Christmas 2011

I am in two minds about Christmas present posts.  On the one hand, I am interminably nosy and love seeing the goodies people got.  On the other hand, I can't help feeling that we're relegating Christmas to the impetus behind just another haul post - a pile of goodies brought home from the shops, albeit via someone else's money rather than our own.  I like seeing a few select items people are cherishing this Christmas, but it has made me wince a little seeing photos (not just on here, but on Facebook, Instagram etc) of endless mountains of presents that must have cost hundreds upon hundreds of pounds.  I know it sounds a bit pious but when I arrived home from my parents' last night and unloaded all of my presents, ferreted away Christmas money and looked around at our lovely house and all of the things we own I was struck by just how lucky I am.

Talking of how lucky I am, I had such an amazing Christmas with my family this year - it was so nice to relax at their house with fire blazing away, mulled wine, board games, amazing food, walks with the dog along the beach and lots of time spent in pajamas! Here are some photos of the last week.

Mummy having cuddles with Bodhi
Christmas dinner
Bodhi wearing his Santa hat

Christmas dinner
Lots of presents under the tree
Bodhi unwrapping a present
I got some absolutely lovely presents, including bunting handmade by my Mum (she made the felt as well as sewing it all together), some lovely jewellery and scarves, some brogues and the Kirsty Allsop Crafts book from Nicole.  Looking forward to a few days now of wearing my new pajamas and slippers, reading books and seeing more friends and family before going back to work.  Hope you all had lovely Christmases - I am dedicating this afternoon to catching up on all the blogs I've missed over the last few days!

Driving home for Christmas

This morning I waved goodbye to the boyfriend for four days and I'm now not seeing him until Boxing Day. As he works for one of the emergency services he's working throughout Christmas, and as he works such long shifts I'm going home to my parents' so I'm not on my own.  Will be sad to spend Christmas without him (made worse by the fact that the dog keeps looking all over the house for him!) but I'm looking forward to spending a few days with my family, eating lots of mini foods (I've decided the diet is off until the New Year), playing board games and sitting by the fire in my pajamas.

Luckily I have finished all my Christmas shopping and handmade present making, so all that remains to be done is to pack it all up (along with the dog, the hamster and lots of loungewear) and head over to theirs this afternoon.

Here are some of the handmade goodies I've packaged up for our friends and family over the last few days - maltesers fudge, white chocolate and baileys fudge, teacup candles, mince pies and peppermint bark.

And here are all of the presents that need packing up and ferrying over to my parents' house... (We even have a stocking for Bodhi the puppy and Pancake the hamster).

Yesterday I took the day off work so Tom and I could spend the day together before our time apart.  We took Bodhi for a walk in the nature reserve at Chewton Bunny.  Here is a little long exposure of a waterfall I took whilst on the walk...

We also stopped off at a clifftop cafe and had lunch; here is the view of the cliffs from our table, and Tom's trio of burgers; got major food envy when that arrived!

On Tuesday, Tom went for a job interview for a training position where we both already work. It's a 12 month secondment but would mean a promotion and that he would be based two miles up the road from us rather than having to drive for two hours a day like he does at the moment.  When we arrived back from the walk he got a phone call to let him know he'd got the job! So we went straight back out again and bought a bottle of wine and spent the evening celebrating.

Hope you're all having a lovely time getting ready for Christmas - I am taking my netbook to my parents' so will probably be sharing lots more Christmassy photos over the next few days!


My Street Chic Christmas Party

Oh my gosh, I have so much I could write about this amazing night, but in the interests of this not becoming War and Peace I will try and keep it relatively brief.  On Friday, after what seemed like a long old wait of excitedly counting down the days it was finally time for the My Street Chic bloggers Christmas Party.  I was so looking forward to seeing all of the ladies from the South West Bloggers Meet again, along with meeting some new faces and seeing enjoying the great night My Street Chic had planned for us.  I travelled up with Laura on the train again (so nice to meet someone you can gossip with so easily it makes long train journeys disappear!) and met Kim and Ayden at Bristol Temple Meads.  It was a-mazing to finally meet Ayden as we talk so much outside of blogging and now I can finally put a face and a Scottish accent to our millions of text messages!

After meeting all of the other ladies (and consuming a lot of perinaise sauce) at Nando's we had a mooch along Park Street and went back to the hotel to get ready, and listen to the party playlist I had prepared the day before (Quote from Ayden: Is this your playlist or is it just Now 28?) We all gathered in Kim's room and Steph took some group photos of us which you can see on her blog post here.  We then headed up to Java for the event, and there were so many people already there! Was really nice to see the lovely Gina from My Street Chic again (more on how brilliant she is later!) and we got given a goodie bag with some treats in and a vodka cocktail.  (We thought it was just one cocktail, but after a couple more, My Street Chic's lovely web guy gave in and gave Ayden a pitcher -  you can see Ayden and our pitcher further down the page!)  We were then ushered into the Boohoo fashion show where they showcased loads of great looks for the party season.  I was in the second row so didn't get any good photos but you can see all the outfits on the My Street Chic Facebook here (along with lots of other photos!) After a couple more cocktails we also went back in for the second half of the fashion show, where photos from the My Street Chic gallery were shown on the big screen for people to give a Wooo or a Nooo too - one of my photos was up there and luckily I didn't get too many nooo's - Lyzi won the competition and took home a lovely bunch of flowers.  

[Photo courtesy of MyStreetChic] - Steph, Gina, me, Joseph, Bee, Laura

[Photo courtesy of My Street Chic]


Lyzi with her winners flowers!
Photo courtesy of Kim

Ayden's awesome Wah! Nails!

After the event we headed back to the hotel, and poor old Ayden was hit by what we now know was acute food poisoning! She was so poorly that the next day we had to take her to Bristol Royal Infirmary so they could give her lots of medicine to make her well enough to travel back to London (and then Glasgow the next day!) Actually - I missed out some bits in between getting back and going to hospital the next day, which were, Kim giving me and Abby a whistlestop tour of Bristol's graffiti, nightlife and kebab shops, me realising I'd left my camera at Java, me realising a shoe had fallen out of my bag on the way back from Java, and the amazing Gina from My Street Chic, without whom this blog post would not have been possible, finding my camera and delivering it to me the next day! Thankyou Gina!

All in all an absolutely amazing night - a lost shoe, a lost camera, a found camera, a hospital trip, a lot of cocktails and a long train journey home! A huge thanks to My Street Chic for putting on the event with help from Bee and Lyzi, and to all the lovely ladies who made it so much fun.  A special shout out to Ayden too, for being such a trooper despite being horrendously poorly, and to Abby for being such a massive help in the morning when I was being a useless stresser-outer and didn't know how to help Ayden!

PS - Sorry, that wasn't that brief was it?

My rollercoaster

This week has so far has definitely brought both ups and downs.  The week started particularly badly on Monday when, after a long day at work I came home to find our bedroom and lounge had been transformed into wet rooms, with water running through the ceiling and down the walls.  This was because the week before we had solar panels fitted on our roof by Free Solar 4 U, whose contractors not only stained our carpets, left metal shards in our drive and failed to install panels that actually worked, but also smashed our roof tiles and punctured holes in the roof felt.  Anyway, to cut a long story short they are now promising to put everything right, though the stains on our walls and ceilings are pretty awful to look at for the moment.

On Wednesday I came home from work to this little chap sat in my hallway.  Introducing... Sven!

Tom bought him for me to try and cheer me up after the drama of the day before.  Here is a letter from Sven that was next to him when I found him.  Not sure if you can read it - Sven has pretty bad handwriting, but then it is difficult to hold a sharpie when you have hooves.

Today I had the morning off work to go with my very good friend Nicole, who was getting tattooed by BJ, who has also done all of my tattoos.  You can see Nicole's lovely new tattoo in the second photo; it is a collection of flowers and ferns from places she has visited or holds close to her heart.

Whilst tattooing Nicole, Barry was complaining that he wanted to add baubles or a dusting of snow to Nicole's fern and was saying how he was desperate to do a Christmas themed tattoo.  Our friend Ben, who works at the studio, agreed to let Barry tattoo the Coca Cola Father Christmas on him, and it looks amazing! You can see it in the third photo.  The fourth photo is of my breakfast this morning - it is a bit of a tradition of mine to go and get a Wetherspoons breakfast before going for a tattoo appointment!

On a final note, I could not be more excited for the My Street Chic Bloggers Christmas Party and can't believe it's tomorrow already.  Off now for a long bath and to frantically throw some things in a suitcase!

As a moon waned to crescent

I am cheating a little with the above photo as it's actually from our family Christmas last year, but I have been on another module of my management course this week and this weekend I'm call (i.e. cannot leave the house) and I thought this was better than subjecting you to photos of me in my pajamas!

I have been feeling super Christmassy today as I have spent the whole day wrapping presents and making things to give to people for Christmas.  Currently on the list of handmade presents is (links where available).

I have also been furiously earmarking pages in Olive magazine and the Sainsbury's magazine of more things I want to cook and bake over the Christmas period, along with pinning more handmade present ideas! I am feeling like a bit of a domestic goddess at the moment (the candle wax all over the sideboard in the kitchen probably says otherwise).  Other reasons I'm feeling full of Christmas cheer are firstly that I've starting working my way through all the Christmas movies on BT Vision - Bad Santa, Deck the Halls and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation watched so far, any other ones I should put on the list? I'm thinking The Grinch next.  Also because (and I realise this makes me sound about 70) I bought a copy of the Christmas issue of the Radio Times today and I'm already excited to go through circling all the films and TV programmes I want to watch over Christmas! 

On a final note, I could not be more excited about going to the Xmas Blogger Meet in Bristol on Friday, I cannot wait to see all the ladies I met at the previous South West Blogger Meet along with meeting some more people I haven't before.  Can't believe I also get to finally meet my sister from another mister, Ayden, too, who is coming all the way from Scottishland to join the party! If you want to find out more you can click the link on my sidebar or read about it in Bee's post here.

Of course, no post is complete without a photo of Bodhi the puppy is it? I know that's all you all come here for anyway! :)


Our tree, and a Christmas wishlist

I do love a bit of light based photography, particularly of the long exposure or bokeh variety so I'm afraid that now our tree has gone up you can probably expect a few more snaps like these! We visited Homebase on Saturday morning and came back with this rather lovely tree (Tom says it is as wide as it is tall, my Mum says she knows how it feels) which has now been adorned with lots of lights and Ikea decorations.  I should probably explain that we are currently in the process of redoing our fireplace, which used to be a hideous black marble effect electric fire and is now a hole in the wall (trust me, even that's better than what it was before).  We're working on it though so please excuse the mess!

You can see a few presents loitering expectantly under the tree already.  For me, most of the excitement of Christmas is the giving, and the receiving presents comes (a close) second.  Despite this I've made a little wishlist of things I'd love to receive come the 25th!

[1] Fine art print - $25.  I can't remember where I came across the photography of Cole Rise, but I knew as soon as I did that I wanted one of his fine art prints hanging on my wall.  Beautiful.
[2] Lord Victor Foxtrot tee - £9  I am something of a t-shirt collector, especially those with quirky prints or tattoo related designs.  I love this fox tee from Small Victory Clothing.
[3] One Line a Day - A Five Year Memory Book - £7.50  This is a five year journal that you write a line in a day, meaning you can look back at your memories annually for five years.  I think this would be a lovely thing to have and to keep forever.
[4] Gilly Hicks pajama pants - £32  I've been coveting these since I saw them on Lily's blog; they're a little pricey but look so comfy and well made I think they'd be worth the money.
[5] Topman Mickey Mouse sweater - £28   I can't help feeling this men's jumper would look super cute over a pair of leggings teamed with a hat and scarf.
[6] Typewriter ring - £10  I adore all of Sarah's jewellery at Temporary Secretary but I particularly love this typewriter ring, obviously an R for me!
[7] Desk rubber stamp - £7.75   I actually want everything from the Present and Correct website (greedy, moi?) but I love these rubber stamps that read 'from the desk of' with a space to write your name, particularly the typewriter stamp!

What's on your Christmas wishlist? Do leave a link if you've blogged one, I love seeing what other people are hoping for under the tree!


1st December and maltesers fudge



Happy December everyone! I can't believe it's Christmas month already, I opened the number 1 on my advent calendar very excitedly this morning, I will be even more in the Christmas spirit this weekend when we put the tree up and I can get some more presents wrapped.  I'm always disappointed when I work out I've done all my Christmas shopping and there's still weeks to go so I expect I'll be picking up little things right up until the big day.  The tradition for our family (only since last year) is that we open stockings in the morning and bigger presents after lunch so I make my parents' stockings so they have something to open too.  

[01] Our training department at work are raising money for Macmillan by raffling off Christmas hampers filled with homemade goodies like chutneys, jams and biscuits, so I volunteered to make a jar of fudge for each hamper.  I followed this recipe and made Maltesers fudge with a little help from my friend Nicole and I have to say it turned out so well and tastes absolutely amazing! I gave one jar to my friend at work who is organising the hampers and the rest you can see all labelled up [02] and ready to go!

[03] I was lucky enough to win not one but two giveaways over the last few weeks.  The first was from Gem at Fat Frocks who gave away one of the gift bags from the South Wales Blogger Meet Up that Gem and Chantelle hosted in October.  Opening up my gorgeous Fever tote bag (which I've already used loads!) it felt like Christmas as I pulled out a gorgeous Gap scarf, La Senza gift card and loads of gorgeous samples and vouchers I can't wait to use.  Really looking forward to thanking Gem in person when I see her at the Xmas Blogger Meetup in a couple of weeks!

[04] The second giveaway I won was these amazing goodies from Juliet at Ever So Juliet. I asbolutely love her blog so was thrilled to win her little giveaway of prezzies she brought back from America - can't wait to try out the Crayola polishes and nail art pen and will definitely be putting the cookie cutters to good use over Christmas. (The Goobers are already gone... yum!)

[05] Bought this cute star light from Ikea when I was picking up some jars for my fudge yesterday.  It feels really Christmassy and looks lovely hanging in the lounge.

[06] I've been working on assignments for my management course this week (please excuse my anchor pajamas!) but Bodhi does not like missing out on attention so tries to distract me by pulling cute faces whilst I'm tapping away at the keyboard (it usually works).