Currently.

Today is a day for doing work. And messy hair with big glasses. And playing on Lightroom because doing work is ever so dull.

Watching: Kirstie’s Vintage Home on 4od. I love Kirstie; her programmes are completely addictive and are particularly compelling because she’s learning, too. While she knows more than anyone should about vintage or antique shopping – and loves to talk about those things – she’s also learning different crafts on screen. I love that this showcases other crafty people and that you get tips from people who really know what they’re talking about, but more than all that I find watching Kirstie make mistakes or get excited to see the outcomes of her projects endearing, and it makes me feel like I can do them too. I’m just going to go out and say it: sometimes I wish that I was Kirstie. There, I’m done.

Loving: Kirstie’s Vintage…just kidding. I’m actually loving lots and lots of reading, which isn’t unusual but is still always nice. Liam spoiled me this Christmas with a tablet, which means that when I’m traveling about as I so often am, I can read without breaking my back under the weight of half a bookshelf. Lately I’ve been coupling my reading time with tea as well, which is unusual for me. Caffeine makes me sick, so I used to just avoid tea like the plague, with the exception of camomile sometimes, and only when drowned in honey. Well move over camomile, I have discovered that there is so much more out there and am enjoying everything from mint to that strange bag of pink flowers I found in the cupboard. Delicious!

Listening to: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I can’t have background noise when I work (or at least not music) because I find it really distracting, so I tend to sit at home in silence when I need to get things done. Sometimes it gets a little depressing, but other times – like today, after a very people-filled Christmas – it’s really nice to just zone out.

Going: On short walks through muddy fields! I’ve been on a hunt for animal bits these last few days – scraps of sheep wool and feathers – and there’s nowhere better to find them around here than tangled in barbed wire fences or stuck in a hedge. I’m lucky that I live in the countryside so that when I need these natural bits for little projects, I know I can nip outside and find a ton that have been shed somewhere in the fields. It helps when these walks mean squidging through mud, too – I love a good mess.

Making me happy: Making little gifts for friends. There’s yarn everywhere! Everywhere, I tell you!

As ever, this post was inspired by Danielle.

Merry Christmas

IMG_2018 IMG_2016 IMG_2022Yesterday, on probably the windiest day since time began, we decided to go for a quick walk through the hills. We stumbled across some trees that had been decorated and set about re-attaching any decorations that had been blown off in the wind. It brightened up our day to see some unexpected festivity up in the moors, and gave us the burst of energy we needed for racing up the hill, down the hill…

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! And if you don’t celebrate, I hope you have a lovely day doing whatever it is that takes your fancy.

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Mini

While on the hunt for our Christmas tree, my sister and I collected branches so that we could create our own mini Christmas trees in our bedrooms. The branches just about fit into a huge glass bottle filled with water, and, decorated with these little guys from Paperchase, I think they make the perfect festive addition to my room.

PSST! I couldn’t find a link to the exact same ornaments used here, but these slightly bigger ones are nice too!

O Tannenbaum

On Sunday we traveled to our regular tree farm to find and chop down our Christmas tree! This is my favourite part of the run-up to Christmas, and I was anxiously anticipating our trip all morning. As ever, we spent a good bit of time wandering through the trees and picking up fallen branches for decoration. This was our quickest year yet, and we managed to find the perfect tree in record time. As ever, it was spotted by my sister, measured against my height and chopped down and carried by my dad. With a new car this year, we had to pick a tree that was a bit smaller than usual, but at least it fit into the house this year…with just enough room to spare for a topper. Perfect.

I know some people don’t agree with the use of real trees, but Christmas just wouldn’t be the same for me without the smell of pine filling our living room. It’s something I look forward to every year and, while I understand why some prefer fake trees, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Traditions.

We have lots of traditions around Christmastime that we’ve picked up from one place or another. We make our own advent calendars with little gifts. We sing and light an advent candle every Sunday (our advent song is in German, too). We bake bread people for December 6th – Santa Claus Day. I love that these traditions are things we can look forward to each year. They’re things we always do as a family as well, which is especially nice now that my sister and I live away from home. They’re simple little things that don’t cost the earth but really do make it feel like Christmas. Sometimes we even eat cats…or maybe that’s just Liam.
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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

It can be really hard to feel motivated to decorate a space as tiny, cold and unloved as our house, especially on a student budget. Still, I’m really enjoying a few festive elements to remind me that Christmas is almost here!

I’ve been spending my day today wrapping Christmas presents beside a wreath that I am yet to hang (but that I have worn on my head to a Christmas party), while listening to this lovely set of songs. I might even get to enjoy an early Christmas dinner tonight, if I’m lucky.

How are you spending the lead-up to Christmas this year?

Cardiff Castle

Hands up if you thought I’d never post this…

Liam left me for a while, and I decided to explore Cardiff Castle. It had the perfect location for our short trip, right in the middle of the city and next to the Christmas market. While the weather was grey most of the day, it brightened up for my little adventure, though it was still windy! The keep – in the middle of the castle and raised on a hill – was my favourite part, and I made myself proud by walking up the steep steps to the top to see the view that spread over most of Cardiff, I think. For someone who is terrified of heights and steps and this kind of activity in general, this was kind of a big deal! It was absolutely beautiful, so completely worth it. Inside the castle, I noticed lots of monkey carvings, so I asked a member of staff why they were there. She explained that they were a fashion in the Victorian era, but that the owner of the castle was a devout Catholic, and may have gathered so many monkeys as a tongue-in-cheek mocking of Darwinism. How interesting! As we explored the city, I noticed a few other monkeys knocking around, and they were fun to keep an eye out for during our day. I also got lost in the castle, which is pretty standard behaviour for me, but on this trip meant that I got to visit Santa’s Grotto before it opened! A janitor found me wandering along the walls of the castle and trying any door to try to get back to where I was supposed to be, and offered to show me the Grotto before taking me back to the area open to the public. It was really fun to see it, as I had been a bit disappointed that we had come so early and would be missing out. Fun fact: there are two Santas at Cardiff Castle this year – one fat and one thin. The thinner one has an armchair to sit on, but they had to get a sofa as well to accommodate the fatter Santa! This was a really fun little adventure, and while I wish Liam could have seen it too, I really enjoyed the time to explore at my own pace and get lost around a really beautiful series of buildings. Cardiff Castle – I’d recommend it!

Would you like some proof about Santa’s Grotto? Here you go! I was maybe a little bit too excited…

Currently.

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This picture may be out of focus and a few weeks old, but it sums my current emotions up pretty perfectly. This is a happy, happy time.

Watching: Christmas films! I’ve just watched ‘Elf’ with my sister and her friend, and it was so much fun to curl up and enjoy a festive film while the first heavy snow of the season fell. I’ve also been watching little bits of  ‘Stranger than Fiction’ every day. I’m kind of enjoying dragging this one out and enjoying it piece by piece rather than as a whole film. I watched up to the ‘flours’ part today, which made me laugh as I remembered B’s present of flours for my birthday. She knows me so well!

Listening to: Mumford and Sons. We’ve just been to see them live and they were absolutely amazing, so I’m happily reliving the experience through youtube clips. On a less musical note, I’m also completely obsessing over Piff the Magic Dragon who performed with Mumford – his show was hilarious and Mr Piffles (his chihuaha sidekick) was absolutely adorable. Seriously, check him outand Mr Piffles too.

Planning: Our university is currently promoting Disability Awareness, so I’ve been planning and planning and planning some more for that. We’ve had loads of activities going on and I’m really proud of myself and Caz for what we’ve managed to pull together! It’s been a great success so far – and has been a lot of fun to do. My favourite activity so far was trying on a variety of visual impairment simulating glasses – it was really interesting to get a better understanding of a range of visual impairments, and it’s just incredible to think of how much people can achieve with those kinds of impairments. It made me really thankful for my eyes – which is a change as I usually curse my poor vision.

Thinking about: Christmas! And, on a less exciting note, the amount of work I need to do over Christmas. I feel like there won’t be much of a break to be had this year, and that’s definitely putting a downer on my excitement for the holiday. I am, however, still counting the days for carol singing and finally chopping down our own tree! My mama made me an advent calendar (we will never let her stop doing this, ever) full of festive socks and tubes of glue, and the little surprises I’ve been getting every day are keeping me excited for Christmas time.

Reading: I’m still reading Midnight’s Children actually…is this the slowest I’ve ever made progress through a book? Probably. But I’m loving it and taking my time over it, so I just don’t care. I know I can’t make a conclusive judgement yet, but I’d seriously advise you to pick it up if you haven’t already. It’s a good’un.

Making me happy: Fun evenings with friends, followed by waking up to snow. It’s really starting to feel like winter here, and while I regularly complain about the cold, I am really enjoying the change of seasons and the excitement that comes with it. It’s also making me look forward to times spent by the fire while watching the cats jump around in the snow…perfect winter moments.

 

I haven’t forgotten that I owe you a post about Cardiff Castle…I’m just being a bit slow in creating it. It’ll be up the next time I have a second, and you can look forward to enjoying it’s absolute beauty. For now, have a great Wednesday night!

And thank you to Danielle for the inspiration for this post.