Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, 23 December 2011

Out of office (and a Thank You...)

My deadlines have all been met in relation too school, work, and Christmas preparations.

I have a few posts scheduled for over the Christmas period - random ones, here and there, that you might find interesting. Apart from that, we are heading to the beach.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy and safe Christmas.
I've had a brilliant year of blogging and writing.
This has largely been due to my loyal and lovely and engaged and engaging readers - and I appreciate each and every one of you, so thank you, and Happy Christmas.

I shall be back in the New Year sometime...


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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Just keep swimming...

It seems that there are all sorts of dramas going on on the internet at the moment.I am largely oblivious.
Dare I say it, I do not want to expend valuable energy on my computer screen. I'd rather spend the energy on my real world.

I am working, writing, and organising a family Christmas. I choose to be involved, truly involved, in these (perhaps superficial?) activities, preferring such simple pleasures to drama.

I have been writing Christmas cards, listening to cheesy Christmas pop songs, taking the kids to Swim and Survive lessons at the local pool, sunbathing and eating hot chips.

I have written about my love of the local pool before. We are spending all this week at the pool. Best plan ever to ensure tired but blissfully happy and sun soaked children. Lexie's hair turns blonder by the day, Olivia's freckles spread adorably across her nose, and Charlie swam 50m unassisted today and I have never seen him more proud of himself. We have played mermaids and sharks and a lot of floating like star fish and had some very very happy days, with more to come. (And more hot chips and icy poles too...)

This evening the lovely husband and I indulged in a little Christmas cheer in the form of some strong English cider whilst we wrapped Christmas pressies, all ready.

I am panicking over the size of the turkey that we need to cook, and the fact that we go on holidays the day after Boxing days o what will we do with the leftovers.

And the kids? The biggest thing they worry about? Bubble bubble breath and the colour of their swim goggles. There is wisdom in their youth.

That is all.

Hope you and yours are having a good start to Christmas?

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Are we there yet?

If I can just get through the next fortnight 10 days of Christmas concerts, cake stalls, work Christmas parties (of which there are several...just call me corporate bloody wife of the year...) I'll be out the other side.

If I can just hold on for a while longer, I get to the really good bit of Christmas.

The road trip. Her horizons are beckoning. I cannot wait.

Are we there yet?

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Monday, 12 December 2011

Chips and Christmas...

One of the many things I love about Australia at Christmas is the tradition of carols in the park.

A summers evening, nearly at the end of term, nothing else planned - so we hopped in the car to our local council presentation of carols by candlelight.

The best bits -
  • We did not have to arrive four hours early to score a park just directly next to the entrance, nor did not have to park a four hour walk away from the park
  • There was a free sausage sizzle and free coffee and free hot chocolate
  • There were dinky little fake flame torches for the kids (more stuff for free) - to save me getting all in a panic over burns from dripping wax
  • There was a top notch kids entertainment act as a warm up act to the carols. Interactive panto-esque audience participation. Let us knacker these children out before we get to the peaceful carolling.
  • The MC blokey was an absolute professional - great singing voice, generous with his jokes, good with kids.
  • Santa - he was a lovely old gent - I tend to be a little wary of the creepy looking skinny Santas with ill- fitting red coats and ill fitting beards - this one was very cuddly and trad. And the kids had a right old chinwag with him as they kept their eyes on the lolly bag loot. (Also free. I am beginning to suspect I know why we pay so much in council all goes to fund shindigs like the carols by candlelight!)
  • The lovely ladies and gents of the St Johns were all out in force - and their services were not required all night. Phew.
  • The local council helpers did a sterling job on corralling all the oldies with chairs up to the back and herding all the families with kids and picnic rugs to the front - no whinging.
  • No smoking allowed - apart from one feral, who Charlie told off. That's my boy!
  • The carols by candlelight was held at a local lacrosse club. Sports club. Club. Club bar. Club bar prices. The lovely husband was a happy man, paying only $3 for the odd bottle of Coopers Pale Ale.
  • The Australian Girls Choir - all decked out in hot pink choir outfits - sensational singing!
  • The brass band. Can I admit, quietly here (and I may need to blog about this in more depth at a later time) that brass band music brings me to instant happy tears? Totally overcome, ever single time. The lovely husband looked sideways at me the minute they started, and smiled as he passed me a tissue. I love him nearly as much as I love brass bands.
  • Carols. Christmas carols. With a songbook and everything. It was just lovely.
The very best bit? A picnic. I packed a picnic. Hard boiled egg sandwiches, cheese, fresh strawberries and fresh gingerbread. And chippies! Oh, how I adore me a big bag of chippies!

I scoffed a whole bag of Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips. They are bloody lovely. (I was sent some to try. I had been resisting temptation. At 80% less fat than normal chippies, I have no doubt they will become a regular treat.) They are TOO nice. The kids also really liked them. Which is a bit annoying - I eat chippies so rarely that I am selfish in wanting them all to myself!

Anyway, as I leaned back on the picnic rug with my beer and my chips, crying happy tears at the brass band, not fretting about the kids burning themselves, I felt supremely content. It seems Christmas is a state of mind, rather than a date. Who knew?!

If you'd like to try the Ajitas Vege Deli Rice Chips, just make sure you are following my blog and leave me a comment and tell me where you'd like to take your picnic rug? I have a months supply of these divine chippies to give away. So leave me a comment and I will use Random.Org to pick a winner this time next week. (Open to Australian residents only.)

Tell me your favoured picnic spot? And do you do carols by candlelight?

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Online Competitions

Monday, 5 December 2011


I need a million new ideas.

It's Christmas Concert Cake Stall time again.

I feel like it's only a few weeks since I was up to my neck in icing and biscuits for the sports day cake stall, and here we are again. Not only am I the cake stall lady again, but I am bloody well blogging about it again too.

This time I really need some new ideas.

I spent a happy hour or so on Pinterest last night, gathering inspiration.

But you: you my lovely readers - tell me your best cake stall advice? (Recipes MORE than welcome.)

What are the top sellers?

Do we restrict it just to cakes or branch out this year to fudge and sweets?

Do we do fancy stuff in jars? (See? I don't even know what I don't know?!)

Is chocolate everything the way to go? Or pink? Or sprinkles?

Slabs or individual?

Wrapped or unwrapped?


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Friday, 28 October 2011

The night Santa got busted...(free movie ticket giveaway!)

Yesterday I posted a snap of my seven year old self. It reminded me of a whole host of other stuff that happened when I was that age.

We were a family of seven, all living in a very small, very creaky holiday shack in the middle of winter. It was a beach house right on the coast, in a tiny seaside village in West Sussex, in England. In the middle of winter. So all glorious family beach recollections can easily be replaced with much frostier memories. No sandcastles and swimmers. More like scarves and swift sea breezes against flint grey skies. But they were happy times.

The house was a rental. (From memory we were living there because we were 'between houses' - property settlement timings were evidently a horror then as they are now!) There were three small bedrooms for seven of us. I truly cannot remember where my older siblings slept. But my younger brother and I shared a room together. We were accustomed to this. Giggling and bickering at bedtime was the norm.

The carpeted hall outside our bedroom was long and reached the back door, which in turn stretched to the beach. When the winds were strong and winter coastal gales were headed in our direction, the high tide waves would edge closer and closer to the back door, seeping in. Carpet soaked. I recall many winter nights, snuggling, falling asleep, listening to the salt water creep and lap across along the hall carpet.

The crust of salt would be felt underfoot, with the damp, the next morning, along with the hiss of the gas fire, to try and dry out the carpet and keep us toasty.

Christmas time was spent in that house. Christmas Eve came, and my younger brother and I were hysterical in our excitement and anticipation - with me at age seven, my younger brother just five. I was at 'that age' of uncertainty as to whether Santa truly existed. Hopeful, but realistic.

I tried to keep myself awake that Christmas Eve, to try and figure out the whole Santa down the chimney, crinkling stockings on the end of the bed, presents under the tree mystery. Torn between my imagination and pragmatism.

I heard the creeping up the hall carpet. Sea water or Santa? A shadowy figure at the end of the bed who, I realised, smelled sweetly of Diorissimo. My Mummy. Gently laying rustling stockings stuffed with little pressies.

I scrunched my eyes tight shut, all of a sudden wishing I was asleep and hadn't spied her. I listened again as she crept back out of our room. I pulled the quilt up around my neck, and listened again.

I heard the creeping up the hall carpet. Sea water or Santa?

When and how did you find out that Santa had an apprentice?


I have ten family movie passes to give away, to see the new Christmas Movie, Santa's Apprentice. Just make sure you are following my blog, and leave me a comment below?
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In time for Christmas, the heart-warming festive themed animation, SANTA'S APPRENTICE dashes into cinemas everywhere from November 10!

With an all-star voice cast including Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski, Delta Goodrem and Hugh Sheridan, Santa’s Apprentice follows the story of young Nicolas (voice of Jack Versace), a 7 year old Australian boy on his adventure as he struggles with the ups and downs of being the next Santa Claus. It's a big responsibility that would scare even the bravest boy – but Nicolas wants to be the best Santa ever. So he will have to learn a few lessons along the way. Christmas has a way of making even the biggest mishaps alright and thanks to his loving mentors, Santa (Shane Jacobsen) and Waldorf (Hugh Sheridan), Nicolas learns, as we all do, the true meaning of Christmas!

SANTA'S APPRENTICE takes you to a place where wishes really do come true and proves that sometimes, happy endings are only the beginning!

Distributed by Becker Film Group, SANTA'S APPRENTICE is an Australian-French Coproduction by Gaumont-Alphanim and Avrill Stark Entertainment Pty Ltd with the participation of Flying Bark Productions Pty Ltd, Gaumont, Cartoon Saloon and ORANGE CINÉMA SÉRIES. Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l’Image Animée, Bord Scannán na hÉireann / Irish Film Board.

Dashing into cinemas everywhere November 10

Open to Australian readers only. Winners drawn at random. Closes Weds 2nd November.

Winners all informed via email.

Monday, 13 December 2010

On the first day of Christmas...♫

.....I went over to Sarah's at Just Me, to do a guest part of her Twleve Days of Christmas.......

Meet me there?

Monday, 6 December 2010

HUGE day....

I have a big day on today. Huge.

Cake stall preparations. Lots of them.

Lexie has her final swimming lesson for year and a little graduation - she has progressed from Platypus to Octopus - which officially means she can swim, and thank goddess for that.

Then Lexie and I are off to enjoy a Christmas lunch with friends. We will be ladies that lunch. We shall wear frocks.

And then, this evening, it is Christmas Concert time. I shall be adjusting Santa hats, calming nerves, flogging cakes. And waiting for Charlie, and then Olivia, to be on stage for their respective turns. I cannot wait. I am excited for a bit of Jingle Bells and a rendition of Peter Combes "Merry Christmas to you and to you and to you"

And later? Maybe I shall have time to read the December AMB Blogging Carnival contibutions. Actually, there is no maybe about it. I shall go read the best of the best for December, one my day is finally done.

AMB blog carnival button
What have YOU got planned for the day?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Christmas......

This may come as a shock to some (Melissa & Sarah), but dare I tell you I am getting quite excited by the idea of Christmas this year?

Today, whilst I shop (child free) I am casting my net further afield, in order to check out Santas.

So that I can find a nice one with the appropriate beard and nice face. So that tomorrow I can take the kids after school for a Santa photo.

I have also spent time with Olivia, trimming up her costume for her Christmas concert.

And sat at the table with Lexie, making Christmas decorations.

And helped Charlie do a Christmas themed show and tell.

I'll be honest, I am not sure what's come over me?!

Normally I am bit of a Grinch. Not so this year. I am feeling quite festive and sparkly, already.

Are you excited about Christmas yet?

Or dreading it?

Which bits do you love and which bits do you hate?

Tell me? Share?

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Christmas (in July?!)


I need some help. I am a Scrooge. A Grinch. Anti-Christmas.

On one of my favourite foodie bloggers, Sandra at $120 Food Challenge, has recently posted about planning and getting organised for Christmas.

Quite frankly, as soon as someone mentions Christmas, usually around this time of year, my sphincter muscle literally clenches in panic. See? Scrooge-like.

I spent far too long in hospitality to have fond memories of Christmas. (Chaos. Busy. Crap conditions. Nasty shifts. Short staffed. Every other fecker on holidays getting boozed up. Not fun.)

The family Christmas memories of my childhood were nice, but fraught with far too much "tradition", and I suspect I absorbed a lot of my Mum's projected stressy attitude over the planning, budgeting and organising of a huge family Christmas.

So I am an utter Grinch these days, when it comes to Christmas. Hate it. Hate the build up, hate the cost, hate the organisation that is required, hate the excess, hate the over-eating opportunities, hate the family obligations.

People are forever telling me that now I have kids of my own, that I should love Christmas.

And I do kind of love Christmas through the eyes of Olivia, Charlie and Lexie. On Christmas morning, my heart swells with love and joy at how delighted they are, how excited they are, and how magical they find Christmas.

But that is only just for an hour or two on Christmas morning.

What about the prior hundreds of hours that are required to shop for pressies, to wrap them, to menu plan, to cook, to budget, to negotiate on the details?

Ick. I hate it, I really do.

I am torn this year.

Do I go all out and be an utter Grinch and declare my intention to "keep it simple"? No present purchases for anyone apart from my own kids? (Nephews and nieces, of which there are LOADS, who never ever say thank you, would go without.)

Do I dare not invite anyone, have a strict embargo on guests, to keep the production line of food shopping and  cooking at an easy to manage level?

Do I inform lovely husband that I am not "doing Christmas" this year, and let him go mad and spend a last minute fortune on Christmas tat, to make up for my rebellion?

Or do I make a huge effort?

To start getting organised now?

To ease myself into it gradually,  and really try and enjoy it?


Tell me your Christmas planning tricks?

Your Christmas budgeting methods?

How do you make Christmas for a family fun and memorable, and, well, Christmassy, without the stress?

Your Christmas shopping and cooking time savers?

Help me out here, to not be an utter Grinch or a total scrooge?! Share?