Saturday 25 December 2010

Christmas at home...

It is 00:22 at Christmas... I'm sitting by the Christmas tree as I'm writing this... arrived home just a while ago after having had dinner with good friends... the food, the wine, their one-year-old sweetheart with her amazing smile and her first steps around the living room, everything was perfect! Better than I could ever imagine! When I decided to stay here alone for Christmas, moths ago and mostly because I have been so tired I could not bear the thought of traveling this time of the year, I had not hoped for more than just having some time for myself, time off work for staying at  home... had hoped for hours of knitting... hours of laying on the sofa...

Turns out, I must have done something good in my life because the Universe is paying me back with far more than I had hoped for! Today's dinner, tomorrow's lunch, yes, we are having turkey, how much more traditional could we be, another invitation for the second day of Christmas, friends who have become family, smiles and toasts and wine and great food and warm hearts (so what if the snow outside is still making things difficult...) and presents and children and Christmas trees and joy, so much joy and simplicity one could not have wanted for anything more! I'm home... and it's Christmas... and it is better than shoes!

I wish I could be with all the people I love today... it is not possible, such is life and the choices made that this wish will not come true this year...  perhaps the next... One thing is certain... I am having a wonderful time and I have not felt lonely not for a moment! Feels good spending Christmas at home, feels right... So I will wish to all my loved ones Merry Christmas, remind them that my home is theirs whenever the wind brings them this way and hope that, these holidays, they all have as good a time as I'm having! And better!!

PS. Merry Christmas to all of you and your loved ones!

Tuesday 21 December 2010


Yep, that's it, it's back, 't is the season to be jolly and get presents for those you care about!! I know, there is the opposing argument that a present is an obligation offered to the other person thus it should be avoided like the restrooms of McDonalds in down town Beijing (don't ask how I know... just avoid if ever there... trust me...) but I am not convinced! Ever since I was a child I loved getting present for my family and friends, I loved the process of finding out the best choice for everyone and always within a budget so limited sometimes it seemed impossible to manage :)

And then, there would be the wrapping! I would spend hours trying to wrap my present the best way possible, the papers, the ribbons, always doing it myself because, well, these girls at the stores don't know how to do it properly, right?... hmmmm, it can also be that I have always been a control freak who knows best... Anywhooo, the point is that this time of the year is one I cherish and the present-giving is certainly one of my favourite things in the world... surely a "better than shoes" thing :) and yes, it is better than receiving the gifts for me!

I know that these are difficult times for all of us, I do not live in a bubble, and these holidays will inevitably remind to many people what the consequences of the economic crisis are (if they have managed to forget so far...) but a present is not about the money it costs! Not at all!! Surely if your bank account can afford it your lady friend would greatly appreciate a pair of Louboutins but if not, who cares??!! A great gift can be a voucher for hugs and kisses, it can be something hand crafted, it can be a drawing, a free electronic card, it can be a cooked meal or the offer to do the laundry or empty the dish washer... or, if you really aim to impress, install her wireless home network!! It really is unimportant how much it costs, all that matters is that there was thought put into it, thought of the other person... and thought means love!

Isn't this what these holidays are all about ;)

Monday 13 December 2010

Home cinema...

...and I do not only mean the actual "home cinema" device! Surely, one of those hi-tech costly (almost as much as dreamy pair of evening Louboutins) thingies is worth the investment (and the time you will spend reading the manual before you actually have it working...), can indeed offer a great sound experience while you are watching The Matrix Reloaded (am I tooooo outdated.... I wonder...) in Blue-ray and can make you feel like you are actually IN the Matrix yourself (...and quite a bunch of people believe this to be true... I googled it...) fighting the Smiths... but there is more into what I'm saying than a device!

I am talking about the concept of home cinema... That which involves chosing to stay in on a weekend with a load of films, put on your most comfy clothes (yes, I know, they are not the most flattering ones but that is part of the concept too, you are not dressing for others but for yourself and you just want it comfy ;)  make sure you have enough snacs, preferably the unhealthy kind that comes out of a very colourful bag but if you want to nibble on carots, hey, who am I to object??!!, nest yourself on the sofa and let the viewing begin!

I just had one of those... ok, technicaly it did involve the home cinema installation and some trips to the DIY shops in order to get all the necessary for the set up which took place on a Saturday, but then, the pleasure began! Comfy, cosy, hommy, warm, immersed into the sound and the image, it was the best! I know, I know, we are still young and we should go out and live a bit but, let's face it, the city is old and boring (my city, I don't know about yours) and the winter is cold! So, there is not a lot of competition against a warm, cosy, home cinema weekend! And, you will know when you try it, it is better than shoes!

Saturday 4 December 2010

walking in the snow...

Well, I have written before about my love for the snow... how much I would miss it as a child and how envious I would get every time I watched snowy white Christmas films on TV! My Christmas usually would be sunny and warm! Admittedly, after I moved here in the north, I discovered another side of the snow, one that I never knew before... the ugly side... that which involves not being able to drive a car either because it is slippery or because you get stuck in a traffic jam or both,  or walk in the frozen sidewalk, the muddy snow which takes about 15' to clean up from your shoes before getting inside the house...

However ugly though this side is, I still love the view of the white scenery outside my windows! The beauty of it!! And there is the other thing about the snow... the silence!! Have you ever noticed how the world goes silent when it starts snowing?! It is so quiet, so calm, so peaceful! You can hardly hear any noise except for the sound of the snow cracking under your boots, if you are so mad (or blessed, or lucky or... you choose the adjective :) as to go walking outside!

This morning I did it... It started snowing, the big white flakes were dancing in the wind, the word went silent  and I got out to go to the supermarket! I know, it takes a fair amount of insanity to do this but hey, no harm done, I'm here, safe, with a fridge full of food and fresh bread, did not break anything and managed to have the memory of walking in the snow storm, not being able to see very well, meeting practically no one on the street and having this feeling of being in someplace I'd only experienced by books or films... it was very cool!!! It was better than shoes!

Wednesday 1 December 2010

get a hobby...

...Well, I have always found excuses for not having a real hobby... it would either be that "I shop as a hobby" and "I loooove to discover great discounts on-line, it's my hobby" or I would just say that I don't have any time to have a hobby... What a load of crap! I mean, yes, I know that shopping can take a lot of time and it is pleasurable and kind of addictive but, let's be honest, it's not a real hobby!

On the other had, it is a very poor excuse to say that I don't have time for a hobby because of all the things that I have to do! I know I have to work to get money, I know I have to clean my house and wash my clothes, I know I have to work out to keep... well, not fat (thin, I would never even imagine...) I know all that... but these are things that I "have" to do! Not necessarily things I like to to do! And to name as "hobbies" only  a few things that are fun to do like seeing a film or reading a book or try on a pair of patent leather moccasins from Marc Jacobs (and even better, buying them!) is like hiding behind one's finger...

No, the truth is I never had a real hobby, hidden behind my excuses,  but now I do! And no, I will not try to convince you that it is the one for you... I could not convince myself that it is the one for me for many years! But now, I knit! Like crazy! And yes, I have mocked it, I have resisted it, I have ridiculed it and now I stand corrected in all my shame! It is lovely! It's better than shoes! It is, for me, the most relaxing thing ever, it is like the coolest meditation I have tried (plus you can actualy meditate while knitting anyway!!) which leaves you calm and zen and wearing a new, brilliant shawl! The possibilities are endless and there is nothing like putting on something that you made yourself, I guarantee you!

So, unless you are one of the wise ones who already knew it all along and forgot to share with the rest of us,  what are you waiting for!? Get a hobby! :)