Have a Wonderful Weekend!

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{I love this quote by Coco Chanel – picture from Pinterest}

Hello! It’s only 4.30pm and it is already getting very dark outside. Time to call in Cameron and his friend who are playing football out in the garden – how they can possibly see the ball I do not know. Pizza and hot dogs for dinner followed by ice cream and hot chocolate – it is Friday after all.

My advent candle holder arrived in the post today (just in time for Sunday, phew!) so I’ve been busy getting that sorted and hanging up our white paper stars in the windows of the conservatory. I will try to take some pictures tomorrow when the light is better to show you. Otherwise, there is not much planned for tonight – just a movie with the kids, an episode or two of Breaking Bad (we have just started the second series) and maybe a glass of mulled wine. My kind of Friday night 🙂

What are your plans? X

 

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Wrap it up

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Scarves in all different colours and patterns are an essential part of my autumn/winter wardrobe. Not only do they keep me warm but they also instantly update my “boring” uniform of skinny jeans and baggy jumper. I already have a rather large collection of scarves tucked away in my wardrobe but on my Christmas list this year is a warm, tartan scarf to snuggle up in when the really cold weather hits (typically in January/February). A classic Burberry scarf in the softest cashmere would really hit the spot but I have a feeling that Father Christmas will be on a budget this year, so a nice one from Zara or Topshop would do just nicely.

{In the picture above, clockwise from top left, is just a small selection of my current favourites: Grey and white star scarf from Danish brand Becksondergaard; Pink with stars from another Danish label Kudibal; Black & white leopard print from Swedish brand Ester Elenora; Flowery tube scarf from H&M; Another favourite from Ester Elenora; My favourite winter wrap-around in grey and white, also by Ester Elenora; Classic Alexander McQueen skull scarf; The perfect summer scarf in the softest pink with tiny white hearts from Becksondergaard.}

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas…

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{Winter Fairylight Tree, £65; Silver Spray Wreath, was £70 now £56; Candles of various sizes in The White Company’s gorgeous Winter scent, from £10; Set of 2 Spruce Stars, was £12, now £9.60}

I love The White Company any time of year but especially at Christmas. I was flicking through their catalogue at a friend’s house this afternoon and found so many lovely decorations that I would love to have in my house this festive season. My favourite is the Winter Fairylight Tree in the top left picture which would look perfect by the window in our dining area. At the moment, many items in The White Company Christmas range are 20% off, but I know from past experience that they tend to sell out fast, so hurry if you want to grab a bargain!

The first of our decorations will go up at the end of this week, in time for the First of Advent on Sunday. When do you start to deck the halls for Christmas?

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{Christmas wrapping, from £3.50; Knitted Father Christmas decoration, was £10 now £8; Set of 3 Pine Cone Decorative Ties, was £6 now £4.80; Knitted Christmas Stockings, from £30}

This Week’s Favourites

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Happy Sunday everyone!

We’ve had a lovely day with a trip into town to buy a new coat for Daddy and shoes for Cameron followed by a visit to the school Christmas fair, where the children managed to spend their allocated £4 in about 10 minutes flat. Once we were back home I cooked a big cottage pie (comfort food at its best!) which we ate after the boys had finished their homework, with a large glass of red wine for the grown ups. We’re just about to round off the evening with a game of Cluedo before bedtime but I thought I’d get a quick blog post in while the boys are setting it all up. It’s been a quiet week so not too many pictures this time…

1. Clemmie enjoying a cake pop at the cafe while we’re waiting for Casper to finish his piano lesson.

2. A leisurely breakfast after the kids went off to school and preschool. I love my grey and pale pink Mateus china (hope to get some more from Father Christmas..)

3. I FINALLY ordered the pictures for my picture wall which has now turned into four photos propped up on a picture shelf from Ikea (but hey it’s better than nothing and easier than trying to line up all the frames evenly on the wall)

4. The children were all playing quietly while I was cleaning the house. I went upstairs to find Clemmie sitting in Casper’s toy box reading a book. She looks very pleased with herself!

5. I can’t even begin to tell you how long my list of things to do before Christmas is, especially now that all three of them have their own Christmas plays/concerts. Much of this week was spent preparing for Cameron’s school Christmas fair – all the parents are asked to donate tombola and lucky dip prizes, buy raffle tickets, bake cakes and then help out on the day.

6. If we didn’t know already that Christmas was just around the corner Clemmie was happy to remind us, dancing around the kitchen this morning in her little Santa outfit. The cutest elf in the house!

Right, they’re calling me now so I’d better go downstairs. Have a good night everyone! x

Currently Coveting #14: Vivienne Westwood x The Cambridge Satchel Company

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I’ve been looking for a bag that is both practical and stylish – and, most importantl, not black – for quite a while now. A couple of days ago I stumbled across this beautiful satchel by The Cambridge Satchel Company and I think the search is officially over. To celebrate its fifth birthday, the brand has collaborated with iconic British designer Vivienne Westwood to produce a limited edition range that combines the classic satchel with the queen of punk’s infamous squiggle print. The design also incorporates the pale tan straps and buckles which first featured in Westwood’s Pirate collection from 1981.

The bags, which come in two sizes and three colourways: yellow and black, white and red, and brown and black, retail at £195 for the 14″ size and £165 for the 11″ version. They are sold exclusively at Vivienne Westwood standalone boutiques and The Cambridge Satchel Company stores in central London, so I think a trip up to town is on the cards for me if I want to get my hands on one before they sell out.

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Let the Christmas Countdown Begin

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Only five weeks to go until Christmas and I for one Can. Not. Wait. There are so many things to look forward to – putting the decorations up, buying and wrapping the presents, the school Christmas concerts, our village Christmas fair, all the yummy food… I could go on and on, and no doubt I will be doing just that, right here on this blog, over the coming weeks!

The boys have been busy writing their letters to Santa this week. Casper has rather optimistically asked for a Play Station, an X Box and an iPod so I had to explain that it is unlikely he will receive everything on the list. For the first time Cameron has been expressing doubts about the existence of Father Christmas (he is ten so I guess it is to be expected..) but he is under strict instructions not to voice these in front of his younger siblings unless he wants to find an empty stocking on Christmas morning! He didn’t want to take any chances so his letter is also winging its way to the North Pole as we speak…

Nothing beats the magic of Christmas morning even if it does tend to start at the ungodly hour of 5am in our house. This year we’re actually away on Christmas Day (it’s my dad’s 70th birthday on the 25th so we’re going to stay in a country hotel for three nights) but that won’t stop me from decking out the house in its festive finery. I love these inspirational pictures from Danish brand House Doctor, especially the big paper stars and the illuminated snow sign.

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The Great Outdoors

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One of my best purchases over the last year was not a new bag or a pair of shoes, but a family membership to the National Trust. So far we have enjoyed a Boxing Day walk at nearby Claremont Landscape Gardens and an Easter egg hunt at Ham House as well as trips to Petworth House and Uppark, both in Sussex.

The staff are great at engaging the children with stories of what life was like in ‘the olden days’ and there are usually little activity stations and play areas dotted around the houses. What my three enjoy most, however, is exploring the often vast grounds and gardens – climbing trees and rolling down hills, things they don’t really get to do on a day to day basis. And best of all, once you’ve paid for your membership, if you bring a picnic it’s virtually a free day out and all that fresh air is sure to guarantee sleepy children by bedtime.

Yesterday we spent the morning at Bodiam Castle in Kent, about an hour away by car from where we live. We had promised Casper that we would go there before Christmas as he missed a school trip to the medieval castle when he had his operation a couple of months ago. It was a grey and drizzly morning but we had lots of fun exploring the castle which was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dallingridge, a rich soldier. As it wasn’t quite picnic weather, we warmed up afterwards in the National Trust cafe with home baked scones slathered in butter and jam and cups of tea and hot chocolate.

A lovely day out.

{Bodiam Castle viewed from the courtyard}

{Bodiam Castle viewed from the courtyard}

The children contemplating whether or not to roll down the muddy hill outside the castle. Luckily they decided not to!

{The children contemplating whether or not to roll down the muddy hill outside the castle. Luckily they decided not to!}

Listening to a talk about the history of the castle

{Listening to a talk about the history of the castle}

There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore

{There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore}

Cameron looks rather pleased to see his brother in the stocks!

{Cameron looks rather pleased to see his brother in the stocks!}

This Week’s Favourites

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Sunday night again. The kids are in bed and I’m waiting for Homeland to start but first a quick update on another week that flew by.

1. I took all the children to have their hair cut at the start of the week – the boys’ fringes were getting so long they could hardly see! Clemmie and Casper were happy to just let the hairdresser get on with it but Cameron had very specific ideas about what he wanted – short back and sides (using the clippers) and longer at the front. He spent most of the journey home admiring his own reflection in the car windows!

2. Thursday morning saw the much-anticipated launch of the H&M collaboration with French designer Isabel Marant. As sod’s law would have it, the online shop opened at 9am which is the same time that Clemmie’s preschool opens. As my husband refused to take the kids to school and be late for work so that I could get first dibs on the highly coveted collection (men, eh?) , I had to race home after dropping them off only to be greeted by this message on my computer screen…

3. Until finally, after pressing the ‘Try Again’ button a million times (it seemed like it at least), I was in! Sadly, most of the items on my wish list had already gone but I managed to get my hands on these stunning shoes and also a grey jumper (rather nondescript in the picture but, hey, it’s Isabel Marant at less than £40!).  I have since read that it was one of the fastest selling collaborations of all-times – not surprising I guess, given all the hype surrounding it – so I think I was very lucky to get anything at all.

4. To raise money for Children in Need, Cameron’s school invited all pupils to dress in their pyjamas on Friday while Casper’s school asked them to wear polka dots. The first one was easy enough but as Casper was not keen to wear his sister’s spotty pyjamas (I can’t imagine why!) we ended up cutting out sticky-back felt circles and putting them onto an old plain T-shirt.

5. Finally Friday and candles lit for a cosy night in..

6. ..and a glass (or two) of bubbly to celebrate the end of the week.

7. A very dear friend gave me these four Mateus cups as a belated birthday present. Definitely worth waiting for!

8. Despite the grey, drizzly weather, we went on an outing to Bodiam Castle in Kent this morning. It took just over an hour to get there but it was well worth it.

9. We wrapped up the weekend by having dinner at Pizza Express with the grandparents.

And that’s it. Another week done and dusted! Have a great Sunday night. X

 

Embrace the Chaos

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{My Crazy Gang: They don’t half drive me mad sometimes but I love them to the moon and back}

This has been one of those weeks when we’ve been rushing around, late for everything, with tempers fraying left, right and centre. I love my three children more than anything in the world but sometimes the mixture of toddler tantrums, pre-teen hormones, sibling fighting and refusal to listen can drive me up the wall (especially when they’re all going on at the same time!)  Both boys left their scooters behind at school on the same day this week (I don’t know how they managed that – obviously forgetfulness runs in the family!) which meant that trying to get out of the house on Wednesday morning was even more fraught than usual. I had to take deep breaths and count to ten many a time this week, but I’m sure that one day when they’re all grown up I will look back and miss all the noise and mess!

But for now I’m just enjoying the peace and quiet that has descended over the house this evening as we all relax after our busy week. My father-in-law and his wife are visiting us from France this weekend so I’m going to dim the lights to hide all the dust, light some candles and put a bottle of bubbly in the fridge.

Happy Friday to you all! X

Currently Coveting #13: The Perfect Advent Candle Holder

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With just over two weeks to go until the first Sunday of Advent, the search is on for the perfect Advent candlestick to take pride of place on our dining table. It needs to hold four candles as each Sunday until Christmas a candle will be lit until, on December 22, all four are alight. Last year I bought four chunky white candles from Ikea with the numbers 1-4 stamped on them in red. I tied a piece of red and white gingham ribbon around the base of each candle  and placed them on a silver tray in the centre of the table. It was a cheap and very pretty arrangement but with no trip to Ikea on the cards in the next couple of weeks, I need to find another solution fast.

I’m drawn to the understated elegance and simplicity of this wrought iron Advent candle holder by Finnish brand Iittala. At the moment Royal Design are offering £5 off the original price so it would be a good time to invest in a candlestick that we could carry on using for many, many years. It also comes in a bigger version that can hold six candles, which I would be very tempted by if my requirements weren’t so specific. I like the idea of using different coloured candles to jazz it up a bit – Christmassy red or sparkly silver would look stunning.

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