A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Minute Shopping

Last weekend Andy was down with a bad cold and I had crossed my fingers that I would avoid it, especially with Christmas only around the corner.  I'm not quite finished my shopping and of course there is still a bit of prep to do.  

In the middle of the night I woke up with a dry, sore throat and a slight ear ache.  Obviously my hopes were in vain.  I'm dosing myself up and hoping that it doesn't get any worse as I really want to whip through the mall today and get everything done that needs doing.  I'm not a fan of shopping for presents in this manner, as I like to take my time in picking out appropriate gifts; however, I have a few ideas and sometimes I make my best purchases this way because I have less time to be indecisive. I might not be the type to get too stressed over what needs doing or isn't going to get done but I definitely am the great procrastinator and today I just don't have time for that.

Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmastime Grooving with Mrs McAllenby

The last couple of months at work have been hectic and maybe what might be termed a bit 'trying' for most of my team;  we hadn't managed to plan a work's night out for the Christmas Season, but that was ok because the girls from work, together with Robert and Dawn came over to help us deck the tree on Friday night, which ended up being more of a stress reliever than we expected.

We started by cracking open a bottle or two of champagne and toasted the start of the Christmas season:

Then we got down to decking the tree:

After the tree was finished and I'd admired the beautiful decorations from Christmas's past, as well as the new ones I'd been given this year (my friends always bring me a new bauble to put on the tree) the Christmas tunes got a bit rowdier and before long the dance tunes were taking over.  Andy was doing an excellent job as DJ and us girls began to really get our grooves on. 

The boys just sat back and laughed watched:

Another successful party at the McAllenby's.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nothing like this could ever make sense. Ever.

This year I seemed to have found more Christmas spirit than I normally do. Friday night we had our friends over and amidst much champagne, nibbles and dancing we decked our tree; I was blissfully unaware of the tragedy that had taken place in America as my friends and I danced around the Christmas Tree while Andy and Robert sat back and laughed.

And then I woke up to the news on Saturday morning and haven't felt quite right since.  I'm so thankful that all of the children in my life are safe and accounted for, yet when my friends and colleagues are chatting about their children's Christmas concerts and the upcoming school parties I can't help but gulp back a few tears.  It's just all so wrong that 20 little children and six of their teachers have been taken from this world so cruelly.  I don't know how anyone (at least those of you who have children in your life, be they your own or not) can't be thinking about this, at least somewhere in the back of your minds. Even if like me you aren't watching the news constantly.

I'm not a mother, not in the real sense and it's times like these when I feel almost relieved that I don't have a child of my own, even though at one point I thought the grief of not having one would be the worst I could feel.

Parents probably argued with their kids on that morning, hurrying them to get dressed, or eat their breakfast.  Maybe they talked about the upcoming holidays before they kissed them goodbye that morning, fully expecting them to be there waiting at the gates come 3:00.  And now? How can any parent ever drop their child at school and not have the thought cross their mind (even if it's a year later) that something like this could happen again?

I don't know if anything will change because of this.  I don't know what can change. I do know that something changed inside of me when I heard this news, mother or not. I don't want to think of the world as a bad place because it is filled with so much good as well but at times like this it's really hard to remember that.

I wasn't sure if I should even talk about this, however I couldn't not acknowledge it.  I often read my posts from year's gone by and I think this is something that was just too important not to record.  I never want to forget how devastating this news has made me feel.  Seeing the photo on the wall of my I-phone, the one of my little niece Clara, smiling her toothy grin from under her Christmas hat, makes me want to cry because she's so innocent and perfect and thankfully, she's safe in the arms of her loving parents.  I know they will be holding her that much tighter now and especially on Christmas morning.

No matter what I'm doing, I'm constantly reminded of what happened and my heart breaks for the parents and loved ones of all those who were lost last Friday and how nothing about this Christmas is going to be merry for them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sporticus Themed Christmas Cookies

It's a good thing I'm not the type who becomes fraught at all there to do at this time of the year.  I can't believe it's the 11th of December already.  December is almost half over and Christmas Eve is only 13 days away if you didn't already know. Sorry if my pointing this out puts more pressure on those of you who get caught up in the madness.  Personally I chose to opt out of the craziness.  I have enough of that all year long to fill my own stocking thank you very much. 

I did figure that I owed you a post though, considering I haven't managed to do so yet this month.  So much for my goal of blogging more in 2012.  However, as with most of the goals I set for myself it was very hit and miss.  Bah what can I do? I am who I am. 

This past weekend I decided it was time that I found some motivation and got on with my Christmas baking.  (I'm not done my shopping yet and haven't even started on the wrapping but there's still time for all of that.)  I asked my 3 year old nephew Archie to come and be my helper and although Tasha had her gallbladder removed on Wednesday she and her boyfriend Martin wanted to come join in the work fun too. 

I thought I'd be organized and put out all the ingredients we might need: 

I wasn't exactly sure which cookies we were going to aim to get baked, however I knew we were going to start with my mother's Christmas cookies.  

What little boy (and big girl) doesn't like cutting out Christmas shapes?

We were all even decked out in proper kitchen gear. 
(although Archie wouldn't wear his little apron)

Meet the gorgeous Martin (honestly, he's just the type of lovely young man you'd chose for your daughter although I try not to tell her too much as any parent will know how that has a habit of backfiring ;)

And of course Molly was in the background keeping a close watch.  Once the cookies started churning out she quickly moved into the kitchen.

We ended up making not only the Christmas Cookies but also Mars Bar Squares, Chocolate & Coconut Squares, Cranberry & White Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cherry Balls. 

Archie is a huge fan of Sporticus so we iced his cookies blue with white snowflakes.  And of course one has to have the obligatory lick of the mixers right?  (I have about 50 cookies left to ice once I  buy more icing sugar.)

After everyone had left I managed to churn out some White & Dark Chocolate Bark before sitting down with a big old glass of wine in front of my favourite Christmas movie Elf.

I'm still not done with my baking but it was a start.  

There is lots going on in the coming weeks and I will really try to keep up with posting for those of you that are taking a moment to visit in between all your own Christmas prep. (I'm excited to tell you about the amazing tree that I picked out in record time this year.)     

After I've iced my cookies later this evening I will head over to Robert and Dawn's to watch Miracle on 34th Street (the original) which I've never seen before; I know right? I haven't seen the modern one either. 

These are really the best bits of Christmas - the baking, the movies and getting together with friends and loved ones.  I could really do without the the Retail Festival that Christmas has become but I guess you have to take the bad with the good in any situation right?