Thursday, 27 December 2007

Walking in the Woods

I have decided that a walk in the woods on Boxing Day may become a new family tradition. Well a couple tradition, anyway, seeing as there are only two of us.

Batsford Arboretum is about 15 miles away from where we live and although I have had plans all year to go, we only made it yesterday. My intention had been to go each season, to photograph the changes, particularly in Autumn but there were still pictures to be taken yesterday.
There were loads of people out and about, enjoying the mulled wine on offer and the mild weather. Children with new bikes and trikes, dogs enjoying the leaves and adults sporting their new christmas jumpers (or hats in my case)

Ah yes, the old 'extend your arm and take a photo of ourselves' trick. I admit to looking a little worse for wear in the photo, although am blaming it on lack of make up, rather than over indulgence of wine the previous day. Or was it champagne?

I could tell a big fib and say that this is our house, but alas, it is just a fabulous place which looks as if it has been dropped in the middle of the woods. They have the most amazing view, and the porch is beautifully decorated with pots and planters, and bird feeders. It made me think of Hansel and Gretel, although was sadly lacking in gingerbread. It must have been lovely to wake up in a location like that on Christmas morning. Or any morning, come to that.

Or this place, which I think belongs to the Batsford family, although more research is needed on my part. It is right on the edge of the estate and is beautiful. We could just make out hundreds of twinkling lights through the leaded windows, there must have been a big family gathering, given the number of cars outside. How the other half live!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Tickets, please!

This is our wall of tickets from everywhere Rob and I have been over the last 4 years together. The tickets cover what would otherwise be a very boring utility cupboard door. There are memories from our honeymoon in Dublin and Co.Wicklow, concerts at Westonbirt Arboretum, winning (and losing) matches at Twickenham, and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers in Hyde Park.

We have been to see James Blunt, Corinne Bailey Rae, James Morrison, Al Murray, Dara O'Briain and Snow Patrol.

There are reminders of films we have been to see together. One in particular stands out from last year, when we were suffering with horrendous hangovers from the night before from a large corporate work do. We had both over indulged hugely on the free champagne on offer on the Friday night, forgetting that we had to do the same thing all over again on the Saturday night, with a different company. So after checking out and travelling from our hotel on one side of london and then checking into another hotel on the other side of london, we had to decide on a soothing afternoon activity to tide us over until we had to don tuxedos and party dresses again. Rob came up with sitting in the dark at the Odeon in Leicester Square and whiling away the afternoon watching Casino Royal. Genius. He got James Bond action (I got Daniel Craig in shorts) and I also got relative quiet and dark in which to suffer, and recover, ready to do it all over again a couple of hours later.

There are our tickets from when we went to see Jools Holland in the park in Shrewsbury with friends, and had a lovely picnic. From when we went to see The Bootleg Beatles at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire, and again had a picnic with friends and family in the sunshine.

Every ticket or menu or receipt is a reminder of something different, like a scrapbook of the year, which we are constantly adding to. There are some still waiting to go up, like the tickets from the Veuve Cliquot Polo day, when Rob, myself and my brother had a wonderful day in the blazing sunshine, people watching, drinking champagne (again) and cheering. I'm still not 100% sure of what was going on with the polo, but it was fun all the same.

Twice now we have been to the VW VanFest at Malvern, where fabulous campervans of all ages, models and colours imaginable decend for the weekend. It's fascinating walking around, seeing how creative people have been, and hopefully one day we will have one of our own....

I know our door has nothing to do with Christmas, but Christmas is a time when a lot of people reflect on ups and downs of the past year and hopefully look forward to the coming year...I walk past our door several times a day but rarely stop to look and appreciate all of the lovely things we have done together. I am sure we will be adding to it next year, although we are rapidly running out of room...!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Vodka shots, anyone?

Oh dear. The works Christmas party starts in approx. one hour. It will be my last Christmas party as a girl in my 20's. Next year I will be responsible and behave like a lady. I fear I may have a headache tomorrow....

Monday, 17 December 2007

Wedded Bliss

Three years ago today at 4pm, with 38 close friends and family present we got married. We had such a fabulous day, everything went according to plan, it was simple straightforward and wonderful. We had candles, christmas trees, red berries and roses. We had champagne, log fires and crisp wintery weather outside. We had a string quartet to entertain the troops throughout the service, to walk down the aisle to, and to play christmas carols to entertain the masses whilst we had photos taken.
The best advice I had beforehand was to take a step back every now and again and drink it all in, to help me remember it all. I can remember everything, from how everyone expected me to be a nervous wreck (as is the norm in potentially stressful situations) and instead I was so excited I could hardly wait to get down the aisle. That must have been a good sign! I hardly ate a thing, again not because I was nervous, mainly because I was wearing a stupid basque under my dress and it hurt to sit down...It was so wonderful to feel like a princess for the day, to wear a beautiful dress and be surrounded by my nearest and dearest. The only person missing was my Grandad, which was so sad, but he was looking after his very poorly wife, which was understandable.
I have got an amazing husband, who makes me laugh, is supportive, kind, and wonderful and I genuinly can't believe how lucky I am. Even when he shrinks my cashmere jumpers in the tumble drier. And as he said today, here's to 300 more years...(am assuming that was because 3 and 30 would be too short a time, obviously)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Treesy does it...

I am not feeling particularly Christmassy, it must be said. This is not a bah-humbug kind of feeling, more a 'Good god, I've still got presents to buy, mince pies to make (possibly) and I don't think I can cope with one more visit to either a shopping centre or fact if I bump into one more dawdling person in another shop I may scream loudly in their ear.' Humph. So not bah humbug at all then....not much...

In truth I have bought most of the presents. Robs' birthday is on the 30th December so I have that horrid task of trying to decide which presents for Christmas Day, and which for birthday. It seems like I have bought quite a lot, but then I consider these two celebrations and the little pile looks a bit stingy. Maybe I will buy that bottle of aftershave after all.
One of my favourite bits of Christmas is buying the tree, which we did today. It is FREEZING here today and we bundled ourselves into the car and headed off in the direction of one of many tree selling places nearby. I wanted a tree in a pot to save arsing around with stands and water and all that malarky. Last years tree erecting ceremony is still grating on my mind, sadly.

So we found the tree and whilst jumping up and down in the barn that was selling them and trying to be festive we tried to catch the eye of the tree-seller. The guy was obviously catching up with long lost relatives/ neighbours/ people he had never met before/ and fifteen minutes in, with my nose beginning to turn blue I started trying to catch his attention by coughing. He knew we were there but STILL carried on describing the tree, where it had grown, what breed it was (?!) and what he was having for tea tonight. Grrr. Eventually the perfect tree purchasers left and he turned to a guy who wandered in as they wandered out.

"Hello, have you found a tree you want?" I very nearly lost the plot at the point but think the young man saw my strained, frozen expression and the icicles hanging from my chin and very kindly muttered that he thought we were there first. God bless that man.

Tree seller guy then started to describe said squat tree, telling us how popular they have been (it being Christmas and all, obviously) and that even though it was in a pot he couldn't guarantee that it would grow. Hmm. GIVE ME THE GODDAMM TREE BEFORE I GET HYPOTHERMIA. IT ONLY NEEDS TO LIVE FOR ANOTHER TEN DAYS.I DON'T CARE IF IT EXPLODES AT MIDNIGHT ON CHRISTMAS DAY AS LONG AS I CAN GET BACK IN OUR WARM CAR. NO!!! I DO NOT REQUIRE FREE MISTLETOE!!

Here's a picture of the tree. I love it. Merry Christmas. Feeling much better now.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

She sells seashells on the sea shore...

I won't be selling them really of course, and I know it's no longer the done thing to take shells from the beach, but I couldn't resist these..they look so pretty in these old jars on the bathroom shelf, and partly inspired my 'seaside bracelet' which I made last night. I just need to put a catch on it and it's finished.

I love the silver fish and starfish in particular.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Back down to earth!

We had a lovely time...that is me to the right, I like to think I was probably staring wistfully out to sea, but the likelihood is that I was checking out where we would buy a pasty from for lunch.

We were really lucky with the weather, apart from a few showers it was like this most of the time. We had a week of walking the cobbled streets of St Ives that we have come to know so well, had some delicious meals (more on that later) and saw lots of seals..great stuff. The great thing with going at this time of year is that we feel like locals. There are relatively few tourists, and the roads are traffic free.

The apartment we stayed in was great, fully equipped with everything we could need and literally just behind where I am stood in the picture above. I particularly enjoyed sitting in the window and looking out over the beach and sea, usually with a book or magazine to hand. (see the envious tourists looking through the window..heehee)

Rob particularly liked yomping along the headland trying to take the perfect 'wave' photo...

This is my future retirement property..I really wanted to find some buoys on the beach to bring home and hang from the garden fence, but had no luck. Rob refused to steal them from the side of the fishing boats as well. Spoilsport.

We went to Jamie Olivers restaurent, Fifteen on Tuesday for an early anniversary treat.

The food was great, very reasonably priced and worth it entirely for the view...and bizarrely, the hand driers in the toilets, but then I am very easily pleased. (They were so cool, invented by Dyson, and you put your hands into the big machine and they dry them in 10 seconds! Good eh?..don't think the old lady next to me thought so, she saw the dyson sign and thought she was going to lose her jewellery) Anyway. The view!

The restaurent has been designed so that all tables are overlooking the beach, so no one feels hard done by, and the kitchen is open so that you can watch all the chefs hard at work. If you are ever down in Cornwall I would definitely make a booking in advance as it was packed the day we went.

Anyway, we are now home and the bathroom floor is covered in washing, although we have a beautifully decorated living room to relax in. I shall take a picture when it doesn't resemble a jumble sale and you can see for yourselves.