What does the festive season mean to you? Are you as excited as a toddler on a bouncy castle or are you running around like a headless turkey?
At what age does it switch from ‘I’m a giddy kipper’ to ‘there’s so much to do!’ I’m pondering over exactly when it happened to me. So I thought I’d take a leaf out of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and reflect.
Childhood Christmases were all about presents and parties. Mum and Dad didn't have lots of money but they did lavish us all with love. One of my earliest memories was receiving a doll named Belinda. Mum had knitted a wardrobe of clothes for her. Dad had handmade a cradle and a mini wardrobe. Such love!
The Christmases of my teens were about partying with friends. I remember the last day of term at school and college. Not a care in the world apart from ‘What shall I wear?’ We danced around with tinsel on our heads and sprayed Crazy Foam around the art room. Those were the days!
During my twenties I had to grow up! Along came my very own family ... Responsibilities! But I wanted the very same happy, fun Christmases for my children, lots of presents, decorations, party time, traditions of Santa and putting out a carrot for the reindeer.
The Christmas dinner preparations were still simple in those days, as Mum cooked it! Mum and Dad always had a house full of happy grandchildren. With seventeen of us for dinner we had to have two sittings. How Mum did it all I will never know. She didn’t drive a car so all the shopping was completed with her little shopping trolley as she pulled it back and forth into Royton town, through all kinds of weather. She provided us with a feast. After dinner ‘Santa’ would arrive at the door, (usually my brother-in-law, John. I had prepared him earlier, using surgical gel to stick the beard onto his face!) The kids’ faces would light up with joy as he called out their names and gave them a gift. Happy days!
As I progressed through my chosen career of teaching, Christmas became more hectic. As a class teacher it was an exciting time with children’s displays and festive classrooms. Children buzzed and fizzed as the end of term crept closer. I had a job to keep them focused on the end of term exams. I loved being in charge of my own class though, and although hectic I have many happy memories of those days.
Then the serious responsibility arrived! I was promoted to headmistress and had to organise the whole school. Not quite as much fun. The Christmas Nativity Concerts had to be perfectly polished as I had five hundred parents observing! However they were very forgiving when a four year old king tripped up the aisle and his crown fell off! Progress Reports had to be read and edited. Parents evenings had to be organised. Oh I could go on. Juggling all this with buying food and presents was flipping hard work! So much to be done! Well, we’ve all done the juggling work with family routine haven’t we? That’s why I hope you have your feet up now.
This year I have spent Christmas at our villa in Lanzarote. Christmas Lanzarote style is so understated and very traditional. The island is beautifully decorated with mini illuminations decorating each lamp post and poinsettia plants in abundance. The Spanish have different traditions to us. The gifts are distributed on 5th January, The Day of the Kings. Every village has a model nativity scene. New Year’s Eve is always amazing with fireworks and partying.
None of us can predict the future. I expect that is why A Christmas Carol is still a very successful story. I would love to think my books are still read in over a hundred years from now. I hope some of my stories have helped awareness of our planet’s environmental issues too. I can only keep on writing, live in hope and be thankful for all you wonderful parents and grandparents who buy my books and educate your children. Thank you!
In 2019I published three new books that I’m delighted with. Tillie and the Golden Phantom, Lottie Saves the Turtles and Lottie’s Eco Adventures. I connected with more people online than ever before. I travelled to Alaska to have fun with my hubby but also to discover for myself the effects of climate change. I transformed my mindset to be more positive and abundant. It was a brilliant year all round. 𝗡𝗼𝘄 𝗶𝘁'𝘀 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟬... I'm aiming to write more books. I'm going to travel to discover more about endangered species so that my main character Lottie Lovall can send out even more important messages to the world. ( ... and to have more fun with hubbub!)
I know it’s been a while since my last newsletter. I did promise to not bombard you with stuff unless it was news about my new books. I have been busy writing Lottie Saves the Polar Bears and it’s taken me forever. I kept getting side-tracked with the research as I found it all so sad. Still, I’ve managed to weave a fun story with a serious message for everyone and I’m happy to say I will launch it around February half term. The illustrations and cover are probably my best yet! I love the sled dogs and polar bear cubs and can’t wait to see them published.
I’ll contact my Arc Team around the end of January when the manuscript returns from Rachel Mann my editor.
In the meantime, if you and your children haven’t read all of the other Lottie books, in preparation for the Lottie Saves the Polar Bears launch, I’m offering a box set of all of the other three e-books at a discounted rate of £2.99. ($3.99). You can find it here.
I want to personally thank you for supporting me, reading my books, writing reviews, reading my newsletters and being part of my life. I couldn't be living this dream life without you. May YOUR 2020 make all your dreams come true too.
Once again a very Happy New Yearto you, your friends and family and if any of your friends have children please share my sign up details with them here.