Instagrammers Anonymous: Christmas Cake and All the Wrappings

Did you know that the other day was Christmas Day? Yes? Thought as much, I suppose that means we can skip the introduction and just assume we all got presents then ate and drank a little lot more than is probably good for us.

But Christmas time also means that the end of the year is coming up very soon, making this the last Instagrammers Anonymous of the year! Sad times indeed.

You know how sometimes the strangest of things make you smile? Well, that happened to me the other day when I discovered Christmas Jumper wrapping paper. Possibly the most unnecessary thing this Christmas, but amazing none-the-less.Christmas Jumper Wrapping Paper

Sticking with the Christmas theme, here’s something I did the other day. After a couple of months of baking and feeding, I finally decorated the Christmas cake on Christmas Eve. After years of penguins and parcels, this year it was high time the turn of gingerbread men.Christmas Cake

I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas, whatever you did, and are now looking forward to the new year. See you in 2013!

Cr

Instagrammers Anonymous: Moving Closer To Christmas

And so this is Christmas – or so the song goes – and as if to confirm it there was a light scattering of snow on Edinburgh Castle this morning (I’m being uncharacteristically organised and writing this on Thursday). But at the same time, I’ve found myself questioning quite a few times where on earth December has gone. I’ve not even had any mulled wine yet this year – so that’s not even a potential excuse for loosing a few days/weeks.20121213-143400.jpg

I guess the biggest reason for the festive season’s disappearance is that I moved house last weekend. Yes, packed up lock, stock and most of the barrel and decanted across town. So whilst tidying, packing and unpacking have sapped most of my time, I can confirm that life is back on track and I can once again think only about all things festive!20121213-143332.jpg

Talking of unneccessary festiveness, another completely unnecessary trip to a well-know, tax-avoiding coffee company happened this week. But it has a snowman on the cup, so I’ve totally justified it to myself as being festive. In the branch across the road from the office, they have, however, learnt my name. And what size of drink I have. And what type of drink I have. And that I don’t want cream on top. Come January, I think it might be time for a change…20121213-143343.jpg

And finally this week, since it’s Christmas we’re going to have an extended edition of Instagrammers Anonymous!

It’s the office party today (Friday)! Yes, that awkward time of the year when everyone tries not to get too drunk, but inevitably someone has one too many and photocopies their backside. We’re trying to counter that this year by going out for a nice meal, but so as not to be too dull, we’re also having a Christmas jumper competition! Here’s my entry, and yes, the nose and scarf do stick out…20121213-143350.jpg

And if one extra wasn’t enough, here’s a second. Hamilton and Inches have my favourite festive display of the year. Not for all the jewelery on display and not for the little trains they have going round each window, but for the fact that in one of them there’s also a little piece of track on which a tram that can go nowhere is sitting. This subtle, festive dig at the city is by far my favourite thing I’ve seen this Christmas; good work H&I!Tram in Hamilton & Inches Christmas display, Edinburgh

I’m off to find my hangover tea now, in preparation for Saturday morning. Have a great weekend.

Cr

Instagrammers Anonymous: Preparing to Light the Lights and a Sunrise

The sun is shining, the sky is a bright blue. And it feels about -5 degrees outside. Uh huh, that proverbial goose is definitely getting fat again as the festive season draws near. But not quite yet, in my books. Today is the 30th November, which means that I am still in Bah-Humbug-Scrooge mode – it is not time for Christmas quite yet. All that will change tomorrow, of course, as the 1st of December is the time for singing Christmas songs, wearing Christmas jumpers (the more horrific the better!) and, of course, having as much mulled wine as I can without falling over.

Someone asked me other day if I was writing a special post to celebrate the fact that today is St Andrews Day, and the short answer is no. I don’t subscribe to hand-on-where-your-heart-is-not patriotism, I prefer the British reserve for such occasions  so I will not indulge in public consumption of whisky or Irn Bru (partially because they’re both horrible) nor will I be eating haggis or be wearing tartan. Hopefully we’ll not be treated to too much pro-independence bullsh*t and can all get on with our lives. Perhaps we won’t be so lucky, but at least we have Instagrammers Anonymous!

Ahead of all the Christmas lights being turned on in the centre of Edinburgh, there has been a flurry of pre-Christmas decorating going on. With the wheel up, the tree here from Norway and in place on the Mound, the only real thing left was to string the lights across George Street. I was beginning to wonder if they’d forgotten about them, but in the time between me leaving work on Monday evening and coming in on Tuesday morning, the street was festooned with snowflakes and icicles.The Christmas Lights on George Street before the big switch on

The other addition to our little part of town this week was the annual St Columba’s Hospice Christmas tree In Charlotte Square. The hospice are running the campaign again this year where you can ‘Light a Light’ in honour of someone close to you who is no longer with us; all donations, of course, go to helping the hospice care for those who are soon to join the people who have had lights named after them. If you want to get involved, here is the Light a Light page.The St Columba's Hospice Tree in Charlotte Square

Finally this week, I – for some unknown reason – was exceptionally organised and in town half an hour before I needed to be this morning. Coupled with the crippling temperatures, we had a beautiful fire-y sunrise, which lit up West Register House like, well, a Christmas tree. This definitely put a smile on my face this morning and reminded me just how amazing a city Edinburgh really is.West Register House in the sunrise

I have a very busy (and exciting) weekend lined up, which I’ll no doubt share next week. It will also be December, so expect many pictures of lights, trees and the occasional Christmas jumper.

Have a great weekend.

Cr

Instagrammers Anonymous: A Busy Week In Edinburgh

Friday has come round again, which thankfully means it’s an end to a really busy week in the office. It also means it’s time for Instagrammers Anonymous!

The Instagramming week started on Saturday, when a friend and I decided at the last-minute to get tickets for the rugby. Whilst neither South Africa nor Scotland can really call it a triumph of a match, it was still a fun afternoon. Given that this week’s match is up in Aberdeen, I think we’ll just have to watch it on TV.Scotland Vs South Africa at Murrayfield

Charlotte Square seems to be going through another run of appearances on the blog (it seems to do this every so often, and not just because I work nearby), so here’s this week’s lunchtime wander photo.Sunlight in Charlotte Square, Edinburgh

Much as I think Christmas should be kept firmly to December – I heard Christmas music blaring from someone’s car yesterday evening and immediately turned into Scrooge – there are certain things that I realise need to be prepared for in advance. Edinburgh launches its Christmas markets and associated frivolities at the end of November (just in time for proper Christmas shopping to begin), one of the most famous parts of this being the giant ferris wheel that sits beside the Scott Monument in East Princes Street Gardens. Obviously a giant wheel is quite hard to miss, so when I was wandering about town at lunchtime the other day I decided to ditch the Scrooge hat for a couple of minutes to acknowledge that it looks quite good set against blue skies and Thunderbird 3 (aka the Scott Monument).The Christmas Wheel and the Scott Monument, Edinburgh, Christmas

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you can resist the Yuletide lure – just one more week then we can all be so excited we’re bored of it by the 15th!

Cr

Instagrammers Anonymous: A Moral Christmas Jam

After last week’s Bond-tastic, Christmas-decoration-busting Instagrammers Anonymous, this week’s edition is back to the good old ‘honestly, I’m not actually middle aged’ stance. Yup, I’ve spent a large chunk of the week in the kitchen.

First off, I started the Christmas Cake! Yes, I am aware that Christmas is still seven-or-so weeks away, but I’m making the actual cake this weekend (it needs to be ‘fed’ at least 5 times before Christmas), so I started prep-ing early. Most recipes say that your fruit needs to steep in the brandy for ‘a couple of hours’ or (in some audacious recipes) ‘over night’. This is clearly nonsense – mine are going to have 6 days. I call this Winning at Life (and most certainly not casual alcoholism).Soaking fruit for the Christmas cake

As if that wasn’t a middle-aged enough start, this week also saw my mum and I’s annual jam making session. We came across loads of wild fruit whilst walking the dog over the last few month, so we helped ourselves to some raspberries, brambles/blackberries (whatever you care to call them) and redcurrants, chucked them in the freezer, and the other night made jam. It’s pretty darn good, even if I do say so myself – just don’t look at the ingredients too closely.Raspberry, bramble and redcurrant jam

And finally, another little bit of ‘It’s too early for Christmas‘ moaning. From today a certain coffee chain (beginning with ‘star’ and ending in ‘bucks’ – I’ll leave you to guess who it is) started selling their Christmas flavours. At least, I suppose, they had the ‘decency’ to wait until November (unlike The Dome), but it’s still too early! Although in saying that, they do have a ‘buy one get one free’ offer on at the moment, so I might have caved and cheered my Friday afternoon up with a cheeky gingerbread latte. My morals are flexible, what can I say?Christmas Drinks (Gingerbread Latte) from Starbucks

My weekend is going to be taken up by Christmas-y things (too early, I know, but we’ve already established the flexibility of my morals), but no doubt there’ll be plenty of photos for Monday. Whatever you’re up to, have a great weekend.

Cr