Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Friday, 26 December 2008
- N arriving on the 23rd to spend Christmas with me and my crazy Welsh family
- Christmas Eve at my aunt's house: my cousin has a little boy - aka the best boy who is six. His father was working Christmas Eve so he arrived at the party a little late. When he did arrive, he knocked at the lounge window in an enormous blow up Father Christmas suit!
- Watching my Nana,who is nearly 90, beat everyone on the yo-yo we had in one of the crackers.
- Waking up on Christmas morning with N
- Giving my Christmas gifts
- Having twelve to lunch on Christmas day, some on folding chairs, all cwtched in together.
- All of us sitting in my parents cinema room after lunch with bags of popcorn, watching sing-a-long Mama Mia.
- Chuckling at listening to my father compete with the best boy as to who could sing 'The Winner Takes It All' the loudest. Believe it or not the six year old beat his god-father!
- Going to the ballet on boxing day to see Snow White. We took the best boy. Watching his face as the seven dwarfs started to dance.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
Sunday afternoon recomended viewing: for a bit of old fashioned seasonal romance try Meet Me At St Louis - a classic.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Friday, 5 December 2008
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
On Friday, before I left for London, I downloaded the TED Lecture podcasts to watch on the train. These are really inspirational short lectures by people in all sorts of fields who are deemed to be the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers. These people are challenged to give a lecture in 18 minutes on their work/mission/inspiration/passion. I listened to amazing individuals talk about architecture, gardening, smallpox, the value of creativity in education and even blogging! They were really fascinating and made my two hour journey go by in a flash. Do check them out...
On Monday we spent a bit of time researching a trip to California. N's cousin, who lives in California, is getting married in April at a ranch outside of Los Angeles and we are seeing if we can arrange a holiday around it. Nothing is definite yet but we thought we would explore the different options. Our only criteria are that we have to be at the wedding on the 18th and we want to see my friend from Cordon Bleu days who lives in LA / Santa Barbara. We would like to travel up route one to San Francisco but are a little unsure about how long this might take? Can anyone offer any advice / point me in the direction of must-see places / lovely but inexpensive accomodation? Any pointers would be wonderful!
Friday, 28 November 2008
*Norma Shearer (1935)*These gorgeous photographs were taken by Edward Steichen (1879-1973). Born in Luxembourg Eduard Jean Steichen became a naturalised American citizen after migrating to the US with his family as a child. Steichen was first and foremost a fine art painter until he realised how his skills in fine art could translate into photography to create a new kind of pictoralist art photography. During World War One he comanded the photographic division of the American Expeditionary Force. Viewing the world from above, as director of arial photography, led Steichen to experiment with a new ‘modernist’ photography and after the war he turned to photographing the fashion and film world from new perspectives. Just feast your eyes on these truly beautiful images... What do you think?
Kendall Lee (1925) * Gloria Swanson (1924) *Marlene Dietrich (1934)*
The fair went really well, it was a charity fair in aid of Ty Hafan which is a childrens hospice entirely funded by donations. It's a really important local cause so I was so happy that we managed to raise a lot of money for them!
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Sunday, 23 November 2008
On Saturday I had a wedding cake to deliver and set up, followed by two consultations, followed by christmas fair baking, followed by the first part of making a celebration cake for a gentlemans 50th birthday. Apparently this man has a penchant for baked beans and so the instructions were to make a cake which looks like a stack of baked beans cans...!
Sunday morning was spent on the celebration cake. It ended up looking like this! ....
After the cake was finished, my sister took me into Cardiff shopping - ostensibly for christmas pressents but we ended up going into Howells our main department store, ... just for a look mind. K bought some gorgeous silver cutlery in a bargainous sale and somehow I managed to leave with a big bag with a beautiful dress inside. I'm not quite sure what happend. It is mostly a blur. I remember being in the changing room, I rememer ooohing at the lovliness of the dress, I remember my sister flashing her store card and saying I could get an extra 20% off by using it, then all I remember is leaving, bag in hand, with a big smile on my face!
Saturday, 22 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
These three paintings are all pre 20th century and to me are so evocative of the grand, romantic pre-revolutionary Russia depicted in 'Golden Age' literature by the likes of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Pushkin. The last reminds me of Pushkins epic poem Eugene Onegin:
Loved Russian winters with great passion:
The sun-lit hoar-frost on frozen days,
Sledge rides, and from the sunset's glow
The rosy radiance on the snow'
Monday, 17 November 2008
Very excitingly N has booked our gettogetherversary (and christmas present to each other) weekend away in January! Yay I am so excited, we are going to a place called Bibury in the Cotswolds, the hotel looks lovely and he has booked some kind of deal with champagne (I love champagne) and our own outside hot-tub! Very swanky! N's grandmother lives in the Cotswolds in a beautful town called Broadway so we have visited the area a few times and it is so beautiful! I am hoping for snow, I think the hotel would look so lovely with a fine dusting of the white stuff!
Did I mention that I was excited?
Friday, 14 November 2008
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Monday, 10 November 2008
- My lovely Man who is my best friend and my lovely family who are truly wonderful: crazy, loopy, odd and wonderful!
- Creativity: in whatever field - art, dance, music, drama, literature, fashion, life. Innovate - do things differently and express yourself.
- Kindness. A simple act of kindness can change someone's day for the better
- Laughter. Everyone needs to laugh every day
- Freedom: I am very aware that I have a completely different life to those of previous generations of my family. So many opportunities are open to me which never were to them. I intend to make the most of every opportunity!
- Time: time to spend with people, time to spend with myself, reading, drawing, cwtching up and relaxing
- Self-centerdness: I go by the brownie-guide law 'think of others before yourself'!
- Being cold ... brrr - don't like it!
- Bad service: I was once in a hotel and it took them one hour to bring me two slices of toast! I was not a happy lady!
- House prices at the moment ... please fall, N and I want to buy a house!
Friday, 7 November 2008
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot"
Today is an historic day in the US and indeed across the world. Here in the UK, whilst many will celebrate Obama's landmark victory, this evening people will be celebrating for another reason too. Today is known variously as: the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night. Today we celebrate the foiling of a plot in 1605 by Mr Fawkes and his comrades to blow up the houses of parliament during the state opening of parliament (in order to kill the king and most of the ruling aristocracy). The plot was stopped when Guy was discovered with his barrels of explosives underneath the houses of parliament. Guy Fawkes was not the ring-leader of this group of religious dissidents, he was just the explosives expert, but he's the fella we remember.
Tonight villages and towns around the country will host packed celebrations, at the centre of which will be a bonfire where a 'guy' (a stuffed straw man made to look like Guy Fawkes) is ceremoniously burnt. Crazy catherine wheels will spin around emitting light and sparks which will leave small children agog; sparklers will be waved around in circles by gloved hands creating bright 'O's' in the gloom; and then of course there will be a fireworks display. Children will munch their way through toffee apples and people everywhere will cast their gaze skyward letting out gasps of 'ooh' and 'ahh' over the beautiful light shows taking place above their heads, momentarily oblivious to the cold night air.
If you think about it dispassionately, it is, quite frankly, a bit odd: I read this fabulously funny post by an American living in Cardiff yesterday and it did make me chuckle to read an outside perspective on the whole event. Nonetheless, 403 years on and we still mark the occasion a group of dissidents tried and failed to change the way our country was run through violence and aggression. Today America has democratically voted for change. I cannot pretend to be fully appraised of Obama's political agenda, I cannot pretend to fully understand the political implications of his appointment. But today is a first, a victory that will truly reverberate around the world. It is a message to many that what seemed impossible, even a generation ago, can become a reality. A message of hope and perseverance. Another good reason to remember the 5th of November...
Monday, 3 November 2008
In Wales, by law all signs must be bilingual, English first, Welsh second. Unfortunately as a fair proportion of Welsh people are not Welsh speaking this does not always go to plan! This is a classic! N's brother sent me the picture. This sign, near a supermarket in Swansea (or Abertawe in Welsh), reads 'No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential Site Only' in English ... In Welsh it reads: 'I am out of the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated'!. A hapless, non-welsh-speaking, council worker had sent an email to an in-house translator with a request to translate the sign from English to Welsh. The translator was out of the office and so the email bounced back with an out of office reply in Welsh. The council worker thought he was getting a speedily efficient translation and without checking 'the translation' got the signs printed up and erected. It was only after some time had passed that amused Welsh speaking passers by let the council know their error!!
Friday, 31 October 2008
- I have literally just decided to go to London. So after work I need to rush home, pack, get a train to Cardiff and wait for a train to London then idle away two hours before I arrive at Paddington where lovely N will be waiting for me to drive me to the flat.
- Tonight we are going to grab a really quick bite to eat before going to see a late showing of The Quantum of Solace.
- Saturday Morning I am going to check out the new Westfield shopping centre - it is the biggest shopping centre in Europe apparently with over 265 shops inside .... :o) N has to go back to Hertfordshire to pick up his new trendy glasses tomorrow morning so I shall while away an hour or two drooling at Tiffany's with one of my oldest friends S.
- Saturday night we need to wrap up warm as it is the early bonfire night fireworks extravaganza in Battersea Park which we will go to with a bunch of friends, sparklers at the ready!! The theme is Paint the Whole World with a Rainbow which seems a bit non specific to me...! That will be a fireworks theme then! (In previous years they have done aliens, sport, rock music etc. but we shall see I'm reserving judgement)
- On Sunday I need to get up REALLY early to get back to work!
Thursday, 30 October 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
I love carving pumpkins for Halloween, there's just something wonderful about the whole process: standing outside the green-grocers stamping your feet in the cold whilst sizing up and selecting your pumpkins, the delicious woody autumn smell that fills the kitchen as you scoop out the bright orange flesh (and the promise of the delicious feasts that it will create later), carefully carving your pattern and of course the sense of creative satisfaction when the candle or fairy lights are placed inside. Once on the doorstep they sit there, lovely orange glowing beacons to welcome happy trick or treaters as they patter around in the dark. These pumpkins from Martha Stewart Living are quite special.
*All images Martha Stewart Living*