Thursday, December 20

10 things I love about the festive season

  • Mince pies with Grand Marnier cream
  • The hustle and the bustle and the general ambience
  • All the twinkly lights
  • Absolutely everything in the M&S Food Hall (especially the white mulled wine)
  • The selection of cute and cosy slippers in the shops
  • Stollen from the exclusive German deli (Hmm, there's a lot of food on this list)
  • The automatic right to nibble on nuts and/or chocolate all day without anyone raising an eyebrow
  • Feeling the love with all my friends and family, with visits and nights out and hugs and cards and general cheery mumpetness
  • The Christmas Fluff (pictured below) - a pair of completely pointless fluffy balls on sticks in silver plant pots that Mr Meep and I bought many moons ago when we lived in a flat too tiny to fit a tree in
  • Gingerbread lattes from that evil corporate coffee chain (clearly my ethics are having a little festive break)

    Merry Christmas!

    On a less festive note, I have had gastric flu (Monday to Wednesday) AND a cold (just starting today) all in one week. And the snail has a tooth and is very grumpy and screams. A lot. It doesn't make for a good combo. Bah.
  • Wednesday, December 5

    The Great Anniversary Disaster (Part 4)

    Today is our fourth wedding anniversary. A cause to celebrate, of course. Although, for the fourth year running, it has all gone a little bit wrong.

    The first year, I dropped lots of hints to Mr Meep that he should arrange me a lovely surprise weekend away somewhere. Despite the hints, he left it until the last minute. He tried to book a weekend in Bath, but the Christmas markets were on and every B&B had been booked up months before. He tried Hay-on-Wye, only to find out there was a mini winter version of the Hay Festival on. However, after ringing most accommodation in Hay, he booked us into a swanky hotel with a lovely restaurant, with thoughts of lovely walks by the river and cosying up with glasses of red wine in old pubs with real fires. It couldn't have been more perfect.

    Except that on the day, I woke up with the most horrible cold. I couldn't get out of bed, let alone enjoy lovely food and wine. We had to cancel. Bah.

    The next year, I booked us into a really nice restaurant in Cardiff. We were going to have cocktails first, then go for a nice dinner. This time, it was Mr Meep's turn to be ill. A stomach bug this time around. We cancelled.

    (Can I just add here that we both very rarely get ill, so this was beginning to feel like a conspiracy.)

    Year three and I booked us tickets to see Mitchell and Webb at the Wales Millennium Centre. We both loved Peep Show, so were really looking forward to it. We woke up the morning of our anniversary and could not believe it. Neither of us was ill, we hadn't lost the tickets, the show hadn't been cancelled, the WMC hadn't exploded. It was all looking rather positive.

    Shame, then, that Mitchell and Webb were probably the unfunniest act ever in the history of comedy. So bad, in fact, that when we walked out of the auditorium for interval drinks, we kept walking down the stairs, out of the door and home to cwtch up under a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate.

    This year, we aimed small. We thought we'd just have a nice day out, then Mr Meep would cook us a posh meal at home. Perfect. It was a simple plan. We're both in good health. What could possibly go wrong?


    Yesterday morning, Mr Meep gets a call from an old friend. A lovely lady, she's been going through a bit of a tough time lately, is in a bit of a state and wants to know if she and her three kids can come and stay. Straight away. Last night and today. So they did. So our anniversary day involved all seven of us having a romantic breakfast together (involving lots of Coco Pops and lots of mess), then a mass trip to Barry Island in the wind and lunch at the only place that was open - the world's greasiest caff, complete with even greasier waiting staff and even greasier chips and the original '60s decor (but not in a good way).

    Happy 4th, you mumpet!

    Sunday, December 2

    6 months

    Dear Gwen,
    On Monday, you turned six months old. Where on earth did that time go? This month you have been mainly charming people wherever we go. You charmed your Grandma and Grandpa Shepherd when we went on holiday with them. You charmed your Great Auntie Brenda-Jean when we went to visit her. You charm everyone who makes eye contact with you in the supermarket by giving them a great big grin. Of course, you charm me and your dad every single day.

    You are my constant companion. Sitting in your Bumbo seat watching me while I cook. Going to coffee shops to people watch. Coming out for walks with the dog. Lying next to me on the bed while I have my coffee in the morning. Basically, you've become a very smiley and lovely person to have around.

    This month, there's a lot of babbling going on - I sense you will be a chatterbox (can't imagine where you get that from). You can sit up on your own now, but you still topple over all the time, so it's not quite time to ditch the bouncy chair just yet.

    You're so amazingly alert and awake compared to the tiny sleepy bundle we brought home from the hospital. Everything is fascinating to you. Last Friday, I gave you a spring onion to hold while I was pottering in the kitchen and you examined it for a whole hour without getting bored.

    And we're onto food now. Well, we're bypassing the 'mush' stage and going with baby-led weaning. So we present you with whatever we're eating and if you fancy it and can pick it up, you have some too. It's messy, involves occasional scary spluttering from you, but it's much more enjoyable than trying to jolly you along while we aeroplane smushed up carrots down the hatch (and, of course, Blod is a VERY happy dog and spends a lot of time loitering under the high chair). So far, sliced pear, satsuma segments and a dough ball in Pizza Express have been your favourites, and today, you devoured a whole roast potato while we were having Sunday lunch. Your dad is really pleased that you like roasties, because they're his favourites too.

    Today is a bit of milestone, because we've decided to move you into your own bedroom, so we all get better night's sleep. This morning, your dad and I thought this was a good idea. This evening, we feel really sad. I'll really miss your dawn chorus of babbling waking me up, and the way that you lie there waiting patiently for one of us to pick our heads up off the pillow to look at you, then you start giggling with excitement when we do.

    I can't wait to see what the next six months will bring.