Friday, 21 December 2018

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly

How are we all? Are we all slowly drifting into a state of coming and going in every direction? It is a busy time and something we can't truly get away from if you still have children at school. Parties, Christmas jumper days, nativities, carol services and all that in between family outings, parties and weekends of merriment. It is a busy time of year and with all my might I am trying to not get caught out wishing days to end but it can be hard. 
I am shopped out and for us it is just the food shop and wrapping to do. Really we can survive without having to do too much more and all of the lovely little family moments can arrive with no stress either side. I think once the kids break up we can all just stop until the 7th when they are back at school. I think I am going to leave the blog dormant for a few weeks {she says} but sometimes I just get too excited when something happens and like to share it on here. 
That all said, our Christmas plans are easy, no travelling needed, both our families are here and we only need to spend 20 minutes in a car to get between grandparents. This time of year brings us chance to hang out at home and just be present here. 
With the house looking seasonally festive, {I will share that post soon} I am really trying to get my head into the 'reason for the season'. That is important to me and with all this other stuff going on, I am really trying to have a peaceful advent, and plan on keeping celebration for the 12 days after Christmas. Everything ends too quick for me. We want everywhere clean and clear to enter into one of the most depressing months of the year and actually, I need my fairy lights up longer than that! Often for us, the season doesn't start until Christmas eve, when usually Rob finishes work so it's nice to think we have all the time after to keep celebrating!
All in all though, this post is just a check-in, a ''here's where I am'' kind of post and as you can see, like most, I am super busy, very tired and looking forward to stopping!


My Home This Christmas

Decorating my house for Christmas.

I would never say I was a Humbug, but this Christmas I do feel a little sparse. I don't know, I mean, maybe I am way too keen with getting everything away but I really like clear surfaces and recently I have been feeling a bit claustrophobic with it all so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. All I know is that I have boxes upstairs with decorations in that haven't been used but I am really happy with how the house looks.

The Tree.

As always, simplicity is key. Apart from the kitchen shelf which is quite full I very nearly only put fairy lights on the Christmas tree as I wanted the tree itself to be in full focus. Quite a few of my big baubles have stayed off, my colour tones are much warmer, pinks and soft golds are what catch your eye and my new paper decorations {sold at H&M} are just what I needed to give my tree a more skandi nod. As I said, a lot of my decorations didn't come out as a lot of them are silver and antique glass, and as much as I love them, I just wanted to see green! 

The Mantle

The fireplace is the emptiest it has ever been: 4 candles, 2 deer and a wreath. Obviously plenty of fairy lights but how bare! Stockings will hang in the next week but since changing the lighting in this space and removing the mirror {do you remember when it was like that?} I just feel it looks so pretty like this, just simple. 

On The sideboard

My sideboard, again, has had a handful of decs, a faux tree {you can get this one from Homesense in store}, plenty of candles and some red berries are keeping it pretty. I just wonder if I need some more greenery. Maybe I have ruined it for myself, I always have fairy lights up and actually, maybe I should take them down so that I get that sparkle back when I put them out again, maybe?!

A Kitchen Shelfie

The Kitchen shelf is a different story. I have filled that as much as possible with extra decorations and little Christmas trees. I have swapped my tropical greenery for fir trees and that goes for the whole house. I always hide my house plants away as I think Christmas is for the fir. 

The Dining Table

The dining table now has a festive table cloth. I was going to put off using it but I wanted it out. It will need washing almost daily up until Christmas but I am putting a shorter white one over the top which is much easier to clean! That in itself fills the room with more colour. With little decorations ready for use on the big day, our normal crockery and cutlery will look extra special!

Decorating upstairs!

Upstairs the children's room is full of Christmas things. In fact, this year I wanted their room to have colour and excitement so thanks to GREAT LITTLE TRADING the kids' beds are adorned with beautiful Christmas Bedding and their BOOKCASES are full of Christmas books. The children also have the big advent calendar in their room this year along with a little Christmas tree and a new nativity set for them to play with. I got this one in particular as I loved the simplicity and the use of bare wood and also, the characters are really cute!
With a few extra touches the kids' room is perfectly Christmas focused for them!

Unlike last year our room is the same as always. To be honest, out headboard is more covered by a new mattress so I can't drape my garland across it and the top shelves have become more covered in the last year. Want to see what it did look like though? See that post HERE. I took some red berries up the other day but they live downstairs so I am going to buy more and dot them further about the house to bring that splash of seasonal red!

Other than that, we have a wreath on the door and some Christmas lights outside but I don't share pictures of the outside front of my house for obvious reasons!

How is your house looking? Full to bursting? I know I could have more out and at a friend's yesterday we chatted about how maybe I need more out for the kids, so it looks like I am definitely going to be purchasing a tree train sometime soon!! But in all honesty I think it is just good to go with what you like. What we have is enough and I am content with that and only feel guilty because social media shows me how full of Christmas guff everyone else's houses are. This is enough for me and I hope it brings some inspiration and idea for future years for you!


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Magic happens to those who believe. {A New Theatre Royal Post}

Christmas Magic.

Christmas can be a skeptical time of year. For older children, whispers start about certain questions of truth and we can find ourselves asking the same thing. Is the magic real? As a teenager I don’t remember not believing in Christmas magic, but I remember accepting that certain things are done by certain people and if I wanted to enjoy the prospect of Christmas magic then I simply didn’t say anything against it and got on with it.

With younger siblings there was always some kind of magic needing to be portrayed at this time of year. Whether it was “be good or Father Christmas won’t come” or even joyfully looking on at Santa visits, having younger siblings meant, in our house the Christmas magic was real, until I left the day we got married. Having a 7 year old brother at that time meant that it was all too truthful that the big FC would only come if you were good! And carrying that into our married life, Christmas happened, as you would expect until our own children came along and suddenly we needed a bit of magic in our house too. The early years were easy, I only think in the last 3 Raph has fully understood what it is all about! Films help tell the story, but that magic can’t be touched in the same way. Having met Santa a few times, we all get a sudden burst of magic and he becomes real in that way, but sometimes, sometimes the magic comes from other places. It’s shop assistants wishing you a Merry Christmas as you leave a store, or local experiences that let you see the happy magic that appears, and it just really highlights how Christmas magic is centred around one man at one time of year. Christmas magic comes from everyone who is willing to give it and it is us who can then perpetuate that into our children and others.

The Theatre at Christmas.

We went to The New Theatre Royal on Friday for the opening night of their Panto SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS. I expected a great performance as that is what the NTR put out. What I didn’t expected was a certain level of magic that came with it. As always the NTR stellar cast took to the stage with great enthusiasm. With a few familiar faces from past shows and from the TV we were entertained to the highest level of stage class! Amazing scenery, great costumes and well rehearsed lines were at the forefront of the show which made the way to laughing and clapping a plenty! Particular highlights for me was the amazing singing this year, with 3 amazing lead female vocalists {AMELIA LILY, SOPHIE GAUDIE & PAIGE BROOKLYN COOK} the show sounded incredible. With a fabulous princely character played by BARNEY HARWOOD and a comic sidekick played by CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON and a traditional panto Dame JOEY HOWARD this show was packed with entertainment throughout.

The magic is real

What you can never anticipate with kids and the theatre is how much they like it. Our children look onto that stage and just want to be on it. They see it as magic, the people acting are those characters, the things they say are the truth and our children fall head over heels in love with the show itself. They can't get enough of it, you can see on their faces that everything in plain sight is the best thing they have seen. What Raphael and Giulietta  have always been great at is listening to a story. They love books, they love films and thanks to our fortunate life they have been able to see some truly special stage shows at local theatres. This year it could be to do with their age, maybe their imagination is stronger and takes control more but they both watched this show with such joy that for Rob and I, we were able to truly see them being drawn in by the theatre magic. 
The thing with this theatre though is that now it is a bit familiar to us, the children are really comfortable here and when it was offered to us to hang around and *maybe* see some of the cast I felt very honoured. At the Easter Panto here you have an option to meet the cast, fully dressed after the show as it is slightly smaller, but the Christmas panto is a much bigger production with lots more going on and their isn't the same option. However, not saying anything to the kids until the last minute meant that expectations weren't set up and by magical chance, who should walk out when we were standing there but the male lead BARNEY HARWOOD. Our Children's faces were an absolute picture. They just couldn't believe their luck at being there when he walked out. And thanks to the sheer kindness and patience of Mr Harwood our children got to sit and chat to him like he was a true mate. He was closely followed by CHRIS JOHNSON {The comedy sidekick} who equally made the kids laugh and laugh after he gave up his time to stand about and entertain them. 
Their time and kindness only solidified what coming the the theatre means to us. For Rob and I as parents, this place gives us a magical feeling of going somewhere special and it gives our children that magical twinkle in their eye. 
It also allows them the knowledge of understanding that maybe dreams really do come true and that people, who may act on stage or stand in front of you in plain clothes also bring the magic in the most simplest and kindest of ways.
Give yourself time this year to try and see a local panto. Let children experience the theatre because there is nothing quite like the magic that it can bring. 

The Show Pictures

*These tickets were gifted but the thoughts remain true. If you follow me on social media you will see that we attend this theatre and other locals ones often as we love them so much!

(Note from Rob: as I was spell checking this I was welling up as we had such a wonderful time and I'm an enormous woose!)

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Make Your Own Old Jumper Scarf.

Turn old jumpers into a beautiful new scarf!

I mean, I feel like a real broken record but let's just say that I have found a passion for reducing a bit of waste!
Fashion waste too, and in a way I wouldn't have wasted these but they would have sat doing nothing for a long time!
Anyway, having had a few cashmere {not 100%}  jumpers get a bit moth eaten, I was really loathed to throw them. I know so many people are so good at repurposing items and after a lovely discussion with some women at work I felt truly inspired to have a go at turning old jumpers into a scarf and it could not be easier!

A little how to.

This method is incredibly simple but the joy of it is that you can really make it your own. In fact as I write I am thinking of all the options, but for me I simply made two scarfs in different colours sewing 3 jumpers together. But, imagine making making a whole grey scarf from a range of different shades of grey. The ideas can so easily be adapted.

The basic plan goes something like this. Cut straight under the jumper from armpit to armpit. Then, depending if the hem is really tight or loose, cut straight across leaving you with the jumper middle and two joined seams.

Then cut one of the side seams off. I would pick the one where the label is. Cut the whole seam off, it means you will have a nice edge when it comes to sewing it to another jumper. 

So now, you will have a pile of jumper middles. Yes, one seam is still visible, but trust me, this is how you want it to look! 

Once you have cut up your jumpers (3 make a great length) you can start sewing the edges together. Mine were pretty similar widths so I just matched the edges up. 

Sew a simple straight line stitch joining the two pieces and keep adding until you are happy with the length.

And that is it.
The cashmere gets a beautiful natural roll and you don't need to do anything to the edges, it sits beautifully and the seams suit its style so much.

Imagine what you could do? You could even make it a wide scarf by sewing the long lengths together, oh it would be like a blanket but you will need a lot of old jumpers for that!

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