Friday, 24 July 2015

Festive Q&As with Emma, Shaun and Louise!




Hi , my name is Emma Crowley.I live in Waterford in the southeast of Ireland. I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember and can get through three or four books a week if time allows.I do regular guest reviews at http://shazsbookboudoir.blogspot.co.uk/ . I’m a primary school teacher teaching junior infants in my old primary school and Christmas time is so special teaching four and five year olds preparing for nativity plays and becoming so excited absorbing all their enthusiasm for Santa and Christmas. I’m also on Twitter @emthebookworm if any wants to chat. Many thanks to Sophie for allowing me to take part in her Christmas in July feature.




What sits on top of your Christmas tree?


I have two trees - one at home and as a teacher I always put up a small tree and plenty of decorations to make the classroom feel as festive as possible. At home my tree is quite big and I always put an angel my mum bought for me at the top. Actually she puts it up for me as she has the knack and always wants to have a certain amount of lights around the angel. In school I have a red star that goes on top with as much blut tac as possible. During the last weeks of the term there are regular cries of teacher the star has fallen down again.It's a never ending battle to keep it in place. One which I don't often win. ( Which also reminds me as I type this I must get new lights for the school tree this year.My battle with them when taking down the tree last December did not go well at all.)

Favourite Christmas song?


I know there are so many traditional songs to choose from and I hear so many with nativity plays etc in school but I really do love ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues. Whenever it comes on the radio at Christmas time be it at home or in the car I turn up the radio and blast out the song and sing along.It gives me goose bumps when I hear it for the first time each year as I know that Christmas is on it's way. In school we discovered it had been translated in to Irish and we were going to teach it to sixth class (oldest class in the school around 11 or 12 years old) but the principal said no. Saying there was no way you could sing it at a carol service at mass! Not that we were going to ! It would have been nice just for the craic as a class.Oh well .Maybe in the future.

Favourite Christmas movie?


There are loads to choose from but whenever I see The Holiday with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz in the tv listings, I just have to watch it. The scene where Cameron arrives in England for the first time and has to make her way to the beautiful cottage in the snow is fabulous. The whole setting of the small rural cottage and village just gives me such a warm feeling inside. Jude Law isn’t half bad to look at either. I know once I have seen this film the Christmas season has well and truly begun for me. Wouldn't it be fab if some channel would show it for Christmas in July ??? Maybe I might just get the dvd from the library and curl up with a box of Quality Street. Sh don't tell anyone they'll think I'm mad.

Favourite festive foodie treat?


Like most people I love chocolate and at Christmas time there is an abundance on offer. I like dipping into Roses and Quality Street. In the staffroom where I teach we always get tins sent in from the beginning of December as a thank you from parents so we are thoroughly spoilt. Some of my other favourite snacks are definitely a Terry’s Chocolate Orange or for pure indulgence I go for those Danish butter cookies you get in the circular tin one just never seems to be enough. Whilst I am eating them I am often saying to myself you can walk it all off over the holidays.(whichrarely happens I'm too busy reading) I can’t forget a good tube of Pringles or lastly Tayto cheese and onion crisps these are Irish made but are totally addictive.

The best part of Christmas is…


This sounds awful but it's the two weeks holiday from school.I'm always shattered by the end of the term especially after preparing infants for a nativity play. So I just really look forward to a complete break where I switch off and enjoy reading as many books as possible. Of course the presents, food and xmas tv are an added welcome bonus.

The worst part of Christmas is…


Simply that it goes by far too fast. All the build up and enjoyment in the month of December is fantastic both in school and in the city where I live. Preparing for nativity plays is great fun. Here in the city we also have a Winterville festival for the month and it brings lots of vistors to the great attractions. But then when Christmas and the festivities are all over everything seems to just come to a complete stop .That time between Christmas and New year can be awfully dead after so much excitment. As soon as you go back to work in January it's like Christmas never happened and then people start talking about Valentines and Easter.It's like the magic of Christmas never happened. January even though it's my birthday month is a month I really hate . It feels twice as long as any other month of the year and seems neverending when you are in school teaching. Couldn't we have something at the end of the month to look forward to congratulating ourselves we made it through one of the gloomiest times of the year????

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?


The best would be anything to do with books - books themselves ( although it's hard to buy a book for me as I read so much) book tokens, bookmarks etc. Also I love a good old Penneys/Primark voucher.

The worst has to be a gift I got from a child I was teaching. Now I appreciate everything I receive from the children and their parents and it's nice to get a little thank you at the end of the term. This woman was late in with her child and ran past the window brandishing one of those old fashioned candlelabra type holder things. Something you'd see in the middle of a table of a period drama on tv. It wasn't wrapped or anything. I had the window open and heard her stop to say to a mum. I just grabbed this out of the attic. Well I needn't tell you where the present went. If I hadn't have heard that comment I still would have put it in the same place! I was young at the time and sure what need would I have had of it. Even now I still wouldn't use it.I mean who would??? Unless you live in some stately home !

When do you do your Christmas shopping?


I like to be as organised as possible and try and do as much of my shopping in November. Even though there are the inevitable last minute presents that you do always forget.I do as much as I can on the internet. The shops in December are my worst nightmare.I know most people love it and feel it's all part of Christmas but all those crowds and endless queues are my worst nightmare and just not for me.

Any Christmas Day traditions?


I suppose my Christmas traditions are the same as most other families and we don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Every year we have the same relations out to Christmas dinner and we go to mass as a family. I remember when myself and my sister were small our parents insisted we go to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Nowadays this is normally around 9 o’clock but back then it was actually midnight and we struggled to stay awake until then. I was always worried that Santa would have come while we were at mass and that we should have been at home tucked up in our beds. Needless to say when we woke up the next morning our presents were always there.

Favourite Christmas book?


Up until last December I would have said Jenny Colgan's -Rosie Hopkins Christmas books. But now my favourite is The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Browne.It's book one in the Tindledale series and I devoured it in an afternoon during my Christmas holidays last year.It's just brilliant and has everything you want in a Christmas book. .It has the feel good christmas factor galore. It will take some book to beat this as my favourite.I've just finished book two in the series The Great Village Show and book three Not Just for Xmas has been placed firmly on my wishlist. Roll on it's November release date.

Favourite Christmassy book cover?


There are so many. As we see each new cover I think oh that's my favourite and then another appears and I change my mind. But I'll go with all of Carole Matthews Christmas releases. The covers are always so colourful and whimiscal and get me in the festive mood. I loved last years cover for The Christmas Party and this years The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas release is stunning.

Book sat at the top of your Christmas in July wishlist?


I know they are not out until Christmas 2015 but I'm going for the new Carole Matthews- The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas, Karen Swan's - Christmas on Primrose Hill and Alexandra Brown's- Not Just for Christmas ( Book three in the Tindedale series)

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real?


Honestly I can't remember when I found out he wasn't real. But I think I had to pretend for a few years after I made the discovery as my sister was younger and still believed. Being a teacher of four and five year olds of course he is real come December. Amazing how there is no mention of him during any other time of the year. When I was teaching the class about the polar regions. My first question was - What is at the top of the world? They all said the North Pole. ( I was looking for the Arctic) . Who lives there ? Santa they screamed. ( I was thinking more along the lines of polar bears etc) So to the kids he is real and I love going along with it and you do laugh at what they come out with regarding Santa. I always tell them I have Santa's number on my phone and I can't tell you the number of times in December when tempers are getting frayed that I step outside the door and give Santa a ring. Often to the sounds of no teacher he'll only bring us coal. But I always make sure to tell him all the girls in my class are excellent !!!! Well most of the time !

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?


Have a nice lie in. Open presents. Eat a Christmas dinner prepared by my mum. Then curl up with a book for the rest of the day. Oh nearly forgot I'd have to watch the Mrs. Brown's Boys Christmas special.









What sits on top of your Christmas tree?


For the years we had a real tree a plastic silver star which takes AGES to get right because the top of the tree usually needs cutting, or it ends up sitting wonky. We usually leave that to my dad… For those awful fake trees my mum now prefers I can’t even remember what sits on top! Probably the same star because it’s one of those ones you still have to decorate (one of my favourite things about the runup to Christmas!)

Favourite Christmas song?


Probably Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin’ Stevens but tbh I do love them all and usually start listening to them in October. I mean, November…

Favourite Christmas movie?


For memories it would have to be The Santa Clause, though I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve watched it.

Favourite festive foodie treat? 


I can’t actually think of anything I eat that you only eat at Christmas and I don’t like mince pies so probably just Christmas themed sweets and tubs of Roses/Celebrations!

The best part of Christmas is… 


The presents! I mean spending time with family… It’s also for me sitting down on Christmas Eve to watch Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas with my family, something we have done since I was a kid (and apparently I used to watch it on video all the time throughout the year…) and it’s one of those times you just feel like a kid again.

The worst part of Christmas is… 


The present pile reducing as you get older.

Your best, and worst, Christmas present? 


This is SO hard because there’s so many. I remember the first time I got a computer which was totally unexpected, my reaction was priceless! I also remember when my mum told me she couldn’t get me a Buzz Lightyear when she’d had one for ages! I can’t actually think of a worst one! I’ve never received an ugly jumper from an auntie anyway.

When do you do your Christmas shopping? 


I only buy for a select few people so usually the two weeks before Christmas!

Any Christmas Day traditions? 


When I was younger I would wake up early and open the presents that ‘Santa’ had left at the end of my bed, get caught by my mum who would say it was too early to get up (despite the fact she was worse as a child!) and then a few hours later we’d all go downstairs and I’d say ‘he’s been!!’ and walk into a mountain of presents! In the day my nan and grandad come down for dinner and we spend the day as a family, eat a HUGE dinner and then watch the soaps and then eat cake and sweets once there’s room after the food.

Favourite Christmas book? 


I wish as a child I’d looked after my things better because there’s SO many books I can vaguely remember reading but which I can’t recall now.

Favourite Christmassy book cover? 


I’ve never read any of her books but probably Debbie Macomber’s Christmas books which are some of the most Christmassy I’ve seen and the pictures remind me of all the films I watched growing up and still do!

Book sat at the top of your Christmas in July wishlist? 


Lucy Diamond’s The Beach Cafe is one of my favourite books of hers but I’m yet to read the Christmas novellas and so I might give them a read this month.

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real? 


I think one of the older kids over the road told me and ruined it! Probably a similar story for most people. My mum says I was upset when I found out but I can’t recall that!

How would you spend your ideal Christmas? 


I think I’d like to spend one either in Cyprus or Australia. Having spent so many winters freezing I’m sure spending it somewhere a bit warmer wouldn’t be too much of a hardship.









What sits on top of your Christmas tree?


A star made out of lollipop sticks and covered in glitter - the first thing Pippa made at nursery

Favourite Christmas song?


Not traditionally a Christmas song but Stay Another Day by East 17 was Christmas Number 1 one year. Reminds me of people no longer with me at Christmas for whatever reason.

Favourite Christmas movie?


Modern: Love Actually

Traditional: White Christmas

Favourite festive foodie treat?


My own mince pie fairy cakes :)

The best part of Christmas is…


Spending time with family, seeing Pippa's face as she opens her presents and the whole wonderful anticipation of Christmas makes me smile.

The worst part of Christmas is…


The washing up afterwards :/

Your best, and worst, Christmas present?


Best was an early Christmas present - when Pippa was born on 13th December :) Don't think I've had a worst present - I just love presents :)

When do you do your Christmas shopping?


With online shopping and little one to buy for, I have to try and be organised as much as possible but sometimes still end up buying/wrapping something on Christmas Eve!

Any Christmas Day traditions?


We try and attend the Carol concert at the local Church if we can. We have started having a Christmas Eve present of new pyjamas and bedtime story for Christmas Eve for us all.

Favourite Christmas book?


My favourite one to read with Pippa because she laughs so much is Father Christmas Needs a Wee by Nicholas Allan

Favourite Christmassy book cover?


For sheer joy and beauty it has to be The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown



Book sat at the top of your Christmas in July wishlist?


Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan as just bought Summer at Tiffany's and didn't realise that this one comes first!

When did you find out Santa wasn’t real? Or is he real?


I remember once finding out my Christmas presents when I was about 8 years old and it kind of robbed the joy of surprise for me on that Christmas Day so I've never tried looking for them again. Now Pippa is old enough to believe in Santa, it has restored my belief in the magical at Christmas time and it is wonderful.

How would you spend your ideal Christmas?


Somewhere in a cabin where it is snowy outside with a log fire inside. All of our family together with someone to cook our Christmas meal and do the washing up then after lunch, piling on the sofa under blankets with mugs of hot chocolate, watching Christmas movies then a board game tournament and a long evening of reading new books together sounds pretty great to me.

---




2 comments:

  1. Louise, I love Stay Another Day! The fact they added some jingle bells to a song and declared it a Christmas tune - and actually did very well as one! - is simply brilliant. Haha, the video cracks me up to.

    Great answers all :) xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Stay Another Day, too! It's a bit of a guilty pleasure for me though ;) xx

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...