Sunday 23 November 2008

Seasonal Pleasures

I've been very good this November. So far my plans for having a "less is more" Christmas are going quite well and early on I've manged to resist my traditional festive splurge on magazines.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not really into self-denial and Woody's eyes have rolled at the regular arrival of another glossy interiors publication, adorned with bedecked trees and sitting rooms, but honestly I've not bought nearly as many this year.
And this is my favourite thing to do with them; tear them up and reform them into my own seasonal version of the perfect magazine spread.
It takes an age but without the ads and the usual articles on festive traditions that appear every year, this way I look and look and look at these beautiful pages for the next 12 months so I really do get more than get my money's worth.
(Btw my awards for the very best this year go to Country Living - definitely back on form - and BBC Homes & Antiques - fabulous vintage-style Christmas tree, paperchains, the lot!)
We've been busy inside over the weekend.
The past few weekends have been full of fireworks, parties, colds, visitors, trips etc and we're all a bit worn out, so this Saturday we purposefully stayed at home with nothing more exciting than plenty of relaxing to do.
Yesterday was filled with games, sticking and glueing, making snowflakes and bit of light dusting (funny how I don't really mind housework when there's no rush before the visitors arrive).
Today was just as restful as we watched the snow turn to sleet and cosyed up indoors with a Sunday roast, a box of paints and Grandma for company. Perfect.

Finally I've found time to snap some of my lovely birthday presents too, these fabulous books (from which I'll probably never cook a thing but will devour them with my eyes) and my precious jug from Ludlow. They're sitting on my bargain cabinet I bought last year and have only just managed to haul in from the garage. Not completely sure what to fill it with but by Christmas I think there'll definitely be some fairy lights, vintage postcards and a few bits of china at least.

Hope you all had as lovely a weekend as I did and especially everyone involved in the Vintage & Handmade Fair - hope it went wonderfully well.x

Monday 10 November 2008


My husband is a true diamond. Just when we were at a low ebb, worn out with the daily grind, laid low with coughs and colds, he pulled the most wonderful and most needed surprise out of the bag for my birthday last week.
A few years ago when it was just us two in the first flush of romance, we spent a weekend in the beautiful and charming Marcher town of Ludlow. It was bliss; beautiful food, charming buildings, a dramatic castle and treasure trove shops to explore. Since that first romantic weekend we've returned a few times on day trips and its one of those very special places that stays in your heart.

Woody is a quiet romantic, not for him regular bunches of flowers, candle-lit dinners or declarations of love. Instead he surprises me every now and again with a really thoughtful gesture or a well considered plan, and trips away to special places are his forte.

For my 30th we went (with baby in tow), for a long weekend in Carcassone in the South of France and stayed in a little town house right beneath the city walls. Our honeymoon was inspired by an idea of his to visit the islands of Britain, so we spent an amazing (if pretty foggy) week on the Shetland Isles.

But you know what it's like with little ones, trips have been a luxury we can't really afford and we've never felt comfortable being away from our little chaps really. Until this weekend. My darling Woody had organised for the adored grandparents to come and stay (just for one night which felt ok), so we tootled down to Shropshire on a dreary November day that showed off the amazing colours of autumn so beautifully.

We stayed in this wonderful pub, where we'd had a delicious meal on our fist visit, and bless him he remembered. In our 24 hours away we spent a pretty good portion of it just sitting chatting, with coffee, newspapers, magazines (Country Living December - bliss!) and more coffee. This was what I enjoyed the very most, getting the chance to laugh and chatter with my smashing chap, my very best friend.
I got to indulge my magpie hunting urges too and visited this lovely place and blew my birthday money in one shot, on a beautiful blue vintage enamel jug and a rosy remnant of Colefax and Fowler fabric which may even have come from the section stocked by Louise Loves ,who's blog and website I love.

It was a short but very, very sweet trip and a birthday I shall remember and treasure for an awfully long time. What a treasure my Woody is. xxx
P.S. I just wanted to say thank you for all the gorgeous comments on my last post about my thrifty kitchen makeover. I feel very flattered and I'm just glad you can't see the close-up finish! It's still a work in progress but hopefully it'll be ready for Christmas.

For those who asked tile paint is pretty good, not as good as new tiles but they were definitely out of my budget so painting them was a good second best. The key is to apply thin layers and I found using a roller much easier than the brush I'd used last time. Make sure it's for gloss paint though or you get hairs and fibres sticking. Most of my tiles were white so repainting them ivory only took a couple of quick coats, but the navy border took a couple more - dries quickly though. Thanks so much!