Thursday, 24 December 2009

Berlin at Christmas!

This is a mostly photographic post since it's quarter to midnight and Santa won't be dropping off any presents if he finds me still awake! I mentioned we were going to Berlin for a few days before Christmas and it was so so lovely so I thought I'd share some of Oliver's photos (mine are always taken at some kind of jaunty angle...!) to increase the festive cheer! Everywhere was lit up and adorned with Christmas decorations, and there were Christmas markets and hot Gluhwein and Apfelsaft stalls in every square, and it snowed every day!

We went to Berlin Zoo too (for those who don't agree with zoos; I don't agree with keeping animals that should be in the wild locked up either, but the vast majority of animals in zoos today were born there or somewhere they were in danger, will not survive in the wild and play an important role in educating people about their wild habitats...and I absolutely adore animals and find the chance to be near them irresistible!):

That's me popping out of the human-sized beaver's dam!

We also saw the Berlin Wall (or a bit of what's left!), Checkpoint Charlie, the Holocaust Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate (and some enormous moose decorations...I had to buy some minature ones to sate me instead!):

They also have a bit of an obsession with the Ampelmann (the little green and red men on the crossings) over there, which I cheerfully joined in with!

Merry Merry Christmas!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas Creativity? Madness!

Gosh it's busy busy busy this Christmas! It doesn't seem a minute ago that it was November, and now Christmas is a week away and I haven't wrapped a thing...I tried to organise my pile of handmade presents earlier, working out which was for who and labelling them accordingly, but I still haven't gone near any with the wrapping paper, oops!

Look how sunny it was outside then...before it started snowing - and look how it looks now!

Apologies for the blurry photos - phone camera to the rescue!

I'm going to Berlin for a few days before Christmas so all will be a little quiet on the blogging front, but hopefully I'll be back with some lovely photos and nice handmade festive gifts to share!

Happy wrapping!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas Gift Inspiration

I'm endeavouring to make as many Christmas presents as possible this year, which is time consuming, but very very satisfying! Amongst the gifts, I'll be including a few of these flower tote bags in different colours:

and a few of these flower brooches, in colours I know will be worn most by the recipient:

If you're still looking for a few last minute gifts or stocking-fillers, look no further than Folksy, for some stunning handmade designs, including...

...these little garden bird brooches for a wildlife watcher:

...this starfish necklace for a seafaring friend:

...a cheerful bunting kit for a crafty relative:

...this vegan mini-journal for the conscientious note-taker:

...a cuddly tea-cosy for the hot beverage-loving gran:

...or a pretty print for the new homeowner?

How can you resist?! Click all photos to go to source!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Love Where You Live

I posted the other day that 'We Are What We Do', and one of my target things to do was to love where I live. I live in Leeds, in Yorkshire, and I recently came back here after living in (and adoring!) Liverpool for four years with some new-found affection for it - it's funny that I never really identified with Leeds until I went away from it for a while (on those photos I've pinched, click through for the source - I went into town to take some today, but the Christmas shopping crowds proved too much of a challenge to take any half decent ones, sorry!)!

Someone the other day described Leeds as industrial, and it is, because it was built around the production of and profit from wool, so there are a plethora of mills, terraced houses, town streets, schools and pubs, but there are also parks, canals, churches (whether you're religious or not, the architecture of most churches is certainly something to look at), abbeys, museums, art galleries, reservoirs and stately homes (with animals to feed if you want to rediscover your inner child!) and I'm glad I'm starting to appreciate it.

This is the view from the park by my house - industrial and green (the creepy shadow in the corner of the second one is me!):

It's becoming the second financial capital of the UK, and besides the daunting skyline of office and apartment blocks, this comes with benefits - the shopping and social sides of the city are massively varied:

...but that's just the city centre - other places I love in Leeds include:

Kirkstall Abbey - perfect for a wander round and a picnic, weather permitting!

Saltaire (strictly speaking, this is in Bradford, but it's still very close!) - built by Titus Salt, this is a model town complete with a mill, church, pretty terraced streets, a park, allotments, a college, schools and almshouses.

Roundhay Park - lovely for a walk or to see the fireworks!

Temple Newsam - to get your fill of some local history! It's an old stately home that's now a museum, and it also has huge grounds containing a lake and a farm with animals you can feed if you're a child (or a bit insistent, as I was on my birthday this year haha). Oh yes...I briefly (accidentally) had orange hair, it was fun, if slightly obnoxious!

Aww I really do love where I live!

For more photos of Leeds, have a look at Leeds Daily Photo

Monday, 7 December 2009

We Are What We Do!

I've recently discovered We Are What We do - what a brilliant idea!

It started with Action #1 - Declining plastic bags (which resulted in the Anya Hindmarch 'I am not a plastic bag' for Sainsbury's) and has turned into a bit of a revolution! You can search through suggested actions or make your own, click to say you want to do them, click when you have done them, and then let everyone know HOW you did them! There are actions to make someone's day better, actions to improve your environment, actions to improve your workplace...the list goes on!

The actions I've just done now are:
- unplug my mobile phone charger
- turn away from my computer screen and blink
- register as an organ donor

The actions I'm going to do this evening are:
- cook a meal from scratch
- turn the tap off whilst I brush my teeth
- turn off unnecessary lights

The actions I want to do this week are:
- shop locally
- love where I live
- find out more about my food

...just for starters, but there are many many many more - it's rather addictive! Go on, give it a try...after all - You Are What You Do!

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