Ah, Christmas. Seems like a distant memory as I write this. I had a little break from writing as it was a jam-packed December and new year for The Smiths, but I still want to tell you about one of my festive highlights: The Nutcracker at the British Museum.
As we head towards the end of 2017, it’s a time when many will reflect on the year gone by and look to the year ahead. It’s the busiest season of the year with so much going on every single day – we know that this time of year can be particularly daunting for people living with mental illness, in its many forms. Fortunately, there is help out there for anyone who needs support.
On Day 38 of #100DaysNoTV we left some festive-themed painted pebbles around our little city of Ely. These are no ordinary pebbles; we hope they will help to spread the word about a wonderful community project, Talking FreELY.
To get you in the Christmas mood, you’d find it hard to beat an afternoon making a wreath while sipping mulled wine, eating mince pies, all to the background singing of a live choir. On Day 37 of #100DaysNoTV, I joined a Mummas & More wreath-making workshop at Ely Cathedral! 🙂
Christmas wreaths seem to have gained in popularity over recent years and we had our first ever wreath last year. It was a bit sorry looking; I bought it on a whim from a garden centre in mid-December, and it was definitely past its best! However, it planted a seed in my (not-very-creative) mind – I wanted to make one of my own the following year. I just had to figure out how!
For a festive hit in mid-November, there are few places better than Ely Cathedral. Their annual two-day Christmas Gift & Food Fair is an event attended by people from all around the country. In contrast, the #ElyChristmasCracker was all about local people.
Since the Cambridge blogger community – CambMeetUp – began in March 2015, there have been a number of local meetups around Cambridgeshire, and when Lauren decided it was time that Ely held one, I was more than happy to help organise. On Day 29 of #100DaysNoTV I co-hosted a blogger event for the first time!
I’ve been a member of the Clandestine Cake Club for a couple of years, but I’ve never been brave enough to go along to a meet. My image was of a group of super-talented bakers who would snort with laughter at my super-amateur attempt. But when I heard that Lauren – who I’d met at The High Tea Club – was running the Ely group, I decided to be brave. On Day 14 of #100DaysNoTV, I (nervously) took a cake that I had baked to share with others.
so, what is the clandestine cake club?
The brainchild of Lynn Hill, the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) began in Leeds in December 2010 with its purpose to have a place for cake lovers to meet and chat over tea and cake. “Bake, Eat and Talk about Cake” is their mission statement. What’s not to like?
Some of the best presents are those that are homemade: they show that the person giving it to you has taken time to make something special for you. With this in mind, on Day 11 of #100DaysNoTV we turned freshly foraged blackberries into Blackberry Vodka to give as presents at Christmas.
With the nights drawing in and the autumn chill a nightly feature, there’s something really quite lovely about snuggling up with a glass of warming fruit liqueur.