Hi lovelies – today’s Festive Guest Post is from the lovely, Emma Crowley!
Massive thank you to Emma for featuring in Festive-Blog-Athon!! Emma is going to answer some Christmassy questions today, but firstly I’ll let her introduce herself to you all.
Hi , my name is Emma Crowley.I live in Waterford in the southeast of Ireland. I’m a primary school teacher teaching junior infants in my old primary school and this time of year is so special teaching four and five year olds preparing for nativity plays and becoming so excited absorbing all their enthusiasm for Santa and Christmas I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember and can get through three or four books a week if time allows. I often do guest reviews at shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk Thanks to Sharon, this year I have read a lot of books by authors I had never discovered before, I’ve even starting to read in genres that don’t normally appeal to me. I love time slip novels and any novel that has a historical element like Kate Furnivall, Lesley Pearse , Katherine Webb and Dinah Jefferies. I’m also a big fan of women’s fiction and really enjoy novels by Jenny Colgan, Abby Clements , Karen Swan and Scarlett Bailey. There are so many authors I could list but needless to say I always have a huge T.B.R pile of books waiting to be read. This year there are loads of festive themed books I am looking forward to but here are the five I will be buying this year
- The Christmas Surprise: Jenny Colgan.
- The Christmas Party: Carole Matthews
- Secret Santa : Scarlett Bailey.
- Christmas in the Snow: Karen Swan.
- The Great Christmas Knit Off: Alexandra Brown.
Many thanks to Katie & Abbey for having me as part of Festive-Blog-Athon 2014.
When do you normally get in the Festive spirit?
Being a teacher of junior infants I find I get in the festive spirit pretty early. As soon as I start teaching the songs for the annual nativity play I feel all festive and eager for all the wonderful things associated with Christmas. Not having any children of my own it’s great to experience the Christmas magic with such young kids and all their innocence. Of course there is often the inevitable comment ‘Santa is not real but I quickly nip that in the bud.Christmas in school is amazing by the time the week of the holidays roll around we have all the classroom and corridors ecrated with Christmas decorations and loads of art and craft.On the morning of the holidays all the teachers wear their Christmas jumpers and the whole school gathers in the hall and has a carol service which is great fun as all the kids really get into the singing.There is always huge cheers when we sing the Christmas alphabet song. If the teachers have been out the previous night for their Christmas night out there are quite often a few sore heads hiding down the back of the hall !
What is a family tradition you like to have or do at Christmas?
I suppose my Christmas traditions are the same as most other families and we don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Every year we have the same relations out to Christmas dinner and we go to mass as a family. I remember when myself and my sister were small our parents insisted we go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Nowadays this is normally around 9 o’clock but back then it was actually midnight and we struggled to stay awake until then. I was always worried that Santa would have come while we were at mass and that we should have been at home tucked up in our beds. Needless to say when we woke up the next morning our presents were always there.
Favourite past Christmas?
I don’t have one particular favourite Christmas but when you are young all Christmas’ just seems so magical and exciting as you wait for Santa to arrive.I always remember being fast asleep on Christmas Eve and I woke up because I had heard something outside on the landing . I was so small I thought Santa was coming into my room and if I looked and saw him then no presents would be there waiting for me in the morning. So I hid deep under the covers and kept my eyes closed in the hope I wouldn’t see him. I remember waking up the next morning with my little sister and there waiting for me was everything I had asked for from Santa but most special of all was a rocking horse which I had really wanted .It was white with a rainbow mane and to me then it was just the best thing ever and I can still remember to this day what fun I had.
Do you love buying/wrapping gifts and seeing everybody’s face’s on Christmas Day?
I’m a person who loves being organised re Christmas presents and I hate leaving everything until the last minute so I begin my shopping early and like to have a clear idea as to what I want to get everybody.I would be useless just rambling around the shops with no clue as I would end up buying rubbish for people just to get them crossed off my list. I start shopping in mid November and find the internet great but a trip around the shops is always essential. It gives me such a buzz buying bits and pieces for people that I know they will love and enjoy.That feeling on Christmas morning when you see your presents being opened is just magical and the look on my family’s faces when they see what’s inside the present is so rewarding.My sister is the easiest to buy for as all she ever wants is clothes, clothes and more clothes.Dad is easy too as he loves books and dvds but my mum is another story she is so fussy re. clothes and always asks for gift vouchers but I have finally gotten her into reading so hopefully she may like some books this year. As they say it’s all about the giving not the receiving so I like to go that extra mile for all those people who have been so kind and supportive during the year.
Favourite Christmas Book?
Just for Christmas: Scarlett Bailey. I know this was only released last year but Scarlett Bailey writes so well and totally transports the reader away from their ordinary lives to the wonderful village of Poldore. I fell in love with the varied cast of characters and the real sense of community spirit they all had and how they would do anything to help each other. Alex was a great main character and it was nice to see a woman doing an unusual job for once, she wasn’t your usual run of the mill chick-lit character and neither was the plotline. Buoy – the dog just stole the show and a piece of my heart. This was definitely a book where I lost all sense of time and place as the hours flew by as I was engrossed in the comings and goings of the villagers. I’ve also read the follow up ‘ Two Weddings and a Baby ‘which was just as good and I can’t wait to read the festive novella ‘Secret Santa’. I only hope Scarlett Bailey continues to write about Poldore and makes the books into a long running series as I always have a feeling of regret and sadness when I turn the last page and leave the characters behind
What is it like on Christmas Day for you & your family?
As we have grown older Christmas has changed in our household as we are no longer up at the crack of dawn eager to see did Santa bring everything we had asked for in our Christmas letter. I normally go to parents house around mid-morning and drag my sister out of bed.As a family we all open our presents together and then mum sets about cooking the Christmas dinner. I normally take the dog out for a quick walk and in the afternoon my relations arrive and we have Christmas dinner. Most of the rest of the evening and night is spent recovering from the huge dinner and we dig into the Roses or Quality Street and watch whatever is on the tv. I’m hoping there will be a festive edition of Mrs. Brown’s Boys this year.It’s always great for a laugh.
When do you normally put your Christmas tree up?
Now that I am living in my own house I invested in a big tree and plenty of decorations but I still call on my mum for a helping hand when it comes to the decorating. I usually put up the tree and all the other bits and pieces on the second Sunday in December. Mum comes to my house and we spend a good few hours getting everything perfect .She is the only one who can do the lights just the right way.I just get frustrated trying to get the lights working and in the right place and by the time it comes to take down the decorations I end up ripping the lights down which then end up in a big mess which I really regret the following year. Once everything is up we reward ourselves with a nice glass of wine as we sit back and appreciate all our hard work.
Emma also answered the Christmas Tag questions that I posted on Day 1 of Festive-Blog-Athon!
Do you like to stay in your PJ’s, or dress up for Christmas?
PJ’s for opening presents early in the morning then you have to dress up for the rest of the day. There was nothing more exciting than wearing your new Christmas clothes when I was younger. Mum would have bought a lovely new outfit in Benetton and it had to kept for Christmas Day.
If you could only buy one person a present this year who would it be?
This one is easy it would have to be for my mum because she does so much for me and never grumbles or complains but just does things without question. I had to ask her to iron angel costumes the other day for my nativity play and she just did it without question. So if there was only one person I could buy for my mum would be that person.
Do you open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas morning , when we were younger we got up super early but now myself and my sister like a lie in so Mum could be up early getting a start preparing the food for Christmas dinner but we just get up at whatever time to open the presents.
Have you ever built a Gingerbread house?
No never, I’m not that into baking and decorating. It would probably turn out a disaster.
What do you like to do on your Christmas break?
I like to catch up on sleep and re-energise after a hectic first term in school. I love going for nice long walks with the dog on a cold , clear, crisp Winter’s day, also meeting up with friends and family. Of course I can’t leave out fitting in as much reading as possible.
Favorite Christmas meal or treat?
Like most people I love chocolate and at this time of year there is an abundance on offer. I like dipping into Roses and Quality Street. In the staffroom where I teach we always get tins sent in from the beginning of December so we are thoroughly spoilt. Some of my other favourite snacks are definitely a Terry’s Chocolate Orange or for pure indulgence I go for those Danish butter cookies you get in the circular tin one just never seems to be enough. Whilst I am eating them I am often saying to myself you can walk it all off over the holidays. I can’t forget a good tube of Pringles or lastly Tayto cheese and onion crisps these are Irish made but are totally addictive.
Favorite holiday movie?
There are loads to choose from but whenever I see The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz in the tv listings, I just have to watch it. The scene where Cameron arrives in England for the first time and has to make her way to the beautiful cottage in the snow is fabulous. The whole setting of the small rural cottage and village just gives me such a warm feeling inside. Jude Law isn’t half bad to look at either. I know once I have seen this film the Christmas season has well and truly begins for me.
Candy Canes or Gingerbread Men?
I’m not a big fan of either but if I had to choose I would go for the candy cane.
Have you ever made a Snowman?
It doesn’t snow that often here where I live in Ireland. So the last time I probably made a snowman was when I was much younger.
Which do you like better, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
Christmas Eve is lovely with all the build up and going to mass in the night time but Christmas Day is great when everything is finally done and you can do no more. People have all received their presents and hopefully are happy. So it’s a day to enjoy good food and pig out on sweets and treats. So I don’t have a particular favourite day but like both equally.
White lights, or colored lights?
White lights definitely, I think they just look fabulous on the tree and they have to be on all the time not flashing on and off as that would do my head in !
I really enjoyed reading Emma’s answers! Big thanks again to her for joining us in Festive-Blog-Athon.
Make sure you’re keeping up with the other posts in Festive-Blog-Athon by heading over to Abbey’s blog: here!
Don’t forget to participate in the Festive Photo Challenge too, for a chance to win a prize and feel festive!