Monday 24 December 2012

It's Christmas Eve!

Today I am mostly enjoying an unexpected bonus day away from work - never a bad thing.

There is cheese and champagne in the fridge (darn, I miss champagne at French prices...) and presents are nearly all wrapped. The Snowman was on television yesterday which means it is properly Christmas now. Alan will be home from work soon (don't feel too bad for him, he had a festive work breakfast this morning, and is about to have a festive work lunch!) and then the holidays can begin properly. The next few days will be a blur of visiting family and friends and trying (probably failing) not to eat all the delicious food in sight.

I love Christmas Eve - in some ways I prefer it to the day itself. The anticipation in the air, the hours spent baking festive treats; a selection of wrapped parcels under a shimmering, sparkling tree. Carols from Kings on the radio in the late afternoon, the beautifully haunting tones of Once in Royal David's City adding to the magic as night draws in. Lights, good food and carols - you can't beat it.

Merry Christmas - and a happy New Year.

Thursday 20 December 2012

2012: How was it for you?

Funnily enough, today is 20.12.2012. So, a good day for writing about... 2012, no?


New Year in Paris, under the Eiffel Tower. No official fireworks, but firecrackers everywhere. We walk back to the flat, from one side of the city to the other. It's magic.

Ring shopping, an afternoon spent playing with diamonds and designs. Excited. A secret that noone else knows.


Paris gets cold, temperatures below zero for a fortnight. Snow, but less than an inch.

We get engaged, in the sparkling cold of Place des Vosges, our favourite place for every season in Paris. Champagne for breakfast, enjoying that bubble of time where we are the only people who know what we have done. Letting everyone know - phone calls, texts and emails flying about.


Moving back to London, refamiliarising myself with the workings of our London office. Sad to leave Paris, less sad not to be working there anymore. Excitement at finally starting our life as a new family together and the journey of engagement. Spreading the happy news  further and showing off our ring.


Venue hunting. Panic, despair that we will never find somewhere suitable for hosting our wedding.

Resignation at visiting the last place on the list. Delight when we realise it's perfect. Nervously waiting to see if they still have the date we want. That moment when we realise we will be getting married on 11 May 2013. That's our date. This is really happening.


Realising there's one year to go, and being glad we don't have to wait until the following September.

Walking on Hampstead Heath in the early summer sunshine, not realising that we will have to make the most of every minute the sun is out this year.

A weekend in Devon at cookery school, a whole weekend of food and laughter.


Wedding blitz week 1. Meeting lots of people and creating a vision for our day. Being let down by people who don't turn up to appointments.

The Dress. Trying on several, picking one. I love it, but have I settled too soon?

It rains.


A quiet month, with a lovely housewarming dinner in a friend's new flat.

The Olympic Opening Ceremony. What was that about?

It rains more.


Going to the Olympics, being part of the nation's excitement. I am an expert on dressage, synchronised swimming and lord knows what else.

Going to the Proms, losing myself in an evening of Scottish-themed music and chocolate ice-cream. Inexplicably I feel like we are on a proper old-fashioned date night.

Wedding blitz week 2. Getting there, most suppliers booked.

Two weddings in a week, both lovely. One on the hottest day of the year so far.


All change at work, a new office and supervisor, different work. That feeling that I am six months from qualification.

Another lovely wedding, disappointed to be struck by cold and sore throat. City centre brunch in the sunshine the following day.

Off to the theatre to see the Mousetrap. Whodunnit? Not telling.

The Dress is here. I try it on. I am not sure I like it any more, I feel frumpy and miserable. Am I crazy?

My birthday, another year passes. A day off work and a lovely evening meal out by the side of a lake.


A weekend spent kayaking, culminating in a BCU 1* award and a capsize and rescue drill in the chilly autumn water. Paddling down the canal in the sunshine on a Sunday morning. It's bliss.

Our house goes back on the market, people come to view but nobody is taken by it. We start planning where to live next, searching houses in so many different places. Waiting.

An afternoon of wedding ring design. Annoyed that the appointment is late to start, happiness that they do not kick us out at the time they would normally close. That moment of horror when the sapphire I am holding pings out of the tweezers and onto the floor. Relief when it is found, twinkling its blue light under the table.


A lovely day of museums and afternoon tea with my old housemate, who will be my maid of honour in May. I am struck down by a headache and am inexplicably sick lots. Brightening up and going to watch fireworks together in Blackheath - thousands of upturned faces reflecting the mesmorisingly bright sparkles exploding in the night. Back to my friend's flat for warmth, wine and popcorn.

Visiting friends in Ashby, just enjoying catching up in the late autumn sunshine. Dinner in a pub with THE largest portions of food ever. The waitress mentions desserts and at least one of us turns visibly pale.

Trying on the Dress again. I have lost weight and it is far too big. But the lady shows me how it can be solved, and I am happy again.

Alan turns 30, celebrations and an excuse to spend a day making the perfect birthday cake.


That first morning when we have to scrape ice off the car.

Buying our first tree together, a real one that smells of pine and Christmas. Decorating, delighting in the baubles twinkling in the lights. Watching a series of Christmassy films and drinking ginger wine. Checking to see when The Snowman is on.

About to find out whether I will be staying at this firm come February. Nervous. It's not the end of the world if not. But nervous.