Christmas Eve! How did that happen? The beast of a cake, above, was iced in the nick of time yesterday – just before the cousins arrived. Only half of it remains. There are still lots of things to be done, but most of them are of the low-key relaxing variety: an onion needs to be studded with cloves and then left to simmer in milk, an easy orange and almond cake will be made later on while the girls and their cousins watch a film, and some bottles of wine need to be sloshed into a pan and mulled for drinks with neighbours later. Weirdly, because we are not hosting the day itself this year, there are lots of things missing – no Stilton! No mince pies! Actually, I’m not a great fan of mince pies, but Christmas without Stilton is a sort of crime in my book, so that will need to be rectified. So once again, despite my best efforts, I will be off to the shops on Christmas Eve. Aagh!

And this is the end of my mini-marathon of blogging, the end of advent, the end of the daily post. Phew! Normal service to resume sometime soon. In the meantime, Happy Christmas and have a wonderful 2011. And thank you to all who posted such lovely comments over the last few months, it’s so nice to get feedback from time to time. X