Tag Archives: Emerald

St Patrick’s Charity Ball

Saturday night was the St Patrick’s Day Ball at the Kerry Parkside Hotel.  This ball is supposed to be the event of the year, so we were very excited to get tickets. Our group of friends was split across 3 tables of 10.  It was certainly a busy night – there must have been over 1000 people there – all ex-pats of course!

Menu, champers and hat

Menu, champers and hat

The ballroom was packed full of tables  that were laden with glasses and goodies.

The decorated table

The decorated table

The tables all had opened (with no lids!) bottles of Baileys and Whiskey.  There were hats, feather boas and masks.  The glitter from the green hat got everywhere!  You can also see the “goody bags” on each chair.  These were filled with a strange mix of crisps/chips, umbrella, eco water bottle, flash drive, miniature bottle of Jamiesons, bottle of milk tea and a baseball hat.

Feather Boas, Mask and Glitter hat

Feather Boas, Mask and Glitter hat

Because this was a fancy ball with everyone dressing up, my friends and I all went to the fabric market to have dresses made.  I had seen a dress that I really liked – Jodie Foster wore it to an Award Ceremony in USA.  Here is her dress:

The Jodie Foster dress that I really liked and wanted copied!

The Jodie Foster dress that I really liked and wanted copied!

And, here is my fabulous copy:

The front

The front

and the back:

I love this dress!

I love this dress!

I was absolutely thrilled with the end result.  It fits like a glove, is a great copy and cost me about £60/$100!  This took a week to make.  It was the same people who had made Isabelle’s beautiful dress for the Daddy/Daughter ball.

All of the ladies looked lovely in their dresses.  All the men were very smart in their Dinner Jackets!

Owen's broken arm

Owen’s broken arm

As you can see from this photo, Owen could not get his jacket on due to the fact that his arm is in a cast.  He broke it last Wednesday.  Oliver and Owen were riding their bikes and Oliver got a little distracted – Owen went over the handle bars and BAM, CRASH, CRACK – 1 broken arm (bruised ribs and arms too).  He has been assured that in 4 weeks time it should be mended. 😦

We tried another photo later that evening:

I stood the other side this time.......

I stood the other side this time…….

It was a fun night with our friends.  There was plenty of entertainment – alot of it Irish, but some Chinese too.  Later in the evening, a band played so that everyone could dance.  The Chinese dancers were fantastic.

Chinese dancing

Dancers from Thailand

With acrobatics too.

With acrobatics too.

It was quite the mix of music and displays.

A traditional Irish band

A traditional Irish band

The St Patricks Ball is a charity event which meant that not only were the tickets very expensive, but we also got “persuaded” to buy some raffle tickets.  I would have liked to be the lucky winner as it was a fabulous trip to Ireland – all expenses paid!  We were not lucky that night……

As the tickets were so expensive, we were a little disappointed that some of the drinks ran out early in the evening.  However, I was impressed with the food – for mass catering it was a very good meal.

John & Jenny.  Jenny had just returned back to China on Saturday morning and was doing really well to stay awake!

John & Jenny. Jenny had just returned back to China on the Saturday morning and was doing really well to stay awake!

Marie & Tim

Marie & Tim

Jane & Kevin

Jane & Kevin

Jane & JC

Jane & JC

Brian & Suzanne

Brien & Suzanne

Katrina & David

Katrina & David

Oh, how I laughed.....

It is so nice to be with people who make me laugh until my sides hurt.  It really does make a difference to life 🙂

Right before the bell struck for us to turn into pumpkins

Fun & Giggles

It was a lovely night out.  I love an excuse to get dressed up!  We will not be going back next year, so it was nice to have it done it this year.

BISS Art in Action Auction

Year 3E Art.  The Queen's head is made up of photos of the entire class.  The 10p is a clever play on the theme of 10 for BISS's anniversary.

Year 3E Art. The Queen’s head is made up of photos of the entire class. The 10p is a clever play on the theme of 10 for BISS’s anniversary.

BISS is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year.  BISS is also very proud of the impact that they provide to the local community in Shanghai.  Every year the school, parents, students and friends raise over £60,000 for several charities that are chosen each year.  This year, the 10th Anniversary event was in the aid of Shining Star.  It is very exciting to know that the Art in Action event last Friday evening raised an incredible 85,100RMB (approximately £8,500) for the selected charity, Shining Star.  Their Operations Manager has confirmed that this amount is enough to provide the operations required to restore a childs sight!

Back of the 10p

Back of the 10p

The back of the 10p had the entire class signature’s – students and teachers.  We also bid on Oliver’s class art work.  They had created bi-lingual glass jars with English numbers on 1 side and mandarin on the other.  We also won this although we will be sharing the glass jars with other parents of his class.

Oliver's class - Reception Alder Glass Jars

Oliver’s class – Reception Alder Glass Jars

During dinner there was a live bid.  The school had selected 10 pieces for this and Owen was very excited because there was 1 other piece that he really liked.  After a couple of to-ing and fro-ing across the room with the bids getting dangerously close to our upper limit, suddenly the others dropped out and Owen won.

Our other winning bid.  What do you see when you look at this?

Our winning bid during the live auction. What do you see when you look at this?

It was a lovely evening.

Sara and Owen

Sara and Owen

The art work was phenomenal.  There were several pieces that I really liked.  All the students are so talented and so creative.

A bid going on display at the live auction during dinner.

A bid going on display at the live auction during dinner.

This was my very favorite piece of art – I think it is a great representation of China and would spark memories for me years after our time here.  Obviously I was not the only person to think so as this piece generated a fierce bidding war!

We also bid on this piece which we both liked very much.  However, it went for way more than we could afford!

We also bid on this piece which we both liked very much. However, it went for way more than we could afford!

After the dinner, there was a fabulous band playing great music.  We danced into the wee hours!

Suzanne, Emma, Sara, Owen and John.  Towards the end of the evening!!

Suzanne, Emma, Sara, Owen and John. Towards the end of the evening!!

Party time – Emerald style…..

I have been travelling so much in 2013 and now I am trying to catch up on posts.  We have also had some issues with our internet access (it is the season of changing Party officials, after all!!)

The lead up to Christmas was full of festivity and there were lots of events that Owen and I were invited to.  Jane and JC hosted a Stars and Stockings Party which was huge fun.

Stockings and Stars!

Stockings and Stars!  Most of the girls showing off their stockings.  I just wore Star earrings!!

Some of the Boys

Some of the Boys

Thanks to plenty of champagne and some great music (Jane and JC's 14 year old son was DJ!) there was plenty of dancing.  And dancing in 80's style!

Thanks to plenty of champagne and some great music (Jane and JC’s 14 year old son was DJ!) there was plenty of dancing. And dancing in 80’s style!

And, remember this one?

And, remember this one?

It was a fantastic evening.  Not only was Jane and JC’s son the DJ, but he also tended bar for us all – mixing perfect cocktails dressed in a tux!  I am sure we all gave him some good stories for his friends!!

The party that kicked off the Christmas season celebrations!

The party that kicked off the Christmas season celebrations!

More Christmas parties the following weekend: friends from work on Saturday night and then Sunday was open house at Jane and Kevin’s house.  She had over 12 children all doing arts and crafts – decorating cookies, making Christmas tree ornaments and colouring.  It was loud and noisy with so many kids having so much fun.  It was a lovely relaxing Sunday afternoon catching up with friends, discussing Christmas plans, sipping mulled wine, eating mince pies and other traditional goodies.

Open House at Jane and Kevin's

Open House at Jane and Kevin’s

Shanghai Christmas

What a wonderful Christmas in Shanghai. We are so fortunate to have a large “family” of Ex-pats here who host so many wonderful events and look out for each other. The season started with a “Stars and Stockings” party at Jane’s house.  A fabulous night of laughter, 80’s dancing, great food and booze.

The next day, Isabelle and Oliver were at the Shanghai Expat Association’s Christmas Party at the 4 Seasons in Downtown Shanghai.  Even Santa came to visit them there! Kids from all nationalities from all over Shanghai were enjoying the festivities – so many crafts that the kids did not get through them all.  They came home laden with home made Christmas tree ornaments, gingerbread houses and presents from Santa.

Santa and Isabelle

Santa and Isabelle

IMG_8546

Santa and Oliver

On Christmas Eve, we were all at Marie and Tim’s house – with the same lovely group of people that we would be enjoying the rest of Christmas with.  This was a lovely relaxed affair and we were home by 7:30 pm ready to continue exciting the kids about an imminent visit!

Christmas Eve with Oliver

Christmas Eve with Oliver

Our Christmas Tree - ready with presents.

Our Christmas Tree – ready with presents.

Christmas morning the children woke up at 6:30am. We could hear squeals of excitement and giggles as they opened their stockings together.  They managed to contain themselves until 7:30 and then came in to “wake” us up.  We had a wonderful relaxing morning opening presents, playing with toys and enjoying a leisurely breakfast.

What could these possibly be??

What could these possibly be??

Just what we wanted!!

Just what we wanted!!

At 12.45 we walked around the corner to Lin and Nick’s house as they were hosting Christmas Dinner.  Nick works for Intercontinental Hotel group and they were catering it, so no-one had the burden of preparing the meal.  The staff had completely taken over the kitchen (using the garage as a staging area) and had even set up a bar!

Half of us at the table (bar is in the background).

Half of us at the table (bar is in the background).

We were 5 families in 1 house – 22 of us, including all the kids.  We had a fabulous meal – 5 hours at the table, laughing all the time.  The kids managed about 45 minutes of eating before they were all off playing together.  Again, it was so relaxing – no cooking or clearing up to worry about.  When you are so far from home with no family around, this could not have been a better celebration.

Daniel, Cai, Harry, Oliver and Luke.

Daniel, Cai, Harry, Oliver and Luke.

Lia, Isabelle, Amelie, Maddie and Seren

Lia, Isabelle, Amelie, Maddie and Seren

A choice of desserts.  The mini Christmas puddings were delightful!

A choice of desserts. The mini Christmas puddings were delightful!

What a wonderful group of friends to celebrate Christmas Day with.

What a wonderful group of friends to celebrate Christmas Day with.

After a brief 90 minute re-charge back at home, we were off to more friends – Suzanne and Brian’s, for the evening.  Another fantastic get together.

Boxing Day, and it was our turn to host.  The morning was a flurry of activity; cooking sausage rolls, legs of lamb and preparing for 30 people at our house at 3:00pm.  Our wonderful Ayi, Angela, was a huge help and stayed through the afternoon to help with the kids.  We had set up a craft activity area for them downstairs and some other friends had brought their Wii system for the older children to play upstairs.  While they were occupied we played our traditional Boxing Day “Dirty Santa” game.  Absolutely hilarious to see the tacky, gaudy gifts that people had found for less than 50RMB (£5/$7)!!  It was the perfect wind-down from a very hectic Christmas and we were cleared up before 10:00pm.

Jane winning Michael Fish fridge magnets in our Annual "Dirty Santa" game.

Jane opening Michael Fish fridge magnets in our annual “Dirty Santa” game!

All in all, for a very different Christmas, it was perfect.

Owen's fabulous Christmas Cake

Owen’s fabulous Christmas Cake.  Beautifully fed over the last 2 years and then beautifully decorated.  Better than any “professional” cake!!  It was YUMMY!

We decorated the house

Our house all decorated for Christmas.

Thanksgiving – British (American) Chinese style

Thursday November 22nd 2012 is Thanksgiving (the 4th Thursday in November) – a traditional American holiday but one that we have celebrated since 1995 when we first moved from the UK to America.  The first few years, Owen and I were always invited to the homes of our friends in Atlanta.  Then we started hosting at our house – opening our home to people who could not make it home to be with their families, or those who just wanted to be somewhere different.  It is one of our favourite holidays because it is all about sharing quality time with people who are special to you, good food (Turkey with all the trimmings, apple pie, pumpkin pie) and giving thanks.  I am thankful for a wonderful family, brilliant friends, my health and a job that I love and that has offered such a fabulous opportunity to live and work in China.

This year, the kids were in school and it was a work day for me!  But, we had decided to invite some friends from the Emerald to share our Thanksgiving meal in the evening.  Owen had found a western shop that would deliver a Turkey to – deep fried ready to eat – at a cost of £100/$150!!!!  We made green bean casserole, traditional stuffing, roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots, mange tout and sweet corn.  I made pumpkin roll (very yummy) and we also had the store deliver apple pie and a chocolate mousse cake.

A delicious meal shared with friends – all that Thanksgiving is about!  Lots of laughter and a new experience for our British friends.  It is good for Isabelle and Oliver to be reminded of American traditions, as they are both citizens of the USA having been born there.

Our Thanksgiving gathering. 11 people suitably stuffed!

BISS Bonfire Night (Guy Fawkes Night)

“Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot;
I see of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
‘Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.”

So the saying goes.  To celebrate this tradition, bonfires are burned with effigy’s of Guy Fawkes on top and fireworks are let off.  Last year, we went to fabulous display in Chalfont St Giles, England.  We were all bundled up in coats, scarves, gloves and hats.  This year we needed long sleeves, but it was still a mild evening!

BISS has a tradition of celebrating this very British event and so on Saturday night we were off to the school.  There were lots of local restaurants selling food, the PFA were selling sparklers, glow sticks and wine and beer!  They had challenged the students to create a “Guy” to burn on top of the bonfire and there were 7 Guys in the competition.

Oliver and Isabelle by the bonfire

Oliver and Isabelle by the bonfire

Oliver & Isabelle showing off their glow sticks and glow earrings

Oliver & Isabelle showing off their glow sticks and glow earrings

I love this photo as it looks like Owen's hair is on fire!

I love this photo as it looks like Owen’s hair is on fire!

A mild evening and roaring bonfire!

A mild evening and roaring bonfire!

Enjoying a beer and glass of wine before the fireworks start

Enjoying a beer and glass of wine before the fireworks start

I took over 20 photos of the fireworks and this is the best of the lot!  I really admire the professional photographers who manage to get spectacular shots of the fabulous displays……

The best photo of the fireworks!

The best photo of the fireworks!

After the fireworks, Emma, Matthew, Ava and Ethan came back to our house to continue the fun.  The boys disappeared upstairs to play.  It was awfully quiet and when we went up to check on them, we could see why!  Oliver had found the face paint from Halloween and painted Ethan:

Oliver's artwork on Ethan's face

Oliver’s artwork on Ethan’s face. And, doesn’t he look smug!

Meanwhile the girls had changed into party dresses and had been practicing dance moves to Psi’s “Gangnam Style”.  (30 second video clip below!)  I love when an impromptu evening is so much fun!  

Halloween Trick or Treat

The Emerald does Halloween Trick or Treat at the weekend nearest to October 31st so last night was our night to be out!  Isabelle was Violet Incredible, Oliver was Dash Incredible and I was Elastagirl Incredible.  Owen stayed at home to give out the candy!

We spent the morning completing the house decoration:

Our Halloween decorated house

Our Halloween decorated house – complete with the “black” light to make the spiders web fluorescent in the dark!

All the little ghosts, witches, wizards, spooks etc met at the Clubhouse at 5.00pm.  There were so many children – I didn’t realize we had so many in our neighborhood!

The neighborhood gathering to start the Trick or Treat rounds

The neighborhood gathering to start the Trick or Treat rounds

Many of the adults were also in costume so it was a very festive and fun walk around!  At 5:15pm all the kids were off and running and in all different directions.  The kids wanted to get to 5th Street as quickly as possible as all the houses in that road had got together to build a Haunted House!

5th Street Haunted House

5th Street Haunted House

We had walked through it earlier in the day and it was a little scary for our 2 incredibles so they definitely did not want to do it again in the dark!

Most of the houses in our large compound were participating in the Halloween tradition and many houses were suitably decorated too!  This is the biggest Trick or Treat that I have ever seen (and we lived in America for 15 years!!!!!)  You could tell who the American children were as they were the ones dressed in costumes that were not scary!  We saw lots of vampires, spooks, witches and ghosts.

Our neighbor across the street had made her own headless woman costume – it looked brilliant:

Our headless neighbor

Our headless neighbor

2.5 hours later, we were back at our house.  There was a note on the door to say that we had run out of candy!  Owen said that the door bell was going non-stop and that he had never seen so many children.  Apparently, everyone loved our pumpkins and were mesmerized by the light.  Our 2 had sore feet and aching legs from all the walking, but were over the moon by the amount of candy they had collected!  A very enjoyable evening – I like Halloween Chinese style!!!!!

Trick or Treating at a neighbors!

Trick or Treating at a neighbors!