Rosie Blake shares what she loves the most about the festive season.
1. FAMILY – I wanted this to be a central theme in HOW TO STUFF UP CHRISTMAS and some of my favourite characters are relatives of the heroine Eve. My own family are an eclectic bunch and I love us crowded round the table, moaning as we have to humour my Dad and play another obscure game famous in the 1950s (Google: Careers, Farming, High Finance). We still get stockings in our 30s and, yes, we are well aware that this is ridiculous and we should definitely stop my Mum doing this but we never seem to find the time. And we open them all together and Santa still buys me pants.
2. TRADITION NO MATTER WHAT – It doesn’t matter if you are full to bursting you MUST eat ALL the courses at Christmas dinner. After the roast and the Christmas pudding and the wine you need to have the jelly and one of the other eighteen puddings on offer (e.g. Banoffee pie) and then walnuts and Roses from the tin. And then a Bendicks Bitter Mint from the secret drawer in the location only Dad knows about. If you don’t do all these things then Christmas isn’t Christmas.
3. MY MUM’S COMMENTARY DURING THE DOWNTON ABBEY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL This has now made the list as it is just a classic way to spend an hour. She just sits on the sofa randomly shouting stuff at people on the screen. “WHY IS BATES ALWAYS LURKING”, “THOMAS. HE’LL BE UP TO NO GOOD.” “OH DEAR, EDITH’S HAIR IS VERY SEVERE.” It is the most amazing insight into my Mum’s mind and I am already excited about what she’ll have up her sleeve for the Final Season.
4. THE AFTERNOON SLUMP – Ah the time after the Queen’s speech and before someone decides they’re hungry again. This is prime snuggling time. All you need is a television, some kind of rug or duvet and a husband if you have access to one. Bliss.
5. PRESENTS. – OF COURSE PRESENTS YOU MADDOS. WHO DOESN’T LOVE PRESENTS? HOW IS THIS NUMBER 5? DID YOU REALLY THINK I’D FORGET?
‘Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you’ve found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance’s phone…
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve’s boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve’s best friend Daisy know that she isn’t telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve’s boat?
Rosie Blake spent her university years writing pantomimes based on old classics, including The Wizard of Odd: Search for the Ruby Strippers and Harry Potter: The Musical. Rosie went on to write a winning short story in the La Senza/Little Black Dress Short Story Competition, and features for Cosmopolitan magazine, before turning to books. Rosie likes baked items, taking long walks by the river and speaking about herself in the third person.