Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Gareth's stocking for me. I'm a lucky girl!
(without the tea, because I was already drinking it!)
So finally it's Christmas day. I've had my annual stress about cooking Christmas dinner ("we can't cook roast potatoes in half an hour" I wailed to my fiancĂ©, after arriving home a little late and a little tipsy from visiting the in-laws.) - although this was far less traumatic than last year when I managed to throw an entire canister of salt in to the gravy I'd spent ages making from the turkey entrails and slow cooked onions.

Anyway - Merry Christmas to you all! I hope you've all got past the rush of the presents (and the breakfast of Buck's Fizz..), the grumpiness of standing in the boiling kitchen wondering why something just won't boil, and the traditional arguments and are now sitting in a warm fug in front of the telly contemplating why anybody needs dessert after that massive meal (yet knowing it's compulsory for good reason - it's bloody lovely.)

This year has made me more set in my desire to have children early. An adult Christmas full of booze and relaxation is glorious, but lacks magic. I see photos all over Facebook and twitter of rooms filled from Santa's sack and the faces of nieces and nephews beaming. I can't wait for that in our house. However the few solely adult years are great in their own ways - it's been great fun to do the stocking challenge we set for ourselves, and treat ourselves to more generous gifts than we normally would choose to.

My stocking for Gareth.

Here are the results of our stocking challenge (the names are the person that gave the present):

Something for £1 or under:
Aimee: a "hit die" (a di(c)e with different body parts on it) and various massage tokens.
Gareth: a miniature wheelie bin (because I constantly moan about the fact the council owes us two bins.)

Something shiny:

Aimee: a pack of cards covered in gold foil.
Gareth: A welsh dragon keyring, a badge with English and Welsh flags (seeing as I am now half-Welsh apparently) and some lovely glittery nail polishes.

You want but is disguised as a gift for other person:
Aimee: massage oils
Gareth: The Matrix Blu-Ray box set

That reminds me of you:
Aimee: a toy frog with long legs (an in-joke)
Gareth: a book of WW1 poetry (my favourite literary period)

To keep:
Aimee: a notebook with photos of family, friends and events from the past year cut out and pasted all over it.
Gareth: a certificate saying he is mine forever. (This is a useful confirmation prior to getting married!)

Second Hand:
Aimee: The Eternity Clock PS3 Game
Gareth: a cuddly toy bear with an awesome hat.

Edible:
Aimee: white chocolate fudge covered pretzels
Gareth: tea leaves, a tea diffuser and a posh tea cup.

To do together:
Aimee: Gormenghast: the board game.
Gareth: Doctor Who puzzle.

You hate:
Aimee: A magnet saying "Keep Calm Cameron's in Charge!!!" 
Gareth: Thorntons chocolates (which I think taste really plastic-y), a Justin Bieber calendar and One Direction tissues. (Yes, I think he went a little overboard on this category.)

Useful:
Aimee: a Dominion Board (for the board game Dominion)
Gareth: a little book of Cocktail tips (epic!)

All in all I really enjoyed buying presents from a list, and if it's interested you then I recommend trying it next year. It curbed my habit of impulse-buying everything cool I see, and it meant I paid more attention to what I did get. It also meant I could spend more money on his main present (a Last Exit to Nowhere hoodie and loads of cool geeky t-shirts) - which I think is much nicer than loads of random tat.


Saturday, 7 December 2013

Road Safety

I've just had a rather unnerving experience, proving to me just how indestructible humans believe they are. It's 6am, pitch black, a little icy on the roads and I'm driving home after giving my fiance a lift into work. I'm only driving at 20mph (our house is only a few minutes away, I'm in no hurry - getting home means I have to start getting ready for work), although the speed limit of the road is 30mph and cars often drive it much faster, into the 40's when it's quiet. I turn a corner and nearly scream, a woman is only a few feet from my car jogging merrily in the road. I slow down, she smiles and hops on to the pavement. Yes, the pavement.

As much as I applaud anybody who goes for a run at 6am in the complete dark and freezing cold please, please employ some road sense: wear high visibility; black running clothes, like this woman was wearing, mean you do not stand out. And if there is a safe place for you to run (like the pavement for example..) please use it, rather than presuming that you won't see cars because it's a quiet time of day or you will have time to act if one does come screaming past. If I hadn't been driving slowly, then potentially today could have been a far scarier experience. I admit, I am possibly over-reacting but I'm sitting here with all the "what could have been"s running through my head, and it makes me so anxious.

Please take care of yourselves. Take a few extra seconds to think about what you are doing and improve your safety.