When Four (Weeks Off) Become One

christmas 2017 new home

I had this crazy idea, about two weeks ago, that I would take some time off over Christmas. I’m talking proper time off – a month perhaps, or at least three weeks. Digital detox, with broadband hub disconnected, iPhone frozen in a block of ice and buried in the garden (to be defrosted mid-January), laptop shoved underneath the sofa, office door firmly shut and bolted. I was going to have the most Relaxing Christmas Ever, with endless cocktails and medicinal glasses of red wine, a roaring fire, songs around the piano, snow-sodden socks drying on the AGA.

And then I realised that I couldn’t disconnect the broadband because we still don’t have any and I couldn’t shut my office door because there were about three dozen unpacked boxes blocking the doorway. The medicinal alcohol would have to wait until the medicinal – er – medicine had kicked in (epic chest/cough/throat thing going on here) and the roaring fire was a no-go until the chimney sweep had given us the all-clear, and he couldn’t chim-chimney-chim-chimney-chim-chim-cheroo on down here until Christmas Eve.

And then I also realised that my ongoing chest/cough/cold thing – coupled with lack of childcare and a house move and around three solid weeks of disturbed sleep – had set me back by weeks in terms of various work deadlines and that I’d need to beaver away in the evenings for a few more days, which turned into nearly a fortnight, and then I realised that my first day back at work would need to be the 2nd January!

So four weeks of fire-lit bliss have become one. I’m not telling you this to have a moan, I’m telling you because I like to document these things so that I remember them in the future. I think that this year, with a new baby and a toddler, a manic work set-up and a house move piled on top, has been my best yet in terms of wonderful things happening (Baby Ted! Dream House!) but my worst for stress levels and patience-testing. My ability to teeter on the sanity tightrope has been severely tested in 2017 – I feel as though I’ve been constantly walking a fine line between being absolutely OK (“I need to be on the 6.13am train to London and look good for a photoshoot at 9? With the baby in tow? Fine!”) and verging on completely losing the plot.

christmas 2017 new home

All I can say is that I am really looking forward to my week offline between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. I’ll probably still be on Instagram, because it’s pretty much my only true vice (apart from Magnums) now that I don’t need to spend hours trawling through properties on Rightmove, but I won’t be writing anything on here or putting videos out. But I mean, crikey, it’s just a week. And actually, I’ve hardly been about anyway, have I? It’s quite arduous trying to upload a Youtube video using the 4G on your iPhone – it takes about four hours and you usually have to make a quick call to 02 at some point to top up your data allowance, which quite frequently cuts your connection and cancels your upload so that you have to start again. Blogging via the iPhone tether is easier, but still not perfect. So when I have had a spare hour, cranking up the old 4G hasn’t been at the top of my wishlist.

Here’s to 2018: a steady internet connection, childcare, a full night’s sleep (just one, one will do!) and a swept fireplace. I felt like a right old berk calling a chimney sweep in, like a faux-aristocrat from a costume drama – “JEEVES, bring the carriage to the servants’ door and tell the scullery maid to make a start on the flagstones!” – but then I realised that everyone with a fire must have to call one in. Or should call one in. Apparently it’s very dangerous not to get your chimneys regularly swept. We have a huge nest in one of them and I’m absolutely petrified of the birds suddenly deciding to scurry down into the kitchen for a nose about, or eggs falling out of the nest and smashing onto the grate. Now and then, when I’m sat alone at the kitchen table (as I am now), the birds up there make weird noises and it scares the absolute life out of me.

Right, I’m off – I need to order some cutlery from M&S because all of our dinner stuff is still in storage. I’ve been deliberating over three different cutlery styles for over an hour – it’s surprisingly difficult ordering cutlery online when you can’t feel the handles and test out the weighting. There’s nothing more irritating than a badly weighted spoon – you know when you balance the spoon handle against the bowl and it flips out because it’s too heavy? Or those rounded cutlery handles that don’t fit in the dishwasher rack properly, or knife edges that are too smooth thus useless at cutting into tomatoes?

Merry Christmas everyone – wishing you a most relaxing week (or more) off and great happiness and good health to you and your families. Good health is always the most we can wish for – everything else is really rather insignificant – so please look after yourselves, go easy on the booze, don’t fall into any ditches and PLEASE TEST YOUR SMOKE ALARMS TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE WORKING. Tis the season for unattended candles and accidental oven accidents and the idea that people don’t have smoke alarms in their houses petrifies me. If you don’t have them installed, get yourself some of these now*, or similar (B&Q, Homebase) and stick them on the ceiling yourself – it takes two minutes. You can read more about where to position your smoke alarms here.

I’ve gone off on a massive tangent, sorry. See you in the New Year!

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Louise
    December 21, 2017 / 10:19 pm

    I hope you all have an amazing Christmas in your lovely new house. You should never be afraid to go off at a tangent. Mixing style and beauty with health and safety is a winning combination.

  2. Ewa
    December 21, 2017 / 11:34 pm

    The best post this year! Merry Christmas to you and your family. Success in New 2018.

  3. Angie guest
    December 22, 2017 / 5:07 am

    Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas, enjoy your well deserved long overdue break Ruth xx

  4. FloJo
    December 22, 2017 / 7:04 am

    Happy Christmas Ruth. I hope you have a proper break – you are well overdue one, and feel better soon. Fingers crossed for Ted sleeping through in 2018. Thanks for keeping me sane during 2017. F x

  5. Laura cletheroe
    December 22, 2017 / 7:30 am

    Enjoy your time off Ruth, you deserve it. Thanks for all your great work and amusing musings throughout the year. Hope you and your family have a wonderful festive x

  6. NIN
    December 22, 2017 / 7:36 am

    what a nice position infront of the laptop!
    how can you keep such a right pose. i sit like a bag of potatoes no matter how much i try…
    HAPPY winter holidays!!

  7. Gráinne
    December 22, 2017 / 9:53 am

    Thank you for making me giggle in 2017 Ruth, and for your fab recommendations! Always look forward to your uploads, and having to wait a WHOLE WEEK!! (try to take 2!) will make your first 2018 post all the more special. Much love to you and the family and hope you’ve a lovely Christmas x

  8. December 22, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Happy Holidays and yes, all our fire alarms are checked and working. I am very strict about that with candles and two little kids and a cat around…

  9. Abigail
    December 22, 2017 / 12:11 pm

    Happy Christmas to you and yours Ruth! Yes, those of us with real fires need a good chimney sweep, it’ll be fine and they don’t make hardly any mess, at least mine doesn’t. You might want to ask him about getting bird guards on your chimneys, especially jackdaws can be a real pain once they start nest building in the spring, they’re very determined. Also it’s illegal to disturb them once they’ve begun to build nests which is a pain if you want a fire in spring on a chilly day. You’re stuffed as the sweep won’t disturb them and a chimney nest is a hazard as you’re aware. Your sweep can advise you best and here’s hoping Mr AMR has a lovely roaring fire for you to enjoy Xmas Eve!

  10. Sandie
    December 22, 2017 / 12:47 pm

    Have a very special and happy family Christmas Ruth and enjoy your well earned rest in your new house (Yaaay!). Looking forward to your wonderful blogs and vlogs in the new year.

  11. SueM
    December 22, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    Merry Christmas and a most Happy New Year to you and your wonderful family Ruth. Enjoy your break, feel better and don’t forget the medicinal properties of a hot toddy (my Nana swore by them). You, your ramblings and tangents bring such joy to all of us so I wish for you to be recharged by your respite with the confidence of knowing we’ll be here waiting when you return. All the best. ❤️

  12. Bunny
    December 22, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    Have an awesome Christmas

  13. Julie
    December 22, 2017 / 4:49 pm

    God bless us , every one!

  14. Eliza
    December 22, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    Thanks for the well wishes Ruth! RIght back at you in spades and please please find a moment or 100 for the sparkly boots for they are still divine and not to be forgotten in your disconnected bliss.

    To all here, blessings and joy and health this holiday season and onward. May 2018 rock all of our worlds. Oh please! I need it to. :))) xx

  15. December 23, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    Merry Christmas and a very, very happy New Year! I hope you will be all healthy and enjoy your love.
    Love, Sol.

  16. Amy
    December 23, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family Ruth. Enjoy the break! You have a lot to celebrate this year. Thank you for your wonderful blogs! I absolutely love reading them both, you are always a breath of fresh air with your real anicdotes of family life. I look forward to your 2018 blogging. Here is to a happy and healthy New Year ahead for us all.

  17. December 24, 2017 / 9:13 pm

    Happy mother, happy child. Fed mother, fed child. Rested mother, rested child. Sometimes we really do need to take stock and make sure WE are being looked after, too. I hope you have a happy and restful week, with at least a six hour solid block of sleep. Happy Christmas and enjoy your lovely family and home! X

  18. Ayla
    December 25, 2017 / 8:02 pm

    Merry Christmas Ruth, have a very happy new year and
    thank you for all the care and good wishes

  19. Poorani
    December 26, 2017 / 12:06 am

    Merry Christmas Ruth to you and your family. Happy New Year.

  20. Maja
    December 26, 2017 / 8:02 am

    This made me smile, and your reminder of smoke detectors is so sweet! (We have that in common, I took the initiative to get smoke detectors installed in our apartment building…)
    Yesterday I finished “Captain Corelli‘s mandolin“, which you had recommended. I absolutely loved it! Thank you for your book reviews, which I love as much as your foundation reviews.
    Happy holidays and a great start into a fulfilling 2018.

  21. Felicity
    December 28, 2017 / 8:53 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. You bring me so much each year (laughter, entertainment, beauty porn).
    It’s worth noting that if you ring your local fire brigade (on the local number, not 999), they will come round and give your house a nosey, then tell you where to make changes for the better in regards of fire safety, and install smoke alarms (for free) for you if you have none.
    Very handy for anyone who is on a low income or has very little spare cash.

  22. Mansi
    January 1, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    In the last couple of months I haven’t checked your blog, lazy me, you’ve moved to Bath! Quite an exciting end to the year. Moving to a new place can be infernally tedious, especially for a mum of two- I can’t even keep my affairs in order, but there’s the allure of a proverbial clean slate. tbt a week in, I end up wallowing in nostalgia over the most inane trifles.
    I do hear you on cutlery, what’s with the three tined fork? :/
    Didn’t fall into a ditch, definitely survived the new year here. Happy 2018 Ruth :)

  23. February 1, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    It’s so difficult to switch off. I try and do it throughout the year a few times.

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