Merry Christmas to all

Well most of you will be in to Boxing Day by now as I write this. We did something a bit different this year and went for a night at the Royal Marriott Hotel. Stunning!

What a great night of fine dining, chatting with family and friends via Skype, sitting in the coffee lounge, followed by a luxurious sleep and a wonderful breakfast. Loved every minute of it. A.L and Shehan, hope you guys are having a great time in NZ.

Then to top it off as we were waiting to go home we received a call from our mate Kerryn in Australia. You may remember Kerryn from our adventurous travels to England through France with her. So cool to hear your voice and look forward to catching up with you again in future.

Well, Merry Christmas to you all and we hope you had a great time celebrating this special birthday.

Fire in the night

Finally I was all warm and toasty for a change. Off in a lovely deep sleep when the next thing I know hubbie is wide awake and peering out the window. As all I have on the brain at the moment is the hope of snow I thought the time had finally come. We have had continuous days of temps that haven’t gone above 0 and in particular Thursday saw many a car that was still covered in ice, ice covered gardens and even iced over ponds.

However, it was not meant to be. Outside our place were 4 fire trucks, lights blazing, fighting a house fire 2 doors down from us. I don’t know what was more scary. The fact that we didn’t even hear these trucks pull up in the first place or that the smell of smoke did not wake us up. Then again, that’s why so many home fires are fatal without an alarm as smoke inhalation is the majority cause of death in house fires. Thankfully we do have an incredible alarm system in our place and it was only faint wiffs of smoke so not enough to raise the alarm.

Then this morning the police were out in force door knocking to see if anyone heard anything. We obviously were not much assistance. However, I did glean from them that it was most likely not arson (which is a relief as we have 2 empty buildings either side of us) and unfortunately someone was inside at the time and was injured. Thankfully it appears that the injuries were not too severe.

As I was half expecting a fireman to knock on the door to order an evacuation a number of things went through my mind. The first obviously a prayer for safety for the firecrew and anyone inside the house, secondly where our warmest clothes were as it would be freezing outside and third what must be taken with us regardless of time given to move. Living in such a digital age it was the laptop as this is our link to everything and everyone we know and next any important papers for identity purposes as they are a vital requirement to get anything done in this country. Finally, the fact that we really should take out insurance as replacing things like passports can get really costly. We don’t have a lot which is great and quite liberating but the few links we have to home are vital. Anyway all worked out well.

Movie: The Golden Compass

Starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and a host of newbies The Golden Compass is taken from the Phillip Pullman “Dark Materials” trilogy of fantasy fiction novels. These are “kidult” books that follow the journey of two young childen, Lyra and Will as they make their way through parallel universes as various adventures meet them.

Although the story line was interesting and the graphics, costumes and music were wonderful I still found myself getting a bit bored halfway through. I think this is possibly the “Lord of the Rings” effect on me. This is where the names are quite difficult to understand without having seen them in written form as well as being so many of the characters that I get bored trying to follow who was who. I think reading the book before hand might save me a bit of time.

In the first opening scenes there is a round building with a great dome on top. This is in Oxford and if you read my Oxford post you may well recognise it as the building through the church glass window.

5 out of 10.

Plunder the Pyramids

Friday night was the hubbies work Christmas party entitiled Plunder the Pyramid. Located out at Ashton Court it is a large venue that caters to all types of groups. We were just one company amoung many which added to the festive mood. With an Egyptian style setting including belly dancers it was an interesting night. Everyone was dressed quite formally so that is always good to see people go to some effort to look great. During dinner a show was performed with a bit of fire dancing thrown in.

Afterward the “fun fair” opened and you could either have a boogie on the dance floor, go on the dodgems, have a game of Blackjack or Roulette, try your luck on the strength machine or throwing the rings to win a prize. Not a bad night out all in all.

Let the festivities begin

At a chilly 4 degrees today and everyone starting to depart for Christmas holidays it seemed a good opportunity to stay home and bake. As Shaz will remember from last Christmas it is time for the Christmas cakes to be baked.

However, with little (actually) NO baking implements, ingredients or tins I did have to do a quick shop. Having powered my way through the trolleys, granny bags, sniffling children and a ridiculous number of Tesco staff in the aisles I made it home with the ingredients minus the brandy essence! Oh well, who needs fake booze in a Christmas cake anyway.

My nana provided this recipe to me a couple of years ago, which I believe actually comes from a lady Aunty Marge knows…..anyhow, it is easy peasy and tastes fabulous even if you will be working it off over the next year.

I love making these and dressing them up in lieu of a purchased present. So here they are and how they turned out wrapped up. Not my best work but not bad with the limited resources here.

Smells I love

Hmmmm, interesting post for today but I have been thinking recently about how smell is so important. It provides an incredible trigger for our memories, happy or otherwise. So for today the smells that I love: (in no particular order)

1) The first cup of coffee for the morning brought to me in a nice toasty warm bed by my gorgeous husband

2) The lingering smell of chlorine on my skin after my much adored swimming

3) The perfumed smell of the “Lady of the night” plant we had outside our place in Sydney, its flowers open at night

4) The smell of jasmine flowers mixed in with the heat of a summers day

5) Ozone which precedes a summer storm

6) Fresh bread baking as you walk along the streets of Paris in the early morning

7) Lambs fry being lovingly made by my nana or my mum – who by the way make the best lambs fry & bacon!

8) My husband

9) The musty smell of books

10) Freshly mowed grass

Tomorrow – smells I dislike. What would be on your list?


I have a very wise husband. When packing our bags for the UK I figured that as we were going into a UK Summer what would be the point of heavy jumpers. Especially as I would have to be lugging them in my pack all over France. Thankfully my husband instilled good sense into my thinking and I only brought 3 t-shirts along with me, as well as 1 pair of thermal pants, 1 thermal top, 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of trackies, 3 long sleeved tops, 1 Drizabone, 1 funky pair of Winnie the Pooh PJ’s (the NZ touring group will remember those beauties), 1 other night shirt and the obligatory under garments of course. Add to this 1 suit (shirt, skirt and jacket), 1 summer skirt and 2 pairs of shoes, hat, gloves and scarf and 1 pair of togs (swimmers for all the Aussies). Not sure where I thought I would be swimming but they did get used in Provence (although the water was freezing no matter how much I tried to imagine it wasn’t). After 10 years in Australia this is what my whole wardrobe was whittled down to. Can I tell you now that I am pretty sick to death of the above garments!

However, back to my wise husband. The English summer was very shortlived and would not really even rate, temperature wise, as a summer. Now, as I sit here next to the radiator trying to thaw out my hands and nose, I am thankful for the thermals and the long sleeved shirts. The only time I wear the t-shirts are for working out and even then that is indoors as it is far too cold.

Just a little insight to my muddled brain and the random thoughts for today. Ka kite ano!