‘Tis the season…Pt 1.

‘Tis the season to be jolly.  True.  But my feelings can’t help but be a bit up-and-down like a see-saw.  So I decided to split my post into two.  Depending on how you are feeling this season, you may only want to read one or the other.  Maybe you feel a little bit like me, so read both!

Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

Pt 2: ’tis the season to be not so jolly

Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

I don’t know why I love the festive season.  Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the gift giving/receiving, maybe it’s the family coming together or maybe it’s just that time when the year is coming to an end where you can draw a line under the past 12 months and feel excited to start afresh with the New Year.  Or, in my case, perhaps it’s because it is also my Birthday ;-p

This is the first Christmas we will spend in Virginia.  The first Christmas in the US we spent it in Vermont skiing, this is where we decided to make a go of becoming parents.  The second Christmas we returned back to the UK and rented a cottage so both our families could stay with us for the holidays.  This third Christmas is less exciting in comparison, we are staying put.  But this is exciting to me because I can finally buy Chris a gift that is bigger than my suitcase!!!

This past week has been filled with festivities abound.  Not just in the physical sense, but the emotional sense too.  Here is a summary of the amazingness (or jolly, if you like) that I have experienced so far:

1. Home made mince pies.  If you read one of my previous posts you will know that these are not easy to come by in the US.  I made Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess Cranberry studded mincemeat pies (recipe here).

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Home made Cranberry Studded Mincemeat star topped pies

My goodness, that pastry was so flaky and the mincemeat so juicy I couldn’t believe that I actually made them.  I shared them with some of my non-British colleagues at work who were intrigued as to what these ‘mincemeat pies’ were.  They didn’t spit it out in front of my face so that had to be a good thing 🙂

2. Decorating my house with a CHRISTMAS TREE!!!  The first time in the US!  OK so we still didn’t buy a real christmas tree, we wanted to see how our terrorquisitive cat Diesel would deal with one.  So we bought a small fake one.  He eats anything that has a dangly bit or rubber on it.  So far so good…everything remains in one piece and the tree still stands.

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It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!

I also treated myself to one of those German wooden spinning pinwheels.  I have wanted one for aaaaages.  Every time I go to Germany I go to buy one and realise I don’t have enough room in my bags.  Plus they are quite expensive!


I don’t know why I love it so much!!!

When the lady at TJMaxx rung it up, she exclaimed -“$40 for that!!!!”, I pointed out that in Gemany these were usually over $100.  Anyway, I love it.

3. My first Resolve support group meeting.  Resolve is the US national infertility association and they provide various forms of support for people with infertility. I picked up a flyer from my clinic about this local Resolve monthly meeting about 8 months ago when we were going through our third IUI procedure.  I left it in my ‘to do’ pile of paper work and each month thought about going and never got round to it.  Finally I got round to it!!!  I am so pleased I did.  I met some lovely ladies who just get it.  It was good to talk, and good to listen to their stories too.  I will definitely be going again.

4. The #TTCMugExchange2015.  I participated in the Mug Exchange that Chelsea from Starbucks, Peace and Pursuit of a Baby organised.  This week I received my mug and a few extra lovely goodies!


I was spoilt with a box of goodies as well as a mug, cosy socks, an Irish Angel of Hope and a travel journal.

The mug I received was so beautiful.  Quite honestly, I think it is the best one I have seen 🙂


My exchange partner is a bright and bubbly girl from Northern Ireland, she was originally told she would have to do IVF privately but just found out that the NHS will do IUI, so she is preparing for her first treatment!!!  She doesn’t blog, but is on Instagram.  As a result I’ve taken to trying out Instagram you can follow me @thegreatpuddingclubhunt if you have an account!

5. Just feeling the love around me.  We have received lots of invites for Christmas day so we are not alone; we have received lots of cards sending us well wishes and Christmas pressies that now sit under our tree.  And sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference.  At a work gathering our big boss spoke about a whole bunch of work things and then he turned to talking about the holidays.  He pointed out that this is the time to look around at our neighbours and check they are doing OK.  The holiday season can be difficult for some people, and if we notice someone looking sad, down or simply stressed, take a minute to stop and ask “Are you doing OK?”  then listen.


The Legal Alien

It was almost 3 years ago that I handed in my security pass and said goodbye to my office of 7 years.  I actually shed a little tear on my way out.  I was about to leave a job that I really loved.  But a new world was calling us – we were about to move to the United State of America!

My initial contract for working overseas was 3 years, and now that we have been living here in the US for almost 3 years I have been offered an indefinite contract.  So we signed another year’s lease on our house…and unless something crazy happens, e.g. World War 3, we will be here in Virginia for another year.

I’m both excited and sad.  I’m excited because we get some time to do more travelling and keep working at the infertility treatment.  But I am sad because I miss my friends and family.

There also the more material British things that I kind of miss too…..

I miss Greggs (the bakers).  I miss their iced buns and even the sausage rolls.  People of America, your corn dogs suck in comparison.  Why have you yet to discover the sausage roll?  Someone at the New York times has realised the error of their ways and yesterday wrote an article about them.  There was a bit of interest on twitter.  But I am not sure it was enough to start a sausage roll revolution.


Will the sausage roll gain as much traction as craft beer has?  I hope so if I am going to stay here for any longer….

Christmas is coming and mince pies are top of my wish list this year.  What’s a mince pie I hear you ask?  They are beautifully crumbly pastry pies filled with juicy, spiced raisins, sultanas and dried fruits typically eaten around Christmas time.  They can be served hot or cold, eaten on their own or with Brandy butter or cream.  To be served with hot mulled wine. Mmmmmm, I’m just salivating at the thought of them.


Lastly, I am also getting a bit bored of having the same conversations over and over again! Sometimes I fake an American accent just so no one notices I am British and asks all the same questions.  This video shows the struggles…for real.

By the way, if you are an American and like British culture, the BBC American has a webpage called Anglophenia that might interest you: http://www.bbcamerica.com/anglophenia/

You can also follow them on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/anglophenia they post a ‘British word a day’ which is rather amusing!

NaBloPoMo November 2015