Saturday, 31 December 2011

For Sarah

I have an amazing friend.  I have a few amazing friends actually - I am EXTREMELY lucky.

One of them is going through a very tough time at the moment, in fact has been for a while.  Now actually seems to be the moment when she is truly shining again.  And it's only just starting.

Sarah, I truly believe you are the strongest, bravest person I know right now.  I will see you shortly and we shall see in the new, exciting, better year together.  I am incredibly lucky to have you as a friend and although you may think I am coming to spend New Year's Eve with you so you are not alone, it's not true.  I am coming because I really want to spend it with you!  (And whoop your ass at Scrabble!)

I know you like words so this pinterest board is for you (since I am not so elegant with words myself!)...

For Sarah

Sarah is the blond stunner next to me on the most important day of my life!
(Don't tell Nik but this is my all time favourite wedding picture!)

Please remember I am always here for you.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Happy Birthday to meeeee!

I have finally found a couple of hours to myself (I did have a whole day actually on Wednesday but I spent it recovering on the sofa all day and didn't even lift the laptop!) and I have so much I want to say and show you!

Today is my 30th birthday and I have just returned from a really lovely lunch with 2 of my best girls!  We went to Ian Brown's in Giffnock (review to follow!) which was AMAZING!  I'm now waiting for hubby to get home from work and then we're heading out for an Indian with a few friends tonight.  It's always difficult to get everyone together at this time of year so any plans I might have had for a big 30th birthday party wouldn't have worked.  Maybe I'll have an 'I'm 30 & a half party' in June!  (I'm also eagerly anticipating a weekend in London soon with my new Twitter-to-Real Life BFF Gemma!)

I also want to fill you all in our Christmas day with the in-laws which was lovely and show off our lovely table decorations which I LOVED!!  So I will find the time over the next few days to upload all the pictures and write about our festive period.

Today however, I am going to indulge my birthday self and share a few pictures so far...

Hubby woke me early to take me to the 'birthday table' before he went to work!
He had made me breakfast and brought all of my presents and cards from under the tree.
 I received some lovely things including some green kitchen related items and other cool stuff from Sarah (pic to follow!) and  some fab craft stuff from Mum to go with the die cutter she bought me for Christmas - much more crafting to come for me ;)

Huge pressie from Nik!  He was very (rightfully) proud of his bow!
This one contained my amazing new Arctic Parka coat I asked for :)
Ideal for this current weather and already put to good use!

It's a mystery!  How exciting!!!

 I am extremely lucky and also received a Mulberry purse from my new in-laws!!!

Wow, feeling properly spoilt today :D
Wearing my new sequin skirt from my last London trip for lunch with the girls!
And my stunning new Liberty scarf (Christmas pressie from hubby!)

My at home birthday manicure :)
Trying something new with one nail  on each hand having a glittery top coat!

My stunning new earrings from Claire!  LOVE them!
And they went perfectly with my outfit!  :)

Very happy with my pud!
(Wearing last year's Christmas pressie dragonfly necklace from soon-to-be-sister-in-law!)

So, Happy New Year to you all, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I hope to get back into regular blogging very soon!


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Update

No time for proper blogging today sadly, after a new hairstyle this morning a quick stop for a couple of last minute pressies and a horrific Tesco trip, I have just spent around 8 hours in the kitchen!  My feet are now aching and I'm knackered but I really enjoyed myself making....

Mince Pies (still to be put together and baked - have just made the mincemeat and pastry),
Sausage Rolls a la Florence Finds (ready to bake),
Bacon and Cheese Twists (ready to bake),
Peppermint Creams a la Florence Finds,
Candied Peel,
Spiced Macadamia Nuts,
Dark Chocolate & Cherry Fudge,
Christmas Pudding Vodka
and a couple of Sugar Scrubs a la Naomi!  PHEW!

Bring on tomorrow's last (half)day at work and our festive drinks gathering!  Still have to ice my Christmas cake so glad I'm only working til lunch!  The first of the in-laws is descending on us tomorrow around 4pm - little does he know, he may be put to work!  ;)

Off to bed now

Oh and the nine pictures are up and I LOVE THEM!!!  (Oh and....ahem...after all that whole frame debacle - we ended up accidentally finding another slightly different 40 x 40cm frame before we opened the M&S ones and there were nine left on the shelf which I took to be a sign and Nik preferred them to the M&S ones so, um....we have returned the M&S frames!!!)  Pics coming soon!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Frame Saga!

Sorry this is another of my long convoluted stories!

I think I have mentioned that we wanted to include some of my safari pictures in our new study and I was planning to do a gallery wall of lots of different sized frames and prints but then I decided that they would look great as square ones all arranged on one wall, inspired by this on Pinterest.

I already had some square wood M&S frames for some of our wedding pictures - it's a multi-aperture frame and looks really good quality.  I used one as above and one I cut a new mount for so I could frame a picture I made for Nik.  It's really hard to find good square frames on the high street - the Ikea ones are just too big and limited.  I prefer a real wood frame if I can get it and the M&S one is the perfect size at 40x40 rather than the Ikea 50x50.

I know it looks slightly rectangular here but it's just the angle, it's definitely square!

So I decided that I wanted 9 of these frames in black for my gallery wall.  Problem number one - I was waiting patiently for them to do another promotion of 20% off home as they had done before.  Lots of promotions happened - 25% off women's clothing, etc... but no home discounts.  In the end I couldn't wait any more as we wanted it done by Christmas, so I just ordered them on the website.  (I've never seen the square version in the shops for some reason, only the rectangular ones.)  The website stated they had over 10 in stock (that was another reason I didn't want to wait too long to order them in case they ran out - Nik had done a search to try and find similar cheaper ones but couldn't find anything suitable!)

Unfortunately after ordering them last Monday to be picked up at our local store on Sunday, I received an email on Friday afternoon saying that my order was cancelled due to stock availability!  I immediately checked the website and they are still (even now) available saying more than 10 in stock.  I phoned the number on my email and they said it must be something to do with the manufacturer and they can't check stock allocation in shops for me but provided me with about 6 numbers to try ringing round myself.

I got through to a lovely, helpful man in the 2nd of our local shops who said they didn't have any but that he would phone round for me to try and find them.  I gave him a full description, price and item number and he said he'd call back which he did a wee while later saying he had found me 6 out the back of his shop but was unable to find another store that had them in stock.  I immediately went onto the website to try ordering another 3 (in case they had just cancelled due to the large number I ordered - hoping they might at least have 3 left!)

That night I went on the hour long (should be 6 minute) trip to the shop in Christmas frenzy traffic, reminding me why I try and avoid the shops at this time of year - online shopping all the way for me!  Only to get there to discover he doesn't know the difference between a square and rectangle!  The item numbers didn't even match up - so disappointing!  The woman at the collection desk was very helpful and could see my new order said despatching soon which she said looked hopeful.  She checked the stock which showed none in the warehouse but that there were 44 waiting to go to the warehouse so that they would definitely be getting more stock.  She also explained why they can't check the stock levels in stores at this time of year is due to them being out of date as stocks change so quickly when it's busy but she said Aberdeen MIGHT have some as they were showing 4 in stock.

On my way home I called the Aberdeen store (since I have a friend up there who could possibly pick them up for me) to see if they had them in stock and spoke to a useless woman who kept telling me to go upstairs as if they had any they would be upstairs!!  She didn't seem to understand I was on the phone and not standing in front of her!  I tried explaining that I was calling from Glasgow to see if she could tell me if they had them there or not and she just didn't get it.  (I don't generally call stores to ask for directions to their items if I'm in there!!)  I politely asked to speak to someone else (instead of saying what I was thinking) and was put on hold for 8 minutes before they just hung up.  Nice.

I asked my friend just to have a look next time she is in the area if she could find them for me instead.

When I got home I tried ordering another 6 frames just in case and it seemed to work so far - no cancellations of orders yet and as of right now, they SHOULD be in the shop.  My account says all items have been despatched so fingers crossed!  I had tweeted looking for help finding more frames and M&S replied telling me there were none of these frames left and there would be no more ever, so Hmmmmmm.

 Marks & Spencer 

 thanks for tweet. Unfortunately this is no longer available in any of our stores and isn't coming back into stock.

Nik is off to try and collect them tonight so I will let you know tomorrow (when I blog this anyway) if they are there or not!

Overall a little disappointed with M&S as I usually receive excellent service.  It's a shop I love - I have recently mentioned the amazing tights and cushion I bought there.  Hopefully they might get their staff trained a little better answering calls and tweets and looking for items (and to actually check item numbers when putting things aside).  Although members of staff were always polite and generally very helpful, a few of them - in particular the one who kept telling me to go upstairs on the phone as if I was standing in front of her - could have perhaps tried a little harder to help.

Update: We have the frames, all 9 of them!  Hooray!  I will of course post a picture of the wall when they are all up so you can see what all the fuss was about!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Another Cushion!

Last night when I popped to M&S to collect some frames (nightmare story -will blog about it when I have more time!) I spotted this cushion from M&S and fell in love!

Those of you who have read my cushion post - with numerous cushions for my new snug corner on the day-bed in our new study will know that it was a big debate and compromise with Nik over which and how many cushions we should get.  I knew it was risky and was fully prepared to negotiate and take this one back if needs be.  But he loves it too!  Yaaaaaaaay!

So here is another quick sneak peek of the room which is almost sorted, just a couple of old bookcases and a few bits n bobs to get rid of now!

We went for the dark grey option of the chunky knit White Company cushion in the end.  

Mostly because I am super impatient and the other was out of stock til the 27th, I really wanted it done for Christmas since we are hosting!  I am so glad we did though, it looks fab and goes well with this new surprise find!  :)

Christmas Decorations and a GIANT tree!

So, here is some decorating inspiration in the form of our tree!  I mentioned that we went searching for a 7 foot tree and came home with a 10 foot one!!

Looking a little bigger inside!

Using the ladder to decorate!
Unfortunately it turns out that our stand only holds trees up to 8 feet! It was a little precarious but we thought we were safe, until I heard a little creaking when we were sat watching a DVD and managed to grab the branches before it fell!  It was lucky we were sat here when it went!  So we sorted it out leaning slight back towards the wall in case it fell again in the night - which it did!

We went out yesterday to find one to hold a bigger tree - luckily just before we left my friend Sarah mentioned she had one we could borrow!  Thankfully it was easy to put the tree in (we didn't have to tip it sideways or anything complicated) since it is already fully decorated!

Our tree theme this year is green, white and silver using some old and new decorations of all different kinds - metallic, rustic, wooden, traditional, modern and the all important glittery ones!

Here's a preview of some of my favourite decorations...

Wooden Heart (??), Glass droplet (M&S), Crackle Glaze Bauble (John Lewis)
Dried Lime and Cinnamon (Past Times), Ceramic Tree (M&S)

Long twisted glass drop (Habitat), Glass Bauble (TK Maxx)
Mercury Glass Bauble (M&S), Glittery Snowflake (??)

Ceramic Love Heart (Craft Fair), Shell Star (Maldives)
Heart Bell (Marie Brown at Home), Star bauble (M&S)

My favourite glittery Reindeer decoration my Mum bought me last year!
The rest of our home - Christmas cards hung with silver pegs, flower fairy lights (Habitat)
A scented heart with a snowflake (Marie Brown at Home) and NOEL letters (Country Baskets).  Homemade stockings, Baubles (TKMaxx) and Ikea candles.

Another sneak preview of the study (almost finished and ready for a new year reveal!)
I used the apothecary jars from our wedding filled with baubles to add some festive-ness in here.

The tree in the dark with 600 lights glowing!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Honeymoon Pt 15 - Safari - Ngorongoro Crater

So early in the morning we headed out to Ngorongoro, from here on we only have the safari photos taken on my SLR as the Canon was sadly lost with all of the remaining pictures on it (we ran out of room on the iPad and couldn't fit any more downloaded pictures on it so were keeping them on the SD card - devastated is not the word to describe me when we realised!)  :'(

Please imagine pictures of us posing in front of a giant painted Rhino and a massive Ngorongoro sign at the visitor's centre at the gate!  Oh and a lovely video and panoramic photo of the view of the crater when we got to the top of the ridge!  It was freezing but beautiful and we were lucky to get to see the view as it's often full of mist at that time of day.

On our way up the outside of the ridge we did spot this Elephant on the cliff face!  Apparently they are pretty good at climbing and wander all over the ridges around the crater.

When we got down into the crater we were so amazed at the sheer number of animals!  Also, due to being in a crater, the pictures all looked great with the ridge in the background.

The first animal we saw when driving in was this sleepy lioness who raised her head briefly only to see yet more tourists and flopped back down again.  They are so used to the 4x4s, she was asleep right next to the road.  We then saw another lioness walking across in front of us and roaring, looking back and around a lot - it almost seemed like she was looking for something - maybe her kids!?

There was definitely something interesting going on over the hill!

We were then lucky to see our first close up male Lion watching the herds wander past...

Again there were plenty of Zebras and Wildebeests about and we saw our first Buffalo and Jackal.


Having a rest!

More Wildebeest


Just to make sure you see an accurate idea of what Safari is like - you do see a lot of other cars as they all communicate to try and find the animals for their guests.  Typically, we had just moved off and crossed the river only to see a Lion had appeared right next to where we had just been on the other side - you can just make him out next to all the 4x4s!


Grey Crowned Crane


Secretary Birds
Our evidence of having seen a Rhino - it was asleep and far away but we saw it, another one ticked off the Big 5!

Our first Hyena

This one had HUMUNGOUS tusks!

Wildebeest next to our lunch spot by the hippo pool!
After lunch we went to another part of the crater which was much greener and saw more hippos...

Hippo turning over!
And another elephant

Amazing African trees

Very cool tree.
We then ascended another part of the ridge to leave the crater for a long bumpy drive to the next park - The Serengeti!
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