A Very Online Christmas

It was a wet Saturday morning and with our local tube station closed for the weekend for engineering works (outrageous!) we were debating going Christmas shopping in Central London by bus.

There are so many things wrong with that sentence it’s hard to know where to start… Christmas Shopping… Central London… BY BUS!!

As luck would have it, it started raining and that was just one thing too many to contemplate… IN THE RAIN!!! Absolutely not.

We cranked up the heating, got comfortable and plugged in. We were doing the Christmas Shopping from the warmth and comfort of the sofa this year.

Perhaps it felt slightly less festive but with the majority of the presents ticked off the list and no tempers frayed due to panic buying, rude pedestrians or any of the usual challenges, it was a very nice way to spend a wet Saturday.

Online Christmas, definitely less painful!

Autumnal Musings

This morning was one of those bright, crisp Autumnal mornings I used to dream about when I lived in LA. 

A bright blue sky, the first frost on the grass, a few golden leaves hanging delicately from damp branches whilst the early morning sun lit shades of russet with highlights of gold. Fat, grey squirrels jumping from branch to branch, falling leaves twirled on to the damp earth below whilst frosty breath caught the air.

I love Autumn, perhaps it’s because my birthday is in September so for me it’s the perfect time of year. Autumn always seems to live up to expectations. You know the conkers are going to fall, the leaves are going to turn gold and red and fall to the ground and you know where you stand. Unlike Summer, it doesn’t disappoint, expectations are lower.

By November goals have been set and either met or discarded and the old year feels comfortable, unlike January when, in the space of a day, it all starts again.

I kicked up a few crisp leaves and the little dog dashed around on the frosty grass trying to catch them. 

And then, as it was Friday, it was time for work but with an Autumnal weekend ahead, something to enjoy.

Burnt Marmalade

I was carefully dehydrating oranges in the oven to make Christmas decorations (seriously, what have I become?) when I decided (after some preliminary festive gin and tonic (hello my old friend) to bake a potato for dinner.

Before I realised it, there was a burnt marmalade smell and my lovely Christmas tree orange slices were burnt to a crisp. Festive Disaster!

It’s a first world problem but my future as a crafter is not looking good!


Mud Slinging Week 9: Battle of the Bulge

Suddenly it’s week 9 of mud slinging and it seems like we’re racing towards the finish line.

My bowls from week 7 have been fired and are ready for glazing but first I decided to throw some more random shapes, they could be bowls, ashtrays, saucers. I was experimenting with bulges.

Bowls ready for glazing

A flat bowl… or a saucer. Good for olives.
A small bulge. Good for olives.

The rest of the collection. Good for olives.

It’s a good thing we have seven olive trees in France as it seems I’m rather adept at making bowls for olives.

Time is of the essence as tonight’s creations need to dry by next week so they can be shaped and fired then glazed and fired again. 

Three more classes to go!

The inaugural trip to Liberty

Each year around this time, we go to Liberty to buy Christmas decorations. They sell out very quickly so it’s worth going early.

This has become a bit of a tradition and as a result we have a lovely collection of birds in shades of pink, gold and orange which come out every year in London. Each one unwrapped is a treasure and our fake tree looks amazing!

Going rustic for France
Little Felt Fox Terrier

This year is our first Christmas in France and we’ve decided to go rustic. Dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, pine cones and little felt animals. It promises to be a scented tree with all the different decorations. 

And of course, we have a little furry helper…

Agnes and the Fox Terrier

Suited and Booted

I am now officially ready for the slopes!

Yesterday we carried my new skis (carefully bought during the summer sales for a bargain price) into Covent Garden to have the bindings fitted. Done.

I bought a nice set of poles (reasonably colour coordinated) and I now have some extremely well-fitting ski boots. Done.

Buying ski boots was a fascinating and time consuming experience which involved being measured, moulded into custom foot beds and standing in hot boots as they cooled down to the shape of my feet. The entire process took about four hours and was not something to be rushed. If only we took as much time to fit high heels, things would be much more comfortable!

With all that done, the only challenge (other than actually skiing) is to find snow-covered mountains. In London there are none so it means carrying all the above-mentioned equipment to France. How to get all that across London on the tube? More fun to come I suspect.

Last weekend we saw snow on the lower mountains in the south of France so it seems that skiing may be a possibility at Christmas. 

Suited, booted and ready for the snow!

Another IKEA adventure

Of course it wasn’t going to be as straightforward as placing the order and taking delivery of a complete IKEA kitchen…

Arriving in France, our builder announced that he was missing legs for a couple of the units as well as three drawers and a sliding unit. Work had come to a halt and so we decided to go on another IKEA adventure which meant driving to Toulon, about an hour or so away.

And so off we went!

We took our order information and our delivery receipt and tried to explain that we hadn’t received certain items despite having paid for them. Luckily we had someone who spoke good English and the whole thing went quite well.

We were given a credit to pay for the replacement items and we decided that, as we were there, we’d have a look around IKEA to see if there was anything else we needed.

Before long we had a three lamps, a couple of essential flower vases and a cheese grater. We resisted buying too much as we’ll probably need to go back over Christmas to furnish the downstairs rooms so we loaded up the car and drove home.

As we unloaded everything we decided to move a wardrobe which had been left behind and there, lurking behind the new fridge and old wardrobe, were the three drawers and the sliding unit… we had replaced products we already had!

Luckily we had the new legs we needed so it wasn’t a wasted journey and work started again in earnest. 

Now with legs

We’re looking forward to seeing the final tiny kitchen when we’re back in December.