In Celebration of Our Furry Elves

I bet when you first read the title, you thought I was blogging about Elvis. A furry Elvis. No such luck. I’m talking about our four-legged Christmas helpers. Our pets. Those creatures that make the holidays a little brighter (or in the case of our grand-kitty, a bit of a challenge as we try to hunt down missing ornaments and patch shredded wrapping paper).

But in all my years of having pets, I’ve never once dressed them up. Not for Christmas. Not for Valentine’s Day. Not just for the heck of it. Until…

<Entering the confessional with a sigh and closing the door behind me>

Until this year. Until I saw a picture of a friend’s horse with a Santa hat and went, “Awwww…”

I found a similar hat at a store for a bargain price. I bought it, still not admitting to myself why I needed it so badly. A couple of snips of the scissors later, and I’d attached it to one of my horse’s halters. The red one—the one that was just perfect for spreading Christmas cheer.

And then I did it. I put it on her.  And she tossed her head as if she actually liked it (or so I told myself).  The final nail in the coffin was when I took a picture and posted it on this blog.

Dolly, spreading a little holiday cheer.

Dolly, spreading a little holiday cheer.

Hello. My name is Tina. And I’m a pet-dresser-upper.

<Exiting the confessional and holding the door open>

Anyone else have something they’d like to admit? Or do you have a picture to share? Don’t worry, as you’ve just read, I’m in no position to judge anyone. Do you dress your pets up…or throw a sweater on them in cold weather? Inquiring minds want to know.

Dolly (the horse in the picture) and I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAOr maybe she’s just wishing someone would take that silly hat off of her.

AWOL by Amy Andrews

So, I’m not here today. Yes, I know it looks like I’m here but I’m not. Thanks to modern technology I loaded this sucker last night then swanned off to Sydney today.
Yes, I’m in Sydney for a family thing and guess where we’re all having lunch?? This place -

Sydney039_thumb2

It’s Doyle’s on Watson Bay, Sydney Harbour and has always been a bucket list kinda thing. Iconic restaurant in an iconic part of the world. Pretty damn fab, right?
And tomorrow we’ll be doing this –

iFly Logo
Well, I won’t be cos sky diving, even when it’s not out of a perfectly airworthy plane, just seems plain nutso to be – but I’ll be watching my kids and father and nieces and nephews do it with their crazy daredevil uncle. Trust me, I’ll be having just as much fun taking the snaps though!

All in all it’ll be a nice lead in to Christmas.

Got anything special planned this holidays? And if you’re looking for some Christmas reading maybe check these babies out!

NMMNGwithquote           TisTheSeason

And a very happy Holiday from me to you :-)

 

The crazy Christmas rush….

The crazy Christmas rush …

It appears to me that no matter how much I plan, and everyone who knows me will agree I am quite the planner, Christmas always seems to run away from me. The time disappears and I am always up until after midnight on Christmas Eve putting the final touches on everything … and then on more than one occasion, deciding to add something else to the dessert menu. You can never have enough sweets on the already plump Christmas table.

IMG_0126

I love the Festive Season because it brings family together and it is important that our home captures the Christmas Spirit so the tree is laden with tinsel and decorations and the table is always themed. This year it will be red with silver sparkles while last year it was gold. I remember when our daughters were young and insisted on decorating the Christmas tree on their own. The decorations were always placed at their eye level or below. This meant that after they were safely tucked into bed I would have to redo the tree so that adults didn’t have bare green branches staring back at them. The girls never noticed the rearrangement of baubles when they got up in the morning to admire their work.

IMG_0119

This year we have even more family members as my eldest daughter’s precious dogs have finally been cleared from quarantine after their long haul flight from Los Angeles. They are now home in Adelaide and will be a big part of our celebrations and joining our fur children Mathilda and Betty. How wonderful it will be to have them racing through the discarded Christmas wrapping paper after the balls and dog toys that are already under the tree for them.

9781488707285

Christmas as you can see holds a special place in my heart and I am thrilled that my new book ‘Falling for Dr December’ is out just in time. The story revolves around a charity calendar shoot. My heroine is a photographer who has travelled over from New York and my hero is the final pin-up for the year – he has the honour of being Dr December .

Do you love the festive season as much as me, or would your prefer to hide until the silly season is over?

Christmas!!!

I know, it’s 23 days away still, but I’m finally *just* getting into the Christmas spirit.

It’s been a hectic fall with health issues. Especially regarding my boys. It’s been a lot of testing and hurry up and wait. Then add a book in there, which has been accepted. YAY! Btw, that was the fastest set of revisions EVER. Within a day of me sending them in. That usually doesn’t happen. I’m very glad it did, because it was a big relief off my shoulders.

My next deadline is January 15th, but this is a fun book to write, so I’m not stressed. Not yet.

I guess I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit because we hadn’t put up the tree yet. Usually my tree and the decorations go up the day after the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, which was November 16th this year. Only that didn’t happen. We were busy every single weekend.

Finally, I had enough. My hubby was going away this week for training and I wanted it up and December was upon us. So we put up our tree on November 29th and as a surprise, my hubby found a box in storage that I had been saving for some time. It was my Nanny’s decorations.

A little back story, my grandfathers (my Mom’s parents were divorced and so I had two sets of grandparents on my Mom’s side) both worked at Hallmark in Toronto. My Mom’s Step-Dad bought all these ornaments from Hallmark for my Nanny who LOVED Christmas. He got them pretty cheap as he was employee, but what’s awesome about them is they’re animated! They came out between 1988-1991 …at least the ones I have do, because my grandmother died in 1992.

Anyways, you plug them into a string of lights and they move and play music. They’re awesome. I hadn’t been putting them out because of young kids and grabby hands.

The sad thing was, they don’t make those low voltage kinds of lights any more. Most lights are LED, which are so much nicer, but these ornaments aren’t compatible. Thankfully, my hubby works with electrical systems. He went straight to Canadian Tire and came home with a light up Candy Cane.

I was like ?????

He pulled the lights out of the Candy Cane and they were the correct voltage for my ornaments.

IMG_1861[1]

We plugged them in, they still worked, even though they had been in storage since 1999.

My kids were mesmerized and for me, it finally felt like Christmas!

As for the Candy Cane which we snatched the lights from, my youngest seems to have found a use for it. And yes, he was singing “Putting on the Ritz” ala Young Frankenstein. LOL ;)

IMG_1863[1]

How about you? Do you have any holiday traditions you simply have to do?

Making changes . . .

Well, I finally did it! After years of wondering if I should, discussing the merits – or drawbacks – if I did, I finally plucked up the courage and moved house. And do you know what? It was the best thing I could have done. Phew!

You see I had lived in my old house for forty plus years. Bill and I started our married life there and we raised our children there too, so it was a huge decision and I have to confess that I was worried in case I was doing the wrong thing. However, happily, I love where I live now.

OK, so I had to get rid of a huge amount of furniture. I mean moving from a large 4-bedroomed house to a 2-bed apartment always meant there was going to be a space issue. My lovely Spanish-style dining-room suite had to go, so did the conservatory and garden furniture, the media centre . . . you get the picture?

I downsized in a big way but, amazingly, I haven’t missed any of the things I gave away. I love the openness of my new apartment with its huge living, dining kitchen area and the fact that I don’t have half as much cleaning to do. I have a lot more “me” time now and I’m making the most of it, believe me.

I take long walks along the canal towpaths with my dog each morning and don’t feel guilty about not getting down to the vacuuming or window cleaning. I go out with friends and don’t need to worry that the garden needs sorting out. The move has given me the freedom to do what I want, when I want.

Here’s a photo of where I am living. It’s a beautiful spot no matter the time of day and I’m very happy here. But have you made any major changes to your life? And have they turned out how you hoped they would? I would love to hear all about them.

Love,

Jennifer.

thVO378BZ1

Book Club Bonanza!

IMG_1828 Hello all! Well. I had an absolute hoot of a night the other day. I went to my very first book club (up in dazzling London Town) at the invitation of a friend who asked me to be the Guest Author for her group. It was her turn to host and the lure of three types of quiche, petit chablis and a three-layered carrot cake was too much to turn down. I am brand spankin’ new to the magical world of Mills & Boon and have to admit – got myself into a bit of a state. I had a tantrum in front of my husband, cried, almost was sick and couldn’t eat. Let me explain. My pal is EXTREMELY brainy (she’s a magistrate, a journalist – how we met – and on the board of a couple of companies. A synaptic gap leaper. Brainiac. You get the drift). I was anticipating a group of similar Power Women, hot off the boardroom table (oooo – now there’s a sizzling idea) all devastated because they were reading The Surgeon’s Christmas Wish rather than their usual goulash of Proust, Kingsolver, Tartt, Dostoyevsky etc. Turns out I was as wrong as a raven in a  palm tree. For one of the first times – they had ALL read the book (apparently they normally can’t even decide on ONE book to read – and split the group in two and then rarely get about finishing the books). They enjoyed it, wanted to know if I had the film rights because they could all see it (read: themselves) on the ski slopes of Colorado falling in love with a sapphire-eyed hero (they quoted me to me – it was awesome and hilarious!). I printed out one of the editor’s list of things that are NOT sexy (tongues in ears was collectively agreed upon). We talked about the different genres, the level of boom boom in each book (do they MAKE you????) etc etc. It was a ball. If you’re a newbie, haven’t been a guest author – or had an author to come along to your group – I would highly recommend it. It was a huge confidence booster. IMG_1821Most (ALL) of them came with pre-conceived notions of Mills & Boon, the authors, the heroes, the heroines and I would say they all left a bit more illuminated. And at the end – we all ate cake. Yum yum. IMG_1999

What are you thankful for?

thanksgiving2by Susan Carlisle

It is Thanksgiving time in my part of the world. It’s a time of leaves turning and falling, there’s a fire in the fireplace, and most people are thinking about what to serve on Thanksgiving Day. For us it is an important day because we celebrate the survival of the first settlement in the new land that would become the USA. These brave forefathers are called pilgrims. Over 200 years ago these people had a lot to be thankful for and so do I.

Things I’m thankful for:

My family, mother, husband, children, grandchildren, and extended family

The country I live in

The fact I have a roof over my head and food on the tablethanksgiving

My health

My friends

The fact I can choose what I do

My heritage

That I can write stories

That I don’t have to walk to the store which is three miles away

These are just a few things I’m thankful for. What are you thankfully for?