Christmas holidays :

* time to see what's on offer in the CATalogues
* time for mass CATering
* time to indiCATe what's on your Christmas list
* if you don't it might be CATastrophic
* time for a glass of musCATel
* time to increase the relevant mediCATion
* dream of a trip to CATalonia
* visit the local CAThedral for a carol service

* that's quite enough

It's too windy to go to the beach, too wet to go for a hike, too wet to walk the dog or too tired and slump in a chair instead.  What else can we do to pass the time?

We're constantly being reminded of the importance of improving our cognitive abilities.
So, SUDOKU might suit you.  Perhaps you're put off by numbers, but the secret of success is being visual and seeing patterns.

CROSSWORDS might be more your cup of Darjeeling, so 'cryptic' or 'normal' (personality related?) would be the choice. "WORD SEARCH is also stimulating.

Children need to be occupied at times, and not necessarily on their computers.  We have books on everything from magic painting, colouring-in, sticker dolly dressing, simple science experiments using everyday items that won't blow up the house (so difficult getting builders in the holidays).

You could start keeping a JOURNAL and even add drawings, or making up a story.  There is a wide selection of journals, big or small. thick or thin, plain or ruled.  A hard covered A4 sketchbook with archival paper has many uses. 

RECIPE BOOKS in which we write (a long lost skill for many), our favourite recipes have made a return.  So much easier than hunting through the internet, as they are all readily accessible in one book. What a lovely thing to pass on to the next generation...our tried and tested recipes for soups, breads, cakes, fish and stews....preserved (yes, fruit too), for posterity.
We're more aware of the popularity of  QUIZ evenings so check out the selection of sports, cricket and general knowledge quiz books.  Might be fun for a wet afternoon or a quiet evening in.
CRAFTS of all sorts are rewarding and relaxing on holiday, so you can try origami, making paper planes, beading, sewing, fabric painting or making candles.
Most children love to mess about in the kitchen so please encourage them to  BAKE and COOK...with the necessary supervision, of course.
Tins of magnetic GAMES like ludo, snakes and ladders, backgammon and tic-tac toe are fun for travelling or taking to the beach.
The subject of food is rather prevalent during and after the holidays  When the normal routine is re-established we say "I wish I hadn't eaten so much" and that is  followed by discussions on detox and dieting. 

The DIET market is huge and often very confusing.  The range of diet types is vast, from fad, crash, low fat, high protein to low carb and high carb diets. There is the diet dictated by blood type and transfusions are not an option if you don't like what your blood type demands.

Dr Atkins has sold more than 21 million copies of his books.  Dr Dukan has sold 8 million, and when asked the reason behind the success of his diet, he replied " It works.....and Carole Middleton", (apparently mother of Kate followed the diet before the wedding).

We are familiar with the Atkins, Hay, Montignac, South Beach, Scarsdale, grapefruit and now the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).  The hunger for the miracle diet shows no signs of abating, and there will be more.

Enough of depressing the adults, let's move on to the little ones and after the holidays when they are going to school for the first time

 The "back to school" necessities are available from suppliers like Hermanus Office National in Arum Street.

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