Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Wonderful Wednesday #50

HELLO!  How do i find all your lovely faces this week?!  Even-though it feels like each day this week has been colder and colder than the one before, i am even more hopeful of Spring coming soon and can see little sights and sounds popping up everywhere I go.  It's been -1 most days this week up in sunny-but-bloody-cold Cumbria.  But its been dry, bright and marvellously wonderful still.  This has got to be my very FAVOURITE kind of weather:  No winds to stop those two wheels of mine turning; Bright sunshine each morning when i wake and clean, fresh and bright blue skies as far as the eye can see.  It's worth the numb toes and fingers i can tell you!  

What's NEW?  What have you been up to so far this week?  As you read this I shall be back at work after ten whole days off of LOVELINESS:  Ten days of Christmas…kind of.  Well more to the point, ten days of rest.  Since working in retail means Christmas and thereafter are rather busy, i like to book myself off a good few days after all the rush of Christmas and the sales have calmed down, just to recharge.  It gives me time to sleep, catch up with friends and family, cook, clean and…well more sleep.  It has felt good.  I feel ready to go back though, i've missed those beautiful Monsoon girls LOTS.  But what have I loved so far this week?  Let's get going shall we:  

*  Falling in LOVE with another coat.  I have tried it on three times already this week.  Twice in one day.  But it's a little expensive and more than i would usually shell out on a coat. BUT it is a wonderful bright green and is lined with the most beautiful candy pink and green flora-ly botanical print inside.  It's just heaven it really is.  If you can imagine:  If Spring were a coat then it would be this one.  If there is one thing i have learnt as i have grown up, there a few things clothes-wise really worth investing in:  Coats, boots and shoes, and well-fitting jeans.  Have i convinced you?  I think i have convinced myself…

*  Waking up to the SOUND of birdsong for the first time in months.  One of the very best things ever.  It made me feel like Spring is juuuust there.  I'm so READY for it i just cannot begin to tell you.

*  Cold pressed RAW Almond butter.  I spend far, far too much time in my local whole food shop.   Is it a sad time when you find yourself excited by trying a new nut butter?!  I'd only ever tried regular almond butter - the kind that's pretty much just like peanut butter and the kind you would use just like you use peanut butter.  The kind lady in our health food shop told me raw almond butter was wonderful alongside anything chocolate-based.  That sold it alone if i'm honest.  I've been STIRRING it into my morning porridge alongside raw cacao powder and coconut oil when i am out of bananas.  It just beefs it up a bit more and makes it so much thicker and creamier.  It's also lovely melted into warmed almond milk alongside a few scoops of raw cacao powder.  That delicious drink has been my absolute go-to after icy morning bike rides.

*  Florence.  I love having my Ipod on SHUFFLE.  This weeks bike rides have mostly been accompanied with the goddess that is Florence and the Machine and i have been loving it.  Not that i forgot her dear face and beautiful melodies, i think i just needed to be reminded she was there!

*  Late afternoon banana bread baking FANCIES!  That was Tuesday.  It's one of my favourite bakes and one i feel almost virtuous baking because it's all made out of things you kind of have hanging around, and also one which feels rather healthy due to being packed with bananas and only being sweetened with honey.  We also make ours with spelt flour which makes it feel a bit lighter and less bread-y?  Sometimes i even add some chopped walnuts.  It sits somewhere between cake and bread.  It's DELICIOUS served warm from the oven.  My very favourite way to have it though, is when it's a day or two old.  Then it's firmed up a bit, the banana taste is nicer and the bread feels denser.  Pop it in a toaster and then spread generously with peanut butter and munch for a filling breakfast.  YUM!

*  Going to bed with a hot water bottle under my TUMMY.  Every. Damned.  Night.  I am beginning to worry that when it actually does get warmer that i wont be able to sleep without it…

*  Re-organisation.  Since our little attic is so small compact, whilst it is a DREAM to keep clean, it gets messy super-duper easy too.  I took great pleasure in devoting the entire afternoon on Monday to re-organising our draws, filling bags and bags for the charity shop around the corner and having a really good dust and sweep of each and every crevice.  Spiced and warmly scented candles had all but burnt down and so it's been nice to fill jam jars with fresh blooms {anemones and daffodils} and replace them with some fresher scents:  a neroli rose candle and a Lily Flame hyacinth scented dream too.  I've also been burning my Sainbury's Fresh Cotton incense in my clay burner on an evening.  I even had the window open yesterday morning.  Fleetingly….but still.  It felt LOVELY!

*  Stumbling across the most beautiful teapot in TK Maxx and finding out it was reduced to £1 because it was missing its lid.  It makes the perfect receptacle for daffodils!

*  Making the most of what i've GOT.  My hair has been terrible since the weather turned super duper cold up here.  First we had rain and wild, wild winds and now snow and ice.  As a result my hair feels frazzled and just a mess.  It's usually easy to look after and i only have to wash it once or twice a week, using dry shampoo in between.  Lately the dry shampoo feels as if it's not been helping the dryness at all.  Instead of hair-dryer-ing, straightening the odd stick-y out bit or curling it; i've just been leaving it alone.  I've still STRETCHED out my washes, but i've been holding off on the dry shampoo for as long as i can, using coconut oil on the ends and sleeping with it twisted up in a bun.  Then i have just been going with the flow.  Even doing this for a few days has made all of the difference.  

*  Spotting my very FIRST daffodils and snowdrops on a few laps around the park on Monday morning.  

*  HBO's 'Girls.'  Do you LOVE it as much as me?!  Please tell me you watch it too?!  I get so frustrated that it's only on for half an hour!  I feel like i could watch the whole entire series from start to finish and just go round again.  I am a bit annoyed i didn't watch the last series before the new one started again as it left me a bit lost.  But i've decided as soon as it ends i am starting from the very beginning.  I just love it.  I love how CRAZY it is, how relatable it is and as for characters?  Well i couldn't pick a favourite:  I feel like i can relate to each and every one.  Have you seen it?!
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Now it's your turn to SHARE!  Now we are pretty much halfway though the week, what has been your favourite thing so far?  What are you looking forward to for the rest of the week?  Or what is going to get you through the rest of it?! I'd love to know.  Remember you can share your #wonderfulwednesday below, or tweet me too.  I'm @sallytangle.  I'd love to hear from you, even if it's just to tell me i'm not the only one obsessed with Spring, 'Girls' or almond butter!  

Friday, 16 January 2015

Dreaming with Loaf

 Have you ever heard of LOAF?  If not, you can read their story HERE. Truth is for a long, LONG while I have admired them from afar.  It's no secret that we rent our sweet little attic.  The idea is that by curling up somewhere littler and less costly than a big huge and whopping house with a garden and a greenhouse and a veg patch and maybe just MAYBE a spaniel puppy - we might be able to save a little of that precious cash.  And precious it is.  Anyone in the same sailing-boat as us will realise how all the more important it is having beautifully made furniture and carefully collected bedding, cushions and soft furnishing too.  These are the very things that make our little home just that, home.  As well as US of course.  
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I've always had a great love and appreciation for LOAF.  I stumbled across them quite ACCIDENTALLY when one of their beautiful brochures fell out of a magazine i was reading.  We have been on the look-out for a new sofa for a long while and nothing had ever really JUMPED  out at us before, despite visiting all the usual haunts.  I declared a DISASTER.  None of the companies made my heart sing, none of them seemed to have real values and slowly but surely they had all merged into one in my little head.  Having never really furniture-shopped before i resigned myself to the fact that must just be how furniture shopping is:  Completely and utterly un-inspirational.  Until that fateful day i stumbled upon the lovely lot at LOAF.

They make things with all of their HEART you see, not just a bit of it:  ALL of it.  You can just tell.  Each piece is so lovingly and beautifully crafted that i automatically went from needing a new sofa to wanting to completely re-furnish our whole and entire flat.  And so it was both amusing and also with a little touch of fate when they got in touch to tell me how much they liked my mood-boards.  Once i stopped BLUSHING, we chatted about LOAF and they asked if i might like to make a LOAF-INSPIRED mood-board.  Of course i hopped, skipped, jumped and CARTWHEELED at the chance - i got quite dizzy with excitement.  I wasn't quite sure where to start.  So i got myself a bit lost in a LOAF-shaped fairytale and pretended i could re-decorate our living-room and this is what happened…
We are both big lovers of the GREAT and GREEN and often spend our Sundays meandering up and down hills and along rivers in The Lake District so i knew that I wanted to incorporate natural materials into our space, to strip it back a bit and really make the most of our big living-room-come-dining-room.  I was thinking exposed wooden beams just like ^above(ours are currently rattly and encased within the roof of our slant-y ceiling).  I LOVED the idea of removing the plaster from the wall at one end and keeping the floorboards exposed too - just as they are now. In terms of colours and fabrics, i just knew i'd find it hard to narrow down what colours to use.  I love the fabric's and textures of the swatches sent along by the lovely folk at LOAF, just about as much as i love the sweet names they all have and how i could probably find something to do with just about each and everyone one!  Our favourites were Nickel, Driftwood, Lagoon and Willow:  Natural colours and textures which feel as if they have been plucked right out of a country walk and would sit beautifully in my imaginary new living-space.      
Nickel and Driftwood are just wonderful colours for a room with a light natural and air-y feel without being to clinical.  I also loved their TEXTURE.  Once we had a proper goosey-gander at the brochures in more detail, we I fell hook, line and sinker for their BAGSY sofa.  Who wouldn't?  It's LOAF's version of a classic Chesterfield shape and comes in 4 sizes and with a choice of 85 different fabrics to pick from too.  I love it's romantic shape, how it looks like you would just sink right into it and how the back of it is just begging to have a biscuit-coloured soft blanket thrown across it.  Are you in love too?  Just incase you needed anymore convincing it's handmade with a solid beech frame in Long Eaton in good old 'Blighty. 

Of COURSE once we'd looked at sofas we felt it only fair to stake out the armchairs too.  I mean there are only two of us but sometimes i like to curl up in a corner with a book, a floral mug of Lady Grey and a walnut whip or two and pretend the Mr isn't there shooting something on his Xbox, ruining my calm oasis.  And so just when i thought my heart couldn't take anymore, i discovered that my beloved sofa has it's very own matching love-seat!    They're clever those lovely LOAF lot aren't they?  I imagined our very own  BAGSIE LOVE-SEAT would make excellent company for our lonely new sofa - and quite frankly i got lost in my daydreams for a good, long while and remembered I had a mood-board to finish!



Next a bit more on COLOUR.  I don't like waste and whilst i am aware this is a daydream - even if it is one I don't want to wake up from - i didn't like the idea of abandoning everything our living-space already is.  If i could describe it to you, it's sort of natural meets…Morocco?  As weird as that might sound it just works for us.  I've always been influenced by India, Morocco and maybe even a little bit of Mexico too.  For that reason, our current space is mainly an ivory blank canvas with lots of printed and tasselled throws and blankets, velvet cushions and round cushions adorned with pompoms.  The colours are cerise's, fuchsia pinks and beetroot-hued purples paired with deep jade green velvet stools and big round paper lanterns.  I wouldn't like this palette to disappear altogether.  As much as re-doing a new space is EXCITING it's nice to remember the items you have collected together over the years and re-work them into your new space.  So since we're still dreaming i stuck LOAF's HIGHWIRE {a free-standing wire storage unit perfect for squirrelling away clutter trinkets} and BIRDIE {a shelving unit handmade in steel with a drop-down desk for afternoons spent doodling and dreaming} into my 'basket' too.  They're part of a completely neutral SHELVING section that they also have on their darling website and one's which would lend itself to any taste or decor.  
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  I like to think that our room would reflect us a TWOSOME:  a little bit of how we spend our time, the items we have collected along the way and that it would also make the most of the big, light space that we are lucky enough to call our living-room.  It would be cosy -  filled with tactile fabric and tougher more natural pieces -  comfortable whilst also being practical and functional and a space that i should feel PROUD to house such beautifully crafted LOAF goodies.  

What do you think of LOAF?  Have you heard of them before?  If you havent bob on over to their beautiful websight pronto.  It's their 6th birthday and they're having a little sale!  Would you also like to completely re-vamp your entire home with absolutely everything they make?!  I'd love to know your thoughts on this little project too.  What colours would you pick for your dream space?  Would it look anything like mine?!

*This post and the mood-boards that feature in it were lovingly created in collaboration with LOAF  All opinions are my own.
 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Wonderful Wednesday #49

I'm sort of a little bit in LOVE with ^that^ photo, aren't you?  It's a bit blurry, took quick as a flash with very little imagination and i am sure anyone with half a photographic mind would have something to say about the composition - and probably the fact that it's of my feet.  Again.  But you know what?  I love the colours:  oxblood and navy; ditsy Spring florals worn with inky blue tights that could have been almost covering my bra, if i'd let them.  And the snow!  Let's just CHAT about that for a second shall we?!  

I can't HELP but love the snow.  You can tell i don't drive or have to commute to work OR have a garden by my extreme and over-enthusiasm for anything vaguely resembling just a few flakes of snow.  Whenever it snows, or there is just the tiniest hint of it, my heart gets all of a flutter!  This was more hail + sleet but it stuck - even for just a few hours.  For a few small hours our sweet little city was covered in a white velveteen blanket of white.  We'll pretend i was tucked up nicely inside with a blanket and a hot drink and not that i sort of got stranded in town after my morning bike ride and some grocery shopping and had to walk/ice skate/push said bike home shall we?  

But enough of my WITTERING!  Let us remember why we are actually here:  to celebrate the special little things so far this week, that  #wonderfulwednesday stuff!

*    Spotify.  I know i know its not exactly a REVOLUTION  anymore since everyone in the world uses it, but well it's just been the best this week.  I'm currently off work for next ten or so days (i know:  Bliss!) and unlike my odd three or four days off in a row in and around Christmas, i promised myself i'd keep some kind of routine going.  You know what it's like over Christmas:  I doubt i got up before 10am any day.  There was always a late breakfast, a late lunch - a late night and not enough fresh air.  This week i have been up by 8:30, a big floral mug of Lady Grey brewing whilst i do my stretches and press-ups (more on that later) and then sitting eating a big bowl of porridge with Spotify accompanying me all of the way.  I don't like being in the flat alone in the quiet and unless there is something on I want to watch, i rarely watch the television.  My 'Mellow Pop Gold' playlist has been the best thing ever!

*  STRETCHING. Okay so it's not exactly rocket-science but i sort of made it a bit of personal goal after my birthday in December, to learn a little bit more about improving my upper body strength.  It's not a crazy diet/type health kick since we eat quite healthy already BUT i have become all too aware that i often work the bottom half of me without putting much thought into it.  I walk to work, spend all the live long day running up and down two flights of stairs AND i ride my bike for an hour or two on my days off - come rain or shine.  I'm pleased with my subtle changes:  just ten minutes each morning where i lay out my yoga mat, do my stretches; fifteen to twenty press-ups and a little swinging about with my dumb-bells - all in the time it takes for my tea to be ready for milk.  I've stuck to it religiously so far and so i'm proud.  Don't worry though, i shan't be giving up my Walnut Whips any time soon.

*  Soup and oatcakes.  Just, the BOMB.  And the only thing to warm me right through after the weeks freezing and icy morning bike rides.  A warming soup concocted from leftover odds and ends:  parsnips, carrots, potatoes, celery and leeks.  Served with toasted seeds and three or four oatcakes.  So yummy.  I often feel as if i could live off soup - there are so many flavour combinations.  Well, soup and porridge.  What can i say, i'm a cheap date?!

*  Plans.  I'm not sure if it's the time of year or just the weather but i've been getting excited about PLANS to visit Paris for the very first time this April with one of my very dearest friends.  She currently lives in Oz and turned 30 last year.  What with me turning thirty recently too, it felt like a nice thing to do by way of celebrating a little milestone and spending some time away in a beautiful city.  

*  Gold Sharpie pens.  Silly but TRUE!  Those things just make my writing seem magical!  I have quite a few friends birthdays in January and whilst i normally reserve a metallic Sharpie for my Christmas cards; i decided to keep on using them. I've written my rotas down from work in my pretty new diary, copied over addresses into my new Liberty print address book and i may or may not have doodled a liiiittle golden crown on my wrist at my desk this afternoon…

*  Sweet potato wedges.  I don't know if you are like me, but in our house there are certain things i can cook better:  spaghetti Bolognese, baked eggs or say banana bread.  Yet the Mr makes a mean roast chicken, the very best lasagne or amazing tarts, crumbles or bread.  And until Tuesday night, he made the very BEST sweet potato wedges.  That was until i found a recipe that combines smoked paprika and ground cinnamon and sweet potato wedges.  It's safe to say that crown is now 100% mine all MINE! If you fancy baking your way to sweet potato wedge heaven, simply chop two sweet potatoes into chunky wedges, drizzle generously with olive oil and add a teaspoon each of smoked or regular paprika and a  teaspoon of ground cinnamon.  Use your hands to mix the wedges and spices and bake in the oven on 200 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  The cinnamon adds a lovely sweetness which marries deliciously with the sweetness already in the sweet potato and the paprika counteracts that with a great fat smack of spice.  We've been living on eating them dunked in lemon-ey houmous or with extra chilli and a big dollop of creme fraiche and coriander.  Yum, so yum!

*  Genius IDEAS!  Ok brace yourself, i am not saying this one will change your mind or anything!  I recently decided to store all of my headscarves, hair bobbles and soft fabric turbans and headbands in a sweet little printed box i got full of lush goodies (and may or may not have been topping up here and there…er always!)  last Christmas.  Not only does it save space and keeps our bursting-at-the-seams office-come-spare room tidy, it means my hair is forever smelling of my favourite smells.  
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Now it's your TURN!  Don't forget to share what's been making your week much more manageable in the comments below.  You can also tag your #wonderfulwednesday photos on instagram or give me a little tweet too.  I'm @sallytangle on both.

I shall be BACK this week with something other than a Wonderful Wednesday post you'll be pleased to hear.  Whilst i love them, i am all to aware that this little spot has not been given the time it deserves lately due to to Christmas and one thing or another.  I hope you'll HANG on in there as i've got no excuses since I'm dilly dallying about off work for a little while now.  Apart from some writing projects and loose ends to tidy up AND a lovely trip up north for some spaniel cuddles and parental visiting; I am free as a bird!  

How ARE you all?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wonderful Wednesday #48

^That is a photo taken by someone who is just itching for those first signs of Spring!^

Good day and a HAPPY New Year to all of your sweet cheeks!  My very FIRST post of 2015 and a #Wonderful Wednesday to boot!  If that isn't a jolly good sign of a year brimming to the very top with positivity then i don't know what is!  Or just a sign i could have got my behind in gear a little sooner - depending on which way you look at it i guess!  But either way, what better way to start my blogging year?!  

How ARE you all?  How did you spend your New Years'? Ours was quiet and low-key.  But in my heart, just as it should be.  I really don't know how anyone has the energy to do anything so full of beans over New Years.  By this point i've usually worked most of the run-up to Christmas, and fired myself straight back into work.  And then thrown myself full throttle into sale.  By New Years eve I am good for NOTHING other than a hot bath and my pyjamas.  This year i had the hottest bath i could manage and we sat and munched our very last mince pies of the season alongside big mugs of hot spiced chai tea.  We watched 'Saving Mr Banks' and then CURLED up under a blanket to watch Jools Holland.  Then we had the best sleep of our lives followed equally by the most spectacular lie-in!  Pretty much heaven right there.  I really am easily pleased.  Anyway, let's get down to the jolly GOOD stuff shall we?!

*  "Working nine-to-five…" (sung to Dolly Parton - naturally)  or Nine until six as the case maybe.   Either way, getting back to my usual alarm, my usual routine and just vaguely knowing what day it is, is a massive positive in this gals book i can tell you!

*  Spying my very FAVOURITE shoes i have possibly ever ever bought, in a different colour, in the Clarks sale, reduced from £70 to £27.  Now that is exactly the kind of sale buy that becomes totally justified.  I have slowly, started to really appreciate the importance of really good 'i'm on my feet all the live long day long' sorts of shoes.  Over the past few years Clarks have really upped their game in the style stakes.  I am faithful wearer of their brogues and recently added their Busby Jazz shoes to my collection:  A sort of flat jazz shoe in a soft grey leather and with a strap across each foot.  I am now the very proud owner of the exact same pair in a dark oxblood colour.  

*  Feeling all kinds of PROUD seeing our new January Accessorize window installed this week.  It's been designed by the darling who is 'Miss Magpie Spy…' If you are not familiar with her beautiful drawings and illustrations have a goosey gander at her instagram HERE and drop by her wonderful website just HERE.  Having followed her on instagram and twitter for SO long, on opening our window guidelines i couldn't help but yelp in delight!  The window is just beautiul and may well go down in history as one of my very favourite Accessorize windows to date.  Just magical!  

*  APPLES.  Simple. Crisp, shiny and straight out of the fridge.  I just can't get enough.  I often go through phases with fruit.  Lately i just cannot get enough of apples.  My apple of choice? A british cox:  sweet but not too sweet, with a delicious juiciness i just can't get enough of!  

*  A SPECIAL kind of feel good hot chocolate.  I know i know hot chocolates aren't supposed to be healthy.  But i returned from a frosty bike ride early this week, and i was chilled, chilled through to the bone and I knew the only thing that would fix me was a piping hot mug of the good stuff.  After Christmas, and New Year and feeling like i might try and re-invent a healthier take on my beloved drink, i got concocting.  What i cam up with was heaven.  Granted not calorie-free, but in my experience, calorie free usually equals taste free too.  My goal?  To try and make a purer, more health boosting drink.  I warmed through unsweetened almond milk.  Added two heaped teaspoons of raw cacao powder and one each of carob and maca powder.  I warmed it altogether until it had all dissolved and then frothed it with our little milk frother.  After decanting into my favourite mug i drizzled half a teaspoon of honey and added some grated nutmeg on top and curled up.  It was delicious!  and packed full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals AND it heated me up just as i knew it would.  

*  Tights.  For being the ONLY way to keep me so very toasty warm.  I don't care if you're not a dress person, you prefer jeans to skirts or you just don't think they are your thing.  Just give them a shot, it's all i ask.  Even be a dress person just for Winter!  Because let me tell you that wearing something that covers your feet completely and pulls right the way up to just below your bra is The Bees Knees and Cat's Pyjamas all in one. Trust me!

*  Signs of SPRING.  Yes i know i am fickle!  I anticipate, revel and dismiss each season as soon as there are any sightings of the one to follow.  Last weekend we de-Christmassed our little attic.   Now i just can't wait for Spring i just can't!  Our sweet little farmers market has tulips and daffodils peeking out on their stalls and i am finding myself looking for the first signs of Spring anywhere and everywhere.  Gosh i cannot wait for blossom!  

*  NEW beginnings.  See above.  But also the feeling of a fresh start, that anything is possible and that anything is within your reach.  Even if you are not one for resolutions, that New Year feeling brings out optimism in even the most weariest of souls.  And writing on the first page in a beautiful new diary or notebook with a golden pen?  Right up there!  

*  Baked eggs.  Cooked in only plum tomatoes, garlic, red pepper and diced chorizo.  Served still slightly soft with a helping of sea salt and a side of rocket and watercress.  Two words: The BUSINESS!

*  LIGHTER mornings and lighter evenings.  Even if it's only minutes or so, they're coming:  That extra bit of sunlight to warm and soothe our Wintered-selves, i promise.
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So TELL me, share your good things, spread your loveliness and tell us all of your positive moments - no matter how great or how small.  I know i'd LOVE to know, and i bet others who pop by should like to know your secrets to those little and sweet happy moments.  Heavens after the rose-y glow that Christmas brings, January can feel like the longest and most greyest of months, can't it?  We must UNITE and share our goodness.  Remember to leave a sweet comment below, or to share your #wonderfulwednesday on Instagram or Twitter.  I'm @sallytangle on both.  

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Wonderful Wednesday #47

Happy restful-sort-of-a-Wonderful Wednesday dear and sweet ones.  Thanks kindly for sticking by this little spot throughout the last six weeks or so - life has been HECTIC.  Working in retail means my end-of-November and December sort of just vanish into one big blur of early starts, late nights and not knowing what day it is from one day to the next!  I hope you shall PARDON me for taking a break from the Wonderful Wednesday bus last Wednesday?  It being Christmas eve and all, i had worked a twelve hour shift the day before and was ever so looking forward to just curling up with mulled wine, mince pies and the Mr.  Which i successfully did and it was jolly and good and so very needed.  

Anyway, how was your Christmas?  Ours was quiet and LAZY and filled with cuddles, long lie ins and sneaking whisky into afternoon coffees and for eating breakfast gone 10 o' clock.  It gets WILD around these parts come this time of year i can tell you!  The Mr cooked the most delicious and tiniest of Christmas lunches and we watched films and spent time with each other.  And then i threw myself right back into work to launch our sale the day after Boxing Day!!  This week i am off Tuesday, (Wonderful) Wednesday and Thursday and i am so very ready for it i can't even tell you!  But what has been keeping me alive (excuse the dramatics!) in the first few days of this week?

*  Stillness.  Tuesday was my first day off by myself doing NOTHING in what feels like a long, long time - even if it wasn't actually.  I spent it out on those two wheels, on a bright sunny day.  I gulped in as much icy air as my lungs could manage and then snacked on flapjack and a large cappuccino.  I sat on the wall by the cathedral and watched crazy sale shoppers race between shops, laden with bags, and enjoyed my own company.  It was HEAVEN.  

*  Clean sheets, clean me, clean pyjamas and a quilted hot water bottle every.  Single.  Night.  Also HEAVEN.

*  Witnessing what might be our COLDEST day so far on Monday.  Falling asleep with all of the ^above^ on Sunday evening and leaving the skylight blind open just enough to watch the frost sparkle in the moonlight on our sweet window and feeling so warm and toasty.  

*  The Mr.  I feel as if sometimes I don't tell him enough quite how GRATEFUL I am for the good soul that he is through and through:  for making our two-person Christmas magical, for not minding my festive/sale/work grumbles and crashing and banging about sleepily at silly o'clocks in the mornings lately.  For keeping me all TOGETHER and for giving the best hugs.  

*  Tea.  God yes TEA!  How do people not drink tea?!  It has been keeping me alive lately it really has.  Dark mornings sipping strong, hot tea in only the light from the Christmas tree.  The only way i function on early starts, honest-John!

*  Freshly WASHED hair.  Silly simple!?  I used to be the sort of person who got up, showered and washed and dried their hair every morning.  Pah!  Not anymore.  Sleep is like nectar!  Now I always shower/bath before bed and try and stretch washing my hair out for as many days as is humanly possible.  I don't know what i'd do without dry shampoo.  Often the thought of having to wash and then dry my hair feels like the worse thing in the whole world (drama queen much?!).  As soon as it's done though, i am forever reminded of how good freshly washed hair feels and smells and along with clean sheets, it's a recipe for the sleep of your life if ever there was one! 

*  Frost.  You can tell i don't drive anything other than a pushbike.  I am the FIRST person to get excited at even the smallest hint of snow.  Whilst we haven't been blessed with any of the white stuff (yet, YET!  It'll come i'm sure of it) we did wake up to a blanket of white and icy frost on Monday morning.  Watching the sun come up by the Christmas tree, clutching a sweet little bowl of dark chocolate and hazelnut porridge and seeing the frost glisten and everything sparkle was just MAGICAL.  Even if i did slip a few times on my wobbly walk to work… 

*  PROPER hot chocolate.  I'd never been much of a hot chocolate fan until i met the Mr.  Which for one is odd, odd, odd as i pretty much live, eat and sleep chocolate (walnut whip anyone?).  But as it turns out i just hadn't ever had the Mr's ultimate hot chocolate.  I knew that man was a keeper from day one.  Last night we settled down after a chilly late night food shop and a quick thrown together soup kind of a dinner and decided our tummies needed liquid gold chocolate.  Now i don't quite know the ins and outs of this recipe (maybe i'll do my research and fire up a mid-January recipe post on it for your lovely tums?) but basically, this extra SPECIAL hot chocolate is made solely from Green and Blacks Maya gold chocolate, warmed organic milk, cinnamon and cardamon and……the sweetest little drop of whisky.  The type of whisky is apparently crucial.  But i know nothing about that sort of thing.  What i can tell you is that stuff is the FIXER of everything ever.  

*  Sale TREATS.  I know I know.  The last thing i should be doing is scampering about other kinds of sales when i am moaning and grizzling and grumping about our own BUT i managed to snag a beautiful Orla Kiely pot and the sweetest dark purple velvet round cushion decorated with pompoms and a woollen coat i had been lusting over for at least three months.  *cartwheels*

Now thats IT.  I am done and January can stretch out ahead of me and i shall live on chocolate porridge and tea and actually be rather jolly happy.  Just joking.  Is it wrong i feel ready for Spring already?!  
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How are you all? I've MISSED you.  I wish we could all go for a frosty walk and have a proper catch up.  And then fill our tummies with hot chocolate afterwards.  But you shall just have to leave me your Wonderful Wednesday…wonderful-ness (?) below!  Or remember you can give me a nudge on Twitter or Instagram.  I'm @sallytangle on both !

Have the most Wonderful of Wednesdays all!  After all it is the last one of 2014!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Keeping Up

I had INTENDED to call this post 'Catching Up' but since that is the furthest i can possibly be in any sense of the word, i changed my mind and settled on 'Keeping Up' instead.  I have just had a mild, blind panic on laying out all of the Christmas presents i have squirrelled away over the past two months or so.  By blind panic i mean, the sudden realisation of all of the things i have to wrap in precisely…5 days.  All of which i am working.  One of which will be a ten hour shift whereupon afterwards i shall be fit for nothing other than a cup of tea and a slice of spelt toast with stem ginger curd.  I daren't even think of the food shopping.  Actually scratch that, food shopping is all in hand and most of which shall be completed on Monday evening after work.  Which means Monday evening is out for wrapping too. Oh bugger.

This is what happens when you work in retail you see.  Okay well this is what happens when I work in retail.  Christmas starts way, waaay back in August - work prep-wise at least.  Which in theory you'd think would make me an super-duper organised Christmas bunny.    NEVER.  If fannying around was an olympic sport i'd hold a platinum medal.  I don't even know if that exists!  Safe to say the busier i get at work, the less i want to go anywhere near a shop when i'm not at work.  But i get there - somehow it all has a knack/miracle of all coming together in time!  I thought we'd have a little catch up ahead of the big day and that i'd let you know what else has been GOING on around these parts.  Are you comfy?
Since we returned from my BIRTHDAY galavant to Edinburgh; i have sort of been thrust head-first into Christmas - legs stuck out and flailing helplessly.  Days and weeks have merged into one and my working week has been a little erratic.  But we have enjoyed making our little somewhere Christmas-sey.  I'm not an 'all out Christmas eveywhere' sort of Deck the Halls-er.  Our little attic is teeny TINY, so we always get a real Nordic Pine tree but opt for a much more realistic 3ft one.  We have collected ornaments in our few years together and so each year we I add a few more and this makes for a little traditional tree of handmade, wooden and keepsake-y kind of decorations.  As we have such huge and massive windows in our main room, i picked up some beautiful red and white paper decorations which i have hung in the centre of each one.  A string of rose-y red paper chains, a baby Poinsettia and a million festive scented candles and we are good to go!  My very favourite candle this year is Lilyflame's ''Warm Welcome''.  It's sweet but not too sweet and a little bit of a change from the clove-y/cinnamon scent that every Christmas candle seems to smell of.  Hop over to thier sight to get your fix HERE.  But word of warning:  It's impossible to just buy one candle.  I'm currently coveting their 'Blue Hyacinth' for after Christmas!  But to tell you the truth i'd be happy to have any of their candles on my little window ledge!  
I love dressing for COLDER weather and rare days off have all been about the brightest and biggest of pom-pom hats and mittens to match!  I love to layer - is that WEIRD?!  I like to think i am a bit of a pro.  The Mr can often be heard exclaiming -  'How many tops do you have on?!'  I relish pulling my tights up as far as they can go, slipping on some fair-isle socks and sneaking a vest, a long sleeve tee and throwing a smock dress over the top.  Life is only complete when i can throw a cardigan or jumper over the top and then slide into my sheepskin coat, a hat and some gloves.  Then and only then can i leave the house safe in the knowledge that i'll be WARM enough.  For the girl that has the spacial awareness of a fly in a match box, it's a good job Winter dressing is my thing.  Nobody needs to see my bruise-y knees and elbows!
This year we are having Christmas Day at our little ABODE - just the two of us.  I'm hoping we'll squeeze in visits to both sides of the family in and around Christmas too though.  It's exciting to plan our own little Christmas Day:  Lemon-ey and rosemary roast chicken, goose fat roast potatoes, sprouts, red cabbage, honey-roast parsnips and carrot and swede mash.  I just can't wait!  The Mr EXCELS at anything roast-dinner related and so i am quite happy to help prep and leave him to work his Christmas-sey magic come Christmas Day.  I am still undecided what to make for Christmas morning breakfast though.  At home my dad would always be on toast DUTY.  It was always thick white flour-y bread, served hot and spread thickly with salty butter and distributed among us all along with strong, sweet tea whilst we tore into our presents.  Maybe we might go for toasted brioche and Christmas jam.  I haven't told the Mr but if it's mild and dry, i might see if he FANCIES a little drive to find some snow - maybe into the Lakes.  We can go armed with a flask of hot chocolate and a couple of minced pies.  Because what's Christmas without frost or snow?!
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In other much less-EXCITING and far more MUNDANE news:  

*  My beautiful birthday PRESENT to myself landed this morning and it is all that i imagined!  By a sweet little company called 'Vintage Style Me'.  It is handmade from the most pretty William Morris 'Strawberry Thief' fabric and i cannot wait to wear it with some black opaques and my Christmas present from the Mr:  Some beautifully soft black leather Chelsea boots and of course my sweet little sheepskin gilet.  That could be my Christmas Day get-up sorted i think.  

*  We I've been sort of getting a little bit ADDICTED to 'Inside Tatler' on BBC Two.  Such an interesting programme all about behind the scenes at one of oldest magazines.  It's a magazine i pick up from time to time and i love to see how it all works behind the scenes.  It's really interesting and has been my go-to watch each night with a big floral mug of camomile and honey tea just before bed.  

*  I spent a good hour and a half RESEARCHING/googling Christmas puddings today.  That's an unhealthy amount of consideration given to a pudding isn't it?  I only want the best for us.  I can't decide which to opt for after our Christmas Day dinner and wish i'd got my bum in gear and made one this year.  We usually try a few out before-hand but this year we are severely un-organised in the pudding department.  

*  I've been pretty much LIVING off my 'Super Duper Hero Chocolate and Banana Porridge' recipe i posted HERE lately.  When i am so busy at work, it takes moments to make in the morning and really keeps me going until lunchtime.  It's well worth a try if you've got a sweet tooth like me!

*  I've also been TOYING with my hair colour.  I've been a pale baby blonde for as long as i can remember.  Now it takes a little helping hand to keep me this light and my natural colour is probably much more mouse-y.  Lately i have been thinking about toning it down and letting my natural colour come through…the thought is in equal parts both exciting and terrifying though.  I am thinking of a balyage - a natural base colour with slices of blonde through and lighter toward the ends.  A bit like THIS  What do you think?!

*  I've got an EXCITING couple of collaborative posts with the lovely lot at Loaf over Christmas for your pretty faces.  So i've been enjoying getting creative of an evening too and can't wait to share the results.  If you haven't heard of Loaf, pop over and say hello HERE.  They make the most wonderful beds and furniture and it's safe to say if every single thing in our home could be from there, it definitely would be!  We've particularly got our peepers on their Bagsie sofa and sweet little matching Love-seat HERE .  
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Now it's your TURN!  What have you been up to?!  Are you ready for Christmas?  Have you got five million days off from school, work or college?  If so i shall choose to ignore that part!  What have you all been up to lately?  I'd love to know!  

I'll be BACK with you for a little 'Wonderful Wednesday' action next week - cripes the last for 2014!  How did that happen so fast?!  But until then i shall WISH you a lovely weekend of shopping, wrapping and spending time with your loved ones.  Tonight the Mr and I are off to watch the beautiful Fiona Clayton Band and Mylittlebrother at The Brickyard!  We've been looking forward to it for aaaages and it'll be jolly nice to have the Mr standing next to me and not on the stage for a change!  

Happy WEEKEND-ing!

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