Wednesday, 11 December 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Last Thursday saw us sneaking a day off from work to head to the bright lights of London. I have very special memories of being a child and my Dad bundling us into the car to see the Christmas lights when he was working in London. We stayed up really late and visited Toys r Us on the way home as an extra special treat.

Sion's work arranged coach travel for employees and their families to spend the day in London where we were free to spend the day how we choose. After a little bit of investigating I booked tickets to explore the Ice Kingdom at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. It was £7.50 for adults and although the tickets were in time slots you could spend as long as you wanted inside, although at -10 degrees C you didn't want to spend too long inside!
 
 
 
 
 


Then it was off to Oxford Street, through Covent Garden and into the West End for dinner at the Waldorf Hilton for a beautiful three course meal.
 
 
 
 
 
 

All the festive decorations really made us feel festive and so the weekend was spent choosing our Christmas tree and decorating it with old and new decorations. I have some decorations that I've had for ten years and each year I buy one or two new ones to add to the collection.


Now all that's left to do is the wrapping of presents and the writing of cards!

Linking up with The Gallery over at Sticky Fingers where today's prompt was 'Feeling Festive'.

 Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery
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Friday, 6 December 2013

Five Sentence Fiction - Highway

It was the sound of the bell over the door, muffled by years of use, that pulled her attention from the dog-eared magazine that a previous customer had left behind. 
 
Her hope soared, as her sidelong glance took in the height, build and hair colour of the travel weary man.
 
It had been so long since she had last seen his face, perhaps the hours she spent behind the counter had made her mind play cruel tricks, could it really be that he had kept his promise to come back to this stretch of highway? 
 
Working in this diner meant there was a constant stream of people stepping in and out of her life, some returning so regularly that she could predict their order before they had even sat in their booth.
 
As he came closer she could see the tiredness that was etched in his face fall away as he noticed her behind the counter, tears of joy silently falling as she realised he had returned.

This short story is being linked to Lillie McFerrin's Five Sentence Fiction. Please take a moment to read the other stories here.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Bitten by the ho ho ho bug...

Christmas has finally arrived on the little corner of the South Coast that I call home. I had a moment of panic before we went on holiday and ordered a few gifts online, but that was the extent of Christmas cheer I had.

Roll forward 2 weeks and the holiday is over! Since I went back to work I've brain stormed, price checked, ordered and received most of the gifts that are my responsibility. There are the usual difficult to buy for stragglers that I am waiting for divine intervention to take place, but the end of shopping is in sight.

Such is my building excitement for the crafting opportunities that surround Christmas, I found myself in Hobbycraft after work yesterday. They have a 3 for 2 sale on at the moment for a whole range of decorations, stamps, tapes and enough glitter to recreate the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom on a budget. I now appear to be making Christmas tree decorations and hand-stamping my own Christmas wrapping paper.

Sion is going to Wales in the next few weeks, so I'll have ample opportunity to decorate the flat and the tree. We are having an ongoing argument that the flat is too small for a tree (it isn't) and there's no point in decorating if we are going away on Boxing Day (there is).

To build the wintery Christmas excitement even more we are heading up to London on Thursday. Sion wants to see the Christmas Events in Selfridges and I've booked tickets to the Ice Kingdom at Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park.


Photo Courtesy of www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com

. By the time we've finished we'll be dressed as little elves, spreading Christmas cheer! We are going to have Thursday evening free so I'm looking for suggestions for things to do for a few hours...it needs to be in walking distance of Oxford Street and not involving eating...any suggestions will be gratefully received!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Life's a Beach...

Well we're back in the slightly cold UK after our fantastic holiday to Cuba and in the last two days we've washed, shopped, cleaned and packed away. Sion is back at work today and the trip is fast becoming a dream memory that we will never forget.

As is normal we took photo after photo, often 5 of the same scene and plenty of blurred images of a scuttling lizard than was as still as a rock until the camera was pulled out!

We stayed at Varadero beach which is 140km from the capital city of Havana, on the Atlantic ocean coast. Our days were filled with walks along the shoreline, sunning ourselves on the beach or by the pool and eating our own body weight in buffet and gourmet food. Sion discovered a love of mojitos and grilled fish at the beach bar, whereas I swayed towards daiquiris morning, noon & night!

We did escape the resort on three days to take a catamaran cruse to Cayo Blanco, a jeep safari to underground caves and of course into Havana to soak up the colonial architecture and scent of cigars. Havana deserves its own posting, but for now these photos will show why Cuba was our magic moment of the year!

















 I am linking up this week to The Oliver's Madhouse Magic Moments - take a look at the other blogs joining in!
 


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Leaving on a jet plane...

In 48 hours I will be sat on a train, heading to Gatwick Airport to sip champagne on our flight to Cuba. This holiday is so long overdue its rediculous. While we have been together for over a year this will be our first solo holiday. All our other trips have been with family and friends. While these have been lovely we need some one-on-one time deserately.

I have finially finished my busiest period at work, a year end, followed by an appraisal and extended audit has left me shattered. Sion has taken on a new role, completely different to his previous one. He's also doing an evening course to improve his career prospects and fantastic opportunities are just around the corner. I'm so proud of him and all the effort he is putting in, but our evenings consist of a slow cooked dinner, a slump on the sofa in front of mindless TV and bed by 10pm, god knows what will happen when we have children!!

Unfortunately before we get to enjoy the sun, sea and mojitos there's one or two jobs still to do, Sion is working todayand we are out for most of tomorrow so I will be (in no particular order);

Putting 3 loads of washing through, drying and ironing (only for holiday stuff, got to make the effort!)
Checking that our free travel insurance does actually cover us, possibly buying new travel insurance if not
Cleaning the flat, including scrubbing the bathroom floor which is quick frankly awful!
Cooking a healthy fat free, carb free dinner - I'm thinking pasta carbonara...I don't care anymore!
Charging my Kindle and downloading books for it
Digging out the one pack of cards that we own
Going into town to buy gift bags for our gifts for the staff in Cuba (there are still items that are difficult to get hold of so we are making gift bags of toiletries and things), a winter coat for me (Crew Clothing currently have 20% off coats) and deodorant for Sion.
Pluck my wayward brows, DIY mani-pedi and leg de-fuzz!

Before all that though I'm going to sit back, drink another cup of Chai tea and read a few blog posts - I am on holiday after all!!

I'll be back blogging in early December, hopefully more regularly and with exciting plans!

Friday, 8 November 2013

The C Word...

Nope not that "C" word...but the next rudest word...whisper it...Christmas!!

The last few weeks seemed to have passed me by and I had a scary realisation that I won't have a chance to start my Christmas shopping until we are properly into December. Now I love Christmas shopping but I hate Christmas crowds and over the last few years I have done the bulk of my shopping online, topping things up with finds at local Christmas fairs and independent shops. I try to stay away from the larger national stores, reducing the risk of duplicate presents and seeing as I'm in a festive, pre-holiday generous spirit I thought I would share a few of my favourite one stop sites.

Secret Sales sells a wide range of higher end gifts at reduced prices. You need to be a member to buy anything but once you have joined you get access to lots of great gift ideas such as
Women's navy glitter wellingtons Sale - Hunter Sale 0.04ct diamond solitaire ring Sale - Divas Diamond Sale Hydra Zen Neurocalm day cream 50ml Sale - Lancome Sale


This month if you join and buy something, use this link and you will receive a £10 e-voucher for money off (so will I and it all helps towards the hunter wellies!)


Not on The High Street has a huge range of personalised and different gifts for all ages. There can be a wait for some items, particularly the hand crafted items but the quality in my opinion has always been fantastic


 Personalised Birch Bark Candle Holder - tableware Personalised Family/Couples Papercut - posters & prints


If sweet things are more your thing A Quarter Of have a huuuuuuge range of retro penny sweets and bars of chocolate. You can buy premade hampers or I like to buy lots of different types and use them as stocking fillers or as part of larger hampers

SPACE DUST -  CHERRY,1970 box boxes sweets,retro sweets,retro sweetshops,liquorice sweets,toffees,toffee sweets,boiled sweets CHOCOLATE COINS aka Gold Chocolate Coins,gold coins chocolate money Choco Heaven  Coins  Chocolate  sweets  bauble tree decorations baubles christmas xmas giftsforchildren aka Gold Chocolate Coins,retro sweets,retro sweetshops,liquorice sweets,toffees,toffee sweets,boiled sweets ALPHABET LETTERS GUMS, Chewy   Soft  Penny   Fun  Fruit  Gum  Chewy & Soft  Penny & Fun  sweets,retro sweets,retro sweetshops,liquorice sweets,toffees,toffee sweets,boiled sweets
 
Now I've brought a few presents, I've got plans for the other presents that I need to buy and I've watched the John Lewis Christmas ad 4 times today. I need to step away from the Christmas glitter, at least until we get back from holiday!
 
What is your favourite online shop?


Thursday, 31 October 2013

Stating the Obvious...

On Sunday we are going to a charity football match in aid of Prostate and Breast Cancer charities that is being held by Sion's work colleagues.
 
Prostate Cancer is a cause very close to my heart and so I've offered to make some cakes that they can sell as refreshments, only problem is I couldn't decide which ones so I've had to buy enough ingredients to make chocolate brownies, raspberry tray bake, gingerbread men & chocolate caramel cupcakes.
 
I popped out at lunchtime to pick up the ingredients. The trolley was piled with mostly flour, eggs, butter, chocolate, sugar and baking paper.
 
The check out lady looked at everything on the conveyor belt, looked at me and said "Are you making a cake?"
 
With observation skills like that she'll soon be working for MI5!!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sunlight

100WCGU (7)

Following on from my weather themed last few posts
The prompt for this week's 100 Word Challenge is:… the sun streamed through…
 
 
It was the sickly, sweet smell that made Fiona question when her last shower had been.
Her bed was her island of solitude, the hurt & recriminations held back by the solid bedroom door. She knew that pausing her life like this wouldn’t bring him back but she just didn’t have the strength to press “play”.
 
The heavy thump of her sister’s feet on the stairs was swiftly followed by the door being flung wide.
 
In that moment the sun streamed through from the landing window, it’s weak warmth hitting her arm, giving her the gentle push to start again.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Stormy Weather...

Lord of the winds! I feel thee nigh,
I know thy breath in the burning sky!
And I wait, with a thrill in every vein,
For the coming of the hurricane!
 
The Hurricane by William Cullen Bryant 1854

This weekend we headed home to Cornwall. We are both weather geeks and love a bit of extreme conditions. Following the reports of expected bad weather we decided to do a bit of storm chasing and headed to the most Southerly point in the UK. These photos were the result of the storm chasing...the exhilaration of gale force winds and the power of the sea took our breath away, the grins stayed all afternoon. Unfortunately the proper storm happened overnight and we slept through it, only to wake and find a tree had fallen over two cars. No one was injured and the cars have minimal damage. Hopefully everyone else on the South Coast of England are also safe and unaffected.
 




 
 
 

Taken on my iphone at The Lizard in gale force winds...I think the blurry spray marked photos add to the atmosphere!!