Tuesday, December 22, 2009

christmas sustenance

No time to blog! Life consists of lists and to-do's and lists and work and to-do's. And as I wrap gifts at work purchased by smart and savvy on-line shoppers, I marvel at their wisdom. The gifts I wrapped for myself at home circa one am last night don't look nearly as beautiful. Our family routine of spending Christmas at the beach is wonderful - once we all get there. But the pre-organisation has the stress levels at an all-time high. I've been sustaining my energy levels with the help of a beautiful little gift I received. These amazing macaroons! Now I know what the fuss is all about. They got me through the marathon pack up last night. I was on speed-dial as I packed the girls clothes. Got a bit lost when doing my own, and I did quietly congratulate myself when the Woolworths online grocery order arrived.One less bun-fight!
So I've literally just sent the family packing. Brunnel, the girls and Bruno the dog. Bruno is the only one who looked happy. The girls were both crying, and Brunnel looked somewhat resigned to the 5 hour drive ahead with a mad family. I get to focus on the store for the 3 more sleeps until Christmas. A flight on Christmas Eve gets me to the beach just before Santa & in time for a glass of bubbles.
 I might need another macaroon or two as I contemplate cleaning this house before some friends arrive to stay in it. That's tonight's job! (After I've popped in to catch up with your blogs! Sorry I've been so slack.)
Meanwhile, on with the show... I have to get to the store!

Amanda xx

P.S These delicious macaroons are available online at jaimelesmacarons.co.nz or here in Wellington at Moore Wilson's on a Friday only. Trust me - they are fantastical!
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

christmas - designers guild style

How beautiful do these table settings and decorations look? Lots of candles, lots of flowers, and beautifully wrapped gifts.
I love the flower garlands - they take time, but look amazing, especially if you use long lasting flowers such as carnations, marigolds and chrysanthemums. Use fishing nylon or strong linen thread and keep the flowers fresh by spraying them with water. Intersperse the flower lengths with torn strips of fabric or ribbon. We tied little bells on ours too.

Amanda xx
(images Designers Guild & Amanda)
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

christmas excess

I've been on a popularity quest for years. If only I'd discovered this amazing diet supplement sooner. It's my secret weapon, and I'm making up for lost time. If I keep on with this 'welcome weight gain' and eating things like my chocolate cake, I may yet succeed in the popularity stakes. And I've always liked maxi-dresses.
Problem is, my brother will probably give me these wee biscuits for Christmas...

 That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Amanda xx

(biscuits from cruel tea & 1969 advert from bleubird vintage via india knight)
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

domestic goddess updates

Dear Ruth Pretty,
I am indebted to you forever. (And Andrea too because she introduced us). Your Chocolate & Almond Celebration Cake won the day. So it is a little heavy on the cholesterol, but, hey, it's Christmas after all. And what are 10 eggs, half a kilo of butter, a cup of cream and 3 kingsize blocks of chocolate between friends? Delicious! That's what. 
Especially when teamed with a few fresh raspberries and strawberries. I must confess to being a little nervous as to how your cake was going to turn out, especially when baked in the chef's delight kitchen, and by me. But all was well on the night in question - at least that's what they all politely said.
Yours truly, Amanda

So a good night was had by all! I was quite proud of my cake. And I even polished the silver for the flowers (30 minutes before everyone arrived. Slight panic.)
Have a lovely weekend all, and thanks so much for visiting this week.
Amanda xx

P.S My first dahlia (above), which against all odds, and weather, appeared in the garden yesterday!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

a chorus of angels

We had our school carol service last night at the cathedral. Am I allowed to say I was a little teary at my Milly in her choir robes as the choir all filed past? There is nothing like a few good carols and the swell of the organ to get me in the mood for Christmas!
One of my favourite things about Christmas is how children interpret it, and much as I love the Father Christmas side of the story, I am quite keen on the original Christmas story being a major part of the message too! I couldn't resist taking some photos of this nativity collage put together by Eva's year group at school. How gorgeous are those angels - some quite fairy-like! The three wise men look happy & quite debonair, Mary & Joseph suitably proud parents. The donkey is recognisable only because Eva told me which was the donkey. (She drew it!) I love kid's artwork - especially when it is full of personality like this, before they think they have to draw in a certain style. Give me this anyday. Full of the joy's of Christmas I am!

Amanda xx

P.S Thanks everyone for your helpful catering advice! Even my father thinks he could make me a pavlova. Lots of fizzy wine is definitely one suggestion I'll be going with.
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

not a domestic goddess

When, some weeks ago now, I proposed having my team and partners to our place for our Christmas 'do' this year it seemed such a nice idea. Now, with mere days to go until the event, I have changed my mind. I am in a slight panic. I am in a flap. OK, I've hired an extra table and chairs so that we can have one long dining table, and I've thought about how to make the table look nice, I've been to see the girls at Daisy A Day and organised some flowers. There are just the minor details to decide ie what are we going to eat? As I said, minor!
I've poured over Donna Hay & Cuisine, and despite watching endless reruns of 'Nigella's Christmas', a domestic goddess, I am not. A 'prodigious pavlova' has yet to come out of my kitchen. This of course, would be the 'chef's delight' kitchen - very open plan, because most of the cupboard doors have fallen off, excellent ventilation, because the window is permanently stuck open, brilliant garbage disposal, because the dog always has his nose in the rubbish bin (yet another door which fell off), and only two out of four cook top elements which work.
As a responsible hostess, could I just give them enough wine, that they may not notice the wayward food offerings?
HELP!! All ideas and advice gratefully received.

Amanda xx

(beautiful image of a french yule log from cannelle et vanille. We will not, unfortunately be having this!)
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Monday, December 7, 2009

a colour story - cranberry & lime

It sounds like the recipe for a Christmas cocktail - cranberry & lime! Actually, just my take on a little festive seasonal colour. As you know, traditional forest green & red is not really me.
And with the resurgence of colour in interiors, why not enjoy a jewel bright Christmas palette. This pink is anything but sugar coated! The look is all about playing with colour, texture and scale. Mix it up to create a look that is confident, exuberant and full of joy!

Cranberry & Lime. Now isn't that a festive way to start the week! 

Amanda xx

P.S Thanks so much for all your kind wishes last week! All is well again in my world.

(images Designers Guild)
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

counting down the days

I love the tradition of Christmas advent calendars - be they the simple but beautifully illustrated windows opened each morning, pixy pockets or gorgeous handmade stockings such as these, with little treasures tucked inside.  Either way it signals that the Christmas season is well and truly upon us.

I styled these stockings for the photos. And I dearly wish I could claim them as my own. I have clever friends! The temptation of little treats hanging out of the pockets for 24 days all at once, would be too much for my girls. This year I have persuaded them that they could take the pockets of our gorgeous pixy in turns - Eva one day and Milly the next, and this way Mummy only has to come up with 24 treasures instead of 48! Grinch I hear you say!
Well, I've had a couple of days enforced bed rest - doctors orders. I managed to do days 1 & 2 of the advent pixy in advance. This morning Eva looks at day 3. Nothing.
'Oh Eva' I say, 'I'd make a terrible Santa! I'd forget to visit! ... Go and do your hair, and have your breakfast, and get ready for school, and just maybe there'll be something in the pocket by then'. 
A quick rummage in the secret goody bag reveals a little necklace. Mission accomplished.
Now I just have to remember day 4 tomorrow!

Amanda xx

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