Happy Christmas

Father Christmas came to the little flat in Chalk Farm, ate a mince pie in the kitchen and has handwriting which looks a lot like Letad’s!

After lunch in Croydon with some of my favourite people yesterday, going to an incredibly moving Midnight Mass in Primrose Hill last night where I confess, tears were shed and waking up and having champagne for breakfast with the love of my life, it’s been a fantastic Christmas so far.

From Skype with my lovely parents, ringing my sister who had finished Christmas at 11:30am, and an email from my brother. messages on Facebook and the rest of the day to be spent with Letad’s family. It’s a day of love and friendship, my perfect idea of Christmas.

I’m thinking of all my dearest friends, in California, in Mexico, in Australia, in the UK and everywhere else I have people I care about.

Happy Christmas Everyone!

Making Pies

Having rashly offered to take mince pies along on Christmas Day, I’ve been spending an evening at home baking. 

Pies galore!

Thirty six mince pies later, I’m almost finished and I’m pleased to say that the results are pretty good. It must be said that I’m a Northerner and I strongly suspect that making pastry is in the blood. I’ve now decided to take some mince pies along to a Christmas Eve gathering as it’s pies galore here and to be honest I don’t think I can eat any more!

Tonight while I’ve been rolling out pastry, I’ve had a chance to reflect on the year past.

For the past few years I’ve written the Accomplishment List. At the end of each year I write down what I’ve accomplished that year, and I write the Accomplishment List for the coming year. In December 2011 my list for 2012 looked somewhat like this…

• Move to UK and rent short term flat
• Establish new career in UK/Europe
• Meet and fall in love with, a new man
• Consider getting a dog
• Financial goal – flexible while transitioning. Aim for £65,000
• Saving/spending – live sensibly while getting established
• Lose weight
• Get eating/diet back on track
• Exercise
• Maintain positive outlook
• Maintain old friends
• Develop and expand new friendships
• Qualify for mortgage
• Continue to learn french

With the exception of getting a dog and qualifying for a mortgage, I’ve done everything I set out to do this year.

I’m now busy writing my Accomplishment List for 2013 and on New Year’s Eve will spend some time reflecting on the year past and the year to come.

In the meantime, mince pie anyone?

The End of the World

I’d forgotten it’s the end of the world on Friday which makes Christmas shopping, work and living in general fairly pointless.

If the world does end on Friday (which I strongly suspect it won’t) I’m so pleased that I’ve had the year I’ve had.

From leaving LA to landing in London, meeting Letad and getting engaged, having a fabulous summer in France and getting a new job. It’s been exciting, challenging and fantastic.

If we survive, 2013 is looking even better.

Fingers crossed for Saturday…

Driving Miss Daisy

After hoofing it back and forth on the tube for the past two weeks, catching germs, the extreme cold of death and feeling like a drone, I have discovered a miracle… the free company shuttle bus!

It turns out there is a company shuttle bus which runs between the two buildings of the company I now work for. And as luck would have it, it’s quite near the little flat in Chalk Farm. 

It’s a ten minute walk so shoes have to be taken into consideration but it’s free, it’s comfortable, I can get a seat and it doesn’t involve shoving anyone. It runs every half an hour from 9am to 7pm. How perfect is that?

And so last night I sat back in comfort and was chauffeur-driven almost home. Bliss.

If I plan my days right I can be driven to and from work. It’s almost like having a personal driver and could save me almost £30 a week in tube fare. 

The most exciting part? No germs!

The Cold War

After suffering with the cold of extreme death for the past week, Letad and I have started the cold war. 

I seem to have recovered slightly although am left with a moderately annoying barking cough. I say moderately annoying as Letad has been moderately annoyed by being kept awake at night listening to me bark while I seem able to cough in my sleep. 

This week I’m feeling a million times better and think I may live however we’ll wait and see if Letad passes the cold of extreme death back to me over the Christmas holidays.

Cough cough!

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Saturday morning and with Christmas just around the corner, Letad and I set off into central London to go Christmas shopping. Big mistake!

At first we wandered around like deer in headlights. It was overwhelming. Then we focused, headed to Regents Street and hit Hamley’s, one of the biggest toy shops in the world. 

It was an absolute nightmare. Packed full of pre Christmas shoppers and lots of small excited children, we ended up in the Lego shop on the fifth floor. 

It was very hot, the ceilings were low, the decisions so hard. Which box? Roads, jumbo bucket, vehicles, railway tracks. Endless options and prices. After a very near meltdown and sweating profusely the decisions were made and we staggered down five flights of stairs, bags in hand and fell into the thronging crowds outside. 

Several shops later we had a sit down and a restoring hot chocolate while we gathered our breath and then set off for Selfridges. We dashed across Oxford Street and elbowed our way through hundreds of people all frantically shoving their way closer to Christmas.  

Mayhem and chaos. We made the mistake of going to the Selfridges food hall where we shuffled like cattle on their reluctant way to slaughter. 

Eventually we emerged on to the street beyond where we declared Christmas shopping was done and we deserved a glass of something bubbly and fun to recover from the ordeal.

Luckily Christmas shopping comes just once a year.

Living on Soup

It seems that I’m now living on soup. 

Soup for lunch, soup for dinner, soup, soup, soup and soup. It’s lucky I love soup as this is taking soup to a whole new level and makes the days of living on lentils look fairly luxurious. 

I’m now approaching the end of my first week as a London commuter and I’m going to admit, it’s been a hard week. I’m not used to getting the tube in rush hour (push, shove, elbow), I’m not used to the cold (cough, sneeze, brrr) and I’m facing challenges I’ve never faced before… 

As I battled down to the tube station this evening, an enthusiastic bagpiper honked out some Christmas carols. Somehow the bagpipes didn’t quite capture the festive spirit and there was a distinct lack of appreciation among the tired commuters.

I nodded in his direction, appreciated the kilt and full regalia, then shoved my way on to the tube and came home to eat soup and do some coughing.

Despite this week’s challenges, I’m in good spirits and am excited as Letad is coming here this weekend.


The London Commuter

After spending months skipping through Regent’s Park in a bubble of happiness, or even better, living in the south of France in the smug bubble, reality has hit and I’m now a London commuter.

I’ll be honest, it’s been a bit of a shock. Hundreds of people crowd on to the tube, pushing and shoving in order to get to and from work. Forget personal space and crowd issues, this is cattle class at its worst as we’re shoved in nose to tail trying desperately to avoid eye contact.

It’s now winter in London and it’s suddenly very cold. The long bright days of summer are over and the days are short. Everyone seems to have a cold and being packed into a tiny sardine can, the germs spread like wildfire and so inevitably I have a nasty London cold.

As I battled down Oxford Street in the cold and dark, sneezing my way on to the tube, I thought of my days in California where I still have a lovely car, where the weather is warm and the sun shines every day (according to Neil Diamond). And listening to “California Dreamin'” a little nostalgia sets in as I’m suddenly driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, golden sun, palm trees and wind in my hair. 

But then, it’s been the best year of my life and leaving LA was the right decision so I’m elbowing my way on to the tube for the time being, it’s a means to an end and the plans are progressing well.