Friday, 27 November 2015

At The Beach

The third and final Christmas gathering of gifts for the week is the one I'm going to be giving to my sister T.
 Inspiration for this present hit back in September when I spotted a candle named Beach Party.
This is why T will be receiving a bundle of summer beach/nautical goodies in the depths of winter.
Take one extremely pretty beach towel

and add a stripy beach bag, an anchor patterned scarf, a pad of ice cream and beach hut decorated sticky notes and a can of 'On The Beach' cocktail.
The clotted cream toffees were chosen for the beach hut design on the packaging. Also shown is the candle which sparked it all.

There are also a pair of gold shell earrings and seagull necklace.

I have a friend whose birthday is in January and I'm always a little stumped as to what to buy her. Once I had started to come up with the bits and bobs for this idea I made sure I bought duplicates of some of them so I could use the beach theme for her too. One birthday present for 2016 also sorted. Go me!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Thank you for the kind comments on my previous Christmas gift idea post.

I've got another to share today.
I don't know about you but, in general, I find male friends and relatives slightly more difficult to buy for than the female ones.
Two of the men we buy for like the occasional tipple, good food and cooking.
I'm hoping they also like festive socks.

My theme for them is Eat, Drink and Be Merry.
There will be three gifts which will be labelled with these glittery gift tags I've been making today.
Taking into account their individual tastes the eat and drink components were relatively easy to sort.

And what could Be more Merry than these Ho!Ho!Ho! socks.
And after all, I ask you, what is Christmas without a new pair of socks?!

Monday, 23 November 2015

White Christmas Gift

Two things are certain.
1. Christmas is coming.
2. I like a theme when it comes to giving Christmas presents.
Last Christmas I compiled a gift for a friend of ours after seeing this picture on Pinterest.
The gift can be seen here.
Lots of 'white items' popped inside a vintage style tin.

I've gone for the same idea for two other friends this Christmas .
A couple of the gifts are the same - a Christmas spice candle, Galaxy white chocolate and a copy of Mystery In White- A Christmas Crime Story - but I've given each one things I know they'll like and use. 

For my friend T there is a bottle of shower gel and tube of body lotion, a pair of cute socks and a pad of sticky notes.

My friend G has a different shower gel and a floral scarf

and a bottle of Winter hand sanitiser. This gift is for the friend who had the very cherry Christmas gift last year. She was thrilled with that and so I hope she likes this one as much.

Instead of a vintage tin I'm going to pop the items, apart from the book, inside the white Christmas tree shaped bowl. Once wrapped I'll attach a gift tag along the lines of 'may all your Christmases be white'.

The second part of the gift will be a pack of these Christmas patterned straws with an individual bottle of red wine. As per last year when this present is unwrapped they will find a tag attached to the bottle reading 'and when the white runs out enjoy the red!'

Friday, 20 November 2015

Holyrood Part 5

Guess what.
I found some more mosaics on the Holyrood Estate.
Part 4 can be seen here and Part 3 can be seen here if you missed some of the others.
Three of the lastest finds are all wildlife to be found in the area.
 Daisies and daffodils, beans and blackberries and a huge sunflower are just a few things they have depicted.

The fourth features a family sat in an air raid shelter. The photos to the right of this work show parts of our bomb damaged City. I plan to do a post sometime in the future showing each photo and how that area looks now and hopefully I will be able to find some photos online of how it looked before the bombs fell.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Swaythling to Salisbury

We like the train to take the strain when it's time to go to Salisbury and visit G's family.
We can't travel directly from our local one so we usually drive down the road to Swaythling station. I like this Victorian station complete with it's little patch of garden at the front.

Last time we were there I noticed something new but didn't have my camera, I made sure I had it with me at the weekend though.
Swaythling was the site of the largest Remount Depot in World War I and this horse head and a plaque have been donated in remembrance of the 400,00 horses and mules which passed through the depot.

These horses attached to the perimeter fence are from an art project undertaken by a local secondary school.

Just to the left of the station is a plot of land which has been developed in recent years and named after a local artist - Eric Meadus Close. His drawing of the station is featured on this plaque and you can read more about him here if you wish, it's very informative. Apparently L.S Lowry was a fan of and I'm pleased to say our local art gallery owns some of his works.

Our reason for visiting Salisbury was to take G'S mum and her friend J out to lunch as it was her birthday this week. Very nice it was too and we spent a couple of cosy hours sat in the pub whilst the wind and rain lashed down outside. We had an hour or so to spare before the train and so made a quick dash to a couple of charity shops, passing this old house on the way.
G swears he'd never noticed it before. The plaque by the front door names it as 'The Old Forge.' 

G found a couple of Prog Rock CD's, S found a couple of books and I came home with this holly saucer. It was only 50p and I bought it with the intention of adding it to my sister's bundle of gifts but once home I decided I didn't actually want to part from it and so it's now sat on my mantelpiece.

p.s I may have been playing my Brian Setzer Christmas CD whilst typing this.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Button Day

I know there are plenty of bloggers out there who will want to celebrate today.
Who doesn't love sorting through a box full of buttons.
My button box is actually a tin and decorated with, well what else - buttons!

One of the most fab presents G has ever bought me is this multi coloured button necklace.
People always comment whenever I wear it.
I've attempted my own button jewellery too and made these three brooches.

I have a set of buttons which I bought last year and haven't used yet, I think these cute reindeer need to find a home on a cardi in time for the festive season

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Leaf Shaped Tree

T suggested the two of us went out together at the weekend. The plan was to go somewhere we could capture the colours of autumn.
We decided on Sunday and chose the park we had spent so many happy hours in when T and S were younger.
We didn't end up taking very many photos. Unfortunately the weather did co-operate with our plans. The air was heavy with drizzle and the light was dreadful.
Of the small selection I took this tree is by far my favourite and a pretty reminder of the time when my 15 year old son chose to spend some time with me.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Two Words

My route in town on Saturday took me past Debenhams.
I do like to see their window displays as the festive season creeps closer.
These huge gift tags were suspended from the ceiling and with the words Found It written boldly upon them they made me smile.
Two words which can bring such a sense of achievement and satisfaction when you know you've discovered just the most prefect present.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Halloween Half Term

We've had a half term week full of variety.
On Sunday we went out for lunch before G and T took the train to Norwich.
They stayed there until Tuesday so T got to spend time with his birth siblings.
S was kept busy on Monday when she had her friend C over.
They busied themselves and I hardly saw them apart from when they came into the kitchen to bake some cakes.

With G away I caught with on a couple of things I had recorded on BBC.
A few years ago I bought this book but it has just sat on the shelf being passed over for others because it's quite a thick one and the print is tiny!
When I saw the story had been made into a documentary and was to be presented by the author I knew this would be something I needed to watch.
A love story lived out in India during the 19th century and it was as fascinating as I thought it would be.

My second watch was The Scandalous Lady W. This was absolutely riveting from start to finish. The true story of Lady Worsley, her unhappy marriage and the court case which her husband instigated against her lover seeking £20,000 in compensation. The way women were regarded as their husband's property is shocking.

Tuesday morning we went to the cinema to see the Minions movie. 
All very good fun with some bits which made us laugh out loud because of their general silliness.
From the cinema we walked into town to purchase a new pair of school shoes which, thankfully, was a quick and easy process.
Tuesday evening I went to a WI meeting. I found details online of a group who meet at a pub in the town centre. October's meeting was all about keeping happy and healthy during the winter. Next month will be Christmas wreath making. There are  two other meetings which take place each month, one is a book group and another a craft group.

On Wednesday we had our annual trip,with my mum, to the country park for the Halloween trail.
I have a feeling this will be our last one. S was as keen to go as always but once we were there and she had the trail in her hand and she read the cues she said 'I know the answers to some of these already.' Plus as we walked round she recognised some of the clues hidden in the trees and said 'These were here last year!'
After the trail we go to the garden centre for hot chocolate and here we were joined by my two sisters. After a drink and a chat we had a good wander round the Christmas department, the final part of our yearly tradition.

Thursday and Friday I was at work and G was at home. 
T saw friends and S spent time on a homework project. The topic at school for the next half term is the Greeks and G has helped S produce a power point display on the story of Perseus. Before they broke up S's class had a trip to the Baring Room at the art gallery to see a series of works by Burne-Jones depicting the Story of Perseus.

Saturday was all about Halloween.
G carved the pumpkins and the children decorated the outside of the house with all manner of ghost and witch themed paraphernalia. T set up some music and we had the theme from Ghostbusters blaring out to greet our trick or treat callers, we had 84 during the evening, all chocolate bought for the occasion was given out and we had to ignore the last couple of people who knocked as we had not a thing left. 
G took S out and she came home with a bag brimming with sweet treats.
I saw this idea for a trifle in one of the free supermarket magazines and made one for us, minus the biscuits on top. 

To round off the week we come to today, S kept busy at home playing and adding the finishing touches to her homework, T went to the charity shop and I attended a talk at the Dolphin Hotel entitled 'Why Jane Austen preferred Southampton to Bath.' The Dolphin was the venue for this talk because as the plaque on the building quotes 'It is said that Jane Austen celebrated her 18th birthday in the ballroom on 16th December 1793 with her brother Frank.'
More on that another time.