Wednesday, 24 December 2008
Rob took this photograph of our town at around 8am this morning. It's still not quite light and the Christmas lights are still sparkling brightly. Shopping is done and Rob has let me off preparing vegetables for tomorrow and I'm here to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I've just taken the ham out of the oven and I'll be making some sticky toffee puddings later today.
The garden has been raided for its supply of ivy. The picture above is of our bedroom and tonight we sleep beneath the fairy lights in our own little grotto!
The advent village is complete with the addition of the church yesterday,
and today, the Christmas tree has been added with its bright lights and is already covered in a sprinkling of fresh snow.
The village remains busy today. The toyshop and sweetshop are both full of children's laughter as they persaude a willing relative to part with their cash. The greengrocer and baker are selling out of their stock quickly and the florist still has a few wreaths for sale for last minute shoppers. Only the dressmaker is quiet today as those little black dresses have been collected and are hanging in wardrobes ready for the parties that begin this evening. The quietest place to be is the church. It looks wonderful at this time of year with the warm glow from its stained glass windows and its magnificent displays of winter greenery. Tonight it will be the focal point for the villagers as there is only standing room left for latecomers for the midnight service.
Merry Christmas everyone. Hope yours is a good one.
Monday, 15 December 2008
This week has been a week of anticipation in the funkyhouse. Of course there is all the usual excitement and busyness of the festive season. But we have also had the anticipation of a new roof being put on the house. It's been a long time coming and I'm relieved to see the new slates going on now. Here are a couple of views
Much better don't you think? I must say the roofers have kept me busy making cups of tea on what have been very cold days for working outside. So much so that the kettle exploded on Saturday. Attempts to buy a matching replacement have been difficult. I did find one, but on getting it home and unpacking it from its box it was covered in scratches......I wasn't a happy bunny (or monkey for that matter) and back to the shop it had to go. I refuse to battle with shopping centre crowds any more, so I've ordered a new one from Amazon and in the meantime am catering with a saucepan!
Without doubt this week the most exciting thing was the anticipation of a parcel. I won a giveaway from lovely Simone at Linden Grove. Iwas so excited when I found the parcel on the doormat on Wednesday evening after work that I could hardly contain myself.
Inside were these beautifully wrapped little parcels.
They were opened feverishly to reveal these little beauties.
You will be shocked to know that I've already eaten the chocolate. The large heart is on display in the dining room filling it with the fragrance of the most delicious Christmas spices and the little pink heart sits prettily on my jacket.
I'm so lucky to win these beautiful handmade items and I was so shocked because I never usually win anything. Isn't the kindness and generosity of fellow bloggers absolutely amazing!
Thnak you Simone.
Monday, 8 December 2008
I don't particularly enjoy shopping in large cities, especially at this time of year. Instead we try to visit small market towns with interesting independent shops. Most of the major Christmas items are bought over the internet. This weekend meant a visit to Much Wenlock for their Christmas Fayre. It used to begin for us with a viist to Wenlock Priory and a donkey ride for Josh to visit Father Christmas in the candlelit ruins of the Priory. Well, he's far too grown up and sophisticated to do that sort of thing now, so we content ourselves with a leisurely wander around the shops, exploring the stalls in the streets and having a good mooch in the craft tent.
The Wenlock Deli is full of foodie gorgeousness, my favourites being their sumptuous desserts sold by the slice. In Wenlock Books we were offered warm punch to drink which reinvigorated us for our trek around the craft tent.
In the town square there is always a variety of entertainment, although this year 'Windbag' was playing his hurdy-gurdy in the main street.
I think this house belongs in my Advent village.
As the darkness fell we left Wenlock behind to return home to a warm fire and the promise of hot chocolate.
Sunday morning was bright and frosty and after hot porridge and chocolate croissants to fortify ourselves we ventured forth to find our perfect Christmas tree. Trees are lifted and stood up straight, examined carefully - that one is too tall, that one too bushy, another too spindly, until we find a tree we can all agree on. However, deliberation doesn't end here as we have to choose a wreath for the door.
With a wreath duly chosen, the tree is packed tightly into the car and we all jump in, eager to return home for some warming soup and an afternoon of tree decorating ahead.
Eventually, the tree is finished, although as hard as I try I can't seem to take a good photograph of it.
The Advent village is growing (too quickly I think) and the Greengrocers is now open for business and will be joined by more shops in the coming days. Quite a few people have asked where the village came from. Well, it's good old M&S, although it is around 10 years old now.
Thursday, 4 December 2008
The little village is beginning to grow and spread. The first little cottage has been built with its welcoming red door and festive wreath. Inside the air is full of the fragrance of Christmas tree and warm mince pies and the crackle of apple wood burning in the fireplace. Inside the bakery the baker is working very hard. As well as the usual crusty loaves and buttery croissants, more seasonal offerings are being prepared and the smell of warm spices fills the air. Also, the first of the very grand houses has now been built. Now, I've not been inside here and I usually take a sneaky peek inside as I walk past when the lights are lit. There is a magnificent marble fireplace and a large Christmas tree with its multicoloured lights twinkling and a graceful angel overlooking proceedings.
I must be totally mad musn't I - Imagining all this! I'll take my silly head off now, be a bit more sensible and show you some pictures of Tewkesbury. I love the Abbey with its beautiful architecture and serene interior. Our visit this time was wonderful, for as we walked around we were acompanied by an orchestra rehearsing Mozart's Requiem and Clarinet Concerto. The acoustics here are wonderful, as we know from watching The Mediaeval Baebes perform here two Christmasses ago.
The town itself is pretty. It is not a tourist town but caters for its locals. It has some 'Tracey shops' as Rob calls them, including a wonderful bookshop where you can browse at your leisure and an eclectic antiques centre crammed full of treasures.
There was disappoinment here this morning as Josh woke up to find there had been no snow and even worse, no likelihood of school being closed. Snowballing in the park will have to wait until another time as Maths and Technology haven't been cancelled today.
More from the village another day.
Monday, 1 December 2008
So it's that time of year again and we can all scramble to get our advent calendars on display. In this house - we have three, not one each but all of them for Josh! We have a wooden Father Christmas with red felt pockets which are filled with chocolates, a bog standard celebrations chocolate calendar and our very favourite advent village. This is the village where I would love to live. It has a warm and cosy church, a huge christmas tree, small cottages, grand houses and of course the best toyshop in the whole wide world. We have had this little calendar since Josh was about two - and he's thirteen in March. Still he insists that this little village comes out every year and is built in the lead up to Christmas Day. No chocolate, no sweets, just the pleasure of seeing each sweet little building arrive in the village with its frozen village pond (good for skating) and its copious amounts of snow (perfect for building snowmen).
I'll try to show you the village as it is built, some of the residents who live there and the house I would choose for myself.
Monday, 24 November 2008
Despite knowing that I've bought an awful lot of magazines this month, Rob has indulged me by surprising me with two gorgeous Christmas books. I've been drooling over this one in the shops for several weeks but at the price of £25 thougt it was far too expensive to buy at this time of year. Fortunately The Book People came to the rescue with the bargain price of £10 and it was in my eager mitts within a few days. It is full of gorgeous ideas for decorating with flowers
and delicious ideas for food.
A less familiar book was this one, although equally lovely and well laid out. It is full of ideas for decorations, food, table decorations and making presents. The theme throughout is a 'green' Christmas and thrifty ideas for homemade gifts.
How about yummy marshmallows?
Or how about these fabulous edible tree decorations?
I look forward to finding something to read at Christmas. Rob always insists that the has to read a Dickens novel at Christmas. For me, well for some reason Harry Potter always makes me feel Christmassy but this year I think I will indulge myself with something seasonal from Miss Read. I think my great treat this Christmas on t.v. will be a feature length Christmas edition of Lark Rise to Candleford. It is my one weakness!
Sunday, 9 November 2008
The December issue of Country Living is published and all's well. I've been a little worried of late about my beloved CL and its contents. Maybe because I'm a sad old woman and I've bought every copy ever published, I have become set in my ways and cannot accept change. However, in the last few months there has been too much of a sixties and seventies influence for me and not enough pretty floralness. There I've said it....it has been a'bit off' recently. This month it is back to sparkling form and is the best of the Christmas issues I've bought so far this year.
Fellow blogger Michele over at Cowboys & Custard is also featured in Emporium this month. Pop over and take a look at her box frames filled with vintage finds.
This weekend we took a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to begin the dreaded shopping. I can bear Christmas shopping if I'm somewhere civilised and pretty and not congested. Stratford is one of the larger places I enjoy visiting...for this shop in particular.
This shop is lovely at any time of year and is full of goodies by Greengate, Yankee Candles and all sorts of Christmas themed goodies. This next shop is also good for a tasty treat for yourself.
I did manage to control myself in these two shops but I did come away with a new winter coat from elsewhere. After a pub lunch we moved on to Broadway for Afternoon Tea and a browse around its lovely shops.Pretty as always but even more attractive in the twilight just as the lights are beginning to come on.
Here is one of my favourite shops.
And the Thomas Kinkade Gallery.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to have supper here at The Lygon Arms.
Never mind...there's always another day.