Wednesday, January 31, 2007

In which I feel jaded and irritated at the male population in general

Oops – can you tell I’m back at work? No posts for a week and a half! Darn it, one of my resolutions was to post at least twice a week. Not even February and already I’m falling behind…

So, the latest haps with me? Colour me fed up. Fed up with the boys I like not liking me back. Fed up with every kind of ning-nong in the city messaging me through the site saying nothing more than ‘hi hows things?’ (even if they do put a smiley beside it). Fed up with not being able to cut a break on the romantic side of life ever.

Yup, I’m grumpy. And I’m seriously concerned at these bad vibes I’m sending out into the world! This is surely not going to attract any lovely swoon-worthy men to my door… I am trying to stay positive but it’s an effort right now.

In other news, last week out of the blue I got a message from a chap I went out with a couple of times back in October.

Hey beautiful, how have you been?

I'd be keen to catch up for dinner if you are,
I'm sure a lot has happened since we last met.

Have a magic day

Lush Fertile Tantric Astrological Not-boyfriend

Just to clarify, Lush Fertile Tantric Astrological Not-boyfriend is not his real name, it’s the silly nickname my friend Mindy and I developed for him as we discussed him through emails back the first time around.

Lush for no other reason than it’s a great word and at that point we were stretching his nickname to ridiculous lengths...

because he has a kid. Not something that features on my list of the ideal guy for me, but hey, not a deal-breaker.

Astrological because on our first date, drinks at a local pub, he launched into an analysis of the compatibility of our star signs (the short version: our star signs apparently share great sexual chemistry but struggle in other areas).

Are you getting the picture? This guy is very new-agey. Now, I didn't and still don't think this is a bad thing – I have definite new-agey tendencies myself (although I try to keep that mostly under wraps). But Tanty (as we’re now calling him for short) is off the chart. Exhibit A, some snippets from his profile:

I like to really get to know people and their truth, why they're here, what kind of difference they want to make and the magic moments that they experience...

I love to listen to people, how they feel, how they hurt, to laugh and share with them. I'm looking for a friend and partner who will share a journey of discovery, to grow and build something amazing together.

The Tantric bit was me taking a punt that his focus on spiritual enlightenment spills over into the physical side of things. Exhibit B, his thoughts on intimacy:

A sacred part of expression towards the people I love. Intimacy (Into Me See) is not about sex, but about exposing, communicating and releasing physical and emotional barriers to experiencing love.

The Not-boyfriend bit is just to differentiate him from Mindy’s significant other who has a very cute three word nickname of his own (Something Something Boyfriend – yeah, I’d like to tell you - but it’s not really my place).

I had been so curious to meet this guy! Kiwi men are pretty notorious for being staid and so not into showing their ‘sensitive sides’. Definitely some hangovers of the British stiff upper lip there... But Tanty? Wow – very into talking about feelings and emotional experiences. At the end of our first date he kissed me on the cheek, gave me a hug, and said ‘Thanks for connecting with me tonight’.

He could so easily have come off as being incredibly cheesy, but the thing is – I could tell he was genuine and I admired his ability to be 100% open with his thoughts and feelings without any concern at how other people might react.

I was definitely intrigued enough to go on a second date – a nutritious, fibre-rich homecooked meal at his place. And actually it was lovely. It was such a treat to have a man go to the trouble of cooking for me – I really appreciated the thought and effort he put into it. Unsweetened yoghurt and blueberries mightn’t be my idea of dessert, but I could certainly appreciate its antioxidant value and lack of calories.

He had mood music playing in the background (not pan pipes, but not far off it, just quietly!), a big pillar candle was the only light in the room. Even the wine was organic. All this setting the scene led to him offering to give me a foot-rub after dinner, which I graciously allowed him to do. It felt very intimate and sure enough, as my feet lay in his lap he leaned in for the kiss. And??? And zero chemical reaction ensued. No butterflies. No tingles. No acute awareness of what colour underwear I was wearing that night. It was a nice enough kiss, but I felt nothing.

Such a pity, because I came to the conclusion that he'd be a wonderful man to be in a relationship with. We did speak after that night, and we did mention getting together for dinner again. But the days slipped by and he didn’t call me and I didn’t call him and I figured it was well enough to leave it at that. No hard feelings, just clearly not enough interest on either side.

And then last Tuesday I got this message from him. It was a surprise, and a fairly pleasant one. I replied that it would be fun to meet up for dinner again. He'd suggested tonight, but tonight was BODYJAM night (aka brunette babe shaking her boo-tay night) with this guy at my gym and it’s so much fun I refuse to miss it these days. So he said he’d get back to me on Monday when he found out what days he’d have his son this week. That was the Monday just gone and I haven’t heard back from him since (which hasn’t helped my fed-upness).

I didn’t really think this was going to be so much a date as a catch-up, so it’s not like I thought this was leading anywhere. But still, I’m so over it!

I’m trying to gently harbour hope, really I am. But I think I need an attitude adjustment.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Off to work we go

Thanks to those of you who posted comments and sent messages in response to my last post. (Special mention to my lovely friend Angela who emailed me that I rock and that I'm a superfox (apparently that's terminology from 'He's just not that into you') and checked in on me by text on Saturday night to make sure I was OK. You rock! You're a superfox!)

I'm pleased to report that my pity party is officially over - I went to see Babel last night and all of a sudden I'm feeling a lot better about my life. (I imagine I'm the only person who came out of the theatre feeling uplifted...)

Yep, I've picked myself up, brushed myself off, deleted Finlay's number from my phone and I'm ready to move on. In fact, I was all set to 'take care of the quantity' and sign up for speed dating tomorrow night but the website wouldn't let me and on second thought I decided that a brief man-break wouldn't be a bad thing. Take some time to cleanse the palate between courses, so to speak.

I am depressed over something new today though - I had to go back to work! After a glorious month's holiday of doing pretty much stuff all, I actually had to get up at a reasonable hour and be productive for something approaching a full 8 hours. And my commentary on that is something along the lines of 'icky... me no like'.

Oh to be a woman of independent means...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Oh poo

The last couple of days haven’t been much fun.

Things had been ticking along nicely... I was luxuriating in the promise of the new year and feeling happy and hopeful. I was having fun anticipating seeing Finlay again – things had been building so nicely I thought we just might be on the cusp of something sweet. But other plans got in the way of date #4 – shortly after New Year’s he headed out of town for a week’s holiday. He was due to come back in time to start work again this Monday.

Patience has never been a virtue I know much about. If I want something, I want it NOW. I never would have passed the marshmallow test
as a four year old, and I wouldn’t bet money I’d pass it these days either. So come the start of this week I was itching for us to make plans. But, I didn’t want to be the one to initiate them. What with all the gushing online (which actually I don’t think he’s found, but you never know), and the fact that I’d been the one doing all the contacting recently, I thought it was time to back off and let him start the wheel turning again. Which is when my finely-tuned female premonitory system started kicking into overdrive...

On Monday I thought about how he hadn’t even sent a text from his holiday, which I thought he would have done.

On Tuesday, as I logged onto the site we met through I considered the fact that every time I logged in (once every few days, only to fob off the usual morons that seem to like messaging me), his profile always said he’d been online that day.

On Wednesday I realised that although we’d spoken and had the odd text since New Year’s, it had been me who’d instigated it each time.

Yesterday I just felt horrible, convinced he was going to do a Tim on me and I’d never hear from him again. And I was thoroughly confused too – not sure whether my instincts were right (because hello, who could see that one coming?) or whether I was automatically assuming the worst.

But really, I didn’t think my instinct was wrong.

So it was no surprise this morning when I got a message from him through the site telling me that he’d actually met someone and that he doesn’t want to pursue anything other than friendship.

Oh poo.

In some ways it’s good that I’d had a week of uncertainty and doubt, because I’d already girded my loins for a heavy dose of rejection. If that message had come, say, in the middle of his week out of town, it would have blindsided me.

It still stings though. Rejection is never fun. It’s like that line out of A Knight’s Tale, “you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting”. I texted Mindy (When is our movie date this weekend? Finlay told me he’s met someone so it’ll be my only date this weekend, boo!) and I got this lovely reply back:

Finlay’s a dick. Any man who doesn’t instantly love you is a fool

Of course, Finlay’s not a dick. He’s still just as smart and funny and as much of a catch as he ever was. That he told me at all shows that he’s decent. But God bless her, I so needed that – I was right in the middle of a bit of a boo-hoo when it came through, and it made me laugh and cry at the same time.

The truth is, if I have one fear that runs deeper than any other (hell, I’m already a little raw – why not expose my deepest fears to boot and lay myself barer still?), it’s the fear that I’m not actually lovable.

I don’t really believe it, but also somehow I don’t not believe it either, if that makes sense. And so external affirmation of my lovableness is always deeply appreciated and has far more impact than any self-affirming thought I could chant to myself 100 times a day in the mirror. (And if ever there was a cry for you, my three faithful readers, to come out of the wings and leave lovely comments for me, sweet Jesus this is it…)

Last night, after too much energy spent on anticipating the worst, on feeling foolish for having felt hopeful, for having gushed to the world about how well things were going and now expecting to have to make a humiliating backtrack, I found comfort in Julia Cameron’s book The Sound of Paper.

Julia writes about the creative process (brilliantly, I might add). But tonight her words spoke to me about the romantic process.

She wrote: When I am in a period of drought, my chief enemy is despair. I am afraid to harbor hope, and yet it is the gentle harboring of hope that is the antidote to dryness of the spirit.

And so, despite this new knockback, I continue the gentle harbouring of hope. And I keep in mind another phrase of Julia’s, a sign that she posts in her writing area, but that I will remember when I return to the dating sites to trawl for men:

Dear God, I will take care of the quantity.
You take care of the quality.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Is there anything so silent as a cellphone that refuses to ring or beep when you want it to?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The perfect lover for me

So I was just mucking around online and saw this ad that said:

Who's your perfect lover?
Calculate exactly, down to the name, your pefect lover.
Try it now!

I clicked through and entered my name, my cellphone number and my starsign and in return it texted me the name of my supposed perfect match: Brayton. Hardly inspiring - I've never met anyone with this name. (New Zealanders are fairly traditional when it comes to naming their kids - 'Jack' was the most common boy's name for babies born this year).

If you do happen to know a Brayton though, send him my way wouldja?

Also, I would recommend NOT following such obviously frivolous ads. I've been barraged with texts since then and suspect they immediately signed me up to a $5 a week text horoscope scheme. Silly me...

And just to finish, since I'm obviously in a mucking around mood, I was looking at Google preferences and noticed that I could set the language to 'Elmer Fudd'. So I did and now I can 'seawch' for 'gwoups' in the 'diwectowy'. Too funny!

Friday, January 12, 2007

2006: I’ve come a long way, baby

As I mentioned, I get quite philosophical in the new year, enjoying navel-gazing and contemplating the year gone. I hope you’ll indulge me while I reflect on the year just gone...

I actually feel great about 2006 – because I started off in a not-so-good place and I totally turned things around, just by putting myself out there and doing some new and different things.

At the start of the year, everything in my life felt totally blah. Friends would ask me what was new, how things were, and I could not muster up an ounce of enthusiasm. There was no one thing I could pinpoint as going really well for me. It’s not that things were so terrible – they were just nothing. Blah.

I’d written a list of things I wanted to do in 06 and speed dating and online dating were both on it as a way to kickstart my non-existent love life. It took an ex-boyfriend to actually get me to do something about it. He sent me a real rub-your-nose-in-it email (a full two weeks after I’d called him and left a happy birthday message) about how he was going snowboarding in Japan for a couple of weeks with the guys, and then later on he was spending a month travelling to Mexico and Las Vegas and Tahiti with his new girlfriend, and to have a good birthday myself and take care now. Subtext: My life is great, you suck, now fuck off and don’t talk to me ever again. (I’m quite good at reading into unspoken layers of meaning…)

I was so upset. One, because I thought we’d gotten to a point where we were friends and it hurt that he would shut me out. And two, because it reminded me that I could not be further away from what I wanted in life. He had it all going on – at the height of his career, earning great money, obviously happy in a relationship and about to go on some cool travels. Me: nothing exciting on the career front, the travel front, the man front or any other front you could care to name. I had a big cry and signed up for speed dating that minute!

So really I should thank him for inspiring me to act, ‘cause that started a whole course of events...

The highlights (and lowlights) of 2006:

  • Speed dating, online dating, blind dating. Any kind of dating, I did it. I’ve met more men this year than probably the whole last decade of my life. Seriously.

  • I was designated as ‘elite - special and rare, the crème de la crème of singledom - because at least 7 out of 10 men put a tick next to my name on their scorecards at the speed dating event I went to. Okay, it didn’t count for much in the end – the one guy I’d hoped to see again was one of the ones who said no to me (to me! Doesn’t he know I’m elite!). But it was a nice ego-boost nonetheless.

  • I discovered blogging! I spent a lot of time procrastinating at work this year and in the process I got to know people like Jason Kottke and Jason Mulgrew (very different chaps that they are) through their blogs. I got incredibly personal glimpses into lives a million miles removed from mine, like polyamorous, self-proclaimed pervert Madeline, or the almost-40-year-old virgin. And also I discovered approximately a zillion other women in my shoes – fabulous, but somehow still single. And so I jumped on the blogging bandwagon (with a few stops and starts, admittedly), and I love it. PS, note to self: would you just shut up about your goddamn libido already!

  • I have to mention though, like JT, I did bring sexy back this year. I don’t want to harp on (see note to self above), but it was an important shift for me. It introduced some badly needed fun and excitement into my life and ended the dry spell of a thousand years. So thanks Matt – damn decent of you!

  • Alas Matt, while one of the highlights of 2006, was also a definite lowlight too. He was good for fun and excitement, but not for love and commitment, which is really what I'm looking for. Of course, I know him well enough now to know that we’re a terrible, terrible match and that was never on the cards for us. But at the time I was tired and really wanting to tag out of the online dating game and have a boyfriend for a change. That Matt couldn’t have been less interested in being my boyfriend and all that implies was disappointing and hard to not take personally. Much wallowing in self-pity ensued, usually accompanied by a hot bath and The Fray (02:21 - I’m losing you and it’s effortless…). I still can’t listen to that CD now without wanting to reach for the razor blades! (By the way, I should mention that Matt and I have actually somehow ended up with a nice friendship out of all of this, so no regrets. All part of the learning process…)

  • In the wake of post-Matt disappointment I took up a new, super-cool hobby – knitting! At first I was all like “I’m so Meredith from Grey’s Anatomy, shunning all men, taking a vow of celibacy and knitting a sweater instead”. And it was a good way to fill in the time while I took a much-needed break from being online and meeting unsuitable man after unsuitable man. But actually, I discovered knitting is fun. It’s meditative and relaxing. And you end up with something at the end of it! Knitting dates with my good friend Mindy were a blast – we’d drink wine, crack open a box of Swiss chocolates and gossip and knit while Cast-On (the pre-eminent knitting podcast, for those of you not in the know) played in the background. Good times...

  • I’m also proud to say that my tales of online dating inspired my knitting mentor so much she ended up on-line herself and is now happily in a relationship with a lovely guy. Yup, that’s all due to me… And I’m not the teensiest part bitter that she went online for all of five minutes and struck the jackpot, not at all…

  • And finally, what would a wrap-up of 2006 be without mention of my serendipitous, effortlessly ideal New Year's Eve with Finlay? Talk about ending on a high note. It's a fitting illustration of the progress I've made this year, that I could go from ringing in 2006 on my parent's couch in front of the TV to welcoming 2007 with a great guy at a fun party on Waiheke Island. Yay me!

All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the way 2006 went. Even though on the surface I look like I’m pretty much in the same place as at the start of the year, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m genuinely happy and content with things just as they are. Life is good, even if I am still single for the time being. I can’t wait to see what 2007 brings because it can only be bigger and better as far as I’m concerned.

Bring it on!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Close call!

Okay, so this is an off-topic post but you can't imagine how grateful I am to be able to be writing this at all. I was installing new virus software on Tuesday (and feeling all virtuous for doing so, since my subscription had run out months ago) when all of a sudden my PC wouldn't boot up - argh! Something happened to the hard drive which made me feel all panicky since I'm an idiot and haven't backed a thing up in the three years I've had this PC.

Anyway, one phone call, two days and one quiet and efficient Asian technician later, here I am - with a new 80GB hard drive and a bill for $370. Sigh. Still, I'm not complaining - he recovered ALL my data (photos and dirty MSN chat histories alike) so it's well worth the money.

Real posts coming soon...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Swoon... and smooch!

Having Christmas behind us finally cleared the way for Finlay and I to have our second date, almost a full two weeks since our first night out. I was looking forward to it – I’d actually been a little worried it mightn’t eventuate. Nearly two weeks is a long time in the online dating world, where it takes so little for connections to fizzle, no matter how promising they appear...

But that didn’t happen, thankfully. We kept in touch with the odd text and a couple of days after Christmas he asked me out to dinner. He suggested Dida’s, a cosy tapas bar that I’ve been wanting to go to for ages (I heard they do great churros – yum!). The next night I arrived there before him, feeling self-conscious sitting on a stool up at the bar as I waited, nervous and excited to see him again.

He arrived and we settled in at one of the low couches on the side and chatted over our glasses of wine. What I like about him is that he’s really easy to talk to – and interesting. Small talk definitely isn’t my strong suit so when conversation is effortless I love it. There was also the delight of finding out that we have similar outlooks on life in a lot of ways, it’s always nice to meet a kindred spirit.

We ordered a selection of yummy tapas – slices of spicy chorizo cooked up in red wine, baby peppers stuffed with cheese, prawns wrapped in pancetta and lamb cooked on rosemary skewers. It was gorgeous food and such a nice way to eat, just casually picking off plates and sharing dishes. And we did finish with the churros – piping hot with thick chocolate sauce to dunk them in. So good!

At the end of the night I was glowing with the pleasure of his company and the cosy atmosphere of Dida’s, not to mention the two glasses of wine I had. He walked me to my car and we said goodnight with a short, sweet kiss on the lips. I smiled as I drove home and marvelled at how much fun I had. So much so that I had to pull over and text him straight away: Thank you for a lovely night, you’re such great company x

I also texted a couple of girlfriends as soon as I got home, eager to share the good news. The word ‘swoon’ seemed to come up a lot!
Date #2 with Finlay was a raging success. He’s just as great as I thought he was. Swoon…
Just got home from date #2 with Finlay and it was just lovely. He really is great, swoon…
One wrote back and said: That’s great! You deserve a night out with someone wonderful. And I thought, she’s right, dammit. I do deserve that! It’s funny how you get accustomed to things not going your way, to not getting what you want. It really should be the other way around. How about expecting things to work out beautifully for a change? To unfold effortlessly and in ways even better than you could ever have imagined? Isn’t that a possibility too?

I’m emphatic that surely it is and I would rather live like that. I’ve always believed in the power of positive thinking – self-fulfilling prophecies and all that. So I allowed myself to think about what I would like to happen next with Finlay, in a perfect world, and it was this: wouldn’t it be great to spend New Year’s Eve together and have someone lovely to kiss at midnight for a change?

New Year’s Eve and me have a troubled relationship. On the one hand, New Year is actually one of my favourite times of all. I get all introspective and philosophical on the year just gone, and super inspired and excited and hopeful about what’s to come…

On the other hand, I hate the pressure of New Year’s Eve itself. The pressure to be doing something fabulous, somewhere fabulous with a bunch of fabulous people grates on me. I’m in my thirties, man. My friends and I don’t party anymore. Gone are the days when I had a group of people I could rely on to come into town with me and queue up at the best nightspots to dance until the early hours. All of my friends are coupled up and either out of town or holed up at home with the kiddies. You know?

So my last couple of New Year’s have been exceedingly lame. Last year I saw it in sitting on my parent’s couch watching TV. Sad, sad, sad. And it was looking like more of the same this year, unless…

It seemed like a stretch to wangle a New Year’s with Finlay, on what would essentially be our third date. I knew he was spending it on Waiheke Island with friends. I didn’t really want to invite myself along, that’s a bit pushy for my liking. But I was actually going over to the island on New Year’s Day – my uncle had invited a big group of people over for lunch. Maybe it wouldn’t be so much of a stretch to arrive the night before? Finlay had kind of suggested it when New Year’s came up in conversation…

I weighed up my options and well, it was pretty clear. I could:
  1. Spend it alone. Not an option – next!
  2. Spend it with my parents – again. I love ‘em to death, but it still wasn’t that appealing. Leaving me with the last possibility…
  3. Be proactive, go to the island and see what happens. To be honest the worst case scenario here was still miles ahead of the alternatives. And the best case scenario, well, it could be pretty great.
So I called my uncle and asked if I could crash on his couch for the night. And I texted Finlay and told him it looked like I might be on the island for New Year’s after all, and could I drop by and say hello? I got positive answers from both of them – so I was all set!

And it was so worth doing. I spent the early part of the evening at my uncle’s, having a glass of wine and watching Lord Of The Rings reruns on TV (très sedate!).

Then later I caught a taxi up to the house Finlay was staying at in Surfdale, bottle of bubbly in hand. He met me at the bottom of the long driveway with a flashlight and we walked up to the house together. The party was in full swing by that stage, the room was dark, the music was loud, people were dancing and there were all sorts of concoctions being cooked up with rum and fruit and Jägermeister and red bull and god knows what else! Everyone gave me a very warm and friendly and tipsy welcome and I was so pleased to be there.

We had a great ol’ night. A bit of talking, a bit of drinking, a bit of dancing and of course, the much anticipated countdown to midnight... It was a lovely clear night and the house had brilliant views over the water towards the mainland. We all went outside and after some arguing over who had the correct time, we started counting down and at the end of it, I got just what I’d wanted – my someone lovely to kiss at midnight. Just goes to show that being proactive pays off!

It was a memorable night, and bodes extremely well for 2007, I feel. Start as you mean to continue! I got this text from a friend in Finland:

Always remember for 2007: Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that made you smile…Happy new year!

Sounds like a good creed to live by to me.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A kiwi Christmas

Can you believe it’s 2007! Where did the year go... I have lots to tell you but I'll start with Christmas.

Christmas this year was a very laid-back, relaxed day over on Waiheke Island at my uncle’s beach house with family. Normally we have it at my parent’s place but they’re currently homeless (deliberately - their new house is being built at the moment), so this was a nice alternative. We caught the ferry over at one and spent the rest of the day eating, basically. Oh, and giving presents! Highlight of the day of course…

My favourite presents:
  • A webcam, which I’d asked for (now I can video chat with friends overseas)
  • Vouchers towards an iPod from my bro
  • Cool chunky martini glasses, all in different colours, also from my bro (he did good this year!)
  • A set of Britney Spears Curious perfume
So that last one’s a little embarrassing – you normally choose a perfume based on some kind of attribute you’d like to have or be, ‘True Love’ or ‘Beautiful’ or whatever. There’s really nothing about Britney that I’d like to emulate, but I do like the smell. And also it comes in this cool retro bottle with a squeezy thing to spray it on. So I swallowed my pride and asked for it for Christmas, and really it’s probably my favourite of all my presents, even if it is a guilty pleasure.

I was really excited about some of the presents I gave this year too – I decided that I would rather give people ‘experiences’ rather than plain ‘stuff’ so this is what I came up with:
  • For my uncle, his boyfriend and my aunt – tickets to Varekai when it comes to town in January
  • For my father, a voucher for a private dance lesson in either Argentine tango or salsa. I was particularly delighted when I came up with this. He’s notoriously difficult to buy for and he doesn’t really want or need anything either. He’s starting to develop a serious pot-belly in his old age and really needs to drink a little less and move a little more. But it has to be something fun for him, otherwise he’ll never stick at it. And dancing just might be it – him and mum are quite the twinkle-toes at parties and family gatherings and often trot about the room when the music starts to play. And mum had already said that she’d love for them to do some tango together. So there you go – the perfect present. He and mum were both pretty stoked about that.
  • For my mum I’m giving the experience of having lovely nails – a voucher for someone to come round and do a full set of acrylics for her. She’s always coveted beautiful nails, but hers are pretty weak, plus she’s a gardener so they get a good battering. I think she’ll enjoy having immaculate nails for a change.
  • By the time it came to my brother and his girlfriend, I was a little out of inspiration, so to them I gave the experience of owning a Jamie Oliver flavour shaker. It still fits – they’re both foodies and love spicy meals, and this little nifty thing looks like a lot of fun. Sort of a mortar and pestle meets cocktail shaker for whipping up spice pastes and marinades and whatnot.
I also enjoy getting a bit domestic when it comes to Christmas and start whipping up sweet treats in the kitchen. A couple of years ago I tried making chocolate dipped citrus peels, inspired by these ones, and that's become a tradition now. So I gave everyone a bag of those too, plus some Russian fudge I'd made.

And now, my Christmas tree is fading (and shedding), the last of my Christmas lillies has wilted and it's time to take down the wreath on the door. My neighbour at the end of the street who goes crazy with lights all over their house and garden has accepted the end of the season and taken them all down. Another Christmas come and gone...

Hope you all had a good one.