Happy holidays to everyone! I hope you had a warm and cosy holiday with you and yours wherever you were/are. If you're in the US, I hope you went sledding for me - the snow in Dublin melted away way before I had a chance to even inquire as to where I could purchase a flying saucer.
As you know, we trekked to Liverpool on Christmas Eve to fly to Belfast as the flights to and from Dublin were severely messed up due to the snow in Dublin. Well, when we flew into Belfast we encountered this view:
The air in Belfast had been so cold for so long that the snow froze to all surfaces, including trees, making the landscape look like a magical winter garden. It was amazing and a really lovely sight after traveling all day.
When we finally got to Dublin, we had a whirlwind 5 days of family and friends. We met babies, we went to a funeral, we went sightseeing, and we hung out. I love going to The Irishman's family for the sheer volume of people - the festive meal this year was 14 and there are constantly people coming in and out of the house. It's really bubbly and wonderful. Here I am giving the meal a thumbs up with The Irishman's brother. We are at the kids table, obvs.
I also partook in the Dublin Christmas ritual of swimming off the Forty Foot - in the sea. Let me now tell you how that was the worst cold I have ever experienced but I loved it. I immediately lost feeling in my hands and feet, and once I got out of the water I had pins and needles all over my body, but you really get a feeling of inner warmth radiating from your core and the shower you take afterwards is the most delicious shower you will ever experience. Here I am paddling to the steps, trying to get out of the water; that's The Irishman's MOM in the water in front of me! She swims there every day, no matter the season. Jeebus.
But we're back in London, with a relatively smooth flight home from Dublin yesterday, and relishing the time alone with quiet and no forced indulgence. Yesterday was the first day we didn't gorge ourselves on meat, wine, cheese, and other deliciousness and I must say I sort of feel like I'm in withdrawal: I miss the 4 different kinds of breakfast meat in a full Irish breakfast!
We are spending the rest of our fabulously long Christmas break here in London, relaxing, and taking advantage of the city that we seem to always be leaving. Tonight we're going out for sushi and to the disco of a friend's wedding (the dancing part of a reception), and tomorrow we'll chef up a nice meal and head down to the Thames to watch the fireworks usher in 2011. We've got Sunday lunch booked at The Sportsman in Whitstable, a little seaside village I've been dying to visit for years, and we're planning to hit up The Saatchi Gallery at some point before we go back to work. (wait, we have to go back?!)
As 2010 is drawing to a close and it's the time for reflection and planning, I'll be posting over the next few days about my requisite New Year's resolutions, some thoughts I've been mulling over, and the usual self-improvement-type-plans. I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's as well, so feel free to share in the comments and your own blogs/social networks/etc. Until then, here I am with The Irishman on the pier in Dublin standing in front of epic storm clouds and rolling seas, wearing a polar bear hat. Hopefully that gives you some indication of how I plan to approach 2011. xx