Thursday, 27 December 2012

The girl who ate Christmas

I’m still digesting.

Christmas 2012 – Lovely Boy’s and my first together in London and I think we did it in style.
It’s been a strange experience sticking it out in London this December, when in all December’s past 

I’ve been itching to get home for a Sydney summer with the family and all but counting down the minutes until check-in at Terminal 3. That itch is still resolutely itchy but because I couldn’t scratch it this year I’ve been distracting myself with Christmas craft. And god has it felt good. I honestly wasn’t sure how I’d go, playing the long-game this winter, but really, even in confessing to a bout of tears yesterday, I’ve surprised myself at how well I’ve handled the cold and the lack of family distraction (though there’s still January, February and March to get through so plenty of time yet for a toy drop.)

We got our tree a couple of weeks ago and that gorgeous piney smell is wafting through the flat as I type. LB had a bit of a scrooge moment when we unfurled the “bushy” tree to discover it was, as promised, very, very bushy. Someone might have been a tad grumpy about the bushiness of our beautiful bushy tree and muttered more than once that it was too fucking big and totally ridiculous and blah blah blah but with some minor furniture reshuffling and the addition of some twinkling lights, even Scrooge came round in the end to its particularly spectacular presence. And the presents it came to shelter too I might add.

Liberated from work I spent a couple of days getting crafty, making decorations for the room and name cards for the table and buying flowers for my vases and Christmas gifts for my friends. And maybe a little somethin’ somethin’ for me too. My stall at Bondi market feels like so many years ago now – probably because it was – but that intense satisfaction that comes from making something from nothing according to my own aesthetic whims remains as deeply felt as ever. I sense a new years resolution coming on,,,

In lieu of family, LB and I offered to host festivities this year for several friends and a couple of weeks of email correspondence produced an impressive menu – Ottolenghi-inspired ceviche, turkey, ginger glazed ham, vegetables lovingly roasted in goose fat. I felt full just from talking about it. My contribution was meant to be the Christmas pudding and I’d even procured a recipe from LB’s mum. 

Christmas flowers
Until LB talked me out of it – too much hassle, too many ingredients, “and look – here’s one the supermarket prepared earlier!” I relented (though not without a parting dig or three) and so my contribution came down to all things sweet, frivolous and alcoholic: cocktails, decorations and a mouth-watering meringue-tinged berry-laden semi-freddo, recipe courtesy of my mum. I can’t be accused of not playing to my strengths.

LB got some of the cooking underway on Christmas Eve while I finessed the table. I’d tried to argue a case for the international dateline so that we might get to open a few presents that same night, to absolutely no avail.

Christmas morning was Skype, calls to home and a volley of gift giving. It was pretty happy. I think my favourite gift was the flat pack pet I gave LB in lieu of the real cat he’s always going on about wanting. The as-yet-unnamed kitten now has pride of place on our mantelpiece. Along with our Christmas cards. 

My spoils included a vintage diamante Trifari necklace from the 1960s and a collection of awesome woollen socks. Oh and several supersized Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s like eating a peanut butter and chocolate hamburger. Officially too much of a good thing.

Our mantlepiece featuring Tom's new kitten...
Our friends and fellow-eaters arrived at midday and we were still going strong at 5pm. Cocktails turned into white wine which turned into sparkling shiraz which turned into red wine which turned into Snowballs which turned into SingStar which, for those unfamiliar, is a particularly unflattering game of karaoke-off.

Chris left at 10, I conked out at 11, LB, Nina and Steve sang late into the night and that, friends, was our Christmas.

Yesterday we staggered about feeling bilious at the thought of food (despite managing to find a way to still eat breakfast…) and the rest of the day was spent in pajamas, in bed, watching Hart of Dixie, an appalling but strangely addictive TV show featuring the best accessorised characters I’ve ever come across. “Ooh I like her earrings”… “Oh I covet her necklace”… “Oooh I want her shoes!” Imagine that sort of highbrow commentary if you will.

Today LB is at work and I am not. Tomorrow we are off to Suffolk with some friends for five days of eating, walking, drinking and generally all things not-in-London. I’m really looking forward to it. I just hope I don’t eat too much because after heading back to work for two days we’re off to Mexico for Lovely Boy’s 40th birthday.

Let’s hope 2013 continues the way it's planned to start. 

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