Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hello Christmas, goodbye 2012 ...

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Clement Clarke Moore - 1779 - 1863

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So, Santa has weaved his way across the land spreading yule tide magic. Christmas day has come and gone and another year of Christmas day memories have been made.

It's a good job Father Christmas is a sensible, wise chap and wears large boots whilst doing his rounds Christmas Eve otherwise his toes would have been very wet this year.
This is the iconic Christmas image that warms hearts and evokes that Christmas feeling ... 
and here is reality this Christmas Eve ...
 Fields have become waterlogged.
 Boundaries showing where river banks end and land begins are
 And crisp, winter walks have been replaced with squelchy, mud drenched affairs.
 Dreams of a snow covered Christmas winter wonderland have sadly remained dreams. 
This years wonderland is a very brown and very wet one!
The Met Office have officially recorded Summer 2012 in England as the wettest in 100 years and it looks like 2012 is set to be the wettest year since records began.
Dreams of looking out of the window Christmas day to see a crisp white snowman glistening in the garden have been dashed.
Below is a more realistic image of what would be staring back!
Bring on 2013 is what I say!!!
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Christmas time for me holds the promise of two exciting days, Christmas day itself and the first day of the sales ~ whoop whoop.
Oh the sales, how I dream about this joyous day *dreamy happy sigh*
 During the weeks leading up to sale day I plan, make mental lists over and over, day dream of what I hope to buy and the night before make a 'wish list' of my dream purchases.
(I know I take this irrelevant day way too seriously).
These dream buys are not the norm, ie luxury coats, shoes, handbags, jewelry, etc ~ no siree it's simply just pretty glittery bits / stuff / things.
I'm happy to say this year my heart has been filled with glee as I managed to find the most pretty, glittery, shiny things I could ever have hoped to buy ...
Beautiful glass ornaments that shine and twinkle,
Shiny diamante baubles that remind me of the prettiest disco balls,
Glitter, glitter, glitter ~ oh how I love thee
Stationary ready for a handwritten letter.
The prettiest birds of paradise notes.
Ahhhh, my glorious tree! 
How I wish this could be our yearly tree but sadly I don't think I'll be allowed to get away with that.
A black tree that I have adorned with the most glitzy
multicoloured tinsel fulfils all my post Christmas needs ~ I love, love, love it. X
Cute stickers ... now what is not to love about these
sweet lil creatures.
 They now live all over our place.  On my lap top, the lids of my make up, mirrors, note pads, and cheeky hiding places like the inside of the tea bag tin. They crop up everywhere brightening up
our day and raising a smile.
Neon pink honeycomb paper balls, no home should be without them!!
And these are a few of my favourite Christmas money purchases :D
~ ~ ~
My fav photo of the week is of our lil Bessie Bear Puppy Dog and her bestest friend, my father-in-laws puppy dog Emmy, both tussling over tinsel.
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Sadly, this weekend Lisa and I emptied our unit of lovely things and ended our lease. It has been a great 6 months in which I have learnt a great deal and have a lot of fun in the process. I think it's the wrong environment for us to sell in and in the new year we will explore a different avenue. With my final months earnings I treated myself to this bowl ...
It has been for sale in the unit next to ours from day one and it was love at first sight. It has been glued over and over again, cracks have been repaired and chips have been patched up but it all adds to the charm. Lisa and I would pass it during every visit and it became aptly named 'Louises bowl'. On our final day of trading the last thing I did before we settled our accounts was buy 'my' bowl. This pretty thing will remind me that Lisa and I had a shot at our dream and have come away with no regrets just more determined than ever.
~ ~ ~
I would like to congratulate my lovely Cousin Katie on her engagement to (the also lovely) Louis. They make such a lovely couple and their happy news is a perfect way to end 2012.
X Congratulations X
~ ~ ~
And on that happy note I would like to wish you all an extra special 2013.
Thank you for reading my ramblings and may the new year bring you happiness, health, fun and ever lasting happy memories.

Until next Sunday, cheers and bye y'all

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Third week of Decembrrrr ...

This week welcomed Winter Solstice on the 21st December. It's the shortest day of the year and in days gone by much merry-making took place with a midwinter celebration to welcome the return of spring.  Traditionally bonfires were lit to encourage the return of the sun and celebrations took on a Springtime theme. I like this idea. I may even hold my very own merry-making midwinter celebration next year ... I'm all up for a bit of making merry!!

~ ~ ~
This week also welcomed my Mums birthday ~ whoop whoop.
I have been lucky enough to buy her a birthday present that she'll be over the moon with, a ring set with three Yellow Ceylon Sapphires and four diamonds ~ a very lucky auction purchase :)

Happy Birthday Mum X

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I'm keen to find a new crafty way to recycle this years Christmas cards. There's the good 'ol making gift tags/cards or cutting the fronts off to use as scrap/note paper but I was hoping to find a new, fresh idea for this years crop. So far I have come up with stencilling letters on the front, cutting them out and using them as personalised gift tags next year. Tracing around a jam jar lid, cutting out pretty scenes and gluing on to jar lids then filling the jars with sweets, toy soldiers, etc and using these as stocking fillers. That's it, I'm all outta ideas so if any of you clever folks have any please, please share them by commenting below. Thank you x 
~ ~ ~

It's really starting to feel that Christmas is just around the corner. This week has been time for the Sloes we picked, prepared and been happily fermenting in Gin for months to be decanted into bottles ready to give as Christmas presents.
Just the colour alone, deep deep burgundy, evokes a warming Christmas feel.  

Hopefully these will be received with joy and go down a treat.
~ ~ ~

A quick crafty tip ...

The above decanter has been tucked away in our cupboard taking up valuable space for a while now, the reason being it isn't air tight.  I love it but sadly any liquid we have wanted to keep in here would not benefit from being exposed to air. I've been loathed to take it to our local charity shop in order to make way for something more practical so it has ended up living at the back of our cupboard redundant. I decided the only way to be able to use it was to make it air tight and a cork was the logical solution as the hole is small and not a standard size. Cork is notoriously hard to cut to shape due to flaking and splitting.

By soaking it in hot water for a minimum of ten minutes (or exposing it to steam for the same amount of time) makes it much more pliable and easier to cut to any shape.

For the sake of boiling water and a cork our decanter is now air tight, full of olive oil and is used every day ~ true make do and mend stylie.

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This weeks bargain buy putting a smile on my face is this beautiful cheese knife.

Over the last few months I have been looking out for a nice cheese knife, especially with a view to Christmas coming. We have always used 'any 'ol knife' but I like the idea of being grown up and placing a 'proper' cheese knife on our cheese board. I have looked in our local kitchen shops and have been surprised how much a reasonably good one costs. Anything that's a decent size and stylish costs from £20.00 upwards and anything £15.00 and below tends to be very small and so blunt that cutting through butter would be a challenge let alone cheese.

Once again vintage wins the day and has come up trumps (pharp). Whilst dropping off our latest offering to our local charity shop I spotted this beautiful butter knife in their locked cabinet.
 It was tagged up as silver plate with a mother of pearl handle ~ all of this for just £3.50.
I know I keep championing vintage but I'm always amazed at the quality, craftsmanship and style all on offer for a song. Where else could you buy such quality and craftsmanship for less than a fiver? Not only have I found and bought my sought after item but it is prettier than I could have hoped for and my money has gone direct to charity. Happy cheesy days :D

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Each year I take on the mahousive task of making our Christmas cards which usually consist of a favourite wintry photo stuck to a blank card with a few embellishments (a mount, etc).
Previous years cards have included ...
 This year is no exception. I feel that, with all that our beloved Bertie boy has been through this year his long beautiful face deserves to adorn our cards. 
Here is our family Christmas card this year ...
With the words to follow on the inside ...
Each year approximately 9,000 greyhounds retire from racing so thank goodness for the lovely people at The Retired Greyhound Trust (RGT), a national charity founded in 1976 who are dedicated to finding loving homes for greyhounds when their racing days are over.  They work tirelessly to find over 4,000 homes for greyhounds a year and the charity strives for the day when no ex-racing greyhound is without a good home.
Please help them to make a Greyhounds Christmas a merry one by simply paying a minimum one off fee of £2.00 to buy a dog a treat or by offering any type of donation that you can spare at
Please spare a thought for these lovely dogs waiting for their forever home.
Thank you.

I find it funny seeing my boys face on work colleagues desks, my husbands customers mantelpieces and friends and families homes. My one hope was that at least one person would donate £2.00 to give a retired Greyhound treats for a week ~ my wish has come true. Jim in the Isle of Sky, a 9 year old boy who has been on the rehoming list for over a year was the first recipient and I am over the moon to say that several more Greyhounds from all over the UK will have an extra happy Christmas week full of treats which will help them along the way while they wait for their forever home.
Thank you
And on that note I would like to wish you and yours a really extra special Christmas full of fun, happiness, laughter and a glut of food, sweeties and Crimbo booze.
With festive love and until next Sunday, enjoy y'all X


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Second week of Decembrrrrr ...

This weeks had a welcome repetitive theme running through it:
Christmas trees.
Ours went up. Friends and family have adorned there's and twinkly lights reflecting off pretty decorations are in full swing through the land.
 If only this was smell'a'vision'.
The gorgeous aroma when walking into this covered area full of freshly cut Christmas trees was immense, there are only two words to describe it, those being
'Ahhhhh Christmas'
 ~ ~ ~
Please, please, please (if your not already doing so) bear in mind when receiving Christmas Cards in the post that the stamps are a valuable commodity to many charities. When you receive post, please don’t throw away the stamps – recycle them and help one of the many charities and organisations who collect them.
The 'Stamp out waste' website
here has lists of some of the main stamp collecting schemes in the UK from Hearing Dogs for the Deaf to Oxfam.
Please note though, before getting carried away most charities and organisations request that you leave approximately 1cm of paper around each stamp and separate UK from foreign/overseas stamps.
I know this time of year is off the scale busy without faffing around with used stamps but just imagine how much money could be raised for good causes if we all spared the time x
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 My clever husband baked the most delish cake this week. We never quite manage to stick to tradition and we inadvertently go our own way, the below photo shows 'proof is in the pudding' (pun'tastic) of this!! Christmas cake was not on our menu this December, it was Beetroot and white chocolate all the way. This is my fav cake of all time and my husbands version was up there with the best (Liz's to be precise). This photo doesn't do it justice (like, not at all) but believe me, it was perfecto ~ nom.
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Confession time. I am soooo miserable when it comes to festooning our home with a Christmas tree. I'm happy to deck the halls with bells of holly but a Christmas tree, nerh ~ it's too much hassle to put up only to take back down again a couple of weeks later. I know, I know ~ please don't hate me. This lil foible of mine comes as a surprise to my friends as I spend all year making things look pretty but when it comes to the time of year when the world goes bonkers making things look pretty I'm not the least bit interested.
Don't get me wrong, I love nothing more than admiring everyone else's twinkly evergreens and I go all gooey eyed over pretty decorations but ~ my own tree? Nerh, not interested one iota.
I have managed to avoid having a tree on the odd occasional year and I've been secretly hoping to avoid all tree like things this year too. That was until I mentioned this to my friend Suzanne. We have been friends for over twenty years and she knows me very well. She told me it is just NOT an option for my poor family to go without a tree during this festive season and she would come over and put up and decorate our tree.
This was music to my ears.
O.M.G... The excitement, firstly because Suzanne is one of the best Christmas Tree decorators I have ever met and secondly she was happy to work her magic in our home.
In preparation of her arrival I foraged around trying to russell up a decent amount of Christmas decorations for her to work said magic. Poor Suzanne had her work cut out, what I managed to find was nothing short of a random mish-mash.. Colour scheme? Pardon? What colour scheme?  
Our sad forlorn tree, neglected for years hoping for a chance to finally shine.
Ta Dah!
One stunningly beautiful tree that makes us all full of festive happiness.
This is one of the bestest festive presents, what a treat. It's a gift that keeps giving as every single day all four of us look at our pretty, twinkling tree looking all majestic, gorgeous and perfect.
For the first time in a very long time we have a really pretty tree put together with care and love ~ yippee.
Thank you soooooo much Suzanne XX

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  The continuous Christmas mission of a Bessy Bear puppy dog:
"If I just tuck myself under here, avoid all eye contact, look cute and keep really still they'll never notice me"
"Right, I'll just slowing remove this decoration without attracting any attention"
"Bess, are you steeling the Christmas decorations again?"
"Who me? Um, no" 
... Damn I've been rumbled ~ again. 
~ ~ ~
My friend Wendy and I spent a really lovely day at our favourite auctioneers last weekend.
 It just seemed to be one of those un-expected perfect days.
The lots for sale were diverse in every way from regal gilded console tables to first class vintage port and Champagne. Some lots had come from a town house clearance in Bath. These were my favourites. I poured over crystal chandeliers, silver wear, cut crystal decanters, hand painted pictures mounted in the most luxurious guilt frames, Persian rugs and fine quality furniture. Amongst an array of purchases I was lucky enough to make were these candlesticks below. I think these have to be my all time favourite purchase from the auction to date. They are brass and solid silver, to me they are so classic.
It's the prefect time to bring them home with it being winter and long, cold, dark evenings but also Christmas. They currently take pride of place on our mantelpiece but I can't wait to lay a festive table with them as a glowing centrepiece.
They may only be candlesticks but they make me oh so very happy every time I look at them :)
~ ~ ~
Jack Frost
By C.E. Pike

Look out! Look out!
Jack Frost is about!|
He's after our fingers and toes;
And all through the night,
The happy little sprite
Is working where nobody knows.
He'll climb each tree,
So nimble is he,
His silvery powder he'll shake.
To windows he'll creep
And while we're asleep
Such wonderful pictures he'll make.
Across the grass
He'll merrily pass,
And change all its greenness to white.
Then home he will go
And laugh ho, ho ho!
What fun I have had in the night.
The first hard frost of the year turned the land into a magical place.
Harsh brown trees took on a magical winter wonderland look with a coating of sparkly frosting.
What was once easily over looked is suddenly illuminated and every detail is accentuated.
A journey to even the most mundane of places seams to take me through what can best be described as the set from a Tim Burton film.
Truly magical 
~ ~ ~
 Below is my fav photo taken this week ...
  A pointless but fun experiment with the camera.
~ ~ ~
The finishing touches have now been sprinkled on our handmade gift tags (how to make the tags can be found here)and they are ready to adorn Christmas gifts. 
Ahhhh glorious glitter ... where would Christmas be without it? x

 ~ ~ ~
 Until next Sunday, bye y'all X