Friday, 27 November 2015


I love Christmas. I totally buy into all of those ideas of togetherness and goodwill - who doesn't want more of that in the world? Anyway, I have decided that I can't really wait any longer and am going to start decorating this weekend as well as make my advent calendar. I have an idea that I am pretty excited about! The tree will wait another week but I feel we are close enough to December to make a start.
Simplify has been a watch word with me this year and I am determined to apply this to Christmas. Here are a few ideas that I plan to follow:

Decorating - I love to do this and it is never a chore! The tree and greenery are always central to my Christmas home. I love the smell and they appeal to the pagan inside of me. Smell is central to Christmas - wood smoke, oranges, rich spices and fir are all welcome ones. I also like many a candle and a sprinkling of sparkle. My head is full of pewter and copper nestling against dark green. 

Presents - I have actually found that one of the pleasures of having older children is that there is less pressure to become a mass consumer. They get it and never ask for madly expensive presents or produce a list long enough to paper the chimney with. They all understand the pleasure of opening just a few gifts that are carefully chosen and are given with absolute love. For me nothing beats the delight of unwrapping a beautiful looking gift and finding a pampering treat inside - however big or small. Truly, it is the thought that counts.
Like many other bloggers I will be applying the present mantra: something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. 

Food - Long gone are the days of food mountains in our house. This year I am making a pudding but I haven't made a Christmas Cake. It won't get eaten and it brings me a lot of stress. I will make the usual Clementine cake from the Domestic Goddess herself, but that is it. I am constantly amazed by the amount of food people pile in their trolleys at this time of year. I am not being frugal here - we will have many treats and cocktail recipes are occupying perhaps too much of my time - but I do not want to eat leftovers for a month and I hate throwing food away. That sounded a bit angrier than I intended...

Giving - It is, without doubt a joy to give and I love buying presents for family and friends. However I am going to try very hard not to get stressed about it. It is so easy to isn't it? I have had years when I have tried to make everything and have ended up practically (OK actually) crying as I tried to get everything done and looking perfect. It is absolutely fine to admit defeat and go online. There are some wonderful sites that sell beautiful things; they will be my refuge this year.

Entertaining - This is one area that I will not give up on. For me, Christmas is a time to open up your home and see as many people as possible That is what makes me happy. I have always found that however I feel before a visit from some lovely folk (picture the occasional mad cleaning/tidying frenzy) it is more than made up for by what follows. There is, in my book, nothing lovelier that sitting with friends and having great conversations, especially when food and wine is added to the mix.

I guess that brings me back to what I said at the start - Christmas is the season of togetherness and goodwill. The rest is just noise.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Adventure::Windows, Arches and Doors

Well what a dark a gloomy day we are having in my part of the UK - the kind of day that makes you want to look at your holiday photos again and remind your self that little over a week ago you were wandering the streets of Bologna and it was much, much warmer.
I love a good window or archway, don't you? Pictures of doors and windows fill my photo albums - I am so nosy and full of wonder about what is going on behind those shutters. The perpetual English student in me makes me want to invent stories; whole lives are being led there. On the final day, very pleasingly given that we were in Italy, the sound of a aria being sung flowed from a window - that one with the spider plants - and I had to stop and listen whilst the beauty of it filled the courtyard. It is those memories that live in your heart isn't it? That and the fact that I had to run to find my pack of boys who had moved on, bored of waiting for me to have my 'moment'.  
I am finding it quite hard to leave Italy behind at the minute despite being excited about the months to come and it is pretty pleasing to escape this dark wind...

Thursday, 5 November 2015


We had the most wonderful trip to Bologna over the half term holiday. It was everything a city trip to Italy should be - full of art, cool narrow streets, coffee, pizza, beautiful architecture and stylish people just owning the street. One of life's greatest pleasures is to wander the streets of a new city and think about what life would be like there. Every city has its own scent and feel. Bologna is cool, full of students. Although it is ancient it has a feeling of somewhere full of possibility, of ideas, of people who are moving forward. It is a place that is both old and at the same time, modern.
I am overwhelmed with photographs that do nothing to capture the real memories. So I am left with this one; Fergus, framed by a door, just taking it all in.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Home::Finn's Room

During my decorating frenzy this summer I decorated Finn's room. It is a small room which he inherited from his brother (like so much else in his life). He is also a boy in transition and was about to move up to secondary school. Pale yellow walls were no longer cool for an important 11 year old...later this week he turns 12.
I decorated whilst he was away with his dad and was able to do a huge declutter as well as paint. The last of my babies, we said goodbye to an enormous number of toys that were gathering dust and no more memories.
Most of the room is painted white but I painted one a dramatic dark grey which he just loves. He has displayed all his favourite things on the shelves  and we both love how everything stands out. He has a corner devoted to Harry Potter and he proudly displays his Slytherin poster (Oh the shame - I was, of course, sorted into Gryffindor).
I love how this room really reflects Finn right now. Part of him still little boy - the one that loves to believe in the magic of story and imagination and another part who is beginning to try on a little 'cool' for size, arranging his hair, layering on the 'Lynx' (really what is that phase?) and listening to music. These are precious years - and important ones too; years of great change. Twelve years ago I birthed my baby; in six years he will be a man - it's amazing isn't it?