Lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

North Bondi

Aren’t summer holidays just the best? All these years, I’ve had no idea just how much I was missing out.

Three occasions aside (three – 2005: I spent a few days down with my Nan and Pop and the rest of the family as we hadn’t had a Christmas away since 1995; 2007: Mr Posy and I went to the US for Christmas; 2009: Mr Posy and I went to Sydney for a few days where it rained the whole time), I’ve always worked the period between Christmas and the New Year, instead choosing to go away in late January (closer to my birthday!). Back in PosyTown, it was usually a slower (and quite lonely) time in the office which meant that I was able to catch up on work (and filing, ugh) while the phones were quiet and there were fewer interruptions, so Mr Posy and I always chose to work through. I always felt a little jealous when my colleagues would come back to work in the new year looking and sounding refreshed and happy, while I was completely exhausted, but I had our trip away to look forward to.

Having recently started a new job down here in Harbour City and having just had two weeks off for our wedding in November, taking time off over Christmas hadn’t even crossed my mind – so I was very pleasantly surprised when I found out that our office shuts down for nearly a fortnight! I worked until just after midday on Christmas Eve, when Mr Posy drove into the city to pick me up, so that we could drive down the coast to spend Christmas with my grandparents. My colleagues had all warned me about horror traffic, so I was bracing myself for a very very long and tedious drive; however Mr Posy and I had the highway largely to ourselves. The drive is fairly spectacular; I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times – it really is God’s country down that way. 

God's country

It was so lovely to spend Christmas with my Nan and Pop, and spend a few days just recharging our batteries. Nan has the most amazing garden and it was so nice to just potter around checking out all the flowers in the morning or afternoon sun (however my Pop’s tomatoes have seen better days!) while chatting with the cows over the back fence. We would drive down to the beach in the mornings after breakfast, before heading back in time for lunch, after which we’d spend time reading or napping or driving around Tathra/Pambula/Merimbula/Eden with my grandies. We took a trip to the Bega Cheese Heritage Centre for milkshakes – I had been talking these up to Mr Posy for weeks and weeks. My shake wasn’t quite as good as I remember, but doesn’t everything taste better when you’re ten? Nan served dessert after every meal (we had fruit after breakfast), and I didn’t feel even a little bit guilty over the extra calories. Not once. Living so far away in PosyTown, I didn’t get to see my grandparents nearly as much as I would have liked over the years – I am so happy that we can spend time with them now. 

Summer holidays

The drive back up the coast was a little slower – I could have walked faster between Ulladulla and Milton – and we stopped in to visit my brother in Wollongong for lunch on our way past, as he wasn’t able to make it down to Nan and Pop’s. I really have to give Mr Posy kudos for listening to around 13 hours of Taylor Swift and Tina Arena (more Taylor than Tina), with me singing along, on our drive down and back.

Mr Posy and I had a quiet night for New Year’s Eve back in Sydney – I saw the family fireworks from our couch (I could just see them from where I was sitting, if we’d gone for a walk around the block we would have had a slightly better view), but I missed midnight by about ten minutes. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open a second longer.

We spent the last few days of my summer break just as we’d started – mornings at the beach, afternoons reading and napping. I did sneak in a High Tea date at The Langham with a girlfriend, as well as a lovely lunchdate with another friend.

The worst part of my summer holiday? Having to go back to work. I am not-so-secretly a little glad that the weather has turned – it is a little less depressing having to go into the office each day when it is rainy and miserable outside. I just hope it clears up in time for the weekend!

Four Christmases

Wreath

I’m not really sure why, but I always feel a deep sadness on Christmas Day. Perhaps it’s knowing that it will soon be over for another year, or having unrealistic expectations of what Christmas should be like, or maybe it’s just the general stress of the holiday season and the amplification of family dysfunction getting the better of me.

Whatever it is, I was not looking forward to running the gauntlet of Four Christmases (sounds something like a cheesy Hollywood film, doesn’t it…) this year on Christmas Day.

Swimming pool

I woke early so that I could get a swim in before the festivities started. An early morning Christmas swim has become somewhat of a tradition for me – the solitude of the pool and the repetitive meditative nature of the strokes through the water calms my mind, and I feel less guilt over all the calories that I know I am about to imbibe.

The exchange of gifts between Mr Posy, the furkids and I was left until quite late this Christmas morning – there was beetroot to be roasted, chorizo to be fried and broad beans to be shelled for salads, and presents for Mr Posy’s folks to be wrapped.

PosyDog

As a small child, I would poke holes in the wrapping paper of my gifts under the tree, too excited and impatient to wait until Christmas. Now that I’m older, I never want to unwrap my gifts. It means Christmas will soon be over. I try to delay the unwrapping as long as possible (in fact, I still have one gift left to unwrap…). PosyDog does not feel the same, and let us know as such throughout the morning. When she was finally allowed to open her gift, she ripped into it, eager to play with her new toy.

Mr Posy / PosyDog / Miss Posy & Niece Posy

Soon after presents, and a video-call with my brother who is holidaying interstate with his girlfriend, it was on to our first stop of the day: lunch with Mr Posy’s family.

Niece Posy has grown so much since last year. “Merry Christmas!” she would shout over and over, while pointing at the presents under the tree. “I won!” she would yell, as she cracked bonbons with Mr Posy, her Papou, her Yiayia.

I wanted to squish her little cheeks when she unwrapped the books that we bought for her, refusing to open other gifts, instead wanting to read.

The poor kid was over it all after a couple of hours. My favourite part of this Christmas was Niece Posy curling up in my lap, because she was tired and wanted a cuddle. Nephew Posy had no idea about what was going on around him, and kept himself amused in a pile of discarded wrapping paper and ribbon.

Next stop: a half hour drive out to visit my dad and his partner in their new house. Too full from lunch, we exchanged gifts over cold beverages and took a tour of their property. An hour flew by pretty quickly, and then it was time to get back on the road and on to our third stop: Mum’s house.

The plan for Christmas with Mum was afternoon tea, but it was too hot and humid, so we skipped the coffee and gorged on chocolate brownies instead.

Mum and Dad only split a few years ago – this was the first year that we saw them separately for Christmas, and I have to say, it was a bit of an adjustment. It was pretty weird. And kind of awkward, made more so because Mum didn’t want to celebrate Christmas. I’d like to think that it is something that will get easier with time, but right now the thought of spending future Christmases out of the country is very appealing…

Swimming pool

Our fourth and final stop was back with Mr Posy’s family – his sister-in-law’s family were up from Melbourne, so we spent dinner with them. Niece and Nephew Posy had each had a three hour nap, and were back in fine form entertaining the extended family with their antics, and having a splash in the pool. Mr Posy and I later sat outside with his brother, our feet in the pool, watching the boats in the marina.

By the time we arrived home late that evening, I was exhausted. The overwhelming sense of sadness had mostly dissipated (as it often does by the time I’m back home all tucked up in my bed), and I was ready for our annual screening of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (the ultimate in family dysfunction); another Christmas tradition.

And so Christmas is well and truly over for another year. The post-Christmas ennui hit hard on Wednesday, soon after I left the madness known as the Boxing Day Sales, and even harder yesterday when it was time to return to work.

Perhaps by the time 2013 rolls around PosyKitty might have forgiven me for making her wear a polyester shirt.

PosyKitty

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I love, love, love the lead up to Christmas. It’s beginning to look a whole lot like Christmas in the House of Posy.

Christmas

We’ve been busy this past week wrapping presents, writing Christmas cards, and watching Christmas movies, all while burning the Christmas candles. Even PosyKitty got in on the act.

It’s also been a week for chocolate crackles, reindeer noses, festively painted nails, Christmas parties, finding lucky* dimes, way too many drinks, and generally over-indulging. I’d like to say that I foresee last-minute gym work-outs in my immediate future to appease my guilt, but that would probably be a lie.

 

*Dimes are lucky… Right, guys? … I’m in need of a little luck…

 

Gift Guide – Christmas 2012

The lead up to Christmas has always been my favourite time of year. Christmas itself often results in anxiety over trying to fairly split our time with all the family so as not to upset anybody, but the lead up to Christmas is where it’s at. Magical Popping Elves, candy canes, Christmas carols, cherries and stone fruits, Christmas movies, driving around looking at houses lit up with Christmas lights, writing and receiving Christmas cards, buying and wrapping presents.

I love that elated feeling that you get when you know you’ve found the perfect gift for somebody. I love wrapping that perfect gift in the gift wrap and ribbon that I have selected, after meticulously selecting my theme for the year. I love the suspense on Christmas Day, as you wait for them to get to your present, and then as they unwrap your gift, and I love watching their face light up as they discover what you have so carefully picked out for them.

What I don’t love about the lead up to Christmas – crowds. I also don’t love the limited shopping range that we have here in PosyTown. This year, I decided I was going to be organised, and do all my shopping from the comfort of my lounge room.

Here is a selection of gifts that I have so carefully chosen for my loved ones (mostly, for the little people, given they don’t read my blog)…

(All prices are in AUD except where specified, and exclude shipping costs)

Sugar and spice and all things nice - Gift Guide for Girls

1. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy Bookends | The Shabby Shed | $99.95

2. Milkmaid Handmade Headband and Polly Pink Handmade Headband | Summerblossom | $15.00 each

3. Stationery Case: Hello Sunshine and Pencil Case | Kikki-K | $29.95 and $16.95

4. 2013 Calendar Cute Animal (4 x 6) | Loopzart on Etsy | $15.00 USD

5. Djeco Collages for Little Ones | Peanut Gallery | $29.95

… Djeco Princesses Create a Story | Motherslove | $32.95

6. Super Adventures of Sophie and the City | Shopbop | $29.99 USD

… Manolo Blahnik & the Tale of the Elves & the Shoemaker | Shopbop | $21.99 USD

… Christian Lacroix & the Tale of Sleeping Beauty | Shopbop | $22.00 USD

… This Little Piggy Went to Prada | Shopbop | $20.00 USD

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails - Gift Guide for Boys

1. Moo, Baa, La La La! and Playbook Farm | Booktopia | $11.50 and $19.95

2. PJ Sets | Peter Alexander | Prices vary

3. Djeco Knights Create a Story | Entropy | $34.95

4. Farm Tractor Truck Set by Discoveroo | Unique Kids | $34.95

5. Men’s Health magazine – 12 month subscription | iSubscribe | $79.00

6. Gold Class Movie Gift Card | Event Cinemas | $75 – $150

7. Dig Dig Digging and My ABC Box of Things that Go! | Booktopia | $7.95 and $26.45

8. Block Stacking Push Along Train | My Wooden Toys | $24.95

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

I’ve also purchased (and received!) –

Wrapping supplies | The Wrapping Paper Company

Personalised Christmas cards | Minted

Glasshouse Christmas candles | Alfresco Emporium

It’s shaping up to be a very merry Christmas in the Posy household this year!

And so this is Christmas

I can hardly believe that Christmas is over for another year.

When I was little, I’d spend a great deal of the year wishing that Christmas would hurry up and arrive, and then when it finally did, the day would drag on after lunch when all the presents were open and everybody was napping – and I’d wish the day would end. Now, it astounds me how quickly Christmas comes and goes, and I wish that the year, and Christmas Day itself, would slow down.

This Christmas was the first year that Mr Posy and I were actually living together, and it was the first in a few years that we were actually in PosyTown for Christmas. The last couple of years we spent Christmas in Sunny Sydney, and the year before that we spent our Christmas in New York City. It was also the first year in many, many years that both Mr Posy’s and my family were all in PosyTown for Christmas.

It took me a little longer than usual to get into the Christmas Spirit this year, but by the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I had gorged on Christmas carols and candy canes and Marshmallow Santas and Magical Popping Elves. I was ready.

Christmas Eve was an early-mark from work, being pampered by my hairdresser, sneaky cocktails with a good friend, wrapping the last of the presents, and helping watching Mr Posy prepare Christmas Day desserts (Nigella’s Chocolate Mousse Cake, and Nigella’s Molten Chocolate Babycakes). I had intended to go to Midnight Mass, but I… fell asleep. Ahem.

I woke early on Christmas Day. Mr Posy woke even earlier than I did, and went to the Greek Church with his parents. I went to the pool and smashed out some laps. By 10am, Mr Posy and I were sitting down to Ricotta Hotcakes with Banana and Honeycomb Butter, coffee (love you, Nespresso), and Miracle on 34th Street. By 10.30 am, Mr Posy was begging to open presents.

Gifts, just begging to be unwrapped..

“It’s 10.30 am, why haven’t we opened presents yet? We’ve had breakfast, and we’re dressed! Can we open presents now?”

You’d think he was 10 years old again. I knew that in less than fifteen minutes, our presents would be open, the floor would be strewn with gift wrap, and that would be the end to the first part of the day. Our part of the day. I wanted to savour it.

But I also wanted to unwrap the verylargegift with my name on it.

Hello, lover.

I was particularly spoilt this year. Mr Posy Santa bought me a KitchenAid. In red (because everybody knows red goes faster). I suspect that Santa’s new love for cooking may have been the motive driving force behind my gift. I just love it! I also received a  lovely Hermès Twilly.

Soon after, it was time to visit Mr Posy’s family (who we all remember live across the road). Mr Posy’s sister-in-law had put on quite a feast. I monopolised Niece Posy for most of the afternoon – she’s six months old now, and when she smiles at me, my heart aches. She’s just beautiful. After a couple of cocktails, too much lamb, Mr Posy’s Chocolate Mousse Cake, and more presents, it was time to move on to the final instalment of the day – with my family.

Despite my mum being quite sick the past couple of months, she really outdid herself this Christmas. She made an amazing roast dinner, and she’d bought presents for everybody – including my brother’s two “orphan” workmates.

I bought Mum an Hermès scarf for Christmas, which she loved – especially as her hair started falling out a day or so prior (but not noticeably so).

Dinner was a little awkward, but it was always going to be this year. Mr Posy’s Molten Chocolate Babycakes went down a treat, although I was so stuffed that I managed to only eat half my serve.

As has become Christmas tradition for Mr Posy and me, the day ended with National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. And I was sure I wouldn’t need to eat again for a week.

I cannot believe that today is New Year’s Eve-Eve.