Post Christmas – How Ya Feeling??

So how y’all doing?

The festive season is struggling to maintain purchase as the madness sinks in and people reaslise they have to stop being merry soon and return to their general humdrum lives. After the psychotic ravaging of stores that miraculously have re-filled their shelves with wares for the Boxing Day/that-odd-nameless-time-between-Christmas-and-New-Year sales, we are left bereft, despite our many fresh items.

We have less booze, less money, less yummy food, less presents, less visitors, less days off, less lie ins… Generally just less of all those rare goodies we allow ourselves to indulge in excessively at this time of year.

On the other hand we get more of a lot of things.

We get more work, more time out of the warm house and in the cold outdoors, more time spent travelling, more bitchy co-workers, more worries over money, more micro-meals, more stress coffee, more… General crap. And crap that is only crap because you experience it every day, not because it is particularly bad, just that we tolerate it so often that we come to not really care all that much about it. Like work. Most people can’t be bothered half the time. Uni/college. Too tiring when there are warm beds and XBOX in existence. Travelling. Instead of being a peaceful time of reflection it becomes a place of rampant road rage and body odour, if you are not fortunate enough to be part of a carpool. Reality bites back, soon.

We are alright til January. It is acceptable to pull the “aw, Ok, since it’s Christmas” excuse for being just that little bit decadent but only because we have that all important big part-ay coming up known as New Year (sure to be a messy one if you live in Scotland).

Now, while this started off on a bit of a bum note, I like to be a little unpredictable when I write these posts, so here’s me pulling the old switcheroo on you.

I don’t care that we are metaphorically going from a time of excess to a time of… normal? (because I live in the commercialised Western society so we are always living in a time of plenty and there are too many people who already live in excess) I don’t care that I am going to have less money, less free time and more stress. I don’t even mind the thought of my three hour round trips to Uni every day starting again – the bus may smell bad but I always like the journey and I like Uni. I can’t do anything on the journey so it’s a great place for a little downtime.

Sometimes the world of boundless bounty (not the chocolates… though I suppose sometimes the chocolates. At this time of year, certainly. Those little tiny ones. Who actually eats Bounty’s except at Christmas anyway? Who eats chocolates that size at any other time of year? Alas, tis a pondering for another day) is a little too much. Too much of a good thing, and all that. Then again…

I have just had a few of the best days of my life.

Those of you who have followed these interweb pages for a while will know that I used to  detest Christmas. Loath it. Hated it with a passion that would make hell piss itself with shame at its own feeble flame as it pales in comparison to the passion in my rage. But all that has changed this year. It was AWESOME!!

I know that is hardly the most eloquent of ways to phrase it but it is the truth and I am still young enough to get away with such pithy sayings.adored every second!

Last year I did not really have a Christmas. It was one of the worst days of my life and I will never forget it. However, I cannot regret, now, that it happened. Because, had I not, I may not have fully appreciated the marvelous affair that has been the Clark family Christmas, 2013. These shall forever be hallowed days to me.

And these feelings of peculiar warmth have nothing to do with the fact that I have spent a great deal of time in the last wee while drinking excessive, yet not altogether socially unacceptable volumes, of fermented, brewed and distilled liquid, all with the intent of slowly pickling my liver as well as warming the cockles of my heart. Oh no, it is all to do with my family. And the fact that we were all at home. Together. Having Christmas. For the first time ever. And I meant, ever.

I have never had a Christmas at home, just with my parents, and that is something I have always craved. As has my mum, which, means that since we were spending it at home, she has been in an infinitely better mood of late. Actually we all have. There has been an unfamiliar buzz of general merriment colouring my life in the run up to Christmas. I have been a busy little fritter and filled my time by whole-heartedly flinging myself into the spirit of the event. I’ve never really partaken so I wasn’t really sure what to do. But the fact that I was bouncing around like a workshop elf on crack seemed to help everything run smoothly. Go with the snow-flow,  I thought, see where you end up. Following my celebratory savvy, I reckon.

My life this December has been a blur of bows and bells, elves and electric lightstinsel, tassels and tell-tales signs the Great British weather is taking a turn for the terrible.

I won’t go into details, but will instead allow you to fill in the blanks of your own accord. I don’t mind how you envisage the three of us, but here is a guideline.

Image three people sitting down to a fantastic spread that we are all not quite sure how we managed to produce. Imagine us elated and confused at the fortune of our own situation. Listen to the sound of clinking glasses, popping crackers and belly laughing. Feel the warmth of the oven and the heating blowing a rosy glow onto your skin. Smell everything from booze to parsnips and turkey and perfume. Feel full, spiritually and physically and emotionally. Cover everything in soft lights and glitter. Now imagine a slight haze over the whole image as we have all had a little bit to drink

Merry Christmas.

Boyf opening prezzies on Christmas Eve

Boyf opening prezzies on Christmas Eve

Homemade table decoration

Homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

homemade table decoration

me and Percy

me and Percy

Gizmo is drunk after his Christmas dinner and some wine... food baby??

Gizmo is drunk after his Christmas dinner and some wine… food baby??

pretty candles

pretty candles

Percy

Percy

SSDD

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“The Perfect Ch…

“The Perfect Christmas Moment Cannot Be Created; It Happens When You Least Expect IT. Let It Happen…”

This is something I am taking to heart.

For the past, oh, I dunno, maybe 14 or 15 years, I have absolutely hated Christmas. Every year my disdain for the entire ordeal intensifies, with reason upon reason layering on top of each other until I got to the point where I would routinely say how much I wished I could go to sleep on the last day of November and wake-up in the New Year.

I don’t want to ruin anyone’s joyful spirit at this time of year… so I won’t!

Because this year is different!

This year I am all about the festive spirit! The holiday joys, the buzz of getting prepared, celebrating and spending time doing ridiculously family orientated things that you would never ordinarily do with people you normally can’t stand purely because it is that time of year.

For the first time in years I am actually so looking forward to Christmas Day. I have been making my own decorations, preparing the house with a plethora of homemade decorations and nick-nacks oozing glitter.

My tree is FABULOUS, a confectionery coloured contraption covered from fairy lit base to tinsel topped tip, in decorations that have to be about a decade old – and I wouldn’t change a thing. His name is Percy.

Every year we indulge in the one Christmas tradition I have always, always loved. Even at my deepest levels of BAH-HUMBUG, decorating the tree has always been my absolute favourite thing to do at Christmas and the only thing I actually participate in full-heartedly. Mum and I basically fling decorations at the poor plastic tree until there is very little of the trees actually colour visible, stringing swathes of tinsel, lines of lights and bundles of baubles at it in a dangerously haphazard manner. I then balance precariously on the arm of the couch and bestow that highest of honour on top – the sparkly purple star!

All this while dad sits despondently in the farthest away corner of the living room, sulking at how dis-organised we are making the tree and trying to give precise directions as to which individual bauble should go on which specific branch. Mum and I pointedly ignore him and wind him up by flinging things at the tree with renewed fervour. Usually the result is dad yelling things like a lion that’s been slapped in the arse with a burning branch, but mum and I find that hilarious and use it as an excuse to wrap him in tinsel. Poor man. He really deserves more organised little helpers. Maybe he can ask the real Santa for some for Christmas next year or trade is back in the post Christmas sales.

There is one key reason I’m so happy for a change this year. For th first time in living memory I am getting to have Christmas at home. I have never been able to spend it at home and I’ve always wanted to know what that was like. There are lots of other reasons, but honestly, I think I’ll keep those to myself. For now, I think I will just bask in the cold, freezing glory that is mulled wine fueled Christmas.

SSDD

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December 22, 2013 · 8:59 pm

It’s All in the Packaging

Linda Macdonald sent me another package!

PACKAGE!! :D

PACKAGE!! :D

This time of year is all about the wrapping paper, the bows the bells and whistles. Whether you are receiving or giving, it’s all in the way it arrives. Everyone likes a nicely wrapped little something, no matter that that little something is.

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Gifts are ubiquitous at this time of year. “Christmas is the time of giving after all. And this one is a super special example of how some people put in just that bit extra effort.

Victoria's Secret Bag

Victoria’s Secret Bag

Some businesses at Christmas stuff things in a bag, scrunch a receipt in your hand along with a glum Ho Ho Ho“, and send you on your not-so-merry way. But then there are places like Victoria’s Secret. The fancy little stripey bag, the pink, the box, the intimations of contents a little more than ordinary.

Linda Macdonald is one of those places. And aside from her usual lovely packaging she is providing a special extra addition. Everyone loves a little indulgence at the festive time of year, writing it off as “It doesn’t count, it’s Christmas! (what kind of an excuse is that, by the way, exactly what difference to your metabolism is there during this particular stretch of the year that makes it better equipped to handle extreme amounts of rich and sugar laden foods, alcoholic beverages and cold weather??).

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Anyway, Linda has played into the hands of deliciousness and decadence and every order includes a lovely Lindt chocolate treat to please the tongue as well as the person.

package and CHOCOLATE!!

package and CHOCOLATE!!

Nestled inside my little pink organza bag was a ring that has been custom made to order for me. A gold heart set in a spotted silver band, on top of a solid one. Stunning!

RING!!

RING!!

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Even better, there is a sale! Lots of items under £50. Snap them up before your heart snaps in sadness at having not snapped them up!

Do you think they’re busy?? :D

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SSDD

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People Who Wear Onsies In Public… Shouldn’t

Being polite, I would say that people who wear onesies in public – shouldn’t.

Actually, what I would like to say – and I will, because this is my blog and you ain’t my mother – is that they look bloody ridiculous and should be shot.

I draw the line at jumpsuits, mainly because I was not entirely convinced by them til I saw a rather marvelous one with an

it looked a little something like this

it looked a little something like this

embellished belt that would have looked terrible on me, had I not worn a t-shirt under it, due to my distinct lack of cleavage. But I did think to wear a shirt under it so I looked fabulous and my opinion changed like a Scottish wind. :)

But I feel that wearing pyjamas in public is too far! Supermarkets have made rules forbidding that kind of madness. Why should any other public domain be any different?

Take the subway, for example. I was on the subway the other day, for the first time in a very long time. I never usually travel that way, and what I saw convinced me I never should. You hear stories of various people favoured method of transport that defines their worth in terms of hilarity; When I was on the train I overheard…; On the bus this mental guy sat next to me and…; when I was driving, this mad dude was (insert action here) while they were on the motorway! You’ve heard it all before.

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But I never travel on the subway and I, oddly, have not heard tales of wonder from people who have. So imagine my disappointment when one of my first experiences of such a sweaty, stuffy little tube  exposed me to some mad bitch in a onesie! NO my good woman, NO, you are not in bed, you are not even in your house or on your street. You are in a public place and this is no place for your jammies!

why would you do this!?

why would you do this!?

Would it kill people to actually get dressed in the morning?? In order to put on one of these oneies, you have to get undressed. As in, out of jammies, in order to get back in to jammies. Then go outside. Why? Why would you waste your time doing this?

The fact that the girl on the subway has so prematurely prepared herself for her sleep that night, despite it likely being several miles and hours away, was clearly meant as a test on my tolerance levels of the people of Glasgow. I like to think I am tolerant to almost all things. Everything except the ubiquitously accepted shit things in the world, like murderers and rapists and the like. But this?

No thank you.

Hypocritically, one might argue, I actually have 2 onesies. One id a penguin and the other a Pikachu (if you were not a child of the 90s or a parent of one who was then you may not know what a Pikachu is; it is a Pokemon, and if you don’t know what that is, GOOGLE is your friend on this issue).

But I would NEVER wear it outside…

Except for those two times… Ok, let me explain..

The first time was for a club night. The theme was onesies. Legit reason to wear a onesie in public = it was the required dress code.

oneie party!!

oneie party!!

The second was because it was my Halloween costume, and I was outside for maybe 5 minutes while I made my way from the taxi bay to my friends house. These are decent reasons to go out dressed in jammies. I can think of few others! I mean, I’ve been outside in pjs before, but I was either sick or being dared to. Like when I walked around my local park at 3am in my jammies – not a onesie – when I was dared to. Again, a legit reason!

**UPDATE**

I just saw a popular British comedian wearing a onesie on telly. Can’t decide whether I am a fan still or forever shamed of him. Jimmy Carr, you are splitting me in ways I am not comfortable…

Me in my Pikachu onesie :D

Me in my Pikachu onesie :D

my boyfriend and I. he was a meth baker :D

my boyfriend and I. he was a meth baker :D

see? :D

see? :D

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SSDD

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Linda Macdonald Does It Again…

Ever wondered what that perfect piece of jewellery looked like? That one that was simple, understated, sat perfectly on your person like it was meant to be there?

Yeah, me too, and I’m yet to find it as well! But I have come pretty close with a few different ones.

A ring

Amethyst and Diamond Ring my parents gave me for my 20th birthday

Amethyst and Diamond Ring my parents gave me for my 20th birthday

A necklace or two, depending on my mood

My Linda Macdonald necklace

My Linda Macdonald necklace

It is the memories of who gave me these items, why and how I came about them that give them that importance to me. It is for that same reason that I doubt I will ever truly consider them perfect, as not all these associations are happy. They are like fragments of memories, both good and bad.

I’ve been thinking a lot about nature recently. There was a time, last year, when I was quite unwell. At one point, I went for a month without ever going outside, I was so sick. When I did, it was for only 10 minutes, to see the fireworks on bonfire night.

As much as I absolutely despise the cold that seems to linger in your bones in this god awful weather, I do love the freedom and the sense of utter release you feel to be outside. Something to do with all that space, I think. You can look all around you at eye level and there is stuff, buildings, cars, people… But then you look up. Look up and there is nothing. Just sky and space and air and freedom.

Well, that is something I like the idea of.

And I have found some more of my favourite things that represent that – jewellery!!

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I posted something recently, too, about a very special necklace given to me in thanks for helping someone through a tough time, as well as an actual entry about the lady that made it. Well, the lady that designed said necklace has been in touch with me to tell me about her new collections and I spoke last time of the Wee Pods collection. She has another. Forget Me Not.

LINDA MACDONALD

It is majestic, intricate and makes childhood an actual, present thing. How this woman does it…

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I saw the pieces on her site and fell in love. They represent things to me, much as my own necklace does. They are sweetness and delicacy, they are little pieces of pure life that you can wear around your neck and on your finger.

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There is a design in particular from the Forget Me Not collection that I loved the idea of. It is a pair of silver earrings with a little gold flower, looks like a bouquet of flowers with a dangley bit on it and a little tear drop hanging from the end. It reminded me of seeing those bursts of light and colour last year, set against the dark sky. To see the trinket would be like looking into one of those fireworks. Coming up to Christmas, can you imagine how much meaning one of those little bouquets could hold for someone? That seed would become a memory. Attached to it forever, would be the two of you.

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The Forget Me Not collection is intricate yet sweet. It is the sort of thing you would feel good about gifting to your 5 year old daughter or your 95 year old gran. Either way, the beauty would not be lost on them.

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I will tell you all more about these wonderful pieces, but for now, here are some I am lusting after, as well as a few things I am also keeping my eye on that compliment them – it is Christmas after all, and while anyone will tell you I’m not materialistic… ;)

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Stay tuned, as there is one more in this series to come, and that pertains to one of the most special gifts I have ever been given… and it comes from this magical lady herself!

To see pics you will have to wait a few days though, as I am off to LONDON BABY!! Just for the day. I leave tonight! And the **ahem** item, will be coming with me. So by the time you lovelies get to see it, it will be well traveled :)

 

SSDD

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Linda Macdonald Brings Christmas

I am no hipster, but I like special items I buy to come from a special place.

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It’s all to do with brand identity. Price is of course something we all heartily consider when putting our hands in out pockets, but there is something about forking out for something fairly valuable to a company you don‘t care about that just feels… wrong.

I for one can’t do it. Just can’t. There is something that makes my bank card snap in half in my minds eye and I just can’t put it in that inoffensive little slot. (I see the slot sucking the money from my account like an evil hoover, mocking me as it does.)

Call me frugal, but I would rather the money go on something I really care about and give my hard earned pennies to a company that is actually going to benefit from it. Maybe that is part of why I love independent stores so much. I’m like that with movies too, I find I prefer something that has had to put in a little bit of work to make it interesting. Ones that are a little more cerebral. (fast becoming my word of the moment, that, cerebral…)

Linda MacDonald Insignia

Linda Macdonald Insignia

Linda Macdonald is one of those rare jewellery designers that make my heart skip to see her designs. Forget trawling listlessly through the racks of cheap tat on sale in chain stores. Everyone loves a glittery trinket from time to time – but you don’t really care when one of the gems falls off or the chain breaks.

Linda’s pieces are not like that at all. Then again, Linda’s pieces are far less likely to snap than your standard shiny plastic. Nothing but solid gold and silver here.

Have you seen the special little diamond surprise...

Have you seen the special little diamond surprise…

As this is a designer local to me, having her base in Cardross near Helensborough, (that’s Scotland, for those of you unfamiliar to what “local” is for me) I am keen to make sure as many people as possible hear about her. She’s a one woman, creative, jewellery making machine whose work has taken her all over the country recently. She and her team have been working relentlessly to make her vision come true this year, with expansions abound and new designs aplenty.

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Since 1997 she has been a business. Or rather, I like to see it as she has been in the business of making people’s day, making memories special, but that is just my romantic side coming out. She supplies the likes of John Lewis and more than 125 independent galleries and boutiques, all of whom are proud to stock such a wonderful designer! They are all lovely, but why settle for lovely when you can have stunning

a selection from the collection...

a selection from the collection…

Named British Jewellery Association’s Designer of the Year 2012 her pieces are recognised as timeless. You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate beauty – hey, I’m just the human manifestation of a magpie, what I know about jewellery wouldn’t fill a post-it!

Companies like this need support to flourish in the current – dare I say it – economic climate. And I want us all to do that. Not only for Linda, but for others like her too. If you know a company/ a shop/ an artist near you that is independent and unique, don’t overlook them, just because there is an easier option. Pay patronage and reap the considerable benefits.

Linda Macdonald has a couple of collections that I think are cute, seasonal and great value for moneyperfect for Christmas.

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The Wee Pods and Forget Me Not ranges are her newest additions to her rapidly increasing family of 21 collections of glittering goodies.

But she also has products for under £50 –  a bargain when you consider what you could end up paying in a store for something vastly less appealing and machine made.

I would rather have something hand made by someone who really cares about what they are producing than by a machine that doesn’t care at all. I am by no means fashion conscious but my jewellery is important to me. I think it is the little choices that declare you as a person. Therefore, more attention should be paid.

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But then, when you see such beautiful things that have simply cropped up in the mind of an individual who has taken it upon herself to create beauty from the glimmering idea in her head, it is so easy to see why the UK has such a thriving Market culture and an love of unique things.

So indulge! Enjoy! And remember the name Linda Macdonald; I feel it is one you will be seeing a sizeable chunk of your bank account being transferred to!

But fear not. The joy you will get in return will more than make up for it. :)

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Here is a link to all her stuff – you will not be disappointed. I certainly haven’t been :)

LINDA MACDONALD JEWELLERY

SSDD

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Love Mika’s Boutique and… I’M BACK!

Great News!

Well, two bits of great news.

1. I am back on the blogosphere after an intensely busy period of faffing around with Uni and freelancing like a demon.

2. I have discovered a wonderful woman to share with you all as my welcome back gift to you!! :D

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The internet has seen fit to treat me with word of another wonderful company! Therefore I feel it my bloggerly obligation to share my tie-dyed find! :D

LOVE MIKA’S BOUTIQUE is a one woman operation from Wichita, Kansas (USA) and she makes hair bows and headbands for bold fashionistas.

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I’ve been looking for new hair accessories since Uni is starting again soon and I always feel that a little new detail in your outfit can act as a wee talisman, a confidence booster to make you feel good. This is especially true since I went for the chop and got my hair cut from waist length to shoulder!! So when advertising on Facebook randomly assigned this little gem to my sidebar, I was super happy! Useful pop-ups for a change! Yay commercialism (for a change)!

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I got in touch with the very talented lady behind the venture, Kamika Hicks, to, firstly congratulate her on being creative and awesome, and secondly to find out where her inspiration came from. Because small businesses are the stones that lay in the foundations of our global economy and people do not appreciate the effort they go to enough.

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Starting 2 years ago Kamika spends time creating these magnificent head pieces, crocheting, tie-dying, designing and decorating fabrics to make her products, originally just for fun and then commercially on a small scale. She has a passion for beautiful things and told me:

“During my senior year in high school I started to sell them to people around school and I really enjoyed doing it. Not for the money but also by making people happy and by seeing them smile when I would give them something I made…”

I respect this so much.  For someone to want to create purely for the fact that it makes them happy is the kind of artistry that is relatable and I feel makes a more unique product. And if something is handmade then it’s one of a kind.

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With young people constantly trying to differentiate from their peers, LOVE MIKA’S BOUTIQUE is a fantastic idea. All her products are hand-made and super colourful, but in my opinion not overdone. These days I think some hair accessories are so overly extrovert that there is more focus on the thing bouncing around on top of your head than your face, which kind of defeats the purpose of, you, know, having a face, if all the people around you are doing is staring distractedly at the glitterball on top of your barnet.

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Being that she is a strong independent woman, she is of course doing very well. She recently set up a store on etsy. com, which I advise you take a look at HERE.

Seriously, for the festive season, there is nothing better than a custom made hair accessory. Bows and adornments are a cute way to spice up a look at any time of year, but at Christmas they are all around us. Stand out from the crowd and roll custom – VISIT HER AND HAVE HER AWESOME STUFF IN YOUR LIFE.

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I would only suggest her if I thought she was the best since I’m really particular about my hair… mainly because my hair is so hard to make look interesting. Trust me.

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SSDD

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