Christmas in a Week?!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

How quick has Christmas come?!  It doesn't seem two minutes ago I was downloading Michael Buble's Christmas album and playing it unseasonably before any hint of Winter was here.  Now in a week's time it will be Christmas Day and before you know it we're into another year.

I've always been a huge Christmas fanatic.  I grew up listening to Christmas music that my mum and me would put on loud while Dad was out at work or in the shed.  I even had my own Christmas tree in my bedroom, growing up.  Nowadays I love to put on all the seasonal albums, classical to pop, and blare it loud in the living room (or bathroom depending on where I am).  This year I've already played to death Michael Buble, (which is a fantastically festive and cheerful album, may I add!), and when I want something a little more relaxing, classical and choral music by composer John Rutter is the perfect choice. I'm not a music snob at all and don't profess to know anything intelligent where music's concerned (which is naughty of me when I have a musical mum and my late maternal Granddad was an amazing pianist and composer himself who once over played in bands alongside the late Roy Castle.)  I'm assuming I didn't inherit the musically talented genes of that side of my family, but I can proudly appreciate most genres of music.

Last Christmas the other half Sean and I saw classical-crossover artist Hayley Westenra sing in concert at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.  It was a lovely stop over trip where we got to meet Hayley herself after her beautiful concert.  

Me meeting Hayley Westenra

Sean meeting Hayley Westenra
 She was such a lovely, friendly girl who openly appreciates her fans and I was so excited to be able to speak to her after quite a few years of listening to her music.  The concert was specifically a Christmas themed treat where she sang songs from her Winter Magic album.  I loved her performances but the only part I wished was different was our seating.  We were up in the side stalls and it wasn't quite the same looking down on Hayley rather than watch her sing face on.  Her new album which came out in the summer was produced with Ennio Morricone and that is an equally fantastic collection of music.  I knew I wanted to see her in concert again so this time I made sure we booked tickets quickly in advance, so when we see her live at the Sage in Gateshead at the end of February we'll have good seating!

I've had a lot going on this year with one thing and another.  My modelling, but more negatively, my fibromyalgia.  I've not had the chance or ability to do lots of Christmassy things I otherwise would have loved to have done, so Christmas this time around has had it's difficulties.  We didn't get to go to a Christmas market in the end (last year we went to the truly festive market in Manchester when we went to the Hayley Westenra concert).  Usually we'd go to the National Trust carols by candlelight at Fountains Abbey too but unfortunately we couldn't make it this year.  I've not really been all that well, fibromyalgia is a nightmare for its fatigue and the past couple of months the pain and stiffness has hit me badly, having me on hands and knees at times.  Depression has a knack of kicking in when you're knocked off your feet so I've tried to remain as sane as I can!  I've tried not to get too wrapped up in what I should be feeling like at this time of year and just to accept and play out each day as it happens.  I did manage to make two christmas cakes and this evening I got round to the marzipan stage.  I actually made two cakes two months ago in October but I messed up with the timing and overcooked them.  One looked worse off so I chucked it but kept the other which looked somewhat salvageable if I doused it in even more rum.  I'm supposed to be taking a cake to the parents on Christmas Day so in a panic I made another cake last week to a different recipe.  So now I have two cakes, slightly different and I'm not sure which is better than the other.  I will have to deal with the icing later this week, when I intend to make some peaky royal icing.

All the presents are bought and wrapped up now (bar one or two that I'm still waiting for from Amazon) and I've just finished a bookmark which I was cross stitching for one of my Dad's pressies.  I found some charts of little realistic garden birds so I stitched them onto a piece of natural aida material to form a bookmark shape.  Finished that off earlier today and here it is before it gets wrapped up!

Dad's garden birds cross stitch bookmark

I have the new TV listings magazine at the ready now and I'm looking forward to some good seasonal viewing as from tomorrow, starting with the Christmas Michael Buble show on ITV ...

I'm in a mag. Again!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Yay!  January edition of Style at Home magazine has finally come out and I received my copy in the post today.  I've been so excited about seeing which bits they printed of me throughout the mag's features so now I can reveal all.

 page 7
The first time you see me in the mag is on the reader panel introduction page.  I'm at the top right hand corner so quite well placed.  I sent SAH a photo of some of my favourite bedroom inspirations.  A Miss Dior advert postcard I was sent a few years ago is a picture I actually really like.  I love the look of it, and it's something I've planned to base a photoshoot around at some point.

The second picture in that photo is an advert for part of a Beatrix Potter original art works gallery which went on loan temporarily from the gallery in the Lake District to Nunnington Hall near Helmsley, North Yorkshire.  I loved the image not only for Beatrix Potters beautiful drawing of the Two Bad Mice but also for how it was produced in a pretty and vintage way.  Credit to the graphic designer!

You'll also see a couple of teapots.  I actually bought these recently form B&Q of all places.  Would you believe they were Christmas decorations?!  They were so quirky and cute, I instantly wanted them to go in the bedroom.  I replaced the hanging cord with some pretty pastel coloured ribbons that I had.  In the bigger picture I'm hoping to create a fab shabby chic/vintage themed bedroom.

page 10 
Being part of the reader panel I was sent tonnes of PDFs of the scheduled magazine so I had to comment on lots of the features.  I was asked what my opinion was of the print cushions.  To be honest I probably wouldn't buy any of them but the cutest was definitely the alarm clock cushion.

page 28
I never considered myself a big fan of metallics in the home but this feature made me re-think that.  I quite liked the pewter theme with it's sweet heart decs and cushions.  Some shades can be pretty tacky and brash but I think it's getting the neutrality right.

page 77
 I LOVE themes that embrace nature and Christmas is the best way to bring in the feel of the outdoors.  For the past so many years I've enjoyed using real oranges as decoration.  In the past I would simply hang the orange slices that had been drying out in a low temperature oven on the Christmas tree but this year I made a garland.  We've only been in the house we're in now since earlier this year so it's always a challenge when it comes to festively decorating the house.  There's places you have available to decorate that you didn't have last year and then there's things you don't have this time.  The fireplace here doesn't have a mantle piece so the garland we usually put up wouldn't really go.  In the run up to Christmas I made my fruity garland with the intention of putting it above the fire, and it does look great!  Basically I strung orange slices on cord and tied bows intermittently in differing patterns to make it look really handmade and vintage.  My mum passed onto me several boxes of dried flowers and bits and pieces from my late Grandma and I added from this some poinsettia heads.  I like the thought behind doing this too, kinda like an heirloom.

my orange garland with a christmas 'Noel' dec in the centre

page 87 
I sooo knew they would print my comments for this article!  Who else would sing the praises of such a bargain as a £13 drill?!  I've got a thing for bargains and another thing at the moment for zesty colours.  I think that was why I felt drawn to the new design Soda Stream.  I love the colour.  This is the shade I'm channeling through the bathroom and toilet room,  I like it because it's so fresh.  I don't think the toilet would be the best place for a Soda Stream though...

January 2012 Style at Home magazine is out now if you want to see me in the mag.  It's a really good read too, I'll definitely be taking some inspirational ideas from it this month.  :-)

A blog that's just about me

I love social media.  I've long since realised I'm a bit of an obsessive when it comes to my laptop, or rather the fact I can't seem to be able to turn on my laptop without having to update my statuses and see what's going on.  It probably doesn't help that I've set Facebook as my homepage because even if I come online with the best intentions of doing something actually 'worthwhile' within seconds I'm sidetracked and I'm away in my little second life bubble.  I just can't help myself.  If it's not my Facebook profile account it's the pages of interest I've set up that I always have to check up on.  Then there's Twitter, and then I'm onto my blogs.  I'm surprised I only have three (now four) on the go but I suppose if I add them all up I do have a tidy little number of online aliases.

At school I loved writing.  When I wasn't at school I loved writing.  Stories, poems, writing letters of complaint.  Woah, now that's something I really DO enjoy!  It's not so much the complaining I like, it's all the stuff that goes with it.  I actually quite enjoy describing what I don't like about something or explaining how something I paid for really disappointed me.  There's a degree of satisfaction I can't even pin point.  It makes me feel powerful and like I can change the world.  Okay, maybe not the world but they do say all the little things count.

If you're lucky (or more likely, totally unlucky) enough to already follow me elsewhere, then this is the place I'm planning on talking, and moaning, and laughing about on here.  I have my modelling blog for all things modelly, and my guinea pig and rabbit blog for the furry related matter.  Oh and there's the complaints blog too.  This blog is simply going to be just 'me'.  You're going to get to know me inside and out whether you want to or not!  Thanks for following.  ;-)


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