Category: Christmas

New Year – New Us???

How was your Christmas and New Year?

Official Man Flu Germ

Official Man Flu Germ

Ours’s didn’t get off to a great start, seeing as how both Mum and me, plus all of our immediate family, had the nasty cold virus that was doing the rounds over the Holiday Season. 
My other half had Man Flu, but let’s not go into that… 

It meant we didn’t get to celebrate Christmas or indeed New Year’s Eve a great deal. Nor did we enjoy any exploits. So we’ve not had much to write about. Obviously there’s only so many times we can say we’ve got snotty noses and please send us much deserved sympathy before you close your browser.
“Christmas seems so far away,” I said to Mum.

“Well it was last year,” she replied.

“We didn’t really get to do anything. No celebrating with extended family. No meeting up with friends. No nights out. No parties,” I lament.

“We may as well have been Nuns,” chipped in Mum.

“You’d know all about that,” I say, self-satisfied.

Mum frowned at me: “What, ’coz I’m a single woman?” she asked indignantly.

“No.” I reply. “Didn’t you want to be a Nun?”

Mum rolled her eyes “Oh god – “

“Is that you practising?” I laugh.

Now this is a oft repeated story amongst the family so Mum has it perfected.

“According to your Nana and Grandad, as a child I told all and sundry, including our priest, that I wanted to be a Nun. That I wanted to go live in a Nunnery and take vows of poverty and chastity –“

“The chastity went well, seeing as you have three kids…” I smiled.

“Exactly. Though thanks to Brexit, I may yet end up in poverty!”

Bloody Brexit, Mum makes a fair point!

I rolled my eyes “Oh god – “

“The only problem of me wanting to be a Nun,” Mum continued, “is that I have absolutely no recollection of it.”

“I suppose believing in God and the church would be a prerequisite,” I suggested.

“That too.”

“So, any New Year resolutions?” I ask.

“I don’t have resolutions as it’s a just a load of old tosh. But I do have a mind list of things I’d like to do.”

“What are they?” I pry.

“Just the usual, like so many other people,” Mum replies. “Lose some weight; maybe visit a few more places; make ‘Me Time’ to do things I want to do.”

“Our friend Marty, who’ll be guest posting for us soon, wrote a blog with the same take. A simple list of things he’d quite like to do –

“Think most peoples’ lists likely look similar,” Mum nods.
She paused: “Anyways, what are your New Year resolutions?”

“Well, “ I start, “in view of Brexit,  I’m waiting for the New Year’s Revolutions.”

The Birthday Night Before Christmas

We are out celebrating Mum’s birthday, which is inconveniently placed in the week leading up to Christmas. Just the two of us. For food and drinks.

“I don’t like that my birthday is just six days before Christmas but then I’ve had to live with it my whole life.”

Makes sense, as that’s usually the case with birthdays…

“Everyone is always skint leading up to Christmas,” continues Mum. “Everyone has family prep, work and parties to attend and are so busy rushing around for the big day.”

“Self, self, self,” I say.

“Exactly. I mean, there’s an element of boredom –

This makes me laugh: “An element of boredom?”

 “Yes,” she jokes, “an element of boredom waiting for Christmas Day coming so they can’t be bothered to celebrate birthdays or anything else. As a birthday is a big thing and Christmas is a big thing. People don’t want to celebrate both.”

“So people will wish you a happy birthday but then ask in the same breath what are you doing for Christmas and New Year?” I ask.

“Always!” Mum replies.

“I also get a birthday and Christmas present all rolled into one, usually wrapped in Christmas paper and linked in some way.”

 “Are you apathetic about your birthday then?”

“Well the older I get, the more I think I can’t be bothered myself! My birthdays just go by the by.”

“What’s been the worst birthday you recall?” I quiz.

“I had a big birthday, arranged a drinks party and hardly anyone came.”

“The bastards!”

“Indeed!” chuckled Mum then took a long sip of her birthday cocktail.

“I mean, it’s only as you get older that you really want people to celebrate your birthday with you. But, like I say, it’s good luck with getting people out!”

“Everywhere, restaurants and pubs, are always busy too – or only have their Christmas menus on.”

“Precisely. You can’t necessarily get booked up anywhere, or need to pay deposits or have set meals. It’s just far too much planning. I can’t be arsed.”

“What’s been your favourite thing on today’s birthday, Mum?”

“These cocktails!”

“They are delish.” I agree.

“I don’t think I could drink more than two as I may feel a little bit tiddly,” states Mum,

“You couldn’t drink more than two when it’s a shot of rum, shot of vodka and a shot of butterscotch liqueur? I think two is enough…”

We raise our glasses: “Cheers!”

“Do you feel outshone due to what Christmas actually celebrates, having to contend with someone else’s birthday on Christmas Day?” I ask.

“Yes, I do feel upstaged, but that’s the way life is,” Mum says matter of fact.

 “Upstaged by the Lord Jesus Christ?!”

“You can’t have it all ways,” says Mum. “On the plus side, because it’s my birthday in the week leading up to Christmas, I can be drunk every day of the week until Christmas Day!”

Happy Birthday Mummy – and Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animals!


Two French Tarts

Well, we did the Brum Christmas Market, hence had to do the one on our doorstep – Newcastle’s Christmas Market.

So we met at Grey’s Monument, a primary meeting point in Newcastle city centre and happens to be where the Christmas Market is set, being open until this Sunday, December 16th.

“I’m pleased it’s here at Monument, ‘coz if it was at the Quay, don’t think I could’ve been arsed,” said Mum as I walked up to greet her.

“Good to see you too,” I replied. “Shall we walk round?”

“Yeah, sounds good”

We pass the real Christmas tree and plant stands plus the roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fella, where we each buy one to peruse the rest of the market.  Newcastle’s International Market and Christmas Market have been merged this year to allow people to experience the best of both worlds!

There’s plenty of stalls selling Winter accessories, scarves, hats, gloves. 
Lots of baked goods stands.

“So pleased I don’t have a sweet tooth,” I say. “I can’t afford the calories…”

Crepes, waffles, French pastries – gorgeous tarts. Too much choice!

“Look at that, two French tarts for a fiver,” Mum says.

“You can’t go wrong,” Me and Mum say in unison.

We gasp and look away from each other. Have we been spending too much time together??!

The Pick and Mix sweet stall had the longest queue. Everyone getting their sugar fix. Sweets are always very popular. Explains those British Smiles…

There’s so much choice food wise, there’s all kinds – Greek, Indian, Chinese, Mexican. Plus the German market food, including the infamous bratwurst.

We plumped for the Yorkshire Pudding wraps.

“I wasn’t sure how they would serve the Yorkshire Pudding wraps. I thought the gravy would’ve splattered out all over the place whilst I was eating it,” said Mum. “And I wasn’t wrong.”

“Think I needed a bib!” I moaned. “It’s gone everywhere –“

“It’s on your shoes,” pointed out Mum.

“Oh god. I expect I look like a dog’s dinner.”

“Don’t you always…” laughed Mum.

To wash down the Yorkie Pud Wraps, and avoid any pooches, we nipped into the pop up Bavarian cabin style bar, took a seat inside and had a little drinkie each. I had a fruit beer while Mum continued on the mulled wine, adding a shot of rum to spice it up!

“What do you think of Newcastle Christmas Market compared to the Birmingham?” I ask.

“Well it’s a lot smaller for a start. But it also seems to have more choice,” Mum replied. “Birmingham seemed to have a lot of repetition with the stalls, more of the same. I mean, I enjoyed it – “

“Yeah, it was good,” I chip in.

“Absolutely but I felt it was quite corporate and samey.”

“We do things well but small up here,” I say.

“We do indeed,” said Mum with a self-satisfied smile. “ I mean, look at me – I’m five foot tall but perfectly formed.”


Don’t be such a Weiner

“Why would I want a foot long sausage?” asked Mum.

“You like a big sausage,” I said.

“But a foot long one?” Mum continued. “Why?”

“To see if you can fit it in your mouth?” I replied.

Mum stared at me in distaste.

“I think we all know the answer to that, Sharon,” she said dryly.

I love saying things about sausages – foot long or cocktail – to wind her up…

After a beat, Mum said: “You’re on a roll.”

“That’s the wurst thing you’ve said all day.” I answered.

“I’m pleased you brat it to my attention.” Mum reacted.

“You’ll only have a sausage if it has a good girth” I retorted.


“I think we’ve run out of sausage puns,” smiled Mum.

I nodded.
We were at Birmingham Frankfurt Christmas market. It’s the largest authentic German Christmas market in the UK and outside of Germany or Austria, offering a large range of traditional goods and gifts and a selection of Bavarian themed food and drink.

The Market runs along New Street from Victoria Square, where there is much going on, including live music and bands.

The group were going for it, singing their hearts out with cheesy songs. I say group, it was a fella standing singing over another man playing the keyboard.

A gang of teenage girls sat recording a phone video of themselves whilst joining in to ‘Is This the Way to Amarillo?’ Not truly a Christmas tune, but the girls had made an effort with enthusiasm and Santa hats.

There was a great, community atmosphere to the Market – though maybe that was due to the mulled wine…

We didn’t spot many children out and about at the Market. Though we saw plenty of babies and toddlers being forced to have their photograph taken in Santa’s Grotto scene, complete with being forced to sit on the inanimate Santa’s knee as the parents tried to get the best shot as the kids were screaming. I don’t blame them, as inanimate Santa was well creepy. As for the photos, we look forward to those pics appearing on the ‘awkward family photos’ website, or similar, in the future.

So many food and drink stalls, there certainly was a lot of choice:
Pretzels, waffle stands, crepes, fried cheeses, burgers, schnitzels, bratwursts of all sizes.  As well as roasted nuts – don’t worry, we’re not going to break out with the double entendres again.

‘Hot chocolate with SNAPS Shots’…

Drinks on offer include weissbeer (German wheat beer), hot chocolate – which could have a ‘snaps shot’ added. Surely German schnapps is spelt, well, schnapps?

Customer service at its best – place their drinks far apart…

Plus, of course, gluhwein in many flavours, as the menu read:
“Cherry mulled wine… Blueberry mulled wine… Apple mulled wine…

There was a deposit of £3 for every glass or mug with every drink. Not since being a student have I drank wine from a mug.

We eventually got our bratwurst.

“So you decided not to go for the foot long sausage?” I asked Mum.

She paused as she finished the last mouthful of her regular sized bratwurst.
“Well, I married your father – I was never going to get a foot long sausage.”

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