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Showing posts from December, 2018

24th December 2018

And so we say farewell to the Advent Calendar for another year. Don't forget to enter the competition! We leave you with this year's Christmas Card design, now completed in twine. This is based on a design by our friend Clarissa, whose website "explains it all" (geddit?). We wish you the best of the season, and pray you'll have a blessed time with friends and family.

23rd December 2018

We hope you are enjoying your weekend, and maybe you don't have to go back to work on Monday? Sarah doesn't normally get Christmas Eve off, so we are enjoying an extra long break together. With only 2 days to go on the Advent Calendar, we'd like to say thank you for sticking with us, and today's indulgence is the Christmas classic, the Hallmark Movie. Every year, the Hallmark Channel commissions a number of made-for-TV movies on a Christmas theme. They all involve romance, usually for a small-town American woman, with an impossibly attractive man, though naturally the course of true love does not run smooth. Sometimes they are fantasies, taking place inside a snowglobe, or someone has to relive Christmas Eve (Groundhog-style) until they do the right thing. An up and coming star of Hallmark movies is Lacey Chabert, who has starred in two different Mariah Carey-produced Christmas films, as well as the classic dating-site-turned-Christian-movie "Christian Mingl

22nd December 2018

Christmas competition for the final time! Here's the last photo of us from one of our holidays this year and you have to guess the city. You could win an exclusive souvenir from one of our top destinations. If you think you have all 3 (click back to 8th and 15th if you need to) then email with your entry and we'll pick a winner on New Year's Day. So our third holiday was also to an Olympic city, with a spectacular waterfront and an overpowering smell of weed, thanks to its recent legalisation. It is named after the explorer from Kings Lynn who first charted the waters around the city. As well as meeting up with our friend Heather, who was there for a Statistics conference, we took several boat trips, visited a baseball game, bought poutine, and lots of Timbits at the local coffee shop.

21st December 2018

Adam's Dad is the best at writing quizzes. He's been doing it for years, and he always manages to make them fit around a theme. He offered this one to readers of the Advent Calendar. You'll pick it up pretty quickly. But the real question is, why today? 21st December Quiz: 1.  2. 3,  4. 5. Ivanhoe 6. She became Duchess of Windsor 7. Captain James T. Kirk 8. 1984 Character 9. Dotheboys Hall's headmaster 10. The bride’s father delivers one 11. Not buying double-glazing (or anything else!) 12. Snow White had one 13. Patricia Cornwell says he’s Jack the Ripper 14. Inventor of the well-boiled icicle 15. “As long as I gaze on *** ***, I am in Paradise” 16. Gambler's lucky phase.

19th December 2018

It wouldn't be Christmas without a visit to the Swedish Royal Court, where Prinsessen Estelle and her little brother Prins Oscar are here to wish you "God Jul" in a photo taken by their mother, Victoria. Here's this year's video: You can see all their previous seasonal shenanigans here .

20th December 2018

We're always on the lookout for new tree decorations, and with the perennial debate over "Is Die Hard a Christmas film?" you couldn't do better than to make your own "John McClane crawling through a vent": Instructions at: In other film memorabilia, you could get a HAL 9000 ornament from Stanley Kubrick's 2001, but you might feel it's a bit risky to let a psychotic AI into your home. Still, even that is safer than a chestburster... If you are a fan of the papercraft, though, the best tree dec to make this Christmas is a miniature Commodore 64! Instructions for this one are at

18th December 2018

Today is one of the most exciting days of the year! It's the Salesian School Carol Service, with 7 choirs, 20 musical items, and a whole day of rehearsals. This year the music includes "Noel" by Matt Redman and Chris Tomlin, and a special "Home Alone" medley of three songs from the film written by John Williams and Leslie Bricusse. I couldn't find a good vocal version but here are the Brooklyn Duo doing a medley on piano and cello. And here are the Salesian Choirs and Band performing a special charity version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas:

17th December 2018

Christmas treats! We made a final (slightly drizzly) trip to London to see some art (at the slug-laden Tate) and visit Scandinavian Kitchen for special saffron Semlor buns. Adam also spotted Marzipan that makes him want to take a special trick to Lubeck, the home of marzipan in Germany. Sarah trated herself to a melty snowman cookie in Pret.

16th December 2018

It wasn't until Sarah's brother David got married that we realised you could get terrifyingly specific Christmas cards. We started to receive (and send) "Happy Christmas to my sister and brother-in-law" type cards, then when our nephew was born they got even more specific! So here's a card from Card Factory, which takes personalisation a few parsecs into the future! To a brilliant brother and "Your Wife" or husband or non-gender specific partner, or partner-to-be ... and I'm sure additional ones inside for pet, inanimate totem or DVD collection.

15th December 2018

Christmas competition time again! Remember we post a photo of us from one of our holidays this year and you have to guess the city. You could win an exclusive souvenir from one of our top destinations, but don't email until the final one next week! Here is Sarah at our latest Olympic stadium. This one was used in the 1990s and the mascot that year was a sheepdog. The stadium is in a park at the top of a mountain, whose name derives from "mountain of the Jews". Caught up in independence protests earlier this year, we had a great time and loved meeting the friendly Catalan locals. But where is it?

14th December 2018

A minimalist nativity for you today. A priest in London shared "Last year our church bathroom became an accidental minimalist nativity". Let us know if you see any other good nativities around on the web. And as it's Friday, here's today's Christmas chillout track:

13th December 2018

Christmas food shopping is almost all done chez Creen, though the M&S Sparks offers keep tempting us back for more. A trend this year seems to be "crazy flavours". You can get sprout-flavoured crisps, tea and even chocolate. The most hardened Brussel-hater is not going to be swayed by those. Why not try Christmas Tree flavoured crisps? And for those who have more American-themed tastebuds... Mmm, Mac and Cheese!

12th December 2018

What are your best Christmas traditions? As regular readers will know, one of ours is the Christmas Radio Times: check you have the right ITV region remove the Radio Times Holidays section from the middle set to with the marker pens highlight stuff in the radio section that you will NEVER listen to Another is making sure the following films are on TV over Christmas Die Hard (of course) A Muppet Christmas Carol Scrooged Clueless (not seasonal but then again it's always sunny in California) any Hallmark Christmas movie about snowglobes or a character called Holly And of course, getting up the most garish decorations in the street. This year we have an eye-piercing blue neon wreath and window lights. But even that doesn't compare with the Loop Road extravaganza. Only snapped last night, here it is!

11th December 2018

Christmas jumpers have a new name ... and they're not just jumpers anymore. Americans now call the over-the-top seasonal designs "ugly jumpers" and they're now available as... SHOES DRESSES SUITS FAMILY ROMPERS

10th December 2018

There's been some really great TV this year, especially Autumn drama, with Bodyguard, The Informer, and The Little Drummer Girl. We're always pleased to see fan art, and Jo ( has produced her interpretation of Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon, and Alexander Skarsgård. And for a different style, the romance between Idris Elba and Ruth Wilson in "Luther" has inspired many artists. We're looking forward to the new 4-part series over Christmas and New Year.

9th December 2018

Do you remember when you first joined social media? Maybe it was the dear departed Friends Reunited, and you spent ages messaging people you hadn't seen since you were 16. Or perhaps Facebook swept you up and now you have 400 friends and can't keep track of all your notifications. For Adam, it was joining Twitter in 2009, because some friends from the Jon Ronson forum had recommended it. And 9 years later, those friends as far away as Cardiff, Edinburgh and County Down are now people we have met in real life. Here are three of their Christmas photos. Kelliepie's new Christmas brooch: Maxnugget's hand-made front door wreath: Mistertumnus's funny tree decoration: Here's to more than another 9 years of friendship!

8th December 2018

Time for the first part of our Christmas competition! Sarah's idea, each Saturday we post a photo of us from one of our holidays this year and you have to guess the city. We'll give you a clue! On the final Saturday you email your 3 answers and you could win an exclusive souvenir from one of our top destinations. Ready? Here's Sarah in traditional "eyes closed" pose sending postcards back to our nephew Finlay and goddaughter Beatrice. This city has 3 Debenhams, but it's not in the UK. Out favourite museum is the Postal Museum, and our favourite bakery is Zorbas. It is surrounded by a city wall built in 1567. Though still divided politically, people can now pass freely between the northern and southern parts. Got that? Save your answer for next Saturday! Here are some more photos...