Monthly Archives: December 2009

A Very Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas tree, stockings and presents!

Our Christmas tree, stockings and presents!

Christmas was amazing!

Waking up on Christmas morning in our own place, opening presents and sharing breakfast was something we had dreamed of for almost five years. Other Half bought me an array of lovely gifts including Wii games (Just Dance, THE most fun ever!), pj’s, vouchers, loads of chocs and the biggest and best surprise of all – tickets to see Derren Brown. I leapt off the floor to hug him as I had not expected something so fantastic, he really has great taste in presents (although his ability to follow a budget is constantly challenged LOL!)

We drove 3 1/2 hours Up North for Christmas Day with my family and Other Half had a ‘shout out’ that I texted in read out on local radio, just to let him know how much I appreciate him, even the DJ said he sounded like a treasure! We ate an amazing meal cooked by my Dad, yes, he is a Chef by trade but the way he rustles up lunch for 11 still amazes me and we all worry about the day he feels too old to do this – the whole family has never known it any other way! 

We stayed overnight then drove back down on Boxing Day to spend the day with Other Half’s family – having two Christmas Days is really cool! After much swapping of pressies, great food and entertainment, we drove home and spent the whole of today relaxing, eating chocolate and cheese, watching TV in bed!

They say you have to experience bad times to know when the good times are. These three amazing days have re-affirmed to me how lucky I am to have so many people around who love me. Christmas can bring you a lot more gifts than you hoped for…

Have yourself a cheesey little Christmas…

It’s Christmas Eve and we are both at home having finished work for the year. I had a quick run around the shops for the final time and then we cleaned the flat from top to bottom so we could wallow, guilt free, during our Christmas week off together!

Cheesetastic Tea!

Cheesetastic Tea!

We both love cheese and usually only eat low-fat mozzarella and Cathedral City Lighter cheddar for 11 months, 2 weeks of the year, however, tonight we are feasting upon all our favourites including smoked Applewood, Bavarian, Five Counties, Edam and most bizarrely of all, Sticky Toffee cheese (sounds so wrong yet tastes so right!) A selection of Cornish wafers, Butter Puffs, Ritz and Light Cream Crackers (there is always that bit of the calorie watcher in me!), and our tea time treat is ready for the eating… mmm, it was worth the year-long wait!

Can someone help me with this heavy egg basket?

Hindsight is one of those things that never arrives early enough!

Last week, my hopes were raised at work that I would be here after Christmas, doing interesting web work and copywriting, with only a small bit of headbangingly boring data entry. No one could give me (and I quote) “any guarantees”, but everyone was 99% sure the budget would be found to give me a pay rise and an ongoing role. Fast forward to this week and a “sorry, but there’s no money” chat and today is my last day. Hmm, not much of a Christmas present and just to rub it in, my agency had recruited for an ongoing, better paid role LAST WEEK but didn’t ask me about it as they also thought I was employed after Christmas. Ever the optimist, I’m sure that something else will come along but the realist in me knows I have bills to pay and need to get something quick.

Note to self: stop believing everything you hear, as it’s heavy work lifting all these eggs in one basket..! 😮

Have you fallen victim to warmth over style?

Let me start by saying that I love being 34. I think I’m ageing well in the wrinkle department (thanks to my self-imposed put-a-hat-over-your-face-when-sunbathing rule), I don’t feel the need to hide behind a mask of make-up before I leave the house and, I have self-confidence gathered from all of my life experiences to date. However, it seems that no matter how much you promise not to think or say any of those things that ‘old people’ say (ie anyone over 21), it eventually occurs to you that they might actually be on to something!

For the past 6 weeks, I have had to park my car and walk half a mile to work. It was during this journey of ‘accidental exercise’ (quote from The Biggest Loser!) every morning and evening that I realised a pair of trainers would be much more comfortable to wear during the walk, despite the fact they don’t look ‘bang on trend’ with a skirt or leggings. When it’s raining and windy, it’s actually easier to pop the hood up on my coat than fiddle on with an umbrella. I started wearing black socks with a pair of ballet pumps while a blister healed but it turns out, socks keep your feet warm and stop you getting another blister! Not so long ago, I would have grimaced at the thought of comfort over style yet I seem to be slipping into this without much resistance on my part. Being warm and comfortable suddenly seems like an obviously great idea and it’s not like it was a well-kept secret – parents and grandparents have harped on for years about the benefits of wearing a coat on a Friday night out or wearing a pair of long johns under your trousers… Aaaaargh, nooooooo!

Phew, my 34-year-old, not 84-year-old self has just kicked back in..!

So what’s your guilty warmth over style secret?

The first sign of Christmas…

Starbucks Christmas cup

Starbucks Christmas cup

For some people, it’s the toy adverts in September, for others, it’s the Coca Cola Santa advert but for me, the first real sign that Christmas is on its way is when Starbucks bring out their red cups! I can’t explain why a takeaway cup brings me such Christmas cheer, but there is something about it that looks cosy and warm and makes me want to drink coffee (full marks to the Starbucks brand awareness team!) And while I enjoy my daily lunchtime coffee served in one of these marketing marvels, I have a continued nagging from the ‘save the planet from disposable cups’ part of my brain. Throw in fretting over my exorbitant Starbucks coffee spending now that I’m a flat-renting grown up, it’s a conscience alleviating solution only my wonderful Other Half could solve! To reward me for beautifully decorating our Christmas tree, he bought me a Starbucks reuseable (RED) travel beaker. I was triple chuffed about this pressie as;

  • Starbucks (RED) cup
    Funky Starbucks (RED) cup

    A portion of the selling price goes to the (RED) Aids charity

  • It saves 5 of my takeaway cups going into landfill
  • It’s 25p cheaper to have coffee in your own stylish cup!

I was hoping to find one in my Christmas stocking, but it looks like I have been a good girl this year…

So what is the one thing you see, eat or smell that reminds you Christmas is on the way?

Thank goodness for thanksgiving!

I am embracing my (non-existant) American roots and am giving thanks for thanksgiving. Because of this holiday, I was able to stop the brain melting task of googling then phoning American companies (they are all off work celebrating) which means, drum roll please, that I was given something interesting to do at work! The show I’m working on has a website in great need of an overhaul and it turns out, I’m the woman to do it! So, for the last week, I have been doing something I love and the days have just flown by. It’s a reassuring thought that I can proof read a site about a subject I had no previous knowledge of and still be able to make suggestions, rearrange sections plus add the Biscotti stamp to it – I had forgotten how good it feels to get stuck into something you enjoy! I was really thorough (as only the perfectionist in me can be) and I think the Show Manager was both surprised and pleased with the amount of work I had done. As all the changes are made by another company, I shall be reading through the updated version with my tick list and red pen at the ready!

Of course the excitement of enjoying this is tempered with the fact that my usual mind numbing work task starts again on Monday… I just hope they have seen what I can do and are planning to give me more…

Moving everything up north, down south…

Spent the weekend in County Durham loading all my worldly goods that have been stored in my parents house for the past 6 years. Although we left to get the van at 8.15 am on Saturday morning not far from home, traffic and diversions conspired against us and so we didn’t arrive up north ’til 3 pm. While Other Half went to my sisters to pick up the sofas, I had a mini freak out while surveying what needed to be packed and emptied from the loft. A frantic phone call meant an hour later my parents, sister and brother-in-law arrived and between us, got most of it done. As I had previously predicted, the transit van couldn’t take all of my stuff so another couple of car loads should fix that!

Our flat has been transformed into a home with the sofas in there and despite being surrounded with boxes, it’s amazing to be in our own space. Next step, eBay everything we can live without!

I used to be an old school car boot seller, but that does involve getting up very early and having nosey people routing about in your car! Ebay is the way to go these days I think, have you ever bought a bargain item on there for your new pad?