Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Am just about done with Christmas shopping, in every sense. Reached the stage where I was just buying things and not giving a hoot if people actually liked them or not... This was directly attributable to spending half an hour wandering round TK Maxx listening to Noddy Holder roaring 'IT'S CHRIST-MAAAASSSSSS!!!' and nearly culminated in me panic-buying my father-in-law a pair of tight briefs and anti-wrinkle cream. Got ahold of myself and purchased him some real ale instead. Tonight the kitchen production line will be in full swing - I'm making dark chocolate and hazelnut truffles (with orange-vanilla liqueur) and ginger and white chocolate cookies for various family we're seeing over the next few days. Am pretty happy to have done all my Christmas shopping for around £100. I made quite a few things - Steve had a couple of jumpers he didn't wear, which I felted in the washing machine. I cannot reveal what they have been recycled as, due to some of the readers of this blog being the 'lucky' recipients... I always feel faintly apologetic giving home-made gifts: 'I made you this - sorry.' But this year I'm actually pretty happy with them, the only downside being that due to cutting yards and yards of fabric, my left thumb has pins and needles and goes numb when I press on it in a certain place. Like when I'm holding a pen or a fork. Ooops.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Here's one he made earlier (about six months ago, in fact)

Spent the morning on a frantic scurry to M&S in Beckenham, to take advantage of their crunch-busting ‘2 dine for £10’ offer. You get a main course, side dish, pudding and a bottle of wine for a tenner. There’s not much choice for vegetarians (boo hoo for you!), what with the mains being a seafood paella, chicken breasts with apple sauce (yuk), Italian beef meatballs, and a whole chicken. I was tempted to get two chickens (usually £7 each) as part of the deal, but in the spirit of Christmas decided to not be greedy, and leave some for the poor suckers who couldn’t get there till after work.


Beef meatballs with provelone
Whole chicken for roasting
Potatoes with rosemary and tomato
Roasting potatoes
Sticky toffee puddings
Selection of British cheeses
Bottle of Chenin Blanc
Bottle of Shiraz

Usual price: £32.90
Special price: £20

Ker-ching! It gave me a warm glow, I can tell you. Not least because now I can theoretically cook an entire meal without having a nervous breakdown/ bursting into tears. Steve does most of the cooking in our house, and does it best. This is mostly down to innate mad kitchen skillz, but also because he follows a recipe, shops for specific ingredients, and locks himself in the kitchen for three hours creating a gourmet feast. I use what’s in the house, don’t like to dirty more that one saucepan, and season most savoury dishes with an Oxo cube and ketchup.

But when it comes to baking, that man can’t touch me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm back! And it only took me half an hour to sign in to Blogger after forgetting my password, which email address I'd used etc...

What's been going on in the 18 months since I last posted? Still freelancing, still (mostly) loving it. Steve and I got engaged in October 2007 in Sardinia, during the last week of sunshine the island had that year. After a few false starts on the proposal front over the holiday (he got a glint in his eye on a deserted beach, but a wasp spoiled the mood; again on the roof terrace of the World's Crappest Museum in Alghero, but I was too crabby to be approached), he got down on one knee in a cafe, and through my tears I managed to blub the word 'yes!'. We then celebrated with prosecco and crisps, followed by a horse & cart ride around the old town, lunch in a fancy restaurant, and hiring bikes in the afternoon. (Actually, we may have done the last bit the next day, but as all these activities would constitute my perfect day I'm selectively remembering it like this.) A ring was finally purchased in June 2008 (ahem...) and the wedding took place on September 20th. The groom wore a custom-made grey three-peice suit and a neat beard, the bride wore a $200 dress, £16 shoes, and jewellery and underwear that cost way more than that.
Honeymoon was a blow-out trip to Argentina and Uruguay, where we upped our iron levels with steak, chocolate and red wine, rode horses in the Andes, visited an amazing cemetary, and saw lots of birds. We returned to crashing poverty, kicking ourselves (OK, I was kicking us both) for not really saving up for the wedding or the trip. That's what credit cards are for, right?

So, December. I'm trying to catch up on lost earnings by working 6-7 days a week, and everyone's getting homemade stuff for Christmas (I apologise in advance).

Married life is like cohabiting life, but somehow different, too. Without wanting to be a Smug Married, it's just... nice. Like you're a team - you have to be, it's too late to get out of it now. Divorce is a lot of hassle. It feels like you have someone on your side, all the time.