It is almost one week until Christmas and I thought it was time to update you on winter life in the NorthernHemi starting with…NOVELTY JERSEYS! FYI we are workshopping Christmas e-card ideas, at this point an Elfie Selfie is what we are aiming for. I just need to track down an elf who is able to take some time off during this busy period to star in our shoot, perhaps a lady elf on maternity leave… or if all elf fails, two elf costumes.
JOYEUX NOËL FROM MY FESTIVE FRIEND AND I
A few people have asked what Hugh and I will be doing for our first Northern Hemisphere Christmas and the answer was up until a few days ago; “uuummm I don’t know could you stop asking us thank you very much I am pretty much Annie the orphan.” There was a strong chance that we would go rogue and have a Christmas lunch of Pizza and Croissants and watch back to back episodes of The Mindy Project while eating Maltesers. But NOW I can proudly declare that we are attending an expats Christmas lunch. How you like me/us now? The lunch does present a challenge for Hugh and I as the pressure is on to whip up an incredible dish. I was hoping to take with me (and pretend I had baked myself) Christmas cookies from Phillipa’s bakery that my lovely friend Alex smuggled over from Melbourne. Unfortunately I have eaten all of them… so that’s problematic. Melbourne friends will know the power of Phillipa’s all too well, she’s good, she’s very good.
Christmas is well and truly upon us, and one of these nights I’ll be watching for the 100,000th time Love Actually, because it is not Christmas unless you have watched a movie featuring Hugh Grant and/or Colin Firth.. or is that just me?
I am doing my best to add a little Christmas joy to our apartment. Hugh has banned a real live Christmas tree, feel free to poo-poo him for this. I am left to throw a few baubles around the place and pray that Santa can make his way down one of the fireplaces that are no longer in use. Hugh mentioned that Santa is a big fan of Whiskey and Cookies, but I’ve heard the Grinch has the exact same taste? Coincidence; I think not!
December is for want of a better term, the month of Acquisition. Dec-aquision-ber? De-CACQUISITION Ok I guess that’s a working title. Here are a few of our acquisitions and spoiler alert – a tan is not one of them.
WE ACQUIRED FRIENDS!
Our friends Bess and Tom (B&T) visited us at home all the way from Melbourne. We were there when Tom popped his Macaron cherry (In Paris, so apt). I didn’t mess around and made sure it was Pierre Hermé for his first time and I was there to capture his first bite. He was particularly keen on the chewy and soft elements, and gave the cafe flavour a thumbs up. The “celery” (green apple) flavour was not his jam but he did become an advocate for Macarons following the testing. So all went well.
THE HOLY GRAIL OF INGREDIENT ACQUISITION, INTRODUCING THE BLACK TRUFFLE, or ‘Blacky’ as Hugh named him (very creative). I wish I had the ability to conjure smoke, glitter and anticipation music to billow out of your computer as you are reading about this elusive fungi but in hindsight that could put you off reading this blog again so it is pleasing that technology has not yet caught up with my specific needs. Less cultured readers (like myself) may struggle to dig up an image of a truffle from the recesses of their brains. I will admit to you, because I have no shame, that I was initally disappointed that Hugh’s “I was given a truffle!” text message following one of his Promos did not result in a large Chocolate Christmas truffle for me, and instead materialized as what looked like a dirty mound of coal. For a whole 48 hours we were in possession of a black truffle. I wanted to dress him up, show him the sights of Paris, you know really treat him right for his short shelf lifespan (1-3 days) but alas Hugh was determined to cook and devour him. B&T were treated to a delicious black truffle risotto. I know, “ohh laa laa” who the heck do we think we are. This is my Masterchef review “very earthy, very mushroom-y, I had a fun-gi (funky) time eating it”. It may well have been the first and last time I will share a kitchen with a black truffle and I miss the little guy already..
He’s all about it..
HUGH ACQUIRED A BIGGER CHEST (see what I did there) An early Christmas present picked up at our street marché that once every two months transforms into an Antiques marché! The chest was made in the early 1920’s so it is nearly 100 years old, and looking pretty good for an old gal amiright? The chest is lined with striped material and two trays to separate clothing items. I would like to use this as my suitcase from now on, if only I could be sure the baggage handlers would treat her like the grand old lady she is. A quick shout-out to any budding actors or filmmakers who are in need of a Titanic luggage prop, I have the chest ready to go and Hugh is keen to play the menacing role of ‘the ice-burg’
Yes, Parisians really know how to get into the Christmas spirit, most of our wall-bours, (apartment neighbours in Paris are a new level of close so I will call them wall-bours as we share a lot of walls) have added Christmas greetings to their front doors and tinsel on their coat stands. It is customary in Paris to buy a Christmas gift for your building Guardian. The Guardian lives on the ground floor and manages mail, cleaning, maintenance etc for discounted rent. The great thing about having a Guardian (who unfortunately is not dressed as a Buckingham Palace guard) in my opinion is that they deliver mail to your doorstep! The old apartment buildings in Paris do not have a number for each apartment, instead the mail is organised by last name. Our guardian cannot speak a word of English but manages to stay polite and courteous when she finds me in my Pj’s and slippers at 1pm to deliver some form of online shopping. Over the coming days we will gift our Guardians with Belgium chocolates and while we are at it we will spread the Christmas cheer by delivering chocolates to our land-lady across the hall who has kindly invited us for a January celebration involving one cake, one penny, and the title of ‘King’ for the year up for grabs. More on this as it unfolds.
We went and watched the final film in ‘Le Hobbit’ series however the French subtitles meant we only knew what the English speaking characters were saying. I made up the elfish parts and to be honest I had no interest in what the hideous big scary looking creatures were saying anyway..
Hugh has just called out from the lounge where he is watching something on Netflix that I should get a wriggle on, I’m making Nutella crepes for dessert, and by making I mean assembling. But, before I go I wanted to say one last thing. I was glued to my phone and laptop these last few days watching the events of what has been an absolutely hideous week for Sydney unfold. If you are an Australian reading this know that I think that you’re a babe, and I love you. “I’ll ride with you” epitomizes exactly what all the Aussies who welcomed me with open arms as a naive twenty-one-year-old into their country are all about, mate-ship. If you happen to be a fellow New Zealander reading this post and you have an Australian pal (of course you do) go and give them a big squishy hug this week. They’ll probably yell “Gah get away from me Kiwi” but really they’ll love it, trust me, no really deep down they’ll love it.
Merry nearly Christmas friends, keep safe, stay festi.