Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas 2016 - What We Did, and What I Got!

Handcrafted wooden owl calendar
This Christmas was the first one that me and Chris have spent together. I have never really done a traditional Christmas - I have normally ended up spending it volunteering at a homeless shelter or going to see friends, but Christmas is something that is really really important to Chris and so we spent it together. However, that does not mean that it ended up being a traditional one!

 Most of our Christmas involved spending time with these lovely things. You should know that I actually really do not like cycling. I'm terrified of the idea of doing it on the roads, I find it super painful, and I only actually learned how to ride a bike properly about three years ago so I'm not the most confident on them.

  However, on Christmas, there isn't much choice and so we had to go and give them a try. Luckily, I live really close to a cycle superhighway and so it wasn't so bad as all. These are for the most part completely off the road and with dividers between the bikes and the cars, and so I felt much more comfortable on these and had no problems with them. Every now and then there's a moment of horror when you suddenly merge with the rest of the vehicles, but luckily this didn't happen often at all and when it did it wasn't a huge concern as there weren't THAT many cars on the road. I was still probably a lot slower than Chris would like but I just find cycling so painful! After a quick stop off at McDonald's for our Christmas McNuggets (there was nothing Christmassy about them aside from the fact that we wearing reindeer jumpers), we finally made it to Tower Bridge to enjoy taking some touristy photos without the crowds. And then we were onto the most important part of the day, in my opinion...

A Christmas Pret
 The Christmas Pret! This was a tradition that started about three years ago - going to Pret and having one of their Christmas drinks. Chris was amazed by this as this was the first time he hadn't spent the day with all his family trapped inside all day, and so he had no idea that anywhere at all would be open on Christmas, let alone numerous branches of Pret.

 When it came to the dinner, we started it off with these salmon and egg benedict dishes from M&S. I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed we were with these! They were £6 so pretty expensive and we both thought that they were average at best. Such a massive disappointment!

Roast dinner
 When it came to the regular food, Chris did all of the cooking. I don't even try to help anymore as he normally hurries me away, and as it was Christmas and his first time cooking the Christmas dinner? I just left him to it.

Christmas dinner
 He did do a really good job though, and the food was really good. You can probably see that we cheated a little bit and just cooked turkey breasts - we decided that as there were only two of us, there was really no point in cooking anymore than that as it would have just gone to waste. We don't regret this decision!

  Afterwards we had these berry cheesecakes that we got from Iceland and were absolutely delicious, and then a cheeseboard from Waitrose which was really nice and lasted us for days. Way too much cheese.

  What we did learn from this experience is that we REALLY need to get food earlier next year. We definitely messed this bit up. Lots of the starters we wanted had disappeared, and Waitrose did this absolutely amazing red velvet chocolate cheesecake that we tried but then never saw again and I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed we were that we didn't get to have it. As we're most likely moving very soon we didn't get any decorations this year as it would have been more to pack and made more sense to wait until we had a stable home, but I'd planned on surprising Chris with some Christmassy candles or lights - nope, not happening, had all sold out. :-(

  Right - onto the presents?!
Science Museum putty snowman
 Oddly, we both ended up buying each other presents from the science museum this year. Chris bought me this putty snowman which is made of an odd material that always feels like wet sand. It's also really hard to build with! You have no idea the effort it took to get this snowman made without it falling apart. This image does not capture the moment where we had to run manically around the flat to quickly grab the camera and document it!

Waitrose penguin in mug
 I also got this little penguin in a mug from Waitrose. I pointed it out to Chris a few weeks before when we were buying some snacks. I just think it's adorable. But I also don't know if it will ever be used as the penguin just looks so cute in the mug that I don't want to take him out of it!

Hotel Chocolat salted caramel collection
 I also go this salted caramel collection from Hotel Chocolat - I won't say much about this yet as I'm planning on doing a whole review post on this box soon!

Gratiae beauty products
I got this box of goodies from Gratiae - to be honest, I'd never heard of this brand before so I was initially surprised that Chris committed so heavily to deciding to try them out! There will be  a full review on these in a little while as well.

Dior Addict
 This is where Chris did particularly well for himself - a bottle of Dior Addict in Eau Fraiche. I was a little worried about this one as I heavily suspected he would try to find it. I've posted a review before of my mini bottle set of this. I really like all of the scents but the original Addict is my least favourite - the others I think are fantastic but I don't use them much at all due to the fact that the little bottles are quite difficult to apply. I had a feeling he would try to find one of the bottles from this set but I wasn't sure how much attention he'd spend and heavily suspected I would end up with the original one - natural, when it's the only one I don't like!

  The owl in the picture at the very top was the final gift - it's a handmade owl calendar. This is an unusual gift and I bet I'll forget to change it but I thought it was really pretty and we already know exactly where we're going to put it in the new flat.

  Chris did SUCH a good job with the gifts - I've never been so impressed by him! I was surprised at how much notice he's taken to random things I'm interested in and I think he found some really thoughtful gifts.

Science Museum crystal growing tree
We both went with very different styles of gift for each other. As mentioned, we both bought each other presents from the science museum this year - I bought him this tree, which is one of those that starts off just paper until you water it and then it slowly blooms into this Christmas tree that you can decorate. I had a feeling he'd really enjoy watching the crystals grow, and he did! I also bought him a copy of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire as I bought him Pokemon Sun for him to play against my Pokemon Moon for his birthday and I'm REALLY slow at playing it whilst he likes to play for literally hours at a time, so I figured getting him that too meant he could play that whilst waiting for me to catch up. I got him two colouring books and some pencils as he'd randomly expressed an interest in colouring in a wolf we saw in a calendar once, and got him a big set of chilli related things as he loves his chillis and his spicy food.

We went really different tactics and it's funny how we both ended up thinking the other person did a better job. I felt like I'd bought him silly presents and that he'd chosen much more thoughtful ones that made me really happy to see that he'd paid attention. He spent most of the day colouring his book in and playing Pokemon and HE felt like he'd chosen really stupid things and regretted not buying me anything I could really play with. We are very different in that respect though - I like to read and write and he likes things he can play with and build, so I guess it made sense.

Overall, this was probably the best Christmas I'd had! We both work shifts, but somehow we both ended up with four days off together (normally we average one day off together every six weeks or so) and this was made even better by the fact that both my housemates were away. Because of this, Chris was able to stay over and it felt a lot more like our own flat as we didn't feel at all confined - I can't wait for the house purchase to hurry up and complete so it can be more like this every day!

How did all of you spend your Christmas? :-)

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