Good morning and welcome to my third Christmas Spotlight post. Today I am joined by Darcie Bolyen.
One of my earliest Christmas memories is of making sweet mincemeat with my grandmother. She lived in a small terraced house with a tiny kitchen, so we had to drag her foldable table into the centre of her living room in order to have enough space to work.
My grandmother, or Granny as I called her, was a tiny lady. I’m only five foot but she was even smaller. She’d been a primary school teacher and a deputy head teacher, but she retired well before I arrived. Despite years of dealing with children under twelve, Granny had more patience than anyone I have ever known. In my novel Wish Upon a Christmas Cake, Katie’s grandmother (who recently passed away) is very similar to my lovely little Granny with her warmth, kindness and capacity to love and support her family.
My Granny had an old-fashioned grinder that she attached to the side of the table and we passed a variety of ingredients through it. It wasn’t easy, as we had to turn the handle and it became tiring after a while, but we kept going until we had a large bowl full of sweet, fragrant minced fruit. She added a generous amount of brandy and spices and the mincemeat was almost ready.
The final product was then spooned into jars that we sealed with wax paper and string and secreted away at the bottom of her pantry (yes – she had a pantry!) for a few months to mature.
The whole process took the best part of a Saturday afternoon but it was really enjoyable. I loved spending time with my Granny and preparing for Christmas in advance; it built up the excitement that led to my magical childhood Christmases.
These days, I try to capture similar experiences with my own children and I hope that one day I might be lucky enough to do the same with my grandchildren.
Time is so precious and we all lose loved ones at some point, but memories and traditions help keep those we’ve lost alive.
What Christmas traditions do you carry out each year that help you to remember Christmases past?Wish Upon A Christmas Cake by Darcie Boleyn
Published by Carina on 2nd October 2015
Genres: Chicklit, Christmas
Amazon UK, Amazon US
The most wonderful time of the year?
Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!
If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Carl…
But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?
This holiday season, snuggle up by a roaring fire with a mulled wine and enjoy Darcie Boleyn’s festive winter warmer!
Ann reached out and wiped a rogue tear from my cheek. I took a few deep breaths, determined not to crumble.
‘What would your granny want you to do, Katie?’
‘To spend Christmas with my family.’
‘Because her family was everything to her.’
‘Well there you go.’
I met Ann’s eyes and tried to smile. She gave me a sympathetic one in return and patted my hand, then something seemed to occur to her. Ann stood up and headed to the kitchen.
‘Where are you going?’
‘Be right back,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘I have an idea…’
I lay my head back against the sofa and thought about Granny. She had been such a character. A tiny, intelligent and witty lady, she’d been an eternal optimist, capable of seeing the silver lining in every cloud. On top of that, she’d been a layer of protection, soaking up some of the damage my mother could do by unfalteringly defending me and making me giggle whenever Esther became a bit overbearing. But now Granny was gone.
I had tried so hard over the years to let my mother’s negative comments wash over me but sometimes, even though I was thirty-two, she still managed to hurt me. But then a mother is meant to be a woman’s ultimate role model, her port in the storm, her protector. With Esther, it had never really seemed that way because she was always so bloody critical. Granny had been all the good things for me; basically another mother. It was like being in an American TV show growing up, with the good cop and the bad cop.
‘Here we go,’ Ann sang as she sashayed back into the shop. She placed a plate with a piece of our famous Christmas cake on it and a fork in front of me.
‘What’s this for?’ I asked. I was already riding the sugar high from her delicious hot chocolate.
“Wish upon a Christmas cake!’ Ann exclaimed.
‘Huh?’ I raised a quizzical eyebrow at her.
‘Well I won’t have a wishbone till Christmas Day and it’s too cloudy for shooting stars tonight so I say we wish upon a Christmas cake that this be the best Warham family Christmas ever.’ She smiled encouragingly, but I still eyed her dubiously. ‘Oh come on, what have you got to lose? It could work; Esther might be nice for Christmas and you could get a tall, dark and handsome hunk in your stocking!’ She winked at me.