Saturday 28 December 2013

Christmas Snapshots

It's been such a warm and cosy Christmas here this year and I've loved every minute. Lots of family time, laughing and relaxing together.
Our boys have had some lovely gifts, plenty of books, a proper football, dinosaur games and an industrial amount of chocolate. I've been spoilt rotten too, Woody surprised me with tickets to see a favourite band at the end of January and I can't wait for that.
On Boxing Day morning we managed to pop out for our stroll along the canal and river bank while Grandma kept an eye on the Lego building marathons at home. It's becoming a little tradition of ours now to get a breath of fresh air and talk over the best bits of Christmas day with just the water and the birds for company.
But as ever these two pictures probably sum up the best bits. Meeting the big man himself and then gathering together to share and be merry. If you've been celebrating too I hope its been all you hoped for and that the love and warmth carries you through the year ahead. Xxx.

Friday 27 December 2013

Instagram Christmas

Thank you so much for all your lovely warm wishes. So sorry I've not had chance to get around to saying Merry Christmas to everyone to wish you all my good wishes too, there just hasn't been time.

I was back in the office today but have a couple of days at home now to snuggle in with the boys and have some more fun. Thanks again and hope you've had a smashing Christmas too. Xxx

Tuesday 24 December 2013

Frosty Hollow

Our valley is a bit of a frost pocket. The hills around are high and it can take most of the day for the sun to thaw the frost in some parts of the village.
A few days ago we woke up to an iron hard frost that gleamed and sparkled all day.

With double glazing and central heating it's not often that Jack Frost pays us a visit these days but this time he painted windows and puddles with his icy brush. Everywhere there were patterns of feathers and leaves.
Magical. Merry Christmas. xxx

Monday 23 December 2013

Home for Christmas - Getting There

I feel like Christmas has hurtled around the corner at breakneck speed this year. The decorations have gone up a bit randomly but it's always lovely to see some old favourites again. My grandparents had one of these little pipe cleaner trees. Mine cost 25p from a charity shop but it's priceless to me.
And there are a couple of new treats. New mugs for hot chocolate on chilly days.
A lovely big red star that's hanging in the conservatory with honeycomb decorations we've collected over the past few years.
And I managed to capture a bit of bokeh on my bridge camera (thanks Nina!). Not brill but not bad. You know, getting there!

Sunday 22 December 2013

Out & About #2 - Our Town

Over the past few years some brilliant people have worked their socks off to make our little market town shine. This Christmas Leek has put on her very best party face and doesn't she look lovely.

And there's such a special atmosphere too. Last Thursday evening I picked the boys up from school and we popped into town for them to do their shopping for the family. I think it's so important for them to really understand that Christmas is all about giving so every year they've saved a few pennies to buy small gifts like hankies, a box of chocolates, lip balm, hand cream or a bowl of hyacinths for their aunties, daddy and grandparents.
They love it. Christmas shopping night is one they really love and so do I listening to their chatter and giggles that usually get a bit out of hand and I have to calm down. Town was packed at 4 o'clock and as the light faded we enjoyed the window displays and watched the lights came up.

We're lucky to have some really great little shops that the owners work very hard to keep fresh and inviting. So I like to spend our pennies here because it seems to mean more and stays in our town. 
So well done Leek and thanks for a smashing Christmas time,

Saturday 21 December 2013

Out & About #1 - Oxford

Christmas gets kicked off for us every year with a special trip to Oxford for Woody's birthday.

We try and finish all our major shopping done by the time we go so that we can really enjoy the atmosphere. 
For a few hours we just wander and take it all in. I love Oxford for the peace and beauty you can find just around the corner from the bustling main street.
And this is my most favourite Christmas tree every year at the Bodleian Library. Simple and perfect.
Christmas is almost here now so a couple of quick posts to follow to capture it.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Lighting Up

For a while we'd been thinking of taking the boys down to the Smoke to see the Christmas Lights. But I had dreadful visions of epic crowds, spending a fortune and disappointment.

So we had a think of how we could do it and good old public transport came the rescue. We started off our day at the marvellous Museum of London. Free, lots of space and great collections including the newly represented Medieval Galleries. I studied medieval history at university and I was pretty transfixed by the haul of gold and silver coins and ancient swords found in the muddy reaches of the Thames.
And then onto the Tower, my old stamping ground. I worked here for my very first post-uni job. It was superb but I got lonely and returned North after a couple of years. It was great to be back with my boys but we're saving visiting for another time. Last Saturday was all about skating and we loved it!
And as the light fell while we whizzed around the rink, London put on her party face and
 the skies lit up all around.
Instead of traipsing through the crowds we jumped on the No. 15 bus, a proper red Routemaster that wound it's way up Eastcheap, past St Paul's, down Ludgate Hill, past Pudding Lane and the Monument to the Great Fire, onto Fleet Street and the Strand.

We changed easily at Charing Cross, hopping on a sleek new No. 6 to join the crawl up Regent Street, past Eros in his protective bubble and the throngs of shoppers, all the while with stunning lights strewn above us on the top deck. It was slow going along Oxford Street but that gave us plenty of time to take in the fantastic shop window displays where the crowds were half a dozen deep.
At Marble Arch we jumped off and caught the tube back to the station and sailed home. All included in our Travelcard. It was such an easy trip and we saw so much without the hassle or stress. Properly festive and unforgettable.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Chasing Autumn #4 - Exploring

It was my birthday last week, just one year off a milestone. Not looking forward to THAT very much! So we went on a distraction mission and went to visit a lovely little town we've meant to visit for a long time - Southwell.
It's a small, charming place of mellow red brick cottages, Queen Anne mansions and with lovely shops and cafes too. We walked around the green, taking in the wonderful setting and the scent of Autumn,

We bumped into Woody's old editor in Boots. Really nice to see him again, think he was a bit shocked to see us all the way over in north Nottinghamshire.

And the Minster. Well there's little I can say that the pictures don't. For a girl who loves early medieval history it was a bit of a pilgrimage for me. Just superb.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

Chasing Autumn #3 - Family Time

Every Autumn we gather our little family together and have a tramp through the woods, hopefully after a nice big lunch. Last weekend we had a fabulous feast, hunted down wellies and waterproofs and headed out.
It's still quite green, Autumn is so late this year and there's only been an one frost. Our boys know thepaths so well by now and they hurtled along through the trees whooping at the tops of their voices.
I love seeing my little nephews among the trees here discovering these woods at the same age our two did.
The light was magical, filling the woods with amber and gold.
Special times.