Saturday, 10 December 2016

Guest Post: Sara Mendes da Costa

Today I am delighted to host a guest post by Sara Mendes da Costa, where she shares with us her thoughts on Christmas. 
My thoughts on Christmas – Sara Mendes da Costa
Every year when our beautiful autumn begins to hang up her russet cloak and the first Christmas goodies can be seen in the shops, I hear people complaining ‘It’s just too early!  Christmas isn’t for weeks yet.’ Then November begins in earnest and impressive decorations start to adorn the streets and shop windows are full of twinkling seasonal displays and glittering trees and still I hear complaining … and I simply smile in silent reply.

Because, you know what, if truth be known…I love it! I love this magical time of year so I say bring it on!

For me there was nothing quite like Christmas when I was a kid. My birthday was amazing, sure, plenty of presents and cake and parties and fabulous birthday’ness…but Christmas had this huge build up and was just so …special. The TV & Radio Times held promises of Christmas shows to come, Morecombe and Wise’s seasonal hilarity would be hotly anticipated as always, moods were lifted and plans were laid. Lists were written and invites sent. Festive fun, sparkle and enthusiasm was everywhere and my eyes would be wide and my insides would be bursting with anticipation and hope. The radio played the happy Christmas songs we all know and love and TV would always air wondrous, sparkling, Christmas ads and all I could think about was Father Christmas, stockings, decorations, food, celebrations and of course prezzies.
Well, you know what, I haven’t changed a bit!

Christmas, and all the magic surrounding it, for me is like an anchor to all things good. Just like the smell of suntan lotion takes me immediately to lazy sun-filled summer holidays and golden sands and all the memories that come with them, so the rich sound of bells and carols and the sight of a twinkling Christmas tree, and beautifully wrapped presents – not forgetting Father Christmas -take me back to joyful Christmases past… and that makes my tummy smile.

When my lovely man Michael and I met over seven years ago, we decided to have our own special Christmas weekend before the main event; before we went our separate ways to our own kin. We’d only been together five or six months at the time of our first Christmas so it was a bit early in our relationship to spend a family one together. We chose the weekend before the Christmas just for the two of us, and SMXmas was born! Short for Sara and Michael’s ‘Xmas’. We had the Friday, which we named SMXmas Eve, the Saturday which was SMXmas Day and the Sunday which was SMOXing Day J I remember it like it was yesterday and quite wonderfully, as we opened our presents on SMXmas day, it began to snow! Quite simply the icing on the cake; and boy oh boy did it snow! So rare when you live on the south coast of England. Quickly, the garden and streets became covered in a pristine blanket of magical white. Needless to say, presents were downed (as were drinks) and snowball fights ensued and Mr Happy the snowman was created (whose photo still has pride of place on my piano) It was just the best time and you know what, after that we decided to celebrate SMXmas every year! We still have those three special days just for us regardless of what we end up doing over Christmas.

SMXmas Eve is always enjoyed at our favourite bar and restaurant in Brighton having cocktails followed by a sumptuous meal, then SMXmas Day is spent like a couple of kids opening stockings, imbibing a celebratory bottle of Buck’s fizz on Hove seafront (whatever the weather) and then heart-warming Christmas films and scrummy food and the excitement of main prezzies across the afternoon and evening. Finally, SMOXing Day is a welcomed walk over the Sussex Downs to blow away the cobwebs followed by a warming mulled wine in our local before putting our feet up with more films in the evening. It really is quite lovely and we both get thoroughly excited about it every year.

By the time Christmas comes around, we usually feel like we’ve had our Christmas! But, hey, there’s always plenty more festive magic to enjoy with our families.

I’ve thought about Christmas quite a lot over the years and how it’s changed and grown…and then grown some more! It’s certainly more commercial than it once was but it’s still so very special. There are of course differing views from different people; some really love it and some can’t wait for it to be over but I think in amongst the melee of the crowds and the pressure and the commercial angle, there is still a lot of wonder, hope, excitement and love amongst most. For me, and I hope for the majority reading this article, Christmas is a time to be with loved ones, family and friends, to laugh and to talk and to laugh some more; to give presents and to enjoy receiving special gifts that those who love you have chosen for you. It’s a happy hiatus where we can enjoy time off to relax, for special gatherings and for quiet snuggles; for Christmas carols and festive films …and of course for eating and drinking your way through far too much! …until it’s time to pack it all up – perhaps a little thankfully – for another year. But the memories of that over indulgence and expanded waistband, the slightly lean bank balance, the mess, the fuss and the house covered in pine needles gradually, over the year, get forgotten until wintertime comes around again and the whole process starts once more…and I, for one, am extremely grateful.

Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.
May all your Christmases be bright.
Love Sara

Peanuts and Eggcups
For Maggie Parsons there’s only ever been one man: the stunningly delicious Luke Henderson. Unfortunately, he left her, without explanation, after their ‘first night’ together …breaking her heart in the process. 

Now ten years on, without any contact, he’s back and going to her school reunion. Great! And, to confuse matters…so is his suave, sexy, brother Tony who makes a major play for Maggie, then turns up with his insufferable - supposedly ex – fiancée! 

Via the reunion, a black eye, getting the sack (as a result) a madcap girlie holiday and juggling her confused emotions around the two alluring brothers…Maggie starts to build a picture of what she really wants in life. 

Trouble is, Maggie’s a pawn in a game she doesn’t even know she’s playing …and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Available from
Amazon UK

About Sara Mendes da Costa
Sara Mendes da Costa is the voice of the BT Speaking Clock; the fourth person to hold this prestigious title since 1936.

A successful, world-renowned voiceover artist, her dulcet tones are easily recognisable on television, radio, film and across countless media.

Never far from the press, she’s known for her appearances on BBC Breakfast, ITV This Morning, Children in Need, Wake up to Wogan and The Today Programme, and balances her prolific voiceover career with her passion and commitment as a novelist.

Peanuts & Eggcups, her debut novel - hotly anticipated by the industry - is “The perfect & highly addictive reading companion for women’s fiction fans”. `

A lover of laughter, creativity, great storytelling and a wee dram, Sara adores writing novels and seeks to entertain, uplift and inspire. 

Her upcoming novels: Time & Time Again & Maggie Ever After, are expected in 2017.


A huge thank you to Sara for agreeing to share her thoughts on Christmas with us today on the blog.


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