Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas

Before I switch off the blog for the Christmas break,
I wanted to wish you all a very happy Christmas
and to thank you for reading throughout 2016.
The support you offered during what has been an incredibly difficult year
has been much appreciated.
You guys rock!
I'll be back in early January with the final pages of December Daily
and my annual Blog Review. 

Friday, 23 December 2016

December Daily, 17th | Christmas Jumper Day

The Boy Child rounded off the Autumn Term
with a wear-your-Christmas-jumper-to-school-day.
The children love it and if I'm honest, so do I.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

December Daily, 16th | The Met Police's Christmas Tree Project

The Boy Child's school is supporting the Metropolitan Police's Christmas Tree project
and encouraged the pupils to donate gifts.
All the gifts go to children and young adults who might not otherwise
receive anything on Christmas Day.
The Boy Child and I chose to buy two gifts for a boy(s) aged 9-12 
and he suggested football annuals.
So that's what we did.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

December Daily, 15th | Christmas Lights

For the last few years, The boy Child and I have gone into town
one late afternoon to see the Christmas lights on Oxford and Regents Streets.
This year, we changed it up a bit and when to King's Road in Chelsea.
Mind you, everything else stayed the same.
Walk up one side of the road as it gets dark,
early supper at the Golden Arches
and then walk back down the other side of the road
before heading for the Tube and home.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

December Daily, 14th | Christmas Shopping with The Brainy One

Let's go Christmas shopping, he said.
So we did.
What he actually means is visiting one particular store
 {in his case, it was T M Lewin for new shirts}
and then lunch out.
Can't argue with that, 
especially as I also squeezed in a visit to the Store of Utter Gorgeousness.

Monday, 19 December 2016

December Daily, 13th | Christmas Windows

Some of our Christmas traditions are extremely simple
and cost the price of the tube fare.
(And even then, The Boy Child still travels for free). 
Christmas windows in the West End are always worth a look.
 The best this year, in my opinion, are those at Fortnum and Mason on Piccadilly.
The worst are those at Harrods and Harvey Nichols,
and not worth photographing. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

December Daily, 12th | Christmas Comes Early

Two months and two days after their arrival,
los pequeňos are home!
Our family's greatest gift this Christmas.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

December Daily, 11th | The Nation's Christmas Tree

Even though the weather has been consistently grey,
we've made our annual trip to see the nation's Christmas tree
in Trafalgar Square. 
                                                                      Thanks, Norway
I couldn't help but notice that the tree is looking a wee bit thinner
than previous years.  I might even venture to say that it
looks rather sparse in parts.
My Norwegian friend tells me it's all to do with the price of oil. 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

December Daily, 10th | Dawnosaurs

We were out ridiculously early on Saturday morning!
We were headed to South Kensington and the Natural History Museum by 7.15 am.  
We were there for Dawnosaurs, the early opening for children with autism.
Which meant we were able to see Dippy for a final time before he (she?)
leaves to go on tour around the UK.
The Natural History Museum is one of the most attractive buildings in London
and the double height great hall is stunning,
even in the half-light of an early December morning.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

December Daily, 9th | Christmas Cards

Every year I claim to send less cards.
And while we now send less than when we were first married,
I find I'm still writing some 70+ cards.
{The Brainy One doesn't write a single card}
In regard to December Daily, I took a photo of the first batch
I wrote, addressed and stamped.  I then added this to the back
of a suitable postcard, alongside a 1st Class stamp.
Next to this in the album is Royal Mail's posting guide
and an 8x6 pocket holding samples of the cards I used this year.  
Do you still send Christmas cards?
Photo style ones?  Charity ones?  Whatever catches your eye?
Electronic ones?  Or maybe you no longer send any?

Monday, 12 December 2016

December Daily, 8th | It's a Wrap

I have a tendency to buy too much Christmas wrapping paper.
So much so, I can go 2 years or more without having to restock.
I get the cheap stuff from Poundland to use for The Boy Child's gifts,
because he's far more interested in the contents than the wrapping.
I checkout Paperchase and Phoenix Trading for better quality paper
 for family gifts and when I want to make a good impression.

Friday, 9 December 2016

December Daily, 7th | All Wrapped Up?

Yours truly snagged an iPhone 6S as a Christmas gift.
And here's the thing ... only the empty box has been wrapped 
and placed under the tree ... I'm using the contents.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

December Daily, 6th | A Christmas Bauble {Of Sorts}

It isn't even a bauble; more of a 3D interactive decoration in brass.
But as I was hanging it on our tree for the first time, 
I was grateful for the reminder of happy times we'd shared in the midst of a year of loss and grief.
Love and loss.
Happy and sad.
If you look through the darkness hard enough, there's always a glimmer of light.    

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

December Daily, 5th | Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce

One of my simplest Christmas traditions.
I knock out a big batch of cranberry sauce (I use Nigella's recipe),
decant it into sterilised old jam and Branston jars, add ribbon 
and a circle of Christmas-themed scrapbook paper.
I keep the biggest jar and we give the rest away as gifts. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

December Daily, 4th | Hello, Santa

I never get tired of taking The Boy Child to see Santa.
Except when I have a slight hangover {ahem}.
It's the one Christmas tradition that has a finite lifespan.
At some point in the future, he's going to say
that he doesn't want to go and see Santa.
In the meantime, we're a household that believes in the full magic of Christmas.
You may have noticed that the image isn't that great of The Boy Child.
he's sitting awkwardly and he forgot to take his coat off.
For day 4 in my December Daily album, I merely scanned the photo
and then printed it off in 4x4.  As I was using a divided page protector
(where the squares are just 2x2), I stuck the photo on top of four of the squares*,
filled in 6 more squares and left 2 blank.
Once in the album, you'll be able to glimpse The Boy Child's Santa letter.

* I saw the idea here.

Monday, 5 December 2016

December Daily, 3rd | The Annual Non-Christmas Christmas Drinks Party

It was only after we'd settled on the first Saturday in December for our annual Non-Christmas Christmas Drinks Party, I realised it was the 3rd.
Saturday would have been Mum's 73rd birthday.
So, we talked about it and talked about it some more.
We decided to go ahead, as Mum would have been the first to say that not doing something nice
on the anniversary of something painful was just plain silly.  
We call it the Non-Christmas Christmas Drinks Party because,
as our friends are a mix of different cultures and faith, it makes sense.
There was plenty of alcohol, plenty of tea and coffee, plenty of soft drinks.
We had finger food.
And dessert.  Plenty of dessert.
Of which, only the alcoholic empties were photographed.
Before the majority of our friends arrived,
the three of us took a moment to toast Mum.
And that was enough. 

Friday, 2 December 2016

December Daily, 2nd | Home Decor

Every year, I put up a tree.
I add small clusters of decorations around the lounge.
I have never put anything festive into my craft room.
Until this year.
That small space in front of an old photo of my nephew 
seemed to be crying out for a spot of Christmasyfying.
{No, that's not a real word, is it?}
It's hard to tell if Santa agrees. 

Thursday, 1 December 2016

December Daily, 1st |Dear Santa

I plan to record December Daily slightly differently 
to how I've done it in previous years.
I'm still producing a scrapbook,
but for here, on the blog,
I'll be sharing a short story coupled with a photo or two.
Thursday, 1st: Elvis the Elf rocked up overnight, 
bringing The Boy Child's letter to Santa with him.
He was delighted to see that he was on the Nice List.
The letter had been written about two weeks ago and was short and sweet.
So short, there were just 3 things on it and they were all books.
{The most astonishing thing about this letter is that it was written just 10 minutes
after a meltdown over English homework.  He wrote it without any help.}  
December Daily: my favourite project of the year.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Snap #39 | Grand Central Station

Helena has a new photographic theme for 2016:
Snap, a visually linked group of 2 to 4 images.
Grand Central Station doesn't look much from the outside,
but the inside?
It's pure architectural loveliness.

If you hop over to Journal of Curious Things, you can read about
Kirsty's tour of the station ... and note that we took near identical photos.  
You can see more Snap images here.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Is It Really Just Me?

Living in London can mean that a person becomes immured 
to everyday rudeness and unpleasantness.
Most of us at some point will encounter Mr. or Ms. Rude when travelling on the Tube.
It's pretty much a given.
Last week, however, I encountered Ms. Rude on the school run.
I won't bore you with the details of what exactly transpired between us,
but suffice to say, within 20 seconds I had been called a cow 
and a rude middle-aged woman.
{Let me tell you, I was more offended by being called middle-aged ...}  
She, by the way, was probably in her early twenties 
and had no compulsion in insulting me in front of The Boy Child,
who was left wide-eyed and clinging to my hand.
She failed to see the irony of me pointing out that she was the one using unpleasant language. 
When he'd recovered, The Boy Child gallantly offered to call the police
and have her arrested.
  If only.

The reason for telling you this story is because I'm left wondering 
what's happened to every day good manners and politeness?
I can be direct, but I never deliberately set out to be rude.
I hold doors open for people.
I give up my seat to anyone who looks more in need.  
I say please and thank you.
People tell me that I'm old-fashioned.
Like that's a bad thing.
But it can't just be me, can it?

Further reading: Jaime from Angloyankophile has two excellent posts worthy of a read:

Monday, 28 November 2016

A Visit to Roald Dahl Country

To the countryside and specifically the village of Great Missenden.
It was the home for 36 years of Roald Dahl
and it is also home to the Roald Dahl Musuem and Story Centre.
 The village isn't that big and you can see most of it in half an hour.
 But it is very pretty.
 We spent around 90 minutes in the Museum.

We also climbed the hill to the cemetery
for Roald Dahl's grave   
and glorious views of the Chilterns.
Which I didn't photograph.

Friday, 25 November 2016

What Caught My Eye #5

"To forget one's ancestors is to be
a brook without a source, a tree
without a root."
~ Chinese proverb             

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Finding the Words

The Boy Child's teacher died at the weekend.
I wanted to tell you about her, but I can't quite find the right words to her justice.
Instead, I'm sharing the contents of the note we sent to her husband*
{which with hindsight, doesn't read as fluently as it might}
~ taken in June 2016 ~
Dear Mr S.,
We were deeply saddened to learn of Mrs. S.'s death.  It was our great privilege to know her, albeit for far too short a time.  She was a lady who showed love, compassion, grace, humour and generosity to all who had the good fortune to cross paths with her.  Mrs S. gave hope to hundreds, probably thousands, of children with additional needs, and their parents, that a fully-inclusive education was possible.  That hope is her legacy.
The three of us will remember Mrs S. often and with great fondness.  Please know that you, your sons and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.
With our love, Ruth, The Brainy One and The Boy Child xx     

There's a lot of truth in the saying, "no-one forgets a good teacher."

{*Mr S just so happened to be the Headmaster of The Boy Child's previous school} 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Snap #38 | New York City from High

Helena has a new photographic theme for 2016:
Snap, a visually linked group of 2 to 4 images.
 Looking South from the Empire State Building.
 Looking North West from One World Trade Center 
Looking East to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges
from One World Trade Center.
 Looking North from the Empire State Building.
You can see more Snap images here.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Craft Room Revamp Complete

The remnants of Storm Angus was doing its thing
outside the window as these photos were taken yesterday afternoon.
Generally, as a rule, I love living in the UK, but on occasion,
such as taking photos indoors in November light,
I quite fancy a spot of, say, Arizona sunshine. 
Know what I'm saying?
The revamp of my craft room is complete.
And I love it!
 I deliberately chose a smaller desk for blogging and scrapbooking,
as it means I have to be tidier in order to be productive.
This desk is, in fact, designed to be a dressing table. 
 This retro sideboard is quite possibly the
 most beautiful piece of furniture I have ever purchased.
There's two shelves waiting to go up on the wall and I still have
to find a home for a few things, but otherwise, that's it.
The biggest realisation has been that I may have to scrapbook less,
as I {we} are running out of album storage space.
Which is too terrible to even contemplate. 
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