16 October 2013

Whoever heard of Christmas in October?

When you've travelled halfway around the world for the first time in what feels like forever, you need to grasp with both hands the opportunities that present themselves for an all-out family celebration. So, last weekend, we decided to celebrate an early Christmas together, or an Express Christmas as Jack so aptly named it.

Granddad put the tree up for us, complete with a new set of all-singing, all-dancing set of Christmas lights. One of the light sequences had us in hysterics with its strobe light effects - we might as well have been out for a night clubbing when it came on.





A few little treats appeared under the Christmas tree - Top Trumps, Terry's Chocolate Orange and some mini Nerf guns which got a lot of use over the weekend when they weren't getting lost because no-one could keep track of whose belonged to who - until I finally put their initials on in permanent marker after about the third time! The boys also spent at least half the weekend hanging out in their onesies and camping out on the floor sleeping in the same room together - it was all I could do not to smooch them with the cuteness of it all.




While the Christmas dinner cooked, we got the boys out of the house for some fresh air, finding some conkers along the way. The boys and I (pure Kiwis) were introduced to the fine art of conker battles for the first time. I can't believe I lived in England for 3 years without the pleasure of learning the techniques of the game.










James (Mark's older brother) cooked the most amazing Turkey Wellington (Jamie Oliver recipe) for us all, while Grandma & Grandad provided an extraordinary array of vegetables to accompany.





We were all feeling so full and fat that another walk was required. This time we headed straight up Ham Hill to get the blood pumping and the digestive juices flowing. The boys entertained themselves running all over the ramparts and losing their shoes in the mud (ahem: Noah!). We also happened upon one of the archaeological digs which provided some insights into the Iron Age hill fort of 2,000 years ago.












I loved capturing this gorgeous mother and son shot of Ann-Marie and Jack in the late autumn sun.


Sunday brought the opportunity for a treasure hunt around the garden and the moment presented itself for a rare family photo before we headed out to Hazlebury Mill for Sunday lunch - our second roast in as many days.


Once again, the effort of dragging the tripod halfway around the world paid off with this once-in-a-blue-moon moment that simply had to be captured.


Such a joy to see these cousins together and loving each other's company so much - you'd never know they live half a world away from each other when you see them slotting into play so happily and easily together.


 This photo brought back memories of a similar moment three years ago.


It was a pretty great weekend to be a Maloney.

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