Festive Season

My grand plans to work out from December 14 to Jan 19 got sidetracked big time by the holidays. I was doing pretty well until my Christmas day out on the 22nd, and then the next two weeks were full of food, drinks, celebrations and sleeping in. With 10 days to go until we depart and no work I have been spending all my time with Jillian. Two weeks isn’t much to lose some weight but right now I just need to tone up and keep active in preparation for all the food I’m going to eat in California. Sushi, burritos, In’n’Out, French dip, frozen yogurt, tostadas, tri-tip, ribs, burgers, ah, I can’t wait!

Christmas and New Year’s were both spent in Danny’s hometown with family. We woke up on Christmas morning in our own flat and enjoyed opening a few presents, an Eggs Benedict breakfast and a viewing of Gone With the Wind with mimosas.

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I got Danny a kettlebell for Christmas which was a workout in itself to drag into the flat and wrap. It was delivered to our door but I had to hide it in our closet myself and then wrangle with wrapping 18kgs! We stuck to a budget because of our upcoming trip so this was his main present with a couple of little things. I put a couple of ideas on to my Pinterest wishlist and ended up getting my two favorites.

I have a cover for my iPad but since I’ll be taking it on my upcoming trip I needed a case as well. I also got some lovely Lush bath bombs and Marc Jacobs’ Daisy fragrance set.

After getting ready we drove over to Danny’s mom’s and then took a taxi to his brother’s house for our dinner. I was in charges of the starters and made stuffed mushrooms, crab crostini, herb foccacia with Italian cured meats and orange jello shots in orange slices. We had a great big meal of traditional turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes, veg, etc. To finish we had Christmas cake and then on to the karaoke! At around 11 or so, Danny’s other brother invited us all over to his house and we continued the party there with more singing and dancing. We had such a good time we didn’t get back home until 5:30 in the morning.

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Surrounded by my favorite things - wine and cheese.

Surrounded by my favorite things – wine and cheese.


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The end of the night, most likely.

The end of the night, most likely.

New Year’s was more of the same. Drink, dance and some yummy food at Danny’s mom’s house. I got to participate in the Scottish tradition of First Foot. I got sent out at 11:57pm and ‘invited’ in shortly after midnight, bringing with me Scotch eggs and a glass of champagne.

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It was nice to have a low-key NYE. In years past we’ve thrown parties or gone out in the town, but with a need to save money and family to spend time with, staying in was an easy choice this year.

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Goodbye 2012

2012 has been a great year. I started and ended 2012 without a job but this was also the year that I learned to not depend on work so much. I had a job that paid the bills, allowed me to enjoy time outside of work and I kept my friends from my previous role. The best of both worlds! Danny and I also had the chance to travel loads, book a trip back home, get new jobs and get really fit (Danny).

I started this blog in January but had sporadic posts during the first half of the year. Thought I would take a chance to focus on the (iPhone) highlights of 2012 and I look forward to continuing this in 2013 with more pictures and more posts!

January

1. Steak dinner at Grill on the Corner for Danny's birthday. 2. Birthday boy 3. Flowers from my colleagues after I got laid off 4. Did a lot of cooking in Jan, including cemitas

1. Steak dinner at Grill on the Corner for Danny’s birthday. 2. Birthday boy 3. Flowers from my colleagues after I got laid off 4. Homemade cemitas for dinner

February

1. Light dinner at The Bungo 2. A stop on our neighborhood pub crawl 3. Passed my Life in the UK test and sent away my ILR application 4. My local library

1. Light dinner at The Bungo 2. A stop on our neighborhood pub crawl 3. Passed my Life in the UK test and sent away my ILR application 4. My local library

March

1. 40th anniversary party for Danny's aunt and uncle 2. Mother's Day diner at Guidi's 3. Got Fernando a leash and he hated it 4. Day out at the races with some friends

1. 40th anniversary party for Danny’s aunt and uncle 2. Mother’s Day dinner at Guidi’s 3. Got Fernando a leash and he hated it 4. Day out at the races with some friends

April

1. Looked after Lucy 2. Easter dinner in Londonderry after a day of driving through N.Ireland 3. Night out at the Garage 4. Homemade burgers and chips

1. Looked after Lucy 2. Easter dinner in Londonderry after a day of driving through N.Ireland 3. Night out at the Garage 4. Homemade burgers and chips

May

 1. Spent the night at a castle for my 26th birthday 2. Tequila shot sampler for Cinco de Mayo 3. View from our castle room 4. Finally got my ILR 5. Sangria tour in town for my birthday 6. Beer garden for the amazing weather we had the last weekend in May

1. Spent the night at a castle for my 26th birthday 2. Tequila shot sampler for Cinco de Mayo 3. View from our castle room 4. Finally got my ILR 5. Sangria tour in town for my birthday 6. Beer garden for the amazing weather we had the last weekend in May

June

1. Rome 2. Ate Italian food for most of June 3. Sunset at 11 pm on the solstice 4. Had to evacuate the airport due to a fire drill

1. Rome 2. Ate Italian food for most of June 3. Sunset at 11 pm on the solstice 4. Had to evacuate the airport due to a fire drill

July

1. Orange walk 2. Olympic women's football match 3. Tried the new Brazilian steakhouse 4. Betting on the final game of the Euros

1. Orange walk 2. Olympic women’s football match 3. Tried the new Brazilian steakhouse 4. Betting on the final game of the Euros

August

1. Our B&B in Spain 2. Sangria in Seville 3. About to leave for Portugal 4. The beach in Nerja

1. Our B&B in Spain 2. Sangria in Seville 3. About to leave for Portugal 4. The beach in Nerja

September

1. Sunday roast 2. Drinks at T.G.I. Friday's 3. Library books 4. Homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza

1. Sunday roast 2. Drinks at T.G.I. Friday’s 3. Library books 4. Homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza

October

1. 3rd wedding anniversary flowers and cards 2. Beef bourguignon 3. Looked after Lucy again 4. Alumni reunion drinks

1. 3rd wedding anniversary flowers and cards 2. Beef bourguignon 3. Looked after Lucy again 4. Alumni reunion drinks

November

1. Thanksgiving dinner 2. Poppadoms and dipping sauces at Dakhin 3. First snowfall of the season 4. Lentil soup prep

1. Thanksgiving dinner 2. Poppadoms and dipping sauces at Dakhin 3. First snowfall of the season 4. Lentil soup prep

December

1. Christmas Eve 2. Family night out at the Christmas fair in Glasgow 3. Christmas day 4. NYE's curry

1. Christmas Eve 2. Family night out at Christmas fair in Glasgow 3. Christmas day 4. NYE’s curry

12 Days of Christmas and counting…

Since we’re going for a visit back home in January, Danny and I have set a strict budget for our Christmas gifts to each other. We want a little something to open up on Xmas day but both know our real present is California. However, I’m still getting fully into the run-up to the holiday and the Christmas spirit. I love the festive season in Glasgow.

On Saturday Danny and I finished up Christmas shopping for the kids. This meant lots of boring toy shopping but I did have some fun picking out my teenage niece’s gift. I know nothing about Moshi Monsters and the newest Legos but I do know Topshop, New Look and Miss Selfridge. Usually I don’t like New Look’s jewelry but I found a pretty cool necklace for my niece in there and dropped major hints to Danny about another. When I got up to the till, the cashier told me it was BOGOF on all jewelry and so I rushed to grab my free present to myself.

burgundy bubble necklace

Yes it’s a direct copy of the wildly popular J.Crew bubble necklace. Although I’m about a year behind in this trend, it doesn’t matter in Glasgow! The J.Crew look isn’t very popular over here. There’s no J.Crew stores obviously, so the whole J.Crew/Jenna Lyons aesthetic never caught on. Glaswegians wouldn’t bother with understated glamour anyway. They just do full-on glamour.

Sunday was another day for wintery things. The local activity centre reopened in Danny’s home town so we took his niece ice skating.

skating rink

I had planned on going skating too but got there and realize the rink was way overcrowded. I can barely skate on my own so I sat this one out and got a latte in the swim center’s cafe. It was humid, 80 degrees and smelled like summer. I could have spent the entire day there.

To end the weekend I wrapped presents while watching Elf and The X Factor final. I’ve been here for three finals now and it’s almost becoming a new tradition. Shameful, but true! It’s just part of the British Christmas.

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Freezing in Glasgow

Winter is here. We had a light snowfall on Sunday night and the general ice/slush has stuck around. It’s also FREEZING. Even with the high duty central heating at work, I’m wearing boots and wool or cashmere sweaters all day long. It’s so cold I need to upgrade my tights. It’s so cold I’m wearing slippers around the house. It’s so cold that not even my 100% goose down duvet is keeping me warm at night. It’s so cold, etc, etc.

I don’t know if this winter is colder than the last couple or if I just can’t hack it anymore. Last year around this time I had already got my winter sun in from the November trip, but this time I have a bit longer to wait. However, anticipation doesn’t keep you warm and there’s no guarantee of good weather in January, even in California. I could pine for sunny skies and warm temps but end up with a typical SoCal January rainstorm.

Everyone else complains about the weather as well but I suppose you get used to it or are used to it if you’re born here. I was delighted by the snow when I first got here but that delight turned to annoyance once I had to get out and get to work. Train delays, wet shoes, cold nose, bad traffic, nightfall at 3:30. Not really what I imagined when I dreamed of a white Christmas or a proper winter season.

The upsides are the warm winter delights that I can finally truly enjoy in a cold climate.

I might have had Nutcracker Spice tea in California but coming in from the freezing rain (and yes this is an actual thing, not just really cold rain or snow) and making a cup never tasted so good.

Wearing boots to work.

I get to turn on our Christmas lights at 3:00 and enjoy them all evening.

Snow days! Although yesterday I told my manager that I could walk into work if needed so I have struck down any chance of a snow day for myself.

Mulled wine is the ultimate winter warmer.

I still like to watch snow fall. When it sticks and turns to ice? That’s the annoying bit that I understand now.

Christmas! After spending 20 plus years in sunny California for the holiday, a white Christmas feels really special.