'Tis The Season To Be Tidy
Woman & Home|January 2020
The guests are due – but does it really matter if the house is in its usual state of chaos, wonders bestselling novelist Katie Fforde

I always feel a bit conflicted when I know Christmas Day is to be spent at my house. Half of me likes the control – it’s up to me when we start drinking (early), what we eat (not always turkey) – but there is also pressure. It’s important to me that everyone has a lovely time and it’s up to me to make sure they do. I’m not so happy when my husband decides to eat one of the kippers he has been given by his stepmother as a present for breakfast, and it’s the smell of stale smoked fish that permeates the house instead of a rather expensive scented candle and hyacinths. (No, he never quite got that he’d done the wrong thing.)

Family parties – and Christmas is The Big One – are a bit different from parties where you only invite your friends and neighbors. While it should be easier – it’s just family, after all – there can be pressures that don’t exist normally. Your family are quite likely to criticize you, while your friends are a lot less likely to say, ‘Darling, how do you cope with having all these things! Why don’t you hire a skip and get rid of it all?’ (Yes, honestly, said to me while I was on my sickbed with life-threatening flu.)

My children know exactly how untidy my house is because they visit often, my sister also, but far-flung family may well be critical.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM WOMAN & HOMEView All

My First Christmas As A Widow

Stunned by the death of her beloved husband, Diana O’Connor struggled as the festive season drew near – but she has since found fresh hope in life

4 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

Reset Your Life Compass

It’s time to reflect and set your sights on making 2020 your best year

3 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

Knowing Me Knowing You

From secret languages to sensing the other’s thoughts, the bond between twins will always be special. Three sets share their stories

6 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

The Boy In This Picture Is Fearless, And I Love That

Being a comedian was in Lenny Henry’s blood – and it was appearing on New Faces in 1975 that launched his stellar career

2 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

A Year With Friends

Catherine Barr made a resolution to walk with a different friend each month of the year. The 12 walks were a joy, so she’s doing it all again

4 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

'I'm Proud Of The Lines On My Face, I've Earned Them!'

Actress Jenny Agutter talks to Selina Maycock about Botox, her love of rap music and when she almost fainted in front of a patient

4 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

'Tis The Season To Be Tidy

The guests are due – but does it really matter if the house is in its usual state of chaos, wonders bestselling novelist Katie Fforde

3 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

'I Bought Myself A Wedding Ring!'

Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, 79, shares her passions and memories. She lives with her husband John Playfair, in the Cotswolds country home she’s had for 40 years

3 mins read
Woman & Home
January 2020

THE BIG DAY!

Our showstopping festive feast shows just how versatile vegan and veggie cooking can be...

6 mins read
Woman & Home
Christmas 2019

Party FOOD

Inspiring ways to feed a crowd. You’re welcome…

10+ mins read
Woman & Home
Christmas 2019
RELATED STORIES

A Garden Oasis in The Heart of Pittsburgh

This custom-installed outdoor A/V system sets the mood for parties, sports, or just chilling out and enjoying a City of Bridges sunset

5 mins read
Sound & Vision
June - July 2021

5 Steps to Reverse Pandemic Weight Gain

How to shed the pounds you may have picked up after a year in social isolation.

5 mins read
Better Nutrition
June 2021

Bridging the Endowment Wealth Gap

A new venture fund aims to help HBCUs get in on promising startups

5 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 31 - June 07, 2021 (Double Issue)

A Viewer's Guide to the Future of Entertainment

The pandemic has changed Hollywood. Here are five shifts that will last

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
May 31 - June 07, 2021 (Double Issue)

Fighting Fire With Founders

Silicon Valley startups are taking aim at deadly wildfires. But saving lives will require cutting through red tape, fast.

10 mins read
Inc.
May - June 2021

Three Rangers Whiskey

Most veterans, particularly those who serve in special operations units, come away from their service with a strong sense of pride in their branch, unit, or career field.

2 mins read
Recoil
July - August 2021

You Grew It Alone. Now Can You Lead?

Nnenna Stella, founder of the fashion accessories brand the Wrap Life, talks staffing up with Lisa Price, founder of beauty brand Carol’s Daughter.

7 mins read
Inc.
May - June 2021

“ TOUCH THE MOON ” WITHOUT LEAVING EARTH

Discovering Similarites Between Space and the Upper Midwestern U.S.

10+ mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
June 2021

GOLD MINING IN DAHLONEGA, GEORGIA

History and Panning Adventures

5 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
June 2021

New Discoveries in Newfoundland

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND ROCKHOUNDING HELP TO UNCOVER FASCINATING TREASURES AND HISTORY

6 mins read
Rock&Gem Magazine
June 2021