Sunday, 23 November 2008

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...and a free gift!

So, Christmas is just - just - around the corner. We entered the festive fray this weekend chez Potty with a family trip to the ice rink at the Natural History Museum yesterday afternoon. It all looked very pretty and twinkly, with white lights glittering on the trees and brightly coloured skaters zipping around the ice... Though of course, this being England, there was not actually that much 'zipping' going on - more flailing, teetering, tottering, and crashing headfirst into other skaters and the wooden barriers.

But you don't need to know about me...

Husband, being Dutch, is a little more used to this ridiculous practice of strapping a couple of razer blades to your feet and pushing off, so he bravely took Boy #1 in hand and set off. Amazingly, despite a couple of encounters with the ice where he discovered just how unyielding and hard it is, Boy #1 really enjoyed himself. This was partly because Husband, knowing what he was about, had the presence of mind to request the double-bladed skates for him, so balancing was less of a problem than it might otherwise have been. Hell, even I could have skated with a pair of those on... maybe.

But you probably don't want to know about them, either.

No, what you want to know about is that we saw Elle Macpherson en-famille on the ice too, that she is very good looking in real-life, that she is tall with a great figure, and that she can skate, dammit. Well, better than me, at any rate. Somehow I suspect that her earliest skating experiences were a little more glamorous than mine at Bristol ice rink sometime in the late 1970's... You know, I bet I would be a great skater too if I had learnt at Aspen or Gstaad, or Lech, or Courcheval... and if I was 6 foot with honey blonde hair and... well, anyway. We had gone with my brother and his girlfriend L, who cheered me up considerably when, having had said Supermodel pointed out to her looked at her narrowly and said: "I'm going to get her."

She didn't, of course. Probably because, like me, she was incapable of leaving the side of the rink.

So, that's one reason I know Christmas is around the corner. Here's another; I've been fielding calls all weekend from ridiculously organised family members asking for Christmas present ideas for my sons. Oh, for the days when Christmas shopping could be left to the last minute and be covered off with a quick pop into John Lewis on the way home from work on Christmas Eve... Apparantly though that becomes a criminal offence when you have children, so now, when asked, I normally I just list a couple things from the top of my head; "Oh, books would be good. Or trains,. Whatever you think..." and leave them to it.

This year though, I thought, let's do this differently. (This may have something to do with the fact I'm still standing on small pieces of lego given to Boy #1 for his birthday). So, pen in hand I've spent this evening poring over catalogues to come up with lists for both my boys. And I must say, I think I've done OK. It includes presents from £4.00, and nothing on either of their lists costs more than £20.00. It's got books, games, toys, crafty stuff, stuff for their rooms. I hope it's not too worthy, but I am their mum, so it probably is.

But here's the clincher: I have e-mailed the list to all interested parties, complete with links to websites where they can buy these things if they want to, and asked if, once they have chosen a present, they can hit the 'reply to all' button and let everyone else on the distribution list know what they've bagsied.

No doubt I will be accused of being controlling where normally I am seen as being disorganised. But I don't care.

Because there's no lego on this list. At all.

PS. I have just had a thought. I am going to give you - yes, you - an early Christmas present.

Check that link to go to a new blog page I've set up, to see the lists for yourselves. Then, if you want to cut and paste them into your own family e-mail, you can. And if those presents don't suit, but you like the idea, how about e-mailing your lists for your children to me (at so that I can add them to the page for other parents to use?

Think of the time we might save in the future... Are you in?

Note: apologies to all outside the UK for whom this won't work. But you could always start your own lists...


  1. Just make sure you don't do what I've just done and give your best ideas away, leaving you nothing to buy for your own kids!

  2. Now Elle Mac-P grew up in Sydney, where there wasn't a hell of a lot to offer in iceskating rinks. But I suppose all you need is one. (I went a few times as a teen, and I will say that I can competently get myself around a rink... not with a lot of flair - and nowhere near as good looking as The Body. Pffft. (But, how's her success with her marriages/relationships going, huh?)

    Christmas, schmistmas... god I hate it when I have to come up with present ideas for the relatives as well. And then my mother ignores me anyway. For instance, did I want Bratz dolls in my house? No! Did my mother buy my girls Bratz dolls anyway? Of course she did.

    And don't start me about my sister offering to BUY the present ideas she had for her sons AS WELL....

    I know that mistake too Expat mum!

    Heh, and good luck with the Reply All idea. Hasn't worked for me yet in group emails, there will always be a few who reply just to me, and .. yeah... you get the picture. Chaos.

  3. Tried skating in my teens (I do still vaguely remember them)and my prowess at ice skating is only matched by my tennis skills - so not a lot to offer there then! Presumably The Body learnt during her married years as there's not a lot of opportunity Downunder.

    Brilliant idea posting the lists. Had a quick peruse, our tastes - allowing for the time gap - are remarkably similar. Many of the same items appeared, suitably wrapped, under our Christmas Tree. Lego did feature heavily though... Any ideas for not-so-little boys eg 29 and 24? Although to be truthful, this year is working out to be a lot easier than previous years. Have almost got everything for them, just some 'sillies' for stocking fillers to go really ;-)

    BTW, did the pineapple treatment help at all?

  4. i also spent alot of time clinging to the side of an ice rink in Bristol ... very clever Christmas lists. xx

  5. Might I suggest you rethink the lights and sounds Tonka truck. It gets incredibly obnoxious after a while. Unless you like that sort of thing. I thought it was a great gift, the boys loved it, I hated it. And I bought it for them. If they do get it, duct tape over the speaker opening makes it tolerable.

    Wonderful idea though.

  6. yup, I was at that same ice rink, too! and spent more time than I should in the cinema next door and the nightclub, Romeo and Juliet's upstairs. Sort of happy days, I suppose. AND, we must be twins, we did the iceskating thing at the weekend, too, but in Cheltenham, in Montpellier Gardens where they've rigged up some faux ice thing which I took F and some chums to for his birthday party. No famous sightings however.

  7. EPM, don't worry. The best present ideas didn't even make it on to the list...

    Tracey, the jury's still out on the group reply thing. You're probably right - but you never know, if it doesn't work this year, it might next...

    Sharon, heaven only knows what you should get your boys... Personally am off to visit Hawkins Bazaar online later for that sort of stuff - you never know, there might be stuff there for you?

    RM, it remains to be seen on the lists. No takers yet - or contributors - but you never know!

    Ped, I probably should rethink it - but we have duct tape so we'll manage. it won't be the first time I have to resort to it, I must admit!

    You see, Milla, you were obviously one of the cool kids. I never made it upstairs - probably to do with the fact that my mum or dad were usually waiting outside the ice-rink to collect me... And I love Montpellier Gardens. Happy memories...

  8. Brilliant idea to post your Christmas list, potty! by the way, clicks through to Toys R us don't appear to be working (although it may just be my browser).

    I haven't started my list yet, but will let you know of any bright ideas. The only thing I've thought of so far are tickets to a stage production of The Gruffalo in London.

  9. Wow - and I thought I was organised!

  10. NVG, curse Toys r Us, curse them! You're right, the link doesn't work. I will update using a friendlier site - though not right now. Thanks for pointing it out!

    Mud, this is my one and only act of organisation at Christmas. It will probably stand out for years to come in splendid isolation...

  11. Or you could just go to - which a friend of mine set up. She and you think along the same lines.

    And re the title, I'm sure it's "Christians roasting on an open fire", isn't it?

  12. I'm envious. Not about Elle, but the skating---I think the ice would just melt at the rink here at this point, but now I have to look and see if one is open yet.

  13. Iota; Blast - I knew it couldn't be an original idea. Oh well, no internet empire building today, after all...

    Veggie, thanks for visiting, and good luck finding an open ice-rink!


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