Christmas 2020

As a strange and difficult year draws to a close, the CVP/MM team are trying to think positive by reflecting on what they’re most looking forward to this Christmas.

Tommi

This year Christmas will no doubt feel very different to normal in many ways, but for me the most important part of Christmas will not have changed. Our family has always celebrated Christmas eve with a sauna and a nice meal of typical Finnish Christmas foods, and spending the evening quietly and peacefully together with those closest to us. It’s a really lovely opportunity to slow down for a while and just be together with no distractions.

 

Rose

Despite, or perhaps because of, the challenges 2020 has brought, I am particularly looking forward to Christmas. It will be a time to stop and take stock, and really appreciate what we have managed to achieve… primarily buying and moving into our first family home (and all during a lockdown!). As an Army family, we have moved A LOT, so, this year, watching our children hanging their stockings in the fireplace, choosing the perfect spot for the tree and decorating their bedrooms feels even more special, knowing this is the first of many Merry Christmases in our own home.

 

Flo

I’m usually fairly militant about Christmas and its traditions – everything has to be the same as it’s always been. So it’s strangely freeing this year to just accept that it’s not going to be! Roast dinner is my absolute favourite meal so I’m looking forward to a really good one after weeks (maybe even months) without. Otherwise it’ll just be lovely to spend a couple of days with my family (inside – how novel!) and see the back of 2020…

 

Sarah

I am looking forward to spending my Christmas matching my decorations to those on telly! Not really (but for all those non-His Dark Materials fans this is Hester the hare meeting Hester the daemon hare, such is lockdown entertainment) – I am most grateful and thankful that my family and friends are healthy and happy this Christmas. And I’m always very excited about turkey and bread sauce sandwiches – bring on all the Christmas food! 🎄✨🍗

 

Anna

As with everything this year, my Christmas will be much more Somerset-focused than usual. This December, Cheddar (it’s a real place!) is participating in Window Wanderland, for which people decorate their windows and light them up during the evening. My daughters wanted a Harry Potter theme, so here are our windows and our Christmas lights. We’ll be going on lots of evening walks to enjoy the window displays and the thousands of Christmas lights that have appeared this year.

 

Elinor

I’m most looking forward to seeing my children’s excitement. They are at the age when Christmas is very magical and love all the lights and decorations. It’s also lovely to have a break from the usual routine and spend time as a family.

 

 

 

 

Alice

I’m most looking forward to being back in Dorset with my family and doing lots of baking, Christmas crafting, and playing ridiculous games.

 

 

 

 

 

Laura

We moved house last month and I am looking forward to having some time to spend working on it – for we have great plans for how we’ll make it our own. I shall enjoy learning new skills and taking out all the frustrations of 2020 on some walls which we’ll knock down! Our little Christmas tree is likely to get a dusting of debris rather than snow this year! And of course, I shall be doing plenty of Christmas baking to make sure we are well fuelled for all of this hard work.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happier and healthier 2021. 

Rose: Christmas Book Q&A

Part two of our Christmas book Q&A is a chat with Rose about making Christmas candy and The Night Before Christmas.

What is your favourite Christmas scene in a book?

Predictably, given they are my favourite childhood books, the Christmases depicted in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. There is a gorgeous bit in The Little House in the Big Woods when the sisters make Christmas candy from molasses, drizzling shapes in pans of snow to freeze.

One morning Ma boiled molasses and sugar together until they made a thick syrup, and Pa bought in two pans of clean white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, and curlicues, and squiggledy things, and these hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest were saved for Christmas Day.

Do you have any Christmas book traditions?

We have read The Night Before Christmas to Theo on Christmas Eve for the past 3 years so I guess we will keep doing that!

What book would you like to receive on Christmas day?

Well, if you are asking, the new Barbara Kingsolver, Unsheltered, please! 😉

Which book characters would you like to have Christmas dinner with?

I’d feel terribly disloyal if I said anyone other than Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa but for an entirely unique experience, I’d certainly accept an invite to dine with the Mortmains (I Capture the Castle)

Which book would you give as a Christmas present?

I’ve just bought my brother the new Michael Ondaatje, Warlight, but on the proviso that he lends it to me straight after he’s read it!

Favourite/least favourite book you read in 2018?

Perhaps controversially (and why I will never be a Booker judge!) but I’m just not getting on with Milkman. But I absolutely loved the new Markus Zuzak YA novel, Bridge of Clay. It is amazing and beautiful and heart wrenching. But a word of warning if you do read it, find a nice private place for the ending; read this on the bus and people might think you are having some kind of breakdown.

Welcoming Rose to the Team

In September we were very excited to welcome a new recruit to the team. Rose is our new Editorial Administrator and although she’s only been with us for a couple of months, she already feels like one of the family! In this blog post we learn a bit more about her…

What were you doing before you joined us?

Most recently I was working at The Cheltenham Literature Festival as their Programme Manager, but prior to Cheltenham, after graduating from Exeter Uni with an English Lit degree and a PGCE in Secondary English, I spent eight years in Publishing: the majority of that as an editor at HarperCollins Publishers… So, it’s really always been about the authors and their books!

What attracted you to the job?

Having had a few years ‘off’ (HA!) at home with my baby son, I couldn’t wait to return to the world of books. Being able to work in an industry I love, with like-minded people, but still be there to pick Theo up from nursery at the end of his day, feels like I’ve won the lottery.

What were your first impressions?

I was immediately struck by what a wonderfully friendly and supportive team you are; and how positive, passionate and knowledgeable you are! You seem to genuinely care hugely about the work you do, and for each other. That’s a very inspiring workplace to be in.

Do you prefer ebooks or print books? What are you reading at the moment?

Both have their place; I love the fact that I can get a book recommendation from a friend or read a review and think, ‘ooh, that sounds interesting’ and within 5 minutes it’s there on my Kindle. That is amazing. But, it’s not quite the same as, say, browsing a bookshop, the smell of ‘real’ pages, a piece of stunning cover art or lending a favourite to a friend…

I have some treasured books inscribed by authors with whom I’ve worked, and as a children’s book editor, I also worked with some incredibly talented illustrators, too. My three year old son would argue very much in favour of the printed book!

I’m currently re-reading, for the eleventy-billionth time, Flambards by KM Peyton for a hit of childhood nostalgia and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

Do you have a favourite book?

How can you ask me this Flo?! Absolutely impossible to pick only one, or even narrow it down to less than about 50!

But if you absolutely insist, The Little House novels by Laura Ingalls Wilder which I’ve probably re-read every year since I was seven, Remains of the Day as my ‘grown up’ choice and Polo by Jilly Cooper as my guilty secret (shhhhh).

What do you like to do when you’re not in the office?

Scuffling about in wellies, outdoors, with my husband (occasionally), our three-year-old son and our spaniel. Followed by a G&T. or 3. And a good book. Obvs.

Rose with her dog, Percy

CVP/MM Summer Round Up 2018

Is it really mid-October already? The UK saw an unusually long, hot summer this year so autumn has come as quite a shock! Before we resign ourselves to gloves and scarves, here’s what we all got up to on our summer holidays this year…

Tommi

This summer we travelled to Oulu, where we bathed in a sauna on a raft at Tuira beach, before spending a week in the south of Finland enjoying the peace and quiet of village life and the beautiful lakes and forests of Nuuksio Forest. We then took a week to drive back to the UK, visiting the beautiful cities of Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk and Lübeck. All were very beautiful in different ways, although the Hanseatic connection meant there were certainly some similarities. I can most definitely recommend the pierogi in Gdansk!

Elinor

This summer I went to St Malo in Brittany with my family. This photo was taken on the day we took a boat trip across the river to Dinard. It was our first foreign holiday with my 1-and-a-half year old son and we all enjoyed spending our days at the beach in the sunshine and eating delicious French food!

Laura

This summer I went to Slovenia for the first time…wow! We hiked, swam, rafted, paddle-boarded and drove through the most beautiful wildflower meadows, dramatic mountains and the bluest rivers and lakes imaginable. I haven’t stopped raving about it and Slovenia has since shot to the top of my most recommended countries list!

Sarah

I didn’t go on holiday this year as I was buying a house in Dawlish! Here it is – so relieved to have the buying process completed 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Rose

A week after moving to Bristol from Northumberland we took a much-needed break from unpacking, heading to our holiday house in Mallorca. This is Cala Figuera – a pretty little fishing port in the South East of the island.

 

Anna

Despite it being one of the sunniest summers ever in the UK, my poor timing meant that my holiday this year consisted of a rainy trip to New Zealand and a very rainy week in Wales. A lot of our time this summer has been spent gardening, either in the garden of our new house or on our allotment. The council cleared the plot for us, and then I carted 75 wheelbarrows’ worth of horse manure the 100m from the road to the plot. This is the allotment when we took it over (girls foraging for gooseberries) and this is as it looked a few weeks ago, with winter crops going in. The allotment comes with a view of Cheddar Gorge, and it’s already one of my favourite places in the world.

Flo

I had a very late “summer” holiday this year – I’ve just come back from a week in Corfu! It wasn’t my usual sort of holiday – I usually get bored with too much relaxing, but the weather was beautiful (except for one very dramatic storm) and I spent a lot of time in the sea, reading and eating way too much!