Friday, 8 January 2016

Dry January - not what you think

I've kick started the year with a bout of bronchitis, a someone-is-standing-on-my-chest illness that renders one feverish and glassy eyed. So being laid up in bed for several days now, I've done no more than wheeze, drink copious amounts of water to hydrate and slept with a cold wet cloth on my forehead to try and get my temperature down. Between naps, I've done a fair bit of reading. On my new Kindle Paper white. I know I'm really slow when it comes to technology, but I finally get it. Laying here unable to do much at all, clothes strewn everywhere, too unwell to do any kind of tidying up, piles of dishes in the kitchen…the only thing I've been able to do is read. After finishing my 2nd book, this one book kept popping up in my recommendations;  Spark Joy by Marie Kondo I wanted to know what all the fuss was about, so I got myself a sample to see if I’d like it. I did. At £9.49 it’s no cheap kindle book.  I pressed the buy button and started reading. I'm not finished yet. In between I've had to make a cup of good old English tea, swallow some Sudafed and throw away what looks like tissue hell on my bedroom floor.

For some time now I've realised I'm a bit of a collector (well I've always known!) And before you judge me, I have a tidy home, it’s just that I don’t like throwing things away. Anything from pebbles found on my local beach to old Toast Clothing brochures, going back to 2007 – why on earth am I keeping these? But then after reading Marie’s book, I’m beginning to feel like I need to get rid of some things. I bought a gold top on sale, thinking I might wear it (says she of the sturdy flat leather boots and brogues) Anyhow, this book is changing the way I think about the things I have and how I buy ‘stuff’.  If it doesn't bring me joy, it’s got to go and I can think of several things right now that don’t do that for me.

What I've also realised is that as soon as a new décor item pops up on the radar, either in a blog I'm reading or in an email I've subscribed to, I can’t seem to say no. I am constantly buying items that I don’t need. (Does anyone else feel the lure of online shopping?) So instead of doing Dry January, like the rest of Britain, not drinking for an entire month and then on the 1st of February, lunging head first into a full sized bucket of wine (besides I'm teetotal) I've decided I’m going to do No Shop January, but instead of doing just one month, I'm really going to try and not buy a single thing for an entire three months (obviously I'm not counting food/toiletries). This is going to be EXTREMELY hard for me, but it’s a challenge I'm setting for myself to see if I have the willpower to end this continuous buying spree which threatens to take over my life and only have items in my home that Spark Joy. 

In the meantime, some photos I might or might not have posted before….because nothing cheers one up more than flowers…

 (all photos by me)

Have a good weekend

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Christmas Table Decorations

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas! I ate far too much of everything and now need a few long and brisk walks to appease my guilt! My Honeybee will be leaving the nest soon to go back to her own little nest in the south where they are enjoying temperatures of around 36C …but we can’t complain either.  We've had the mildest winter ever apart from the rain which does not seem to want to stop, but my thoughts and prayers go out to those further up north where the rain has been relentless and caused mass destruction of homes and businesses. Here in my town, one of the roads along the promenade gave way under the strain of the recent weather.

This year I really had fun doing my Christmas table, and this one is my favourite so far! I had a piece of vintage Sanderson fabric which when I bought it two years ago, was going to become cushions, but I shelved that idea as a tad too granny for me and packed it back in the box.  I wanted a slightly bohemian painterly Vermeer meets an eclectic modern day 21st century look and I think the floral fabric and the quirky elements like the black parrots add to that feel as well as the lovely baubles.  I bought a few blousy flowers and with some greenery made a free flowing flower arrangement (the best kind as far as I'm concerned) as a centre piece.  To balance out the red tones, I picked out the blue in the fabric and used my blue Willow pattern dinner plates with white damask napkins and vintage brass napkin rings.

Our family don’t do a traditional Christmas lunch, so that’s a pecan nut pie you see on the edge of one of the photos, a family favourite, as well as a vanilla Panna Cotta with raspberry coulis. I’ll share these recipes in a later post.

Apologies for the bad photos, I really need to improve my skills, I found it really hard to take photos as our Christmas tree was covering the window with the only natural light I have in my dining room. A photography course is on my want list for 2016...

So a little resource list if this kind of table appeals to your bohemian spirit:

  • Floral Fabric: Vintage Sanderson; try vintage fairs for big pieces.
  • Gold Melamine chargers: available from a variety of places, I got mine from eBay a few years ago.
  • Dinner plates: Blue Willow Pattern available from vintage fairs and this Italian Spode is also very pretty and collectable here
  • Face plates: these I found at TKMaxx but they were available also available at the National Portrait Gallery shop.
  • Black Parrots: an ebay find.
  • Hexagonal brass napkin rings: Etsy:   here
  • Gold plated cutlery: ASDA.
  • Pretty baubles from John Lewis online.
  • Flowers by moi!

Wishing you all a healthy, happy, contented 2016, filled with new adventures and happenings!