Archives For presents

The 21st of January.

Happy Birthday to me!

I woke up to major snow flurries that went on for most of the morning. I had my breakfast and coffee, then opened my presents. I got several wool vouchers, a yarn bowl, two crochet hook rolls, some money, pyjama bottoms, Fry’s Peppermint creams, and multiple bunches of flowers. I also appropriated some After Eight leaves from the kitchen into my present pile.

The rest of my morning was spent writing up a blog post, watching Sunday Brunch, and talking to Christine when she rang after her run. Taid also phoned to wish me a happy birthday and make sure his card had come. He mentioned that 27 was the year he met Betty, my Grandma who died from leukaemia. I said I could only hope to be so fortunate.

Becky and Alison came round this afternoon (separately), both bearing flowers so the living room is blooming. We had some birthday cake (chocolate and cinnamon streusel cake) and caught up on family and school stuff. Nice to talk about non-hospital things.

My birthday dinner was duck marinaded in sloe gin with dauphinoise potatoes, then pancakes. It was super delicious, and I am so full, I need to sleep.

The 22nd of January.

Birthday done, and I begin my 28th year of life. Who would have expected that?

To begin, I spent most of the day crocheting. So much so, that the bunny is finished, so it has been worth it. This morning I made both legs and the tail while watching some Bones, then lunch. No fancy scrambled eggs and smoked salmon like yesterday.

This afternoon, I embroidered the bunny’s face, then put him together. While Mommy was at Grandma’s, I talked to Aunty Audrey on the phone, because she’d rung Grandma but her phone was off. I explained why, and updated her on how Grandma is. Then we had a chat about how I am, and how she chases away the cat that comes in her garden.

After that, I thought I would read some more of Gnomon. I’m getting through it, but will probably go with a smaller volume next. Not the Stephen King one I got for Christmas.

The 25th of December.

Merry Christmas!

I had a dreadful night, didn’t fall asleep until past two, then woke up multiple times in the night before getting up about half past eight when I could hear people moving around. Christine came into my bedroom, and we opened our stockings – I got some socks with reindeers on, Snowman shower jelly from Lush, Jelly Snowbabies, Lindt bears and reindeers, and little dog page markers. So cute.

Downstairs for Christmas breakfast in pyjamas! Game pie, breads, meats, cheeses, eggs – I leaned on my egg to break the shell and ended up sort of crushing it. Thankfully it was hard boiled enough to not make a mess. Then I made my final coffee of my advent calendar, and returned upstairs to get dressed. My dress this year was a very pain one, a green chenille midi dress from Zara, so I embellished with my Tatty Devine glittery holly and Christmas tree shoes. Still a very snazzy bitch.

Mommy and Daddy picked up Grandma, I positioned myself on the floor, the champagne was poured, and the present distribution could begin! I try to go around the room, one per person, until we run out. I got four books (Gnomon by Nick Harkaway, Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, The Invisible Child and the Fir Tree by Tove Jansson, and the illustrated version of How to Stop Time by Matt Haig), and Alice in Wonderland moleskine diary for next year (they’ve stopped doing The Little Prince ones, rage), a small pouch to put all my medical stuff in for my handbag, a festive mug from Anthropologie, a fleecey cat twosie (SO SOFT AND COSY), a jar of Seville marmalade, the holiday wreath Pandora charm, an umbrella with dogs on, a Hasbean voucher, the StylPro brush cleaner, and a Christmas dogs garland which I will definitely have up in my room next year.

Lunch was ready about two o’clock. If I could have just parsnips, pigs in blankets and tiny carrots with bread sauce, I totally would. Then a small rest while the pudding finished cooking, and I had some chocolate mousse because I hate Christmas pudding.

We decamped into the living room while Daddy and Christine did the washing up, and put on the obligatory BBC animation made for the day to relax and pass the time before the Easts descended upon us for Doctor Who. Auntie Hilary called on Facetime, and she got passed around the room so Merry Christmases could be exchanged. Becky, James and Jonathan appeared just after five, with the rest following shortly after, and gift swapping commenced. Becky gave me some lightning bolt earrings, and Alison gave me a crochet set to make a little donkey and a book of patterns to make animals wearing clothes. Many projects for the future!

Daddy sorted out beverages, and those of us who wanted to watch settled down in front of the tv for Doctor Who. I was happy to see Bill for a final time, but I’m still annoyed that we only got her for one series. I don’t want Bradley Walsh. But I suppose Jodie Whittaker makes up for it.

They returned to their respective homes for Strictly, and Mommy and Daddy took Grandma home too, as time was getting on. When they got back, we had Christmas cake while watching Christmas Bake Off. Oh Selasi, how I have missed you. I would like him on all the Bake Off series forever, just saying things and making faces in the background.

I have had much wine, and am hoping the cosy glow will help me sleep. I got everything I wanted, but the best part is being at home, healthy as possible, surrounded by warmth and people I love. Nothing is as important to me as that.

The 23rd of December.

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I woke up just after six which was frustrating but what can you do? I just listened to the radio until the heating kicked in.

My day has been very monotonous, but enjoyable. I have sat in the glow of the tree lights, watching films on the tv, crocheting a shawl. This morning was The Boxtrolls (which Christine had not seen before), and Daddy left foot Wales to bring Taid here for Christmas. Mommy went to Grandma’s for their Christmas fayre, and was gone for most of the day.

Christine and I had our lunch (fucking hell, standing up just for the time it takes to make a sandwich was torturous – have to chase Dr. Blaney in January), then she went for a walk. When she returned, we watched Hidden Figures, which has not long finished.

I’m writing early because this evening I’m going to The Electric with Becky to sing along to the Muppets Christmas Carol, as is tradition. I’m very excited. It is the summer of the soul in December.

The 24th of December.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Everything is right. I had a proper sleep – actually woke up at a normal time so I have not needed extra coffee today.

It has been a very similar day to yesterday, for me. Sat in armchair, watched tv, crocheted. I did have a break early afternoon because I had to wrap Grandma’s final present (it only got bought after I’d done all my other wrapping) and that was the only time the table was available.

I just cherish every moment at home this time of year. After three Christmases in a row as an inpatient, and nearly being back in last year, I am always so grateful to be here. To wake up in my own bed, sit in front of the fire, be with people I love for the whole day, not just the hours allowed. I remember in 2007 all presents had to be sterile, and in 2008 I remember being woken for an ultrasound on my new liver, Becky and Alison arriving with a bag of satsumas for me to suck the juice from (I couldn’t digest the flesh) and feeling so sick at the smell of Mommy’s dinner, I had to send her to the bathroom to eat it. In 2009, I was itching like crazy from the shingles, and so breathless I couldn’t walk across my cubicle.

Those should not be Christmas memories. This is why I appreciate home.

The 21st & 22nd; Birthday!

January 23, 2017 — 4 Comments

The 21st of January. 

Birthday! Had to get up super early which I didn’t love but it was for a good reason. I had a pain au chocolat for breakfast, then opened some of my presents. I got a box of macarons from Macarons & More from Grandma, a book token and a big journal from the Hudsons, a cheque from Taid, and some Moomin paraphernalia from Mommy and Daddy – a t-shirt, a notepad and pencil, and a wooden Little My that I need to assemble.

Our train to London was at 10:10, so we set off shortly after breakfast, and we were taken to the train by a woman with a very laissez-faire attitude which I did not care for. I also didn’t like being in coach A because it means I can’t really talk to the people I’m travelling with, but there was at least a fun baby who smiled at me when I made faces at her. 

We didn’t have time to wait for the Euston team to turn up, so got the chair off the train and went to get a cab to the South Bank, where we met up with Christine. We then went on a twenty minute trek in the cold to Where the Pancakes Are, but their misleading website said they would have some free tables for walk-ins, but there was nothing, so I told the woman she had ruined my birthday and left feeling very disappointed. 

Very nearby was a Caravan restaurant where they had many tasty dishes available and nice coffee, so then I was greatly cheered. I had a flat white, then smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast with a mimosa. Christine gave me my presents which were two Harrods cronuts (salted caramel and Speculoos and the zebra one), then Daddy had a pudding and I had more coffee. 

We got a taxi back to the South Bank because I couldn’t bear to get that cold again, then we had an hour to kill in the Royal Festival Hall before our Moomins exhibition tour. I went to the shop and bought a little stuffed Moomin and a bowl. 

The tour was lots of fun and very informative – it’s narrated by Sandi Toksvig, along with the tour guide, which was a lovely surprise, and there were lots of original illustrations and stuff that I would never have seen otherwise. I also really liked that they didn’t just gloss over the fact that she was gay and are teaching the children going on this tour that it’s okay and not something to be ashamed of. I think we need to be reminding kids that whatever they are is okay at the moment. The only bad bit was that it was not easy in the wheelchair – we actually had to collapse it and I did a lot of crouching in each room. It would be fine in a manual one with big wheels but the spaces are too small and the floor too uneven for anything else. We coped, but other people might not. The tour guide was very helpful and apologetic, and she promised to feed it back. 

Our next stop was Konditor & Cook to pick up my birthday cake, then we headed to the BFI for hot beverages and a rest before we had to go back to Euston. I had a hot chocolate, and did a lot of coughing which worried me but I think it was just because of the temperature change between there and outside. 

We saw many people who’d been to the Women’s March, which I would have loved to have gone to, but if I had, I would have definitely got ill. It was so cold today, I couldn’t have coped, even in a mass of people. Wonderful, but not sensible for me. 

When it was time, we said goodbye to Christine, then back to Euston. I got some Pom Bears and New Scientist, and when we got home, it was time for cake!

The 22nd of January. 

So tired today. I had a really bad night, not getting to sleep until past one, which is way too late for me. I got up at half past nine, put on some very warm clothes and settled in to spend my morning writing about yesterday. 

This afternoon, I was about to start writing the post I would have done yesterday, but then Alison came over with my birthday presents (more wool and flowers) and there was some catching up to do. Becky is full of lurgy so can’t come round herself, so we got all her news by proxy. It sounds like the cold Grandma’s got and I do not want either of their germs. 

We put the flowers she brought me in a vase, and I was able to finish my writing, which didn’t take long. Tomorrow won’t be so quick as there was a lot to say about my birthday. Then I got to work on otter number 2. I’ve made everything except his ears and snout, so I’ll get him finished this evening. When I’m done, it’ll be an early night. I need a big sleep. 

The 24th of December. 

I am quite the walking disaster zone. When I do walk, anyway, that is to say my feet feel like they’re covered in blisters, so putting any pressure on them is horrific. For a while this afternoon, I put them in a basin of cold water and briefly, they were soothed. The skin on my back and chest has been so itchy, I’ve been rubbing up against things like a bear, and my tongue is developing ulcers like nobody’s business. I’m doing mouthwash and spraying them with steroid but I’m not sure it’s having the desired effect. The torso rash could be explained by the antibiotics, and i finished them this afternoon, so by tomorrow evening it should have calmed down if it’s going to. If things continue though, I’ll be going back on steroids. 5mg to start with, and I’ll have to go back to hospital so we can come up with a proper plan. Just what I wanted for Christmas, the return of the desire to commit suicide. 

So I’ve done fuck all, just trying not to think about all the different forms of pain I’m feeling and focus on having a happy Christmas. Even if we all feel like shit (except Mommy, pray it stays that way), we will have a nice day. We are having the first fire and it doesn’t seem to be making my cough worse, not sure about anyone else, but hopefully we can keep them going this year. 

The 25th of December.

Merry Christmas! Mine started with being woken up by Mommy because everyone else was awake and Christine was starving. I got up as quickly as possible and padded down the stairs, wincing at every step. My feet are agonising all of the time – I think the last time they hurt this much, I was on cyclosporine. 

We had our traditional Christmas breakfast of bread, eggs, cheeses, meats, game pie, plus all of the condiments. I had a breadbun so floury, I had to be vacuumed. Covered, I was. 

Back upstairs, Christine and I opened our stockings. Mine contained some touchscreen gloves, tissues, a little Lindt bear, a Hotel Chocolat star containing chocolate snowflakes, a maze puzzle/game, Lulu Guinness vaseline and a Christmas tree brooch that should flash but doesn’t. Never mind. I put my Self-Portrait dress on with leggings, my cashmere socks and massive cardigan (to accommodate my arm) so I was working a very glam/cosy look. 

Mommy went to pick up Grandma, and when they returned, it was present time! I did not partake in the champagne drinking because that would only make my mouth worse, so everyone else had some while I distributed the presents. I hadn’t realised quite how securely I’d wrapped my presents so it took people a little while to get into them. Then again, that just made it last longer. I was given the Mrs. Christmas Pandora charm, a voucher for Wool Warehouse, a bag of Jelly Babies, some coffee beans, more Bucks Fizz marmalade, all the books I asked for (The Girls by Emma Cline, Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson, Playthings by Alex Phelby and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami), a book about the art of The Little Price film, a Moomins calendar, two Essie nail varnishes, The Little Prince Moleskine diary for 2017, some thermal tops and socks, some very soft and cosy festive lounge trousers, and a mug and bowl with kitties on. Then Mommy and Christine went to finish the cooking of the dinner, and I looked at my book about The Little Prince. 

I ate my lunch rather slowly, having to chew on only one side of my mouth, but I did not finish last because I tend to have less than other people. We had a little rest, then pudding. Mommy had made me a chocolate mousse, and that was much easier to eat. 

After lunch, we decamped back into the living room, where we started the fire and I put my feet into a bowl of cold water again. I cannot describe how painful it is – like knives in my feet, all of the time. The steroid cream on its own is not working, so I’ve started back on 5mg of pred today. I’m going to get a moon face and become incredibly depressed again, but we don’t have a choice. 

We watched Christmas Bake Off, then the Easts came round for Doctor Who present swap. Becky was very pleased with her “Go away, I’m marking” mug and Toft teddy bear, and I got a ten pack of Paintbox wool, so I can make many colourful things. 

We had Doctor Who on pause for nearly an hour before getting it started, so when it was finished, they returned home to do their final lot of presents, and we settled in to watch Strictly with Christmas cake. 

It may not have been the perfect Christmas, with 3 of the 5 of us being ill (4, if you include Grandma’s general difficulties), but we are all at home and together, and that is what is most important. 

The 16th of December.

It lifted, thank god. The wrapping day was not ruined. I woke up in time to say bye to Mommy and Daddy before they set off for Wales, then had my breakfast and wrote up a blog post. After fighting for a long time with the lock on the front door (I was being inept), I went round the corner to get some double sided tape and cotton wool pads (not for wrapping, I had just run out). 

After lunch, I set myself up at the dining table with my peppermint drinking fudge, The Polar Express, and all my wrapping paraphernalia. I spent the subsequent three hours indulging in festive spirit, and I have nearly finished, I just need to get some gift bags for a few things that even I am incapable of wrapping. Will pop into Paperchase after The Muppets tomorrow. 

Just after half four, I jumped in a taxi to go back to Black Sheep to have the toner cleansed our of my hair – washing did not give the desired effect. James was lovely and has fixed it, and I’m much happier now. 

I have just finished my dinner of a Domino’s personal pizza and two of four cookies, awaiting the arrival of my parents back home. They are mere moments away. 

The 17th of December. 

Today would have been 100% excellent if not for one (hopefully) minor inconvenience. But I will get to that. 

Woke up stupidly early for a Saturday, but for a good reason – Becky and I were going to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol at The Electric! She came to pick me up at quarter to nine, and off we went. We parked round the back of the cinema, then got some tea before taking our seats. I actually ordered a coffee, but it tasted awful so I went back and got a tea as well. The screening was not as busy as I expected, but some people still managed to be irritating by having brought their poorly-behaved, germ-riddled children. Not acceptable. Still, they could not ruin the magic for me. After all, it is the summer of the soul in December. 

Afterwards, we went to the Cereal Killer Café because I wanted to try one of their “cocktails”. I had a bowloccino, which is Nesquik, Coco Pops, a chocolate curl and espresso milk. So tasty! I would never go there for something like Special K, but combinations or ridiculous cereals, I am all for. 

Before coming home, we went into Paperchase so I could get some gift bags and more ribbon and tissue paper. Now I can finish my wrapping. 

Now to the inconvenience: I happened to push up my sleeves and thought “Ooh, my right arm looks a bit fat. Let’s give it a squish. Ooh, that’s a bit boggy for my liking. Actually, my right foot has felt puffier than usual for the past couple of days. And my breathing has been terrible of late.”

So I don’t know what’s going on, because I don’t have a line anymore, so that can’t be causing it, and it’s only one side, so I’m confused and unhappy. I have started diuretics to try to get rid of some of the fluid, but on Monday morning I might be ringing Gill Lowe to freak out. I don’t want to spend Christmas looking like the Stay Puft marshmallow man. 

This afternoon, Sadie came round! Mainly to see the kittens. She did not steal any (I checked). She was greatly amused by their interest in her feet. They love feet. We stayed with them until they fell asleep, then we watched the end of Mr. Magorium and ate the two remaining Domino’s cookies. 

She had to go about four to make sure her dad had done the pile of sorting she’d left him. Sometimes I wonder who the parent is in that relationship. 

Hoping to god my body deflates with peeing. Don’t make me have another venoplasty. 

The 21st of January. 

Happy Birthday to me!

It’s also a year since I stopped steroids today and the difference in my face is insane.

I had some Nutella on toast for breakfast before I started opening my presents and cards. Carol had sent me the book about A Streetcat Named Bob, Auntie Hilary had sent a Lars Kepler book, and an Amazon voucher to buy the 5th book in the series when it comes out in May. Mommy and Daddy had bought me a necklace and the “perishables” was some macarons from Macarons & More, super tasty!

We went out late morning to do some shopping, and I got some cashmere socks, merino wool and silk socks, and a pair of leather trousers all half price! Daddy and Christine both phoned to wish me a Happy Birthday, and we came home for about half an hour before going out to pick up Grandma to go to Harvey Nichols for afternoon tea. 

We met Daddy in the car park, and were a little bit early so had a little bimble around the shop before going into the champagne bar/restaurant for our tea. I had an egg sandwich and a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich, one and a half scones (which were incredibly good, even if I did throw half of one on the floor) and a chocolate delice. I was also presented with a glass of champagne, Grandma gave me the Happy Birthday charm from Pandora, and Mommy and Daddy gave me a pair of diamond earrings and I was floored, not expecting that at all. 

Tonight, we’re having birthday cake and more champagne with Becky and James. Happy girl. I am so lucky. 

The 22nd of January. 

Happy Birthday pt. 2!

Early start for our trip to London! Arrived at New Street at 10, bought coffee and paper, then barely had time to get settled in the assistance area before the chap came to take us to the train! On the journey, I had to cope with a girl having to vomit in the toilet near me several times, and I saw two girls with four blue WKDs who I was glad not to be seated near. 

Got a cab very quickly and he took us to The Savoy. The doorman did something to the door so we could get through the rotating panels with the wheelchair, then we sat on some large pouffes while waiting for Christine. She emerged somewhat weather-worn and relieved to sit down, then regaled us with tales of her stressful morning. She’d had plans to go to all sorts of cake shops, then arrange them in a box for me. There hadn’t quite been time, so I got them in there own bags/boxes. She got me a vanilla bean and a chocolate truffle doughnut from Crosstown, an Oreo cheesecake crodough from Timberyard, a zebra crodough from Harrods, and a s’more from Cutter & Squidge! All that PLUS a Moomin make up bag and notebook. She is the best. 

Onto foods! Started with champagne (again). Mommy and Christine had the same four course Escoffier menu, which meant a came to explain each dish they were having. We all had the same starter, the glazed omelette Arnold Bennett, and I can totally understand why he ate it every day – it’s fucking delicious. Then Mommy and Christine got a ravioli while Daddy and I munched on bad. The main courses arrived soon after, and I had an excellent steak on the rare side of medium-rare, and I was very pleased that they left the peppercorn sauce on the side, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to eat it. 

I knew I wouldn’t fit in a pudding, so after watching Mommy and Christine’s sour cherries get flambéed, I went to investigate the toilets. They were incredibly fancy – I love a place where you dry your hands on a flannel then chuck it in a bin. I also had no qualms about taking a selfie or two in the big mirror. Upon my return, our coffee was being served, so we drank that while we ate the tiny extra desserts, paid, and said goodbye. 

Our plan was to go to Picturehouse Central, because Christine is a member, so we went to see The Big Short with 3 discounted tickets and one free for me! We sat on the back row of sofas and wrapped up in blankets because the heating was on the blink. The film is so good, so important, but entertaining as well. It made me hate everyone including myself (because at one point I was rooting for the guys who wanted the economy to fail). It also made me want to squirrel all my money away in suitcases  

We still had an hour before we needed to get back to Euston, so we sat in the café downstairs where I was refreshed with an orange juice and we saw Adrian Chiles from football. We were lucky and grabbed a cab very promptly, from a cabbie whose daughter is at Birmingham Uni. At Euston, the others bought some food (I was still full from lunch), then we saw Paddy McGuinness as we were heading to assistance. Daddy had been complaining about not having seen any famous people while we were at The Savoy and now we’d seen two!

The train home was packed. I listened to St. Paul and the Broken Bones and was very chilled out.