Or: T’is the season to be jolly, and if not jolly, then busy!
It’s that time of year again and we are on the wind down to Christmas. T and I have tag teamed over the past two weeks (where did they go?!) with social stuff – a couple of things together and a couple of things separately. We always try to make sure that Dog gets enough attention so usually if one of us is working late or out socially, the other one will cover on Dogsitting duty.
I’m not sure what it’s like in other countries as I’ve spent my adult life in England, but I reckon it all starts to cool off in December. Not seasonally, as we’ve had unseasonably warm weather! No snow! (This is a good thing; I dislike snow unless it is on a skiing holiday. Bah humbug!) I mean everyone gets really busy with Christmas parties and finishing up work for the holidays, so it’s a lot less organised at work and stuff. And everyone starts doing the social stuff.
I love Christmas. It’s a good excuse to catch up, and everyone is looking forward to the break. It’s been a tough year for a lot of us and so in a way I’ll be glad to see the back of it. But it does mean I’m another year older and no closer to having sorted stuff out with my ex, or being a mother, which is frustrating. Quite frankly now I’m not sure which is less likely as they both seem out of my reach right now! But I guess time will tell. (I really hope to look back on this next year and for things to be different!) I had several times lately where I’ve thought to myself I should be pregnant now. I would have a bump now. I’d be six months now. It’s sad thinking that.
Other than that, it’s quite nice. We had our annual trip to Disneyland Paris that I covered in my previous post. That kicks off Christmas! We had a pre Christmas party at our place which we went completely over the top for. (Do you know anyone who has a Christmas mulled wine shed in their living room? Now you do!) Before I met T, I thought I was a bit over the top with Christmas, but he puts me to shame… Even Dog has got in on the action (though mainly to turn up looking hopeful at any sniff of turkey).
It’s a time for catching up with people, which can be good and bad. Good because it’s the one time of year that people make the effort to catch up. Bad because it pretty much always includes children. I’m actually pretty good with kids. I’m used to it. I’m the good aunt, the attentive friend. But I do feel like it’s sort of painful to have to be handed a baby (because everyone always thinks you want to hold their baby) and have to think this should have been me.
Still, the weekend before last was double-baby weekend. First of all, I was summoned by my friend from uni who had a baby back in July – I hadn’t seen her for ages and I did feel like a catch up was overdue. The other thing is my friend is quite fragile (without saying too much as it’s not my story to tell, she had additional support from the NHS during her pregnancy) so I wanted to check that she was okay – even though clearly she must be as it’s been five months!
I had to get up early and hike over to the other side of London to see her. I guess them’s the breaks when you don’t have a bub. You’re always the traveler. Anyway, we had a really nice day. Her baby is gorgeous, a little girl, and was so well behaved that she barely cried or anything. Her husband works at the weekends too so I think it made me realise how difficult it is to look after a baby. She really didn’t have any time to herself at all. I mean, you have to put the baby down in a carrier or something just to go to the loo! (Of course I know these things intellectually but I don’t really know them emotionally.) I guess I just thought, you know what, I am kind of thankful about the fact that I can sleep in until almost midday like I did today (first day off work!). I guess those past 8am lie ins are gone now!
The other thing is that it brought home to me that other people have their worries as well. They find it harder financially than we do. I guess nobody can ever have it all – or maybe they can, but I don’t know anyone like that. I had a really tough few years financially after splitting up from my ex, and I’ve worked my butt off at a [nasty at times] job to get myself out of debt and to try and be more comfortable. It’s the payoff for working 18 hour days sometimes! Thankfully I’m not doing that right now but I have been really busy at work in the past few weeks, hence the lack of blogging… I finished at 1am the day before yesterday, but now I’m off until the new year – yay!
Anyway, the point I was trying to make is… I think everyone else always has something we want. I would love to have a gorgeous little baby like my friend does, but that’s not how it’s worked out. And she’d probably love to have a bit more money and fewer health problems. I can’t do anything about the health problems but at least I got to play fairy godmother as we took the baby out for a walk and she mentioned she really wanted a footmuff for the pram. She’d managed to find the pram second hand (a Bugaboo – my eyes water at the price of these things) so I really wanted to do something nice and fun for her, so sent her a footmuff through the post. (Us non parents did laugh about the word footmuff!)
The next baby weekend thing was taking my nephew to the panto. I don’t know if you get pantomimes overseas? I assume they’re a British invention but I could be wrong. Only the Brits could come up with something so odd, surely! Anyway we took another kid last year so this year we got a box at the theatre and took my brother’s family. I’ve talked about my feelings before on here – my brother is the guy who has everything – the perfect family (one boy, one girl). I spent most of my childhood feeling jealous / resentful but I think we’re grown up now. Most of the time we get on very well. He’s very thoughtless when it comes to the whole kids thing but really I don’t think he’s known a day of hardship in his life so who could blame him for thinking the world is a lovely place?
That’s Ellie on the tube. (Bagged for protection – there were air holes; don’t worry!) He arrived safely and was installed in nephew’s seat in the box in the theatre, so it was really funny. He loved it, insisted on trying to ride it and renamed him Kiki. What can you do?
I ended up being handed niece to hold so held her for ages… She was very cute. But honestly, I do have this thing where I wish people would stop handing childless people babies to hold. I feel like they are trying to convince us to want a baby, or something, and I’m already there. I don’t know. I’d probably feel miffed if I didn’t get offered the baby. They can’t win. But really, I think maybe Christmas is the time where it’s brought home to you that you don’t have one. Still, nephew had a lovely time (although the adults possibly enjoyed the panto more than he did, and were shouting out more!). And it did feel very Christmassy, although the panto itself was rather surreal. (I think wine like we had last year goes some way to making it feel less nonsensical, or maybe you just don’t care!)
The good thing about Christmas is all the fun stuff we get to go to beforehand. Plus the long holiday of which half comes free this year! I think I only had to take 4 days leave and the rest is enough for this (Christmas Eve Eve) to be my first day off work and no more until January 4! Awesome.
T and I decided we had to do some Christmas things (apart from having an entire flat full of Christmas decorations and two big trees, one of which is shedding needles all over our hall). One of the things I wanted to is catch up on all the Christmas films I’m definitely supposed to have seen. The first was It’s A Wonderful Life. We went to see it at Backyard Cinema at Winterville, which is a temporary installation in Victoria Park in London.
I didn’t take any pictures inside the cinema but it was in a big tent, and then you walk through a wardrobe with coats into a winter forest (like Narnia!). Inside we got our own sofa and popcorn. It was great! I enjoyed the film too, although I am the kind of person who questions everything so I was asking about various things about how it worked until T told me I probably wasn’t taking it in the spirit in which it was intended! Anyway, definitely recommend it if you are in London and want to do something a bit different!
Also went for a pre Christmas night out with one of my girlfriends. We had Christmas cocktails, wandered round the shops and went for funky food and bubbly. It’s definitely a good excuse just before Christmas! My friend is someone I met at work years ago, and it’s really funny as we never got on at work but we get on great outside of work. Funny how things turn out. I made her a little stocking (well it was a Michael Kors bag, but it had silly things in) as she split up with her boyfriend a while back and so didn’t have anyone to make her a stocking. Not sure how she’ll feel on Christmas Day when she gets the stupid presents! (I did put one or two good ones in there just in case.) We had a good time shooting the breeze and stalking her current love interest on social media! Ahhh girls’ nights…
Then I didn’t have much time at all, but it was one of my friend’s birthdays. We were due to go out to a meal and a comedy show and I had hardly any time to sort out a cake, so I chucked this together. It really was quite messy but effective. I usually like to have lots of time to make my cakes but once I’d baked this, I only had about a couple of hours or something to put it together! (It takes a while as you have to crumb coat it first and chill it, which I didn’t fully have time to do, and the chocolate went on a bit warm as I didn’t have time to cool it!) It is a vanilla madeira sponge cake, sandwiched together with white chocolate buttercream and black cherry compote. Covered with more buttercream (sprayed gold; why not?) and then drizzled with dark chocolate ganache, and topped with black cherries in syrup. I was quite happy with it as it was kind of what I had in mind, but I would have spent longer getting a better finish… Still, the people attending the meal enjoyed it, including me!
Oh and if anyone is into comedy, the comedian (comedienne?) was Sofie Hagen and she was awesome. I mean really awesome. I’m terrible as T is really into comedy and I’m not – I like laughing and funny stuff but I have a bad sense of humour, not the highbrow sort or the cool sort. I generally fall asleep in comedy. But she was so funny. It was the best comedy I’ve seen this year and probably the only one I haven’t fallen asleep in. High praise indeed, I think you’ll agree. Anyway, she’s very funny and clever and interesting so you should totally look her up. And if you’re in London, I think she is playing until early January.
After another busy week, last weekend we went out for our annual dinner with my BFF (who lives overseas). We have started a tradition in recent years of always meeting up before Christmas for a little dinner and exchanging presents. They always spend Christmas somewhere else far away so we have to be organised and get everything wrapped up in time!
We had Christmassy cocktails. (Do you see a theme here?) We went to a fancy hotel for Christmas lunch which felt rather decadent. The funny thing is, we had a complete misunderstanding and we had for the past two months thought the lunch was on the Sunday, not the Saturday, and we had booked a different Christmas lunch and cinema… and I only found out the night before when my BFF messaged me saying “Can’t wait to see you on Saturday!” – I almost died! Anyway, we managed to sort it out but that goes some way to explaining the vast amount of food on that day! Here are some pics…
After a short break at home with Dog, we then popped off to the Elf Quote-a-long… Another of those Christmas films I’ve never seen! (Don’t worry, I have seen Love Actually… I love Love Actually!) I wore my Christmas jumper and they showed the main quotes on screen so I could join in!
This was so funny. Although people did keep shouting “Santa!” – but what do you expect from a quote-a-long? I’m definitely adding this one to the Christmas films list. (Funny though… I mean, it’s about adoption. It’s not really clear if he stays with his adoptive family or goes back to his first family… Like I said, I tend to overthink these things. But apart from that – funny. I wonder what the adoption activists make of it… Steps away from Google!)
Another big wheel in Leicester Square. And the fastest carousel I’ve ever seen! Think the operator might have been a bit squiffy but it would not have been a relaxing ride! We also went to m&ms world which I love, but tried to steer T away from the personalised ones as I’d already ordered some for his Christmas presents. Usually I’d be the first to insist we go and get some of our own!
And another dinner! It was a full day of eating, but we managed to cram it in! This one was in a kind of speakeasy type place, in the way that it’s a secret door and you have to knock and be let in and its’ down in the basement. It was fun although T has been sort of sick this week and that was the day he was not feeling well, so we didn’t really get to enjoy it as much as usual. He’s had a fever and headaches (man flu?) this week, so I’m hoping he’s well again for Christmas. (Being a typical man, he refuses to go to the doctor!) Still, it was a nice meal and fun to go out on a date night!
Finally for this catch up post… Some Christmas truffles I made. They are purposely a bit misshapen (or that’s what I’m telling myself!) as I’ve done them almost perfect before, but then people think you’ve bought them! That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!
Now I need to get on with tidying the house and wrapping presents… T is out and it’s the only chance I’ll have to sort his. The folks are coming round tomorrow. Which is exciting. But slightly worrying as the flat is still a mess!
I also have some exciting news on the IVF front! We are going to be starting earlier than expected, probably the end of January! I’ll do a proper IVF update soon but thought I’d drop that news – we just found out this week, which was the best Christmas present. Maybe they were trying to manage our expectations with the 4 month thing. Either way, it’s a nice thought that we should be starting after my next cycle… It depends when my next period comes, but as long as it comes when expected in January, I’ll start down regulation at the end of January and have my baseline scan mid Feb.
Right now I am going to concentrate on enjoying Christmas. I’ve got hardly anything done today because every time I move, I have to go and cuddle Dog! Poor Dog! He’s currently snoring on the sofa next to me.
And if we don’t talk before Christmas… Merry Christmas! I hope 2016 is the year for all of us! X