As Christmas day draws to a close here in Sydney, I’d like to wish all my wonderful, beautiful readers around the world the most joyous of Christmas days. Thank you for visiting me here at Wee Birdy and welcoming me back so warmly after my big baby break. Your comments, emails and tweets have cheered me immensely and I’ve loved sharing my stories and wee finds with you all.
I’m still in a bit of a nostalgic mood so I thought I’d post a picture of my mum from 1960. It’s one of the first photos my dad took of her at home. I love the big, bushy Aussie Christmas tree (plucked from the bush, no doubt) with its humble decorations and balloons.
Happy Christmas, one and all. I’ll be back very soon to update you on the festive eating and the drinking, and no doubt, the decorating. But for now I’m going to put my feet up, enjoy a glass of bubbly and start on that pile of new Christmas reading. Delicious! Hope you’ve had a good one, too. xx
I found some old family photos while I was visiting mum this week. Check out this photo of her with my brother and sister from Christmas 1965. I love her high bun and frilly dressing gown. And my brother’s pale blue overalls. The burnt orange chairs are pretty good, too.
Here’s my hipster dad with my brother and sister in England. How cool is his intarsia jumper? Someone’s probably wandering around Dalston in it right now.
I LOVE the awkward Santa photo on the left from 1967. Everybody’s kinda wigging out. I don’t know what I adore more: my mum’s polka-dot frock with Peter Pan collar and matching trim around the sleeves or the perky little pink bow on her head.
That’s my first Santa photo at David Jones in ’74 (with my brother and sister, top right). You can tell it’s the ’70s, from my brother’s flares and my sister’s long frock to the beaded curtain in the background. By ’77 I’m rocking a patchwork Holly Hobby dress and Santa’s chair has been replaced with a big white cane peacock number.
Santa’s a bit different these days. We took Harry to David Jones’ Elizabeth Street store because we’ve always had Santa photos at DJs. We were led to a tiny little broom closet behind a sliding door that had about as much charm as a dodgy dentist’s waiting room. Santa was at one end in front of a fan (I do feel sorry for Aussie Santas in those suits) and the photographer at the other end. We handed Harry over, the photo was promptly taken, and then we picked the best pic off the Mac. There was no ho-ho-ho-ing and we weren’t allowed out until some kids had cleared the corridor lest they discover there was actually a production line of multiple Santas.
The other thing I noticed? No-one will ever have an awkward Santa photo again. Digital photography takes care of that courtesy of the delete button. No more hysterical toddlers, no more babies pulling on Santa’s beard, no more mums looking strained and no more dopey mid-blink stares. Which is a bit of a shame, really.
How are you going with your Christmas preparations? Have you got an awkward Santa photo, too?
It’s been a busy week here at the Wee Birdy nest. I’ve been reading my favourite childhood Christmas books to Harry (can you spot the Raymond Briggs and Dick Bruna?), putting the finishing touches on the tree and decorating the house with Australian summer flowers (the brilliant red blossoms of the Flowering Gum and Christmas Bush look a treat in my vintage Bitossi and Holmegaard vases). Then there has been all the festive eating: my Mum’s stained glass Christmas Cake, the zingiest pineapple, lemon and mint frappe from Cafe Mint in Surry Hills, and a special Christmas afternoon tea at Patisse (the very pretty Bouche de Noel was decorated with fresh flowers and tiny red meringue mushrooms).
What’s been happening at your place? Are you ready for Christmas?
Hurrah for Aussie Home Beautiful! Wee Birdy scored a lovely mention in their rather gorgeous January 2012 issue, which is on sale now. Here’s what they had to say (hello to Mr Bazaar, too!):
The January issue is packed with beautiful rooms and inspirational homes, including an excellent feature on current interiors trends. Have a look at their vibrant take on the neon trend (below).
The embroidered felt and linen artwork by Rachel Castle works a treat in this room, and I love the hand-stitched ‘Kantha’ quilt sitting on the orange Eames chair (from Chee Soon & Fitzgerald). I’ve also got my eye on the beautiful Vitra ‘Albula’ oak coffee table. While I adore my ’60s Parker coffee table there’s no denying the beauty of Vitra’s soft organic form and the pop of Scandi-style freshness from the white-on-oak tabletop. Absolutely covetable.
We’ve got balls! Oh yes indeedy we do, and they’re pretty boozy, too. These delightful likkle bits of heaven are courtesy of my blog pal Likkle Girl, who is a bit of a clever bird in the kitchen. She was one of the earliest readers of Wee Birdy back in ye olde blogging days of 2007, and she’s a damn fine blogger, too. Go on and have a sticky, you’ll fall in love with her life, I promise.
I like this recipe because it up-cycles leftover bits of Christmas pudding. Which, let’s face it, isn’t always everyone’s cuppa tea. And it’s pretty easy, too! Anyway, over to Likkle Girl…
~ The post-Christmas turkey sandwich of the leftover-Christmas-pudding world. However, if you have a slot free on your long holiday season to-do list, I think they will make delicious stocking stuffers and canapés/petits fours at your Christmas lunch or dinner. ~
What you’ll need:
For the balls:
400g Christmas pudding
50g hazelnut meal (or almond meal)
50g dried cranberries (sour cherries are good too!)
50g lightly toasted slivered almonds (or your favourite nut(s) – chopped them up if they come whole)
50ml rum (a dark one!)
50g melted chocolate (preferably couverture chocolate instead of compound – it really makes a difference)
300g melted chocolate (the quantity is a guess-timation because I usually just melt a whole load of chocolate for coating other things too and couverture again, if you can)
300g lightly toasted chopped nuts (I like pistachios because the green is so Christmas-y. Long coconut threads are pretty too. The most fuss-free finish would be a generous dusting of Dutch cocoa powder.)
Let’s get started:
1. Lightly toast all the nuts (coconut threads too, if you’re using them) in the oven. Don’t burn them!
2. In a large mixing bowl, break the Christmas pudding into small bits. Add hazelnut meal, cranberries, almond, rum and melted chocolate. Give them all a good mix with your hands.
3. Now, the balling fun begins! Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take a small amount of the mix (some people like their balls a petite bite-size while some like hefty ones…you make them how you like them) and roll it into a tight ball. Place on tray and continue until you’ve used up all the mix.
4. Plonk tray of balls into fridge while you melt the chocolate for coating.
5. Place chopped nuts (or coconut threads or cocoa powder) in a deep baking tray.
6. Remove rummy balls from fridge, coat them with melted chocolate and place them in tray of chopped nuts/coconut threads/cocoa powder and roll them around to ensure an even coating.
7. Place fully-coated balls back on the first tray and back to the fridge they go until chocolate is firmly set (doesn’t take long). Store in airtight containers. You now have yummy rummy balls to give away or serve at parties. YAY!
I hope you’ll have fun making them!
Thanks Likkle Girl. If you’re in Sydney, you MUST order some of Likkle Girl’s incredible hand-crafted chocolate truffles. She’s got a wee business called Your Local Dealer. I’ve got a serious addiction to the Almond Crunch Chocolate Truffles. Oh my. Creamy gooey chocolate ganache spiked with handmade crunchy almond praline. You’ll be coming back for seconds, I promise.
My mum likes to collect stuff. Weird, wonderful and pretty cool stuff. This is just the icing of her vintage Christmas decoration collection. I only made it through one box on Tuesday, when I uncovered all manner of vintage paper ephemera, novelty vintage lights (birds, cottages, candles and snowmen), foil crackers, Avon perfume bottles, pipe cleaner Santa faces and honeycomb paper decorations. So much fun! I’ll have to crack open another box next year!