ramping it up another level. I had cards to write, gifts to wrap, the house to clean and tidy and a pile of laundry resembling the north face of the Eiger.

On top of that I was still concerned for my eldest son who had recently had a stint in hospital with a pneumothorax and is having to go back to cardiology for follow up tests. He doesn’t live near us so that proved an added challenge.

So much for super mum – I have been forced to slow down, to stop and take stock.

The two days of being bed ridden with every bone, sinew and muscle aching, my leaden limbs screaming yet listless, as my body was overtaken by a vicious fever, took my mind off everything other than trying not to expire.

My condition alternated between shivering so violently my whole body was shaking and my teeth were rattling in my mouth, and so I would pull on yet another jumper and feel like a yeti, only to find I was sweating for England an hour later and throw all my layers off. In between I tried to breathe through a heavy chest, ceaseless coughing and a burning throat.

You’ve probably guessed I don’t do illness. It’s made me appreciate my health, which has been excellent this year. I just had to get this flu out of the way.  Luckily my girls weathered it better.

So I have emerged from my sick bed sounding like I smoke fifty a day, but grateful to be feeling vaguely human again. The house is still a bomb site, the presents still need wrapping, but the most important thing is being able to share love and goodwill with friends and family.

I’m even resigned to the shenanigans of our recent trip to the cinema with the family to see The Last Jedi. I’m not sure the force was with us that day…

I turned around in a car park adjacent to the cinema, dropping the kids off, only to find a vile individual filming us for the purposes of obtaining a parking fine. We were there for a grand total of two minutes. I commented that a little Christmas spirit wouldn’t go amiss, but it fell on deaf ears. She had chosen to work for a company without any moral fibre or human decency.

So I wasn’t surprised when a £100 fine landed on our door mat yesterday morning. I’ll never understand why people want to make a living from pure meanness of spirit.

Despite mounting bills there is much to be thankful for.

L’adoration des Bergers by Geroge de La Tour c. 1644

I want to extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all of you who have either purchased my novel, The Virtuoso, followed my blog, read my posts, liked them and perhaps shared them on social media. It means so much to me that something I have touched on may have proved helpful and worthy of a second thought.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas wherever you are and whoever you are with, and all my good wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018.

I am excited and bursting with creative ideas for next year. This year is almost over, and I don’t feel as though I’ve had a chance to catch my breath, let alone achieve anything worthwhile. It has been a roller-coaster, probably with more downs than ups, but in hindsight perhaps a vital stepping stone to greater things.

Have you also found 2017 flew by a trifle fast?

The clock is ticking and I must resume decking my small hall with boughs of holly and the like.

My thoughts drift to Mary, who, over two thousand years ago may have wanted a different birth scenario but who had to put up with her unborn infant being hunted by mad King Herod and making do with a draughty stable full of animals to give birth in.

But she probably didn’t complain about her lot. She had a devoted husband who did his best to support her, and instead she gave us the light of the world and his message of eternal salvation.

The Nativity by Bartolome Esteban Murillo

My daughter did her class assembly last week, during which I learnt about the Festival of the Radishes in Mexico. ‘Noche de Rabanos’ as it is known, is celebrated by farmers in Oaxaca on Christmas Eve.

Most of my lot don’t eat radishes on the grounds that they find the taste quite disagreeable, but thought carving them into nativity scenes and traditional Mexican symbols an artistic and an unusual way to celebrate the Nativity.

Over the centuries there have been many images in a multitude of mediums from mosaics to altar panels, murals, stained glass, oil paintings, architectural features and sculptures depicting the Nativity, perhaps the greatest story ever told…and now with radishes!

Oaxaca farmers have celebrated an annual ‘Night of the Radishes’ festival for the last century:

I feel it’s fitting to round off with a little Christmas confusion from Joshua Bell and Igudesman & Joo:

From his album Musical Gifts – Greensleeves with Joshua Bell and Chick Corea:

Peace, joy and love be with you…

“I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace to this world.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly… Fa la la la la la la la!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, Fa la la la la la la!

Singing lifts the heart and lightens the load, especially during the mega busy festive season.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the superficial, materialist side of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t metamorphosed into a curmudgeon just yet. I actually love Christmas. But the message can get lost and (excuse the pun), you may find you get wrapped up in worrying about who you’ve forgotten to send a card to, whether or not you bought enough presents, who is coming to stay, who isn’t, what food you’ll get, what you’ll actually do on the big day. I know I do!

Laughter helps too. When it all gets a bit too much, nothing beats a good bellow! This is hilarious. The Worst Christmas of my Life:

My daughters’ favourite is Mog:

With so much to be done, no wonder we can lose sight of the real meaning behind Christmas; celebrating the birth of Jesus, and extending goodwill to all men. What a pity this same attitude doesn’t last all year…

Children and family time are what make Christmas special for me. They bring a magic that helps you remember your own childhood; even if all you got from Santa was a manky satsuma and a few chocolate coins. It’s seeing the joy on their faces. I always remind them about what’s most important at this time of year, but understandably a 7 year old isn’t really interested in anything but presents!


In past years I’ve reached Christmas Day and been at breaking point.  You can’t enjoy it when you feel like a zombie. As lovely as it is, it makes so much more work on top of what most mothers already have on their plate. This year Ruby helped me put the tree up and decorate it, and we spent some quality time together. I have a large family: four children, five nephews and a niece, so my head can feel like it’s going to explode sometimes.

Although I’ve been rushed off my feet as usual, (I had an important call with a Hollywood producer this week), I have felt calmer this year. I think it’s because I’ve kept in mind what really matters, and tried to take the pressure off myself.

It’ll be a frugal one for us, but that doesn’t matter – we have a roof over our heads, we’ll have food in our bellies and we’ll have fun. My heart goes out to the poor souls who live in war torn cities across the Middle East, refugees who have no home, as well as the homeless on our own streets.

Crisis at Christmas

Charles Dickens so hit the nail on the head with his novella, A Christmas Carol. It’s a time of giving, of charity, not just financially, but with time and generosity of spirit.


There are also many people who will be alone because of an unfortunate turn of circumstances.  So it’s not important if you forgot the crackers, just remember if you have a loving family and live in peace you have so much to be grateful for.

I’m reminded how quickly my children are growing up and I want to have some happy memories of these times, which means I need to slow down and be more present with my family.  In fact, I might just bin my  to do list!

As you know I can’t publish a post without some kind of music or interactive content, so to get you in the mood, (if you’re feeling the stress)  I have picked a Christmas medley to ease you into the yuletide vibe:

It’s not Christmas without The Nutcracker:

2016 has been a topsy turvy year… We’ve seen Brexit, Trump winning the US presidential election, the civil war in Syria and the terrorist attacks across Europe to name but a few momentous and tragic events. Let’s hope mankind can make better decisions in 2017!

It will be a chance to wipe the slate clean and make a new beginning. However, it’s important to take some time to reflect on the year that is about to pass into the annals of history. Note what you’ve been grateful for, both personally and professionally, as well as all that you have achieved so far, and what still needs to be realised and tweaked for your 2017 goals.

It’s the Winter Solstice today, the shortest day, when the sun seems to stand still in the sky. But from now on the daylight hours will gradually increase, bringing new hope and renewed energy.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my blog this year, I hope my ramblings have proved either interesting, entertaining, helpful or enlightening to some degree.


I’d like to wish you all a very merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Until the next time, when I’ve recovered from the preparations, festivities and celebrations – be well.

A Christmas Cracker!

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” ~ Charles Dickens

Just a short post from me today, (and my last of the year). I can hear your “phews”! I am ensconced in Christmas preparations and as things stand at the moment, Santa might well break his neck trying to make his way into my daughters’ bedroom…

Even a burglar would have a challenge making that much mess!

As is the case with Christmas crackers, you normally get a bright but flimsy hat, a corny joke and a completely useless plastic gift, (with the odd surprise), but they are quite fun to pull on when you are completely stuffed and happily inebriated!

50 best Christmas cracker jokes ever

Merry ChristmasI’d like to thank everyone who has spent their precious time reading any of my posts, and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I know I say this every year, but it feels like 2014 has gone by in a flash. My kids are that bit taller, savvier, and generally more mature.  Funnily enough, they haven’t yet grown out of their adoration of Father Christmas!

I, on the other hand, feel older and not much wiser, with a rather depleted bank account! Luckily, monetary measures are not the only way to evaluate a year. It has been a tough one for me, but it hasn’t been without its highlights.

I hope 2015 will bring you abundance in every area of your life!

Some say that ever ‘gainst that season comes

Wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated,

This bird of dawning singeth all night long;

And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad,

The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,

No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,

So hallow’d and so gracious is the time.

~ William Shakespeare

Hamlet 1.1.163-9, Marcellus to Horatio

It’s time to give thanks for the light in our lives. Our faith, health, family, friends and for the good fortune that has been bestowed upon us, in whatever form we have been blessed in.

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures.” ~ Charles Dickens

I will bid you a festive farewell with a small selection of baroque Christmas music that for me, represents the spirit of love, peace, joy and goodwill to all men:

Ho, ho ho! I better get back to making a path for Santa…