Monday 6 January 2014


At this point in the New Year, I always like to do a bit of holiday hindsight, as I like to call it. It’s always astonishes me how fast it all goes. You spend all year – with the help of the media and advertising conglomerates– gearing up towards the holidays and then in the blink of an eye, you’re on the other side of it wondering why you’re so exhausted and your trousers don’t fit anymore.

This year we spent the holidays up north with my husband’s family, then rented a house on a little farm on the border of Wales. As most people do, the first part of the holiday was spent eating copious amounts of food. My husband’s family is Polish, so there is the Polish meal on the 24th, then the English meal on the 25th, followed by more eating on Boxing day. By the third day, I was seriously vowing never to eat again. The King of course was just getting warmed up and finds being trapped inside (due to inclement weather) with piles of food (especially polish sausage) to be a dream come true. Not to mention, the onslaught of gifts almost made his head explode. His first reaction was to look at us in mild shock and ask if the gift was really for him. This sweet, modest approach quickly morphed into the more aggressive consumer addict who would then launch at any present in sight and scream, ‘that’s mine!’ It’s a very slippery slope. 

Then of course there are the days following Christmas when the whole world goes on sale (note to self: DO NOT buy Christmas presents next year until after Christmas when they are marked down. Seriously, what is the point?). My husband defies the man gene and embraces post holiday sales with gusto of the likes I’ve never seen. Contrary to most women, I don’t love to shop and I spend most of my time with the other husbands on a bench, telling my husband to hurry up and pick something already. My husband, an expert shopper, can spend over an hour in a busy store trying on the same coat over and over, modeling it like he’s on a runway. Meanwhile, I sit there watching the King using the clothing rack like a jungle gym or laugh at him marching around the store as he strokes all the clothes and tells me what he thinks is 'so pretty' (he's definitely his father's son). It’s not for the faint of heart I can assure you.

Soon enough, we set off for the farm on the Welsh border. We occasionally like to flee the city and pick the most remote spot we can find (the caveat being it's remote, but still allows me to feed my coffee addiction). The aim: ultimate silence, clean air, which acts as the most brilliant sedative in the world, and a limited amount of people. This time we found a sweet little house on a working farm surrounded by rolling hills, a large fishing pond, and more sheep than people. The King of course took no time at all to claim the place as his and immediately started asking when we were going to see the Zebras (I explained many times that the farm had cows and not zebras, but the boy wants what he wants). The beauty of (temporary) farm life is the simplicity of it all. The King and his cousin (who came to visit for a few days) spent hours jumping in mud puddles, running around the pond like maniacs and singing their lungs out (then again, my son was the only one singing and everyone else was wishing he could at some point pick a key to stay in) while we drove around the heavily flooded roads looking for a suitable country pub to eat in (I say suitable, because there are some places this Californian is just not going to patron. I do have my limits). 

As New Year's eve rolled around, my husband and I were of course in bed by 9:30 (it's the air out there, I swear!) reading our lists from the previous year of all the things we were hoping to accomplish in 2013, realising our expectations may have been a bit high. Okay some goals were out of our control - my bucket list dream to go to Asia is not the easiest on the wallet, and my husband's goal to teach the King the periodic table was a little ambitious to say the least (Note to self: set the bar a tad lower this year). But we did manage to potty train the King in 2013, move house, and I can do twenty push ups without dying. So I'm settling for the small victories in life.

By the time we made it back to London we were weary (but well rested in a bizarre way), weighted down with bags and covered in mud. Of course the King’s first remark, after he spent the new few hour ignoring most of his new toys (note to self: Christmas presents are pointless) was to ask where on earth did I put the Christmas tree, and could I please put it back up. What can I say, for some people the holidays are hard to let go of. I on the other hand happily skipped the King off to nursery as soon as it opened (take him please, take him!!!!, I love the kid, but a woman needs some silence once in awhile) and was ready to be on the other side of the holiday madness.

Here’s looking at you 2014. 

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