Evans Christmas Letter 2015


Christmas card photo

Our Christmas card photo this year… In case you hadn’t realised; Matthew on the left, Anna on the right, Lizzie in the middle!

Why hello!

So, what happened with us this year? You may not care, but it beats writing a massive Christmas letter and cramming it in the post, and of course Lizzie can read it when she’s big, and find out what her boring old parents thought was fun when she was little.

This year it seems to work to split things by calendar quarters… makes a bit of a change from the norm, hopefully doesn’t sound too much like a company’s financials, although speaking of companies, Matthew’s job has changed over the course of the year so (in theory) it’s slightly less stressful and all-consuming than it has been in the previous 3 years. We’re hoping that means he might feature a bit more in family life as a result, and may even have enough spare time to develop sort form of social life (don’t hold your breath).


20150126_170711At the start of the year we discovered “Rock Up”,20150615_180101 and boy did we rock up – it turns out that despite not being amazing with heights on some fairground rides, Lizzie’s a natural climber. We’ve slowed down our visits slightly over the year (you can’t really sustain twice a week indefinitely), but it’s a firm favourite for Matthew & Lizzie when he… picks her up from school on a Monday, which he actually started doing at the end of the previous year, but it really bedded into a habit, as did “Pizza Mondays”, which are limited by statute to at most once per month, but making the dough from scratch (oh ok, a bit of help from the breadmaker with the kneading) and doing all the toppings doesn’t lose its appeal.

February half-term was a trip to Wales to visit friends, and we had a smashing time, despite the weather being as you might expect!

March saw a birthday, a wedding anniversary AND a solar eclipse all within 8 days. Matthew went and spoke about eclipses with Year 4 at Lizzie’s school, which was most entertaining, especially as he realised he knew very little detail about them when he agreed to do it… short-term cramming; whoever thought learning to do it would come in useful outside of university!


20150306_164655Lizzie learned to ride her bike. To avoid dying of a heart-attack whilst running after her (she got fast very quickly) Matthew bought himself a bike, and is now quite happy tagging along behind her, on the lookout for cars, dogs and joggers. Oh yes, and someone got themselves a Blue Peter Badge by drawing a very nice picture of Iggy their (trainee guide) dog – and obviously the next logical thing to do was to plan how she could get the rest! (for those of you who don’t follow Blue Peter these days, they have an assortment of coloured badges, some rarer than others)

20150529_174720We had a trip to Belfast in May half-term, and had a lovely time staying with some friends there, and meeting other friends who live there as well. Lizzie discovered her love of ice skating at the Belfast ice rink (whilst visiting their equivalent of Rock Up, which is in the same room), even if she didn’t turn into a figure skater within 5 minutes (unlike Peppa Pig who had set expectations wickedly high). She was helped by a number of the actual figure skaters (impressively good too), who despite being there to practise their routines and not teach 5 yr old novices, took time to give her a few helping hands. As a result she later in the year got hooked on CBBC’s Ice Stars series, where they followed a variety of budding ice performers through the trials of competitions etc.

20150626_185928Having done Wales and Northern Ireland in two half terms, we were inspired to consider going to Scotland for October half term…

Anna’s 40th fell at the end of Q2, and was accompanied by the largest joint of meat we’ve ever had (and ever likely to have) in the house, plus lots of 40s; photos, songs, films… if you’re considering the same thing, we suggest starting shortly after your 38th birthday. It was an amazing event, a bit like our house-warming a few years before, it was pretty much a competition of “how many people can fit in our garden at once”, and it happened the same weekend as Matthew’s uncle’s 60th – which we also hosted… nothing like getting it all done in one weekend!


_DSC2378The summer holidays were great as Matthew had 2 consecutive weeks away from work, we had a lovely time away, including a fabulous trip to Harrogate for our 3rd and final wedding of the year (and an amazing week staying in Harrogate with some friends from Southampton – exploring, visiting and tasting everything Yorkshire had to offer!). We have never been that far north as a family, an20150620_201444d although the journey there and back with someone who says “are we there yet?” from the Winchester exit of the M3 wasn’t a whole lot of fun, we’d definitely consider it as a destination in the future when we have more patience in the back seat (or indeed, in the front-seat, as she gets car sick fairly easily).

We also made our first trip to Birmingham to visit Anna’s family, and had the opportunity to briefly stop in to her sister’s new home in Shropshire, which feels an awfully long way away, but is a lot closer than Eastern Europe where they used to live!

Oh and, Lizzie started decorating the house for Christmas with some tinsel and other bits she found. Matthew refused to get the tree out of the loft until the last day of November!


IMG_7577Our amazing lodger arrived with a flurry of German, student timetables, and name-confusion, as she’s German, an exchange student, and she’s called Anna. She’s been with us ever since, and her husband visited briefly in the middle so she hopefully doesn’t miss him too much. She’s gone home for 3 weeks over Christmas and will then be back for just under a month before leaving for good. She will definitely be missed when she goes, as she’s really become part of the family, Lizzie calls her “my big sister” and she joins in with most family activities; playing, crafting, dancing, hair, cooking, eating Anna’s brownies (her favourite thing ever) and has even started playing board / card games with Matthew & Lizzie. Not so much with the early-rising, but every so often she offers for Lizzie to go wake her up, instead of us… and she’s done a LOT of free babysitting.

20151122_152216Speaking of board games, Matthew’s continued his somewhat unwise habit of staying up late to play games with one of his best friends every few weeks, but he says it’s in order to save the world from destruction – if you’ve not had the pleasure of Pandemic Legacy, then it’s worth a go.

October half-term ended up in Surrey, not Scotland, as we just didn’t have a good reason to go there, other than completing the ‘triple’ of the other countries within the UK… suggestions welcome for 2016, but it turned out that Surrey was very nice too – and Lizzie got to see all the parts of the family in that area, which was lovely.

12232846_1654970174761230_15270279284827737_oLizzie dressed up as “Danger Bunny” (her own invention – Danger Mouse’s cousin – of course) for Children In Need, good job she’s got creative parents to come up with the costume at short-notice!

20151206_114638In December Anna officially became part of “Hopeweavers” – which itself was commissioned by the Bishop of Southampton (pictured) to become an Anglican community. She’s very excited about the possibilities and disciplines it might bring to her, despite being constantly teased that she was “becoming an Anglican” (which was not required!).

We since seem to have bounced from one Christmas event to another, and we’re looking forward to a modicum of calm and peace over Christmas to recover!


And finally…

here’s the Christmas card photos that didn’t make the cut:


Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

M, A & L xxx