It is too early for Christmas

However, I have stocked up on a load of wrapping paper and a couple of advent calendars.  I usually buy lots of fairly neutral wrapping paper at Christmas and then can use it throughout the year.  There’s a thing in The Spike about wrapping paper, which is worth a read.  I was tempted to start using ribbon after reading it (and looking at the Pinterest photos) but then decided that as I have managed to get to now not being the sort of person who uses ribbon, I won’t start now.  I mean, I still use envelope labels for the from / to on the presents.

I probably won’t use all this right away
Here are the Advent Calendars

I got the advent calendars from After Noah.  This, thank goodness, is still going and hasn’t been made into an estate agent or scent shop.

On the bus this morning, there was a couple having really rather a vicious argument about Christmas.  I didn’t get the entire thing but the gist was that she wanted them both to go to her family at Christmas.  I would have been rather sympathetic but she was loud, passive aggressive and it was terrible trying NOT to stare at them.

The Christmas-cards-designed-by-a-child have come back from school so I guess I’d better start writing them soon.  Perhaps I should clear all the stuff off the mantelpieces too.

Getting ready for the summer holidays

I know that I haven’t been on here very much.  My son breaks up for the summer holidays on Friday and we’ve had Sports Day, end of term performances, the summer fair (which I helped out at), my husband’s birthday etc.  It does feel a bit like the End of Days where I’m taking stock of what we have, what we need and what I need to do.  I’m having a haircut this afternoon and cancelling an appointment for tomorrow.  I’ll have to book in to see the hygienist in September as there isn’t time to do that before the end of school.  That sort of thing.

The Spike is doing a series on capsule wardrobes, which is interesting.  I think I, more or less, already have a capsule wardrobe.  Although the other day I moaned to my Mum that I only had one white T shirt and am in dread of the day when it is no longer wearable (it was made by Boden but YEARS ago and they haven’t brought out anything half so good since) and she bought me one of these in white:

I was so pleased with it, I ordered another white one and two grey ones (which have arrived).  They’re only £6.50 each so this was not as profligate as it seems written down.

I’ve done a cull of my son’s too-small trousers and shorts.  Now all I need to do is start packing.

We’re nearly at the start of the summer holidays


There’s a thing in the Spike about norovirus.  I am generally quite interested in microbes (there are more microbes in a handful of soil than there are people on Earth) and absolutely love this book.

You need this book.  Everyone needs this book
You need this book. Everyone needs this book

Basically, it is a child-appropriate book about microbes and my son, in particular, thinks it is wonderful.  In fact, he is due to give a presentation to his class in a week’s time and he is going to talk about microbes.

This is a paramecium.
This is a paramecium

It’s a bit of a fine line, children’s projects.  You do need to help a five year old a bit but it still have to be their own work.  In doing the picture above, my son had quite a lot of direction but did 70% of the cutting out, glueing and colouring himself.  I have no idea whether that is about right for this sort of thing.

Parkas and down coats

Speaking of outdoors-type stuff, there’s a nice post on The Spike about Canada Goose parkas.  I’d not heard of these before and they won’t fit me (I entered my measurements into their calculator and it came up with an “Oop! We cannot find a size for you”.  Probably a good thing).

However, it has rather reignited my interest in very warm coats.  I am extremely unlikely to buy one, mainly because a super warm coat is likely to be a massive nuisance on the bus or in John Lewis.  There’s nothing wrong with eyeing things up on the internet though.

This is nice, although expensive enough that I will cry if I get pen on it.

This looks very warm (tested down to -32C!) and the fur hood is fake (so less guilt / anxiety).  Plus, although pricey, it is not as insanely expensive as the one above.

This probably is good enough.  But I wouldn’t love it whenever I put it on.

Anyway, it’s ridiculous.  I HAVE coats, bloody billions of them.  And I’ve just chucked out half my wardrobe.  I don’t need a new coat.

Here are some pictures of trees with berries on.

London is not cold enough for a coat that is good down to -32C
London is not cold enough for a coat that is good down to -32C
I have hundreds of coats
I have hundreds of coats

The last day of summer

I know that there are a couple of different ways in which seasons can be defined – I do it the Meteorological way, which means that today is the last day of Summer.  I can see the logic of doing it the astronomical way, except that it would be mean that Winter would begin on 21/22 December (so immediately before Christmas) and Summer would begin on 21/22 June (so on the longest day).  I like the idea of grouping the months far better – so September, October and November are Autumn.

Last day of summer
Last day of summer

The other day I read this post on The Spike about how much the author is looking forward to Autumn.  I am too – but then, I do enjoy drizzle.  September is my favourite month – it’s crisp in the morning but then warms up as the day progresses.  I love the light in September.  Plus (because I am a dork), I really enjoy the Back to School feeling.  It’s the time of year when school was most enjoyable – still a novelty AND not a lot was expected of you in the first few weeks of the school year.

My garden at the end of summer
My garden at the end of summer
The lavender on Headon Warren
The heather on Headon Warren
More heather
More heather


I read something on The Spike last week about a jewellery designer called Phoebe Coleman.  I’m not familiar with her stuff (and, to be honest, I’m not about to become familiar with it – I have enough).  However, some of it reminds me of Rust, which is based in the Isle of Wight and is very pretty.

Lovely arrow earrings
Lovely arrow earrings

I have cropped the photo above because I look so appalling in it, I don’t do justice to the earrings.  I’m not especially vain but there are limits.

I do have rather a sense of guilt about Rust.  AGES ago, I went in to ask about one of her pendants and whether they do 18 inch long chains (I have a bull neck).  She got an 18 inch chain in, emailed me about it and I completely forgot to go in.  In my defence, it was immediately before Christmas.  Even so, I am quite embarrassed.  I am usually more considerate than that.

Hallway colours

So I ended up asking Esther Walker how to choose a colour for the hallway (through her blog) and she told me to just go right in to Farrow and Ball and get them to tell me what colour we should paint it.

F&B colour card
F&B colour card

Anyway, the stylish French dude told me to forget all the colours I’d listed earlier (he said it politely but I got the message).  He suggested Wimborne White and Ammonite.  I was a bit surprised but frankly choosing colours that aren’t too dark will go down much better with my husband.  God knows when we’ll get around to it though.