Monday, 31 December 2012


New Year always seems to bring the urge to make changes to our lives & this is a very good thing.

Newspapers & TV will be full of our resolutions & following so close on Christmas, many of these resolutions will be to lose those Christmas calories from one too many mince pies ....

We all know the feeling - our resolutions lined up nice & orderly to start the New Year then ...

... the downhill path as they slip away day by day ...

My Resolutions

R – read more regularly for pleasure
E – eat healthily & exercise regularly
S – spend more time doing the things I love
O – outdoors more often to explore new places
L – love unconditionally
U – use your talents
T – think about the words you use – positive & negative
I – important ‘me’ time to recharge the batteries
O – organise my life & time better
N – nurture friends & family so they know how important they are
S – say THANK YOU so that people know they are appreciated!
What are your Resolutions? Do you write them down?

Pop along to text shapes enter your words & make your own resolution shapes to place where you can see them ♥

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my friends & followers; thank you for stopping by - your comments are always appreciated.
Dee ~♥~

Friday, 28 December 2012

A festive tablescape

Christmas has come & gone rather suddenly & I am still playing catch up. I thought I would share our festive table.

On Christmas day, we like to start with something light & healthy & this is usually a granola / muesli pot with fresh fruit, yoghurt & cocoa nibs on the top - a perfect start to the day. The glassware is vintage, the spoons a gift from my brother some years back - he knows me too well!

We tend to have a late afternoon meal if we are home as we were this time - set in the dining room with the late afternoon sun streaming through the window.

Candles lit already as sunset comes really quickly. We have a variety of silver plated candlesticks that always look nice together, the ivy & laurel is from the garden.

A simple table setting with Royal Doulton charger plates & then plain white dinner plates on top, my late grandmothers cutlery too & a favourite Rosenthal heart shaped candle holder for the centre of the table.

We were still planning on adding greenery & bits to the table but then had a phone call from family abroad & so we chatted away & by then the food was ready & we were ravenous so the table is as we set ....

The side board mirror has a green & red garland & candles in crystal candle sticks. The red pointsettia runner was a gift from a friend last year & I think it looks perfect!

 After a large traditional festive meal, we tend to prefer something lighter for pudding too - this year we opted for an open plum tart with vanilla custard - light & perfect to finish off with ....

The glass cake stand is a vintage family one & the festive jug is a Coalport one - old & new looking good together.

What was your festive table like? This was one of our plainer ones but family phone calls take priority over table settings.

I always enjoy feedback & comments, thanks for stopping by,
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas

We started our day with our favourite granola (muesli), fresh fruit (blueberries, grapes, apricotes) and yoghurt topped with healthy cocoa nibs

It just gives the energy boost needed for the day ....

How did you start your day?

Thanks for stopping by
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Make your Christmas special ...

This Christmas will mark a particularly difficult year for us following the death of our beloved Mother & Matriarch  - her spirit was willing to the end but her body could no longer keep the cancer at bay.

The special women in my family

We travelled to Africa again this year  to carry out Mom's explicit wishes - 'no large funeral; those who mattered made the time to visit, phone & lighten my load, the rest left it too late' - she did not want my  Father to be burdened with it all, so according to her wishes us children, grandchildren & a favourite cousin gathered to lay her ashes to rest with our brother who had been taken way too soon & then we paid our respects to her parents, brother & aunt who are at rest close by - a fitting but painful time.

My Mother was born on Christmas Day - a Summer born babe who loved life. She had to share her birthday with the festive times but she just got on with it & our childhood Christmases were special with her birthday running parallel to the festivities, without a fuss about it not being her own day & in this regard, I take after her as I enjoy my birthday but never feel the need for a pile of fussing ...

This Christmas, I know will be tinged with private sadness for our loss but it is also a time to look forward; a chapter has closed but those we love are never gone while the living remember them.  My Mother faced her illness with great courage & so we must do the same & celebrate the good memories.

I am acutely aware that all we leave behind is memories for our loved ones & unlike Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn, we cannot eavesdrop on our own funeral to see how we will be remembered. We can just do our best during our lifetime so that hopefully the memories we leave will bear testament to our spirit & be the legacy we leave behind us.

I do not subscribe to popular  posthumous idolatry but I like efforts & influences to be recognised in a sincere & genuine way - things best said while they can be appreciated, flowers given to the living, thoughtful words & gestures which mean a lot when given freely & sincerely, thank-you's offered without prompting, friends & families goodwill never taken fore granted....

I have hung angel wings on my fireplace garland & my photo used on local church cards has been sent to close family members - an angel from my home to theirs to ease their day in a small way ...

St Mary's church angels, Stafford

And so this Christmas - I will light my candles in my special Ethiopian holders - the crosses will cast their light to reflect my faith & the stained glass tea-light holder will be to celebrate the life of my Mother - well lived & brave to her last breathe.

Happy Winter Solstice

So my friends & followers,  however you celebrate it, be aware that you are making memories that will last a lifetime & beyond - few will remember the exact gifts exchanged or if lunch was on the table on time but they will remember how you make them feel when they are in your company!

So I wish you all a very blessed Christmas & hope you will all "Be kinder than you need to because everyone is fighting some kind of battle"

Thank you for stopping by,  make those memories & hold your special ones closer ...
Dee ~♥~

Friday, 21 December 2012

Mid winter solstice time ...

The 21st of December is always a turning point in my mind - the Winter Solstice marks our shortest day & longest night.

2012: 21 December at 11:12am GMT - Royal Observatory Greenwich

It is the turning point when the days will gradually lighten again as the darkness wanes & the light waxes - the balance shifts as the light triumphs over the darkness & it is enough to lift the spirits!

Many northern countries mark this time with Festivals of Light

I like to mark Winter with evergreens brought into the house over the Christmas - holly & ivy wreathes, laurel, rosemary, mistletoe which all represent the circle of life.

The ancient carol of The Holly and the Ivy echoes this:
The holly and the ivy
Now are both well grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown

I always have lanterns  & candles in the house in winter to bring light & warmth to our home  - I suspect we all have a little Druid bit in our souls which wants to honor the passing of the seasons ....

Whatever you do, enjoy the waxing of the light & celebrate Mid Winter knowing that the light of Spring is coming or in the Biblical sense with the Holly thorns & the blood of Christ represented by the red berries ....

Unlike the Mayans, I have every confidence that the sun will rise in the east & set in the west on that day - just like every other day!

How are your festive preparations going? Are you ready for the holiday season?

Thanks for stopping by, please follow or leave your link so I can return the visit!
Dee ~♥~

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Chirstmas sideboard is done ...

Our conservatory is used all the time & the sideboard changes several times a year.

I love my Ralph Lauren Pocket Watch plates - but they have been up for a while so will come down.

The central oval plate was a special hand made gift from my sister in South Africa. It is stunning with a row of beads in the top. I brought back those 3 lovely animals to go with it but it is festive time now ...
This morning I decided it was time to get ready for the festive season so the sideboard was cleared for changes.

This was our sideboard last year - I always make it slightly different

Festive crockery

The silver drinks trays always stay - they have a selection of things which we enjoy - I recommend the sherry & Thorntons chocolate liqueur ♥

Our Venetian glass set was bought on a trip to Venice many years ago & that is always out for Christmas sherry

Bowls & jugs made at Coalport near us - they will be used for snacks & on the table several times over the festive season

I love these two wine glasses with their red, green & gold colour & I recently found this glass tealight holder too. The little bowl is a Villeroy & Boch festive bowl.

Holly & Ivy pattern from Portmeirion - always pretty

A pair of supermarket deer brought home by eldest daughter as a gift last year because she knows my fondness for deer ...

We always buy the 2 daughters a new special decoration for the tree each year - these are their new ones ♥

The drink shakers, ice bucket etc all ready

I cut ivy from the garden this morning for the top with berries. The top shelf plates, bowls & tea-light holders are Spode Christmas trees with an Emma Bridgewater Mince pie one in the centre

I am very pleased with our Christmas sideboard - what do you think of the change?

What changes do you make for the festive season?

Thank you for stopping by, I always enjoy your comments & will return the visit if you leave a link.

Dee ~♥~

Friday, 14 December 2012

A pure & simple Christmas tree

At last - our tree is decorated, almost a week after we brought it home from the local nursery. It did not go without problems as mentioned here ....


However - once the defunct led lights were taken off, I had an inspired idea to use creamy, white berry lights that we use in a lantern by the clock.

Our real Christmas tree at home in Shropshire

We decided on a pure, simple tree & so it is decorated with white baubles, some white & red knitted baubles & a few IKEA Christmas folk.

A wooden Merry Christmas sign & some lantern holders

I love the simplicity of it & it fits in the bay window - the colours complement our decor completely & it looks very pretty.

Do you like the change? Are you ready for Christmas.

I always enjoy your comments  & your links allow me to return the visits.

Thanks for stopping by,
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Selecting a Christmas tree

It is that time of the year when thoughts turn to Christmas. 

We have had a difficult year with the passing of my Mother whose birthday was on Christmas Day so the two are entertwined for me.

Our past trees have always glowed with loads of gold decorations & shimmery lights that lit it all up.

This year, something different is needed because for me, Christmas will be both different & difficult so we decided on a real tree with very much simpler decorations ...

While growing up in Africa, my parents had always had a fresh tree which was then planted out in the garden after the festive season will we had our own small wood of trees  ...

A students Mum had recommended a local saw mill / estate that has fresh trees so we headed down to look at the selection.

We selected a modest tree - mindful of the space it would take & the size it could grow to (not quite sure what will happen to the tree after Christmas - perhaps it will be repotted for the garden)

The tree, home safely but all trussed up like a turkey. The pot it is growing in needs another pot under so off to the local garden centre to find something large enough to hold the pot & catch the water ....

Putting up some lights after testing them first then deciding on how we wanted it decorated - simple, Scandanavian style was decided on.

Had some trouble with the tree  - it is not straight is it? Leaning to the left so more fiddling around ....

Then it was time to head to the loft to look through all the boxes of decorations to find those we need.

If you are like me, you get distracted by all the things up there - ahh, forgotten about this; so cute, will it go?

Packing a selection in a bag to go down the ladder - the reindeer headbands are for the bunnies photo ....

So have a bag of decorations downstairs but have not yet decorated the tree because it was all going well with the twinkly lights then .... flicker .... and nothing!!

Don't you just hate that! I have tried another plug but it seems as if the whole long string of white LED's will have to come down & new ones will have to go on the tree - not easy as the pine needles are quite prickly!

I hope you will look back in again to get an update & hopefully a view of the real Christmas tree ....

Thanks for stopping by
Dee ~♥~