Sunday, 30 December 2012

.....New Year road trip to Portmeirion

The yellow and blue house just behind was our little home for the week last year

By the time you read this post, I will probably be in the depths of Snowdonia in a magic place called Portmeirion. We have hired two cottages again this year with friends to celebrate in* 2013* lets hope it is a good one! Here are a few snaps from last year. I am a little apprehensive about the drive, we where going to go by train but crazily expensive, so it will be a little road trip through the valleys. Lets hope my sister is a good passenger, will have good music and boiled sweets to see us there. It will be exciting to cross over the bridge, I love Wales it is like heading home after so many childhood summers spent there.

Will look forward to capturing some great moments this year.
Wishing you all a year of; 
Good Health 

gem x 

Friday, 28 December 2012

...spending Christmas morning at the beach hut

As I sit here and type, the house feels really quiet. All of our Christmas guests are gone now and we have the house to ourselves. A part of me feels a little sad-I always do after Christmas-but it is also nice for things to return to some sort of normality. The husband and I are planning an evening of TV watching and drinking mulled wine (just because Christmas is over doesn't mean that drinking mulled wine is-we plan on keeping this indulgence going until Spring). I cant wait!
Christmas this year was one of the best. I know I probably say that every year, but it really was! The little guy really got it, and was just thrilled at the sight of trees, lights, cribs and of course Father Christmas. The men in my family cooked up an absolute storm-hands down one of the most delicious Christmas dinners ever.
On Christmas morning we all met my parents, brothers, sister in law, nephew, aunts and uncles down at the beach hut. We drank Prosecco and nibbled on home made sausage rolls. We played with our new toys and just hung out by the sea. It was perfect. See snaps below!

Oh, and we also got some amazing gifts this year-I will do a separate post on that. And yes, I did manage to finish the teepee just in time and it was a hit! Result!
Hope you and yours had a merry little Christmas.
Maria x

Thursday, 27 December 2012

..... Enjoying Christmas day!

I hope you have all had a very merry Christmas. It has been a lovely one. Just catching up with friends and family is so important; laughing, eating, drinking, singing catching up with old school friends and reminiscing. The weather has been bad, but it hasn't seemed to matter. It's given us an excuse to stop.

 And on Christmas day that's exactly what we did. We started the morning off by eating breakfast and catching the end of Gone With the Wind. I was overwhelmed with the lovely gifts and the love and carefulness of my pressies from friends and family. It's made me realise that I need to spend more time in 2013 with the people that mean the most to me. We decided that we wouldn't watch much TV this year and it made us slow down and enjoy each others company, playing scrabble and sharing presents, my sister received a lovely roberts radio so we enjoyed listening to Radio 4 and dancing around to songs such as Bob Dylan's It must be santa! We also had time to watch Wes Anderson's sweet film Moonrise Kingdom, the attention to detail is incredible. I have received the most amazing camera for Christmas and my 30th so watch this space for some more carefully captured memories. Here are a few candid snaps from the big day!

Contents of my stocking (your never to old) 
Beautifully wrapped presents from close friends
gorgeous handmade cloud pillow - Thank you maria xx

family games of scrabble 

Enjoy the last days of the holidays and hopefully get time to relax after the Christmas madness! 

gem x

Monday, 24 December 2012

...on holiday

The past few days I have been;

seeing my biggest brother and my sister in law who have come from Brazil to be home for Christmas (so exciting!)
meeting my little nephew for the first time and trying to talk to him in Portuguese (unsuccessfully)
wrapping gifts with doilies and lace
drinking mulled wine
eating fudge made by a dear friend 
trying to get our tree to stand straight (you can see it is still wonky)
taking the boy and his little friend to the Oceanarium
desperately trying to finish making a teepee (still not finished! Running out of time!)
making new tea infusions from &tea
meeting girlfriends for lunch and Secret Santa
hanging up Christmas cards
asking the boy what he wants Father Christmas to bring him; "a chocolate and a biscuit"
getting my husband's present so badly wrong, then having to change it (so bad!)
finding pine needles everywhere despite getting a tree that doesn't drop its needles, apparently
watching Christmas cookery shows-I love Nigel Slater's Christmas jumper
meeting an old friend for a mulled cider
singing along at the tops of our voices to the boy's current favourite song 'Tangled Up in Blue' by Bob Dylan
eating delicious pizza made by the husband
having Christmas discos in the kitchen with the boy
cleaning the house to get ready for our family arriving 

I love Christmas holidays!
Happy Christmas!
Maria x

Sunday, 23 December 2012

... home for Christmas

Today has been all about getting into the Christmas spirit. After a long awaited lie in, I finished wrapping my last presents. Whilst Dad was busy in the kitchen preparing our Christmas ham,it has become a bit of a family tradition and Dad loves it. It started early in the month when he went to source the finest leg of ham he could find. So excited when he found it he rang me. This ham gets cared for like a baby, soaked in a bath of water over night, in the morning it is patted down and dressed in honey and mustard, with a few cloves for flavour. We then have to wait for hours with delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. To prevent ourselves from overly dribbling, my sister, mum and I went to Newton St Loe for their yearly Carol service. It was the first time we have been and it was lovely. The Reverend is our childhood friend's Dad so it all felt really familiar and cosy.

Newton St Loe Carol Service 

The famous honey roast ham

Yum - It didn't touch the sides, you can't see it but in the jug is mum's delicious white onion sauce

All this eating and Christmas fun has made us all very tired, so it's going to be a lazy night in front of the fire. It is good to be home! Wishing you all a very merry Christmas! 

Gem x

Friday, 21 December 2012

....saying goodbye to the sea & driving home for Christmas!

So today I hit the road and drove home for Christmas, leaving behind the sea and beautiful Dorset coastline. I love going to my parents for Christmas and cosying down beside the family with a log fire, but my heart always feels a little sad. When I go away I already start to feel a yearning to go back to the shore line and look across the vast calming ocean. I'm not sure that I could now leave the serenity of living near the sea. I stumbled across this lovely poem by John Masefield not long after I moved to Dorset and I have loved it ever since.

Sea Fever
 I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
 John Masefield

One day I hope to spend Christmas near the seaside and cook a big Christmas dinner for my folks and family, and then have a blow across the beach. But for now I'll enjoy following family traditions at home with my loved ones and fat ageing piggy (Dachshund)

Wishing you all a safe drive home for Christmas wherever you should be! Have a lovely weekend!

Gem x

Thursday, 20 December 2012

...dreaming of a handmade Christmas!

Since we started living together the husband and I have never really had many Christmas decorations. We lived in various different flats and houses until we finally settled into our 'forever' house here in Bournemouth. We always took it in turns to go to each others' family homes for Christmas(so many happy memories), we never really went to town on decorating our little homes.
This year we are staying put. The husband's family are coming to us which will be so much fun. On Christmas day we are meeting my clan down at the family beach hut for drinks and nibbles a few hours before we have our dinner (we do this every year, and every year at least one passer-by asks if we have the turkey cooking on the camping stove-ho ho ho!) It's lovely to be continuing these traditions, but we are very excited to be starting some new ones of our own.
So, decorations are sparse.  We have decided not to go too crazy and rush out and buy a load; we are going to collect them gradually.
Looking around our living room it struck me how many we have that are handmade-all by people in our families (they are a crafty lot!). So I thought I would share some pictures of them with you.
 Here are some garlands that I made out of felt, wool and lace. They hang above our mantel piece.
 This is one of the stockings I made for each of us. I made them for the boy's first Christmas
 This is a crib that my mother in law made from cava and champagne corks! I love the Three Wise Men-we think they look like The BeeGees!
 Here are some tree decorations that my mother in law made. The knitted tree was made by my sister in law.
 This beautiful decoration was made by my sister in law. She made it out of an old damaged paperback. She is one of the craftiest people I know-so talented!
 These ones are my absolute favourite! These creations are by the best little crafter of them all; the little fella! Look at the robin-so cool! I love his googly eyes!
And here is the cotton wool snowman. The boy has a slight obsession with snowmen at the moment. He has a Christmas jumper with one on, and it is a hard task to get him to take it off!
So there you have it. Happy Crafty Christmas everyone!
Maria x
Ps. Just to let you know that Gem and I are planning on spending as much time as possible with our family and friends over the next couple of weeks so may not be checking in everyday. We will do our best!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

...listening to xmas songs!

Sorry for the late post have been to a lovely Christmas concert tonight. There is something magic about watching children sing so serious with so much warmth and hope! Beautiful! This leads me nicely to today's post!  I like to think I have quite good taste in music but when it comes to Christmas songs all taste and style goes out of the window. It's all about what memories the songs recall, most are from my childhood, where it was cool to sing Mistletoe and Wine at the top of your voice, ok maybe not cool but more acceptable. I am glad I was a child of the 80's! Christmas parties in the local old Methodist church in Bristol and College Green skirting around on dusty skiddy floors to Slade and Wham and the greatly anticipated pass the parcel. I remember the long tables laid out with as many hula hoops, coconut fingers, party rings, twiglets you could eat, before more sliding around on the disco floor to some of these great classics!

So here are my top 10 Christmas songs!

1.Do they know it's Christmas time at all - Band Aid
2.Happy Xmas - War is Over (John Lennon)
This song can make me cry if I'm in the mood, especially if it is sung beautifully by a choir
3. Merry Xmas Everybody - Slade
4. The Little Drummer Boy - David Bowie and Bing Crosby
5. Fairy Tale of New York - The pogues & Kirsty McColl
6.Mistletoe & Wine - (I know AWFUL but it reminds me of Christmas when I was 5)
7.Rockin around the Christmas Tree - Mel & Kim
8.Step into Christmas - Elton John
9.Little Saint Nick - The beach boys
10.In the bleak mid winter - (Always makes me cry!)

Happy Christmas &  Happy singing!

Gem x

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

...going for a walk at Steamer Point

On Sunday we decided to pack a flask of hot chocolate and some biscuits and head off to Steamer Point. When we arrived the heavens opened, so we stayed in the car and warmed ourselves up by sipping some of our hot choc. We kept the boy entertained by singing Christmas songs to him; he's working on a pretty tuneful rendition of 'Away in a Manger' at the moment (I love how much more he is understanding about Christmas this year-he's making it so special for all of us).
Eventually the rain passed and we headed out. There were muddy puddles everywhere. The little fella was in heaven!
Steamer Point is a wild and dramatic place. It's a sort of woodland walk on a cliff top; you can just peek at the sea through the trees, but you can hear it roaring-and it is LOUD! The waves crash against the cliffs just below the path. It's quite magical.
We walked along to the Information Centre which is free to enter and great for kiddos. The little guy spent ages opening and shutting the little doors on the wall display. I love the artwork, and the facts about the nature in the area are very informative!

 We found this little seat shaped out of a tree trunk. I love the message-such a beautiful tribute.

If you look closely you can see the sea!

I know I may be biased, but Dorset is such a beautiful place to live. There is so much to do! We are having so much fun exploring new places and rediscovering old favourites.

Happy Tuesday everyone!
Maria x

Monday, 17 December 2012

....making Christmas Wreaths and helping nature!

On Saturday after my lovely morning browse around the vintage market with Maria, I headed to compton Acres to help my friend who works for the RSPB make Christmas wreaths. Our aim is to get children thinking about nature whilst doing something fun.

All you need is; some willow to make the circular base, bits of foliage, pine cones (be careful about berries if you have pets or toddlers!) Scissors, twine and ribbon. (maybe gloves if using holly)

  I've never made one before but was quite impressed with my first wreath, after making quite a few we decided that the best method was to start with the thicker foliage first such as the xmas tree trimmings, get the ring quite full and then start adding smaller leaves and pine cones for final decorations.

And Wallah! I must admit it doesn't look like a shop bought one, but I think thats why I like it. I have hung one on our door and have made my mum one which I will give to her on Friday when I head home for xmas, at the moment these chaps are looking after it!

I hope you have a good week, and get some time during the rat race 
to soak up the festivities - It's nearly the holidays!! 

Gem x

Sunday, 16 December 2012

...wombling around Boscombe Vintage Market

Gem and I had our ideal Saturday morning. It started off with a coffee to go from Boscanova-a really quirky cafe with super friendly staff and delicious food. We took our coffees and headed to the arcade to have a womble around Boscombe Vintage Market. 

We've been coming here off and on ever since it first started about a couple of years ago. It's really grown since then, and now has several vintage stalls and crafts too. We were spoilt for choice-there were so many beautiful treasures to be had. We were very restrained though (Gem nearly bought a doll's house and I nearly bought yet more china fawns...the madness has to stop!), and stuck to Christmas gifts only. Proud of us? You should be. Check out this lot---

I love those wooden blocks! And don't get me started on the little boat.

Look at the foxy teddy!

If you are ever in the area on the first Saturday of every month, you should definitely check it out. It's such a beautiful arcade, and there is often live music too. All the items are carefully selected and arranged on display-this is no jumble sale. And all the goods are completely affordable. There's a really warm and friendly atmosphere here; full of artistic people who share a love of all things pretty and old.  See what I mean? Ideal Saturday morning.
Maria x

Friday, 14 December 2012

.....Star gazing

Last night when I was at work I discovered that it was the annual Geminid meteor shower. Excited to be out of work I looked at the night sky and all I could see was fog! Very disappointing!  I am going to make it one of my New Year missions to master the night sky and learn more about astronomy. When I was little me and my sister used to have those glow in the dark stickers all over our ceiling, being on the top bunk I used to close my eyes and open them slowly so that the stars looked like they were moving. Many evenings camping I get the same vision, but it is more induced by red wine and a long day in the fresh air!

I'm going to keep it short tonight, lets hope we get some clear winter skies back so that we can get star gazing again!

Gem x