Thursday, 4 November 2010

Getting ready for winter

Only 17 degrees this morning which is amazing for late autumn.  I was absolutely warm this morning in three layers of clothing.  This frill wool cardigan is just perfect for days like this.  Soft, warm and stylish are just some of the words which come to mind when I look at this cardigan by CASA.  In the back of my mind though I'm wondering if temperatures like this morning is simply the calm before the storm as based on last year, I'm not looking forward to this winter season.

There are some positives from last winter. I enjoyed the school closures. Not having to take the kids out meant I didn’t have to drive in the slippery snow.  But my head is still spinning from the whooping heating bill that came come January. On those snow filled days I could warm my hands around a hot cup of tea and stare out of my bedroom window simply mesmerized by the snow that fell and fell and fell.

I have never shovelled so much snow in my life and living on a sloping driveway is no picnic when trying to get in and out.  I literally had to be digging myself in and out of the driveway.   Just yesterday my son reminded me of that very ungracious fall I took while gingerly walking down the driveway.

My North American friends are always bemused as to what's the big deal with snowfall in England.  We are simply not prepared for it I tell them.  So this year it is not only about outfitting myself for warmth in winter but I also have to outfit my car. Short of putting on snow tires and converting to a 4x4, I must stock my boot with water, snacks, easily opened can food, torch, shovel, warm blankets, and I will be keeping an extra coat or alpaca wool wrap in there as well as hat, scarves and gloves.  I'm already all stocked up on grit salt.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Autumn colour trends 2010

I used to think that my favorite time of year was spring but now I'm finding autumn to be so picturesque.  I'm simply loving the flamboyancy and richness of colours in the leaves - the reds, the burnt orange and yellows, the varying shades of browns.  Perhaps it's because my daughter is always stopping to pick up leaves and enjoys just kicking them around once they are all bunched together.  

I am captivated by the stretches of golden and reddish leaves on expanses of grass.  What a lovely picture especially when we're lucky enough to have a setting sun.  I'm so reminded of this unique handbag when I'm thrashing through leaves with my daughter - with its oval shape and copper handles and magnificent colour.  According to Vogue "autumn's most flamboyant trend is all about colour, chaos and creativity," and this leather handbag is ticking all those boxes.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

So what's on your christmas list

My kids were all excited telling me what they wanted for christmas and all I was thinking was that I could really do without more toys to clear up around the house.  To get them out of my hair I sent them to make a list to which they promptly responded, "aren't you making a list as well"?  So I thought why not.

As expected their christmas lists were full of toys and electronic games they were looking forward to having, my christmas list was full of convenience home appliances. 

How practical and boring we can become once we have kids and responsibilities.  In the past when I dated my husband I always looked forward to some romantic jewellery gifts or delightful surprise for christmas, birthdays and anniversaries.  So when did I stop wanting to pamper myself or have I stopped pampering myself?   Personally I think that if Santa did bring me my wish list for christmas, it would be the best treat I ever had.

So what's on your list?  Here's my christmas list:

juicer - since attending that Eucerin beauty event I am still trying to do better at increasing my antioxidant intake so some smoothies for breakfast are in order.

breadmaker - I viewed a house a couple of weeks ago and the aroma of fresh bread baking simply brought back memories of growing up.  I grew up on home made bread, cakes, pastries etc and really dream of going back to basics and giving my kids that experience.  I want them to have a sense that bread and cakes does not only come out of a bakery or supermarket.  It's like when you vacation in the rural parts of England and order a ham sandwich at a quaint tea room and the bread looks and taste absolutely homemade and the ham nothing like you buy in the shop - now that's priceless.

steam generator iron - been reading about theses steam generator irons in Essentials magazine which according to them "blasts at least twice as much steam as steam irons".  All I can think is how easy it will be to iron my son's karate uniforms with one of these.

LG 11kg steam direct drive washing machine - 11kg barrel - just think of how much I can wash in one go.  Plus the steam gives a deeper clean and with a special steam-only programme, wrinkles and odours can be removed without doing a full wash cycle. Very handy indeed, not to mention energy saving.

soup maker love soup especially in the winter it is absolutely warming. So a soup maker like cuisineart which cooks and blends the soup means no messy kitchen after or stove to clean.  Not to mention when I'm not making soup my cuisineart can also crush ice for a cool cocktail or make nutritious smoothies.  Two in one even better.  Santa may not have to worry with the juicer after all.

Monday, 1 November 2010

My bedroom all grown up

Finally some chest of drawers for my bedroom.  It is unbelievable how lack of storage in a bedroom can have a room untidy.  In this and the last house I lived, my present chest of drawers could not make it up the stairs to my bedroom.  Silly me for buying chest of drawers built for the american market.  But I still love it!!!! It is large and made of rose wood and it's amazing the amount of clothes and linen I could fit in there.  I saw it at auction and simply fell in love.  I have not given up my dream of living a big house with wide staircases and spacious landing but for now the dining room would have to do for my american chest of drawers. 

Until then my new manhattan chest of drawers will do just fine and fits in perfectly with my darkwood furniture.  It is exquisitely crafted and would last a lifetime.  My wooden jewellery box will look just a treat sitting on it. 

Keeping warm this winter

Hooray an extra hour of sleep yesterday as the clocks were turned back and very much needed coming off the half term break. While I totally enjoyed the lie in, I dread the aftermath of being plunged into darkness so early in the evenings. Animals have the right idea and hibernate during winter. They gather nuts and food and take refuge in hides and burrows until it’s warm again. We on the other hand, have to brave the weather and envelop ourselves in layers and layers of warm jumpers, cardigans and coats to keep the chill off. But they do say that it is not a matter of being too cold as opposed to not being dressed warmly enough.

On Saturday, I wore two layers, a long sleeve cotton tee and a wool wrap cardigan and I was warm enough given the warm sunny temperatures outside. Yesterday Sunday, was 10 degrees out and I had to throw on a woolly long cardigan as an extra layer.

By now you might have guessed that my favorite winter warmer is wool.  Why? Well it does cost a bit more but it has proven to be effectively warm.  I find that I can wear several layers of thin woollen layers anf feel  warm rather than wearing the big bulky coats that just weight me down.  If it works for sheep, then it can certainly do the same for me.  Mind you some wool can be really itchy which is an absolute turn off unless it is a coat or cardigan that I will be layering up underneath.  So usually I tend to stick to extra fine wool cardigans and jumpers which feel really silky and smooth on the skin and in many cases is machine washable which is a bonus for women on the go and saves on dry cleaning.  But lately I have also come across cape style coats, which I might add is very trendy at the moment, made from boiled wool which is not itchy and definitely worth a try.