Something for the weekend

SFTW: Sun, Santa and sleeping bags – plus a Christmas present for readers

December 20, 2015

I’m writing this post from a beachfront in Gran Canaria, where I’m spending Christmas with Juan, Oscar and my in-laws, who live here. I’ve been away for five days now, and it’s so nice to have an extended break from all things work-related and also enjoy some warm sunshine. However, if you all enjoy a surprise white Christmas without me, it will ruin everything. Also, just to put the mandatory selfie (my second ever, FYI) in perspective and make you all feel better about not (yet) being on holiday, we are planning to toilet train Oscar while we are here – so, you know.


Christmas abroad is a weird one, isn’t it? It’s always nice to go on holiday, but forfeiting the traditions and idiosyncracries of your own family and culture and trying to adopt those of another is always a shock to the system. The first Christmas I spent in Gran Canaria, we had Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve, and opened all of our presents at midnight. It was fun at the time, but the next day, when I was expecting the festivities to continue, it turned out there was precisely nothing planned. So we pottered about, I glumly defrosted some vegetable soup for lunch, and then we ate hastily prepared salmon with spaghetti for dinner when it became clear that I was about to have an emotional meltdown (I had called home to wish everyone a merry Christmas some time that afternoon and the jolly talk of turkey, crackers and Cranium had all got too much).

There are, of course, worse ways to spend Christmas than eating leftover vegetable soup with a hangover – and pulling crackers with Donald Trump would be right up there for me. But even that’s nothing compared to all the horrendous things that have happened around the world this year, especially anything related to Syria. This year, Juan and I wanted to put together a gift box to send to someone less fortunate, but we ran out of time preparing for this trip, so instead we’ve bought something a bit more practical via Amazon to send to the refugees in Calais. It’s not the most love and care I’ve ever invested in a present, but it should at least help someone somewhere. Here’s how to do the same.

Apart from potty training Oscar, we are also planning to let him have a LOT of beach time (as long as this weather holds). He is, to his dad’s relief, a complete water baby, and he’s been flinging himself around in the waves and getting sand up his bottom from day one. The slightly worrying thing is that, because we go to baby swimming classes every week back in London, Oscar now believes he can actually swim, so he has no qualms about making a break for the waves as soon as he thinks we’re not looking. So it’s slightly heart-in-mouth when we’re on the beach, but worth it for these sorts of memories.


You may have noticed that recently we’ve been missing posts, mixing them up and generally being a bit lax about the blog. It’s a combination of end-of-year laziness and exhaustion – but we’ll be back to the old routine next year. I’d be interested to know how many of you have noticed our reduced output? We worry about such things and perhaps there’s no need…

Finally, as a Christmas present to readers, we’ve got another discount code to redeem at luxury online florist Appleyard Flowers. Appleyard sent Rachel a gorgeous festive bouquet that arrived beautifully boxed and ready-arranged – the sort of statement flowers that would look gorgeous in the hall (although of course no one I know who lives in London has such a thing). They make a great present for the people you’re not going to able to see at Christmas this year – especially with 33% off. You can take a look at the Christmas collection here, but the discount applies across the Appleyard range (excluding ‘flowers by post’). Just use the code ‘BLOG33’ when you get to the checkout.

appleyard flowers

Have a merry Christmas wherever you are and we hope to see you back here next year!

What are you doing for Christmas this year?

P.S. Hosting Christmas for the first time, board games to play with the family, and an easy cocktail for Christmas and New Year. Plus, for anyone who is spending Christmas in warmer climes – where and how to buy bikinis for bigger boobs.

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