Well, I can’t believe that on one hand 8 weeks has passed and on the other hand, it feels like it’s been 6 months because so much has happened.
Let’s start with the British Hairdressing awards 2017; yet another fantastic evening at Grosvenor House in beautiful Park Lane in London. Congratulations to all of the winners especially Sally Brooks, our British Hairdresser of the Year.
I started the festive season as I meant to go on. For the first time I ended up at the British Hairdressing awards’ after after party, which meant I didn’t get home until 5am. What was I thinking – I was fully booked with clients from 4pm! At least I got a decent amount of sleep.
On the Friday it was Jackie’s birthday and we hosted a get to know the neighbours/ birthday party. Right before we sent out our invites, we received a complaint that one of our neighbours had sent to the council; not that I’m home much, and we certainly aren’t loud when we are. I mean seriously, just come and have a civilised chat with us! We don’t even own a stereo, are you complaining because we’re breathing? Other than that, the party was a huge success, it’s a good job we invited all of the neighbours. Yet another 5am finish, where is the off button?
Sunday was an emotional day, we said goodbye to no.143. This is where the Jacksons grew up. It marked 10 years since the amazing, loving and caring Kathleen had passed away. All our very, very special nieces and nephews cooked a traditional Burmese biryani. It was fabulous. Certainly an emotional day, but a very special one to say the least. It was the last day that I spent with Carl Jackson, head of the family, the best Father in-law that anyone could wish for. He always greeted me with a big smile when I walked in and said, “Hello dear, how are you?” This memory will always stay with me. Sadly Carl passed away on Monday 18th December. He will always be remembered and loved on all sides of the planet. This was a huge day for me, as it was also the 50th birthday of my dear friend Colin who passed away 18 months ago; I still can’t believe I will never see him again.
I also said goodbye to an industry leader, Toni Mascolo. It was a bright and beautiful day, the church was overflowing and was filled with love and admiration during a very moving service. A great send off for a legend.
The week after the British Hairdressing awards was the Fellowship luncheon and awards at the beautiful Dorchester hotel. I walked into the foyer and was greeted by a Christmas explosion of a giant gingerbread house, gold everywhere and a huge and perfectly decorated Christmas tree. This year I handed over the reigns to Ken Picton. Ken, Jo and myself worked so hard to give our members and sponsors a fantastic day. The day had a Welsh theme; yes, courtesy of Ken. Our message was all about making a difference. Everyone who attended had a great day. I’m always relieved when it gets to 4pm and it’s all over, and off to the Met bar we went. It was back to full swing in the salon. We had a brilliant Christmas run up and Katie delighted our clients with “Katie’s Kristmas Koctail”. We ran a “12 days of Christmas” Instagram prize give-away which was great fun! Soon we will be running a “recommend a friend” competition on Instagram, where the lucky winner will win a cut and colour with a stylist, the same for a lucky new follower. There will also be a facial with Liesl up for grabs. Watch this space! We had a great night out with my hair gang at the historic Quaglinos, snow was falling and it really felt like Christmas. I love the dinner combined with entertainment concept. It was the Jackson Christmas party at Chris’s place in Streatham; it was a great afternoon and Chris pulled out all the stops! Unfortunately his Dad couldn’t make it, as this is when Carl picked up the infection. I had to leave early to start getting ready for the Karine Jackson Christmas party. We all met at the Ace hotel in Shoreditch where we had a fabulous meal at Hoi Polloi. My Christmas speech was a hit, so I’m glad I found time to write it properly. There was quite a lot of rushing around to get last minute Christmas presents on the Sunday, before my upcoming trip to Canada for Christmas. Monday morning I was woken to the shock of losing Carl, he had passed away early that morning even when someone was elderly and had been suffering it can still knock you sideways. Tuesday I had another funeral, Teresa Birch, she was so young. Some of you may remember Sian, who started her first job with us, it was her very young mother and Anne-Marie Jackson’s sister in-law. It is so sad to lose someone to cancer so young. My thoughts are still with the whole family. By the end of a busy and emotional week, it was the start of my Christmas holiday. Not before a Christmas drink with Jackie that lasted well into the morning when it shouldn’t have; hmmm, when will I learn?
I was finally on a British Airways plane; 9 hours rest and sleep before touching down at a very white Calgary airport. It was so exciting being in a place I had never been to before. I met my sister and in a blizzard we drove to Banff in the Rockies. I didn’t get to see the amazing scenery that we drove through but what a treat to wake up surrounded by stunning mountains, snow covering everything and glorious sunshine. I was on holiday. Yeah! When we arrived it was minus 25 degrees, I have never felt anything like it; really exciting. I was staying around the corner at the Rundle Stone Lodge, the team there were fantastic; thanks for looking after me so well.Christmas Eve we all went tobogganing with my nephew Lucas who is just the coolest loving dude, up for a cuddle at any time and always challenging me for that wrestle. Tobogganing was so much fun, running up the hill definitely keeps you warm in the -25. One could say we were experiencing “Apricity” – my new favourite word that’s no longer in the dictionary as it doesn’t get used any more. It’s from around the year 1620 and means “warmth of a winter’s sun”. Thank you Jackie for teaching me this word, I love it and would love to see it revived. So, back to Tobogganing, we also had my sister, her partner James and his sister Sonya, her partner Tomas and their adorable daughter Natalia who is 3. Natalia also loved a big hug and chase around. (Aunty Karine in full effect!) We took on that hill with a vengeance taking in air on our journey down the hill. You couldn’t stay out for too long, as it was so cold, even wearing 15 items of clothing.We spent the afternoon shopping for new ski gear (yes, another Christmas present for me). Helly Hanson ski gear did well out of me and I loved it, but had to wait a few more days before I could try it out as it was too cold to ski! We were waiting for it to get below -20. We also went to see the Spring’s Hotel, it’s like a giant castle nestled into the mountains. Everywhere we went the scenery was stunning.Back to Selina and Jim’s my sisters in-laws, who were so wonderful at looking after us. They had an amazing house surrounded by gorgeous mountain views. I couldn’t stop looking out of the windows at the sun bouncing off the snowy mountains, the Rockies.When did it get to the stage that we had to wait for kids to wake up, I thought they were meant to wake us up!Lucas had baked cookies for Santa with Nana. We laid them out with a glass of milk and of course some carrots for the reindeer once the kids were in bed, it was fun making it look like Santa had been to put the presents under the tree.We had been tracking Santa’s progress whilst watching the Aussie nieces opening their presents hours earlier.On the balcony; sledge tracks were laid, Santa’s footprints, reindeer footprints, munched up carrots all left out and in the morning the giant snow-person on the balcony had deflated so it looked like Santa had crashed into it. This was so exciting for them.Opening presents with children is the best. Some could argue that we shouldn’t lie to children, for me it’s all a little bit of magic that I remember from my childhood.
On Christmas day we had an amazing 6k walk, my eyelashes actually froze which was such a weird feeling and I was completely frozen.Back home to cook up a feast, thanks to Salina and Michelle for cooking the best turkey dinner.In the evening it was time for Karina’s Canadian Christmas quiz, which is always a great laugh. There were general questions, a sing off and a dance off.
Boxing day and still no skiing, it reached a breezy -29.5 degrees. We drove up to lake Louise for a winter walk. Wow, wow and wow! The glacier rising between the mountains was breath taking. I am sure it wasn’t the freezing air that was taking my breath away; actually, it may have been a bit of both. It was then said that we would walk across the frozen lake. Just 5 minutes into the walk on the frozen lake and it’s a no way for me. I have never been so cold. It was like being locked in a deep freezer.
Michelle stopped to take a picture of us and her hand went white within a minute without her glove on.
It was a quick dash into the Fairmont hotel for a quick drink and another look at lake Louise and the surrounding Mountains in the comfort and warmth. Still so breathtaking.
Finally, the next day it was -18 degrees and warm enough to ski! Our boots were on and we were onto Sunshine Mountain in Banff.
My nephew is so cool, he has just one skiing speed; fast! He needs to work on his stopping a little. It’s just ‘fast fast faster oh no need to turn, just find someone to crash into’. Very funny to watch!
The next day we skied at lake Louise, it was very overcast so we didn’t get the views but the skiing was amazing.
This was our last night in Banff and it was great getting to know my extended family so well. Banff village was so buzzy, I loved the bars, food and atmosphere. Thank you.
The next day we flew to Vancouver where it was almost tropical at 1 degree. That night Michelle had a Christmas surprise for me; we went to Cirque de Soleil again! Wow, what the performers can do with their bodies is amazing. I’m glad I went to the gym twice in Canada (like that is going to make a difference).
Vancouver was a nice and chilled kind of New Year’s Eve, we were up at 6:30 am to go to Whistler. Skiing, probably not a great Idea to have a party session with Australia over Face Time the night before with my other sister Linda and our friend Susan. It was great fun though. There’s a 19 hour time difference, so their New Year’s Eve party was in full swing and we were a part of it!
We finally went to bed around 2 am; it was worth it, although I was very tired on my first few runs on the slopes in Whistler. However, the fresh air and exercise soon kickstarts you.
Lucas was great fun to ski with and challenging me to “eat his snow”. Challenge was accepted. Towards the end of the day, Lucas stopped near some other people and loudly asked me to take a photo as this is too beautiful to miss, he made everyone around him smile and my heart melt.
After that, the race was back on to get to the bottom. I had to slow down as his Dad was controlling his speed and we were going fast.
The drive back to Vancouver that evening was stunning, it was nearly a full moon and it popped up over the mountains. I can’t wait to go back to Whistler.Next year maybe?
A little nap was needed in the car and I was ready for NYE.
It was just the 4 of us, oysters, crab and a great dance off. On New Year’s day I really wanted to see the movie Paddington 2, I was gutted, as it wasn’t released in Canada yet. Instead, we went to see Ferdinand, this was even more disappointing as it wasn’t a great film!
The 2nd January 2018 and already it was time for me to head home. My time there went so quickly. The evening I left we went to the Chinese lantern festival, it was stunning to walk through the intricate design light installations. I loved it. The next day it was full swing back in the salon.
On the weekend, it was time to head to Reading for the Marc Antoni Awards and belated Christmas party. Again, where is the off switch? Another 5am finish, a great night spent with Mark and Bernard Connelly, Andreas Stavrou and the Marc Antoni team.
When I got back on Sunday I was going to have some sofa action, but instead I met Jackie for a good Sunday roast at The Empress and a catch up. We hadn’t sat down since I got back, so that was lovely, and it was a beautiful day so I’m glad I didn’t waste it on the sofa.
On Tuesday night I had the Headmasters awards and Christmas party hosted by Kem Centinay, the winner of Love Island (which I have never watched, so I had no idea who he was), the girls in the room were stopped by security so they couldn’t mob the stage! My niece works in recruitment for the company so it was great to see Alice there. The art team put on a great show, thanks to Siobhan Jones and Gareth Williams for inviting me to judge the awards and well done on the fantastic show. It was a great evening.
Three and a half weeks later, which is just far too long for a family to have to wait to say goodbye, and it was Carl’s funeral. They gave him such a wonderful send off. Carl would have loved it. The grandchildren, his oldest brother and youngest daughter Donna read out the Eulogy there was in laughter and tears. After at the crematorium, Carl’s best friend of 56 years gave the most heart felt eulogy. We were all so moved. It was back to the church for biryani and chicken curry. The three things Carl loved were; his family, Frank Sinatra and dancing. All 11 of his remaining siblings, all his 9 children, all of his 10 grandchildren, his nieces, his nephews and his soon to be 100 year old mother and his close friends were there. We all danced and sang Sinatra. It was a fantastic wake. I feel so happy to be a part of this family.
This weekend is going to be spent catching up with myself. I hope you’re all having a great start to the year!