Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Festive frolics

Alright, the dust of the festive season has settled and I've recovered enough to recap the events of the last couple of weeks.

I celebrated Christmas without my family for only the second time this year. The first time was in Moscow in 2006, where the 25th of December is just another working day. I did have a Christmas dinner on the 24th with a bunch of teachers, but otherwise it was not particularly exciting. This time round was also pretty quiet, but enjoyable (and not marred by teaching English!) I went around to my friend Laura's place for Experimental Chicken and other delights. Experimental Chicken, you ask? Laura's a scientist, and our 3.30€ Christmas chicken was fresh from her lab. That may be enough to put off the more queasy among you, but she did assure me they only sold chickens from the Control groups of experiments, so they were unlikely to be pumped full of weird substances. In fact, I think they're quite possibly better in that respect than normal chickens from the shop. They do come, however, intact, complete with heads and internal organs. I respectfully requested that the one of us who spends her working days chopping up mice brains dealt with the chicken prep, so by the time I turned up it was looking just like what you'd buy at the supermarket. She did say, however, that the lungs are particularly difficult to extract. Yum!

Anyway, we had a nice dinner, watched Love Actually (I'd seen it before, but didn't remember anything about it, which is apparently shocking to everyone for whom it's practically a religion) and played charades, at my repeated insistence that Christmas wasn't Christmas without a parlour game or two. I ended up getting home at around 4.30 am, so we must have had fun!

Quick quiz #1: What is this?

If you answered anything other than "extremely strong 2 year-old Gruyère", then you would be wrong. It doesn't even look like cheese!

Christmas markets in front of the train station

Quick quiz #2: How many exposed breasts should be on display at a Christmas market?

If you answered "none", then clearly you are from some puritanical English-speaking country.

The correct answer, of course, is six
Our Christmas dinner. I think we did quite well!

Laura and I just before digging in
A week or so later, it was of course time for New Year's celebrations. I was a little bit pissed off going in, because we had been all messaging back and forth on Facebook about a joint budget to buy wine and food and party supplies and pretty much everyone said 20-25€. Then on NYE itself, the message came through that it came to 33€ per person. Which is a pretty big increase on that. Why bother asking people's budgets if you're going to go about 50% over what was agreed on? Anyway, what can you do? It wasn't worth getting upset about, even though I still think there was no need to buy 15 bottles of sparkling, an unknown quantity of still wine, beer, vodka, rum, gin etc. etc. for a dozen people. If we'd actually drunk all of that we'd probably all be dead.

But grumbling over, we had a lovely evening, and I must say the extra touches of decorations, party poppers, hats, sparklers, confetti etc. did make for a more special vibe than your average party. Just before midnight, we played charades (theme of the season it seems) amid concerns that things needed livening up before 12 (not sure if charades did the trick or not, tbh - especially with the francophones!) and then there was dancing and confetti throwing and suchlike. I almost caused a riot by scheduling several NZ tunes one after another on the party playlist. All my shrieking of "cultural imperialism" didn't save me from being officially banned from commandeering the laptop again. Ha. We were also hanging out the window at some point yelling at men passing by, since there was a distinct dearth of single men at the party (slash of our collective acquaintance). I'm pretty blind, it was dark, and they were wearing hoodies, so I couldn't really tell what they looked like, but after a short conference it was decided that they were not good looking and therefore would not be invited into the party. So my shouting out the window at them went along the lines of "Eh, les mecs! Les mecs! ...... Continuez!" ("Hey, guys! Guys! ..... Carry on!")

I fell asleep on Caro's couch at about 5 am, I think with the distinct idea in my head that I was just taking a little nap before continuing to party. In actual fact, I woke up freezing cold around 9 and crept into the spare bedroom to continue my "little nap" until around 1 pm, when I woke up to find that Caro had already done almost all the cleaning up. Oops! Ironically, I was the only one who slept there, and I probably live the closest. At least I didn't have far to walk of shame it in the morning, although pretty much everyone I came across on the short walk home was looking remarkably chipper and not like they'd slept in their clothes at all. Unfair!

A quick selfie before heading out for New Year's Eve. It's the only time of the evening where I can be sure my hair and makeup look okay

Party group shot

Philippa and Caroline on the dancefloor

Me and Caroline shortly after midnight, shortly before man-hassling

If this were America's Next Top Model, I'd probably be told off for looking shorter than I am, and possibly like I have a wasting disease in my lower limbs. Other than that, good photo

Just chillin during a round of charades

Post-confetti attack. As you may be able to see, it got in all the drinks as well, but I vowed to make it my personal mission to drink them all anyway

Me and Laura

Jen, Laura, me and Marcia at around 4 am when the weak-willed were heading home

I seem to be a fan of photos leaning over. I did actually receive complaints that my dress wasn't as low-cut as usual (for reals), so this may be making up for it

Philippa the confetti fairy

Rudi, one of the 3 men (all partners of other guests) attending our soirée. Where the single men at, Tours?

Ladies in black - Véro, Marcia and Caroline

The aftermath
Anyway, hope you all had a fun time too and Happy New Year!


  1. Laboratory chicken!!! Eeek!

    Love your pinkey/red outfit. M xxx

    1. Thankyou mum! I was unsure about going pink/red, but think it worked!

  2. Omg! My friend Jen is in your pictures - she actually almost came to our NYE party, but then decided to go to Tours at the last minute!!

    PS. I love your dress - it's super cute and flattering!

    1. Omg loved Jen! That's so cool that you're friends. Small world! And thanks :)

  3. Happy New Year, Gwan!!!

    I thought that first picture was peanut butter brittle! AHHHH, it's cheese!

    I agree with you, all that booze was unnecessary and yes you would all be dead if it was all consumed! Am I wrong for thinking that sentence (not at all if it actually happened) is totally hilarious?

    You guys really went all out on making the New Year festive! I love your sparkles and fairy dust. Philippa looks so magical in that shot of her throwing it up. It works well with her dress

    ....and of course, your quick "selfie". Tres belle.


    1. It was insane cheese from hell! Well,you know, we all had a good time and that's what's important. Just getting some grumpiness off my chest. The little extras were great, I have so many failed shots of missing the moment, especial,y trying to take shots of the party poppers going off! Thanks doll xx

  4. You look good! That cheese really does not!!

    1. Thanks! Even French people thought it was too strong, which is saying something!

  5. I thought the cheese was the highlight! Although when I think about it it does resemble something that could be dug from a nose.

    1. I'm sure you mean your lovely daughter was the highlight, but I do know how you love such things

    2. n.b. This was not me...
      I know you know, but do your readers? Hmm?
      M x

  6. I love living vicariously through your fun. Happy New Year!

  7. Thanks, I hope you had some fun of your own too though! Hapoy new year!

  8. I was convinced that the cheese was some kind of fudge-based dessert. It definitely looks too potent for my poor northern-European nose!

    I'm the same as you with Love Actually - I saw it too close up in the cinema after a few drinks and I can't even remember who all the famous actors are, never mind what happens, but apparently this is not normal.

    1. It was pretty rank. Yay, glad I'm not the only one! As mentioned, I'm short-sighted, so I also spent half the movie going, "Is that Keira Knightly? Is that Mr. Darcy? etc." Luckily my friend had seen it so many times she didn't mind. I have a terrible memory for films.

  9. Happy New Year, Gwan! As a Swiss-by-marriage, it's my duty to inform you that the Gruyere was way past its sell-by date! My suspicion is that some savvy Swiss person was fobbing of his smelly old cheese on the Frenchies and laughing all the way to the bank. My first thought was that it was peanut butter cookie dough. Now that would have been good!

    The photo of Philippa is amazing. She REALLY is a confetti fairy!

    1. Oh, a Swiss would never do that, surely! We didn't pay for it (or see anyone who wanted to), luckily, it was at a gourmet food expo.

      It is a good one, I'll have to stick it on facebook so she can see it!

  10. The aftermath is glorious!


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