Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Wall to wall chaos

In Christmas, decorating, home, Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm

One of my lovely clients, Kiss Me Cupcakes, thoughtfully asked me yesterday how the DIY project was going, and sadly reminded me of some stupidly optimistic pledge I’d made to be finished by the 17th of the month. What are we on today? 14th? Yes. That’s not going to happen.

Remember the 1986 Tom Hanks movie The Money Pit? I’m living it. What started out as an exciting project has now dragged on and on for weeks and cost almost double what we anticipated, and we still have no radiators, no floor, and no wallpaper on the walls. That said, I have discovered that I am a demon with a paint roller and that the mixed-to-order Dulux paint we chose is every bit as lovely as we’d hoped. We have walls painted and skirting boards glossed. Adam’s got handy with a sander to avoid us shelling out yet more cash on cupboard doors, and we’ve restored the existing old doors on our meter cupboards to make sure they’re inkeeping with the rest of the woodwork. The interior glazed door, we found when we chose to replace that, was in fact hanging on by one solitary screw thanks to the previous inhabitants.

Right now, this is what it looks like:


Which, while it looks like there’s a long way to go, is a massive improvement on how it looked a month ago:


Aah, how I miss that television, that sofa…

I’m crossing everything that by the time I next post, there will be radiators on the wall, maybe even wallpapaer on the recessed walls and the new lights fitted. The end is in sight (how many times have I said that now? Don’t tell me.) The floor will be fitted early next week and I sincerely hope that by Friday 23rd, I’ll be able to put the Christmas tree up and drink a vat of eggnog in a desperate bid to capture the festive spirit I’ve missed out on.

Until then, I’ll continue to have my Christmas iPod play-list blasting out to try and remind myself that the house should be filled with fairy lights, holly and mistletoe. Thing is, I’d happily give up a Fairytale of New York forever in return for a Fairytale ending.


For the greater good

In Christmas, decorating, Holiday, home, Travel on December 7, 2011 at 7:30 pm

This time tomorrow, I should be sipping Champagne in Hamburg. The boyfriend and I booked it a couple of months ago as a reward for working so hard that we hardly see one another. Neither of us have ever been to Germany before, and following rave reviews from my uncle and brother, we decided a pre-Christmas festive break was in order. We planned to peruse the markets, eat and drink, enjoy the snow (snow has a place on winter holidays) and generally enjoy some time away from our iPhones, Blackberrys and emails.

Unfortunately, what we hadn’t allowed for when we booked our flights was the fact that we’re be neck-deep in plasterdust, sawdust and paint fumes. The idea of taking four days out to enjoy a city break and to return to a home that still needs so much TLC is simply unthinkable, so we’ve cut our losses and agreed that we’ll put all thoughts of Christmas markets and gluhwein out of our minds in favour of varnish, emulsion and gloss.

Maybe next year...

I’m telling myself that it’ll all be worth it, but right now, I’m struggling to see that it will.

From skirts to skirting boards

In Christmas, decorating, home, shopping on December 1, 2011 at 11:11 am

Bad times.

Last Saturday, I returned a dress that I really liked, because I thought I was being irresponsible buying two new dresses. Twenty minutes later, I spent £25 on lightbulbs. LIGHTBULBS.

The next day, I tried on the stunning blue velvet Charlotte Olympia-esque velvet shoes I’ve been coveting for weeks, and I didn’t buy them, even though they were just be-e-e-ea-utiful, because they were quite uncomfortable. I have at least three pairs of shoes in my wardrobe I’ve never worn because they’re so uncomfortable, so since when did that matter?

And then, yesterday, I’m almost too embarrassed to write it, I spent £300 on bannisters.

Let me tell you, I am rueing the day I started banging on about renovating our house. For the past year I have stomped and stormed about how much I hate the nasty decor and the boyfriend finally gave in. For a month now, I’ve been basically living in one room; the sitting room is empty, fire fitted, walls stripped and replastered. The conservatory is stacked with furniture and the kitchen is just a mess. My bedroom is the only room I see from dawn till dusk – and beyond.

This weekend, at least, the plaster will be dry and the painting will begin. The carpenter will fit my freakishly expensive bannisters, and next week, our new oak floor will be laid and our skirting boards fitted. And then – and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this – we can have the new radiators fitted. At present, it’s like living in a fridge. What possessed us to undertake this project in November and December I don’t know (Yes OK, I do. It was me saying I wanted it done by Christmas).

I know it’ll be worth it, I just hate the waiting. And the fact that my nails are all broken, I’m not getting to the gym, and that I’m having to forsake clothes in favour of wood varnish and light switches.

And yet, I don’t learn. Even though I can’t bear the disarray and the dust, I still want everything done at once. That’s why I bought all the bedding I wanted and why I waited for Adam to be otherwise disposed before sweet-talking his Dad into fitting the chandelier I bought weeks ago (which Adam kicked into the spare room and shut the door, I might add) for me. And doesn’t it look fabulous?

Oh, the lovely purple glamour of it

I confess, I wasn’t prepared for quite how much hassle it would be – it took a good two hours and that’s not allowing for the fiddling about with the crystals (I did that bit), and then I was slightly aghast at the £25 lightbulb revelation. But not as aghast as the discovery that there’s a fault and only one of the five lights works. I am acting oblivious, if it gets taken down, there’s a good chance it won’t get put back…

My current mission – and I do think that Adam will spontaneously combust if I push the issue, which has so far been met with a surprisingly loud ‘NO.’ – is to get a new floor fitted in the bedroom when the lounge flooring is replaced with lovely heritage oak and the stairs and landing is treated to a plush new coffee-coloured carpet. After all, it will just look scabby and untidy, will it not, on traipsing over all that loveliness to tatty old carpet?

I am currently torn between white limed oak and smoke brushed elm boards – rather rustic and gorgeous with the white furniture and deep purple accents, I think. All feedback welcomed.

Smoke brushed elm or white limed oak?

Although given that the bedroom is the one haven I have amidst the mess, maybe I am mad to even think of it.

In the meantime, I’ll just continue to oversee things in my supervisory, tea-making capacity, while demanding to know why everything’s taking so bloody long.

I’ll keep you posted.

Things I want #7654

In Christmas, fashion, shopping on November 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m really organised this Christmas. I’ve already bought most of my gifts and really only have The Boy left to buy for, which I find really difficult – largely as he generally wants vintage Star Wars memorabilia in perfect condition – which, I might add, he then leaves, untouched, in a dark box so it can’t be damaged by sunlight. How very dull.

Similarly, I am a nightmare to buy for (see previous posts on the birthday of identical thoughtful gifts!) because I like so many things, but invariably buy them for myself before the big day. At Christmas that’s acceptable, right? After all, I have so many parties and nights out planned that all of the shoes and bags, dresses, shrugs and earrings that I covet from mid-November would come in jolly useful before Christmas…

Take later this month. On November 29th, a fabulous new jewellery client of mine, called LaLa Rocks will be launching. I’ve already earmarked these gorgeous blue velvet shoes and clutch for it – and I plan to wangle an armful of matching bracelets for the big event. But then I saw these sparkly beauties at Dune and spied a matching clutch (there’s a theme to my coveting, isn’t there?) and thought – well, how much more Christmassy can you get? From being the hostess with the mostest on Christmas Day to teaming with jeans and a fauz fur jacket to meet my friends for cocktails, I’d wear them to death, so I need those before too…

So they don’t help with the compilation of my Christmas List because I know I’ll end up splashing out beforehand.I think gifts have to have that element to them where it’s something you’ve admired for a while, but haven’t been able to justify spoling yourself with – something that to be fair, I do too much of anyway. It’s difficult, but not impossible…


For example, I’ve seen this cute coin purse from Tiffany, which would probably see the end of me flinging my   change into the depths of the Bag Of Doom never to be seen again, and this ultra-sparkly cocktail ring by Thomas Sabo which, again, is something I’ll admire and desire but can’t justify buying for myself – though it would be a beautiful match for my Chanel Paradoxal nail polish…

That said, since I’ve been so sensible with my Christmas requests from my parents – namely asking for new lighting for the in-progress lounge, maybe such sparkle wouldn’t be frowned on. Now, where’s my fountain pen? Dear Father Christmas, I have been ever so good this year…




Post-Christmas Blues

In Christmas, health on January 5, 2010 at 11:43 am

I’ve been thoroughly out of sorts ever since Christmas passed. I usually start the new year in a frenzy of good intentions and resolve. This year I could barely muster the inclination to think about what I hope to achieve over the next 12 months.

I think, like a lot of people, 2009 was quite a turbulent year for me and I had hoped that the midnight fireworks would herald a new wave of ambition and enthusiasm, but so far, not so good.  What it has brought thus far is a wave of hormones and a cold that sees me constantly sniffing or welling up at a sad story on the news or in a TV drama, and seeking to break the world record for the most sneezes in a 60 minute period.

Rising at 6am today to drag myself to the gym actually felt like the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the glimmer of positivity that emerged as I showered after my first workout of 2010 is hopefully going to widen into a huge rose-tinted snow-globe. I can’t help thinking that even though I couldn’t even attempt to match my ususal regime, the 40-minute effort has at least nudged the endorphins that have been hibernating and that they’ll be putting on their leg warmers and planning to make a big appearance by the weekend.

Watch this space…

Jingle all the way

In Christmas on December 10, 2009 at 10:13 am

It’s just two weeks until Christmas Eve and I am concerned that I have lost some of the festive cheer that I am usually brimming over with. I think possibly stress and sheer bad humour have transformed me into the Grinch, so I’ve had a word with myself and am under orders to pull myself together and start being festive.

My housemate Mark and I had a Christmas party on Saturday night, complete with Mincer Pies, Slade and holly, and I did embrace the festive spirit (gin, mainly) quite fervently for a while, but I’ve slumped again. Indeed, I was actually sat on the sitting room floor wrapping presents on Tuesday night and ranting about how much effort it involved to wrap, tie ribbons and write imaginative messages on the tags. What a misery. usually I’m dripping in metallic ribbon and loving the build-up.

Last night, I think, marked the beginning of festive Faith. I met Jeremy and Beki for drinks and gossip at the Plough & harrow- and enjoyed the misteltoe, the roaring fires and the Xmas Atmos, and got home to discover Mark had unpacked all of the tree decorations in readiness for collecting the Blue Spruce tonight. I won’t be allowed to decorate it, oh no, he is far to fastidious to allow me to help, but I’ll be allowed to watch and offer advice (which will be disregarded.)  And this weekend with my family should be a failsafe way to come away singing carols and distributing glad tidings.

The girls in the office have agreed that the day we break up, we’ll bring in buffet treats and sparkling wine to toast the season, much like we brought lego to school and watched Never Ending Story on the last day of term, and my gal-pals and I shall be meeting early on Christmas Eve and enjoying a champagne brunch and taking some time away from children and pets (and in my case, things) to spend some quality time together before the families descend.

Christmas comes but once a year, and I’m determined to make sure I enjoy it every bit as much as I always did, however much I feel tired, stressed and bad tempered. I mean, Santa Claus manages to be jolly, and his December makes mine look like a walk in the park.

Merry Christmas!