Sunday, December 18, 2016

Putting up the Christmas decorations and getting ready for the festive season, scales are my friend, the Huawei 15th anniversary party, Nokia reunion Xmas dinner, Suzy came, shopping with the girls and other tales of the week.

Sunday 18th December 2016

Merry Christmas to you all from my family and I
Dear all.

Oh wow this time next week will be Christmas day.  Just one week to go.  Before I start, please let me wish you all a merry Christmas from my family and I.  I hope you like our festive photo above.  It was taken at Paula and Pedro's wedding in September and is one of the few we have of just the four of us.

A week ago today was the day we put up the Christmas decorations.  As Eladio, Oli and I were busy decorating the lounges and putting up the tree and lights, we had visitors.  Laura, the girls' friend from the Scouts, came to see us with her little girl Maya.  They were later joined by another Scout friend Cristina and her boyfriend.  
Visitors on Sunday while we were putting up the decorations.
The young people went out for a walk leaving Eladio and I to finish the job.  We did it pretty quickly and soon our house was looking good and ready for Christmas.  
A few snaps of how the house looks with the Christmas decorations up.
As you can see there are already some presents under the tree.  Most of my shopping has been online and that afternoon I made some of my final online ones; leaving the rest to be done physically with Suzy and Oli this weekend.  

It was on Sunday I started reading an interesting book; "Man's search for Meaning".  Recommended by my friend Sandra, it is "a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl a Jewish psychiatrist, chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then immersively imagining that outcome".  It's very uplifting in that it shows you how man can be positive despite dreadful suffering.  According to the cover it has been read by more than 12 million people.  I'm not surprised.
This week's book

Monday of course was weighing day.  These days I love the scales hahaha.  I used to hate them but now they are my friend.  I just hope they will be so for a long time. I was pleased with the numbers that morning which showed a loss of 1.6kg since the previous Monday and a total loss of 11.4kg. It now means I am well under 10 stone and can fit into all the clothes I had piled up as my motivation and goal.  I saw the doctor that morning who was pleased too.  He has now put me on phase 5 of the diet, the last one before maintenance (that's the important word) which means I can now add carbs three times a week for lunch, more olive oil and more higher calorie veg.  

That night I was going to a big party in town.  It was Huawei Spain's 15th anniversary and they were putting on a very big show.  I could chose from all my dresses this time and finally decided on this "m" sized Zara red dress which I think I had only ever worn once.  Believe it or not it wasn't even tight.  Here I am in it feeling on top of the world.
Lady in red ready to go to the Huawei party on Monday night
The party was in the beautiful Town Hall in Cibeles and everyone from the sector seemed to be there.  I was most pleased to see my journalist friends A. Gamazo and E. Pérez from the Spanish news agency Efe.  We sat next to each other when the show began.
With Ana and Emilia at the Huawei party
Being a Chinese company there were lots of top authorities, ministers,etc, plus lots of speeches.  Everything was said first in Spanish then in English which made the whole presentation far too long.  I listened to the CEO of Huawei Mr. Gao Ping, whose English I did not understand.  The Chinese Ambassador in Madrid spoke good Spanish though.  I was also impressed by the fact that the new Minister for Energy and telecommunications, Alvaro Nadal speaks pretty decent English which is unusual for Spanish politicians.
Huawei's worldwide CEO speaking at the party on Monday
It was a spectacular mise-en-scène but the whole thing went on for far too long.  There would be a concert and cocktail party afterwards, but being the "cinderella" I am, I made a quiet exit before it started so as not to get home too late. As I left I was given a lovely present; a box with olive oil, vinegar, salt and even an olive branch to plant.  
The beautiful present from Huawei

When I got home I was surprised and tickled pink to find Eladio watching a reality show on TV called "First Date".  We never watch reality TV so seeing my philosopher husband seemingly engrossed with the programme, I was surprised but at the same time pleased as it shows he's not all academic in his likes and dislikes hahaha. 

Tuesday was "martes y 13" which is Spain's equivalent to Friday 13th, a day that is supposed to bring bad luck.  Thankfully it didn't. It even brought good luck for Yoigo's customers as that day we launched our Christmas promotion, the 25 gigabyte "Sinfin" tariff at 32 euros until 6th January. I was busy that day on the press release.  

Luck seemed to be on my side too that day as in the morning I received the annual corporate Christmas hamper which included a "jabugo" ham. I didn't expect one this year so was extra pleased to receive it that day.

Eladio was busy in the afternoon giving a private lesson in philosophy to an Italian student. Their class was in our lounge and at one point I stopped to listen.  Oh how I am in awe of his knowledge and how well he explains the subject as I imagine his students are too.  I fell in love with him not just for his looks but for his culture and knowledge. I feel completely ignorant next to him.  

However he has his downsides too and one of them is shopping for clothes.  Oli had ordered an ultralight down jacket for him from Zara.  It arrived that day but the colour wasn't right and just looking at it I knew it was too small for him. So I took him to Zara, a place he hates, to change it.  We ended up buying another one at Massimo Dutti where he behaved abysmally, totally disinterested in any clothing on offer there.   I can't blame him though because as I am the same as him when we go to "DIY" stores; places that he loves and I hate haha. 

Eladio's new Massimo Dutti ultra light down jacket for Christmas
Everyone is wearing these jackets these days and I wanted one for Eladio as I always try to dress him well. That's something he appreciates as if he was left to his own devices his appearance would be very different.  I look forward to going on our walks with him wearing his new jacket. 

Wednesday came bringing with it one of the highlights of the week.  That night I had organised an ex Nokia Christmas reunion dinner.  Again I had lots to choose from to wear . After much debate I decided on this black trouser suit with a white blouse.  Here I am ready to go.
The outfit I chose to wear at the ex Nokia dinner
We were to be 15 around a table in a private dining room at one of my favourite restaurants; La Vaca Argentina in Las Rozas. The guests were all from my Nokia Network days, not the Mobile phone division which I would join later.  Looking back those were the best years at Nokia as my colleagues from Networks were the nicest of people. It was great to see them again.  For the dinner I took along crackers, sparklers and Christmas hats for people to wear.  I had also prepared a great game to play; "two truths and a lie" which had us all in stitches.  Below is a collage of some of the photos Juana took that night of our reunion dinner.
The Nokia reunion dinner on Wednesday night
A great time was had by all.  One of the instructions for the dinner was that we all had to change places after each course in order to get the chance to talk to more ex colleagues. Perhaps the pièce de résistance of all the activities of the night was the mannequin challenge we did, so much in vogue this year and which you can watch here. That night I was having such a good time, I forgot about my "cinderella" habit and didn't get home till nearly 2 in the morning.

Thursday was a quiet day for me. It wasn't though for Oli. She and her fellow reporters, Amaya and Andrea, from their programme, "Mi Cámara y yo", were preparing a special edition for Christmas Eve which will be aired straight after the King's speech.  They were dressed in Father Christmas outfits and were to be the "Telemadrid Charlie's angels".  Here they are with the Telemadrid logo star in their outfits.
Oli and her co reporters shooting a scene for the special Christmas Eve edition of their programme
And here they are "presenting" in the Telemadrid newsroom.  
Oli and her co reporters in the Telemadrid TV newsroom
Friday morning came which meant Suzy was arriving for Christmas. She hadn't been home since last May, although Eladio, Oli and I saw her in September at Paula and Pedro's wedding in Málaga.  But we were so missing her.  Her arrival is certainly the best Christmas present I could possibly want.  Eladio and I went to pick her up when she arrived just after 10 in the morning.  To catch her 6 am Ryanair flight from Stansted  she got up at 2 am.  She must have been bushed.  However, to quote my mother, she was having her "second wind" when she arrived.  Here she is with her Father at the airport, both hugging each other tightly with happiness painted all over their faces. I love it.
Suzy and Eladio hugging at the airport on Friday
I came home to another unexpected present which had arrived in my absence; some lovely speakers.  It was for Yoigo's 10th anniversary which had been on 1st December and arriving 2 weeks later was a complete surprise.

It was great to have Suzy at lunch that day.  Grandpa was especially pleased. Straight afterwards Suzy and I went to see Oli at her newsroom in La Ciudad de la Imagen.  We were actually going to pick up her car as Suzy would be meeting her elsewhere later that day.  We met most of Oli's colleagues and I was pleased to see how decent their newsroom is and that the atmosphere seems very cordial.  Here she is with her team.
Oli and her team in their newsroom at La Ciudad de la Imagen
Our visit was very short as Oli had to rush off to do more shooting for the special Christmas programme.  She later posted a photo of the 3 reporters cavorting on the Gran Vía, one of Madrid's biggest streets.  
Oli and her fellow reporters shooting a scene in Madrid on Friday
Once home, Suzy went straight to bed to get some sleep before going out that night. Eladio, the dogs and I went for a very wet and windy walk.  Once home, with time on my hands, I watched 50 Shades of Grey on Netflix.  I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed it hahaha. 

Saturday came and the family was complete.  I was up even earlier than usual, this time at 5.50:-(  It was great to have both girls at home and breakfast was an extended family affair. Our plans that morning were for shopping together and after much rush the three of us were at Gran Plaza 2 by 10.15 am.
With my girlies at Gran Plaza 2 on Saturday morning
It was going to be a wonderful morning of retail therapy with my daughters.  I was supposed to be buying the final Christmas presents from my list but ended up buying clothes for myself.  In a way it was my prize day for losing weight.  The best thing of all is that everything fitted; just everything.  I wanted to buy a nice dress but ended up buying this lovely white anorak from Zara in size "m".  The "l" was too big for me hahaha.
The beautiful white anorak I bought at Zara on Saturday in our shopping spree
And of course I needed to buy jeans. So did Suzy and we went to H+M where there is so much choice.  Here I ended up buying 3 pairs as I couldn't decide which ones I liked best. One of them was on sale for just under 10 euros and I grabbed them.  Nice eh?  
The 9.99 euro skinny jeans from H+M
There was time for a coffee too but huge queues. Here is Suzy outside having her coffee and enjoying the sun she so much misses in London.  Oli and I kept complaining about the cold but Suzy didn't as she's now completely used to the weather in the UK. I could not go back to that I can tell you.
Suzy enjoying her coffee in the sun at Gran Plaza 2 shopping centre yesterday 
After we had shopped until we had nearly dropped, we popped into the Alcampo hypermarket to get some provisions needed at home; mostly fruit and veg I should add. Here are our two girlies coming down the walkway with our trolley with great big smiles on their faces.
Shopping with the girls on Saturday
Lunch was to be all together at home yesterday.  My Father was delighted that we were all there, as was I.  Having got up so early I was in need of a siesta as were the girls.  Later i would go on a more pleasant walk with Eladio and come back and finish watching 50 Shades of Grey hahaha.  Meanwhile the girls were getting ready to party that night. They were each going to a respective school reunion dinner and party; Oli with her class and Suzy with hers. Later they would join up at Suzy's party and presumably came home very late last night. I look forward to a quiet family day with them today and another lunch all together; even if I have to eat my Pronokal diet stuff and they can enjoy Salud's "cocido".

Now I have come to the end of the story of this week. But I cannot end without mentioning the main international news of the week. It was the taking of the second biggest Syrian city, Aleppo, by the Syrian government troops with help from the Russians from the rebels.  The disaster and siege there have been likened to the siege of Leningrad.  The city is completely destroyed. Most of its population had already left and are in various parts of the world trying to reach a safe place.  However there were still thousands of people, mostly old and children, who were not able to leave.  During the strikes many were killed, and finally this week most of them were evacuated; although not all.  The story of Aleppo is a story of shame for the west.  Why did we do nothing? Why did this beautiful city have to be destroyed and its people killed or driven away?  

I don't want to leave you on that note, so let me once again wish you all a very merry Christmas.

Cheers till next Sunday, Christmas Day.  Have a great week,


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