Saturday, 24 December 2011

Tis the day before ....................

and we're organized!

Not 2 months ago we were in our serviced apartment, with no 'home' to call ours; our things were on the ship; Mia wasn't enrolled in school; we were yet to make friends and now, we're settled in our stunning home, schools great, we've spent some wonderful time with new friends, while keeping in touch with 'old' ones, the fridge/freezer are full to the brim, tree's finished, tables set and decorated for dinner tomorrow night.

MissM and I had such fun cutting holly together in the backyard. Simple pleasures we’ve not shared for, well, we’ve not shared. We left Sydney when she was 2.5 years old, had a backyard with timber flooring in Dublin (which was brilliant with all the rain cos you could still use it), lived in the apartment in Japan, so having a backyard is very new to us.

The holly has been positioned on the mantle pieces of the fireplaces in the hall and sitting room, while MissM placed the remaining pieces delicately in the centre of each bay window. Looks very effective!

We've been baking! As many of you know, I don't bake, or rather, I didn't bake. But my body's been overtaken by a Baking Fairy since moving into Hinton House and i can't stop! I love it! The feeling of creating something from raw ingredients and then watching loved ones enjoy it is awesome.
First attempt at a Christmas Pud

Making shortbread biscuits

Dear Friend, Esther Sheltons foolproof roulade with Japanese decorations on top

Mrs Stein's Kugelhopf recipe in Monday Morning Cooking Club cookbook

MissM’s biggest xmas/Chanukah wish this year was for people to give her money so she could be a well for a family in Cambodia.

She was so inspired by the senior students at YIS talking about this years working visit with HOPE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY that she it was the first thing she told me in the car when I picked her up.

“Mama, do you think people would give me money for Xmas so I can buy a well for a famly in Cambodia?”

Slightly surprised, I replied ‘We can ask. Why do you want to buy a well?”

And she explained in detail all the reasons.

So, we did, with thanks to Nana, Grandma and Pa, Aunty Ree and her godparents and god-siblings (MiddleH’s term from the day we told them we were pregnant ‘I’m going to have a god sister) and us, MissM is the Very Proud Giver of a well to a family in Cambodia.

Me thinks if MissM thinks this way at 7, she’s on the right track for adult hood in this crazy, materialistic world. She’s already asked to help a family in Kenya for her birthday!

Following on from MissM’s lead, we were so pleased to ‘give’ our BF’s the gift of giving a teacher to kids via World Vision. What does Oprah say about passing it on?????????????????????

Our circle of friends are in very fortunate positions of being able to buy the things they need/want so come Xmas the stress of buying the right gift, and then having to post it overseas (which can sometimes be more than the gift itself) seems wasteful on so many levels.

Giving a gift that reflects a friends personality or interests (BF’s are totally hooked on education, hence the teacher) and helps someone in need at the same time gives everyone the true feeling of what this time of year is about – regardless of religious beliefs.

It’s been said many times before, it’s a shame the goodwill and charity aren’t with us all year round, the world would be such a better place.

This afternoon we’re going to see Cinderella Panto at Theatre Royal Winchester and then go to dinner. Decided when we bought tickets this will be our Christmas Eve tradition while we are living here.

We’ve got plans with friends for Jan 20 to go to the Discovery Centre for some good ol’ fashioned British Comedy Festival. MissM-sitter (she’d decided she’s too old for a babysitter) is booked and we’re ready to start socializing!

The bread makers back! The house smell wonderful every morning with that unique aroma of fresh bread.

DH’s parents and sister bought him a fabulously fancy coffee machine for Xmas/birthday. The aroma of fresh coffee and the hiss of the milk frothing bar is awesome.

With all this going on, as well as the baking DH said I should consider opening a small cafĂ© and give guided tours of the house once I’ve researched it’s history!

It’s only fitting to haveachat now about the people who are so dear to us, yet far away. 

This time of year is always difficult to be away from Sydney (and Dublin, and Japan LOL) and friends.

Yet somehow, the 3 of us being together, and really happy again after a pretty shocking 18 months if truth be known is all the Xmas/Chanukah I need this year.

With brother, SIL and kids due tomorrow, today is all about the 3 of us taking time to giggle and cuddle, to talk of future plans, to pour over our albums, and remember the people who are important to us, who contribute to making us who we are, who love us and care about us no matter what or where we are, and knowing that with all that we are 
very lucky people indeed.

Sharing Xmas Day with brother, SIL and kids will be magical. We’ve not had family around us at this time of year for nearly 5 years, so it’s very special indeed. Can only imagine the screams of delight from MissM when they arrive,

As always, with love and friendship

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