Friday, 2 December 2016
Thursday, 1 December 2016
My sisters and I met up yesterday so we could exchange gifts for our advent swap.
We have all year to accumulate 18 little items to which we add another 6 food/drink related items so there are 24 in total, one to unwrap each day.
This year I bought for my sister C and above are just 3 of the ones she will be opening, a Father Christmas shaped car air freshener, a mini ice scraper on a key ring and a cute cottage key cover. The first cost 99p and the other two were 50p each so it doesn't have to cost a fortune to do.
Middle sister T is buying mine and my first present this morning was an advent candle which is burning brightly as a I type.
Thinking of 18 different things can seem a little daunting at first but once you get going and keep an eye out whilst shopping it's really quite easy.
My old boss is doing a swap with a close friend of hers for the first time this year. Her mum passed away just before Christmas a couple of years ago which, quite understandably, affected the way she felt about the festivities, but she said thinking of gifts to buy and then collecting them over the course of the year has really ignited that little festive spark for her again which I think is a very special thing indeed.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
As the month draws to an end I need to write up the rest of what we've been up to in November and then my aim is to try and be a bit more on top of things in December.
We'll wait and see if that happens.
My sister T has her birthday on 25th November. I don't find her as easy to buy for as my other sister but whilst out shopping with her a couple of weeks ago in M&S T showed me a mug she was coveting. It's a delicate shade of pale blue, is the perfect shape for cupping hands around and has the cutest bunny ever in raised decoration on the front. I understood instantly why she loved it so much.
Thankfully she didn't buy it and so a couple of days later I did.
I then teamed it with a woodland animal canvas shopping bag from Store 21 and a notebook from The Works. She was thrilled with it all.
You may remember back in the summer we took mum out for her 70th birthday and as an extra little Christmas gift we thought we would print off some of the photos from our day and pop them into a keepsake album.
When the three of us got together to choose which ones would make the cut (and so veto any that were too unflattering!) our youngest sister C presented each of us with a bracelet.
Being the eldest mine says Big Sis.
T is next so hers said Middle Sis.
And yes you've probably guessed it, C's says Little Sis.
You maybe able to tell from the shape that all slot together around a heart.
It was a really lovely gift to receive out of the blue.
We've had 2 more birhtdays this month, G's mum and sister. A family lunch out was had and tentative plans made for a gathering at Christmas. This year will be a little different as G has to work on Boxing day. My shopping is nearly done and the wrapping has been started. I enjoy all the elements of festive hustle and bustle involved in getting ready for Christmas, but there can be a fine line between that good type and the starting to feel stressed type. So one of the things I've done to help towards not feeling too over whelmed is devising a wrapping schedule. With a bit of luck I'll be sat on Christmas Eve with a bottle of Baileys and not the scissors and sellotape.
Talking of devising new schedules and making time for things, I have been trying to stay away from the internet and my phone as much as possible over weekends.
I have also tried to limit my online time during the week too and one of the things I have started to do is divide up across 5 days all the blogs I follow so I visit everyone once a week. I am finding this much better as I find I am focusing more on what I want to read and do online rather than just flitting around and before I know it an hour has passed and nothing much has been accomplished. I'll see how it goes but as there are other things I want to do and try to make I need to get the balance right.
I'm working myself up to cleaning the dresser in the dining room ready for it's festive makeover. One new addition may be my new toadstool candle holder, 50p from the charity shop I popped into at the weekend when dropping off some items. One of these days I'll develop the knack of just walking out and not being distracted by pretty things on my way to the door.
G and I had a fab night out at the weekend. We went to see Mozart's Requiem performed by the Southampton Philharmonic Choir and the New London Sinfonia. This was a new experience for me. I much more enjoyed the Requiem over the other piece they performed first called I Sing, And Ever Shall, but over all I preferred our night of polkas and waltzes in January 2014.
After the performance we headed out into the cold, took a silly selfie by the Christmas tree and then made a bee line for stall in the market selling cinnamon sugar churros.
This week when changing our bed I put on a new duvet set. It has Christmas trees on one side and snowflakes on the other and is the softest cosiest set we have ever owed. G and I keep talking about how nest like it has made our bed feel. It's made getting up in the mornings just a little bit more difficult.
Melvin seems to like it too.
Sunday, 13 November 2016
Why is it that when one room is being decorated it affects the whole house?
Yesterday was spent putting S's room back together.
In order for that to happen new furniture was needed which was why last Friday G and S met me from work and we went for a spot of late night shopping in IKEA.
A new bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers and shelving unit were purchased and delivered the following day. I did make a couple of other purchases which you could argue weren't strictly necessary but let me tell you that once home again and sat with a cuppa, a couple of those cinnamon rolls certainly went down well.
Also coming home with us was one of their gingerbread house kits, the construction of which has become a favourite festive activity for S.
So this week has pretty much been taken up with S's room in one way or another. The sorting of the contents has resulted in umpteen bags of clothes, books and toys being donated to the charity shop. I've made three trips in all. There was painting to do and of course furniture assembly to complete and then everything had to be put into it's new home after which there was the chaos in the other rooms where items had been stored to deal. Fun, fun, fun!
The room isn't 100% finished, new curtains and bedding need to be chosen and S would like a full length mirror on one of the walls, plus there are hooks to be hung, but it's looking good.
It's difficult to get a good photo but you can get a good idea of the new wall colour from this photo. We spotted the lampshade at the car boot last weekend. S has a real thing for owls and the colour match for her room was perfect and so I was more than happy to part with the £2 asking price.
Down here in the south the weather has been remarkably mild and so I've been lucky enough to still be able to eat my lunch in the park each working day. It's been such a treat sitting in the sun admiring the golden colours of autumn all around me and then kicking up the carpet of leaves as I walk back to work again.
Another small thing which has made me happy this week is cracking open my first bottle of winter spice washing up liquid. I wrote about my love for this last year and I know there are plenty of others out there who share the winter spice love.
One evening when we couldn't face anything to do with decorating we decided to watch a movie instead and plumped for The Trouble With Harry which I had bought a while ago on the recommendation it would be a good one to watch in autumn because it's set in the autumn of a beautiful sun filled Vermont countryside. It's an off beat comedy, not what you would normally expect from Alfred Hitchcock, but it was very funny and just what we needed.
My Mucha jigsaw has been completed. She was tricky to do but she was well worth it as I think she's beautiful. I'll break her up in a day or so and then she'll be donated to the charity shop for someone else to enjoy and I'll start another.
Thursday, 3 November 2016
As I mentioned in my previous post we weren't going to be having our annual trip to the country park for the Halloween trail but we did keep with the second part of that day's activity. On SaturdayS and I picked up my mum and then took ourselves off to Haskins for a hot chocolate and a wander around the Christmas department.
On entering the store you were greeted with a winter white wildlife scene
and then once into the store the main attraction was this huge sleigh and enormous stuffed toy reindeer.
For all the festive glitter and sparkle I can honestly say that I could count the number of decorations on one hand which I would have been happy to buy and hang on my tree.
I remember they had a very poor selection last year too.
Sunday morning we needed to pop into town as S will now be playing hockey during her PE lessons and so needed a gum shield and shin pads. It was such a lovely mild day again and as we still haven't managed a proper autumn walk we took a wander through the parks before we did our shopping.
A proper crunchy, scrunchy walk through the fallen autumn leaves.
We made an interesting and colourful new discovery in one of the parks. Apparently these mosaics were laid last year, a collaboration between local residents and a local artist to depict the wide range of international heritages of Southampton's inhabitants.
Of course Monday was all about Halloween. G worked his pumpkin carving magic and I'm pleased to say that the pumpkin being sick earned lots of 'yuck' and 'ergh' comments. I had amassed 86 treats for callers, which S gave out this year as she didn't want to go out herself, but we still ran out. We had to ignore the last 2 knocks on our door as the cupboard was bare.
In between trick or treaters we had our own bit of fun posing with these silly photo props.
When I arrived home from work on Tuesday G said there were a couple of treats for me in the kitchen. One was a Portuguese custard tart and the other was this huge leaf. I popped it on the cushion so hopefully you can get an idea of it's size. He had seen it on his way to the train station and knew I would love it so he bought it home to me. Now that's true love.
Friday, 28 October 2016
These weekly news posts seem to be the norm for me just now.
This one will start with last Saturday.
An exhibition I wanted to see, Love Thy Denim, was due to end it's run at the Winchester Discovery Centre. G didn't want to go and so I took myself off on a solo jaunt.
I spent a very happy hour engrossed in reading all about the social history of this most versatile of fabrics and admiring some of the clothing on display.
The photos here show a Vivienne Westwood denim shirt and the other item is an original 1880's milk maids shirt. I'd be more than happy to wear it now.
Once I had finished there I nipped to CK for a mooch and then onto a couple of charity shops before ending in M&S where I bought myself some lunch. I can heartily recommend this smoothie it was delicious.
The local car boot is now starting a little later at 10am on a Sunday morning, but we were a little late getting started and didn't arrive until gone 11am so we weren't there long.
I bought 2 new dresses for S for a pound each, she chose them.
and another pound was spent on this straw shopper for me.
As you can see it's not only me who likes it.
Couldn't resist this cute deer snowglobe countdown to Christmas chalkboard, it was only 50p. My other sister T has her birthday on Nov 25th, I will start my countdown to Christmas on it then.
Pumpkins have been purchased and they are sat, on the new autumn coloured polka dot tablecloth, waiting to be carved ready for Halloween.
For the first time in many years this autumn half term hasn't seen us go to the local country park to do their Halloween trail, which is why although it's been half term but not felt like half term.
Saying that S has had a marvelous week. She has been out with her friends most of the time, the weather has been glorious and mild which has helped. Tuesday S was with my mum as G and I were working and Wednesday I took her and her friend A into town for a spot of shopping and some lunch.
I took Thursday off but as once again S spent the best part of the day out and about I had lots of time to myself. I took full advantage of this and managed to crack on and lots of odd jobs done which felt so satisfying.
So here we are now at Friday evening with another weekend stretching ahead of us.
I hope it's a good one for us all.
Monday, 24 October 2016
Today is my sister C's birthday and here are her presents.
As per usual all, bar one, came from a car boot, a charity shop or a jumble.
The pink shoes were something C chose herself a few weeks back. Looking at the bottom of them they look like they may have only been worn once, possibly twice. They were £1.00.
The grey socks are the one brand new item and they also cost £1.00.
The shoe coaster was 30p.
I would be quite happy to keep any of this next little lot. The sundae dishes are originally from Laura Ashley and were £1.58. The cereal bowl was 50p and the heart saucer was 49p.
The fabric the bowl is sat on is a fleece PJ top patterned with scotty dogs and polka dots, another item my sister chose and this was 20p.
Cath Kidston dusters still in their packaging for £1.00.
A pretty wire and beaded heart which can be used to display photos or cards.
This was also £1.00.
This is the item the above heart is laying on. A furry black gilet for yet another £1.00
This navy cardi is a long skinny one and I like it's delicate pattern. This was a bargain at 20p.
Not a great photo as it doesn't show the subtle colours of this long snuggly scarf and makes it look a bit dirty! This was bought back in January and was 50p.
Nearly at the end now and here we have a beige and black floaty fabric top which cost 20p.
I think is my favourite piece of clothing. The bird and heart motif is just so sweet. This was where the final pound was spent.
As always our budget is £10 and these items tot up to £9.97.