Rich's parents come to stay
Yes those lovely Yorkshire folk decided to make their way down the country from the distance lands of Northland just to stay with us over New Year. I would really like to say that we treated them like royality and showed them all the sights while they were with us... but sadly no. Both Rich and myself came down with some nasty Christmas bug (an extra Christmas present from my sister Thea perhaps?) which knocked us both out during the time they were staying with us. One day I was well enough to take them to the supermarket... but that was all I could do.
Luckily on New Years eve Cara and Nick also came round as we were going to be going off as a group to see the fireworks in London. As I was pretty much confined to the bed by that point Cara and Nick took the parents out for us, while Rich tended to me back at the flat. I just about made it up in time to see the fireworks on the TV and to toast my husband a happy New Year with my hot vimto.
Oh, and the photo on the right shows one of our Christmas presents, a board game called 'Carcassonne' which we played a few times. Rich's Mum won the game in this photo - but by the time she next comes down Rich and I will have been practicing and there will be no defeat! (Mwah ha ha ha!)
After a little bit of a lie in Rich and I headed off down to leafy Kew to visit my family home. We had a tasty lunch of salads, cold meats and baked potatoes (just what we needed after all the eating that went on yesterday). We also got a good chance to play with one of my Dad's Christmas presents - a duck shoot game.
We all took it in turns - Rich who has had lots of practice on a similar game at work managed to get an unbeatable score. Dad and I got similar scores and Mum tried her best (look at how determind she looks in this photo). After another cup of tea we all played a good few games of Boggle (which Rich hadn't played before) and got quite into that. Even with a few disputes that meant checking the dictionary I still did impressively well and probably should now be crowned the queen of Boggle.
Happy Christmas everyone!
Today was our first Christmas as a married couple and also Rich's first Christmas away from his home. In preparation for this we spent some time decorating the flat, I learned how to make mulled wine and we also had a practice Christmas dinner in the hopes that the big day itself would go without a hitch.
To add a little bit of extra pressure we also decided to invite Thea, Marcus and Katie along for Christmas dinner and to stay overnight. I'm so glad that we did as it really made the day special having them round to share it with us. Katie was her usual sweet and happy self and really loved the little silver stars we had on our tree (I'll have to remember to give her some starry things for her Birthday).
Christmas dinner also went pretty well (I was only panicking a little bit) and all the food seemed to be ready roughly when we said it would. The second time round I managed to cook more food than could be eaten - so I was happier in the certain knowledge that there was plenty. Nobody complained of food poisoning either so it can't have been too bad.
When Katie managed to go to bed (she really wanted to stay up and play) we all played with our new Trivial Pursuit set and had a good laugh.
Thanks Thea, Marcus and Katie for coming, and thanks also to Rich for all my lovely presents.
Off to Portsmouth to visit my Granddad
Thea organised a trip down to visit our Granddad with myself & Rich and Alex & Kathy. This is probably the first time that us 'kids' have all made it down to visit our granddad and it was great to have the three generations (little Katie also came) all out together. Rich and I were the last to arrive and as we got there for lunch time we all rushed off to the local pub for a tasty pub lunch.
Granddad gave us all an amaryllis to plant out and set us the challenge to see who could grow the one with the most trumpets - Rich and I think that we may well win this as our amaryllis already has 3 shoots...
Mulled wine with Mum & Dad
Last day at work today - hooray! Our thoughtful managers let us have an early home time so Rich and I had a chance to get the flat looking a little more presentable for my Mum and Dad's visit. I just about got everything wrapped and looking lovely - but again it was a little last minute as one of the presents only arrived yesterday.
My mum also gave me her much admired recipe for making mulled wine and I gave it a go this evening. This version of mulled wine is called Glühwein and has a good amount of sugar in making it a much sweeter mulled wine. We all really enjoyed our glasses of this so hopefully I'll get a chance to make it again this Christmas.
Today was the long awaited (and much panicked about by me) work Christmas party - which for the second year running I foolishly decided to organise. Even though the organising of this got more than a little stressful everything did come together in the end and everyone who came had a really great time.
The theme for this years party was a James Bond type casino (hence there being James Bond theme music being played) with chocolate money being used for casino chips. We had a roulette table and two blackjack tables all run by my impeccably dressed croupiers - which included Rich looking very handsome indeed!
There were also some other games being played, like giant jenga, Wii bowling and a duck shooting game - all of which also had prizes for the best scores. After 9pm I called everyone in to cash in their gambling chips to see who had won the most... and discovered that I had! However... as I was looking after the 'house' chips I thought it best to take myself out of the running for a prize. I also scored the highest in the Giant jenga game - but again let the prize go to someone else. (Rich really doesn't need any more chocolate around the house...)
Everyone helped tidy up and we all went home with our pockets full of tons of chocolate money.
Present swap with Cara & Nick
It's been a busy mad rush week with myself and Rich trying to get all our Christmas shopping done in time to wrap it all and get it out in the post. Thankfully Rich's sister is more organised than I am and came down from Yorkshire this weekend ladened with Christmas presents for me and Rich - and we had also managed to get a small stack together for her to take back up.
Hopefully after all this Christmas panic I'll be back to my usual excitement filled lifestyle and there will be more interesting news for you to read.
Pre-christmas dinner rehearsal
To pay back Steve and Matt for the fantastic dinner that they cooked for us during the week Rich and I did a Christmas rehearsal dinner and invited Duncan along too. I thought that I had cooked simply piles of food, but even so they all managed somehow to completely clean their plates... I'm going to have to do extra on the big day I think. Rich made his fantastic chocolate brownies for dessert and we all felt very happy - but far too full by the end of the dinner.
Sadly I don't have any pictures of us all eating these huge quantities of dinner - so you'll have to make do with a photo of our lovely Christmas tree that Rich and I have put up and covered in as many decorations as we can possibly get on.
WP4 stands for Work Package 4 and is basically most of Rich's collegues and a few other usual suspects from work. Someone had the bright idea of doing a work get together where we all did some exercise for a change - and a game or two of badminton was agreed on. I have my badminton class on a Saturday usually - so I went along for that and then played for another hour and a half with Rich's work mates.
Rich had put a lot of thought and effort into coming up with teams for this event - and he cunningly put us on the same side so we managed to get a game together as a couple which we did fantastically in. However overal our team did lose - so fighting back the tears we beat up the other side and all went out for dinner.
Thai was the restaurant of choice and the happy badminton players all wandered off for a very tasty meal there, Rich and I shared a starter platter which was a feast in itself and then I followed that with a most delicious duck and cashew nut dish.
Oh yes - Rich and I are always happy to receive invitations to go round and eat all the food that our good friends are willing to cook up for us. This Wednesday evening was no exception and we graced Steve and Matt with our presence round at their flat for a very tasty dinner.
Steve spent a good few hours slaving over the hob to make us a delicious chicken pasanda curry, with a starter of popadums and some very tasty naans on the side. After we had stuffed ourselves with the delicious main course Matt brought out a fantastic apple and blackberry pie (probably in the hopes that we wouldn't be able to manage any) and we all forced ourselves to manage a slice or two.
Thanks Steve and Matt - you may cook for us again anytime!