Tuesday, 10 December 2013
The tree is up and decorated. Festive bits and bobs are (finally) making their way into our home...
A little Christmassy vignette - miniature tree, bark wreath, tiny antique bear guards a fir tree candle /
Pomegranates drying on the back of the oven /
Slices of apple destined for homemade decorations
Joining in with Lou's Nature in the Home series.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
A: Learning backgammon
T: Learning to hold a crayon
This weekend I've been treated to a surprise night away (lucky me!), more of which soon. And we'll be getting a little bit more festive around here, too.
When I look around me, it seems as though everyone's Christmas-ready but me. I haven't bought a tree, decorated, found any presents let alone planned anything, nor have I written any cards. I'd better get on with it, hadn't I?
Friday, 6 December 2013
2. Manhattans at lunchtime
3. A wily pooch at the Frome Supermarket
4. Serious fun
5. Velvet red roses and sea thistle
6. Choosing magic keys at the flea market
Thanks to Debenhams Flowers for sending the beautiful 'Rejoice' bouquet.
Readers of Oyster & Pearl can claim £5 off any Christmas flowers by using the code XMASBLOG (offer expires 21 December 2013).
November's vegan month wasn't quite what I'd hoped. I think I'd better draw a line under the whole episode, which just confirmed for me that the middle ground is the best option (sounds contrived, but that's what the book is advocating, too). Although I was interested to see that Jay Z and Beyonce are also attempting to eat vegan for a month or so.
Anyway, on to this month. December is a month of NOW. I am the world's worst procrastinator and I like to make a simple one-step job into several, more complicated ones, perhaps dragged out over multiple days. No more. This month I'm going to say NOW and YES and OK all the time. Here's hoping.
Are you a procrastinator like me? Or perhaps you're going to attempt to try something different for a month. I'd love to know.
Sunday, 1 December 2013
Last December I heard tales of woe from a friend whose kids were waking at 4am, so eager were they to open their chocolate advent calendars. Recently, we've cut sugar right down in T's diet, partly in a bid to reduce the congestion in his system (hoping to improve his hearing) and partly to calm down his behaviour. It's been working.
So this year we've avoided chocolate advent calendars altogether, instead buying a Lego one and making our own as well.
For this simple advent calendar, you will need:
Brown paper / paper bags / envelopes
Card / little presents
Ribbons / bakers twine / other decorative bits and bobs
Match treats to days (we already have some fun Christmassy stuff planned so this is what each envelope will contain).
Match treats to wrapping, write out your numbers on the wrapping or on luggage labels.
Wrap treats or write out little postcards and seal in individual envelopes / paper bags; attach corresponding labels using festive ribbon or twine.
Hang string - we have a giant blackboard that dominates our breakfast room, so this was the obvious place for our advent calendar. You could also use a mantlepiece, mirror or beam, or hang a large branch over the table.
Peg each individual package to the string.
Add snippets of foliage - I used rose hips, ivy, rosemary and chilean potato vine - either under the pegs or glue-gunned to the pegs themselves. I also added a couple of glittered acorn cups for added sparkle.
If you need some ideas for what might go into each package, here's a list of our treats:
1. Visit to a Christmas market
2. Chocolate coin
4. Make gingerbread biscuits
5. Chocolate snowman
6. Put up little trees in boys' bedroom
7. Christmas party
8. Christmas tree shopping / decorating
9. Chocolate coin
10. Moshi monsters
11. Watch a Christmas film
12. A message from FC
13. Make paper chains
14. Lunch out
15. Make a gingerbread house
16. Chocolate coin
18. Wind-up toy
20. Tea by candlelight
21. Make reindeer food
22. Make hot chocolate
23. A decoration for the tree
24. Ice skating
Saturday, 30 November 2013
A: Bubbles on the bridge
T: New kicks don't stay white for long
Just four weeks left until 2013 is over. But lots to pack in before then. December always takes me by surprise (actually, each new month is a little like that) and I'm one of the panicked shoppers now wondering what the hell to buy for my nearest and dearest.
Last Sunday was the day traditionally spent stirring up the Christmas pud and cake but I did neither. The times I've made fruit cake in the past I've ended up eating most of it as I live with dried fruit-averse weirdos. This year, we'll probably attempt a yule log or something the kids can help with (baking AND eating), and I'll buy myself a teeny cake as a nod to tradition.
Oh, I do so love this time of year. Not only is it Christmas but it's also my birthday, and I am a fan of both celebrations. Right now I'm putting together an advent calendar for the kiddos (nothing like the last minute) and plotting and planning tree purchases, and pinning like mad to my Christmas board. Have a look, if you fancy.
Joining in with Jodi's 52 project.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
No, not Russell Brand. But the woman in the audience who challenged him.
A couple of weeks ago we went to see Russell Brand at the Colston Hall. Not something we'd have bought tickets for, but seeing as Seatwave sent us a pair we were looking forward to it, particularly after Brand's recent run in with Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight. Brand's re-brand as political revolutionary is interesting, both for its audacity and as a challenge to the political establishment; whipping up the disenfranchised youth is all too rare these days. And I've always loved reading his work in the Guardian et al; his brain is his most attractive asset, in my opinion.
Part of Brand's schtick is to hop off the stage and roam about the audience, having a chat with willing participants. I'm desperately shy when it comes to things like that but some brave soul, after twenty minute or so of the show, heckled Brand, calling him out for being sexist.
His response was to question her, saying it was a common belief about him and that he wanted to know why. One of his defences was to say he is from a working class background and that he might well be sexist without quite realising it. Not sure I buy that one... I guess the heckler got the heebie jeebies at this point and her response wasn't quite enough for Brand who obviously got bored and moved on, bouncing off to find some other audience member by whom to be distracted.
Quite out of character, I wished he would come over to me in order that I could pick up where they'd left off. My view of his act is that he's deeply focused on the way women look. I know it's an act - one I've seen in newspapers or on TV - but I naively thought things would be different live. Instead, he appeared lascivious and predatory. In contrast to Brand's current agenda - that of spiritual awareness, coming from a place of love and peace - he appears to focus solely on women's appearances, and to ascribe major value to this one-dimensional aspect.
During the act, Russell Brand refers to his repeated wins for the Sun newspaper's award for 'Shagger of the Year'; I couldn't help thinking: wouldn't it be something if he joined the No More Page 3 campaign to rid the paper of its daily topless photographs? And, while he's at it, the Everyday Sexism project, if he's genuinely interested in why he's accused of sexism, misogyny or womanising?
I've been meaning to write about No More Page 3 and Everyday Sexism for ages. Both campaigns are just brilliant; they make plain and simple some of the complex concepts at the core of feminism that, in itself, can be so off-putting. Look them up and add your name; these campaigns are reliant on one voice, of women speaking together to challenge the status quo and to make the accepted, unacceptable: those daily examples of why life is still so different for women than men in this country in 2013.