Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Catch Up!

Well hello there!

It's been almost exactly one month since my last post . . . How can that be?

In an attempt to share just a few of the wonderful (and not so wonderful) things that have been happening around here I'll be blasting you all with bullet points and photos in this post. I may end up making this two posts but for the sake of getting something out there before it's 2013 . . . well let's just get started!

Our Flat in Sloane Square

  • London with the O'Connor's! We had such an amazing and fun week with Greg and Edie that I can't even begin to recount all the things we did or this post would be far to long so here are some of the highlights of where we went and what we saw.
    • We stayed in a lovely flat just off Sloane Square. We often returned there for a siesta as the sun set, sitting around the fire on our various gadgets, or exploring the knick-knacks kept in the flat.

  • Wallace & Amity PCS
    • Maggie's Wallace Complimentary Care Center is a place I've been volunteering and (finger's crossed) the word on the street is they are going to hire me to be their Art Therapist!
    • Amity Psychology & Consultancy Service is another company I'm going to be working with as an Art Therapist as well. More on that later but in the meantime check out both websites and see the exciting work both organizations are doing!
  • Visited Wimpole Estate & Farm
    •  Another beautiful English estate with miles and miles of land and gardens. We visited the farm and toured the house, but most of it was closed for the winter for renovations. I hope to go back in the spring and summer as the gardens are meant to be gorgeous!
  • First Cambridge Frost. Brrrrrrrr! But boy it was beautiful. 

  • Care Package! Oh Joy!
    • A few of my friends from home got together a box of wonderful and hilarious things and sent it to me just as the days were getting very cold, and very dark. Filled with tasty goodies, beautiful jewelry, poetry, fancy pillows, fun magnets and much much more. I took a picture of myself enjoy all the gifts at once. Such a nice, and much needed and appreciated surprise. Thanks again Ladies. You know who you are. xxxooo
  • Father Christmas & Elf @Burwash Manor
    • That's right, Devin was Father Christmas and I was an Elf! As part of a holiday fundraiser for Wallace Center (mentioned above) we dressed up for a few hours on a Saturday and Devin, I mean Father Christmas, meet with around 70 kiddos to see if they'd been bad or good this year. Amazingly, all of them had been good! We had loads of fun playing our parts, and cracked up at how cute all these little kids sound with their adorable English accents! It's too cute to be true! We didn't manage to get a single picture, but we hope to do some volunteering every holiday season as part of our holiday tradition so hopefully I can snap a picture next year . . . though Father Christmas & Elf costumes may not be involved.
  • Homemade Christmas Ornaments
    • I had a lot of fun making these puppies and made about a dozen of them from two packets of Sculpey Primo. Two blogs in particular inspired me, this one and this one. I used both Sharpie marker and acrylic paint, but prefer the look of the acrylic. A few lucky people were gifted these as their Christmas gifts, but we kept most of them and hope to hang them on our Christmas trees in the years to come.

  • Cookie Exchange Extravaganza
    • Two of my friends and I made Christmas cookie exchange pact and man-oh-man did we come though! We had a lovely afternoon eating lunch together (Thanks Andrea!) and making Spritz cookies and frosting sugar stars. We'd each prepared a few kinds of cookies in advance so as the afternoon drew to a close we made the swap and Woah! So many cookies! So few people to feed them to! Devin gave some as a secret Santa gift to a work colleague and then took in a big bowl more for the rest of the lab later in the week. I gave a small tin to our custodian here at Forster Court (our apartment complex) and he seemed rather happy to receive them. I almost gave some to the grocery deliver guy but thought that would be strange at the last minute since it's a different person each week. Just more cookies for us! . . . .

  • The Flu & some S.A.D. = Blech!
    • Oh but no. No cookies for me. The day after our cookie exchange I came down with a mean case of the "something". For three days I ate a strict BRAT diet (banana, rice, applesauce, toast) trying to get back into balance. I won't go into details, but it wasn't fun. Along with 4 days of ick and a mostly sedentary lifestyle I started to get pretty depressed and sad. Luckily, I've rounded the corner from all of that and am feeling quite a bit better in mind and body. As a dear friend told me in an email, it won't last. It will pass. Thank goodness for impermanence!
  • Christmas Eve Mexican Feast
    • Last night Devin and I had dinner with some of our friends who live nearby and we had a lovely evening of cooking, talking, and teasing children about all things Santa related. While we don't have Christmas traditions yet, last night might have been a start to our Christmas Eve always involving Mexican cuisine, as we just can't seem to get enough of it (especially in England!). We made our own guacamole, salsa (following my Cuban step-mom's recipe), beans (with lots of cumin and garlic) & rice, tortilla chips, and calabacitas (similar to this recipe, but not quite). Shortly I'll have a photo from last night and I'll share it with you all soon. Thanks Amber and Family for hosting!

  • 1st Husband & Wife Christmas!
    • Today was pretty classic Christmas I think. We woke up late, made tea/coffee and opened presents while Christmas music played on the stereo. Devin got me some much needed kitchen gear, as well as tickets to the ballet in a few weeks! (A good man!) We had a simple breakfast of cookies and toast and then both headed out for a run/walk. We did some puttering around the flat and then made lunch and watched a movie (Kung-Fu Panda!). As the movie played on I finished baking the rest of the Peffernusse (peppernut) cookie dough I'd made for the earlier cookie exchange. So. Many. Cookies! (a good problem to have). Once I finish drafting this epic post we're headed into Cambridge to walk through the town in all it's Christmas twinkle-light glory, and try to grab some grub and maybe a pint at a pub. (Update: That was a F.A.I.L. as the whole town was shut down and empty. We did manage to find an open Turkish restaurant and had a fantastic spread of Mediterranean goodies to fill our bellies) With luck, we'll later Skype with some family before we head to bed. (Update: We did, and it was great to see everyone . . . boy do we miss you all!)  All in all, a lovely 1st Married Christmas. 

Merry Christmas From Devin and Hayley!

Hope everyone is having a lovely day-after Christmas, or just enjoying your sweet, sweet lives, regardless of what you do or don't celebrate. We miss our friends and family a whole bunch, especially around these holidays, but are thankful that we have you in our lives, no matter the distance. We also are thankful for Skype, Google Hangout and What's App. Thank you interwebs!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.
I hear England is going to be lovely in 2013 . . . fancy a visit?

Love, Laughter and Light from Cambridge.


  1. Yay! Mom was worried about you not posting ;)

  2. Hooray for Four Black Stars! Glad to see a post--and so many great photos! What's up with the cabbage at Harrods?

  3. Missed you!!! Love the photos of Edie and Greg in the flat! They are the best! Love to you both....the adventure continues !

    Carol and Richard