Sunday, 24 November 2013

Walking in a Winter Sunderland...

Santa has hit Sunderland and you can take a peek in his workshop!  If you live locally, these little cute huts really are worth a visit, a worthy photo post methinks! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did...

When I see a Reindeer fly...! (excuse the reflection of Mama L!)
On Dasher, On Dancer on Prancer and Vixen...
When Santa got stuck up the Chimney...
Hope there's a present for me!
Left, Right, Left, Right!
Where all of the toys and dreams are made!
Santa's special sweet shop!

Sunderland's twin cities...and the North Pole!
Dear Santa I have been very good...
Santa's very special employee!

What will Santa be bringing you this year?

xxx

Lovely Leeds...

Just a quick post today and a catch up.  So, how've you been?

Last weekend (November 17th), Mama L, my sister-in-law Lisa, my VBF and I all went for a little Christmas shopping trip to Leeds for the day, and I thought it would be nice to tell you all about it!

We arrived in Leeds at 1130am, after a frantic drive to Durham station where we almost missed the train (roadworks, broken ticket machine, yadda yadda yadda...!) and it felt so nice to be visiting again after a short hiatus.  Leeds is always an annual girlie trip, but last year for one reason and another we didn't get to go, and boy did we miss it! I love Leeds, its such a cool city, and the shops are amazing, I couldn't wait to hit the Victoria Quarter...the place of my designer dreams, and that is exactly where we started our day.  We swooned in Mulberry and were like kids in sweet shops in Vivienne Westwood.  The Leeds Vivienne Westwood store is wonderful as it always has such a great variety of stock in store.  With Christmas approaching, I've been trying to be on my absolute best behaviour with my purse strings, so nothing really tickled my fancy this time around, but Lisa made up for us all in abundance, splashing out on a pretty brooch, earrings, perfume and socks!  I still have my eye on the Sea Monster bag (here!) and I'm hoping that when Santa empties his sack at my house that's what falls out (or at least that I get enough birthday and Christmas money to buy my own, I have been a very well-behaved fashionista this year I promise!!!).  We then moved on to the White Company (double swoon, we all purchased from there), Ted Baker and Paul Smith before our rumbly tummies got the better of us and we popped over to Jamie's Italian for lunch.

Vivienne Westwood eye candy

The geese with the golden eggs at LV

VQ pretty Christmas tree!
Designer heaven...

My chilli infused Penne Pomodoro at Jamie's
After lunch, my VBF and I were very excited to find that the new Trinity Centre in Leeds had a Victoria's Secret, one of our absolute favourite stores, and a sure fire visit when we go to London.  She cunningly spotted a lady carrying a VS shopping bag, who kindly pointed the way to the panties.  The Leeds store is a decent size too, so stock up we did, and we even received a gift card to spend there in December which is loaded with at least £10 in credit!!! Perfect for our Winter Wonderland visit to London on December 18th!! Ka-ching!! Thank you VS!

After a sweet-shop haul and a little wander, we went to Costa for a nice Christmassy drink (white hot chocolate...drool!) and a foot rest, before heading for the train home! A wonderful day had by all!

Tired, lolly-loving big kids!

My favourite purchase of the day, was my lovely little "White Christmas" candle from the White Company, a cute little votive for a snip at £12, which smells devine.  I'd also recommend anything from the Seychelles range there, which is my personal favourite.  You can check out the White Company here.  I love my candles, and there's nothing that makes the house cosier, especially in the run up to Christmas time!




I'm dreaming of a "White Christmas"


Where are your favourite places to shop at Christmas time?
 What's on your Christmas wishlist?
xxx

Thursday, 21 November 2013

All of the lights, all of the lights...Lumiere, Durham

 Last week, (November 14th-17th) saw the return of Durham's Lumiere Festival, described as "a four-day celebration of the power of light that will transform the city into a giant outdoor gallery" in the free brochure.  I went to Lumiere two years ago with my Mr and some friends and have to say I was blown away by the artistic creations that filled the city.  Most impressive of all was the giant snow globe created over the statue of the Marquess of Londonderry which completely blew me away!  Admittedly, the pictures aren't brilliant...but you get the idea! 


Lumiere, Durham, 2011

So the bar was set pretty high for the standard we were expecting this year for Lumiere.  We decided to visit it late Friday night, in an attempt to beat the weekend rush.  Durham was still super busy, but we managed to see some weird and wonderful things.  Here's what we found on our Lumiere adventure...





"Elephantastic" by Top'La Design (France)

"A Place Beyond Belief" by Nathan Coley



"A Consumerist Christmas Tree" by Luzinterruptus (Spain)



"Crown Of Light" at Durham Cathedral

"Helvetictoc" by Tobie Langel (Switzerland)

"Volume Unit" The Media Workshop UK



"Aquarium" Benedetto Bufalino and Benoit Deseille (France)


"Key Frames" Groupe Laps (France)



"Guardian Angels" Maro Avrabou and Dimitri Xenakis (France/Greece)
I have to say that although we saw a lot at Lumiere this year too, (and the Elephant was AMAZING!) I was a little underwhelmed by it all this time around.  A lot of the problem was that areas of the festival this year were indoors, meaning lengthy queuing, and a very unorganised set up.  So sadly, we missed quite a lot of it.  I was particularly saddened, as I wanted to see the "Floating Dresses" inside the Cathedral, but by the time we had realised there was a queuing system (and found the end of the very long queue!) we missed the last entry.  It wasn't all bad however, I heard some of the people that visited on the Saturday night didn't get to see anything at all, as there were far too many people for the city to handle, so at least by going a day early we got to see something!  Nevertheless, highlights for me were of course the "Consumerist Christmas Tree", putting into perspective the amount of carrier bags we throw away each year, and "The Volume Unit", as it transformed part of the city into an outdoor party.

I hope my pictures have helped to give you an insight into what Lumiere is all about, and who knows, maybe you'll be visiting in two years time for the next one?  Comfortable shoes and a warm coat are a must!!! Enjoy!


Which installation is your favourite?

xxx

Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Grand Old Duke of York...

On Sunday (10th of November), I took my Mam for a day out to York as a special treat, and a way to get us feeling even more festive in search of a few more bits and bobs for Christmas.  Mam and I often go into York, as its quite a short train journey from Durham station (just under an hour), and it's such a pretty city, we could spend hours wandering around its quaint little streets and cute little shops.  It was also an extra special trip, as my niece Rachel is at University there, so it meant we could have a little catch up with her too!

Here is our day in pictures, courtesy of my trusty Iphone :)...enjoy!

Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian is our favourite place to eat in York.  In fact it might be my favourite restaurant ever!!  It's reasonably priced and the atmosphere and surroundings are amazing! I'd really recommend the Olives to start, and I've never had anything there that I've disliked! Jamie's is next to Lendal Cellars, but make sure to book in advance as it can get quite busy!  You can check out the full menu here!

Mama L deciding what to order!
Me in my festive tartan! (Primark £15)
Yummy Ginger Mojito Mocktails <3
 The famous World's Best Olives On Ice!!!

Crab and Avocado Bruschetta
My delicious Sausage Pappardelle! So yummy!
Mama L chose Penne Carbonara 

Shopping of course!

Okay my lovelies, so you all know by now that I really enjoy shopping, but as I am penny-pinching a little for Christmas, there was more window shopping going on than actual purchasing in York.  However, I did get a few little things here and there! After all it would be rude not to :).  But I'll end with that! First here are a few out and about pictures!

Me and my teddy bear!! (Well okay, he's not mine...but he's cute right?)
The busy hustle and bustle of Sunday shoppers
My VBF and I have a White Company love affair ha <3
Christmas Angels' Festive Window

My purchases were mainly of the Lush kind.  As you know, I absolutely adore Lush and I went in search of the "It's Christmas Deer" knot-wrap, which unfortunately they didn't have in stock *sad face*.  I envisaged it being a perfect match to my Yasmin Deer bag, but alas it wasn't meant to be.  However, I did find a Christmassy alternative, and Mama L bought Rachel and I a bath bomb to bring home (because she is so lovely!).  I chose "Golden Wonder", which is my ultimate Christmas favourite and Rachel chose the "Snowman" which is buttery and really good for the skin.  I have to give the staff at Lush in York a special mention here, as they were so helpful in assisting me with my quest for the perfect Knot-Wrap, and really bent over backwards to help me try and track it down! So a big thank you goes out to them!

My alternative Lush knot-wrap <3...
...and Golden Wonder Bath Bomb...


I also did a little Cath Kidston browsing.  I'm not a huge fan of floral, and I rarely shop in Cath Kidston, but I was really impressed with the goodies they have in store for Christmas.  Last year, when I was buying a present for my lovely friend Gemma (she is a CK junkie!!), I bought myself a Stanley money box.  Stanley was Cath Kidston's terrier, and as a terrier owner and lover, I couldn't resist the Stanley inspired range.  So this year I left with the Stanley Salt and Pepper pots.  They were £16 for the set and are now standing pride of place on my kitchen windowsill.  I don't suppose I'll ever use them for Salt and Pepper, but they sure look pretty.  And I love the Cath Kidston Christmas shopping bags, they are so cute!

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Cath Kidston Christmas!
Stanley and er Stanley! Available here


I had to end this post with a picture of the lady herself, Mama L, who even in her sixties is really the best company and the biggest kid I know! She is truly the reason I love Christmas as even now, as I am approaching 28, she makes it so much fun.  I hope we have many more fun shopping days and Christmases together.  Thanks for a wonderful day Mam :) (and Rachel too!) xxx

Silly face as she models her new fur hat!