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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

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gifts

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I had a good Christmas this year.

A few things made it stand out a little different from previous years.

Having another family to spend Christmas Alone with

Unless we’re in Brisbane or my mum’s in town, Christmas in years past have beenĀ the stuff of crickets chirping in the background. We had the occasional lunch with friends during a couple of Christmases before, which has been lovely.

But there’s something about hosting your own Big Christmas Family lunch; doing the shopping, getting prepared, feeding people, opening presents.

Enter New Friends from the States who live 2 minutes from our home, and suddenly there we were – two houses, far away from family, yet close enough to join forces and make pigging out on a whole turkey totally worthwhile.

Shannon and I now have shared bragging rights on cooking our first turkey. The fact that we got the butcher to debone the entire turkey and stuff it with apricots, mango and hazelnuts so that effectively we had a turkey roll that could actually fit in the oven made it all the better. I don’t think that’s cheating. It’s still a whole turkey. It’s still getting roasted. It still tastes the same. Stroke. Of. Genius. For the rest of you who had to saw your turkey in half or stress over drying out your turkey.. well, now you know. Thank you, Lilydale Butchery.

Having a toddler who understands

It’s Arddun’s second Christmas – third, if you count womb time – and I’m starting to understand what the fuss is all about. Now that she’s actually engaging with her toys – instead of ditching the toy to play with the wrapper, ala Christmas 2011 – this Christmas rocks on the present-opening front. I had gifted Arddun with a toy petrol station because she has always made a beeline for the toy cars and ramps in the church building every Sunday. But Daddoh topped it by getting a tea set to go with her new table and chairs (thank you Famiza for the furniture, BTW! It’s a darling set!)

And that’s how Kitty got to have her first taste of plastic tea.

Oooh yes… Brisbane Nanna had also made gorgeous Christmas outfits!

Back view of Christmas dress
Back view
Front view of Christmas Dress
Front view

Arddun is also besotted with her new Little Tikes Trike, which, despite major steering issues, doesn’t dampen her spirits one bit. And as for the petrol station set I got her, it turned out to be rather poorly made so I’m returning the lot and looking for a better one. (There’s a reason sometimes to go for brands you’ve actually heard of.) Still, this little girl was heard making car noises all around the house, only pausing for a quick sip of tea with kitty, before heading off on her new driving adventures with her little black merc.

Which is an encouraging sign for the next bit.

Having a family trip to look forward to

I get massive cabin fever during holidays. I know that a real holiday, by definition, includes getting rested – which is why taking a trip somewhere often defeats this very purpose. But there’s something about staying at home “doing nothing” that drives me absolutely batty when my family has a longish week off together. The mundane can be a terribly wasteful time filler, and a surefire way to get me itchy and grumpy.

So this year, we’re driving to Melbourne to visit long-time friends. The last two days have been a slow build up to a flurry of excitement for the trip ahead. We set off tomorrow. Our very first car trip together!

Speaking of which, I’m gonna call it a night. Plenty of driving to do tomorrow (4 hours each driver!) and we’re aiming to be out of the house by 9am. Optimistic, I know.

But before I go,

Merry Christmas, dearest family and friends – and people who actually read my blog. This has been a tumultous year, but in many ways also, a very rewarding one. I am so glad you are all a part of my life because I have been made richer for it. May the rest of your 2012 be safe and happy and if we don’t get to talk soon, have a great New Year!

XOXO Velle

This. Is. SPA!

So my first Christmas gift from Arddun turned out to be a voucher at a fancy schmancy spa at NewActon. And after postponing and cancelling a few appointments owing to sudden and gradual changes in weekend and holiday plans, the expiration date loomed before us and today ended up being the last possible Saturday to schedule in some relaxation time.

I had booked my spa date in before we left for Brisbane, which meant I completely forgot the list of treatments I’d ordered when I rocked up this morning – still coughing and spluttering from my cold, clothes mismatched, and 3 zits on my right cheek like a pimply teenager on the week of her finals. Not quite a glamour puss, but a puss much needing a touch of glamour.

SOMA day spa photo montage

Turns out I had ordered something called a Satin Wrap, which meant someone pretty much emptied a bottle of LA BIOSTHETIQUE ParisĀ on me, and then wrapped me up in a plastic sheet, then a satin sheet, then a heavy towel, then a doona. And thus I lay swaddled and greasy, and left to soak in all that oily, moisturising goodness while she placed cucumber-like swabs on my eyes and messed my hair with a head massage.

Then I got falsies.

I have very little recollection of ordering this one, but apparently I had decided weeks ago that my eyelashes were in need of a major uplift. And so I spent 30 mildly uncomfortable minutes getting fake plastic hair stuck on my lash line. The result was a little bewildering. I think I looked a little manga and even though I got used to the feel of them eventually, I went home and snipped the corner strands back so I don’t look like spiders crawled under my eyelids and died.

And then I went and got a pedicure.

Which was safe enough. Except I forgot to bring slippers – or what Australians call thongs. (Australians think slippers are house shoes, or ugg boots. And Singaporeans think thongs are overpriced skimpy underwear made infamous by Borat.) I forgot to bring flip-flops – or rather, the bright and chilly winter morning banished all reasonable thought of ever wearing any. Except pedicures, as the experienced know, actually take hours to truly dry. And walking around in hard leather covered shoes is the surest way of rubbing off exactly $20 worth of pedicure within the first 30 minutes.

And so I walked from NewActon to the Canberra Centre in those oversized white spa slippers you see above.

Truly a memorable Christmas present. Thank you, sweetie. xx

Blob’s first Christmas

We were originally planning to spend the day with various families but at quite the last minute, Tony decided on a road trip – just the 2.5 of us. We thus hopped into the car with too much food and not enough of an idea where we were going.

Spent almost three hours driving around aimlessly and admiring the spring/summer countryside until we chanced upon a picnic table facing the serene (and man-made) Lake Eucumbene, in Old Adaminaby. Elevation: 1,021m above sea level.

Picnic at Old Adaminaby
Absolute serenity, and only one sticky fly
Old Adaminaby
The original Adaminaby used to be where all that water is now. The entire town got relocated across to higher ground - houses and everything! Lake Eucumbene is part of the Snowy Hydro scheme.
Cows on our road
On a rare off-road detour, we came right into the path of some lunching moos.

Next Christmas, we’ll be 3. It’s a lovely, sobering thought.

P.S.: On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me… >6,000 minutes of mindless Sunnydale drama “for my confinement”. The man knows me!

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