So, Christmas is behind us now and it’s hard to believe that it’s already almost the middle of February! Time is passing so quickly and before we know it we will be heading into spring! We are so looking forward to seeing spring in this area, as I’m sure it must be beautiful. I imagine fields of wild flowers and the sun shimmering on the lake down the road. Yeah, in case you can’t tell, I’m still blissfully happy here in our temporary little home.
We had a wonderful Christmas this year and I thought I’d share some of what we got up to.
First thing’s first… getting the tree up! Since my Christmas tree and all of my decorations are still in storage in Rotterdam, I went to Lidl and picked up a cheap tree and some decorations. I mean, Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a tree! If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I love the holidays and would be a sad panda if I didn’t have any decorations.
With the tree up and the fire going, I have to say, I sometimes felt like I was living in a Christmas card. I’d sit looking at this and then turn to look out the window and see the peaceful countryside and sigh the happiest sigh to myself. This was truly my happy place!
I did a lot of knitting and watching Christmas movies, which just added to the cozy Christmas atmosphere.
SON OF A NUTCRACKER! Christmas just isn’t Christmas without Buddy! Every year I wait until my holiday cheer is at its highest, then I push it over the edge with ELF, my favourite film of the season!
We visited quite a few Christmas markets. The highlight was my visit to the market in Le Dorat, where I met a lovely Russian woman who is a fountain of knowledge about all things fiber and spinning. I went to visit her at her home the following week and we have plans to do some spinning lessons. She did lend me a drop spindle and some fiber to practice on, since mine are in storage. I’ve been so busy with my knitting that I haven’t had a lot of time to work on it, and she’s very busy with some really cool stuff involving bringing the fiber world back to life in Russia, but hopefully we will get together again soon!
One huge difference with the Christmas markets in the local villages, and any others I’ve been to, is that they aren’t crazy busy! Ok, so there isn’t as much to see either, but I’d rather get int he car and hop from one village to the next, seeing people who know each other gather and enjoy the season, than get elbowed to death in the larger markets I’ve been to in Germany. They were fun too, of course, but getting out of the city and away from the hustle and bustle has really made me realize the extent of my hatred of crowds.
The above photo was taken in our local village, St. Sulpice les Feuilles and I have to say, I was surprised at the size of it. I expected it to be a tiny thing with just 3-4 stalls… because lets be honest, it’s a tiny village, but it was actually quite large and spanned most of the village center.
Unlike Les Herolles, in the above photo, which was a bitter disappointment. Apparently there is a truly massive monthly market here, so when I heard about their Christmas market I, and some other people I knew, assumed it would be a sight to behold! We were told to get there early as parking is usually a nightmare, so we rolled up at 8am and stayed for almost two hours… and this is all we saw. We were freezing our asses off and couldn’t believe how completely and utterly dead it was. From what I’ve heard, it didn’t get any better throughout the day. It was awful. I still plan to visit their regular monthly market, though, as that is supposed to be pretty spectacular.
We drove a good half hour to get to this place called Brussiere Dunois (I think that’s how it was spelled), as that was supposed to be another great one. We gave it a resounding “Meh!”. It’s always a toss of the coin when you go to these markets, I’ve realized. We looked around for five minutes then went to the only restaurant / pub open in the whole village because we were starving. I ate fish and chips at lunch and spent the entire afternoon feeling nauseated. Tand pis! (That’s “oh well” in French, look at me… assimilating!)
Our next nearest town is La Souterraine, which is where we do all of our grocery shopping and where I go to my French classes. The market there was really quite good and probably our favourite of all we visited. We picked up a few things, had some sausages on a roll and decided that we were Christmas Marketed out, we were calling it quits. It was Dec 23 at this point and we’d started on Dec 5th with the markets, so we had a good run.
Christmas itself was pretty great. I mean Christmas eve and day. To be honest, I can’t even remember what we did on Christmas eve now, that’s pretty bad! We were up bright and early on Christmas Day, though! We really are like five year olds when it comes to opening gifts.
We set up blankets and pillows on the floor and dug into our gifts. We had a pretty good haul this year and had a lot of fun. It really couldn’t get any cozier than this!
This was the highlight of my Christmas! My husband got me this adorable felted mouse from TenderMouse on Etsy. I saw these mice months ago and almost lost my mind, and he remembered. I’ve named her Maisie and at the moment she lives on a shelf with a plastic bowl over her like a bubble, to protect her until we move and I can get a proper glass case. Isn’t she adorable?! I can hardly stand it. I want an entire collection of ALL THE FELTED ANIMAL THINGS.
I gave my husband something which he claims is the best gift I’ve ever given him, and it’s so weird it’s going to get a post of its own, so you’ll have to wait and see. I’m not sure who is more weird, him for wanting it or me for getting it, but whatever. You’ll hear more about that later.
Another fun thing about this Christmas was that we declared it to be a TREATYOSELF Christmas, which is a Christmas where we each also splurged on ourselves. I’m pretty sure every single Christmas, for the rest of our lives, will be a TREATYOSELF Christmas, because it was AWESOME! The above photo shows what I got for myself.
- Two amazing skeins of sock yarn from WitchCandy on Etsy in Birch Fire and Oil Slick colourways.
- A project bag for my sock projects, from KnittersNook, also on Etsy.
- A 2017 Lifeplanner from Erin Condren with my own custom cover.
I’m really down with this TREATYOSELF thing, honestly. Best thing ever.
Oh Christmas day we were invited to celebrate with our friends in their new home. We first met back in October when they moved into the cottage next to us while waiting for their house sale to be completed. We became quite good friends in the time we were living here together and we were quite sad when they left. Ok, so they were only going five minutes away but our doors used to be right next to each other and we’d sit outside together loads, now we’d have to make a proper effort to see each other.
Their new house was super cozy, though, so we really enjoy going there. They had the TV on playing Christmas music videos, and now, almost two months later I have the “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes…” stuck in my head. GAH!
They had a firm rule that if you were at their house for Christmas, you had to wear a Christmas hat. I love Christmas so much even my Christmas hat had a Christmas hat!
They put on a beautiful spread for Christmas dinner. This was just the appetisers and I was getting full already. I’m pretty sure I came within one bite of turkey from properly exploding. Their dog, Harold, was very interested in all that was going on, as you can see.
After dinner, we played a drinking game called “SPOTS”. The way it’s played is each person is assigned a number. So One Spot, Two Spot, Three Spot, etc. Then the first person says “I’m number one spot, I have got zero spots, how many spots has number (picks a number) spot got?”, then throw a cork to them. Whatever person they’ve chosen has to catch the cork and say the phrase and choose another person, etc. If you miss the cork or say something wrong, you have to rub the burned end of the cork on your face. You have to remember how many spots you have on your face in order to say your part correctly.
It was loads of fun, but I don’t even drink and I still lost. Wtf?!
The days between Christmas day and New Years Eve were spent either shopping, lazing about in front of the TV, going for drives to explore or in a food coma. It’s all a blur now. We stayed in on New Years Eve and had a quiet night where we put one of the gifts I bought for us to use. We made our own sushi!
The kit I bought came with all you need to make it, the rice, different vinegars and soy sauce, ginger, etc. It didn’t have any of those sushi molds, rather just the traditional rolling matt. We gave it a valiant effort and the photo above was the sushi we made and put in the fridge for lunch the next day, because we were already stuffed. What that means is, this is the sushi AFTER we already had a bunch of failed attempts and some practice. Oh dear, we’ll never be sushi chefs, but we did learn a very valuable lesson!
Even if it looks like shit, sushi can still be super delicious!
Then that was it. On New Years Day we had our leftover sushi for lunch, lazed around and kept repeating how much we couldn’t believe that the holidays were over for another year. We looked back on the past year in utter disbelief, hardly able to comprehend how much differently things turned out than expected and then looked forward, wondering what the next year would bring. We had full bellies and full hearts and were totally ready to jump into 2017 and all it had to offer!
A lot has happened in the last month and a half, we’ve been looking at houses to rent, getting things organized with my husband’s work and continued to enjoy life here in Haute-Vienne. We have actually already found a house, quite an amazing one actually, but like my husband’s mystery gift, that will get a post of its own.
Hope you all had a great holiday and are less of a procrastinator than I am, because I’m sure Christmas isn’t anywhere on your minds at the moment, but better late than never, right?!