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I didn’t bother with an Advent calendar last year as Advent isn’t something I grew up with and I didn’t think Talitha would get much out of it at eighteen months. This year at two-and-a-half, though – oh my, it’s guaranteed to be great fun. I considered getting her the usual chocolate calendar but decided against it for a few reasons: 1. We’re going to lots of Christmas things – there’ll be ample opportunity for her to get a fix there, 2. It’ll be more fun to focus on doing

The Christmas thing seems to be happening for us so much earlier this year. Usually I’d blame it on commercialism and certainly it was weird walking into The Co-operative today and seeing all the merry banners. However, other markers are ushering us into the season sooner than I expected. In an attempt to make this the year I don’t get ulcers stressing over last minute Christmas presents and the state of our bank account, I’ve been shopping gradually and putting things aside. Talitha’s presents are all done now, except for


It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Christmas is a busy time and my parents were staying with us but that’s not why I went silent. Like many prone to moods they don’t feel in control of, it’s easy for me to get too self-reflective at the end of the year. So I drafted five or six posts and hit “delete” instead of “publish”. Everything I wrote looked pathetic or false on the screen. In real life, I joked with Laurence about being slightly unhinged. Quietly, I wondered if

“Did Jesus really lie in a manger?” My friend put the question out there and let it hang for a bit. “Because it’s basically a cot, isn’t it?” she smiled. Three of us sat with cups of tea and our five children with whom we probably all sleep or have slept with at some point. I suddenly saw my nativity set in a whole new light. We agreed it seemed unlikely that he wouldn’t have slept beside his mother. I look at the figurines I bought before I had Talitha.

So we’re finally back from our month-long holiday in Trinidad and Tobago. As evidenced by how quiet it’s been on Circus Queen, I got a little distracted. Talitha is now an airplane flying badass. We flew from Gatwick to Tobago, Tobago to Trinidad, Trinidad to Tobago, Tobago to Trinidad again, Trinidad to Tobago again, then Tobago back to Gatwick. Phew! We actually survived all that. As everyone assured me we would. To those who made it sound like the flight out there wouldn’t be so difficult, I’m glad I didn’t

I know it’s too early for Talitha to know what’s going on but I’m really looking forward to celebrating her first Christmas. I’m already imagining showing her the lights blinking on the tree, reading her the Nativity story and watching her get more excited about the wrapping paper than her presents. A Christmas post in November? How commercial am I? I think it’s my trip home for the holidays that has got me in the mood (Trinidad is still “home”? That’s a whole other post). So, as I pack my

I’ve been sickeningly obsessed with ¬†Christmas since July this year. Laurence has been caught somewhere between amusement and horror as I’ve enticed (coerced) him into buying presents from hippie stalls at music festivals and drawing up our Christmas card list. I haven’t always been this way. In fact, it’s characteristic for me to make the mad dash to the shopping centre for entirely unglamorous last minute hunting on Christmas Eve. So I’ve reflected on what makes this one different. Firstly, my parents are coming to England. If this is indeed

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