As great as Toronto is, and even though we have had the most wonderful time there, where better to spend the holidays than at home with family and friends? Dorothy got it spot on with her famous statement, there really is no place like home.
With the pain of surgery a mere memory, apart from a few occasional reminders via the medium of soreness and heartburn thrown in for good measure, the flight back to glorious England was a lot more comfortable than the outward journey! For one, I actually got to stay in my assigned leg room seat without a fight, which is always good! And two, I met a cool American soldier at the bar who made the hours of waiting around in Heathrow Terminal 5 departure lounge just fly by, what with the free wine that he so generously plied me with! 🙂 Hope you are having a blast with the family across there in Arizona Paul, and the same goes to all the soldiers who got to come home and spend time with loved ones. The ones who didn’t, I wish you a safe and sound Christmas and new year wherever you are.
There was a slight incident with the pathetic battery life of the iPhone on landing at Newcastle, but thanks to a kind Starbucks employee, I was fully charged up and on my way within half an hour. There had to be some kind of drama, this is me we are talking about!
Once home, I spent time with my Mam and Dad, filling them in on my adventures, and then celebrated being home with a couple of drinks with my best friend Dave.
Readjusting to Greenwich Mean Time is not made easier with hangovers, but as it is the season to be jolly the festivities meant that hangovers just kept coming. Hey, I didn’t make the rules, I just follow them. I met up with my old work colleagues for some Christmas ciders, wine and bubbly. I even had a visit in the pub from one of my little Nursery kids, Charlie! Good times. 🙂
Phil’s trip home however, was not as plain sail… erm, flying, as mine. Between delays, stupid people who don’t understand the sentence ‘Remove all electronic devices from your bags and pockets’, and $12 pints – 11 hours after he was due home, I finally got to meet up with my bedraggled husband at the airport. How he keeps so calm in thee situations I will never know, he has gotta teach me his Jedi ways in the art of taking it all in your stride!
One day was spent sleeping, the following day we completed the final leg of Christmas shopping (final leg being the first leg too) and celebrated with wine, Christmas music and wrapping.
We had an early Christmas present swap with Dave – Harry Potter presents will always be a winner with me, thanks! 🙂
As we are technically without a permanant address at the minute, we decided to spend Christmas Eve in a hotel, something we have never done before, but were very excited about.
This is our first Christmas as Mr and Mrs and we both wanted it to be something memorable and special. As soon as we checked in I knew it was going to be just what we had hoped. Our suite at the Hallgarth Hotel and Country Club was in a little farm building, complete with wooden beams and hand stitched patchwork quilt. I loved the quirky shabby chic feel of the place.
We spent the afternoon in Stables, the hotel bar next door to our room. Phil decided that this wasn’t going to finally be the time he let me win at pool, even though he tricked me into thinking it was 😦 I was practising my winner’s speech as he sunk the black after making some kind of whizzkid come back. Bah Humbug!
The evening was spent in The Forester’s Arms, a little village pub, with a great local feel. Everyone knew everyone else, the Land Lady entertained kids with stories of Santa and magic tricks, the drinks were lovely and Phil raved about the food. Perfect Christmas Eve night out.
When we got back to our suite, I found a present hidden under my pillow, my Christmas Eve pyjamas 🙂 This is the part where I stop talking, and don’t tell everyone about the very sweet note that traditionally comes along with this present every year, otherwise I will be hung, drawn and quartered by the most romantic fella I know! 😛 We settled down with a bottle of wine and watched It’s a Wonderful Life, blubbing as I do every year. Atta boy Clarence!
Early morning wake up, present exchange and snooze was how we spent Christmas morning. Spoilt once again by my new hubby, with an array of lovely gifts, with more to follow too, as Santa (or Royal Mail) didn’t know we were hiding up in Darlington for Crimbo! However, he did know that Phil left his belt at the airport security desks by accident, and brought him, amongst other things, a shiny new one! 😀
Christmas day was then spent with family, dinner with Phil’s family, tea with mine. We were both taken aback by the generosity of everyone, and ended up coming home with bags and bags of fantastic, and very thoughtful, Christmas presents.
Christmas is always special, no matter what, but this year was made EXTRA special with a proposal! Jessica, Phil’s sister and my little sis in law, is now engaged to her lovely boyfriend, or should I say fiancé, Shaun. He is a Mag, but other than that he is a good lad 😉 and we couldn’t be happier for them. All the love and luck in the world to a great couple. Another happily ever after about to start 😀 It is all so exciting!
Now, Christmas day always means a good drink, and this year was no exception. After getting home about 2am from my parents house, I was not happy to hear the alarm go off on Boxing Day. I could have slept all day, happily, if it were not for one thing, footy! We had been looking forward to getting back into our season ticket seats to cheer Sunderland on for the whole time we had been in Toronto, and Newcastle at home felt like such a long time ago! Boxing Day is always a big session with mates, so hangover or no hangover, we were in the pub for 11.30 with friends we hadn’t seen since the last match.
After a few hours in the pub we set off for the Stadium of Light. We had Manchester City at home, and half of our team out, so on paper we looked as if we had no chance. But when does that ever matter to SAFC eh? HAWAY MY BONNY LADS!! We only bloody went and won it! What a welcome back 😀 With no voice, and absolutely buzzing, we headed back out for celebratory drinks! And celebrate we did! Looong into the early hours. We love you Sunderland we do, oooh Sunderland we love you!! 😀
A couple of days of resting and relaxing followed before we headed off to the SoL again. This time though, unfortunately, Spurs outplayed us and took the three points, but as always at the last match of the year, we paid our respects and remembered members of the SAFC family who are no longer with us. For us, that was a great man and good friend by the name of George Summerside. Rest in peace Podgy, you are still sorely missed. That’s why you’re top of the league.
Saturday night was spent catching up with the bezzies, Kelly and Ian. We ate, drank and got merry! One of the hardest things about moving away is not seeing Kelly as often as usual. We have been best friends since our first day at school at 5 years old, and no matter what has happened in life since then we have been together. Plenty of other people have came and gone from our lives, but we have remained best friends no matter what. It is rare to have a friendship like this, and I am very thankful that we have each other. Kell works as a nurse, and works bloody long, hard hours, so this was the first time we had to properly spend some time together since I got back and I loved it. We slept over on the airbed, mind, when I say slept, I meant didn’t sleep haha!
We then spent a few hours the next day with Emily, who has grown SOO much in the couple of months I have been away!! She loved her Christmas present we got her… a pink guitar! 😀 Although she did get a shock and shed a few tears when she realised pressing the buttons meant a VERY loud noise haha. Emily makes me laugh so much, I love her, and it makes me so sad that I am going to miss so much of her growing up in 2013, but with my new personalised Emily calendar, she will be joining us wherever we are 😀 (That and Skype!)
Last night was finished off by going to the cinema with Phil and my Father in law to see The Hobbit. We loaded up on snacks, and thoroughly enjoyed the film. For the first time ever I came away thinking I enjoyed it more than the book.
And with that the official end of the Christmas festivities and beginning of the new year knees up. Before the beers start I will be chilling with tea in my new tea pot with tea cosy from Kelly, Ian and Emily and Cath Kidston mug from Phil’s Mam and Dad 😀
We have spent he best time with our families, they are amazing as always, we would be lost without them. We have made some great new friends over the Christmas period, and had the best time catching up with old ones. Our first Christmas as man and wife has been as magical as we had hoped. Simply, we had, a wonderful Christmas time. I hope you did too.