Grabbing 2019 by the balls

by | Jan 8, 2019 | Bulgarian life | 4 comments

Yup, we built a bad-ass snowman.


Be afraid. Be very afraid.


Altogether now, exhale. That’s another Christmas and New Year done. We’ve emerged from our self-imposed, prosecco-fuelled hibernation, and are relieved – actually relieved – to have some form of structure back in our days.

Our Christmas Day fondue was brilliant – very fun and festive, and might even be the start of a new tradition. Other food highlights included Nigella’s trashy ham in Coca Cola, lots of mince pies and a proper, working-class trifle (i.e. with jelly in it).




And now, here we are, eyeballing 2019 with suspicion and (or is this just me?) thinking Christ, we need to get more shit done. That’s our general plan for 2019: Get More Shit Done. That means making more of our time, and having one big push to finish all those outdoor jobs that we didn’t find time for last year. (We currently have a half-built front wall, a half-excavated terracing project underway on the hill at the back of the garden, and a half-finished area next to the wood store. Our garden is a mess.)

As for me, some of my goals for 2019 include:

  • Getting stronger. I currently have the balance and upper body strength of an 80-year-old woman. By the end of the year, I’d at least like to be as strong as the average 70-year-old. In other words, this is the year I master planking for more than 10 shaky seconds at a time.
  • Writing more. Both here on the blog (you lucky devils) and other creative writing.
  • Reading more. I tend to idly flip through recipe or gardening books in bed, which is lovely and relaxing, but doesn’t exactly inspire me to write more of my own stuff. This year I’m going to devote my reading time to utterly brilliant fiction and non-fiction – the kind of books that make me itch to write my own. (Related: I’m no longer going to lose an hour a day scrolling through The Guardian and getting angry at the world.)
  • Learning how to use Instagram and taking more pictures of life here in The Bulg.

At least we don’t have to lose weight this year. Every year since I was 19, I’ve started January feeling like the Michelin Man’s tubbier sister. Over the years, I’ve done so many daft or boring diets: Atkins, Slimfast, Sliming World, and even this weird one where I had nothing but boiled eggs, raw cabbage, water and black coffee for 10 days. Boy, was I fun to be around on that one! They all work, sort of, but never for the long term. I just like food too much. But I’m done with diets now. We’ve been intermittent fasting (5:2 or the Fast Diet) since last February and have lost – God, I’m almost embarrassed to admit it on here since it shows just how lardy we’d become – a whopping 15 kgs each. It works for us, and we still fast a couple of days a week, which is great for maintaining a stable weight, even with Christmas fondue and other feasting in the mix. I mean, we ate ham cooked in actual Coca Cola, for crying out loud, yet there’s no need for a January diet.

Anyway, let’s get down to the real reason you come here: pictures of kittens and snow. Am I right? We didn’t have a white Christmas. (Every year, every damn year, I think we’ll have a white Christmas. Then the temperature warms up just before Christmas, melts what little December snow is left, and we sweat our balls off cooking Christmas dinner on a woodburner.) The real snow always comes in January, and I should know that by now.

This January’s snowfall hasn’t disappointed. Especially last night, when the snow was beautifully sparkly (it was the coldest night of 2019 so far, at -14°C, although I’m sure we’ll get lower than that in February).










Finally, the kittens are still enjoying squishing on top of each other as often as they can. They’ve just started venturing outside and brought us some, er, interesting presents over the Christmas period, including an old walnut, a wet leaf and a piece of grass, each one placed proudly on the kitchen floor like it was treasure. They’re very sweet idiots.




  1. local alien

    Good luck with those goals, especially the blog one. And get on Instagram! I finally got my grandson to fix up mine and I live it. Another electronic time waster to check every day!…all day.
    You sure got a lot of snow up there! Looks great, must be darn cold. Time to hibernate!!!

  2. the hippopotamus

    Dear Claire, I always enjoy reading your blog, especially as Minty's blog seems to have died the death. I have not written much, as I have started my new job at St. George's in Sofia.

  3. Auntie Bulgaria

    Oh man, we do love to hunker down and hibernate in winter. Strangely satisfying…

  4. Auntie Bulgaria

    Nice to hear from you, Simon, and it seems life in Sofia is treating you well.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  Follow me on Instagram  |  Sign up for the newsletter