Approaching Christmas

Hello out there! I feel like I haven’t posted in an eternity – how was your Halloween? I’m always surprised each year by how much Halloween grows in popularity here in Hamburg from year to year. We celebrate by heading to the cinema to watch a horror film in English, this year to “Crimson Peak” which was more interesting aesthetically than for any kind of shock value. Many of the other cinema-goers had even dressed up, apparently the cinema was offering a free shot of cranberry-vodka for anyone who came in costume. Yes, in Germany you can bring alcohol into the theatre (still feels wrong after living here almost 8 years!) – LOL! The nicest costume I saw was a funeral-goer, which was just a black lace veil. You can tell I love simple!

In an attempt to slim my waistline down in anticipation of my sister’s bridesmaids’ dress-fitting at Christmas, I have temporarily gone paleo and have resolved to do more exercise. this is because I’m almost 2cm larger in the belly since my measurements were taken! Once before in the past I have had good, quick results with a mixture of paelo and a kind of hardcore exercise regime called “freeletics”. I’m not going to go so hardcore this time, just start a bit earlier and do more frequent exercise I like, like swimming, dancing and yoga.

The other thing I do for Halloween is make a homemade barmbrack as a little taste of home. This year I made a paleo one that I was super impressed with from this blog. It turned out really good! I used ground almonds and desiccated coconut. paleo barm brack, bairin breac

Today I’m alone and am just resting, doing things around the house that need doing, or that I want to do. I’ve been decluttering a lot, which is wonderful. Winding down from work is also very liberating – I just have 30 or so days left until it is my last day. For a long time I felt guilty about leaving as I was telling my colleagues, then I felt excited to start my new job just for a little while. Right now, I’m convinced it is not the “perfect” job for me but I know it is not a foolish move, for body, mind and soul. Plus I will continue to look around in the new year for what opportunities come up then. This way I’m outta there with a fresh start in the new year.

Then when I finish up, we set off for Christmas in Ireland. I always need to prepare for Christmas early to buy flights before they get ridiculously overpriced. I wish there was something I could do about how overpriced car-hire gets, but it’s something we need and there seems to be no way around it. At the start, family members offered their cars, but they couldn’t really give them since they or someone else needed them and we ended up stuck and not seeing each other. My boyfriend stays with his family and I stay with mine over Christmas – we have never spent Christmas day together in 15 years.

Every year I try to see if there is *some way* we can get the price of the car hire down, but it seems impossible. This year we have gone for the cheapest possible car, a Ford Ka which still costs almost €500 for the week. I even tried to see about renting a van (we don’t care), but you need to be a policy holder of an Irish driving insurance policy before you can do this and trying to involve family in this, trying to get us as named-drivers on their policies has resulted with it not materialising. So we just pay up and try to find another way. Last year we drove home because we had almost 3 weeks off, but we were both really sick – me at the start of the journey and him at the end. It was cheaper though, but this year it’s not an option because of the way the days fall.

In an attempt to cut the cost of Christmas travel I decided to try Ryanair, since they have a route from Bremen. We will stop overnight in Bremen on the way over before we have to be at the airport in the morning. I can’t wait to see the Christmas markets there, I’m sure it’s very sweet. On the way back we will take the super-cheap Postbus. There are also other bus companies that have sprung up in the last few years like Flixbus and Eurolines has been around for ages but not with such an extensive route network within Germany.

Since we’re flying with hand-luggage only, I plan on mostly buying vouchers for my friends and family. I have intended to do it most years, but then I always want to give gifts to people that they really need or want for themselves. Last year I went home with bronchitis plus the flu and vowed that this year I will take better care of myself. Meaning: not running around. My parents already received their Christmas+Birthday flight-voucher gift so as they can visit my other sister who is working in the USA in the new year, so they will receive something just to open and I already have that sorted for my mum. Dad is a bit trickier :)

Am I the only person who starts preparing for Christmas really early?



  1. Wow, car rental in Ireland is ridiculously expensive. It is on my list of places to travel but maybe later in life when we have more cash. For now I am visiting the cheap European countries. I think starting your new job in a new year is a wonderful idea – a fresh start. Very exciting!

  2. Thank you so much! What’s really irritating, is that those prices are just for over the holidays – just for people coming home for Christmas. A week later they go back down to a normal. So maybe if you visit, avoid traveling around any holidays like easter, halloween or over bank holiday weekends. People say it’s become more affordable since the financial crisis… but traveling at Christmas is expensive business!

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