Tag Archive | celebrations

Christmastide

I love Christmas. I love the decorations, the lights, the gifts, the food, thectime off work.  

Some people seem to feel Christmas ends the day after Christmas. They can’t wait to put away their decorations as soon as possible, seemingly taking pride in boasting that all is packed away by New Year. 

I operate in reverse. We don’t put up decorations until well in December but I keep them up for the Twelve Days of Christmas. 

Of course I love the actual day too. 

First we enjoy giving and unwrapping presents in the morning. Not so early now my boys are grown up. In fact I am the one hassling everyone to get up even though we don’t go overboard and give a small number of gifts to each other. 

We always have a long and large lunch with extended family. Each family contributes to the spread. We start with lots of different nibbles. Smoked salmon and cream cheese on bread rounds. Skewers with cherry toms, basil and bocconcini. Dips, cheese and crackers. Chips. 

Main course is hot, except for the ham. Roast turkey. Roast leg of lamb. Roast beef. Baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. Peas. Condiments: gravy, mint jelly, mint sauce, cranberry jelly. 

Dessert: Christmas pud with custard and cream. And always something else. This time a chocolate mousse cake. 

There are copious quantities of alcohol consumed. (Not by me this year as I was doing 30 days alcohol free.)

Then comes the truely magical time. 

Christmastide. 

Those days between Christmas and New Year are particularly sweet. I lose track of what day it is, let alone the date. Sydney is quiet. Everyone is resting and recuperating. OK, some mad people rush out for the Boxing Day sales but the roads are quieter and the suburbs blissfully so. Nothing has to be done. Nibbling on chocolates and stollen. Feasting on leftovers, so no need to cook for days. Reading. Lazing. Playing with and admiring new “toys”.

Mr S and I got so lost in what day it was we actually went to sort out some health insurance business on a public holiday. (Luckily the day was not wasted – I bought two pairs of swimmers – a bikini and a tankini.)

Although I spent a lot of time doing little (including reading and binge-watching The West Wing), I also crammed a lot in. Here’s some highlights. 

Not strictly Christmastide, but on Christmas Eve Mr S and I went into the city for a look at the lights, a meal and to catch a band in a pub. Both the band and the food were ordinary but we fun. Here’s a massive milk crate Santa outside the Museum of Contemporary Art. Is anything more Aussie than that?


We caught up with friends with an afternoon of nibbles and drinks in a prime spot on the beach. The water was quite chilly. But that was fine as it was one of the sweltering Sydney days and the breeze off the ocean made it 10° cooler. And then we went out for dinner. (Again pub food which was pretty ordinary.)


We caught up with another group of friends at an amazing Vietnamese restaurant in a part of Sydney that is mainly Vietnamese. The food was divine and the experience was awesome. This photo shows the remains of our food. Not very appetising, sorry. 


I was so impressed that I had to take someone there straight away. So when my sister came to spend a few days with me I took her and a friend on an adventure. They were as thrilled as I was with the experience. Actually this restaurant deserves its own post!


My sister and I used a gift voucher I had for a nail salon. She got her feet done as she doesn’t think her finger nails are worthy of treatment. I got my hands done as I hate my feet. Perfect match!


Then we went to a part of Sydney Harbour  that directly faces the opening between the two heads to the Pacific Ocean. 


As you can imagine, such an ideal position was originally used as a fort for defence. 


The old barracks are now a restaurant and after our exploration we had high tea with a view over the harbour. 


On New Year’s Eve Mr S and I spent the afternoon at a small gathering at friend’s place in a beautiful part on the lower Blue Mountains. Home just as it got dark, Mr S and I went for a walk along a bush track with torches. Everything looks so different in the dark!

One warm evening, we feasted on prawns and beer. Such a summer treat. 


Mr S and I went into the city to visit our favourite museum that often has a display of interest. This time it was on Sydney buildings that have been demolished. We then had dumplings for lunch at one of our favourite food halls. 

I cannot claim to be as frugal or anti-consumerist as I would like. I did visit the shops a number of times for some “bargains”. Not all for myself, though those that were for me, while impulse buys, will be used. Older son has joined the corporate world, finally finishing his double degree. His uni garb of shorts and jeans and sloppy joes and tees really wouldn’t cut it. He needed mum’s help to pick his wardrobe. 
Believe me when I say these last 14 days have been wonderful and relaxing. While we did quite a bit, there is no need at this time of year to justify or defend slothfulness or slow pace. 

With the decorations down, as tradition demands, on the 6th, Christmastide comes to an end. Mr S is always sad that another Christmas has gone but leaving the decorations up won’t hide the fact that Christmastide is over. 

Most of Sydney has returned to work or will in the coming week. 

Luckily for me the holidays will continue. 

Where do you stand on oysters?

I love them raw. With a squeeze of lemon. 

Had them with a yummy champagne topping once but can’t remember much about it. 

Today I had a dozen with Tetusya sauce – sweet and salty flavour. 


Only problem, I eat them too quickly. 
Don’t like them mornayed. Too cheesy. And warm oysters. Yuk. 


I’m still hungry. My sister-in-law says Ai needed the cheese. She’s not hungry. And more butter on my bread. 

(The celebration continues. Having oyster  and champagne, a spot of shopping -oops bought three lipsticks – and cocktail in the city.)

A milestone birthday

I was never big on birthdays. And I never really cared if I got presents or if cards turned up late, or not at all. 

But gee, it was nice being acknowledge all on one day. Phone calls, cards, gifts, messages of good wishes. 

I turned up to work and my office has been decorated. 


A bottle of Bolly, so I can be Ab Fabing as much as I like!

Then flowers turned up at work. From Mr S, of course. 

I recycled the decorations from my office at home. Seen here with my gifts and chocolate cake. (Latter was yummy but the ugliest cake I have ever made. I hacked away burnt bits with a knife – bloody oven is not staying at right temperature which is kinda crucial for baking cakes. It gets too hot and burns them.) And then I tried decorating it when is had a couple of glasses. Still it was fun. And yummy with lashings of whipped cream. 


I had drinks and laughter and chat and music and dancing with my sons, Mr S and one son’s girlfriend. OK, I was the only one dancing. 

Adding the decorations seemed like a good idea after a couple.

Off we went to dinner with family, about 12 all up. The balloons came too.

A complimentary cocktail for the birthday girl? Why yes please. 

Dessert too? Oh, OK. (But I gave that away. I was way too full. Couldn’t even fit in birthday cake when we got home.)

Look what my sons bought me. A bath bomb and bubble bath extravaganza from Lush. That’ll keep me going over winter. 


I don’t feel 50. It’s not that I’m worried or concerned about this movement into the next decade. It’s just that life is going so quickly.  It only seems a couple of years ago that I had little children. 

I am going to try to be a better rememberer of birthdays. Cards and the like for family and friends. And preferably early, not after the date. 

Rested?

It was a mad race to the end of the year and as often happens with teachers, come then holidays my body collapsed. Hacking cough, head cold, sore throat. 

But you know, these things – the mad time line and list of tasks to be done at work and colds – pass. 

As the days went on I lost track not only of the dates but what day it was. What a lovely feeling! 

So now for some things of joy and peace and beauty and sugar and spice. 

Look what my friend who lives across the road brought me when I was in the peak of suffering from my sore throat – hit honey and lemon and a medicated lozenge with a flower to cheer me. 

  
And then we had Christmas. Hope it was good for you? We have a relative from California staying – a young twenty-something whippersnapper. It is nice having a girl in the house, someone to decorate the tree with. My theme this year was silver with the gold weeping angel (Dr Who fans, did you get one too?) that I stuck a green feather in. Why? Just because. I wrapped my gifts in pale blue with silver ribbon. All so coordinated! Except for the gifts wrapped by Mr S and my boys. They used cheap and tacky Christmas wrapping paper. 

   
 
I think I must have a stomach tumour or something as my stomach is so big. Okay.  Food and drink galore. My waist is protesting.
Don’t you love the reflection  from tinsel? 

  
Dr Who Christmas special rounded off the Christmas celebrations. (If you listen to the video of my favourite Christmas candle, you can hear Dr Who in the background.)

  
Saw the latest James Bond and was greatly influenced to make my own cocktails. Shaken. Not stirred. So needed to buy a cocktail shaker. And cocktail glasses. What the heck! Let’s get a matching gold tray. 

  
Straight into New Year celebrations. More food and drink. The weather was perfect for an evening on the verandah with nibbles and BBQ. 

Fireworks anyone? I chose the classic Sydney view. Friends with sparkling wine in front of the tele. 
 

Now I am packing for my trip south. To Tassie!!! 

I will update my challenges – boxes out, wear it out and use it up. And friends, I will drop by your blogs shortly. 

In other news I am half way through Wolf Hall and loving it. Shocked given my three failed attempts? I know I am. 
And I was doing a university fitness research project. I know. So much has happened. I should have told you. The “was” may be “am doing”. Will fill you in shortly. Off for my walk now.