A path untrodden

A path untrodden

Someone I haven’t known all that long, but whom I would class as a very good friend, has just done something crazy. Amazing. Terrifying. Admirable. Brave. She has left the place she knows, where her friends are, where she had a fabulous job, where she called home, to live in a city she’d never visited, in a country she’d never been to, where they speak a language she doesn’t know. She’s young and has her whole life ahead of her, and I absolutely love how she is walking her own path instead of waiting for one to appear in front of her. She was at a crossroads and instead of playing it safe or choosing the easy way, she is doing something incredible. I’m jealous. I’m sad, too.

It’s not often you meet someone you think you really relate to. Someone with lots of common interests. Someone you enjoy talking to and listening to. Someone you can be honest with. For me, Amber Bell is one of those people. Sassy and ambitious, I was so pleased to get to know her. We aren’t incredibly close, but we just click. I certainly think we do anyway.

I don’t have many friends. Those I have are friends because I make time for them and they make time for me. After moving to Cardiff permanently I really struggled to meet people who I would class as friends as opposed to acquaintances, perhaps. Luckily I met a few early on who are still good friends now. With friendship quality is much more important than quantity. But Amber is someone I met fairly recently (in the last year or so) and now she’s gone. And I’m gutted. Florence captured her heart and she went to find it there. I hope to visit next year. In the meantime I will have to make do with her wonderful blog as company.

What she’s doing though, makes me question what I’m doing. I’ve never gone travelling, for example, and I’ve never lived outside of the UK. Everyone I know who has says it’s the best thing they have ever done. So, am I missing out?

I’ve always played life quite safe. I did well at school, did a sensible degree, worked hard to get a sensible job. The only crazy or brave thing I’ve ever really done was to quit that job. And I was right to do so. I could have stayed there and been unhappy. But I hated being unhappy. I was the one to make the decision to turn off that path and find another one. I’m not sure where it will take me, but I’m much happier walking down it. There will be other paths, I’m sure, but I will be the one to find them. Make them. Opportunities don’t fall in our laps unless we are very lucky or were born with a silver spoon.

One day I hope I can travel. See more of the world. I’m envious of the freedom Amber has and the adventures she is going to experience. I hope that moving to Florence was the best decision she ever made. For me, there are things to keep me where I am right now. Those are important things that I hold dear. I’m in a good place and I remind myself of that every day. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be other paths which I lay down for myself further down the line.

When the time is right.

What December means to me

Hello December

It’s that time again. The chill I feel in my bones, the mist I make when I breathe, and the frost which sleeps on my car, all tells me that we have turned the twelfth corner of 2014. We have entered the final chapter of the year, and who knows what will be written on its pages. November arrived in a flurry of fallen leaves and promptly left again. Which leaves us only with December, and all its glory. I’m not one of those people who has my Christmas tree up by now, listens only to Christmas albums on repeat, and has the presents already wrapped and under said tree. Far from it. Having said that, I am incredibly partial to some festive cheer and I feel content knowing that Christmas is on its way. Why? For me, it’s all about family.

When I properly moved to Cardiff 4 years ago I knew I wouldn’t be able to see my family very often. It’s a sacrifice I made to pursue a career good enough to be able to live very comfortably. However, that career was short-lived. I was miserable. What is the point in living very comfortably when, most of the time, you just don’t feel happy? I digress. Having lived away from my family for so long, it’s times like December when I feel a bubbling excitement. Not just because I will soon be eating Christmas ham while sipping bucks fizz, devouring a big fat turkey, and stuffing myself with as many pigs in blankets as I can possibly stomach, but because I will be going home. They say it’s where the heart is.

This year, I will be spending Christmas Day and Boxing Day at Olly’s parents’ and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to feel when the time comes. It will be the first time I wake up on Christmas morning without my mum, dad and sister. I might even cry a little. The voice inside is saying ‘You’re 26 woman! Grow up!’ That may be true. But for me, the charm of Christmas is about being a child again. I want to hold on to everything I loved about that time of year when I was young. Sleeping in the same room as my sister on Christmas Eve and opening our stockings together in the early hours. A Christmas morning walk. Trying to de-stress my mum. Sorting the presents under the tree into piles for the family. Dressing the dogs in their bows and bells and laughing as they help us unwrap. Listening to the same tape (yes, tape) of Christmas tunes over and over while we eat lunch as a big family. Playing board games long into the evening. Curling into the sofa to read. Laughing. Laughing lots.

I don’t want things to change. I know they have to, but I don’t want them to. I don’t have either grandpas around any more, my uncle, aunt and cousins are gone, and one of our beloved border collies passed away earlier this year. I’m in a relationship and it’s only fair that we split Christmases between our equivalent families. My sister is also now in a relationship which means she will be doing the same. What I have to come to terms with, is that it isn’t Christmas itself which makes anything special. It is simply being surrounded by the people I love. It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is. Things will inevitably be different. The important thing is that I try and embrace those differences.

This year, December will be about remembering the ones I have lost, smiling at the memories, loving the ones I still have, making new memories, chatting to my parents late into the night, reading, writing, walking, eating, laughing. And wondering what 2015 might have in store.

What does December mean to you?

An ode to time

Clock 2

Time.

How can there be so much of you, and so little.

I thought I controlled my days but I don’t, you do.

You are around me always, yet so elusive.

I keep losing you, but you were never mine.

When I need more of you, I can’t find you.

You are constant, yet I am always running out of you.

You can be so fast, and so slow, but you are always the same.

I don’t have you, but I always need you.

Despite your value, I often waste you.

I never capture you, but you always escape me.

You don’t do anything, but you define everything.

You make the world go round.

I simply watch.

I’m in NoFit State for aerial skills

Bianco Nofit State circus Cardiff

As I write this, the morning after the night before, my hands have not entirely recovered from the rope burn. Bruises are starting to form on my feet and the bottom of my legs. Don’t worry, not the cause of anything sinister. As part of my campaign for change this year I, perhaps foolishly and definitely impulsively, signed up for an 8 week aerial skills class at the NoFit State circus in Cardiff.

I first stumbled across this circus a few months ago when they were performing their show Bianco in a big silver top right in the heart of my adopted city. I can’t remember actually going to a circus before, maybe I did as a child, but I read a book called The Night Circus last year and adored it. So when Bianco was on, I was desperate to experience it. And what an experience it was. It was like stepping into another world. Mesmerizing and beautiful, I watched the performers put their souls into the show, making their bodies do incredible abnormal things, and enchanting the crowd as they did so. I went home blown away and giddy by what I had seen.

When I was on a Googleing frenzy a few weeks ago I discovered that NoFit State were running classes in a variety of skills for total beginners. Me, in fervent fantasy of flying, whipped the credit card out there and then for the aerial skills class. I imagined myself flipping from one flying trapeze to another, twirling my way round a hoop, wrapping myself up in silks mid-air, and thought yes, this one’s for me.

When watching a show, you obviously appreciate that the circus performers have trained really hard to be able to perform to such an amazing standard, and you understand that a serious amount of core strength and agility is required to be able to do the things they do, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I realised quite how much. And that’s by literally just pricking my finger on the top of the iceberg.

Turning up on my own with the typical worries that every other person in the class would have gone with a friend, I was surprised at how many people were there. After a decent warm up we were split into groups and told that the word ‘can’t’ wasn’t in our trainer’s vocabulary. Uh oh.

My first task was the rope. A simple ‘Classic’ climb. Hmm, simple for koalas yes. But after a few attempts I just about grasped the basics, even if my poor little size fives were suffering for it. We learnt a second ‘Russian’ climb, an upside down straddle, and eventually a foot-lock, which I didn’t quite manage. For me the most difficult part was merely holding myself up. When I’m on that rope I feel like I am the weight of a blue whale, and my arms are just too weak to keep me there for long enough. Perhaps a sign that I shouldn’t have given up crossfit…

Towards the end of the session I moved on to the trapeze, which was slightly less painful on the tootsies. The main challenge was preventing the trapeze from wobbling about too much. We made a couple of shapes from sitting and standing positions and at one point my arms just decided to fail me and I performed what one trainer described as an ‘epic dismount’. By which she meant definitely not epic.

It’s fair to say that I have an entirely new, and utmost, respect for circus performers.

After the class my hands ached so much I almost had to use both of them to put the car into reverse. When I got home Olly asked if I enjoyed myself. I did, but I hate that feeling of not being very good at something. I’ve always been competitive, especially against myself, and when I was younger I was able to do pretty much whatever I put my mind to. But this journey I’m on at the moment is all about putting myself out there, stepping outside the comfort zone, doing something new. If I don’t like it, it doesn’t matter. If I’m rubbish at it, at least I had fun trying. Just because you’re scared of the idea of something, or you don’t know what you’re letting yourself in for, do it anyway. If you don’t, are you really living?

Fingers crossed (I actually just tried and it hurts) I can see an improvement in my skills next week, and the week after that. I’ll sure as hell turn up with a positive attitude every time.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes

I’ve been away, and now I’m back. And now that I’m back, I need to address some things. The first is this vicious circle of tiredness that I’ve found myself in. As I’ve described before, I find it immensely difficult to tear myself out of my pit in the mornings and I wish it was easier to jump out of bed and feel full of energy from the moment my alarm goes off. Ok, so maybe that’s a little too optimistic, but I just can’t deal with the feeling of dread when ‘that time’ comes. Surely it shouldn’t be so hard? The colder days make peeling off the warm duvet and relinquishing my cocoon even more unbearable. But I’ve really started to ask myself why? Why do I feel just as tired in the mornings as I did when I went to bed? Why do I spend my afternoons yawning at my computer screen? Why do I feel constantly lethargic and use that as an excuse not to do things?

Yesterday I was having a little relax on the sofa after work while Olly was at football and I decided to have some bread. I cut a hunky chunk of three cheese loaf and ate it. It was so good I decided to have another chunk. Now, white bread isn’t healthy, and I’m pleased to say I very rarely have it, but yesterday I had enough to feed a small army of ducks. About half an hour after the devouring I felt awful. And it really got me thinking. How much of what I put into my body is affecting how tired I feel? Affecting how good I feel FULL STOP?

I was one of those kids that did every sport under the sun. When I got older I chose the sports to focus on and exercised a lot. This meant that even if my diet wasn’t fantastic, I would still feel fine because I was active. These days, exercise takes a back seat. I also eat the things I want to eat, rather than the things I should eat. I would prefer that this wasn’t the case, but recently I’ve had other priorities. I think it’s about time that those priorities changed a bit. So, here’s the plan.

1. Become a green machine. Vegetables are far from my best friend, but I feel we need to become better acquainted. This means doing some serious juicing and getting the steamer out more often. I also need to cut down on the sugar and, in line with number 2 below, up my protein.

2.  Get off my arse. Being tired means I don’t often feel like exercising, but if I don’t exercise then I’m not going to feel energetic or rejuvenated. Basically, I need to put in to get out. I’m not playing netball any more so I need to find a substitute. I’m starting something very new and exciting next week, but that’s not enough. I need to get back in the pool because I do actually love to swim (SO IT MAKES SENSE) and maybe even do some home workouts. YES Jane Fonda. Umm maybe not.

3. Early nights. The body clock needs to be in a good place for me to be in a good place.

I’m keeping it simple. I’m fed up of feeling like a lump and I know things can’t change overnight, but I do need to try harder to be good to myself. I’ll never be a preacher of ‘my body is a temple’ – depriving yourself of the things you like means depriving yourself of an element of joy – but now that I’m getting older *sob* I do need to be more careful about my health and my lifestyle. Me 8 years ago would be pretty ashamed of me today.

Living for the present v living for the future

Traintrack

I have always been someone who looks towards the future. Someone who thinks that what I’m doing at a certain point in time isn’t good enough and I want to move onto the next thing. Because then, life will be better. My mother would corroborate this. When I was in primary school, I wanted to go to ‘big’ school. When in secondary school, I wanted to go to university. When at university, I wanted to start my career. And so on. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the times I spent doing any of those things, but it meant that I wasn’t always living in the present. I was always looking towards the next step. This isn’t always helped by circumstances. For example, I studied Law at university and you have to start applying for training contracts at the end of the first year, because so many firms recruit two years in advance. This forces you to think about your future. Where you want to be, what you want to be doing.

I do still do this now, to an extent. One of the reasons I left my job as a lawyer was because I simply couldn’t see myself doing it in five years’ time. In this respect, evaluating how I wanted my future to look was a good thing, because it meant I changed path sooner rather than later. Luckily, making that change was the right thing to do. But although I’ve found a job I’m really happy doing and feel settled within it, I still can’t help thinking ‘what’s next?’ Not in terms of job – I hope to stay where I am for a long time and grow organically with the business – but in terms of life. I’ve been living in my one-bed flat for just over four years now, and it’s great. Ideal location, generous size, lovely inside. It’s served me exceptionally well. When Olly moved in a couple of years ago, it was a squeeze. But we have worked around the space issue and, generally, it’s just fine. But sometimes, I do want more indoor space. And almost all of the time, I want outdoor space. The answer? I want to move to a bigger house with a garden. The flat just doesn’t cut the mustard any more. Cue becoming obsessed with Rightmove and becoming ridiculously excited by the idea of having a shiny new home.

Olly isn’t quite on the same page. Why do we need to move now? We are happy where we are. And it’s true, we are happy where we are. But I had started to see all the flaws in where we lived and was focused only on how our life could be improved by living elsewhere, instead of thinking about all the positive things which our current circumstances offer and how good we already have it.

What I’m learning is that it’s fine to look towards your future. In fact, it’s important to do so. People should always have dreams and ambitions. But equally, it’s important not to become so immersed in how you want your future to be that you don’t appreciate what you already have today. So I’ve taken my foot off the moving house pedal. Our flat is warm and cosy in the winter, I no longer have to wear corporate clothing for my job so I can clear some more space in the wardrobe, and the lack of garden can force us to get out the house even more in the summer. I actually have it really good, and I’m lucky. So I need to spend more time appreciating the present and less time mapping out the future. I’m a complete believer in fate, and as much as we can try and master our own destinies, what will be will be.

So be an optimist, or at least a realist. Even if you think your life or the things in it are not the way you want them, turn your thinking around. There are always silver linings floating around, you just need to find them and change your attitude. If you live too much for the future, your present will pass you by. And there could be a whole lot of happy that you miss out on.

The start of change, a terrible sense of direction, and my first pottery class

Pottery throwing

This year I have decided to focus on CHANGE.  Mix things up a bit.  Try something different.  When I moved back to Cardiff a few years ago and knew almost no-one I decided to stay in my comfort zone, which meant joining a local netball club to play the sport I had played since I was almost a dot.  I still love the sport but, as with anything competitive, it comes with its stresses.  Stress is now off my agenda.  I’ve already parted ways with a stressful job (ok, make that two stressful jobs, but more about that another day) and now I’m all about doing new things which bring me enjoyment, fun, and zero anxiety.  Well, that’s the plan.

Item #1 on the agenda: pottery.  I wouldn’t describe myself as enormously crafty, but an interest has certainly been sparked in that department recently and I’m keen to explore it.  If I put my mind to something, I can be surprisingly creative.  Earlier in the year I watched Monty Don’s Real Craft and found it fascinating, the pottery episode in particular.  So a few weeks back I got my big balls out and somewhat compulsively booked on an open course at the Cardiff School of Art and Design (check them out, they run some amazing ones).  Yesterday was the first class.  I gave myself half an hour to get there.  Plenty of time even in rush hour traffic.

My Dad has always been bitterly disappointed that his eldest daughter failed to inherit his sense of direction (he was probably a homing pigeon in a former life, whereas I must have been a magpie because I like shiny things and I annoy people).  But I looked the venue up on a map before I left and I was completely confident I did not need a satnav because it was seriously easy to find.  Note to self: NEVER BELIEVE THAT AGAIN.  I ended up going on and on up this busy road before concluding that the enormous university building definitely was not situated along it, and proceeded to take a right into a no-through road suitable only for miniature items (items excluding Vauxhall Corsas).  Attempting to manoeuvre myself back round probably took about 10 minutes and a 100 point turn (so by this time I was already late for the class), but what makes it that much worse is that I had a slight significant altercation with a miniature WALL in doing so.  Cue crunching noise, removed paintwork and a small dent.  Oh, and lots of stress.

When I finally rocked up at the flipping campus I just wanted to cry.  But tears were not going to create masterful pots of beauty, oh no.  So I located a hairy person from the student union to guide me through the building maze and I eventually reached my destination.

Attempting, and almost succeeding, to forget about my vehicle woes I threw myself into pottery throwing (ha), a thoroughly therapeutic activity.  My first pot went slightly wonky and thus became a strange jug, my second broke in half so became a large egg cup, and my third became an actual, if slightly uneven, pot.  It’s something that looks so easy, but requires real skill to do well.  I guess that’s why it’s a craft.  Our teacher was wonderful, if a little potty (oh stop) and I’m pretty excited to see how I progress over the course.  There’s a surprising amount of different elements involved with pottery, beyond throwing on the wheel, and I wonder which I’ll take to best.  I just hope my creations don’t blow up in the kiln.

Oh and friends, you all know what you’ll be getting for Christmas.

I heart X Factor and I’m not ashamed to admit it

X factor

Yesterday was pretty perfect.  A lie-in (always an absolute winner in my book), an afternoon surfing in the refreshing, but somewhat murky, waters of Porthcawl, a deliciously hot shower, cosy clothes, a take-away curry and the televised dramas of X Factor.  Just thinking about it makes me feel all fuzzy inside.

X Factor is one of those programmes people love to hate, but I just love it.  The changes on the judging panel have seen my love waver (ok, and the sob stories, and the decisions which bamboozle the entire country), but this year my love is well and truly MAXED OUT.  Why?  One word.  Cheryl.  She.  Is.  Back.  I cannot really describe how I feel about this woman.  She is, in my eyes (not Olly’s thank GOD), the most beautiful creature I have ever seen.  And I’m straight.

I have had a slight obsession with Mrs Fernandez-Versini since the days of Popstars: The Rivals (umm, see a theme here?) when she was, let’s be honest, a chav with a terrible singing voice.  But, I saw the potential.  And, sure enough, she blossomed.  It’s been over a decade and my love is still going strong.  To the point where, when X Factor shows a close up of her face, I move closer to the TV.  I’ve seen Girls Aloud twice, I own all her solo albums even though her singing hasn’t much improved, and when Olly is out I watch her tour DVD.  I could stare at the woman all day.  It’s a wonder I haven’t got a photo of her on my fridge.  Hang on…

The difference between being alone and being lonely

Alone

Some people might consider being alone and being lonely to be the same thing, but I disagree.  Sure, there are cross-overs, but they can also have distinct differences.  I am very good at being alone.  I am not at all good at being lonely.  The biggest difference I see is the choice you have: a person can choose to be alone, but does not choose to be lonely.

When I bought my flat aged 22 I made the decision to live on my own, something which may seem unusual.  Many others I knew at that age chose to live with friends, or at least flat share with people they had found on the internet.  Sometimes a person can’t afford to live alone even if they wanted to, I understand that, but for me the decision was more about being able to do exactly what I wanted, when I wanted.  And if the place got messy, I could only be mad at myself.  I loved coming home from work in the evenings to a cosy warm flat, dancing like no-one was watching (because no-one was), singing in the shower, leaving the washing up till I could be bothered to do it and, on occasion, watching TV till 1am (luckily I had kicked the habit of late night quiz shows in university, my god those awful programmes were addictive).

Basically, I was more than happy to be alone.  Oddly, perhaps, I have always enjoyed the company of me, myself and I.  I can socialise with others when I choose to, not because I have to.  I have always been good at saying no.  I’m not anti-social, but I’ve never been the biggest people person.  There always comes a time when I long for peace and quiet.  On a night out (rare these days), there always comes a point where I visualise my bed and then want to leave.

Now that Olly lives with me I don’t get a lot of time to be alone, but this is fine because he’s my best friend.  I can be completely myself around him (so yes, he’s seen plenty of crazy dance moves) and if I don’t want to talk, I don’t have to.  Despite this, it’s still important to take some time and space from each other.  It allows you to be immersed only in your own thoughts, without the contamination of anyone else’s for a little while.  Always good for perspective and reflection.  But when I don’t want to be alone any more, I can choose not to be.

Loneliness is a whole other ball game.  You can be lonely when you are alone, but you can also be lonely in a room brimming with other people.  You can be lonely sitting next to your best friend and not being able to say what you are dying to say.  You can be lonely even if you have a hundred friends.  Loneliness is consuming.  It is an emptiness inside which longs to be filled.  The absence of choice separates it from simply ‘being alone’.

At one of the law firms I used to work for, we held a coffee morning for members of the charity Contact the Elderly, which brings together elderly men and women who are missing companionship in their lives.  After speaking to many of them, it became clear that they lived for these meetings.  These meetings kept them going.  They looked forward to them and were disappointed when they were over.  Did this mean that they felt lonely the rest of the time?  That they felt they had no-one to talk to?  No-one to just keep them company?  For a lot of them it did unfortunately mean this.  But they were so grateful to have a place where that loneliness went away, even if it was just for a short while.

Everyone has experienced being alone at some point, and most people will have felt some sort of loneliness too.  But the latter is a negative feeling.  It is a feeling that something is missing, rather than a feeling of reflecting upon what is there.  Loneliness can be a craving for interaction with other people, while being alone can be a desperate need to escape from others.

What do you think the differences are?

10 reasons to be happy summer is over

Sunset through corn

The summer is special.  Being in the great warm outdoors is something I couldn’t live without.  Bright evening bike rides, golden hour strolls, or just sitting on a bench somewhere watching the world go by, summer makes me feel as if there is life to live once work has finished for the day.  And at the weekend, the world is your oyster.

But we have to be honest with ourselves.  The sun has set on summertime.  Soon the darkness will eat everything up before I even step foot out of the office in the evenings, and that is always a sad time of year.  It limits my options.  It also encourages me to simply go home and curl up in the warm comfort of home, which is not acceptable every day of the week; I am not a mouse.  But instead of feeling miserable that it’s almost ‘that time of year’ again, I have put together 10 reasons to be happy that summer is officially out, and autumn and winter are in.

1. Hot bubble baths

Baths are one of my favourite things in the whole world, but they aren’t really acceptable in the summer.  Why would you want to make yourself hotter and sweatier when it’s 20+ degrees outside?  Ok, so that doesn’t happen a huge amount in the UK.  But when that temperature drops, so do my clothes.  An evening spent in a piping hot bath full of Radox bubbles and lavender oil is number 1 on my ‘How to Relax’ list.  It’s also the place where I do a lot of reading and make pretty much all of my phone calls.

2. Cuddles in bed

No longer will Olly be able to get away with the excuse ‘I’m too hot’ when I climb into bed and transform myself into a limpet or demand to be spooned.

3. Scented candles

Despite their energy saving abilities, lighting candles just isn’t the done during summertime.  But with dusk creeping up on us earlier and earlier, fire up those babies and fill your home with the scent of whatever takes your fancy.  I’m a fan of musky and floral (but not overly sweet) scents and I have just purchased this wild jasmine scented candle tin.  Has anyone tried it?

4. Considerably better TV

Common sense often escapes me.  I mentioned to Olly the other day that TV had been rubbish recently and I couldn’t understand why.  He kindly clarified that as most people are out enjoying the pleasant late evenings, a good gritty drama just wouldn’t get the audience.   It seems so obvious now…  So, I am looking forward to what the BBC and ITV have in store over the next few months.  I sincerely hope the second series of Broadchurch will be as good as the first.

5. Guilt-free lie-ins

The guilt which I experience from lying in and effectively ‘wasting away’ my mornings decreases during the colder months.  If there’s no sun to lap up outside, there’s no harm in rotting away under the duvet, right?

6. Soups and slow cooker meals

Thick soups and hearty stews are just plain wrong in hot weather.  The word ‘stew’ is practically defined as ‘something you eat when it is cold and miserable outside’.

7. Full length pyjamas

I am one of those people who changes out of normal clothes the moment I walk in the front door.  Off with you restrictive black chinos!  Get back in your drawer denim jeans!  In the earlier evening, I opt for joggers which are fluffy and cosy on the inside.  But later on, the full length pyjamas come out to play.  Ahh is there anything more comfortable?  I’ve dropped a hint to Olly that I want a new pair of luxury winter pyjamas, but he just laughs at the words ‘luxury’ and ‘pyjamas’ together.  Which leads me to believe that my current ones make me look like a pauper.

8. The chance of snow

The white stuff is pretty darn beautiful.  I don’t want to drive in it, and I would rather not be out in it for too long because my fingers and lips turn blue, but I could sure look at it all day long.

9. Colour changes

My favourite thing about Autumn is the colour of the leaves turning to a rusty, golden brown and peppering the ground.  And they are still a lot of fun to kick around.

10.  Countdown to Christmas

It’s ages off, and I can’t stand seeing all the paraphernalia in the shops when it’s only September, but Christmas has a habit of creeping up on you.  Now that I live quite far away from where I was brought up, and where my parents still live, the excitement of Christmas is all about family.  And food, obviously.

Is there anything you would add to the list?