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Ten happy things – December 20

A pile of books

Every month I reflect on the month that’s been and write down ten things that made me happy and brought me joy. Despite Tier 4 restrictions there was still a lot to be happy about and grateful for. Here’s my ‘ten happy things’ for December!

Lunch at Margot

We love going for lunch at Margot – it’s one of our favourite Italian restaurants in London. After the first lockdown it was the first restaurant we went to so we thought we’d do the same after the second lockdown. Margot never disappoints! Their food is so good and the service is fabulous. We had a great lunch and then a lovely walk around Covent Garden to look at the Christmas decorations.

Scallop starter from Margot

Festive Afternoon Tea

For Christmas last year I bought my husband a Champagne Afternoon Tea for Two at the Landmark Hotel. Obviously with lockdowns (and life getting in the way) we only managed to book it for December – almost a whole year later! And lucky we booked when we did as shortly after London went into Tier 4 and the hotel was forced to close again…

Winter Garden Christmas tree

As it was close to Christmas it was a Festive Afternoon Tea. The hotel was so beautifully decorated and it felt very Christmassy! The tea itself was lovely, although the sandwiches could have been a bit more imaginative.

Festive afternoon tea treats

I got a new interim role

This year has been really up and down when it comes to work. I’m delighted to be ending 2020 starting a new, three month interim Marcomms role at a charity I love. I’ll be there for 3.5 days a week until the end of March!

Comté tasting with Port (press event)

I’ve been to a few Comté events over the years and they’re always great fun! This year was obviously a little different given that we had to do our tasting online. It was uber professional though with my Comté cheese being delivered by courier, along with three bottles of Niepoort. Once again we had World Cheese Awards judge, Patrick McGuigan, guiding us (from his shed!) through the four different ages of Comté and which Port we should try them with.

We tried the 10 month, which was paired with Niepoort White Rabbit Port – a dry white. We also tried the 19 month with the same port and I have to say, white Port is delicious! The 10 month is more like an everyday kind of cheese whereas the 19 month is more mature. Next was the 29 month, which was paired with the Ruby Dum. It was quite rich and worked so well with the Ruby Dum Port – very moreish! The last tasting was a 43 month (which is unusual to try one so aged!) with the Tawny Dee. This one was maybe a bit too strong for me but I could see it working brilliantly in a dish. As always we were given some recipe cards from Comté so I’m definitely going to be trying some of them out with the leftovers.

Despite it being virtual, it was really fun!

Virtual tasting event with Comte cheese and Niepoort Port

A beautiful faux Christmas tree

Every year we always buy a real Christmas tree but it’s always such a hassle to recycle, plus it’s not really great for the environment. And did I mention the pine needles get EVERYWHERE? So this year we decided to invest (and I say ‘invest’ because it was bloody expensive) in a beautiful faux tree that we can use year after year. Isn’t she a beauty? We bought the silver baubles from Selfridges – they were half price! Of course my husband managed to break one before even putting it on the tree…

Our faux Christmas tree with silver baubles

Tried eggnog for the first time

Whenever you watch Christmas films, guaranteed someone is drinking eggnog! It’s always fascinated me as to what it actually is so I Googled it, of course, and the recipe sounded delicious. So I decided to make some! The alcoholic version, naturally. I bought cognac as I read the high alcohol content helps cut through the sweetness and I used fresh nutmeg as recommended – let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS. This is definitely becoming a Christmas tradition in our household.

A glass of festive eggnog with a Christmas tree in the background

Exceeded my reading goals

At the beginning of the year I set myself some goals. One of which was to read a book a month. Well, I was delighted to discover that I actually read 18 books this year, surpassing my goal! I’ve been really enjoying waking up in the morning, making a coffee and then reading in bed before getting up for the day. Far better than switching on the TV like I used to do. This is one goal I’m definitely sticking with in 2021!

Holding a pile of books I've read

Lovely Christmas gifts

I got very spoilt for Christmas with some gorgeous gifts. My friend Jen sent me a lovely gift of two of her notebooks (which are fab), a bar of Tony’s Chocolonely (the best chocolate ever) and a very cool poster on the back of her 2020 Feel Good Do Good Impact report. I can’t wait to crack open a notepad in 2021!

Gift of notepads and chocolate

I’m a trustee of CharityComms and they sent me a book voucher that can be used anywhere so I took myself off to my local bookshop and bought two books! One of the books I bought is actually by a local author, which is quite cool. I also ended the year learning that our CEO, Adeela Warley, was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List!

Book token voucher in front of a Christmas tree

A case of Prosecco from Italy

My husband discovered Valdellövo Prosecco whilst watching an Italian chef on YouTube and we decided to try it. We bought a case of four different kinds of Prosecco directly from the producer and it was meant to arrive in 3 to 5 working days. Well… the Tier 4 announcement and subsequent lorries being stuck in Kent and flights cancelled meant we didn’t receive our Prosecco until almost 2 weeks later! We didn’t unfortunately have them for Christmas but at least we have plenty of bubbles for New Year!

A case of Valdellövo Prosecco from Italy

A fancy New Year’s Eve meal

Normally we would be away for New Year and have a restaurant reservation. Obviously we couldn’t go away but we brought the restaurant to us with another Hame by Adam Handling meal – the New Year’s Eve meal box! There were five courses and each one was very decadent. Thankfully there was minimal cooking (apart from the beef wellington and sides) so we could just enjoy our evening. We saw 2020 out in style!

Beef Wellington with vegetables

So that was my December! How did your month go? Let me know in the comments.

Kirsty Marrins

Reader, writer, occasional runner, travel lover.




  • Home and Horizon

    Looks like you had a fun-filled December Kirsty – love the books you’ve been reading and the gifts you received – especially the notebooks. I’ve just bought myself a new journal which I’m looking forward to receiving. Here’s hoping January brings fun & more memory making!

    • Kirsty Marrins

      We did, thanks Lauretta! I hope you had a lovely December too? Enjoy writing in your journal!

  • Kerry LifeandLoves

    I enjoyed reading this Kirsty, and that tree is a beauty! It was a different December to what any of us are used to, but it seems like you still had a lovely one. Like you, I have massively indulged in books this year and I have loved it. Popping into the fictitious lives of others for a while was great escapism. Happy New Year to you xxx

    • Kirsty Marrins

      Thank you Kerry and Happy New Year to you too! Yes, December was definitely different that’s for sure. Still, we made the most of it! Agreed that reading is such a great escapism and I’m impressed you set yourself a goal of 50 books this year! X

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