Thursday, 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

So it's almost here! Christmas has crept up on me this year, one minute I had plenty of time and was prepared and this week I've found myself panicking over what has been left to get done before the big day. Last night however, I stopped worrying. If we haven't got it by now we can do without; what will be, will be. This morning there are just a few things left to do. Stuffing to be made for tomorrow's turkey; a few last minute presents to be bought; a food parcel and presents to the homeless and maybe a festive cup from Costa (Starbucks is noticeably absent from this neck of the woods) before heading home. Tonight will be new pyjamas, a film and a takeaway then lots of wrapping with more than a glass or two of bubbly I expect. Because yeah, that wrapping everything before Christmas Eve this year, well it didn't exactly go to plan! 

Christmas Day will be a little different this year and I'm not sure what it will bring, but I'm just grateful that we have made it to the end of the year and that most of all I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am that our little Livvy is still here with us to enjoy the festive time.  I wanted to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone for their support, love and comments over what has been a difficult year. I've really been reminded yet again that I have some amazing friends who are right beside me through thick and thin and I will love you all forever. I will be away from my dashboard from this evening as I make the most of every moment with my family and friends. I'm going to appreciate it so much more this year, with plenty of good food and Prosecco along the way!

I hope that you all enjoy a wonderful and safe Christmas and I look forward to catching up with you towards the New Year!


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Culture // Bath Fashion Museum

It has been a while since I looked at upcoming exhibitions in our museums and galleries. So much so that I've not had the opportunity to look around a few exhibitions at Bath Fashion Museum. It may be difficult to get to the museum with Christmas just a week away, however these exhibitions are closing on January 3rd. Both exhibitions and the Georgian exhibition are included in the general museum admission price* and if you are visiting the Christmas Markets, would make a lovely break from the manic crowds last minute shopping.
* (Bath and North East Somerset Residents are admitted free with a residents Discovery Card)

Victor Stiebel, c.1950s
Great Names of Fashion
I absolutely adore this collection! It encapsulates 20th Century fashion and with names like Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, there are an abundance of truly beautiful dresses to be seen. I love Paul Poiret's c. 1920s gold silk evening dress with a gold lace skirt, the c.1950s dress above by Victor Steibel, but also the more modern addition of a Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, in 2011. I'd love to have free reign to try them all on and you'd probably struggle to get me to leave. This is probably the must see exhibition if you are short on time.

Image: Craig Green SS15
Craig Green SS15
Each year the Fashion Museum asks a different fashion expert to choose the ensemble from the international fashion collections that they feel is the most exciting, or directional, or simply sums up the year in fashion.  For the first time in 50 years, menswear has been selected for Dress of the Year. Gordon Richardson of Topman, chose two ensembles from British designer Craig Green for the Fashion Museum's collection.  Green's ensembles are contrasted using both cotton and quilted plastic, matched with bold colours. You can also view the Fashion Museum's collection of dresses which span 50 years on their online catalogue. 

I don't know about you, but I sometimes find the week in between Christmas and New Year can often be underwhelming and am looking for things to do outside of the house. This will be the perfect time for me to visit and get some much needed motivation to get on with my own exhibition research!
I'll be rounding up some upcoming exhibitions from around the country in January, so if you know of any that deserve a mention please don't hesitate to contact me. Whether a small local exhibition or a national event, I'd love to hear about it!


* Photographs from Bath Fashion Museum

Lizzie Somerset

Monday, 14 December 2015

Running out of time

So Monday's here again and I have a massive list of things to accomplish before school breaks up Friday lunchtime for Christmas. So much to do, so little time and motivation! Today will be spent finalising an exhibition for next year, some online shopping and list generating; all things that were meant to be done this weekend but were placed on hold due to some winter bug that I came down with.

As usual, my highly organised plans of being ready for Christmas have been thrown out of the window and I'm ready for the chaos of crowds, queues and excited children! Our tree finally went up this weekend and although my planned theme didn't work out this year, it looked pretty and felt cosy with a bottle of red watching the CMAs last night. Although there are nods to Christmas throughout the house now, I will admit to still not feeling very festive and that I should be working to the backdrop of Christmas songs to get me more into the Christmas spirit. However, as the cursor hovered over my iTunes Christmas playlist it somehow managed to select Anberlin instead! I'm running out of time to get into the spirit of things, finish the present shopping and card writing. So tonight I am arming myself with a stack of Christmas DVDs, a walk to collect a ton of holly and will be throwing myself full force into spreading some Christmas cheer!

linking up with IBOT

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Christmas Style // Getting into the Festive Spirit

The picture above is about as far as I've got with getting into the festive season! As usual my gifts have to all be wrapped with coordinated paper and this year I'm loving WHSmiths range. I made a start to the wrapping on Tuesday whilst watching Nigella's Christmas on TV trying to bump up my enthusiasm! Our neighbouring houses are all decorated and I haven't even got mine out of the garage; something which I hope to rectify today! We did make a batch of mince pies after school on Tuesday so that is another job jobbed and hopefully I will get somewhere today. 

I love a real tree so will be heading to our local farm shop to select one. This year I want everything to be simple and elegant and have decided to have white decorations. Typically though I think we have every theme but that, so will be popping to Cadbury garden centre in Yatton to select a few baubles and the Range in Weston-Super-Mare.  I'll also be making the most of our surrounding countryside and collect some holly from the lanes. I love having real holly in the house and was lucky to have a good supply around our house when we lived in Cardiff. I can't imagine that my house will ever look as idyllic as the picture below but I can dream right? I do love the sprigs of fir and mason jar candle holders and will be hoping that there are plenty of pine cones in the forest later when I walk the dogs. I much prefer a few subtle touches and bringing some of the country indoors, rather than all out, in your face Christmas decorations!

Modern Christmas Decorated Living Rooms-12-1 Kindesign



Christmas table settings with candle and candleholder #Christmas #Candles #Candleholders

DIY snowflake with pinecones

(Click on the links underneath the photo for source or visit my Christmas Pinterest Board for more inspiration!)

I like to support local businesses rather than mass chains where possible and most of the food I buy will be from local farms and farm shops. Christmas Day itself is usually spent opening stockings, bacon sarnies for breakfast be and tree presents at home before heading to my parents house with my sister and my niece and nephews for a glass of champagne and more presents! This year though will probably be a little more low key as we now live further away, my niece is still having cancer treatment and my grandfather is in hospital. We still haven't planned too much but I have prepared some things in advance for dinner and we'll just take it as it comes! Whatever happens, I'll be in my pjs with a glass of prosecco by 8.45 in time for the final Downton Abbey!

There is a candlelit carol service at a nearby church this evening. The church was built in the twelfth century and only opens once a year for this service so I'm really hoping to attend. Maybe it will finally give me a push into getting the house decorated!


Lizzie Somerset

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Recent Thoughts // Recent Events & Communities

I'm not really sure where this post is going today. My mind is pretty vacant, there's a lot in there (I think) that is waiting to come out but at the moment I seem completely unable to process it. I've felt increasingly overwhelmed with everything recently, our lives have changed so much this year, there has been a lot of upheaval, ultimately becoming one of the most testing years to date which has really taken a toll on me. My body seems to have given up on me in the last day or so and so I've become even less productive. Yesterday was spent in bed and today will be either spent on the sofa or bed with laptop in hand. I'm rolling with it for now, I'm obviously in need of rest and if I let my body recoup maybe my mind will unscramble itself! I tried to switch off yesterday by reading a magazine and posting some style relating ideas, but to be honest it's all seemed a bit trivial recently in the grand scheme of things, hence my absence. 

The events of the past few weeks have also been playing heavily on my mind. The shootings in Paris hit me hard; not only is it my favourite city in the world but I have close friends who live there and we have spent many an evening in the places where the awful events took place. Of course, the horrific killing of innocent people in other places is every bit as awful, but I think many people were hit so heavily by the Paris shootings and bombing as it was so close to home. It could be have been any one of us going about our daily lives and enjoying a Friday night out, I love going to gigs and dining out, especially in Paris. 

My friend headed home early that evening thankfully, but after spending 24 hours at home went to the scenes of the previous nights terror attacks. The photos he took made the situation even more real, but I understood his need to visit in order to process what had happened. I have been sickened by the reactions to the attacks by some people during the aftermath, targeting people and refugees just as innocent as those killed around the world because of their religion.  I do not want to be political here, if I was we would be here all day, but the decision by the leaders of our country to bomb areas of Syria sits very uncomfortably with me. Do I think something needs to be done? Of course - Is bombing and potentially killing more innocent people the answer? I highly doubt it and I worry about the safety of the families still in Syria along with the safety of our armed forces who have to take part in these strikes. Amongst all the darkness however, stories have emerged of love, compassion, kindness and humanity. Stories of people comforting and protecting strangers, the love of parents reassuring children and the strength of people defying the terrorists by carrying on with life despite fear. 

I've been at a cross roads for the past few months and have been reassessing what I'm doing with my life. The overwhelming feeling is that I need to make a difference somehow. I would rather leave a legacy that in some way I had made a difference in this ever increasingly frightening world, than be successful financially with all that trappings that go with it. I'm so uncomfortable with the fact that the world in which we are living is frequently making people lose their compassion. I met a Syrian lady a few months back who had come to the UK at the beginning of the conflict. She is a highly educated lecturer who spends a lot of time working with refugees and women in safe houses and runs a multi faith group at a university. Each week she also volunteers her time talking to and comforting people who are in conflict in the family court. She has experienced so much evil in her life and negativity since moving to the UK, yet she is not bitter and remains kind and compassionate, believing that we can be the light in what  seems more than ever to be a dark and broken world. This is the type of person I want to be; we can all make a difference in a small way. 

The small things, a cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, donating time or supplies to a homeless centre or food bank, all contribute to a more friendly,  compassionate and accepting society. There are so many ways you can help the most vulnerable in your community, BBC Radio 1 and 1 Xtra have just launched their #1MillionHours volunteering campaign for 2016. For more information you can click here or search for charities or local projects where your time and help would be so much appreciated and where you could make a real difference to somebody's life. I'm currently developing a project and will be releasing more information soon, but I would love to know your thoughts and about any projects or charities that you work with. By the way, well done if you made it to the end of this very long post! This is why I don't sleep at night!