Once Upon A December

It’s December, the last month of 2016. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 was a wash-out year. The tired, David-Bowie-held-the-universe-together joke got unfunnier as each month passes and each new atrocity arrived. The latest death we read about on Twitter, the political results we followed during the early hours of the mornings, the crisis we watched unfold in Syria.

News in December: there’s a huge uncovering of historical child sex abuse in UK football clubs. 33 people die in a nightclub fire in California. A ceasefire is called in Syria to allow civilians to escape. A plane crashes in Pakistan, killing 40. Gunmen attack in Jordan, 12 people die in Berlin as a lorry is drives into a Christmas market, the Russian ambassador to Turkey is shot dead.

In sport, Nico Rosberg retires from Formula One and Bradley Wiggins retires from professional cycling. Andy Murray wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year and will receive a knighthood from the Queen; I think it is safe to say that Andy Murray is the only person to have had a brilliant 2016.

The UK Government announce that Article 50 will be triggered by March 2017. A huge riot breaks out at HMP Birmingham. Time Magazine votes Donald Trump as person of 2016, in perhaps the most perfect metaphor for such a bizarre year. Helen Marten wins the Turner Prize for whatever it is she’s calling ‘art’.

Stars we said goodbye to in December 2016 included Andrew Sachs, Greg Lake, AA Gill, Dr Heimlich (inventor of the Heimlich manoeuvre), Zsa Zsa Gabor, Rick Parfitt, George Michael, Liz Smith, Richard Adams, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. I hope I don’t have to update this list (again) (and again!).

And now Christmas has come and gone and I feel like it’s never gone quicker. I am no longer feeling full of festive cheer; I want to get the decorations down and start 2017 as soon as possible.

stem ginger cupcakes

On the blog, however, I managed to muster some yuletide enthusiasm. It began with a recipe for Stem Ginger Cupcakes, which were the perfect flavour of heat and sweetness, plus a whiskey-flavoured buttercream, since it was Christmas.

Next up was a recipe for mincemeat Viennese whirls. These were such a fun, festive idea and a great twist to tired old mince pies. I never got to sample these since I have a tragic aversion to dried fruits and mincemeat, but they smelt damn good, and my tasters liked them.

blondies

Lastly, I posted a recipe for the most delicious, sticky, gooey white chocolate brownies I’ve ever tasted, filled with melting milky stars and dusted with a thick layer of icing sugar. So. Good.

There were only three recipes again this month, which is down to my trip to London the week before Christmas and therefore not having time to actually do any baking. I was far too busy watching the Harry Potter play and crying when it was over because I want to watch it again.

Last December, I was busy with uni. It’s fun to look back at last year’s December post and read where I was at the time, quietly excited for 2016 and unaware of the horrors that awaited. What advice would I give to early-2016 Becky? (I feel a blog post coming on…)

harry potter golden snitch bites

candy cane swiss roll

chocolate orange cake

As for last year’s recipes, there was a festive looking Swiss roll and a totally delicious Chocolate Orange marble cake. Not forgetting about the Golden Snitch bites, to tie in with my trip to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Someone take me back there! There were also some fun posts about my Christmas Eve plans, make-your-own chocolate bars, as well as a post on Christmas traditions. I loved re-reading this post and I wish I’d had the time to write a follow-up this year, but that’s the geek in me being far too interested in learning things.

When we look back on 2016, we’ll think of two things: catastrophic political decisions and celebrity deaths. 2016 was a year framed by death: of Bowie January to Reynolds in December. There have been so many deaths this year that it’s created a brand new feeling of anxiety. Behold: ‘the 2016 effect’. Seeing a celebrity’s name on the news/trending on Twitter and automatically assuming the worst. (If you’re anything like me and have a weird interest in a neat list 0f 2016 deaths, there’s one here).

To top it all off, 2016 is one second longer than it should be, because the bugger just. won’t. end.

But now it’s New Years Eve. We’ve nearly made it. The never-ending year is almost over. Onwards and upwards for 2017.

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