1. So distracted and uninterested, on Christmas morning 2020 I realised that we hadn't bought any vegetables. The nut-roast had required such a variety of ingredients, that everything else ceased to exist. Cruson in Camberwell and Oli's in Walworth supplied us with potatoes, carrots and green beans, but we had to live without parsnips - our comeuppance for being so slack.
3. I accompanied my sister to our childminder's house from 3-months old, and over the years, she taught us how to bake cakes, and how to look after the garden. We would play games and watch her Kylie Minogue VHS on repeat. She knitted us jumpers, one of which was a firm favourite: blue at the top, green at the bottom, with two cats - both with tiny bells on their collars that tinkled when you moved. Still in touch, Jane has knitted numerous baby-grows for friends starting families, as well as a pair of mittens each. A child-like accessory, these mittens are particularly nostalgic thanks to our connection with their maker.
5. Ripping, cutting, arranging, sticking - I am trying to find the motivation to make - and, more crucially, send- Christmas cards on time this year.
6. In my opinion, there is no better gift wrap than sheets from Financial Times, neatly folded and kept in place with silver glitter tape...
2. December 2020: no plans, no parties, some walks.
8. Christmas 2015 was spent in Bahia, Brazil, with my parents and my sister - and occasionally, with a couple that we met on the first few days in the country.
The coffee, the caipirinhas, the colours - everything was sunny and vibrant. We moved around Bahia over three weeks, starting in a shack on the beach where we waited for my sister to arrive from Sydney. The ocean was rough, and the house was ramshackle - but we would lounge in the sun and read in the shade. We moved to a hotel in the city, where we met our friends - spending Christmas day together drinking caipirinhas around the pool. Our final stay was in a converted convent; heavy with history, the building was arranged around a courtyard with an emerald green pool and verdant palms.
7. Museum-like colours and William Morris-esque patterns, Bonne Maison socks are a true joy - both to wear and to catch a glimpse of.
9. Recent Christmases have been spent in Scotland. Between Inverness and Aberdeen, Aviemore is near the water - both the ocean and the river that is vital for those most Scottish of things, salmon and whiskey. The coast is wild and rough, and a nip of whiskey is a necessity on a bracing walk along the shore.