Hope you're all keeping well and have had a good start to 2010. Mine's been brilliant so far – you may've noticed that I've been on QVC quite a lot recently as so many of the presenters have been snowed in. Luckily I live fairly local to work, so I stepped in to take a few extra hours including Kelly Hoppen, Liz Earle and the African Gem Adventure – they were all so much fun!
I just wanted to share with you my wonderful memories of Lapland at Christmas, where I visited with my sister Ellie and niece Jasmine.
They came over to stay the night before we flew out – I love that feeling you get the night before a holiday starts, and Jasmine was so excited she hardly slept. Ellie and I were true to form and ended up doing last minute packing, even though we'd had weeks to get organised. Mind you, it's hard to know what to pack for temperaures of -20C!
Then at 3am (eek!) the alarm went off, and bleary-eyed, we got up and jumped in a taxi to Gatwick. At the airport the atmosphere was amazing; there were hundreds of excited kids, holiday reps in Santa hats and we were even greeted by Rudolph himself.
We had a great flight to Lapland and we picked up our snowsuits when we arrived there to keep us nice and cosy. On the way to the hotel the first thing we all noticed was the snow – soft and powdery like talcum and sparkling like a million diamonds – it was like nothing I've ever seen before and truly beautiful.
We stayed in Lapland for four nights and our hotel was great, though when we arrived the heating wasn't working and believe me, when it's -20 outside that's not good! But the staff were great and got it all sorted out really quickly. Thank goodness for the (not very flattering) thermal undies!
Whilst we were there we got up to lots of different activities, everything from the Arctic Circle Ceremony performed in Finnish around a blazing fire to a husky dog sleigh ride. Jasmine loves dogs, especially huskies, so she was really excited. Huskies are such amazing dogs and so strong. I actually got to pilot the sleigh, which I thought was going to be quite scary, but turned out just fine and was great fun.
Another highlight of the trip was our 'search for Santa'. We spent a couple of hours exploring Santa's house, spotting the reindeer and even asking the elves working in the post office and toy factory if they'd seen him. Finally, after all that hunting we found him and he even agreed to come the the Christmas gala party on our last night – the kids loved seeing him, what fun!
As well as all the arranged activities we also had lots of simple pleasures like playing in the snow, tobogganing and finding fires to cosy up around. It was a truly wonderful few days; for me my favourite part was simply spending time with my beloved sister and niece. We all got on so well and I loved the fact that I got to read to Jasmine a Christmassy bedtime story every night.
The only thing I would've changed was the food – it was all buffet style and left a bit to be desired; after three days it all became a bit samey. The other thing was the cost, the holiday itself was quite pricey and the extra trips were very, very expensive. It's not the kind of holiday you'd do more than a couple of times. And as expected, it was SOOO cold – we loved the snow but getting ready to go out was like a military operation, getting into underwear, thermals, a minimum of three layers on top of that, snowsuit, hat, gloves and scarf… you get the picture!
Having said that, it was still a truly magical experience and I know it's something my sister and I, and more importantly Jasmine, will remember forever.
Have you ever been anywhere as cold as this? And did you do anything special for your Christmas?
Thanks so much for reading my blog and please do leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you.