Friday, 30 December 2011

2012 and all that

I'm generally not one for New Year's resolutions.  It just seems like setting yourself up for failure and recrimination. I mean if you haven't lost weight etc in the previous year, you're not going to do it in the coming year simply because it's a New Year's resolution.

Having said that, I was touched and inspired by this post by the lovely Ines of 'All I am - a redhead'.  

A few years ago, my wonderful father was killed in horrific circumstances and my life & the lives of all those who loved him were changed forever.  In amongst the turmoil, the terror and grief of the aftermath I came to the conclusion that life is a fragile, fleeting, beautiful thing and we all have a duty to enjoy our lives to the fullest.  

Enjoyment is a different thing for everyone so it's impossible to lay down ground rules but I'll say this... 

Let those around you know how much they mean to you.  
Don't be too sensible.  If you really want those eyewateringly expensive shoes, buy them.  When you're 95 and looking back over your life, what will you remember, how you conscientiously paid the gas bill or how much pleasure you got from your lovely shoes?  Remember to be responsible though.
Take time to appreciate the small things in life - a breathtaking sunset, a delicious meal.
You can never laugh too much.

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope 2012 brings you everything you want and more.  x 

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Great South London Christmas Tree Hunt

I think we all have a picture in our heads of how the perfect Christmas should be.  I know I do.

A couple of days ago, I decided that my lodger, my boyfriend and myself would spend an evening decorating our Christmas tree.  I had a vague scene playing in my head with the three of us sipping Gluhwein/Baileys, nibbling on mince pies with festive music playing softly in the background and regaling heart warming & amusing Christmas related stories from our pasts whilst placing the decorations on the tree in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Well, the Christmas music was located on my iPod and the Baileys & mince pies were duly bought so all that remained was to get the Christmas tree.  My living room's not very big so I needed a Christmas tree that could sit on the table and allow us to use the table at the same time.  A tree that was no more than 2 foot high.  Last year we managed to get one without any problem.

We started off at the smaller branch of Sainsburys near the flat - only big trees. Waitrose - again the trees were too big.  Lidl - nothing. We looked in the markets/florists/street sellers nearby - all their trees were enormous.

I was still confident at this point that we'd find one pretty quickly. It's about a mile's walk to the next tube station with lots of shops along the way and I was positive that we'd find one somewhere along that road.  Rapidly it became clear that we weren't to have any luck and I started to panic silently.  My lodger was relying to us to find a tree to decorate!  Of course she wouldn't have minded at all if we'd gone home and told her we'd have to do it another day because we couldn't find a tree but I'd succumbed to the traditional pressure to Have a Perfect Christmas.

Mentally I started to consider alternatives.

A plastic palm tree!  Why not, Jesus was from the Middle East after all so it'd be more ya' know, authentic!  I'm sure my Christmas decorations would look fine on it.

A vaguely Islamic looking sculpture!  Yay for multiculturism!

A yucca plant!  Hey, I'm an alternative kinda gal!

Buy a huge Christmas tree, re-arrange the living room and store the furniture in the bedroom!  Sounds fine!  Gotta have Christmas spirit!

Tape a Magic Tree air freshener to a stick!  At least the living room'd smell nice!

By the time we reached the big Sainsburys near the next tube station, I was ready to try anything.  They were selling fir branches & my boyfriend suggested taping two branches together to create a kind of cloven hooved, two trunk tree, then putting it in a flower pot with loads of soil.  I wasn't quite desperate enough yet to have a dual trunk tree but I certainly put it on the short list.  Then I found a little 6 inch high tree.  It was the sort of thing that office workers would put on their computers but frankly, as far as I was concerned it was The Answer.  Slightly short but it was a Christmas tree nonetheless!  Luckily my boyfriend convinced me that my 2 inch high Christmas angel would just crush it.  He was right of course.

But we still had no tree.

We started off back home and I must admit I was staring wild eyed down all the side streets hoping to see a hitherto undiscovered market stall specialising in small Christmas trees.

You've guessed it.  There was nothing.  What was it about south London and their enormous living rooms with gigantic Christmas trees?

We were nearly home when I spotted a newsagents selling small plastic Christmas trees and I nearly cried with relief.  So I bought myself a slightly rusted tree-like structure covered in green plastic 'leaves'.  Christmas was saved!

Ladies and gentlemen, without any further ado, here it is...  our bent, rusty, plastic Christmas tree!  It's not perfect but it's ours and we had a great time decorating it in spite of everything.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't stress too much over the details.  Just relax and enjoy the time with your loved ones.  That's far more important than perfection.  

Happy Christmas everyone! xxx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

My new perfume - Miller Harris 'La Pluie'

I am bad.  I went out to buy Christmas presents and came back with a bottle of perfume for myself.  In my defence, however, it is La Pluie by Miller Harris which I defy anyone to resist.

A few months ago I was given a free sample of La Pluie and I knew immediately that I'd be buying it.  It was just a matter of when.  

I love it because it's a such distinctive and natural fragrance.  So many perfumes, especially the cheaper ones, smell as if the notes have been chemically created.  Let's be honest, no matter how well it's made, chemically created lavender/citrus etc will never smell as good as actual lavender or citrus.

It's also nice to wear something that no one else recognises.  Much as I like perfumes like Rive Gauche, Poison and ck one, they are pretty ubiquitous.  And who wants to be ubiquitous?  

Tuesday, 20 December 2011


I know it's a cliche, but Christmas really is one of my favourite times of year.

I love the cold weather and bundling up with colourful knitware.  I love the bright lights of Christmas decorations and how they cheer up a dark grey day.  I love the thrill of hunting down the perfect present for a loved one.

I did my last job of the year yesterday, (I freelance) so it's nice to slow down and spend some quality time with friends and family and of course my wonderful boyfriend.

My cousin and his wife are coming round to my place for Christmas Day and my boyfriend & I are going to cook.  No one really likes turkey so we're going to (try and) roast a salmon.  I'm a little nervous but the way I figure it is, if we stock up on booze, no one will be that bothered if the cooking is a little less than perfect.

What will you be doing for Christmas?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Object of Desire - The Kooples Puffer Jacket with Sheepskin

I've been lusting after this Puffer Jacket with sheepskin from the French brand The Kooples for a while now.

During winter it's too easy to sacrifice style for warmth and end up looking like your grandma.  

I love this jacket because the sheepskin panel elevates what could be a very run of the mill puffa jacket into something rather special.  You just have to look at it to know that you'd withstand the worst that the weather could throw at you when you're wearing this jacket.

I'd wear it with black skinny jeans, a grey or beige top and either biker boots or killer heels depending on how icy the pavements were.

And it's only £460 *sobs silently* 

Please let it be on sale soon.  For at least 80 percent off. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Rules of Eating Alone

I was out shopping recently when I overheard a thirty something man having the following conversation on his mobile...

"Oh, yes!  Yes, I'd love to come to dinner.

I haven't eaten a proper meal for weeks.  There's something so pathetic about cooking a proper meal when you're on your own.

Usually just toast...  With Marmite..." 

I actually stopped dead in disbelief when I heard this. Needless to say, I completely disagree with him so in honour of that sad, lonely man waiting for his life to start, here are my Rules for Eating Alone.

  1. Remember if you are eating alone, this is a special time.  It's your time to reflect on the day and make plans without any distractions.
  2. Listen to music.  My favourite is Classic FM.
  3. Cook simple, tasty, nutritious food.  Food that you enjoy.  Endless slices of Marmite toast implies a sense of disregard for your own wellbeing.  One of my favourite meals is fresh filled pasta with olive oil and gruyere cheese grated on top.  So simple and easy to prepare but healthy and filling.
  4. Sit down at the table and clear things like laptops away.  I love eating at my dining table.  It's in the corner of the living room and I can watch the sunset over the treetops.  I always lay the table properly with a place mat.  Personally I feel that if you eat on your lap in front of the TV, not only will you not appreciate your food, you'll invariably end up overeating because you're distracted.  Never eat standing up over the kitchen sink.
  5. Try not to take phone calls whilst you're eating.  There's plenty of time for that later.  


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