Best bits of 2011: Part 12

Our first proper Christmas at home

It meant such a lot to me to get a real tree and make our home feel really festive this year. Sam and I are starting to make our own Christmas traditions and this one is definitely a keeper.

Another big tradition that we have been keeping for the past few years is to make our Christmas cards using images of Gwilym. 

If you weren't lucky enough to receive a GwilDog Designs card this year, you missed out on one of these classic images:

I hope that you all had a wonderful festive period and that your New Year is fantastically happy.

See you next year!

Best bits of 2011: Part 11

Learning to knit using a crochet hook

I got my knook in California and made my first knitted scarf shortly thereafter. It feels like a huge craft achievement.

What new skill have you learnt this year?

Best bits of 2011: Part 10

Getting Engaged

Obviously the best part of our trip to California and the highlight of my year!

Next year I'm looking forward to attending the weddings of friends and planning our perfect day. Expect a lot more Project:Wedding posts around here.

Best bits of 2011: Part 9

California Holiday

September was the month we went on our amazing trip to California.

Best bits of 2011: Part 8

Sam's successes

I haven't talked about it at all on this little corner of the internet that I like to call my own, but the love of my life has had a very successful year. He's the only person I know who has got a promotion while on holiday!

Sam, I'm so proud of you and am looking forward to supporting you in your meteoric rise!

Best bits of 2011: Part 7

The Women's Institute

2011 is the year the West Ealing WI was founded. We were shocked to get so many wonderful ladies join up in so short a period of time. so far we've made corsages, learnt to sing and made a Christmas wreath out of fresh foliage foraged in Ealing. We've also set up a craft club that is going strong and will be setting up a book club in the new year.

Can't wait to get stuck into programming for 2012!

Best bits of 2011: Part 6

Come Dine With Me

In an effort to ensure that we would hang out more this year, my London based friendship group undertook a CDWM type challenge.

I loved hosting and am delighted that our French style evening meant I picked up a paintbrush:

Some of my favourite memories, not just of the experience but of the year, are at one of our practice rounds at my maid-of-honour-to-be's house. The evening started with a tale about the overly expensive which made it hilarious when it was covered with a succession of staining agents. It was a moment of triumph when a bottle of white wine was poured over a spilt glass of red and started to drip through the table onto the floor. We went mad with a box of mingles but the star of the show was Andy's magnificent cheesecake.

Best bits of 2011: Part 5

This year I turned 26

I had a wonderful birthday month and set myself a thousand goals that I have put on restyled fire boards:

Thanks to everyone who made my birthday special!

Best bits of 2011: Part 4

Making our flat feel like home

This year Sam and I have made loads of tweaks around our flat to make it feel like home. Most of our efforts have not been documented so I only have one blog post to show for all our hard work around the house. You can read about my photo frame jewellery storage here.

Best bits of 2011: Part 3

My hair

Oh my goodness, I have had a few hair colours this year!

I started the year a respectable brunette:

And then came red:

As my hair faded I decided that it would be a good idea to bleach the tips for an ombre effect. I liked it but only got one tiny picture of it:

And then I thought it would be an amazing idea to bleach all of my hair, because I tried it when I was 17 and it was a disaster but surely I would do better now I'm a grown up. But actually it was a disaster again!

I died it back to a sort of orange again and then dyed the tips pink for Halloween:

It was fun but now I'm back to brunette again and won't be dying it again until after the wedding.

Which do you prefer: red or brunette?

Best bits of 2011: Part 2

This year was a special year: I got to see my very special friend Caroline not once, but TWICE! If I used facebook more often I could have actually seen her thrice but I'm not greedy!

Caroline is our American friend who Sam and I met at Uni in Nottingham. Since then she has done a lot of charity work in Africa and is currently working in the world's newest country: South Sudan.

Caroline first visited us in February and her trip to the UK prompted a small uni reunion:

Caroline's second trip was in September and she got to help me fix my hair:

Come again as much in 2012 Caroline!!!!

Best bits of 2011: Part 1

This year has flown by and I'm in such a different place that I expected to be at the start of year. 2011 is definitely going down in the records as a great year for our little family and over the next few days I'll be doing a run down of the 12 best things that happened this year in a very rough chronological order.

Moving to London

Although I technically moved down to London in September 2010 I still had a part-time job up in Huddersfield so it wasn't until March that I secured a full time position in the big smoke and stayed here 24/7.

Absolutely one of the best moves of my life and although I miss some of my brilliant friends that I made at work, I have loved exploring London and being close to the friends who have lived down here for the past few years. Better yet, it was the commitment to Sam that our relationship needed to take it to the next level, but that is the subject of another post entirely!

My new full time job also introduced me to the world of fundraising. Sam and I collected on the Saddleworth Beer Walk in June and then I was part of a team that climbed the equivalent height of Mount Everest in a day.

Christmas Eve

Last night we had table presents and a yummy meal. Cannot wait for Christmas dinner and to open my presents today and give my gifts out.

Merry Christmas!

Crochet wreath

The wreath I made at the WI lasted quite a while but the berries finally shrivelled up and I was forced to improvise. I decided to go with my favourite craft and crochet a wreath and I'm rather pleased with it!

Are you all ready for Christmas?

Winter Wonderland

It's shaping up to be a busy December. Earlier this week a group of us from work visited the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park and had a merry old time!

More Christmas Tree Love

I'm still really excited about our trees so here are some more pictures!

Putting the tree on a side table was a stroke of genius. It stops Gwilym from getting confused about what is indoors and outdoors (surely this is a concern for all dog owners at Christmas?!) and it also makes the tree look bigger. The space underneath is perfect for presents.

My pink tree turned out surprising well, so much so that Sam has agreed that it can live in the living room and it is currently bringing light and joy to the piano.

What is making you feel festive at the moment?

A quick check in

Today I received an email from my mum that warmed my heart. Thanks mum. You are amazing,

Today I received a letter. An actual letter sent through the post. And it wasn't a bill or a statement.

The correspondence I received today from family and friends has made today a good day!

Our very own Christmas tree!

Today had been such a busy day for Sam and I. We went to visit a very promising wedding venues at 10am. After our viewing we had a very yummy breakfast from Minkies Deli:

Filled with sustenance, we went out to get our very own Christmas tree which is my first ever real tree. I fell in love with a short stubby pompon shaped tree but Sam vetoed it on the grounds that he considered it to be more of a bush than a tree. Moving on, we managed to find a shape we were both happy with and after buying hundreds of lights and baubles we lugged it home. Sam did a brilliant job with the lights and after my practice with Robert and Ruth, I think I did a pretty good job of decorating the tree:

It is definitely time to mull some wine and watch Home Alone!

A lovely trip to see the in-laws

Our little family took a trip up to visit Sam's parents and granny. I finally have my engagement ring back on my finger after a few efforts at resizing it and I got to help dress the Christmas tree in Leamington. I have to admit that after pricking my fingers on the branches a few times I gave up and left it to the grown ups so the stunning finished tree isn't really my handiwork.

I cannot wait for Christmas!

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

I made this Christmas Wreath at the West Ealing WI on Tuesday. It's not perfect but for my first effort I was pretty pleased. Nikki and I picked up the Christmas tree branches for free on Saturday and my parents foraged the pine cones for me. I managed to trade some cones for the fresh berries and with the addition of some glittery snowflakes and jingle bells it feels really festive.

At work I have put some lights around my computer screen and some mini silver baubles on my mini teal tinsel tree.

I cannot wait to put up our Christmas tree. We hope to have a real tree this year but no matter what I am putting up my pink tree. I don't think it will look this good but a girl can dream:

More Christmas inspiration can be found on my pinterest board.