Sunday, 15 December 2013

Sunday Summary

This week, I have mostly been…

Preparing for Christmas! | I’m very fortunate to be heading back to my parents’ again this Christmas so my preparations are minimal. However, I couldn’t let the festive period go without decorating the flat.

Of course, the original plan was to Elf up the flat with a veritable North-Pole of white-paper decorations:

{"You need help with that?"}

I made a rather splendid Christmas banner for the window:

I embellished the Girls:

I set up some tasteful arrangements of baubles:


Of course, where I failed was to get bored after creating roughly 10ft of paper chains, adhered by glue dots, which would then fall apart when the glue dots failed. And then get frustrated at having to stick the wretched things together again (with more reliable staples this time!). Still. I had approximately 250 Christmas tunes to accompany me in this venture so all was not lost.

I even bought a tiny tree.

Top 5 Christmas Songs (in no particular order after number 1):

  1. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas | by Judy Garland. Rosemary Clooney. The Pretenders. Anyone, really. It’s my favourite.
  2. Driving Home for Christmas | by Chris Rea
  3. Santa Baby | by Eartha Kitt
  4. Stop the Cavalry | by Jona Lewie
  5. Mistletoe and Wine | by Cliff Richard
And a special mention to these four:

That’ll Be Christmas | by Thea Gilmore
Christmas Spirit | by Richard Marx
O Holy Night | either by Richard Marx or – eek – Mariah Carey
Fairytale of New York | by The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl

Top 5 Carols/Advent and Christmas Anthems (again, in no particular order after number 1):

  1. Silent Night*
  2. O Little Town of Bethlehem
  3. Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending
  4. The First Noël
  5. In the Bleak Midwinter (but only the Darke composition)
* This rendition of Silent Night by Jewel is just... perfect (if brief).

And – I’ve finally got around to writing my cards. Probably a day before the final mailing deadline but what the hey.

Ice Skating | in Reigate

This is, I think, only the second year that there’s been a temporary ice rink set up in Priory Park – last year it was open air and it all got just a tiny bit damp, I hear. This year, the rink is hosted underneath a huge marquee along with sweetie stalls (and a stall selling mulled wine – winner!), with a miniature fairground outside – a carousel and helter-skelter, anyway.

My friend Matt kindly organised for us to go skating last night and – I’d forgotten how much fun it was! The rink wasn’t especially crowded which was great, and the four of us shuffled, coasted, slid along for a good hour. I’m no artiste when it comes to skating but I’ve got to the stage now where I don’t perpetually feel I’m going to fall over and I have quite good motion, from one foot anyway…

I’m awaiting video and photos from another friend who came along to spectate! This is an old one...

{B on ice, Hyde Park, 2007. Snow added 2013 by Auto-Awesome!}

Watching Christmas/Christmassy films

So far:

Santa Claus: The Movie
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Love Actually
Elf and
While You Were Sleeping

I also have to give a shout-out to my new seasonal favourite thing to watch: this episode of My So-Called Life from 1994-ish (So-Called Angels). It's a little slow-moving in places but it's just... rather special. And ridiculously sad towards the end. Oh, Rickie.

Eating | @ Bill’s
Twice this week already. Yep. We held our departmental Christmas lunch in the Shepherds Bush/Westfield branch on Tuesday, and I met my family for a pre-Christmas lunch on Friday in Putney (Friday was Christmas Jumper Day, incidentally, so the three females in our party were suitably attired!).

{That would be me in a flashing, festive Christmas jumper. With one of Bill's superlative hedgerow fizz drinks -- elderflower cordial, sparkling wine, blackberry. Delicious.}

There’s something simplistically pleasurable about Bill’s (a chain that started in Lewes, near Brighton) – the food is filling, delicious and affordable, and unpretentious. I teeter between the macaroni cheese with leeks (no mushrooms, though, ewww...), or the marinated chicken skewers.

The service is great, as well – the staff come across as genuinely friendly and helpful. Long may it last.

{photo from the official Bill's website}

Loving | these books

How to make a book an event!

{ S | JJ Abrams & Doug Dorst}

Watch the video: The book is the platform for a conversation between two readers, interspersed with postcards, clippings and photos! 

Also, a beautiful cover and ends:

{ A Suitable Boy | Vikram Seth | limited edition}

Found on the internet (not necessarily by me!) 

Guinea pigs wearing hats

A Twitter feed entirely dedicated to one man's love of a llama

Facebook develops a 'sympathise' button (though this has not yet been launched. Dislike...?)

Why don't French books sell abroad?

And finally... 

Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed? Be instantly comforted by Calming Manatee.

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