and so this is (almost) christmas

barrel2

It’s just clocked past midnight on Tuesday, December 23, 2014. I’ve spent this evening buying groceries, wrapping presents, detangling my dog from a length of red-and-white string and… well, mostly just wondering where this year has gone.

It’s exactly two days until Christmas; nine until the dawn of two thousand and fifteen. Rather strange, considering that it’s now half-of-my-life-past-the-millennium. Man, I’m old (and my school uniform is still in one of mum’s cupboards. Oh dear. But I digress).

lokistring1

CHRISTMAS. Ah, Christmas. As per many other blogging friends, I’ve spent most of the month intending to write more holiday-specific posts and accomplishing very little. I blame work, accumulated stress and residual lethargy from a persistent cold.

But mostly? It’s procrastination. Long summer nights lead to a very laid back attitude, sticky skin and consequential reluctance to turn on the hot gas oven.

“Maybe tomorrow night,” she says, whilst sipping water from an ice-filled glass. Tomorrow is inevitably hot. The pattern continues.

melonjuice

pizzabl

Anyway, as you may be aware, this month hasn’t been entirely wasted. I’ve baked a beautiful glazed ham as well as some mince pies from a few years back (recipe here, please excuse the non-DSLR photos).

I’ve also eaten many homemade pizzas (and some AMAZING cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers made by my friend Erin) and sipped beer by the glow of a hot barrel fire.

popper poppercentre

I also spent part of sunday watching Jamie Oliver season his free-range turkey (the original Jamie’s Christmas is from 2005, what!) whilst eating seasonal fruit and drinking herbal G&T’s.

Oh summer, you are grand.

fruit

But back to Christmas (dis)organization.

I’m sorry to admit that we still have no Christmas tree. I failed dismally on the ‘international Christmas card’ front, too (sorry everyone, I do love you) and my box of stamps is losing stickiness by the month. Good thing I can cook or I might have been scratched off some Christmas lists by now.

Buuuut… summer barbecues need salads and I’m kinda good at them (whoever said that you don’t make friends with salad was wrong. Just saying).

finsalad

loki

Anyway, this post wasn’t intended as a page-long whinge about my poor Christmas planning skills (or Christmas itself; I do love this time of year and the ability to appreciate our families and the immeasurable gift of our Lord Jesus Christ to the world).

Rather, I wanted to wish you (my amazing followers, collaborators, family, friends and readers – most of you are combinations of these!) a wonderful festive season and a peaceful start to the new year.

Thanks for sticking with me through the ups and downs of travel, homesickness, sporadic recipe posting and commenting for another year. Your friendship, critique, humour and encouragement means more than you’ll ever know.

I’m praying for blessings, peace, creative inspiration and strength as one year ends and another begins.

MERRY CHRISTMAS + a HAPPY NEW YEAR! – Laura, Aaron and Loki x

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73 responses

  1. And a Merry Christmas to you, too, Laura! I pray that this year will be full of blessings for you and your family. I’m so glad to have found you through this thing we call the internet. Some day, we will meet. Until then, may God hold you in the palm of His hand and keep you safe. xx

    • Oh thank you so much Julie! Yes, I definitely agree, it’s a huge blessing to be friends through the wonder of the internet. If only we could travel so easily! Hope that you and the family had a beautiful, blessed Christmas. Looking forward to many more beautiful posts and adventures in the new year (particularly for Stephie and her now-fiance, woop!). Lots of love, definitely praying that same prayer for safety, peace and strength for you guys in 2015 xxx

  2. OMG – jalapeno poppers – please send some over pronto. We’ve been living on corn salad too these past few days. Nothing says Summer more to me than a good Mexi corn salad! Seasons greetings Laura. Hope Loki enjoys his first Christmas, and that there’s a bone-shaped parcel under the tree for him. xx

    • Oh, it’s so good isn’t it Saskia! Thanks for the gorgeous note. YES, Loki had a brilliant time meeting the nieces and nephews, though he was exhausted by the end of the day. He had some delicious roast beef and got a bone to gnaw on for the next few days, haha. Hope that you guys had a beautiful Christmas and that this new year will be blessed beyond compare! xx

  3. Merry Christmas!! We have no tree up either. :/ I love getting a real one, but we decided not to spend buckets of money on one this year since we won’t even be at home for Christmas. I did hang some lights around doorways and windows though and hung some ornaments in our living room window! Aaaand I desperately want to leave them up all year… Is there anything wrong with that?

    That homemade pizza looks DElish! And that salad! And those fresh fruits. And everything else pictured here, haha.

    I got your Christmas card in the mail only a few days ago, so it’ll get to you well into January I’m sure. ;) Better late than never, right?

    Infinite blessings, Christmas cheer, and New Year well wishes to you all!!

    xxxx

    • Nothing wrong with leaving lights up! Haha, Aaron and I have Christmas lights on our balcony that we put up… uh, three years ago? We now call them ‘welcome lights’ as we put them on every time someone comes to visit. Love it! Aw, thanks for sending a Christmas card lovely. So blessed to be doing life with you! Hugs and blessings for the new year for you and Rob! xxx

  4. Merry Christmas, Laura – and to Aaron and Loki, too! We put up our tree yesterday but only plan to put on the candles (yes, real candles) as neither of us has the oomph to do more. We do what we can, eh? I look forward to your posts in the New Year. xo, David

    • Oh my gosh, that sounds beautiful! I’ve never even thought of putting real candles on a tree before. But then again, we have pretty tough fire bans over here so I think everyone is now scared of flames, haha. I look forward to more chats and cooking adventures with you in the new year too David. Hugs and all the best to you and Mark for the new year! xo

  5. Those poppers look sumptuous! And I envy you your Christmas fruits haha. I saw rhubarb at the store today and was very confused…! Happy Christmas to you and yours, Laura (and to little Loki too, of course) xx

    • Oh, I know what you mean! We are quite blessed to be experiencing the festive season in Summer. So much deliciousness for celebration food! Hope that you have a beautiful start to the new year Ksenia! xxx

  6. Merry Christmas Laura, the pizza, poppers, fruit platter and cute little dog are all wonderful. It’s so strange to think that it’s summer in Australia. You are enjoying all of that gorgeous summer produce. Well it’s only a few days until Christmas, a very Merry one to you and yours.

    • I know, right?! It’s such a strange experience to know that we are living the same day in entirely different climates. I love a cold Christmas but I guess there are advantages to the hot Summer weather over here (like fruit, pavlova and gorgeous fresh salads for the celebration!). Take care, Merry Christmas lovely, hope that you have a wonderful break surrounded by those who love you xxx

  7. Oh your little puppy is just the cutest little thing!
    As always beautiful photos.
    I am so looking forward to following your inspiring blog next year.
    A very merry Christmas to you – enjoy :)

  8. Laura, you are an amazing person and you’ve had the most amazing year. Thank you so much for sharing with us all, from your wonderful travels to your beautiful recipes – everyone who knows you is lucky to do so. Who cares that trees aren’t up and cards aren’t sent? I don’t, as long as you don’t :)

    Now relax, take some time to yourself and have a truly happy Christmas (I think I’ve said that to you before somewhere …) and here’s to 2015!

    PS – You’re not old. Old is 113.

    PPS – Hugs to Loki again xx

    • Aw Trixie! Thanks lovely, you’re equally beautiful and I am so glad that we’re friends! I’ve enjoyed reading along with your adventures too… blogging makes you seem a little less far away. Hope that you’ve had an awesome start to 2015, I can’t believe that it’s already January! Lots of hugs and love to you and Clemmie xxxx

  9. Fantastic post as always Laura. You’re a true wordsmith! Looks like it has been a fantastic year for you filled with delicious food, awesome trips and a little fur baby :) Bring on the many feasts of next year. Merry Christmas!

    • Ditto to that Matt! Looking forward to everything that happens this year, hope that you and Alyssa had an awesome start to 2015 (and thinking of little Max, too!). Thanks for being an awesome friend and fellow food conspirator ;) Happy new year!

  10. I am just glad to know I am not the only one behind and slacking on blogging! :D Thanks for some yummy pictures and recipes :D Those jalapeño poppers look awesome and wonderful for a football evening! Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

    • Thanks lovely one, haha… yep, glad that we can make each other feel a little better ;) Thanks for being a lovely friend and fellow blogger over the past year, can’t wait for this year’s adventures too. Happy new year! x

    • Thanks so much John! I hope that you and the family had a lovely Christmas and that this year has started well for you! Cannot believe it’s January already. Looking forward to sharing this next year of blogging with you :)

  11. I’m disorganised too if that makes you feel any better. I keep telling myself it will all fall into place at the last minute like it always does and if it doesn’t, there’s always Champagne. Have a brilliant Christmas Laura. Thanks for being a mate.

    • Sending that thanks right back at you Jen! It’s such a pleasure to read along with you each year. Thanks for inspiring and encouraging me to be better at what I do, can’t wait to read along with you in 2015! Hope you did crack the champagne ;) x

    • Thanks lovely, yes definitely looking forward to this year’s adventures in food and otherwise! Thanks for the lovely message. Hope this year has started beautifully for you xx

  12. I think, it’s an advantage – be able to buy delicious berries and fruits for the holiday season! ;)
    Merry Christmas, Laura; hope you had a great and joyful one! Have a wonderful and full of sweets holidays! :)

    • You’re exactly right, it’s a wonderful thing to be able to buy summer produce for Christmas! Hope that you had a beautiful holiday season too, all the best for the start of the new year! x

  13. All the best to you and Aaron! Wishing all of you a wonderful New Year! Looking forward to reading your posts, travels, adventures and of course, food. Thank you for your friendship! Means a lot to me as well.

    Nazneen xx

    • Aw, thanks so much Nazneen. I hope that you and your lovely family have a relaxed and beautiful start to 2015. I look forward to sharing many more recipes, stories and moments together xxx

  14. A lovely cool post, dear Laura! I hope you celebrated A warm Christmas & finally, it is snowing here for the very 1st time! Ooh yes! :)
    Tasty recipes & you have a lovely cool looking dog too! :)

    • Oh wow, that’s wonderful – stay warm though Sophie!! It’s very hot here in Perth. We’re cranking up the air conditioning as I write! Hope that you’ve had a beautiful start to the new year xx

  15. Fun to hear from you– Christmas time organized –or not! It’s been a fun year reading your blog– with all your travels and wonderful food! Hope you have a marvelous, memorable New Year ahead Laura!! xox

  16. Merry Christmas, Laura. I think we all understand holiday procrastination. I used to feel terrible about it – now I recognize this as an important time to reflect and relax. We all deserve it :) Best wishes for loads of creative energy in 2015.

    • Thank you so much lovely, I appreciate the encouragement and wishes! Sending positive thoughts, love and best wishes right back your way, I hope that this new year will be a beautiful one for you! xx

  17. Those Jalepeno poppers are the stuff dreams are made of! I need a friend who makes extraordinary treats like these! It’s such a happy time of year and (tasty) at that! Hope that 2015 brings you a lot of joy and equally wonderful opportunity too! xo

    • Aw, positive thoughts right back at you Alice! Thanks for being a beautiful friend and inspiration to me over the past year, here’s to many more adventures as we begin 2015! I know that this year is going to be an exciting one for you (yay!! A wee little addition!) and I pray for lots of strength and creativity as you embark upon this new chapter! xxx

    • Oh, thanks so much Claudia. Miss being able to catch up with you for coffee… hope that you and Arne have had a beautiful start to 2015! Lots of love. Thanks for being an inspiration and a friend over the past year xx

  18. Happy New Year to your little family, Laura! With or without a tree, Christmas is still Christmas when we can be together with loved ones. You’ve had an amazing year and it has been my pleasure to read along as you traveled and created gorgeous food and mused about life in your beautiful way. Much love to you in 2015!

    • Oh Stacy, thanks for the kind words! I appreciate your friendship hugely and thanks for sticking with me over the past year! Can’t wait to read more inspiration from you in 2015. I’ve been collecting notes for a few of your muffin recipes… as soon as this darn weather cools down I’ll be making some in my own kitchen. Much love to you and all the best for the new year. Hugs xx

  19. Merry belated Christmas and a happy new year! As always such a beautiful heartfelt post with stunning photos to boot. I am loving that your post feature your new fur-baby each time. Thank you for a year of luscious photography, sharing of highs and lows and just being a gorgeous friend. Wishing you a fabulous 2015! xxxx

    • Aw, thanks so much Martine! I appreciate you heaps and I’m so gla that this last year of blogging brought us together in real life (picnicking!) too! Thanks for being such a beautiful encouragement and fellow prosaic blogger whom I love to read. Wishing you the best start to 2015! See you soon xxx

  20. I very belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to your gorgeous household! I am so thankful that 2014 brought me a new bloggy friend who takes amazing photos, writes beautifully about her travels, and shares delicious recipes. Take care in the summer months and all the blessings and love to your family in this new year :)

    • Aw, so much love back to you Amy! Can’t wait to see what this year brings for both of us. Thanks for being a warm and beautiful friend, it’s meant a lot to me to read along with you too xxx

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