Thursday, 30 December 2010

All I want for Christmas...

Like with most other people, this Mariah Carey song never fails to get me in the Christmas spirit each year. I find that these particular lyrics speak to me:

"I don't want a lot for Christmas
There's just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is...

It’s not so much that “I don’t care about the presents underneath the Christmas tree” – it’s just that Christmas is so much more than that. It isn’t all about the presents. The one thing I truly want each year cannot be bought. And it certainly cannot be wrapped in shiny paper and topped off with a big bow. I just want my friends and family to all be happy and healthy.

But this aside, presents at Christmas are a nice idea. It is lovely to be considered by friends and family, you know? You feel special. You feel loved.

It doesn’t matter whether they’ve spent a fiver on you or more – they have parted with their money because of YOU.

And price is not representative of how brilliant the gift is either. The best gifts are those that have been tailored to YOU and you only. This shows real thought. That the person in question knows the ‘real’ you and had you in mine when buying the gift.

I was a very lucky girl this year. I am not going to bore you with a tediously long list of each and every thing I received (this post has too much text as it is!!). Instead I have a few select images of gifts to share with you:

Lots of socks! LOVE knitted socks with a passion!
I spy wine and a Galaxy bubbles bar also... 

 Ted Baker brushes set, nail foils + James Brown goodies

 I think everyone knows that I love painting my nails! :)

Books glorious books! + this lovely notebook
 The "how to be the perfect housewife" book made me laugh!

Love playing Guitar Hero. Love Twilight. Love Chanel.

And finally, I’ll end on a little story of something that happened over Christmas. Our household has not one, but four cats. One of our feline friends is more of a pig than a cat. He eats day and night and now he is practically triangular – tiny head, massive body. He steals food off of our plates. He chews through sealed packets of food. Over Christmas he hit a new time low. We had a HUGE tray of Danish pastries which were covered with cling film. The next morning we find the cling film CHEWED through and him standing over it looking very pleased with himself! So we surrendered that cake to him:

An unusual sight, yes?

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!  

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Walking in a winter wonderland....

I'll be the first to admit that the word "market" doesn't usually excite me all that much. I'm not against them as such... it's just that whereas other people seem to come back with bargains, I merely just find broken bric-a-brac. And none of it cheap.

Christmas markets on the other hand are a whole different ball game. Yes, prices can still be a little shocking but the stalls themselves are a feast for the eyes. Rows of quaint little wooden chalets lined with twinkling fairy lights. Christmas classics on repeat playing in the background. And the inviting smell of German charcuteries and mulled wine fill the air.

 Source: click tonight. com

I recently ventured into London to visit a couple of German style Christmas markets. And as if it couldn't become any more festive, snowflakes began to fall from the sky. And it became uber cold.  Cue numb feet. Even my boyfriend (who walks around in a t-shirt 365 days a year no matter what the weather) felt the chill. I had to buy him his first pair of gloves. Cute.

We checked out Winter Wonderland but most of the rides were a rip-off so we just walked around and taste tested certain foods. I really recommend the seasoned German potato slices and the garlic mushrooms. Some of the garlicky stalls offered you free mints / gum with every purchase... for the dreaded garlic breath afterwards. :)

And the best market stalls?

Firstly, a leather goods stall selling leather bound journals etc. - all really good quality and affordable. Another blogger mentioned this stall - who I really wanted to link to -but I forget who :( I also love the gingerbread stalls - no reason necessary!

Source: orbisnonsufficit via Flickr images
How cute would these look on the tree???

But the stalls to look out for are the jewellery ones. Beautiful hand crafted pieces created with TLC. There was this lovely stall where they actually used real flowers in their designs. Poppies. Forget-me-nots. You name it.

But these were nothing compared to what I call "The Shiny Stall". I love shiny things and these pieces did not disappoint. Sterling silver + swarovski elements = a match made in heaven! And every crystal looked different because of where they were positioned and how the light hit them. I was mesmerised.

At this moment my boyfriend asked me the magic words: "would you like one?" I was really taken aback as we'd said we weren't doing Christmas presents this year (we chose to go away instead). Valentine's Day. Christmas. It doesn't matter - he always does this! Men!!! 

But I really couldn't resist an offer like this. I think he may have regretted asking me as I took about an hour to pick something (no joke! I'm the worst at making decisions!). In the end, it was between a heart shaped cut, a tear drop cut or a slightly less rounded version of the tear drop. And I chose the latter. It came as an an earring and pendant set in this box:

Pictures cannot do it justice with how the light hits it - but here's one anyway:

Stunning, eh? 

It will always remind me of Him and the lovely, snowy day we spent together in London. :)

Has any one else visited any Christmas markets lately?

Thursday, 16 December 2010

9 sleeps 'til Christmas!

I kid you not. Only nine sleeps until Christmas! I didn't realise how quickly it'd crept up on us until I opened yesterday's window of my advent calendar:

I am so excited it’s not funny. Christmas always seems to turn me into a bit of a big kid. For me Christmas only becomes official when our tree is put up. Which was last weekend. So I have been full of Christmas cheer for the last week. This silliness and excitement makes me feel like I should be a Disney cartoon singing and skipping through a cartoon forest. Truly bizarre.

I feel that in light of this, a Christmassy post is a must. So this week I have been capturing images of the essence of Christmas which is starting to emerge in our house.

One thing that really gets me excited at Christmas is wrapping the presents and making them look all pretty. As you can see I went for a certain colour theme this year! I love it when you hand over a gift to someone and you can see their genuine excitement based on how the gift is wrapped / presented.  I am a sucker for pretty wrapping paper!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without Christmas candles. We have wayyy too many candles meaning that only a select few could fit around the fireplace this year. The white church candles always look so elegant when lit at night - but my favourites are the scented ones. One year we got some Christmas tree scented ones which were amazing – our lounge smelt like a forest! I just love the smell of nature. I’m currently burning some cinnamon candles in my room and they smell DIVINE.

Satsumas and all other orange related family are a must at this time! The smell of one being partially peeled makes me think of Christmas. It’s the one time of the year when I will actually eat them. And get through hundreds of them, may I add. Oh and no household is complete without a poinsettia. LOVE them.

And the most important thing about Christmas? Good company and good food. And when I say good company I obviously mean family being reunited. I have family all over the UK and in different countries too so we’re a spread out lot who hardly get to see one another. Christmas is that one special time that we’re all together again. We all chip in to do our bit – be it peeling veg or doing the washing up – then we eat a ma-hoo-sive Christmas dinner, tidy up, spend hours exchanging presents and then watch something Christmassy before getting our mitts on some party food for tea (hence the picture of Christmassy Pringles!). I LOVE it. Being one of the only meat eaters I tend to deal with most of the meaty things. This year I’ve also made a salmon roulade in advance. It’s a bit of an experiment (I’ve never made it before) but the idea is that you freeze it until Christmas, and then cut it into slices when you need it. Will no doubt upload some pictures at a later date!

Before I go, I just had to share a few more things that sum up my week.

For the last week, I’ve had something on pretty much every day so I’ve been quite busy. There have been quite a few Christmas drinks and meals and it has been lovely to catch up with friends and exchange presents. I find that lots of people don’t bother giving cards any more which is a bit of a shame as I love receiving cards. I tend to write essays in mine (particularly to friends who live abroad or those I don’t get to see much). I just had to share a couple of cards that I received this week which made me smile: 

 How cute is the rabbit on this card?? I “aww-ed” for about half a century when I opened it! 

 And this card really made me laugh:

And finally… really naughtily, I went shopping on Monday. I only went to exchange a jumper for a smaller size (which they didn’t have) but came back home with some new things. Damn you shops and your tempting Christmas displays! 

One of my best friends had given me a New Look discount voucher which was going to expire on Monday. It seemed like a shame not to use it. Whilst I was there, I found this darling LBD in the sale:

I have seen lots of posts lately about velvet dresses and to be honest; they’re not really my cup of tea. They remind me of what I was forced to wear at Christmas when I was younger. However I saw this, tried to be open minded and went to try it on. The fit was unbelievable. I have never had such a flattering dress. I looked tiny in it. And being the magpie that I am, I loved the neckline. It was about 50% off so a really good buy. I never would’ve paid the full price for it.

And along to something even more shiny and glittery…. 

I’d seen this online and had been lusting after it for a while now. Such an amazing colour with incredible detailing. But usually a high cut neck doesn’t really suit me. So I decided to go to the shop and try it on rather than order online. I was pleasantly surprised. The embellishment is of great quality and looks robust – like it won’t all drop off after a few minutes. Even the back of the top is amazing. I tried it on back to front (with a lacy camisole on underneath) and that looked just as nice. So all of sudden rendered versatile. I am planning on wearing this on Christmas day because it is respectful and isn’t low cut (if I wear it the right way round!) – perfect for when my grandparents are here.

What’s everyone else wearing on Christmas day? 

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas x x  

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Hey Armadillo

If I were to start with the word "armadillo" what would come to mind first? This perhaps?

Or would you think shoes?

For these of you thinking "eh? shoes?", don't worry - I was the same earlier today!

After a bit of a Lady Gaga fest, I was a little fascinated with the shoes she was wearing in her "Bad Romance" video which for some reason, I hadn't really picked up upon before. It can be found here at 3 minutes 29 seconds in.

Et voilĂ ! I present the Armadillo shoe... 

This is in no way breaking news. I am led to believe that Alexander McQueen first introduced his Armadillo shoe in 2009 where he sent models down the catwalk with them in Paris representing his Spring / Summer 2010 collection:

Other celebrity admirers of the Armadillo have included Daphne Guiness and Kelis:

Apparently the ones pictured here were 12 inches high. Yes, you heard correctly. 12 inches. Scary stuff. It's hardly surprising that some of Alexander McQueen's models refused to don them in one of his catwalk shows this year. Especially that one model who had had several previous misfortunes such as fainting on the catwalk (due to a tight corset). The article I found can be read in full here.

Now over to you. What do you think of the Armadillo? Weird? Fascinating? Ugly? If money was no object, would you ever consider owning a pair?

I struggle in heels at any rate let alone 10-12 inch ones! The Armadillo is just not practical in any way and I cannot believe that they'd be comfortable. And they sort of resemble a hoof. Or a trotter (sorry it has to be said!). But yet there is something fascinating about them. You've got to at least admire the creativity behind them. Tradition can be boring.

I oddly like these:
Photo: Getty Images - image found here.

The heel and shape are still a total no-no for me but I do love the sparkle of the embellishment. And the nude colour of the shoe itself. Whilst on the subject of unusual footwear, I also found these:

Car shoes! Read the article here.

 Cat walk literally! Source came from here.

Found here. Love these! (but more of a display item)

 What do you think? Would anyone be happy owning any of these? 

Ending this post, I would like to pay tribute to the legend that is Alexander McQueen. 
May he RIP. 

Monday, 6 December 2010

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

"... but the fire is so delightful".
Never has a song seemed so apt as this one. As much as I love seeing snowflakes fall down from the sky, I'm perhaps a little less excited than most other people about snow. I love it when snow is new and fresh and gives that satisfying crunch under foot when you walk... but I also think ahead to when it melts and reaches that icy, slippery stage that I hate so much. For me, it usually means donning some hideous, clod hopper type trainers in the hope that the extra grips on the soles will save me a fall or two.

This last week, I've mainly been inside avoiding the ice. I've been a little bit under the weather like most people so have been living on Lemsip and soup.

I also went away with my boyfriend for a few days for our anniversary. We stayed in a lovely, little English village a few hours out of  London and the snow made it so much more beautiful. There were many fireplaces to warm up next to after our walks - so although the weather outside was frightful, the fire really was delightful :)

Haven't done an outfit post in a while so thought I'd upload one from the other day that I meant to share but didn't get around to doing! This is my typical warm + comfy around the house attire. Cardigans and thick cable knit socks are a must!

I'm really sorry about the photo. Firstly for its terrible quality (my camera is dying - I really should have put one on my Christmas list). Secondly for the awful pose! I am not a poser in any way - I am merely tall and couldn't fit head to foot in the shot so I had to bend a little bit to get my feet in! :) I got these cable knit socks for Christmas last year and they are so lovely, I felt they deserved a mention. I love the poms poms on them.

Cardigan - Urban Outiftters - love the "pop" of colour - this outfit is too "black + white" without it.
Bandeau top - MK One - not sure they exist anymore as they were having major problems
Black jeans - George at Asda - love these! they're not even skinny fit but are so flattering
Cable knit socks - Christmas present last year - so comfortable, they're on my list again this year!
Watch / bracelet - Topshop - Fearne Cotton owns one of these too. I love her style.

Shopping wise I am trying to behave but gave into temptation from Republic the other day. I fell in love with a couple of cardigans and this cat beanie:

I also have a fascination with rings at the moment. Never used to be bothered by them but now I love them! I am really much more of a cat person than a dog person but I couldn't resist this ring from River Island:

Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my posts and follow me as well as those who have left me some lovely comments. It's early days for me yet - as a blogger - but I appreciate all of your support x x