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January 2016

December 2015

2015 in Pictures

Oh 2015. What a bittersweet year it has been...

January

At the start of the year, I was living at my Cambridge college. January proved to be one of the toughest months I've ever lived through: a friend of mine suddenly passed away, and as with everyone who knew her, I struggled to come to terms with this. I don't mind admitting that I spent several weeks barely eating or sleeping and drinking far too much.

As painful as it is to lose anyone that you care about, I truly believe that it's much tougher to comprehend the unexpected death of a young person. If there was anything positive about January, it was the closeness and strengthened friendships that came from people coming together to celebrate a life. I think this picture, which was taken as I passed through Pembroke College, is the best symbol of the month that saw a bright light ascend.

image from farm6.staticflickr.com

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Best Nine Projects of 2015

I suspect most of you are lolling about and trying to recover from the madness and calorific intensity of Christmas. I know I am, although I am currently preparing what is hopefully the last Turkey dinner of 2015. Although I'd love to share with you the wonderful festive food I've been enjoying, I can't face that right now - particularly as my temper is fraying from peeling and preparing yet more vegetables - so it will have to wait for another day!

Instead, I'm sharing my Best Nine Projects of 2015, which currently trending amongst the crafters I follow on Instagram as #2015BestNine. As you can see, I'm not exaggerating when I say that I love bright colours... 

image from farm6.staticflickr.com

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Weekly Happiness: #1

Seasons Greetings!

With only five days until the big day, it's completely natural that Christmas is everywhere you look at the moment. Here in London, the streets and public transport are busier than ever as shoppers hustle to buy things in time. To be truthful, it's both incredible and highly stressful in Central London at the moment. For the most part I've tried to keep away from the chaos of Christmas party season by nestling up with a blanket, books and cups of tea on the sofa in my apartment.

I've been doing my best to get into the festive spirit by filling my weekends with old Christmas films such as my all-time favourite, A Muppets Christmas Carol, as well as some baking and gift knitting. As a result of this immersive seasonal behaviour, my first Weekly Happiness post will be fit to bursting with festive cheer.

Scroll on down to revel in the amazing colours and pleasures that this time of year has brought my way....

image from farm1.staticflickr.com

  1. I'm now onto my second of these wonderful reusable bubble bars from Lush. | 2. I don't have a Christmas tree but I really love getting lost in red & gold theme on my boyfriends grandmothers. | 3. Sometimes all you need is a chilled glass of bubbles and a steaming hot bubble bath. The Nyetimber Classic Cuvée I'm holding was a great find by Alec. | 4. I'm super excited to start using my new blog planner in the new year. | 5. Back in October, I made my own mincemeat. I'm looking forward to feedback! | 6. Winter plants bring in such jolly bursts of colour this time of year.

 

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All Wrapped Up

Phew, I was right: Christmas mania has well and truly arrived this week. Not only has the volume of people on the streets and in the shops increased tenfold over the last few days, but my workload has been busier than ever as our clients prepare to shutdown for the Christmas period. I finished on Friday, with ten days off to visit my parents before I return to my usual routine. 

After our Office party taking place last night, one might fairly assume that I would choose to have today off to recover rest a bit. Not so! I've spent the day doing all of those things you need to do before the big day. Today, after spending an inordinate amount of time conducting a full scale pre-Christmas clean of my apartment, I wrapped my gifts....

image from farm6.staticflickr.com

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Christmas Gifts for Knitters 2015

I know I've left it a little late, but I thought I'd pass on my advice regarding gifts for knitters. As an avid knitter myself, experience tells me that most non-knitters shy away from purchasing knitting-based gifts for one or both of the following reasons: a) they don't know what to purchase or; b) they're worried they'll buy the wrong thing. 

Now, I really believe that in some cases it's pretty easy for a non-knitter to buy a great gift for their knitting friend or partner. As when you buy other gifts, choosing something they'll like can come down to paying attention to the individual or their possessions. It's worth keeping an eye on your knitter throughout the year, so you can get an idea of what sorts of colours they like as well as what sort of things they like to make. Additionally, when they make a comment about something they like connected to knitting, it's worth taking a note down of what they've said. (This goes for all occasions, not just Christmas. If you keep track, you need never wonder about knitterly gifts again.) One other thing: if you're thinking of buying yarn, please make sure you check what yarn brands/types they use most regularly. If required, please snaffle a label or two (we usually lose them anyway). 

Of course, I'm aware that most people (read: men in particular) don't have the foresight to plan gifts appropriately and this extends WAY beyond knitting. This is why I've put a guides together, of general things I believe most knitters would appreciate for Christmas. Of course, please don't take my word as gospel on this and, for the love of god, please make sure you check that they haven't already got some of the things included. Do note, however, that for most of us, regardless of how much yarn we already have, we won't be disappointed with more so long as it is the kind we like. Equally, some things you can never have enough of. For example: needles, and in my case, sock yarn. 

Let's go...

image from farm6.staticflickr.com

Addi Click Interchangeable Needles Set: £86.75 | Lanolips Lovely Lanolin™ Intense Hand Balm: £9.18 | Johnston's of Elgin Cashmere Knitting Yarn: £19.95 per 50g | Clover Steel Amour Crochet Hooks: £93.77 | Pony Knitting Needle Point Protectors: £0.75Cath Kidston Woodland Rose Craft Bag: £26.00 | Regia Fluormania Color Sock Yarn: £7.99 | Cath Kidston Little Leaves Tape Measure: £5.00

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WIP Wednesday: Getting Festive

I love this time of year: the point where Christmas is everywhere, but still sufficiently far away that things haven't gotten too manic. The parties have just started to happen. Christmas cards are arriving. But Christmas is still over two weeks away, and the holiday wind down hasn't begun. For the most part, almost everyone is still stuck within their daily routine and are going about their ordinary business with the odd festive necessity like Christmas shopping slipped in.

It is certainly the case for me. Each and every day, when I am at work, I take a lunch time walk to grab a hot drink or something to eat. Somedays, I'll haul whatever oversized biographical tome I'm reading to sit and read in the window at Pret a Manger. Other days, I'll bring out my knitting project and tuck myself away in a quiet corner or spend my entire lunch hour walking around and attempt to nourish my body with much needed exercise because mine is a desk job. 

This week, I decided to mix up my lunch time walks by taking my camera out with me. There were three reasons for this: 1) My knitted Christmas present projects are so far behind that I no longer want to knit at lunch time; b) I have been fairly stressed out and can't concentrate on my usual in-depth book selection and; c) I love the sights and sounds of Christmas.

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