Sunday, 18 November 2012

Still Loving Red

My love affair with red refuses to abate.  I wrote 18 months ago about how much I was loving the colour red here and since then my house and wardrobe have filled with the colour.  Remember that bag?  (OMG I was so much thinner 18 months ago... Eep! I appear to have been loving the chocolate bars since then, too.)

Now we are in the frenzied run up to Christmas, there is a lot of red and white in the shops and this makes me very happy indeed!

Checks, stripes and spots.  Oooh.
I've bought a few things at Sainsbury's this week.  The decorations have been on sale at a third off so I've been able to buy twice as much.  (Maths has never been my strong point.)  Little lanterns and Christmas Spice candles have been sneaked into the shopping trolley and hidden behind loaves of bread or cartons of milk.

Yesterday, Andrew and I nipped out for a bit of Christmas shopping.  I was in my element - Ikea has loads of gorgeous decorations, lights and wrapping paraphernalia.  It was also surprisingly quiet there.  Bonus.  There was a set of mini gift bags complete with number stickers to make a gorgeous tree-hanging advent calendar.  I'd rather like Andrew to buy them and fill each bag with small Tiffany sparkles but I know that's expecting too much.  Ha!

I did buy a truck-load of stuff myself though.  This is my dining table as we speak:

Andrew thinks it looks a mess and is practically begging me to tidy it away now.  To me, it looks beautiful!  I want to keep it all there as long as possible.  I'd cleared a small space on the table and was having a coffee in my [red and white, natch] Starbucks mug post dog walk when I felt the urge to photograph it all.  There are gift bags, polka dot bells, candles, lanterns, hanging decorations, napkins (just seen in the far left-hand corner) cupcake wrappers.  These are fabric gingham napkins from John Lewis, but I also bought a few packs of red and white striped paper napkins from Ikea which I like very much, too.

The two toadstool hanging decorations are from one of my favourite online shops, The Corner House.  I follow the shop owners, Clara and Clare, on Instagram and wish almost every day that I lived close enough to pop into their shop.  They'd be sick of me within a week.

John Lewis came up trumps with toadstool goodies too, of course.

I adore these tea lights and plan to pop them in tall jam jars with rustic twine and twigs wound around the top.  I will have to be brave to light them - they're too cute to burn.  Ha!

John Lewis was very busy so we called it a day and stopped at Olney on the way home for tea and cake.  Olney is one of the closest towns to me (apart from Northampton, which is pants for shopping and strolling) and it's my favourite.  The architecture is beautiful, the shops are just gorgeous and the whole place has a nice feel to it.  The shops are decked out for Christmas now and dusk was falling as we walked back to the car so we could see fairy lights twinkling in windows all around us.  It was a truly lush day, finished off with a bag of chips and rum and coke by the fire.

Hope everyone has had a nice weekend too. 

Lotsa love.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

A cold and frosty morning

It's a grey and foggy day here.  I love it, especially if I'm working from home like I am today.  I tune into Radio 2, switch the fairy lights on all over the house, light a few scented candles and take my time over my first cup of coffee.  Andrew lights the wood burners and banks them up with logs before he goes to work, and the house slowly comes alive.  It's a lovely way to start the day.

The days and weeks are whizzing by.  I can't believe we're just weeks away from Christmas.  I am going to drag out the festivities this year so that it all feels less rushed and frenzied.  

I won't be putting the Christmas trees up early but I am starting to sneak out the odd decoration and I'm off to Sainsbury's this afternoon to buy some Christmas Spice tea lights.

This is my very favourite time of year and I am making sure I savour each and every day.  


I really enjoyed watching the Nigellissima series recently (I have a girl-crush on Nigella) so I bought the book a couple of weeks ago and have already made loads of the recipes, all of which have been amazing.  Nigella's macaroni cheese is a new favourite in this house, it's so gorgeously cheesy and creamy without being bland or sickly.  A generous handful of rocket is the perfect partner for it.  Other favourites include the sausage meatballs and the super-speedy Orzo with pancetta and peas.  

Last week I made the yogurt pot cake (its Italian name is a ciambella).  It's a lightly lemon-flavoured, kind of dry breakfast cake (it has quite a large amount of cornflour in it).  It is delicious with a cup or two of strong coffee. 

I like these ring tins because they're great for plain sponges - you get nice small slices (if that's what you want!) and I think the cake looks quite appealing too. 

As well as cooking and eating, I have started to learn to knit.  I have been hugely inspired by Suzie Johnson of the Wool Sanctuary.  She is a hand-knit designer and creates really cool patterns that use texture and colour to maximum effect without being complicated.  I've started with the Princess Margaret scarf and, despite a bit of a false start (ie lots of negative knitting) I have got into my stride and the scarf is starting to grow! 

My stitching is getting a little quicker and I don't poke my tongue out as I'm working quite so much.  The tension isn't exactly perfect yet but I'm over the moon with how it's turning out.  I feel like an actual genius! Ha!  My mum taught me to knit when I was about 8 so it has been like opening a dusty old book in my brain.  I dream of knitting knee blankets, socks, wristwarmers and shawls.  My next project is going to be one of Suzie's beach houses.  

I haven't ditched the crochet.  I'm currently working on a ripple blanket  and a rope stitch snood which I have now decided isn't going to be a snood after all but another knee blanket. 
It's about double the size now.  Taking me yonks.  I haven't had the concentration skills required.
Was a snood, now a blanket.
The pattern for my ripple blanket is from Loop's Vintage Crochet book.  The pattern for the snood/blanket is on Sarah's lovely blog - Annaboo's House.  Doing the rope stitch with chunky wool means it's really quick to work up.  It's the fastest I've ever got through a ball of yarn and it looks lush.  I'm definitely using the pattern again!  Thanks Sarah.


As well as being cosied up indoors I've been out and about all over the place - the back half of the year has been so busy!  I have mentioned before how much I love the jewellery handmade by Belinda at Wild Acre.  Well, last Friday evening she held a private viewing at her gorgeous home and I took along my new BFF, Claire, to have a looksee.  I was clutching a wad of notes that Andrew had given me for one of my Christmas presents and I could have spent it ten times over.  Belinda's jewellery is right up my street - contemporary designs, gorgeous textures and simple but stunning details.  I chose five rings to wear stacked all together.  I cannot wait to get them!  I have already planned my next purchase - the oak leaf ring, oak leaf pendant and a pair of pip earrings.  Have to start prioritising my spends so I can buy them.  :)

Busy day at work today so I ought to wrap up here.  Before I go though, I just wanted to let you know about my friend's new blog:  Erinshine Stitches.  I've mentioned Erin before - we met through Instagram.  Erin makes the most gorgeous stuff and has a lovely sunny outlook to life (she is also learning to knit too but is a bit quicker and braver than me!).  I am delighted that she's started a blog - pop on over and have a nose.

Enjoy the rest of the week.  The weekend is so close we can almost taste it!  Yay! 



PS Thank you Victoria at Lily Loves Lola for tagging me recently.  I will do my questions next time - I love tag posts!   

PPS The dog has had her bi-monthly cut and blow-dry.  They've trimmed her face right down but left her body quite big.  She looks a bit of a pinhead.  Poor thing.

PPPS I have bought many, many, things lately but my favourite has to be the white, furry, bunny-eared onesie I'm wearing right now.  I bought it from Next recently inspired by a photo I saw of a [very gorgeous] 8/9 year old in one.  I think I'm highly flammable but it's the warmest thing ever.  Scarily, the husband quite fancies me in it.  Ha!