Hellooo everyone,

I ask the question, can the imperfect family really have the perfect Christmas? Well I have this idyllic idea of a family Christmas. The whole of the Matthews clan would meet in a remote chocolate-box cottage by the sea. Log fires would be roaring and the table would be groaning with a Dickensian Christmas spread of plenty lit by candlelight.

The days would be bright and sunny, but there’d be a sprinkling of snow on the hills – just enough to make it picture perfect, not stop us getting in and out of the track that leads to the cottage. We’d spend the days enjoying each other’s company in festive jollity. There’d be long walks on the beach followed by frothing hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows. We’d do jigsaws together, play board games to the ring of laughter, and no one would bicker over the remote control because there’d be no television.

In reality, if I want a family Christmas, then it involves spending most of December on the M1, M6 and M25. Like a lot of people, my relatives are spread far and wide across the country. The annual pilgrimage to deliver Christmas presents must, by necessity, be started early. To see some of the farthest flung, I’d need to get on a plane.

So come the beginning of December, you’ll find me loading up the car with a cool box and a range of Christmas fayre from the supermarket ready to embark on the first of our many countrywide Christmas dinners. No doubt we’ll arrive harried, swearing at the traffic and vowing not to do it again next year, but as soon as that Kelly Bronze turkey hits the table all the strife will be forgotten.

By Christmas Day itself I’ll probably be all turkeyed out and opt for roasting a leg of lamb.  We won’t be with family this year but will be celebrating with a few close friends. But the joy of Skype means that we can still send our love to all corners of the globe.  I think that’s the thing about Christmas – it’s more to do with a joy in your heart rather than where you spend it.

Lots of love, Carole xxx

 To celebrate the publication of the gorgeous seasonal novel With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews we’re giving you the chance to ‘Win Christmas’ with £500 of Tesco vouchers!

To enter simply tell us in the comments section below where you like to spend Christmas!

Buy With Love at Christmas online and in store now for just £3.86!

Terms & Conditions

1. This competition is for ONE winner to receive the first prize – which is £500 of Tesco vouchers.

2. The Winner will be selected at random from the correct entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions by Tesco whose decision will be final.

3. The Winner may see their entry posted on the Little, Brown, Tesco websites and possibly other websites and Twitter accounts.

4. There is no purchase necessary to enter.

5. The competition opens at 12pm Midday BST on 9th November 2012 and closes at 11.59  on Friday 7th December 2012. Any entries received outside these specified times and dates will not be eligible for entry into the competition.

6. The competition is open to any UK residents aged 18 or over except employees of Little, Brown Book Group, Tesco or their families, or anyone professionally connected to the competition either themselves or through their families.

7. Only one entry per person allowed. Second or subsequent entries will be disqualified. Entries will not be accepted via agents, third parties or in bulk.

8. Little, Brown Book Group is not responsible for contacting or forwarding prizes to entrants who provide unclear or incomplete information or for entries lost, misdirected, delayed or destroyed.

9. Little, Brown Book Group reserves the right to alter the prizes or cancel the competition without notice.  No cash alternatives to prizes will be provided.

10. The Winner will be published on the Tesco Books Blog on within 5 working days of the closing date.

11. Little, Brown Book Group will only use email addresses of the entrants, and the Winners’ postal addresses, in compliance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with our privacy policy. The emails from the entrants, and from the Winner with their postal addresses (including any other record of the address), will be deleted respectively after the end on the competition and after the prize has been posted.

12. By entering the competition each entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.

13. This competition is being organised by Little, Brown Book Group.