Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas everyone!

Turkey, eggnog, Scattegories, mulled wine, Celebrity Heads, presents, 3am phone call from Sydney, bad carols and paper hats... what more could you ask for?

Merry Christmas everyone!! Hope you had a wonderful day like we did. All the best for Boxing day and New Years. Might drop a line in the next few days if I can but I'm off to France so au revoir!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Maximum: 2 degrees Celsius

Now I don't want to scare those of you who are planning your UK jaunt off - but lordy it's freezing today! If everywhere didn't look so beautiful and Christmassy, I would be complaining much more! (this explains why everyone hates January so much). There's frost about and everyone's rugged up - except people like me who have been in denial about the cold and have yet to buy gloves (it honestly hasn't been this cold yet!). It's definitely been much warmer this year than it was last year in December. Although, I think I am just climatising. This time last year I wouldn't be caught dead wearing a skirt and tights in winter (are you crazy? I would have said), and yet this year I've found myself thinking that, in the name or fashion, a dress/skirt worn with tights and heels is perfectly acceptable. Oh, how we do adapt.

Tonight I'm off to my ex-work unofficial Christmas party in Covent Garden. Yes, being made redundant doesn't mean you are not still invited to all the 'unofficial' company do's! I might try and fit in a bit of Xmas shopping before hand, but Covent Garden in all it's Chrismassy glory (complete with giant bejewelled tree) is sure to be hectic. Might just grab an eggnog or mulled wine and join the party!

ooohh, Paul just got home with our Christmas turkey. It's a £40 monster! how on earth are we going to fit that in our freezer?!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dreaming of a white Christmas

Only five days 'till Christmas and I'm learning how to cook a turkey, make mulled wine and cook for nine people with the least hassle (and least cost!). Oh the woes of a working traveller :) How on earth does my Mum do this all the time? I haven't finished my Christmas shopping yet either - I've been scared away from all the shops in London - there's a lot to be said for online shopping, especially if you live here.

The other fun thing that happened this week was that after our fabulous dinner at Fish! in Borough Market on Saturday night, four of us (including me) seem to have come down with food poisononing. Don't get me wrong - this restaurant is fantastic and the food (even the suspect oysters which I think were the culprit) was delicious. But it can be no coincidence that the four of us (out of 12 people) were the only ones who ate the oysters and have now been very ill. I haven't eaten anything for two days - oh well, I'm just looking at it as my pre-Christmas purge (I've probably lost a couple of kilos!).

The weather has gone all icy this week too - so maybe we'll get a white Christmas! (hhmm, we can only hope :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

An orphan Christmas...

Sometimes I think that I did the whole 'moving to London' thing in a bit of a daze. I moved here a year-and-a-half ago and while it wasn't exactly a spur of the moment decision, it was something that I just woke up one day and thought 'yeh, I'll do that'. The fact that I moved straight out of home across the other side of the world, barely knowing anyone, with not a lot of money and have made a completely new life in another country kinda lost its significance after a while and I don't even really think about it anymore.

But then you have those moments - moments when you do something that's so completely weird/exciting/different that it hits you. I've had many of those, but one of the weirdest was yesterday when I took myself off to buy our Christmas tree. It doesn't sound like much, buying a Christmas tree for your house. But, every year back home for as long as I can remember my Dad has gone off (most often to the fruit shop up the road) and brought back a huge beautiful pine tree which we stuck in the same room, in the same orange bucket with bricks (trying to cover them up with wrapping paper) and decorated with the same Christmas decorations which had been collecting dust all year in a tatty green suitcase in the garage. Some years Mum would buy some new decorations from Grace Bros but you could still find some hideous creations one of the four of us kids made in kindergarten lying at the bottom (and of course we would vehemently protest if Mum tried to throw them out). The year we got lights AS WELL as tinsel for our tree was a highlight of my childhood Xmases. And I will always recognise the smell of the pine which permeates every room of the house.

So this year I did have any of that. But I got the beginning of my 2nd Christmas in London with the new experience of buying my own Christmas tree - it smells different to Aussie Xmas trees, it looks different and is nowhere near as big as our family tree. And instead of sweating in the heat while we used to try and help Dad carry it up the stairs, I froze my ass off while I tried to drag it inside while a gale was blowing outside in the dark (it was 4pm). BUT, I brought it back to out little flat family with some new lights and new decorations from WHS Smith, and the four of us decorated it together and then turned off the lights to admire our handiwork and our gorgeous little tree (already with presents under it courtesy of a care package from Mum) which makes it really feel like Christmas. Maybe our Orphan Christmas won't be so sad after all :)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas is coming...

Well it's officially winter and Christmas is coming! The days are getting dark by 4.30pm but it's ok because the frosty streets are looking beautiful with Christmas decorations and twinkling lights. Despite the tacky cartoon theme, the famous Christmas lights in Regent St are gorgeous and Hamley's (famous toy store in Regent Street) especially has become a tourist attraction in itself (there are about a thousand little lights draped over the facade of the building). Every five seconds you trip over a tourist stopping to take a photo, not the best idea when the inner city streets are absolutely packed with Christmas shoppers. I have always said that us antipodeans have no idea what a crowd actually is until we come here - and it is especially true if you are brave enough to venture down Oxford Street at 6pm at this time of year. I have found myself horribly thinking mean thoughts about a) old slow people b) tourist wielding cameras c) small children d) mothers with prams; until I take a deep breath and remind myself 'it's Christmas!!!'. Good will and all that :)

Us orphans are all getting underway with our Christmas plans. I'm off to buy a tree tomorrow and now we just have to figure out how to cook a turkey for our Christmas feast at home in Putney. Some of the others have got the right idea and are heading off to warmer shores in Tunisia, while others are going to Lapland - the home of Santa (yes it does exist) You have to be creative when you know Mum won't be organising a huge family do!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just don't mention the Ashes

A couple of weeks after I arrived in the UK last year, Australia lost the Ashes to England. I was consequently forced to endure jibes from my English boyfriend, the lavish victory parade and screaming anti-Aussie headlines on all the trashy tabloids - not the best welcome to a place I was to call my home for the next couple of years. However, I have been lying in wait to get my own back and I feel revenge is near. This weekend my darling boyfriend went from arrogant and swaggering to a quivering and almost tearful heap this morning, upon hearing the news that the score stands at 2-0 and the little chalice is edging closer to it's rightful Australian home :) Unlike Paul I'm not going to get too cocky though - and am simply going to wait and see how history plays out this year. C'mon Aussie.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Spaetzle, Maultaschen and Radler (and shisha?)

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingNot content with my holiday to Morocco, last weekend Shannon and I headed off to the continent for four days in Germany, in the lovely university town of Tuebingen (where my little sister lives and studies). Now, Germany is always best known for it's beer and pretzels, ja?, but my three favourite things when I go to Germany undoubtedly deserve some kind of recognition: spaeztle, maultaschen and radler. Spaetzle and maultaschen (which literally translates to 'mouthbags'!) are delicious Schwabian German delicacies. Spaeztle are thick doughy noodles kind of like a cross between dumplings and noodles; and maultaschen are kind of like ravioli - little spiced parcels of meat wrapped in pastry. Both are delish. Radler is of course the superior German version of the dreaded 'shandy' but somehow when you drink it in Germany (and everyone does) you do not feel any of the grandma-wussy connotations you would if you shamelessly ordered a shandy at an Australian bar.
The other thing people don't expect about Germany is that the high turkish population means there are heaps of turkish bars where you can smoke the shisha with flavoured tobacco. So along with the things Ilove about Germany - indulging in castle tours (see above, a castle we visited called Hohenzollern), fabulous beer, catching up with friends, practizing my German with the friendly locals - there was a fair amount of spaetzle, maultaschen and shisha! The perfect weekend.
(For anyone interested in jetting over from London, Germanwings fly cheaply into Stuttgart from Stansted - along with the usual suspects Ryanair and Easyjet)

Shannon, Pru and the shisha pipe:
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