Hi! So Christmas and New Year feel like ages ago. Don't they feel like ages ago? But the fact that I'm getting around to writing this in January still counts as a win to me.
What did I do over the break? Well, not take many photographs apparently! This year I seemed to be too involved in what was going down to remember to take photos. Whoops.
While I was busy not taking photos, everyone came to London for the weekend: Linda, Tom, Alex, Steve, Heather, William and Nick. I put Nick up at mine, but mostly we imposed on the hospitality of James, Eppa and Rene. Lots of fun! Not only did Alex, William and Rene get to play together for the first time (well, Alex and Rene were learning to share toys and meanwhile William, the youngest, was sticking everything in his mouth) but they all got given matching pyjamas too. So cute! For the adults there was a massive, baked Christmas ham. Wow. Thank you, guys! That was good eating.
Then I went to visit my parents, and from there visited lots of family and friends. Plenty of good food was involved, including turkey and beef at Christmas, tiny caramel tarts as a gift from a friend one lunchtime, and a massive burger and milkshake from Byron. After all that, I returned to London for New Years' Eve and a few friends came to mine, including James, Nick, Deborah, Esha and others. We went out to a local place that had a swing band. It was an enjoyable night, but I had a cold and talking over the music made me lose my voice for the next five days. Oh well. Who cares about talking anyway? (Going back to work without being able to talk well was difficult.)
Also, cleaning! I spent the first few days of 2016 cleaning the flat (not a result of NYE, btw). I even cleaned the oven and the net-curtains! It felt so nice to start the year all fresh and new. The time not spent cleaning was spent watching the Sherlock special, "The Abominable Bride". I don't have time to write one of my normal full-on Sherlock reviews for this one, unfortunately. All I'll say, in a non-spoilery way, is that it was enjoyable for the most part. I liked the costumes and the plot twists. And it, thankfully, wasn't as much of an outlandish Victorian gothic horror as I was worried it would be. But some parts of the show could have been done better. There were issues imo. I mean, at least they tried? But they didn't try very hard.
Right then. Here's the part I remembered to take photos of. Let me give you a Christmas gift overview:
Cards cards cards. Lots of cards! More than normal, even! Now, I know lots of you folks like to get a mention on this blog, so I've got a few cards to highlight. (I loved them all btw.)
A hand-drawn Benedict Cumberbatch from Mariya! So cute! The effort that has gone into this is extraordinary. Thank you!
Another hand-made card from Steve, Heather and Baby William (I think William probably delegated most of the work to his parents on this one tbh). The middle pops out to become an ornament for the Christmas tree. It was made with their laser-cutter. Beautiful!
Nick's card is not hand-made. But he clearly spent a lot of money on it (it was too heavy to go through the post like a normal card!) so it feels cruel not to showcase it here. You can't tell in the photo but this card was a hologram. That's a 3D cat!
Now for the presents. Here's the food/kitchen stuff. I adore the bake off, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Mel and Sue's faces staring back at me. It's a recipe book from the 2014 series (but I don't think it contains the bin-gate recipe). The book came from my grandparents, as did the cute Radley mug. Some (still as yet uneaten; I'm working my way round to them) caramel chocolates from my parents, and a glut of Japanese sweets from Mariya! I haven't yet tried the Himilk chocolate yet, but the apple candy kit (the one with the bear on) was really yummy. (You can see Emmy eating the candy kit on YouTube here. As an aside: I love all her videos.)
And then there's the Super Lemon. I think the suspect English on the packaging is what drew Mariya to this one (see the lady crying "Oh! Juicy!") I thought this was amusing too, but then I tried one of the sweets and realised that the packaging is completely accurate! For the most part they're normal hard-boiled lemon sweets, but they're covered in this lemon-flavour powder that IS THE MOST SOUR THING I'VE EVER TASTED. The first one I tried dropped out of my mouth I was so shocked. My eyes were watering. But, like, not in an entirely bad way? The super sourness doesn't stay for very long, but it's certainly a memorable experience. After my first one I spent the rest of the day exclaiming "Oh! Juicy!" at random points; it felt appropriate.
Cosy things! Hot water bottle. A furry blanket that's really soft and warm; I love it to pieces. Sensible grey socks from my parents. And then socks from Mariya that sum up my thought process at any given moment: CATS! CAAATS! CATS!!!!
Computer stuff, including some wires and things that allow you to charge via a USB cable in a normal wall power-socket. Also, I asked for a new mouse and a new mousemat for Christmas because it is apparently 1996. Useful though! My old ones were about ten years old and looking it. The mousemat shows a picture of my parents' cat Heidi from last spring when she was allowed into the garden for the first time. My parents got her as a tiny kitten last Christmas. I can't believe it's been a year. She's grown so much since then!
Things that don't fit in other categories! Korean face-mask, beautiful hair-pins and evidence pouch (for me to keep secret evidence in) from Mariya. A foldaway shopping bag from my parents (useful now that it costs 5p for the disposable ones in shops). And, also from my parents, "Step Aside, Pops", the new book of comics from Kate Beaton. I love her stuff so much. History, humour and comics; what's not to like? (If she threw in some recipes too, it would be a distillation of everything I enjoy.) I read this book, cover to cover, within two days of receiving it. Yes!
Finally, I got a bit of money for Christmas, which I used to buy some new clothes. I've been quite frugal in the past few years (rent in London is crazy) and I've avoided buying clothes for the most part, so it was nice to get some money for the purpose. Two pairs of shoes from the sales. And two tops from Oasis that weren't in the sale at all (I am terrible at sale shopping because I always get distracted by the new stuff). We went into Oasis (in the House of Fraser) because we went shopping relatively late in the day and it was the only shop still open at 5pm on a bank holiday. I particularly loved the navy jumper because wearing it will make me feel like a sailor (especially with my peacoat). And I have only just realised that the colour navy is called navy because it was the colour worn by the navy. Shitting hell! (Apologies if I have been really slow on the uptake for this. Mind=Blown.)
Comment from: Nick [Visitor]
Thanks for the card shout out, bab!
Comment from: [Member]
No probs! A card that’s too expensive to go through the post deserves a shout out.
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