Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas, the Cotswolds and A Rock and Roll Show

Santa gave me the best Christmas present this year — Sean took the Eurostar up from Paris to visit for Christmas week! I took the week off this year (remember last year's essay madness and my failed attempt to take a break?) While I did have a chance to spend time with my family in Kent last year, which was lovely, this year has been a much less stressful. It did not involve 4 essays and 2 PhD proposals! I took the week off PhD proposals and even off my German course, both of which I'll be back at tomorrow!

Here are the highlights from my fun-filled week: 


The End of the Hunt

First of all ---I have a 6 month contract for a job! It's pending my switch from a Tier 4 student to Tier 5 visa. of course, so cross your fingers that my upcoming short trip to Canada works out well. I'll hear about PhD places mid-January to mid-February, so fingers crossed on that one, too!

Christmas Eve dinner with Catherine

Catherine invited us for a lovely meal to celebrate her daughter Imogen's 7th birthday on Christmas eve. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures - but it was an amazing meal! 

Cooking Christmas Dinner with Sean 


  • Wow, did we cook up a feast! A chicken (for Sean), tandoori tofu (for me), Crispy Spinach Pie, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans


  • We made CUSTARD. That's right, custard, from scratch. Check out BBC Good Food's recipe here. We used Scotch instead of Cointreau...yum!!


    • The part where Kiara stole  15 of our uncooked gingerbread cookies (which were just about to go into the oven) was definitely the highlight!  Look at that expression of pure guilt!
    Kiara eats 15 uncooked gingerbread cookies
    The Cotswolds
    • Boxing Day was a total disappointment in Oxford, as most stores, colleges and cafes were closed. So, even though Sean has been here for a week, he hasn't seen the inside of a college yet! 
    • So...we rented a car for the day and drove out to Chipping Campden, a town in the Cotswolds. Thanks to the horrible British customer service and processes (at this point, I'm surprised when there IS good service somewhere), it took us TWO HOURS to book a vehicle. The companies varied on their prices, availability, and the type of address verification checks they have to do for foreigners. (Sean was renting the car and they seemed to have difficulty with the fact that a Canadian student studying in France and visiting England wanted a car)
    • Given our customer service disaster, we didn't leave Oxford until after 1 pm, so it was a short (but beautiful) trip. The town of Chipping Campden seems to be dog-friendly, so maybe next time we'll go for the night and bring K along
    We Will Rock You!

    • Aunty Viniti, Uncle Steve, Sunny, Nia,Sonia, Tina and I went to see We Will Rock You — a musical about Queen, set in a futuristic/virtual world where the corporation "GlobalSoft" controlled all music making, instruments were banned, and a group of "rebels" who had dreams of rock songs from a previous life, strove to return "real music" to the world
    • Speaking of instruments, I am planning to start playing the piano again, starting with practicing some of Hanon's exercise scales when I go home for a visit in a couple weeks.
    • By the way, none of us would recommend Mela Indian restaurant, where we ate. Due to its stellar reviews online, I feel the need to mention that the food was okay, but the service was atrocious and slow, even though they supposedly had a pre-theatre menu.
    • It was hilarious! Great singing and dancing, too!  Thanks for the treat, Aunty Viniti and Uncle Steve!

    Photo from: WeWillRockYou.co.uk

    Stay tuned for our New Year's Eve massive celebration! I am usually disappointed by the NYE "hype", but this year, Sean and I have planned a perfect day.  London Victoria's crepe shop for lunch, a modern twist on a ballet, a set NYE dinner at Stef's Italian  and then back to Oxford (missing all the crowds and London traffic) to go to a cocktail bar for drinks in Jericho, Oxford. Stay tuned!