My mind’s been on Christmas since the summer. That's when I sat down to write my latest novella, White Christmas. As the rest of my family whizzed around enjoying the sunshine I was in a world of my own, dreaming about Christmas trees, advent calendars, carols, presents and snow.
But now my ebook is done and dusted, I’m busy getting sorted for Christmas. With friends and family scattered all over the place, it means being hyper-organised for once and making sure that the right presents get sent to the right place at the right time. I’ll never forget the awful year when I finished work in London on Christmas Eve, drove down to my parents in Dorset, laden (or so I thought) with presents, and then discovered I’d left the most important ones behind.
My problem is that I always get lulled into a false sense of security. I usually start my Christmas shopping in October, get loads done and then grind to a halt. Around the middle of December I have a major panic when I realise I haven’t done nearly as much as I thought I had.
But this year is different. Why? Because instead of keeping everything in my head (not a good idea when it’s clogged up with other stuff), I’ve actually written a list. I’ve also downloaded the brilliant Red magazine's Christmas Kitchen Lifesaver app, which is keeping me on the straight and narrow about all the food I’ve got to buy.
But back to presents, my list is a work of art. I’ve scrawled the names of everyone I’m buying presents for in one column and when I need to post everything in the next. I’ve written my Christmas cards (well, most of them), sent my goddaughters’ parcels off by Parcelforce already (they are a dream to buy for) and if I say so myself, I’m not doing too badly at all.
Getting ahead for a change and sending my presents off early has been a revelation. Instead of panicking I’m enjoying these pre-Christmas weeks. I just hope I haven’t forgotten someone...
PS. I've even bought a Christmas pudding - from Meg Rivers Cakes (see below). Thanks to my friend Jackie, I've just discovered their cafe near Broadway, in Worcestershire, and it's a great place for lunch.