Wednesday, 16 December 2015

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 .... Blast Off !

I remember listening to a radio broadcast in the car about the hopefuls who were applying for the opportunity to be the first humans to fly to Mars and thinking why on earth would anyone want to do that especially as it was a one way ticket. By the end of the broadcast it was all I could do to stop myself from rushing home to send in my application in the blind hope that they might accept an ageing Mum of two with a slight chocolate addiction and a couple of dodgy knees.

I've been following Tim Peake's preparation for his flight to the ISS and watched with bated breath at the launch and slightly rocky docking yesterday with my heart in my mouth. When they finally docked successfully and eventually unlatched the sealed door to the Soyuz capsule I nearly cried with joy. Back in the studio , they asked the assembled audience who would want to swap places with Tim and spend 6 months aboard the ISS my hand shot up as if I were back in school as an over-eager six year old in class.

I'll have to content myself with catching a glimpse of the ISS as it passes over the UK at 4.22pm this afternoon although with the today's forecast , it seems unlikely I'll be successful. You can track its progress and see when and where you can see it here on NASAs Spot the Station site.

One thing's for certain though ... on Friday 4.18pm I'll be looking up at the early night sky to spot a glimpse of .. not Santa's sleigh but something far more intriguing !

Go Tim ...

Hey Little Magpie - December blog post

Up on the Hey Little Magpie Blog today - my projects for December using Pinkfresh Studio's Christmas Wishes collection and Fancy Pants Designs Wish Season collection. Please take a peek if you have a nanosecond and I always love to hear your comments.

Here's a sneak peek ...

Thanks for looking.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Lure of the Advent Calendar

I adore Advent Calendars - all those little boxes, pockets or envelopes , bulging at the seams with hidden treasure. The boys, this year, spurned chocolate and so I made them a flavoured tea bag version which is going down a storm and I've also discovered Twinings Buttermint Tea into the bargain which is a dead ringer for sucking on a Murray Mint - remember them ? Anything that tastes like a sweet but has no calories gets my vote.

My very first Advent Calendars as a child were of the heavily glittered Nativity Scene variety. Inevitably Baby Jesus would steal the show behind the 24th window. We were easily pleased back then. These days they've taken on a whole new meaning. I haven't seen a single Nativity Scene calendar in the shops this year. They're more likely to be jam packed with 'stuff' as if we didn't have enough. Sign of the times I suppose - it's not worth getting out of bed for anything less that a worthy gift - even the cracker/sleigh/jingle bell shaped cheap chocolate sort from Kinnerton have bitten the dust.

About 4 years ago I suggested to Jo Malone that they introduce an Advent Calendar into their repertoire. This was met with a snooty " Not our style " response but look at them now - touting their £250 box of delights exclusively in Selfridges and Harrods.

You can't move in the shopping aisles now for every variety of gift laden Advent Calendar - even the moggies and pooches get a look in with their vile smelling pet treat calendars. Can't help feeling we're missing the point of Advent - but hey , we're talking instant gratification of the indulgent sort here - what's not to like ?

And yes, I succumbed and am loving every minute but my purchase was capped at £25. I bought the M&S one which I have to admit is exceeding my expectations and brightening every dreary December morning. I'm not a great fan of M&S these days - their website has to be the most intensely irritating in the world. In fact it crashed the day they went on sale but I managed to snag one quite by chance in store the next day... having decided I was NEVER EVER EVER going to shop in Marks again. So fickle.

So far I've had my hair elasticised ( courtesy of Phillip Kingsley whoever he is ) and my cuticles nourished ( thanks to Burts Bees ... but isn't life too short to worry about cuticles when every other part of your body is falling apart ? ) and this morning I have lathered up in shower foam from some company called I don't know what . Who knows what tomorrow may hold - perhaps my elbows will be de-pimpled or my earlobes detoxed or maybe even my long standing battle with cellulite will be miraculously disguised with some seaweed extract of molasses with kumquat essence. It's all a bit much really but hey - it's Christmas although its going to take me at least 10 Salvation Army Christmas boxes to assuage my guilt.

So what Advent Calendar will we see next year ? I'm liking the thought of an alcoholic miniature version ( Emma have you finished all 24 gins yet ;) ? ) or maybe a stationery one , I think someone did a jewellery one last year but the novelty of 24 'cheap as chips' necklaces and nickel plated reindeer earingswould wear off by day five unless you're only eight years old perhaps. Maybe for the men in our lives we could have one including instruction leaflets for how to empty the dishwasher, put a wash on or where the nearest supermarket is located.

Suggestions please !

From the sublime ...

... to the ridiculous

Harrods unveils its $million advent calendar which includes cars, speedboats and solid gold toilets no doubt ... about as tacky as a tube of superglue.