For me, the whole period of Christmas and New Year is what makes winter - that least loved of all seasons - bearable. I know I have no real reason for complaining; we have not been flooded, or hurricaned, or earthquaked or anything else, and temperatures have been more like March than December for most of the month. Still, winter brings darkness and cold (cold enough for my liking, anyway!), cuts long walks short and stops my running until I feel like taking it up again in spring. Therefore, from the first Advent weekend until the 6th of January, I am glad to have Christmas and New Year to look forward to - and also to look back on.
Christmas Eve at my parents' was as cosy and nice as always, just the way we want it. Here is a picture of the tree with the (real!) candles lit:
My sister spent most of the afternoon helping my Mum to decorate the tree (this year with a red and gold theme) and generally get everything nice and shiny for the evening, while I did nothing but show up for the evening, a bag with presents in tow.
On Christmas morning, I opened the presents that had arrived from Yorkshire. Every year, I can't believe how many nice, beautiful, useful and thoughtful gifts I receive! This year's highlight certainly is the pretty gold bracelet from my sister. I have already been wearing it a few times since. And you won't be surprised to hear that half of the contents of the Cadbury's Milk Tray is already gone (with no help from others).
See the small pink handbag? That's the one that came with the dirndl I bought at the end of November.
RJ joined me on the afternoon of the 26th. We went to my parents' for a delicious dinner and a game of "Who wants to be a Millionaire". To everybody's surprise (including my own), I won!
The 28th saw my Mum and I attending what was a première for us: we went to a show cooking! Or cooking show?
A Turkish lady had invited my Mum to the event, which was held at a school less than a 10- minute-walk from where I live. The cook, Ömür Akkor, is apparently one of the most famous TV cooks in Turkey and author of several cook books. He is also here on blogger - unfortunately, I do not speak Turkish (I really should, what with having so many neighbours from that country).
Thankfully, there was a young man translating for the German guests, and so we had an interesting and fun afternoon, watching Mr. Akkor prepare several easy-to-make and very delicious dishes, which we all shared afterwards. I did not bring my camera, but I am sure most of you know enough of Turkish cuisine to imagine the delights that were in store for us - and all that for free, with no work involved on our part!
Mr. Akkor was not at all like a "celebrity"; he was very kind, down-to-earth and with a sense of humour obvious even though I could not understand a word of what he was saying. My Mum bought the cook book, and I am sure I will read it, too: it is not just a collection of recipes, but the recipes are embedded in a love story set in the days of the Seljuk dynasty (10th and 11th century). Mr. Akkor received the "Gourmand Cookbook Award" for Best Historic Cookbook in February 2013 at the Paris fair "Gourmand International".
Tomorrow, RJ and I will attend a gala dinner buffet & dance for New Year's Eve; that was my Christmas present for him. Of course, I have been thinking about what to wear from the moment I had the idea :-) It was not difficult to settle on a dress, but I still did not have matching shoes - my proper dancing shoes are black and don't go with the dress at all. On the 23rd, I braved the insane masses of people in town and went to three or four shoeshops - it wasn't too bad, actually, as I was mentally prepared for the pre-Christmas madness, and knew exactly what I wanted. I was in and out of town in an hour, and came home with two pairs of shoes. Both of them would look good with the dress, but I guess I'll go with the more subdued pair. It has exactly the same pink as the palest pink in the flowers on the dress. The "Barbie"-pink shoes will go well with the dirndl, don't you think? :-) Besides, they cost only a tenner, and so they simply came with me. Which one would you choose?
Whatever you'll be doing tomorrow to welcome the New Year, here's wishing all of you the very best for the next twelve months!