I can't believe how quickly Christmas and New Years came around. We have had a fairly nice festive season but it's simply not the same without family around. Andrew had some leave he had to use up because you can only carry 5 days over into the new year over here so he had a pretty relaxing time. I was at work for all the days in between the statutory holidays but I didn't mind. To be honest it was very quiet in the office and we also had a couple of short days when we finished at 1pm. It was amazing how quiet the streets were during this time and the tube was pretty much empty. Crazy for London!
We had Christmas Day at Amber and Russell Dixon's (friends from New Zealand) so at least we had company and was nice to be with some fellow Kiwi's. Andrew and I wore our Reindeer 'Onesies' because Amber had requested that we all dressed up Christmassy. We felt a bit silly walking there in them but we were warm and we even got a few toots which was quite amusing. The 'Onesies' didn't last long once we got there because it was so lovely and warm inside that we were simply too hot but everyone seemed impressed at the effort we had made. A couple of other 'orphans' were there and their flatmate Sam who we knew of course from when we stayed at Amber and Russell's when we first arrived in London.
We watched some movies while a few pressies were opened and it was very relaxing. We had Christmas dinner at about 3pm thanks to Russell and Sam who were very busy boys in the kitchen! They insisted we didn't help so we stayed out of their way and left them to it. I had prepared some little smoked salmon blinis and Amber had bought all sorts of amazing cheeses and spreads to have with crackers for starters. We definitely weren't short of food! Christmas dinner was really nice with lots of yummy roast veges and meat and I cooked a piece of fish for me.
After dinner we played a game called 'The Christmas Grinch Game' which was good fun and Andrew and I actually did really well. So we all bought about 5 wrapped presents and these were all put in the centre of a circle. A pair of dice is passed around the circle and if you get a double you can select a gift. Once all the gifts have been taken you start a timer for a certain amount of time (we did 10 minutes) and you keep rolling the dice, but this time you steal presents from other people. Once the time is up you open up the pressies and they are yours to keep! It is a great game and can get quite competitive because people tend to go for the interesting shaped objects. We have played a similar version of this game with Dad and Kaye and all the family except we open the presents after the first round which is quite different because you can see what gifts you are fighting for. Anyway we then had a Christmas Quiz that Russell had made up and Andrew and I didn't do very well at this at all! The questions were mainly about Christmas movies and Andrew and I hadn't seen hardly any of them. Amber ended up winning this so got a wee prize.
Then it was desert time and Andrew and I didn't hang around too long after this because we wanted to make sure we didn't miss our Skype call that we had arranged to have with Mum and John. We enjoyed the rest of the evening chilling out just the two of us! It didn't really feel like Christmas Day to be honest but I think that was mainly because I had no family around me and for the first time yet I think I was a tad homesick. It was great chatting to everyone on Skype though and this definitely made it so much easier. Technology is just getting better and better all the time!
On New Years Eve the weather was so horrible and because we weren't that fussed about doing much we ended up having the night at home. We had a few drinks and watched some nice movies then we watched the countdown and amazing fireworks in the City. We managed to speak to all the family back home too so that was a bonus! Work has been very quiet since New Years because a lot of our customers have been on holiday and although it's not really a bad thing I do hope things pick up soon. I never thought I'd be saying that because we have had such crazy busy times when I have thought that I would never get to the bottom of things but there ya go. I definitely thrive on being busy! Andrew's work was very quiet over the festive season too but it is starting to pick up again now and he has a couple of trips away planned over the next few months so that will make for a change. He is off to York on Monday morning and I have taken some leave so I can join him there on Wednesday and we will return on Friday afternoon. Although he is working we thought it would be a good opportunity for me to visit York and considering accommodation is paid for this will make it a cheap holiday. I am very much looking forward to it!
Weather permitting, we are off to Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park tomorrow afternoon/evening to finish off our Christmas Winter so that should be fun!