life

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Since before December I was planning on a whole bunch of Christmassy-ness that was going to happen in real life, some of which I was going to share with you. But the time has run away with me and I haven’t stuck up one single Christmas decoration! The fact that we are leaving for South Africa on Saturday and won’t be at home for Christmas kind of makes it feel not worthwhile for three days either so I am afraid this year will be the year I didn’t decorate. Oh well there is always next year and there are plenty of festive feelings flying around.

But to share some Christmas love I thought I would link up to some Christmassy loveliness from across the web.

Decorating Love

Wrapping inspiration

  • A great idea of using DIY printables in a different way for this  wrapping idea.
  • The simple addition of a wreath brings a bit of greenery to your presents.
  • Or some watercolour on paper. I think I have a roll of ikea white paper somewhere.
  • An old post of mine with some ideas for reusing shopping bags for wrapping (I am truly terrible at wrapping presents so bags often win)

Winning Gift Giving

  • Chocolate bark is always a great last minute gift idea (can literally knock some up an hour before leaving the house for a last minute Christmas engagement. This combo sounds delicious.
  • I think I might gift this to myself to read on the plane to South Africa. I am not the tidiest person and any tips I can get to not have to spend half a day cleaning on the weekend would be magical. I think many might appreciate the sentiment for a new year.

Let’s Eat

  • For those to squeamish for eggnog how about a vegan version. Looks good to me.
  • These mincemeat and clementine rolls are great for a last minute Christmas gathering, or you know any reason.

Also check out my post from last year on photographing Christmas lights if you are heading out for some evening walks.

read ‘em and eat

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It has been a bit sparse on here this week and honestly I think it will continue that way until after the New Year has arrived. Just that time of year right.

READ ‘EM >>>

December is that beautiful time of reflection and consideration about what you want the next year to be and one of the best ways I have found to do that is with Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year.

For the ultimate DIYer 100 handmade gifts for Christmas.

A different approach to gift buying.

I love a monthly planner and this one looks great for the coming year.

EAT >>>

December is full on persimmon season (cachi in Italian) here and last year I kind of missed out so I need to try and make up for it here. The first lot I bought were so ripe they exploded in the shopping bag by the time I got home! Then I bought this single one which never seemed to get soft so I finally cut into it yesterday and it was absolutely perfect. Which leads me to think there are different varieties. I think I might like the hard ones more. It was absolutely delicious chopped up in my porridge.. Made up for the fact that I didn’t have any milk and had just used water to cook them (which I normally do though add a splash of milk at the end).

They aren’t as big in the UK and I had never heard of them in South Africa so if you have any tips let me know.

Also have you ever seen persimmon on the tree. It looks like a minimalist Christmas tree. This is a picture a couple of years ago from when we were visiting Assisi.

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eek! life is awesome

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Last night I spent three hours organising a very small corner of my life. Copies of exercises for tutoring (something that I never would have though I would have been doing a year ago). But that isn’t very awesome is it?

I want to share some plans without sounding like a big brag. Is that okay? It is just life is currently pretty awesome and I like to share with you guys. Because I feel that you are some of my people.

We just bought tickets to Japan for “Summer 2015″. I put that as a ‘title’ because our summers are pretty epic with Tim teaching and me on a similar contract we get an amazing two and a half months off. We don’t get paid in that time but I think it is worth it.

We’ve made travelling a priority for the next few years so we are also looking at spending a week with friends in Crete as well as heading back to London in August for three (!!!) weddings.

Oh and we are heading back to South Africa for Christmas but that has been in the pipeline since the beginning of the year.

Prioritising travel means making some adjustments. Taking on some extra tutoring work and being a bit tighter with the budget. But when I question why it is 8pm on a Thursday night and I have three pre-teen boys staring at me questioning whether something is a past participle I can adjust my attitude to ‘how awesome is my friend that passed this on to me so I can have the amazing experience of eating Ramen in Japan!’. Happiness is just an attitude after all, right?

Anyway, if you have any tips for Japan and Crete I’d love to know!

On a side note this is a detail from the picture above which I just thought looked cool. Kind of like a painting.

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So a couple weeks ago I posted about non-attachment to technology. I wasn’t 100% successful but I did read a book, met up with friends and created an actual real life mood board. I then read this piece on Wit and Delight about a social media break.

I found the Kate’s thoughts on the connection between social media and depression rather interesting. Perhaps it is choice overwhelm? We live in a time where we want to be connected but want to disconnect. We have more time but don’t use it wisely. Probably as all generations before us we live in a confusing time.

How do we feed these opposing desires? How do we live in the light? I can see that so many of us are trying to do this. Switching off our technologies on the weekends, taking social media breaks. We all joke that we are addicted but we really are. You don’t realise how much sitting at a computer all day every day wears you down until you spend time away from it. And that time away has real benefits not least of all providing real life inspiration. How can we stop getting to the point where we have to get rid of it all though? Is it just human nature (habit?) that we consume until it makes us sick, be it obesity or media?

My efforts towards non-attachments of technology and some more thinking made me realise something. Having your hands on a book or a paint brush, sitting with friends with a glass of red wine in your hands. These are all things which ground you in the present. Yes a computer/phone is a tangible object but perhaps instead of saying no to technology we need to say yes to those other tangible objects.

I continue to make efforts to spend time away from the ‘screen’, hold the tangible, have real conversations, consider daily gratitudes. I feel these all help me live in the present. I really don’t see me giving up social media as I feel I mostly benefit from how I interact with it, but less screen time would certainly not be a bad thing.

Have you felt drained by your technologies? How are you trying to find ‘balance’?

read ‘em and eat

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>>> READ ‘EM

I’m looking forward to this minimalist gift series from Reading Tea Leaves. There seem to be a couple of these starting, like Lola’s campaign for shopping independent. Here is to a more considered Christmas!

I love this new map series, especially this one on finding out what’s bugging you.

An absolutely beautiful blog. Both the pictures and the words are poetry. Check out Hannah’s instagram too. (Thanks Emma for the find).

A little personal promotion: Some pictures that I took last winter in Slovenia are now up on Heath Magazine’s blog. Let me know what you think!

Also I had my second coaching session with Marie of Kit and Caboodle and this woman is changing my life! If you have been thinking about some coaching you should check her out. Plus she is offering bloggers a special discount code. On a side note I have after several years finally convinced her to start blogging! You can thank me later.

In real life I have recently read “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke. I hadn’t really heard of him until moving to Trieste. One of his most famous anthologies of poems, Duino Elegies, was inspired by a nearby area. The book consists of ten letters that he actually wrote to a young poet giving advice etc. There were lots of words that jumped out at me but the ninth letter in particular spoke to me and I thought might be relevant to other creatives out there.

>>> EAT

Breakfast this morning was French toast, a top five breakfast option in my world. I had it with Nutella because I bought a jar to make dessert for some friends coming around and then they were sick so there is now a jar of Nutella sitting in the cupboard! My challenge this week is to come up with a less carby breakfast for next week. Tim is away for a week though on a work trip so I thought I’d send him off with something nice.

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My challenge to myself in this post was to choose only ten photos to share with you. I got it to eleven. In a nutshell it was a lovely lovely day. I think our smiley faces says it all.

And here are the details in brief:

Photos by my super talented amazing friend Donald Michael Chambers.

Wedding dress created from the imaginings of myself and the sewing machine and patience of Elena. As a side note all wedding dresses should have pockets!

Hair and Makeup done at Blow Ltd.

Food by Cashew Catering, I still think about their romesco sauce and wish I could order their vegan chocolate torte from here.

Cake by my Mum and mini-doughnuts by Cupcakes and Shhht.

Venue for Party: Brixton East. Decorating assistance by a bevy of amazing friends, wreaths by Anna.

Any questions?