Guilty Pleasures: Shopping and friends

A box of Russian Caravan made by Twinings

A box of Russian Caravan made by Twinings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Christmas tree with presents

Christmas tree with presents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you have a guilty pleasure or two? I’m sure you do – especially if you’re a woman like me. These pleasures can often feature duvet days when you are under the weather (or at least that’s the excuse) with romantic novels or films; biscuits and cakes or chocolate; or – most especially – finding time for ourselves. And here I’m not talking about time to have our nails done or hair coloured, but time that has no agenda or appointment included. The last is one we find almost always bottom of our list, duvet days are all very well but as they are usually accompanied by a cold, they don’t really count. Time to do things we really want to do – like writing our blog for instance – which is why I haven’t written anything in such a long time!

I have so many things I have been meaning to write about this year – a long list I have created – and I still haven’t written all about our Scottish holiday last August! But at this time of year especially, finding ‘me’ time is very difficult indeed, and my husband has complained I’m for ever on the computer, but then that’s how I ordered the presents, the food and the cards and the wrapping paper and…

A friend and I have spent most of the end of November and beginning of December trying to find time to go to Bath together, for the Xmas market which had over 100 stalls and the website looks fabulous. We had managed to go together to the V&A exhibition about Pearls (more on that in a later blog) even though she had to go into hospital the next day and spent the first 10 minutes or more of our visit on the phone to the hospital who were explaining all about what was going to happen and asking lots of questions about her health in preparation. We had such fun we decided to go out again soon and the Xmas market seemed an excellent excuse to go to Bath which has a wealth of interesting small alleyways full of unique shops and tea-houses. But xmas is so busy with al the other things that need to be done – you know – buying presents, buying cards, writing cards, posting cards, wrapping presents, posting presents. Buying and planning the menus – who will be staying, and how long for and do we have enough pillows? By the way, there is a YouGov report that says that most of the Xmas work is done by women and some grumpy males who say that this is because women want to do this – well I suppose to some extent we do, but then my husband hates shopping and when he can avoid it (not food but presents) he does. He also believes we make too much fuss over the whole period but it is a family time and the grandchildren are now of an age when they can really enjoy it, so… do you agree? Do we make too much fuss? Do women do most of the work? Not the washing up of course but all the rest?

And then there is work and my charity – emails and reports, reading and writing, then more emails, budgets, more emails. Meetings and then more meetings and yes, more meetings to plan the next meetings…

Finally we agreed a date that suites us both, having had 2 original dates blown out by meetings. Ok. Let’s book the train tickets. Tickets duly bought and then a couple of days before the excursion my friend shame-facedly came up to me and said that the Xmas market had now closed! But we decided to go anyway as we finally had a day for our guilty pleasure of shopping and chatting…chatting and shopping and drinking tea and eating cake and eating cake and drinking tea. We found a great little tea shop down one of the alleyways, don’t remember the name of it, but it had a great selection of teas, not so great on coffee but.. it even had something called Russian Caravan Tea – which I had as it was completely new to me. It really looked very grey when poured and less than inviting and you didn’t know how much milk to put in, but I put in my usual amount and tasted. It was actually quite nice. But not an experience to repeat perhaps. They had loads of samovars on display as well as Chinese tea pots and a really good selection of Chinese teas.

We did rather egg each other on when it came to the shopping and ended up with so many bags that we struggled to carry them all home – luckily the train was full of local commuters who got off at the next 2 stops coming home and so we could spread out a bit. Especially as we were very wet as the rain and wind had pelted down on us, and in our faces, as we struggled back to the train station fully loaded.

We are now planning our next excursion in the new year – before I have my back operation and am thus more or less unavailable for a few months… it will likely include an exhibition of some kind as we love the same types of stuff.

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