From December 19th, 2014:
During my last weekend in Madrid, my flatmates and I had a Christmas dinner together! It was a traditional English one with roast chicken (thank you Jamie Oliver for a fab recipe), gravy (I couldn’t not have it!), roast potatoes and the usual vegetables. For Spaniards, it is not common to celebrate Christmas with loads of decorations or music. I think that due to their devotion to catholicism, Spain has never branched out to adopt the materialistic side of Christmas. I’m sure some families had Christmas trees etc., but did not go to the lengths that we Brits go through to make our houses a flashing/glowing/colourful beacon. So I couldn’t wait to step foot in England and devour many mince pies!
I also introduced Christmas Crackers to them so we had Christmas hats. (Who wouldn’t?) We also did Secret Santa. I was given a cool calendar from the year ahead that is part of the ‘mr wonderful’ range. (It really is wonderful.) So I almost don’t want to write on it because it means it won’t be beautiful anymore! Nevertheless, I can’t wait to add my adventures to it. On the night I left we ended up getting a takeaway, as Barbara wasn’t feeling well at all. It was a lovely evening together before I left. Just so chilled. I miss them quite a lot! I’m almost expecting them to walk into my house at any point so I can chat away in Spanish, but alas, they are back in the land of Madrid.I flew home a few days earlier than planned and landed in Gatwick Airport on the 17
I flew home a few days earlier than planned and landed in Gatwick Airport on the 17th December. My first stop was my Auntie’s house in Surrey (south-west of London) and it was fabulous to see them. I felt so Christmassy when I arrived as I had had my ‘Now That’s What I Call Christmas’ album on loop and my auntie’s Christmas tree always looks awesome. After watching Home Alone for the first time ever, I crashed to bed and slept happily. The next day I had a chilled one and took their little dog (a cavalier king Charles spaniel) for a walk and we managed not to get lost! I made sure I wrapped up warm as I was finding England a little chillier than I wanted it to be at this point. In the evening Laura (cousin’s fiancé) and I had a go at making gluten free mince pies (she’s coeliac) and they were good!! (For those who would be interesting in trying, try the dovefarm recipe but add some xanthum gum and an egg yolk!) As well as Hannah (cousin) having made some normal ones aswell, seven mince pies and a showing of the Miracle on 34th Street later, I crashed into bed.
On the Friday I headed further into the London borough and went to see my godmother, Sophie, and her family. We went ice-skating at Hampton Court Palace and it was pretty fun! Of course, I was quaking in my boots (literally) as we queued up and put the skates on, but with Charlotte holding my hand for a good while, I got the hang of it! The only problem was the small kids and those plastic penguins they use to skate with so they don’t fall over! This one kid kept skating against the crowd about six times! And five out of those I swear he aimed to wipe me out. At one point an older boy, about ten years old and was a good skater, decided to be cheeky and almost knocked me over (I don’t think he was aiming for me)… When I had finally regained my balance, Charlotte and I were laughing and I was looking his way, laughing: “I’m so going to get him for that!”. At this point, he saw me, freaked, and almost fell over in fright that I was genuinely going to hunt him down. I like to smugly think that karma was on my side for that one. 😀
Following that I headed on into London and out up to Coventry. Kathy had offered up her student house to use as a place to have a massive meet up of friends from far and wide. It was so lovely of her to do so because we all had a great time! On the Saturday night everyone had takeaway fish and chips and bought some drinks and spent the evening (until 4am!) sitting in the cosy living room chatting, playing games and dancing to music. On the Sunday, after not many hours of sleep, we went to the local Wetherspoons and had a big lunch together. It was lovely. And all too soon we were heading separate ways to celebrate Christmas with our families. I cannot believe that I’m not seeing anyone until September 2015!! So much can happen, change but also stay the same. As dull as that makes life sound… Most of them will have graduated. And that’s just scary as I have another year and a half still!
From there I went to see my amazing grandparents for two days and headed back down to Surrey in preparation to fly from Heathrow on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t a difficult flight but I was quite bored as I wasn’t in the mood to watch movies. Also, I had the crappy headphones that the airlines provide so it was hard to hear the actors when the headphone is crackling in my ear constantly. The highlight of the Air Canada flight for me is the food. Not the meal, but the pretzels and ice cream you get half way through, then the yummy heated wrap you can have towards the end. I am always in food heaven when the cart appears laden with the treats! Call me crazy, but food becomes everything when you’re on a long haul flight!!
Eventually, on the 24th December, I arrived at Calgary International Airport where my parents and brother waiting for me! At that point, I was really ready for Christmas. We headed straight to a family friends house, Anne and Ken, for Christmas Eve drinks and nibbles before heading home to wait for Santa. 😉
Since Christmas, we’ve been quite busy shopping in the sales (exchanging a couple of bits etc) and before we knew it we were on the road to the mountains. First stop was at a cabin in Harvie Heights (Canmore) that belonged to more family friends and it was great! Flipping cold…. As the temperature had dropped from a measly -2° to -22° in two days. Just walking along Canmore high street was torture! The next day (the 30th) we headed further up to Sunshine Ski Resort to spend New Years there for a second year in a row. We were joined again by Anne and Ken, and their kids, Liz and Kieran. It was fantastic.
I have managed to get back on skis again. I won’t go into the long list of reasons why I was put off skiing but with the pressure of everyone asking: “Are you going to ski? You should ski.” I gave in and found myself going up on a chairlift with sticks attached to my feet. I snowploughed for the first hour. Eventually… I got it! So woohoo, no one can say: “but what happens if you have a boyfriend who loves skiing?” or “what if all your friends want to go on a skiing holiday?” 😀
New Year’s Eve was even better than last year! Somehow we were in the restaurant before six and we weren’t even hungry at that point! So we had a few drinks and listened to the live act play his music. And this live act is so cool. It’s one guy, Shane Philip, and he plays multiple instruments at once, such as the harmonica, the guitar, the drums and a didgeridoo!! (I can’t add a video but youtube him! 🙂 It’s so bonkers!) Following dinner, Liz and I headed to the bar ‘Trappers’ to join the party! It’s mostly the resort staff that go there but it was so fun. The didgeridoo guy performed as well as a DJ.
So by three am, lots and lots of dancing, we had crashed in our hotel rooms and fell asleep. Today has been a simple day. We went skiing again and have just come back from the mountains. Now to prepare me, myself and I for China. Eighteen days!!!
So all there’s left for me to say is that I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year!