Got back from Mom and Dad’s on Sunday. Had a fabulous weekend. Its been a long time since i enjoyed a weekend that much with my family, and i think it did me the world of good. It was just the right mix of busy-ness, chances to talk, stuff to get done and so on, although it was tiring, it was all good.

We did the christmas fair on the friday. Lots of people from Mom’s office came, it was lovely to meet some of her colleagues and people she’s talked about! I ended up selling 34 cards, which was pretty good going, considering there was someone else there also selling cards (and other things). There were also people selling jewellery, meat (he owns his own smallholding and rears his own sheep and pigs, and had slaughtered some lambs prior to the fair – i decided to make Michiel very happy and i bought some lamb shoulder for Sinterklaas!), home made cakes, chutneys, jams, a bar, some turkey rolls and some indian food in the shape of samosas, spring rolls, pakoras and onion bhajis, which were wonderfully spicy. There was also a tombola!! Mom went over with a £1 coin, said to Sarah: “I won’t win, i never do” and Sarah admonished her for not having a good attitude, and told her she wouldn’t, with a negative attitude like that. And of course, she didn’t. When Mom came back and told me, i told her Sarah was right and i picked up a pound coin from my purse and went over to her. “I’m going to win!” i declared (I must’ve startled Sarah at this point, with my determination, at least, until she realised Mom had told me what had happened!), and handed her my coin. “good for you!” she said, and handed me the tin with the raffle tickets tightly folded up. I had to pick out five tickets, and if any of them ended in a 0 or a 5 i would win a prize (the matching tickets were stuck to the prizes on the table). So i did. and i won two prizes, a box of chocolate biscuits (now tucked in the pantry for christmas) and a bag of smelly crystals. I thanked Sarah and went back to annoy show Mom. Cue one cross Mom. And to put insult to injury, i went back again about half an hour later. And won a box of christmas crackers!


Mom and me, selling things at the christmas fair at her workplace.. Many thanks to Mom’s company, not only for allowing me to sell them there but for the photo as well. And to Mom for letting me post this here!

Mom was selling some hand made scarves – beautiful lacy things – which i ended up being roped in to model at one point (good thing i was wearing suitable clothing is all i can say!). Mom bought me some jewellery from the jewellery stall for xmas, some books from the old book stall (including a copy of Nigel Slater’s “Toast”, which i’ve been wanting to read for ages). I got to see the receptionist at Mom’s workplace. A lovely lady, i won’t mention her by name but i know she reads this. *waves furiously*!! I got to meet her Mum at the fair, and we had a good chat, they recently had some fantastic news (which i won’t relay here as its private) but i’m so so pleased for them, and its come at just the right time of year, in time for christmas. (oh and babe, next time i’m heading down for a visit, remind me, and i’ll bake you a chocolate cake. okay?)

We went to the German Market as well – saw some lovely handcarved christmas tree ornaments, and we bought 5 little choirboys singing and playing musical instruments, which we intended to use for mom’s choir christmas cake. i bought a lil surprise for Sez. Can’t say what yet here cos she reads this and i haven’t posted it to her yet. Mom bought a lil surprise for Dad. Can’t way what yet cos HE reads this and its not christmas yet. Argh. this is so annoying! After that we went home, and later that evening, Dad treated me to a meal in the local pub, Scampi, which was gorgeous – been a long time since i had scampi. After we got home i marzipanned both the cakes, i have to say the marzipan from aldi was a bit day-glo in colour, but it was bitterer than the marzipan from tesco and with a rich fruit cake with fondant icing ontop, that may well be the better choice, to give a more balanced flavour.

Saturday saw us going to my Nan’s for the afternoon – i got to see my Aunt and uncle as well. It was good because otherwise i wouldn’t have seen Nan (dad’s mom) at christmas, Gran (mom’s mom) is coming up for the day on 27th with Mom and Dad, so i’ll see her, but not Nan. After that we came home and then they had arranged for a surprise: my uncle brought my cousin round, we had chinese food and talked, my cousin showed me the photos she’d had taken the previous weekend at a professional photographer’s in London (a christmas present from her mom). I have to say, she looked really lovely, the photographer did a splendid job. We also watched a video from 20 years ago: when my Uncle had visited us when i was just 18, he’d brought his video camera and filmed us all. I looked dreadful when i was 18!!! It also showed Shandy, our dog who had lived with us since i was about 8. She was a collie cross and it was Shandy i was thinking of when i saw and fell in love with Jess. Not that they look similar (they only do in terms of similar breeds) but there was a similarity in looks, which just did it for me. Brought back a lot of memories.

After they left i got treated to a lap massage from Paws (one of the neighbour’s cats), and then went to ice mom’s cake. This one was being iced with fondant icing, so it was a simple case of rolling it out to the right size and lifting it onto the cake, then decorating accordingly. I had bought some gorgeous wired ribbon from Tesco which i then used to make the cake look like a parcel, with a big bow ontop. some decorative holly leaves cut out of the icing, with silver balls, completed the picture. It looks pretty good, even if i do say so myself. I’d post pics but i’m waiting on Mom to email them to me: hopefully tomorrow when she gets back to work. When i get them i’ll post them.

Sunday saw me have a bit of a lie in, then get up and do the other cake. This one i rough iced with royal icing, then put the choir boys ontop around a wooden tree. It looks good too, although the choir boys had a tendency to lean over while the icing set. drunken choir boys!! Tut. It was a non-alcoholic cake too!!!

After some lunch (gorgeous french mustardycheesychicken) Mom and Dad took me to the station. Traffic in Birmingham was ridiculous (who’s bright idea was it to put all the car parks for the bull ring on the same road as the main station, huh?) and Mom and i ended up walking to the station, to try to get my train in time. I don’t know how long it took them to get home: hopefully not long, if they were able to get off on one of the side streets away from the traffic. For my part, i had to catch a train to Crewe, which got in at 15.54, then catch a connecting train to Manchester at 15.14. I didn’t notice it till i was on the train either. Um. Duh. I had to stand all the way to Crewe (about 45 minutes), then wait for another 45 minutes for a connecting train to Manchester. I finally caught a taxi home from Manchester Piccadilly, in absolutely filthy wet weather, to an overjoyed Jess, and a very happy to see me Michiel. I unpacked: made Michiel happy with the lamb, then snuggled up with takeout food to watch “Top Gear” and “Long Way Down“. There really is no place like home, but sometimes its wonderful to visit other people and places. Thanks, Mom, Dad, for a lovely weekend. xx