Saturday, 31 December 2016

Xavier Duke

On the last Friday of this year we were invited to Dubai and some ex-Brunei friends of us, to celebrate their son Xavier's 1st birthday. We were super excited to go, because would you believe that we actually hadn't met Xavier already... it was certainly about time!

They threw a party in their garden with lots of Xavier's little friends. Great afternoon, we had such a lovely time.

 The Panter family.

Nathan and Nathaniel:

They have an amazing house, pool and garden in the Springs are, with a view over the lake. I got house envy again...

Cake time!

Happy 1st birthday Xavier, thank you for letting us share your big day!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

So nearly forgot!

This morning as I was sat beside our Christmas tree reminiscing about where I bought all our baubles, ornaments and decorations; I suddenly remembered that the kids and I did buy some new ones in Paris last February as well! Where were they??! Ummm...

I started rummaging around in my cupboards, and found the Paris ones, together with a few other new ones I had forgot that I had bought this year! Duh!
So now they are finally all on the tree, ready to soon be packed away with the other ornaments so that at least they can get some more tree-time next year!

The Paris ones: a Santa on the Eiffel Tower and a rose window from the Notre Dame Cathedral:

The Denmark ones: a classic glass 'Dannebrog' bauble and a handmade The Little Mermaid clay ornament:

And finally, from Scotland, a cute royal corgi dog that we bought on our visit to the Balmoral Castle at Easter:

I wonder if I have any more forgotten ornaments stashed away anywhere..??

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Day 2016

For Christmas Day this year, Nathan had arranged to celebrate with some Kiwi friends of his, at the Hickorys restaurant at the Yas Links Golf Club.
I had never been to the golf club before, so I was looking forward to a new experience.

Family photo in front of the tree obligatory:

Quite a lot of people, but it didn't feel crowded. We had a long table with adults one end and the children down the other, although the kids mostly rumbled around on the big lawns; played football, tag and ran around with each other:

Our friends were trying to Skype with their family:

It was a lovely way to celebrate, although I must say I was a little bit disappointed with the food.
The food itself was delicious yes, but I didn't feel like there was a huge selection, and not really any extra festive food. Most normal Friday Brunches we go to are much bigger and have a better selection of food than this. I was expecting more, especially as they charged extra as it was a Christmas Brunch.

Entrees, I think I went three times only for the sushi...:

Then it was time for turkey and trimmings:

Santa came, of course!

And that was our two-day Christmas celebrations done for this year!
Merry Christmas from the sandpit! 

Christmas morning 2016

As we got back rather late from Dubai on Christmas Eve, the kids didn't wake us up until it was nearly 7.30 on Christmas morning. Lovely!
Linnea had looked after Santa and Rudolph the night before, "To: Santa. I thank you for all the presents and thank you for spreading cheer. From: Linnea Watson - Turn over and write back pls"... :)

Traditionally, the tree needed to be lit, the Christmas music turned on and most importantly - the coffee made! Then we started to distribute and open the gifts, one at a time.

I enjoy that the kids' wish lists were rather short this year, and well thought through. They actually didn't get many gifts. They are well aware of the value of things by now, and were really happy getting the things they wanted the most, rather than a mountain of "stuff".
They got money from both sets of grandparents and the cousins, but other than that there was only five presents for them each. Four from us, and the ones they had bought each other.

Nathan got bike stuff and two NZ Christmas tree ornaments, a silver fern and and All Blacks bauble. He also got a holder for his phone from Linnea and a Kiwiana takeaway cup:

I got a new phone cover and a cool kind of soda stream gadget. Also from my parents I got a Gloria by Klong, a brass candle light holder I have been wanting for forever which I will pick up next time I'm home.

Lucas got an ornament for his tree, the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, a selfie stick, a phone holder from Linnea and the big gift - new Turtle Beach gaming headphones:

And Linnea also got a Christmas tree ornament, an Augie book, a Lego set and her big gift was a new iPad, with the keyboard chosen by Lucas:

Two very happy, very grateful children.
We've done something right. ❤️

Julafton 2016

To be honest, we were rather unsure on how we were going to celebrate Swedish Christmas this year, now that our partners in crime the Hybholts are not here anymore. I spent most of Friday in the kitchen anyway, cooking up a storm to get ready for Christmas Eve (Swedish main day). I figured we would be needing to eat however we were going to celebrate.

Our Danish friends in Dubai had invited us up there, but - as Freddie was on standby it was on the condition that the didn't get called out. We woke up to the news that he had indeed been called to work, but luckily only for a short flight, so we packed up and drove up there for the afternoon.

But first, traditional Julafton family photo in front of the tree:

We ended up having the Swedish meatballs, prinskorv (small sausages), beetroot salad, Janssons, the eggs and Christmas ham for lunch; and later on in the evening we had Christmas dinner Danish style. A lovely mix of all our different traditions!

They had bought themselves a new, huge, Christmas tree, very beautiful!

Louie the pup wanted in on the Christmas cuddles too!

While the duck was cooking we played the Christmas "stealing gifts game" with dice. It was a very intense game, with the biggest winner being Malthe who walked away with the coveted air horn..!

We actually have had Christmas together like this once before, in 2011 when we still lived in Brunei and came up to visit them in Dubai for our holiday. It was lovely to spend it together once again, friends like are like family are priceless.
Managed to get everybody into the photo!

Dessert, Swedish saffron gooey cake and gingerbread muffins and also Danish risalamande, with cherry sauce and hidden almonds!

Thank you Dehlis for a top day! Glædelig Jul! God Jul! ❤️