I haven’t done a weekend post in a while, so I thought I’d fill you in on our recent festive shenanigans.
After resisting for the past few weeks, I finally decided that it was time to put our Christmas tree up. On Friday evening, the kids and I hauled our trusty faux tree out of the attic, along with an eclectic mix of decorations. As we unwrapped them, a few of my pretty glass baubles had been broken in transit (to be fair, I’d packed them away pretty badly last year) but we enjoyed a little impromptu trip down memory lane.
It’s funny how inanimate objects can bring back powerful memories, isn’t it? Baubles from our trip to Disneyland, random creations that the kids had made in primary school, trinkets from various trips and a few memorial ones too.
The girls took control and pretty much ended up assembling the branches etc themselves, which was awesome as that’s the bit that I hate doing personally! I took the opportunity to get a head start on making tea and asked them to hold off decorating the tree fully until I’d checked that the lights worked.
Lo and behold, I popped back in the living room around 20 minutes later to see how they were getting on…and found the entire tree was decorated within an inch of its life, lights and all. As I’m trying to be less of a control freak of late, I optimistically thought that it was quite a nice moment. You know, the kids taking over this festive tradition and using their own initiative. I then promptly flicked on the lights, only to find that about 70% half of them had blown.
I really couldn’t be bothered battling the rush hour traffic and driving to the supermarket for more, so started to undress the tree as I explained that we could go shopping the next day and finish it properly.
By the time Adam came home, the living room looked like an explosion in a glitter factory, Lucie was sulking upstairs after declaring: ‘I CAN NEVER DO ANYTHING RIGHT IN THIS HOUSE!’ and I’d taken refuge in the kitchen with the cats. The makings of a John Lewis advert right there, don’t you think?
The next morning, we headed into to Manchester to enjoy the Christmas markets, meet up with friends, eat, drink and be merry. I’ve been going to the Manchester Christmas markets for as long as I can remember. It’s always understandably busy, being such a popular concept and all, but there are no words for just how packed it was this weekend. I have never, ever seen it quite so rammed. I swear that Times Square was easier to get around than the stalls on Albert Square were on Saturday.
As we pushed our way through the crowds, I daren’t stop and actually indulge in any shopping for fear of causing a human traffic jam. The kids had gone shopping with my sister (we both turned up in Manchester accidentally wearing the same shade of lipstick and shoes – standard) so Adam grabbed a bratwurst whilst I grumbled about not being able to stand anywhere to eat and declined the offer of mulled wine, knowing it’d end up getting spilt down a randomers coat!
After half an hour, I was pretty miserable. Adam decided to wait by the town hall for his friends whilst my sister, the kids and I headed to the markets on the other side of town, in the hope that they’d be slightly calmer. They were not. Lucie was now declaring unbearable hunger and would only settle for a burger. We trawled the stalls, unsuccessful on this special quest. Sensing that my patience was quickly waning, she reluctantly settled on a turkey and stuffing muffin.
By this point, it was getting quite late and my sister headed back to Piccadilly to catch her train home. I was cold, skint and ‘hangry’ (I had to skip the aforementioned turkey muffin myself due to lack of cash – the stalls don’t accept card payments) I could feel myself slowly turning into the Grinch with every painful moment that passed. The girls and I went into the Arndale centre to escape the crowds before I became a liability!
This is how we ended up in Starbucks. I know, it’s a corporate devil and I should be supporting our local markets instead, but frankly? This was a more appealing option than paying £6 for a lukewarm hot chocolate, it was indoors, quiet and most importantly, had seating. The eggnog latte was worth being a sellout for too #sorrynotsorry
After a couple of hours browsing the shops and picking up a few Christmas gifts, harmony was restored and our moods bounced back to normal again. I’m in Manchester again this weekend for a boozy brunch with friends so here’s hoping that it’s second time lucky, eh?
We also ended up with an accidental new addition to the family. I’m not talking about a metaphorical ‘bun in the oven‘ (two teenagers and a house full of drama is proving to be a natural contraceptive, so that particular bundle of joy isn’t even remotely on the cards) but a gorgeous grey hamster named Penny.
Penny was originally bought as a birthday gift for Megan’s friend. Turns out that said friends parents had no idea about this surprise and promptly declined such an unexpected gift. Guess which muggings ended up taking it in instead? *hands up* The cats are delighted…
Oh and we eventually bought some new Christmas lights, only to discover that a string of 300 bulbs was far too short for our 6ft tree. We used them regardless, just so that we could get the bastard thing up before January. So there you go, a round up of our somewhat stressful start of the festive period!