Saturday, 28 December 2013

Photopost: Boxing Day at English Bay Beach

Matthew and I unashamedly reserved Boxing Day for just the two of us. We slept in, ate croissants for breakfast, and went for a beautiful walk on the Sea Wall. We also thrifted (hello, green satin paisley tank, I didn't know I needed you until I met you!), ate fish and chips, and battled the Robson Street sale crowds.

We walked home in twilight (at 4:30pm, good heavens) over Burrard Bridge, and stopped in for a coffee on the way home. It was a pretty lovely day.

Matthew in a sunbeam under Granville Street Bridge

A lonely boat wreck by the Inukshuk 

English Bay Beach

View from the restaurant window. Enchanted by the palm trees.

St Paul's Hospital Lights of Hope


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Photopost! Christmas Day Highlights 2013

Thanks to the amazing generosity of my extended family, Matthew and I experienced a warm, welcoming, and cheer-filled Christmas day.  It started with a sleep-in until the luxurious time of 10:30am. We had croissants and jam for breakfast and opened our stockings from Gramma. 

We then did all the wrapping that we hadn’t done before. That is, all of it.

At 1pm we donned our finest and drove to collect Gramma on the way to Aunty Eileen’s place for a quiet tea and coffee interlude before the evening’s feasting. We were joined by Aunty Lorraine and Cousin Carolyn.

Chillin' at Aunty Eileen's cool jungle apartment.
Before sunset, we left Aunty Eileen’s apartment in New West and drove around the park to Uncle Dan and Aunty Leslie’s house. We met some lovely and long-standing family friends and “fellow antipodeans”, the McK family, for a cocktail and a catch-up, and then settled down to a good old-fashioned Turkey Dinner.

Tireless chef extraordinaire, Aunty Leslie, displaying the proud bird

Uncle Dan doing the Carving

Matthew "helping"

The meat in all its glory
 Before we began to feast, we received a rare musical treat from Gramma, who sang for us. It was really beautiful.

Gramma and Uncle Dan

Aunty Eileen, me


Matthew looking effortlessly chic in a Christmas hat, and me

See what I mean?

Gramma and Carolyn
Emily presiding over The Pavlova. Aunty Leslie, the creator, giving directions.
Eleanor joined us later in the evening, here picture with her beau Bryerton

Matthew being a ninja

After a the dessert extraveganza (pavlova was the centrepiece, of course, but there was also two kinds of fruitcake, mince tarts, a special festive Nanaimo bar, and syrup cookies!), we all moved to the Christmas tree for the great unwrapping. I wish I'd taken a photo of the tree. It was about 8 feet tall. Most sublime.

Uncle Dan was the Santa

Unwrapping delight: Leslie, Sophie, Carolyn, Emily
Aunty Lorraine and Gramma
Mustn't forget Kenji!
Warmest and sincerest thanks to the Grays, Kings, Aunty, Gramma and Cousins for making Christmas such a memorable, delicious, and generous day.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Decorating Party

Last night Matthew and I took our lovingly hand-crafted gingerbread edifices (my house and his car) to the Kings' house for an evening of CANDY SMORGASBORD. We were joined by Aunty Lorraine, Carolyn, Eleanor, Bryerton, and Sophie. The Kings have a long-standing tradition of "Crackertown", which uses biscuits instead of gingerbread. But I like to make the house from edible gingerbread.

I baked the house pieces on Saturday from a plan Matthew found on the web, and Matthew deftly assembled it (propped up by library books for my MA thesis... it was quite a sight) with all the Royal Icing you can imagine and more. Here's the step-by-step...

Holding together with the twine from last year!
Mid-decorating. Very proud.

Eleanor with her masterpiece

Bryerton battling gravity (he eventually remodelled)

I forgot to mention, The Sound of Music was playing in the background. Neither Bryerton nor Matthew had seen it before, but all the rest of us were singing along (I haven't seen this since I was a small one, and yet somehow I still know all the words... how is this so culturally pervasive?!). It was totally the right entertainment for the occasion.

Sophie's chalet covered in champagne jubes. They tasted like pear. Inexplicable.
Mathew's bitchin' BMW. I'm sorry there are not more in-construction photos of this. Matthew designed all the pieces and assembled it himself!

Matthew with the house. Don't let him fool you, I totally decorated this all by myself.

Matthew took his BMW 2002 turbo (with historically inaccurate tail lights, for shame, Matthew) to work with him this morning, where it was roundly admired and eaten. Then when we rendezvoused back at the ranch this evening, we got stuck into the house.

Friends, we ate half the roof this evening.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

I Run

Today I'm celebrating a small victory: since signing up to Map My Run in March this year, I have run over 700 miles. That's over 1126 kilometres.

I know, right? My biggest month was November, when I ran 101 miles. I had a crappy time in October with a strained groin (again), some minor surgery and a really bad cold which lasted for over a fortnight. I remember thinking at the time, when I get better, I'm going to CANE IT. And it looks like I did.

Matthew and I are planning to sign up for our first half-marathon in summer 2014, notwithstanding any injuries along the way. I think we can do it.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Winter Solstice

It is the shortest day of the year, and Vancouver is covered in snow. It snowed on Thursday night and on Friday I was the first person to walk out our apartment building at 6am, leaving new footprints in the snow. It snowed all day until about 3pm. On the way home on Friday evening, I saw a 5-foot-tall snowman with a carrot nose, just like on a Christmas card.

There was more snow on Friday that the snow day we had last week, and also last year. I'm so glad I own a pair of cheap snowboots (they're very stylish, however, with a bold houndstooth check), so I could save my poor shoes from snow damage. I have enjoyed mushing through the streets, it feels festive.

View at 5:45am from our bedroom window onto the alley below

This kept Matthew busy at work all day
View from our balcony at 8:30am

View from our dining room

View from our living room

The days have been filled with activities. Matthew has been working very hard and I have been accounting for any spare moments with baking. We're onto our fourth batch of gingerbread this evening, with which we are baking a house. Photos to follow, I promise.

Gingerbread man and gingerbread Warhammer 40k warrior... Matthew decorated both.
Every surface of our apartment is covered in Christmas cards from people in Australia, United States, and Britain. We really feel the distance at Christmas time, and these cards make us feel it even more, but kind of in a happy way.

We just got in from delivering a batch of the above to our friends in the neighbourhood. Afterward the delivery, we stomped across a park trying to find the untrammeled bits of snow (there weren't any) and rated the various snowmen who were toppling after a day of rain. It was delightful.

On the shortest day of the year we are warm, busy, and well fed.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Gingerbread Lane

Today Matthew and I went out for brunch at Heirloom. It was crazy busy. Afterwards, we took a bus downtown to the Hyatt hotel, and discovered the gingerbread house display! Here are the highlights.

We forgot our camera, so these are all phone pictures (hence the low qual, sorry). Think of the grain and gloom as retro and charming, ok?