For someone who has always loved Christmas it is amazing that this is the first time in 40 (cough) something years that I have actually celebrated Christmas in July.  Down here in the southern hemisphere we are used to sweltering at Christmas and the thought of hot roasts, mulled wine and hunkering down in front of the fire with a hot chocolate is the farthest thing from our minds, so July is the perfect time for us to live out those white Christmas dreams.  I have been thinking a lot about celebration lately and really taking the time and putting some energy into celebrating milestones, events and successes in our year with the people we love.  I love this quote by Abraham Joshua Heschel

"People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state--it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle.... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions."  

Rather than being about gifts we decided to make our Christmas in July about gratitude and celebrating the beautiful people in our lives (and a bit about decorating and yummy food).  With this in mind we started with some gratitude cards 

The kids and I brainstormed what qualities we loved and appreciated and the kids wrote them out and sealed them with a fingerprint heart.

We decorated the table with hand pressed personalised leather tags, linen napkins and a sprig of rosemary as a symbol of love (and because it smells amazing)  


a suspended magnolia branch above the table hung with rosemary wreaths and cherries - just for fun

and berries 



and more berries...

Christmas would not be Christmas without mince pies and my mums recipe for mince pie pastry is A...mazing.  I will add it below for anyone who is as into pastry as I am.

decorated with more berries.

Different family members added delicious Nigella Chocolate pudding and amazing spicy pumpkin date scones to the mix

Is your mouth watering yet?

Topped off with some mulled wine and some mulled apple juice for the kids.

Filling the air with cinnamony spiciness and it was a Christmas in July to remember and new celebration that I can see us looking forward to every year.

Mum's A..mazing Pastry


250 grams butter

185 grams castor sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg lightly beaten

375 grams plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

120 grams custard powder

pinch salt


  1. Oven temperature 230 degrees Celsius
  2. Prepare large shallow patty tins by greasing with butter. Makes 24
  3. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla
  4. Add egg and beat well
  5. Sift dry ingredients and gradually add to creamed mixture to make a stiff dough
  6. Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead lightly.  Roll out to .5cm thickness
  7. Use a round cutter and cut out circles to fit base of patty tins.
  8. Place a dessert spoon of uit mince of your choice in each case
  9. Use a slightly smaller cutter to cut out circles or do as I have done and cut stripes to lay over the filling
  10. Cook for approx. 12 mins or until golden brown
  11. Allow to cool in tins for 10 mins before removing
  12. Enjoy!