Friday, 18 December 2015

Christmas is here!

c/o Belle, one of our 4 Disney Animator dolls
  • There's a huge tree in our dining room, it smells good
  • There's a bottle of port on our bar for hot ports: hot water, port, honey, orange slice studded with cloves
  • Hangovers on weekdays, rock n roll
  • Parties with family and friends, carols around the piano
  • Hot chocolates and baked ham, spices in everything
  • Playing dollies with my little girl, a ridiculous bow on her baldy head
  • Roasted dinners with veggie gravy (mince an onion and carrot, cook until browned in butter, add water and herbs, a little Vegemite, then strain into a jug)
  • Christmas crackers and wrapping paper being played with in front of the fire
  • Excited kids who all sparkle with Santa magic
  • Movies: National Lampoon, Home Alone, Mary Poppins, all the greats
 Dublin Fruit Market c/o 
  • Huge boxes of clementines and bananas from the fruit market (near Capel Street, haggle for bargains, I got 12 parsnips for 2 euro!)
  • Online shopping for food, digital prints and toys, arriving to my door. Well worth the few euros shipping costs so I can be cosy with my kiddos and avoid the crowds. I have developed total sensory overload this year and find the crowded shops a claustrophobic stress rather than a fun challenge
  • Family time: Dada has nearly finished his work for the season, so we're getting quality time with this wonderful man
  • Arts and Crafts: handmade gifts for each other means we're getting creative this season. I made an artwork and received one for our anniversary this week, another one to be made in the coming days for my small boy
  • A date to celebrate a decade of marriage, just the three of us (baby asleep in a sling), our old haunts in the city centre, pints and laughs under the Christmas lights.
  • Christmas lights twinkle in every corner of our house and garden, magical backdrops for the photos I'm taking to remember baby's first Christmas.
MikaB teething necklaces
  • She's drooling, pulling clumps of my hair, gnawing on everything in sight. Perfect timing for Mika B to send me a teething necklace for her. It looks good on me and gives baby something safe and clean to chew, BPA free thankfully. Here is a link to her website, a mum of two based in Dublin, support her if you're looking for Christmas pressies for babies.
  • Hibernating for the next couple of weeks, apart from a couple of family days. We've no qualms going off the radar, we can catch up with the real world anytime. But for now I'm nearly finished my coursework for the term, and I'm enjoying fun times with my kids. Face painting, baths, role-playing games, pizza parties, library trips, reading, you name it, they're getting mommy without a phone in her hand for the first time in a good while.
  • I'm really enjoying cooking at the moment: planning a veggie chilli for a party - soaking the beans days in advance, looking up the recipe for Nigella's clementine cake to be made tomorrow, a Christmas favourite here. Filling the freezer with soups, mince pies and stuffing for the week ahead. Been making our own nut butters and using them to stuff medjool dates for a delicious healthy sweet. I've a batch of homemade halwa in the fridge too.
  • Gluten-free stuffing: Onions minced in processor with rosemary, parsley and thyme, salt and pepper, melted butter, egg and ground almonds and ground cashews in place of breadcrumbs.
  • Hot cherry sauce (if no cranberries): Frozen sour cherries, port, orange slice with cloves (leftover from the hot ports), sugar, cook down and enjoy! We had this over ice-cream after dinner too. 
  • The slow cooker has earned its keep this week, hot chocolate (dark chocolate, cream, spices, milk), carrot soup, cooking ham in ginger ale and cloves (finished off in the oven), veggie chilli  this weekend. I want a second or third as they're just so handy.
  • We're staving off colds this whole time, that delicate balance between indulging in sugar and dairy, and keeping our immune systems strong with rosehip syrup and multivitamins. 
  • Trying to balance the high excitement and emotion of the season with screen-free downtime and calm activities. We've joined ReCreate in Dublin 12 (link here) an ideal place to source unlimited arts and craft supplies, with space for us to use for our creative endeavours. A great place to while away a morning away from the Christmas madness. And it's cured my hoarding stuff "just in case we need it for arts and crafts"
How are you spending these Midwinter days?
Nee x

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