Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve at Ours.

Christmas Eve at last. I admit to enjoying the season and this year having more time to spend with friends and family has been great. I've made good use of my National Trust membership in the last few weeks and seen many a period house decked out for the festivities. At home It's been quite calm and relaxed and I must say all in all it's been a lovely lead up to our own Christmas celebrations.

But I'll be glad to see the back of all the frenetic shopping which seems to have been going on for weeks in the high street, which I've largely succeeded in avoiding.

We don't go mad on present buying in this house but we do try and get a few special things for our kin and friends. Brucels the bear has at last received his Fair Isle jumper. A little bit previous I know but it is cold.

Meanwhile Pendragon seems happy enough to have taken delivery of a new box to jump in. She will be getting some culinary treats tomorrow as well.

The rest of us are content to wait until Christmas morning for our gifts.

And to you dear blogging chums and readers, I wish a very happy Christmas. I hope you are all with the people you want to be with, enjoying simple pleasures over the holiday period. I'm looking forward to an exciting and positive 2014 and I hope you are too.


PS If you want to see a film that will warm your cockles, nip over to one of my favourite blogs now.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

One Day

My Dad always used to say that one day I would have a menagerie. Not exactly what I'm dreaming of. But at our next home, with the right amount of space, I would love to have a wide range of creatures. Maybe including some goats. How could you ever be miserable?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

World War 2 Thrifty Cake - Small But Beautiful.

My besty Linda aka Prof is mad for everything WW2. When she is not swooning over Lancaster Bombers (you'd have to meet her to understand), she loves nothing more than creating all things miniature.

This is her take on the cake of Christmas past. A 1940s recipe for a festive cake in the shape of an Anderson shelter.

I think it is super cute, especially the cabbages growing atop the roof. No space being wasted during the war. Should you wish to create your own Anderson shelter cake, or maybe make something called Mock Turkey, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

I Could Have Done With Cary Grant Today

I love having a real Christmas tree and I always want it installed and looking wondrous for my birthday on December 10th. So the mister and I were out last weekend selecting a lovely specimen from a local grower.

So far so good. Out from the loft came the boxes of decs and lights and yes I had the good sense to test the twinkly lights before I put them on the tree. But alas after a few days they went kaput. Crikey, I needed some lights in a hurry, what with having a party at ours the next day. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted but picked up a box of red led lights which I thought might look like lovely little red berries on the tree. How wrong can you be? They were truly terrible. So I bit the bullet and went out the next day again in search of lights and managed to find some pretty replacements.

So for the third time the mister and I dressed the tree. Needless to say needles everywhere. But that was only the start of the demise of the tree. By yesterday our beautiful traditional tree was to all intents and purposes DEAD. This morning I was up at the crack of dawn and off to speak to my friendly Christmas tree purveyor. And God bless him he has given us a new tree. Which we have swiftly erected today and dressed again for the fourth and hopefully last time.

I'm relaxing into Christmas holiday mode again. That must be a cue for some crimble music. Look out for a magical Cary Grant in 'The Bishop's Wife', just a few minutes into this classic Christmas collection. Oh and don't miss Mrs. Clark Gable rubbing snow in her face a little later on.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Always Shop Around

The finished adorable blue door was in need of an equally adorable Christmas wreath. I thought this year like last year I would make my own. I already had a few nice little trinkets to wire onto a wreath and I bought some dried orange slices and some little golden bells.

Last week I had seen some basic wreaths at Morrisons. A good size, real foliage and with two or three pine cones already attached. Not a bad price at £7.00. I thought they might do. Or alternatively I could make it all from scratch.

But you know how I like to shop around for the best and most stylish deal. I popped along to our local garden centre with a friend on Monday. They had some lovely plain small wreaths in a bluey green pine. Exactly what I was looking for, but at a smidgen under £13.00 way too expensive. Just not good value.

Then on Thursday, BINGO. Lidl came up trumps with a gorgeous wreath fully adorned for under a fiver.

The only thing I have added are the orange slices. So I can save the bells I bought for another project.

The small ornaments are simply glued on and not wired on, I guess that's how they keep the cost to a minimum. But I hope you agree it looks just the Crimble ticket.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Bonjour Tout Le Monde

I have noticed of late that I'm getting a large number of French visitors to my blog. I don't have any French followers and nobody ever leaves a comment but I know you are there, so welcome and thanks for dropping by.

Today a couple of Christmassy pics to get us in the mood for the run up to the big day.

This little 1960s beauty was rescued from our local tip. I don't go there very often as the mister usually gets delegated any tip top jobs as it were, so it's lucky I did chance upon her. Soaked in rainwater in a flimsy sodden cardboard box. Nearly incarcerated in landfill. She now proudly adorns our tree. She has no underwear so I have to angle her netting to cover her modesty. I think she is super cute.

And this delightful vignette comes courtesy of my friend and fellow blogger, Fi.  Isn't it just the sweetest arrangement?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Thrifty Christmas

The tree went up today. I really enjoy putting the decorations on it, as most of them have special memories. I'm not the kinda gal that buys new decs every year to introduce a theme and ring the changes. I want the comfort of familiarity and tradition. The first ones that go on are the ones my boy made at nursery and primary school.

Then a couple my Mum gave me years ago. She died over 20 years ago now so her decorations are like a Christmas message from her every year.

I don't go over the top at Christmas with decs or anything else for that matter. We have a few extra treats and because we don't buy mountains of food and drink we don't stuff ourselves or waste anything. More is definitely less at this time of year.

I have been doing a bit of sprucing up on the house front but still haven't spent loads. Finally got round to painting the two front doors of the house. I bought the paint ages ago whilst Homebase had a special offer on. Here is a before, during and after.

It took over 5 hours to rub the doors down properly, but elbow grease is free and I'm really pleased with the finished result. The little cream 'trowel' door knocker on the small side door was purchased over 5 years ago, it's finally been put to good use.

We were also very lucky this weekend to bag a lovely pure wool rug from Freecycle. Initially I was beaten to it but the person couldn't be bothered to collect it, her loss I say. I left a very polite request with the owner and he got back in touch. It has a small bit of damage and smelt a bit musty, but the mister has given it a good shampoo and it looks brilliant. Now it has the whiff of Highclere about it. And it's very cosy underfoot.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Masquerade Ball at Chatsworth

This is a picture of me and the mister grinning from ear to ear like a pair of silly lemons because we had just entered the magical world of Narnia, not the actual one you understand, but the 'pretend' one that Chatsworth is hosting this year.

Now the thing is we went up to Derbyshire to visit Chatsworth in September, so strictly speaking we weren't due another trip up until next year. But the clever events peeps at Chatsworth organised an Enchanted Masquerade Ball. Well obviously we had to go. Well obvious to me anyway. The mister took a little convincing as it takes about 4 hours to get there. But it was so worth it.

It was truly a magical experience and I don't bandy the magical word about lightly.

The ball was for one night only but the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe experience is on until December 23rd. Do go if you can - it's gorgeous.