First off, me and DH did our Christmas Shopping on the annual shopping trip to Birmingham though I only got 2 photos, one of him in Starbucks admiring the Christmas trees whilst sweltering with his coat on in front of the plate glass window....in this one he is smiling (I told him it was for the blog so he made the effort, you should have seen the the first photo - miserable sod LOL).
and a photo of the merry-go-round...
Sum total of Birmingham photos. Despite this we had a lovely day, managed to get most of our shopping list, and had a bratwurst for lunch - what more could I have asked for????
Anyway, the main reason for this post is to show off my fab Secret Santa from Rachel. Here goes lots of photos:
First off, I received some holly fabric, and some red and white felt.
A box of choccies, which stuck around just long enough for the camera - yummy!
A beautiful hand made card - I love robins, favourite bird, such beautiful song and so friendly.
A gold bag with some fabby Christmas ribbons - she must have known I was about to order some. These have ho ho ho written on the red one, and christmas trees on the green one. Some pom-pommy things in Christmas colours, and some buttons.
3 candy canes - again stuck around just long enough for the camera. And a beaded book mark.
Balls of Pure Cotton - so soft, so lovely!
My favourite candle - cinnamon stick, already burning.......surrounded by snowflakes.
Don't you love this bag??!! All handmade, and such beautiful fabric, and it even has a hand sewn and embroidered tag, and look at the inside...
even more lovely fabric. And the finishing is so good.....that sounds bad, what I mean is it is so professional, and as hard as I try I can never quite do it. This has just inspired me to try harder. I LOVE this bag. Thank you.
Also, 'cos there is more.....
Look at this notebook. I absolutely love it. It could almost be my favourite part, but it isn't, as I love everything else too. But I do love this, the paper is lovely, and the colours are just my choice. I spent the week previous to receiving this parcel searching for papers and nowhere did I see anything as good as this. It is Amy Butler meets Cath Kidston somewhere in the '50s - have I told you I love it...look at the back, and the fab stickers...and the simple way to cover brads, I would never have thought of that, but I guess I am new to this kind of thing, but completely inspired to have a go.
This is almost too good to use (you haven't seen my handwriting!!)
And....there is more!
Bracelet and earrings...in the exact same colours of an outfit I bought this summer but never wore cos the weather was crappy, and I had a T Shirt tan by the time I got the dress. I bought a strawberry red wrapover cardigan to wear with it, so this jewellery is perfect
Look at that as a colour match! Amazing - and I hadn't even blogged a photo of it before. I wish it was summer, I so want to wear this dress with my new jewellery.
The wrapping of the gifts was special too - so much thought had been put into everything.
Look at this string - red and white like candy cane.
And whilst I was photographing this, the girls looked on....
Audrey at the top, Amelie following, as always.
Rachel, thank you so much for my gifts. I am absolutely overwhelmed.
Happy Christmas to you and your family, and many thanks again for your fantastic generosity.
Like everyone else I have run out of time this weekend.
Work is super busy - busier than we expected, and we did expect busy, so this is mad!! But good ;-)
I promised to post piccies of the wondrous goodies that Rachel sent me.
I have taken photos, but I have just run out of time to post properly.
I know if I do it now I won't do it justice - so this is an apology, until tomorrow evening.
Today I received the most fantastic secret santa parcel from fizzpopbang. I will post photos on Saturday when I get the chance to take decent photos in daylight (if we get any!!). In the meantime I would like to send huge thanks for my lovely gifts, I cannot believe how lucky I have been and can only hope that Rachel is half as lucky as I have been with her secret santa.
and I am getting excited. The christmas DVDs are out and ready to go - first up will be Elf...can't wait!
I am finding it difficult to keep up with blogging, and I am only looking to post once a week - sad isn't it.
No photos either, and we saw a beautiful herd of deer today and even DH said "where is your camera?!?!"
What has happened this week? Not too much really:
- work has been super busy. We had our first late night which was busy. We gave out lots of chocolates, had the chance to talk to people, and listen to the children telling us that they had seen Father Christmas switch on the Christmas Lights (photos will follow - the lights are, once again, spectacular). It is good to see so many happy people getting excited about Christmas.
- my first day off this week was Friday and I am ashamed to say that I didn't get half as much done as I had planned. I was going to get most of the decorations put up (to save time later in the month), get the curtains up in the dining room, tidy the spare room, sort out the freezer etc etc etc. What did I get done? comparitively nothing...I cleaned the living room and got out 3 candles, inc the advent candle. Put up DDs advent calender, hung up my garland...hang on I might have a photo from last year
Yep, there it is. This year the metal Father Christmas is hanging on the living room door, and the oranges are waiting to be dried out and strung. And that is about all I did. In the evening we popped over to Touchwood to have a look round John Lewis, I love their Christmas Dept, and to spend some time with DD, we held her captive in the car, and released her into the shop centre where she took off quickly into TopShop, H&M and Miss Selfridges. We did get to spend about 20mins with her, which was lovely. The rest of the time she had her ipod plugged in - sigh!
- I was off today, and DH and I went into town and picked up the christmas toilet roll and kitchen towel - wouldn't be Christmas without the Christmas loo roll hee hee! We picked up a hamper for a friends b'day from this fab shop http://www.tasteofthecountry.co.uk/ We go to this shop every weekend, never come out without DH spending money on all sorts of yummy food, and he also gets a couple of bags of dark chocolate buttons that only he eats as no-one else in the house eats dark chocolate - maybe I should suggest loyalty cards. The food is local, very tasty and a lot of times very unusual. DD is convinced he only eats dark chocolate as no-one else will touch it - yuch!
So, not much to report, just a nice steady week leading up to Christmas.
Christmas Shopping in Birmingham this week, can't wait to go to the German Market again. And there will definitely be photos.
Can you believe it is only about 30 days to Christmas? I am kind of excited, slightly anxious, not at all Christmassy, and still think it should only be about May - what happened to this year? where has it gone??
I guess it has been a hectic time at work since the beginning of May and that is where my year has gone. I started the plans for the shop move on May 3rd, working about 60 to 70 hours a week getting everything laid out on paper, listing the quantities of stock, putting the items into sections and making sure that I didn't forget anything. We managed to get a wonderful respite during our week in Cornwall (when I win the lottery I am going to live in Cornwall and Paris), before the actual physical move happened. It was great, it all just about fitted into place. The team worked amazingly hard and we got it all done in such a short space of time (6 days!!), and since then we have been so busy, it has been fantastic. That is where the time has gone.
And because of this I can't believe it is November and I am not feeling Christmassy. I am trying hard. Today we went to a fab garden centre and looked at tons of Christmas decs, listened to Christmas Carols, smelt Christmas smells - I came home with bells, cinnamon candles and twinkling stars (all in red), but I still don't feel Christmassy. We saw stockings, tinsel, and Father Christmas. We saw elves, candy canes and excited children. We saw lots of red, lots of lights and lots of Christmas food, but nothing. We even started Christmas pressie shopping today.
I am living by the premis that if you act it, it becomes natural, so I am acting very excited. I am working hard at it. We are counting down the days to getting the DVDs out. The CDs are twitching in the cupboard. The tea towels are making their way down the stairs, ready to make a move into the kitchen. The advent candle is out......I could continue listing, but you get the picture.
We start late night Christmas trade this Thursday night too - the Christmas lights go on then as well, so maybe that will be the push to start the squeeing.
In other news: the dining room is 2/3rds done - I am not planning on doing the wall behind the bookcase until the new year. It isn't vital to Christmas and takes the pressure off with everything else happening - though if it gets done then it is all to the good, and means I get to use the red.
DD was having a mad moment after work today and wanted to model against the "snowfall" wall, complete with 3D glasses with the film ripped out, red eyes and her smelly old school blazer (she doesn't wear it anymore!!).
Proper photos of the room will follow when it is all done without photos of mad, red-eyed teenagers...
Other stuff?? American Wife has been finished. I so enjoyed this book. I am not sure quite what it was that captured me: but I am almost tempted to start re-reading it immediately. I raced through it as the I couldn't put it down, sitting in bed til 1am most nights this week telling myself one more paragraph, just one more paragraph.....now I know the storyline I can take it at a gentle pace. It has also inspired a few other reads which have been added to the reading list.
I cannot put this book down!
It is unlike me to read fiction, but I was drawn to the cover (shallow, I know, but it is an intriguing photo), and it was on buy 1 get one free in Waterstones, so it would have been rude not to.
OMG - what a book!! It is written over 4 quarters, so I spent the first night reading to the end of the chapter only to read quarter as it doesn't have chapters as such. I was nearly late for work this morning, as I got back into bed with a cup of tea for a "quick" read. And the painting has come to a standstill - I am off all day Tuesday so will catch up then, and it is difficult to paint white gloss at night.
Not a book I had heard of before, but I so glad I saw it - must dash, I am sure I can get another few pages in before dinner....
you have a day like today. We intended to go out and get the boring stuff out the way - haircuts, food shopping, paint brush purchasing and then come back and paint, but then we got side-tracked.....
We started off by visiting the tip shop to drop off the hamster cage, sadly vacated about a month ago. I had never been up to the shop before, it is a treasure trove! All that stuff that is no longer loved looking for new owners. There was so much stuff there, old furniture, tvs, videos and DVDs, bric a brac, and all the money goes to the local Hospice. And what did I find when I was there? A jug to match the teapot I inherited from my Gran, I was so excited. They also had tea cups, but no saucers, and larger jugs, but this little milk jug was enough. It made me feel very happy, and is now in the dining room waiting for a home (when the painting is finished).
We then went to get the "girls" some grit and drove through the Worcestershire countryside to http://www.domesticfowltrust.co.uk/, to see what they had. As we drove over the brow of the hill we couldn't see the view. The sky was black, and the hills had a huge rain storm on them, but the girls needed their grit so we continued.
From there we went to Chipping Campden which is a beautiful town in the Cotswolds http://www.chippingcampden.co.uk/, it is worth a click on the link to see the beauty of the place - by this time even DH was asking why I didn't have the camera but given the weather I am sure any photos taken today wouldn't have done the honey coloured stone justice. We went to our favourite tea room http://www.bantamtea-rooms.co.uk/ and managed to get a seat next to the fire. It was crackling away as we ate our cheese and ham toasties, drank hot chocolate and talked about how lucky we realise we are to live somewhere so lovely. We then got into a conversation about happiness and the importance of opening your eyes and enjoying what is around you - very deep, must have been the bad weather!?
When it finally stopped raining, we wandered round the village, popped into a small antiques fair where a stall holder was singing and whistling along to Nessum Dorma (quite odd!). Then we finally decided we had better get down to the job of food shopping for the week, and went to the supermarket, ran round it very quickly (I dislike supermarkets!!) and decided to go home.
BUT as we went to the car I spotted a sign advertising a small Christmas Fair being held in a local church, so we decided to pop over. The lady organising it had, until July 09, owned a fab shop in the local town so we thought we would go over and show our support, plus she has a great eye for products so it was great chance to pick up some Christmas Gifts.
We had a little trouble finding the church, but when we found it WOW!! It was a Catholic church off a main street in a very quaint village. Her shop was situated in the undercroft (the building dates from the mid 16th Century), and she showed us the rooms linked through. The building hasn't been used for years and is in desperate need of doing up. The farmhouse attached was lived in until recently by an old lady who had done no work on it at all - it fell to rack and ruin around her. It is a fantastic building, Grade 2 listed. We met Father Brown, and he was more than happy to show us his church. In the middle of this ruin was this most amazing church. I am so upset I didn't have my camera. He explained how the church was involved during the Reformation. All so interesting and such a surprise.
Incredible! This wonderful place hidden away and happened upon because we saw a poster outside a supermarket.
We had a fantastic day. The reason I have detailed it all is so I can come back to this in years to come and capture the feel of it.
2 to paint the dresser versus 1 not to....the photos just shouted that with the red wall it really doesn't work, and yes the items really don't stand out at the mo either....and the idea of a poly coat is clever, that could be good.
I DO really want to but DH isn't keen, there's a lot of family history to it, and he really doesn't like things "messed with". I don't like the colour, when we ordered it (eons ago) we ordered waxed, and when it was delivered it was stained (and like all things stained it has darkened over the years). It had been such a struggle to get to the stage of owning a dresser that we were just over joyed when it arrived, but now I do dislike it, but I am also concerned about my ability to turn it to shabby chic that is good as opposed to ending up with a piece of furniture I dislike even more - rock and a hard place!
So the plan is to paint the whole room snowflake, live with it over Christmas, hang the lipstick red curtains (life gets busy at work this time of year, so could do without the added pressure anyway), and see how I feel about it in January. I love, love, love the red, so would like to see it in the room, and it does look good with my huge Robbie photo. (Christmas pressie from DH a few years ago - I happened to walk past a shop and say "aw, Robbie", and guess what I was unwrapping a few months later!)
Photo by Mario Testino, as seen in my dining room.
Tomorrow the forecast is horrible, so it looks as though I could be painting some more, and perhaps get the chance to browse some blogs and talk to DH about painting the dresser.
These are the names of my paints, aren't they fabulous names? I'm afraid they haven't photographed that well; it was very dark today.
This red is VERY red, a real primary "shouty" red, and I am concerned that it is shouting against the orange of the pine - which I am sure wasn't that orange until I painted the wall red!!
In the picture above the colour above the picture rail is white, and the colour below is snowflake - this is a lovely colour, white with a hint of grey but not cold.
And the photo above shows the pine against the snowflake.
The original plan was to have the red wall as a feature wall, with the dresser against it, but having painted it, I am not happy with the clash of colours. The reason I thought this should be the feature wall is because my curtains are red and I wanted to put them against the snowflake, so now I have a few Plans Bs...
Plan B No 1: Go with it as it is......(this may make me twitch though...........a lot!! that red and the pine..hhmmm, really not sure)
Plan B No 2: Switch the walls, make the feature wall (the one with the dresser) snowflake, and the other walls red - but that could be a bit OTT.
Plan B No 3: Leave it as it is and paint the dresser cream/white or snowflake - DH really isn't too keen on this.
Plan B No 4: Any other suggestion....
I would really welcome any suggestions that anyone may have. Please let me know your thoughts, I really look forward to hearing from you.
having painted the wall a fab red, the dresser now looks blah.
Tomorrow in daylight and my day off, I will photo it against the red, and move it to the "snowflake", then all opinions will be very gratefully received, I can see that I will feel the need to paint it, which DH isn't too impressed with.
I will post photos tomorrow x
does painting a room take soooooo long...
I went to B and Q on a whim, got my paint, and went home and started.....
so far, 3 hours Saturday, 10 hours yesterday and 3.5 hours today, and still a lot more to do.
The walls and ceiling have taken 3 coats so far, that should be enough for the walls, but the ceiling is looking patchy.....
You will be able to recognise me if you see me in the street, my head is sitting back cricked onto my shoulders, and I still have another coat to go.
But the colours are fab and I can't wait to get my curtains up. This is all because I read a blog, ended up in Ikea and felt a little inspired.
I fancy getting a dolls house - don't ask me why, anyone who knows me will be completely surprised by this, as this is not usually my "thing", little fiddly things that require lots of patience - though I swear that before I get one I WILL finish the sweater that I am knitting (and this time it is for me). Maybe it is psychological (sp?), I thought it would be fun, something to have a bit of a play with. So I bid on one, lost it and wanted one a little bit more. I bid on another, got beaten in the last few seconds, literally, and wanted one even more!!! Then I find a lovely one, watch it nearly all day, make a bid only to be told I am the highest bidder BUT have not met the reserve...so I think about it, do I REALLY want it, how much am I prepared to pay (remembering to rein myself in and not go mad) etc etc and make another bid, the highest I am prepared to go to, and guess what, I AM THE HIGHEST BIDDER BUT HAVE NOT MET THE RESERVE.
If you want a certain price for an item, then put the minimum you want for it as the starting price - this is surely not a dificult concept. I am so bloody annoyed..............and breathe!!!
I have emailed the seller asking what the reserve was, you never know, I might actually hear back, but at the mo........nothing!!!
ETA: Have just had a message from the seller, the reserve was way above what I wanted to pay - bugger.........
In the meantime I will post some lovely photos from last night. We only had 3 lots of trick or treaters come to the house, but in total about 40 kids...it was great, so many fantastic costumes, and so many little people having a lovely time. At one point the street looked like a scene from Sabrina the Teenage Witch - have I mentioned that is my favourite programme. I was thinking that we weren't going to get any knocks on the door, and then they came in large numbers. I think it is because we live on the corner of the street, and that is where everyone seemed to be congregating.
DH decorated the house at the very last minute, and once again went a little OTT. Have a look:
DDs eyes really are red!!
Homemade cakes in red and blue with black butter icing - gotta love food colours!!
Then today, I have been very busy (when not watching auction sites for dolls houses). I have made some quince jelly - not sure why, but the local shop had quinces in and I was intrigued. Apparently you eat it with cheese. Whatever, I just love the colour.
Isn't that orange just a beautiful colour?? I think so.
And as I am working late for 4 nights next week, I got this weeks meals cooked, so they won't have kebab or takeaway or whatever might be easier - hah!!
Spag Bol, Beef and Ale Stew, Lasagne and Chicken One-Pot and they taste better than they have photographed, thank god, otherwise it would have been kebab and takeaways!!!
PS - If anyone hears of dolls house going for a reasonable price, let me know. Or failing that, tell me why I really don't want one........
Halloweeny Mugs! Love these - found them here. I just love them, bone china and very pretty.
Then, as it is Halloween, we popped along to my favourite place this time of year - Charlecote Plants and Flowers. It is a lovely, magical place to go at any time of the year, but Autumn is special. Just take a look at these photos....
And just to make it even more special, the sun came out today to make is even more magical.