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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful.


(It's going to be  a long week chums, I've discovered how to put words and borders on pictures, the old dog is jumping hoops like a seasoned circus dog in a  spangled topper & pink tutu.)


Well the dark nights have well and truly closed in.
So much so that living at 55 degrees north,  on one particularly sombre  dark day last week I felt like a protagonist in an Edgar Allen Poe short story where the walls were closing in and a murder of crows were arguing over which condiments to slather me in for supper that night. Respite came by running around the house with a box of matches lighting every single candle I could source. 
It was either throwing myself from the roof while shouting "I am a Golden God" or finding reasons to be cheerful. My desire to see Santa kicked in the latter.

Here is what has  kept me going. 
Hot buttered crumpets; snuggly bug  cashmere wraps, fantasy party dressing, please see red Tibi skirt below which I have been staring at non-stop for three weeks, it reminds me of "the one that got away." Both mum and hubs loathed that red dress on me.


Oh and  I tasted eggnog for the first time last week. You lot are rotters. Why didn't any of you tell me about this? I now challenge the strongest of you to try and prise my sink plunger lips from the egg nog teat. 








This is my Advent candle, I light it on December 1st and burn it for one hour every night till Christmas Day.


pinterest - so far I've only tasted the non- alcoholic version but I'm dreaming big.

Art.

I am often to be found mooching around  our nation's galleries on the weekends and last week at the National Portrait Gallery one painting drew me in like a beacon. I found myself standing completely absorbed  in front of Ken Currie's Three Oncologists; a harrowing yet all enveloping and life inspiring work depicting three bloodied, rheumy eyed  oncologists soaked in  the spectre of death and exhausted by the fight. I couldn't move. I was utterly transfixed. This is  the Aristotelian cathartic power of art. For the rest of the day I just couldn't shake its grasp. 
Sometimes we have to catch death's eye to truly appreciate life.


Three Oncologists, Ken Currie

And now, by popular demand, The Snowball Cocktail, probably 
the first waltz with Madame Alcohol we Brits have.
Of course in our house the ratio was always two  parts Advocaat to two parts  lemonade, Aunt Mame would approve.




It's sickly, don't say I didn't warn you.

95 comments:

  1. Didn't like that dress on you ? Are they bad, are they mad, are they blind ? Trust me, it looked di-vi-ne on you; you should go and get that Tibi one right now just in time for Christmas !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bunnikins, I know we broke out another argument over it yesterday, my mum thought it was "a hideous big monstrosity" They are mad as hatters! I love the Tibi skirt, but I'd probably wear it once a year.

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    2. Once a year, just to make your husband who-prevents-you-from-riding-caroussels cross with you more than justifies its price for me !... Surprised to learn that I'm single ?

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    3. I'm definitely going on one this year, it will be my suffragette moment, I don't care if groups of parents start an outcry about the middle aged woman clinging to a giant hobby horse.

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  2. No skirt, remember you're on a path to everyday clothing. I love Ken Currie, great artist, dark, which I'm always drawn to. So many great artists emerging from the UK right now. Love Jenny Saville (among others) too.

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  3. I do like the cashmere wrap - never heard of The Fold before. I think it would be a very versatile piece, as you could even wear it with jeans out to dinner (in LA anyway.)

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    Replies
    1. Kathy - I know I was actually going to email you to ask me to talk me out of it!
      I really like his work too, Jenny Saville's work is provocative and quite terrifying, a little Baconesque, I like looking at art that pushes me in some way.
      I've got an old cashmere wrap that goes everywhere with me, such handy pieces.

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    2. What about a pair of velvet jeans?

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    3. I've never worn velvet as an adult , I'm not sure if I even like it, it's years since I've touched it, it tends to remind me of the party dresses I had when I was young and going to bed with rags in my hair - I sound so "Little Women"

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    4. I haven't either, same memories of being a little girl, but my mother was meaner, and I had to sleep with foam rollers in my hair. No wonder I love being sloppy now. But velvet jeans might be warm and cozy, and also a bit dressy? As long as they don't look like velour.

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    5. My mother just stuck my fingers in a socket, Kathy. Where does velvet figure on David's sartorial slush pile? I need to know!

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    6. He only likes it as a canvas for paintings of Elvis. The highest and best use for velvet in his opinion.

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    7. Yes, pink foam rollers. Very comfortable and appropriate for a 5 year old to sleep on.

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  4. Hi Tabitha,
    that skirt was recently worn by Bee on Atlantic/Pacific and I thought it was too voluminous on her, but it looks pretty nice on you! I think I'd like it even better if it was knee length. How's the fabric? The cashmere wrap is divine - I would buy that in a heartbeat! Awesome!

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  5. Red is gorgeous on you. I wonder if hubs and mum would like that dress on you better with a wider belt? I think it would be lovely to accent your waist more than the thin belt does.

    Eggnog is fabulous, isn't it? One of my favorite parts of the holidays. I think I'm going to try a snowball. Since we currently have temps in the 80s, it will be the only snow I'm going to see!

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    Replies
    1. Desert Flower - that dress is bit a whispy figment now.
      Oh eggnog is a squillion times tastier than a snowball,I must go find out how to make eggnog myself though it may be my undoing.

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  6. You need to try eggnog with spiced rum. If I could drink it without becoming a fatty mcfatty pants, I drink 10 glasses a day!

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  7. Love this!!! Okay - email me offside - I need to know how to do borders of any sort!!!!

    Egg nog - I just drank some myself (sans alcohol, it was morning here and I only drink in the a.m. on Christmas day!) and it is divine!

    I love the red skirt - even if it is only once a year, it will never go out of style!!!

    DH just headed to bookstore with my list (they are having a big sale this weekend) - he will likely call twice. He is a nice chap, but he really is not a professional shopper! I think he could really benefit from one of my girlfriends taking him out!

    I love Nigella. That is a woman who loves food! and now I want crumpets...

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    Replies
    1. Ah WMM, but phone check-ins will be worth it, buy 3 get 4th free weekend.

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  8. Hah! Eggnog! For years it was my annual downfall. And eggnog lattes? Don't get me started. An ex's mother used to make homemade eggnog, then douse with something from every bottle of alcohol she had on hand. It was AMAZING. Now I strap on my blinders and dash lalala though the market to avoid noggy temptation.

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  9. I admire Nigella for having decided what kind of life she would have and then having it. The slurps and the grunts, not so much. If you want a red dress you should have it. Why is this even an issue?

    And on the topic of eggnog, you might get a giggle out of this, um, gem.

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  10. Fred that was great! I think eggnog might make me as fat as Santa, it's all I can think of just now, I've never tasted anything so delicious, what surprise it was, subtle yet velvety - my lips are smacking for it again.

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  11. Tabs discovered eggnog latte...watch out!

    Run to your nearest Starbucks and ask them to make you the double tall, reduced fat eggnog latte halved with non-fat milk sprinkled with the nutmeg on top. And don't say I didn't warn YOU! :)

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  12. Rose when I say this
    " double tall, reduced fat eggnog latte halved with non-fat milk sprinkled with the nutmeg on top. "
    They'll think I'm a real American!

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  13. Eggnog is not allowed in my house. I'd sit around with in a tall glass, spiked of course and waddle my way into the new year. I don't much care for it in a latte, so I'm safe for now. The red is gorgeous on you, but beware of tempting party dresses-the siren's call is hard to resist and in my experience regretted when you realize you have the perfect once a year dress, but nothing for a Tuesday afternoon coffee with friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tabs, with Julie and Kathy on the skirt. Replacement is seldom as good as original and once-a-year outing and at home eye-rolls not worth the trouble or dosh, even though I think red is still one of your colours.

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  14. can you just see the newpaper headlines? woman jumps to her death b/c it was too dark. you just stay inside missy and keep lighting those candles!

    i love the idea of lighting one every night for an hour til christmas. lovely ritual.

    is that the same tibi skirt that ole atlantic pacific is wearing? gorgeous.

    i don't like eggnog with or w/o alcohol. i just don't. :)

    xo

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    Replies
    1. Janet : I loathe eggs so I am amazed by by new found lust.

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  15. Tabs, after Starbucks, I beg you to make this one. It is the fussiest version I know and comes from the Martha. But really does taste best with English cream. Even the DH, who can't abide sweet drinks or bourbon eventually gives in to this holiday tipple, something about childhood custard.
    (You can half the recipe.)
    4 c. whole milk, 1-1/3 c. sugar, 12 large egg yolks, 1/2 c. bourbon, 1 c. chilled heavy cream, grated fresh nutmeg
    Whisk milk and sugar in saucepan over medium heat until sugar is fully dissolved, 1-3 minutes, take off heat. Whisk egg yolks in bowl until light and pale coloured. Whisking steadily, combine hot milk and egg yolks in slow, steady stream (you can temper, but not necessary as long as you beat-beat-beat.)
    Return mixture in pan to hob and cook over medium-low heat, until it's thick enough to coat back of spoon, 20 to 25 minutes. Don't let simmer and stir often.
    Pour into a pitcher and stir in cream. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate. You can either add the bourbon to the jug or splodge in when serving.

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  16. I think the skirt would look fab on you, just go for it. I'll be round later for a framing tutorial. I'll happily look Death by Snowball in the eye.

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    Replies
    1. Ok everyone round at mine for framing and cocktails.

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    2. Sulky - she needs everyday clothes that she'll wear more than once a year. Don't enable her, I'm her sponsor. Yes, let's all meet for cocktails at Tabs. Eggnog is at it's best with a lot of bourbon.

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    3. Just what we need - Tabitha's Enabler v's her Sponsor! We could flipping well sell tickets for this! We just need somebody to referee, I suggest Claire or Curator step up.

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    4. First one to spill their drink loses.
      Curator feel free to step in!

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    5. Fight Club...

      'k ladies, handbags at dawn.
      No Fendi to the face.
      Anything else goes.
      Tap-out when your done.

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    6. Curator: this is a scream!

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    7. Just like a normal day on the tube, minus the farting.

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  17. Oh, and I am envious that so many museums and galleries in Britain are free. Riverside in Glasgow is on my list - for the bikes.

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    Replies
    1. I've never even heard of Riverside in Glasgow - off to google.

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  18. Just think though hon, we are just under a month away from the shortest day and then it's all uphill after that. It's the only thing that's keeping me going at the moment!

    I'm hoping to visit the NPG on 8th Dec, there's a George Jamesone exhibition on I would like to see. Did you see any of it when you were there?

    That red skirt is lovely on you and I will join you for a carousel ride, I love them! I've never tried eggnog (that I know of) so will have to give it a whirl.

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  19. The butter drenched crumpets had me all the way until the three oncologists...wow, I've never seen that one before, it sure is haunting. I had to pry my eyes away back to the crumpets.
    And I completely disagree with mum and hubs, the dress is beautiful on you!

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  20. LA Rona - Yep I am whizzing round Edinburgh's carousel, I don't care what anyone says.
    I didn't see any of the Jamesone, I just ran in and hit one particular floor.

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  21. I love those candles, but they're SO expensive. And I still haven't tried eggnog yet :/

    Jenn

    apopofstyle.blogspot.com

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  22. I suspect roof jumping is quickly regretted...the second your lovely shoes leave the roof!
    Candle lighting is definitely preferable.
    Doesn't putting frames on pictures make for a feeling of great accomplishment?? I quickly discovered it also wasted a lot of time when I could be writing clever or not so clever witticisms.
    Thanks for the Snow Ball recipe...one good turn deserves another.
    Did you get my answer to your "whirr" question?
    Butter and crumpets...yum. Butter makes everything a little better.
    My mother made me sleep with old socks in my hair (clean I hope) because she thought they made for bouncier ringlets. Oh the tortures I have endured...
    Have a lovely day and stay away from those depressing pairings. Art, while important, can still depress the hell out of me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You with old socks in your hair and me with ripped up rags, how antiquated are we?
      I did get your answer and it was excellent, when I get my hand blender I will be following your instructions to the letter.

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  23. Paintings not pairings...even the eyesight is shot now.

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  24. I'll have to send you my grandmother's eggnog recipe.

    Very Southern—loads of heavy cream and bourbon, then the whole thing goes into the freezer and comes out something like bourbon ice cream.

    It's the perfect gateway.

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  25. Carnegie Hilbilly - oh you must, I will be indebted to you for life, it sound wonderful.

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  26. While not quite as far north as you, at 47.5 North, I have been conscious to stay away from high places in an attempt to NOT throw myself off of them due to the endless rains and pitch dark at 5:00PM. I bought my gals some nog last night, but am more prone to swigging straight-up bourbon than nog though (I am a tad alarmed that the giant bottle of Maker's acquired before turkey day is 1/2 gone already). I wonder what alcohol sales in my fair state of WA are going to be like after December 6th... The red dress is killer (btw) on you.

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    Replies
    1. SW: If we were married it wouldn't last a day! We'd need part time bourbon funding jobs,

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    2. I have enough to fund us dear web-wife.

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    3. Excellent, I can rip up my "will work for bourbon sign"

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  27. p.s. God Bless the Oncologists!

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  28. Dear T

    I loathe egg nog as I hate eggs. I like the red frock and skirt. Boiling hot here x

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    Replies
    1. I can't bear eggs, that's why it amazes me that eggnog tastes so so good.

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  29. That cocktail sounds delicious but I'm not sure if they sell advocaat in Miami. I'll have to ask at the liquor store.

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  30. Hello from 33 degrees south! one hot day here.. but being Sydney there will be a storm or southerly buster ie fierce cold wind, soon.

    I almost jumped though my computer when I saw you in that red dress,I want a waist! you look fab.

    You are right the Currie painting is very powerful..but unlike you I cant look at it

    Cant come at the egg nog or the snowball ..sorry

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  31. My granny and me used to have snowballs for Christmas, it was our annual treat, I am going to do them this year now. I don't get to London as much as I used to but when I do the NPG is always my first stop. I used to pay homage to Wallis's portrait but it is in storage now I think, anyway not on the wall. One time it was displayed next to the Queen Mum and Bertie, very naughty but amusing.
    Egg nog eh? Must try, and the dress was divine, don't listen to the naysayers.

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  32. I hope you've had a wonderful weekend.

    The red dress looks smashing on you! I'm sure the Mr. wants you to wear something form fitting. If you've got it then flaunt it then he can show you off. Men like that kind of thing, supposedly. I've gotten so fat that mine would probably prefer to leave me home. :(

    Eggnog is delicious. I drink it every once in awhile (after December 1st) non-alcoholic, then on Christmas eve I add the alcohol. I get tipsy very, very easily.

    Have a great week!

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    Replies
    1. Farrah - no he likes me best really dressed down and simple, old jeans and t shirt would suit him.

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  33. I don't like eggs, would I still like egg nog? The idea makes me feel squeamy. I mean I can eat quiche and its arguably fairly egg heavy. That red dress is amazing, beautiful, divine and contrary to your family's advice you look great. I never ask my mum or husband for their sartorial opinions when shopping, what would they know and so forth. I might steal your cheerful stuff post as I have been attaining a hysterical level of ranting that is very unbecoming.

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    Replies
    1. Sarah - i think eggs are revolting but love it, go on ...join us!

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  34. I don't really need anything in my bourbon,,,,straight up works well for me ;)
    I loved the red dress with the tartan scarf (and have driven myself mad looking for that scarf!), and now that I see the dress on,,,,well, what am I missing? What did they not like about it? Your mum and hubs do have exquisite taste, so I know it's me,,,too early for the bourbon. Pls educate....because I would have kept it. The skirt just isn't the same.
    And yes, I felt like Poe's protagonist (love that reference, clever girl :) after one day of cooking with the relatives,,,,is it ok to say 'never again'?

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    Replies
    1. Anon - that tartan is in every wee shop here.

      I have only tasted regular egg nog so far...

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  35. That dress is fabulous on you, I think your husband and mother must have gone blind. Or insane. Love it.
    I hope never to see another Oncologist ever again, either in life or pictorially represented. That's one depressing painting. xx

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  36. Cashmere top... Gorgeous!
    Dress...Beautiful. Reminiscent of the scene in Funny Face with Audrey Hepburn and the balloons. Only a snowball glass is much sexier.
    Skirt... Have to confess I'm not a fan. Or maybe it's the catalogue pic of it with the black top and chunky cream heels? Those shoes are just too chunky. They perhaps need to be daintier. And not that weird clotted cream colour.
    I'd also do a camel / biscuit-coloured top. In guipure lace.
    But then, I'm not wearing it. And people should be able to wear what they please at Christmas! Even catalogue models.
    xx

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  37. Red skirt is pretty, but the dress is fully fabulous! What are the family thinking; your look stunning in it. Red at Christmas is always amazing. Eggnog, divine drink, good thing it only appears in December - very dangerous to health etc.
    Wow, the Oncologists is one powerful painting, also quite unnerving for those of us who really don't want to think about it any more. And that shows the power that can be found in the arts.
    A houseful of candles sounds charming, and I'll join in the framing workshop please :)

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    Replies
    1. Patricia and smr - yes it's harrowing allright, but those very oncologists have saved the lives of some people I know so I want to kiss their bloodied hands in thanks.

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  38. Seriously the red dress look fabulous!
    Egg nog lattes are really good you might try one now that you've wet your whistle with regular egg nog.

    Mother used to pin curl our hair...two bobby pins crossed over each other to make and X prickly sleeps but gorgeous curls when undone. We never had curing tongs when I was younger only that crazy bonnet hairdryer mother could wear around the house attached to the long cord...

    They don't call them a murder of crows for nothing.
    I must try that new scent from Diptyque am loving the Ambre fragrance and have been burning mine every evening.

    Don't jump...just turn on more lights!

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  39. Like everyone else, I love the red dress on you (I have a weakness for fancy dresses with pockets).

    Cheers to eggnog season!

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  40. The red dress is divine but wouldn't this dip into the pan fund. Repeat everyday clothes everyday clothes. One Christmas we had an open house and I whipped up Martha Stewart's eggnog recipe . Turns out every female was dieting and the men wouldn't touch it. It's the best eggnog I've ever had .

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    Replies
    1. Copper pan fund has gone - my car spluttered badly- it was copper pan fund or car graveyard.

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  41. Egg nog for the first time? Psh!!!! We need to hang out more often!

    And that dress is beautiful on you! So incredibly stunning!!!!

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  42. Actually I like the red dress - very christmassy! Love the Advent candle, must do that this year and snowballs - I had forgotten all about those - they are definietly on my shopping list to have this year.

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  43. You've NEVER HAD EGGNOG! I find this very hard to believe. I almost passed out. We have it every Christmas Eve, a very old family recipe, my Uncle makes. I am sworn to never reveal it, or a certain death will be fall me.

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  44. You do look gorgeous in the red dress! However, I must say that this year i swore off overspending on fancy party clothes that i rately wear, and instead i bought some smart casual tops and nice jeans and two cashmere cardis - it is wonderful to have cute clothes for my everyday life - i am quite happy with my options.

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    Replies
    1. Murohy that's the best option, I have a pile of beautiful dresses waiting to go on Ebay, it's pointless for me to own long dresses and yet I keep allowing myself to be sucked in by silly party clothes.

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  45. Tabitha did you share who makes your beautiful red dress (is it Tibi like that skirt...?) It is stunning on you!

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  46. I love sitting in front of the fireplace with the drapes pulled shut, reading a book, glass of red wine at hand. Also, a nice thing about the short days is that it's easier to go watch the sun rise over the sea. It can be well worth the trouble (http://shelleyshouse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/dawn.html)

    You look great in the red dress, but it is a very 1950s New Look type dress, where most of your narrower skirts are much sexier.

    Yes, eggnog is delicious, if a bit rich. I loved it at Christmas time, but couldn't cope with more than a very small glass. For that reason I'll probably skip the snowball cocktail and stick with my G&T with loads of lemon.

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    Replies
    1. Shelley, I usually love the short days and long dark nights, they are so cosy but Thursday was oen of those awfully bleak days when there wasn't a single bolt of light all day.

      Ah yes you see I love that New Look 1950's style.

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  47. Pass on the egg nog and snowball, I prefer my liquor like my men, transparent (what did you think I was going to say?).
    I am dribbling over the crumpets and humming "Why don't you get back into bed, why don't you get back into bed... reasons to be cheerful part 3".
    Thank you for posting photo of "Three Oncologists", it is riveting. Art and literature are definitely reasons to be cheerful. As are we, for your whip smart blogging.

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    Replies
    1. Claire - so funny, but yes potentially less damaging on all levels

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  48. Tabs, whens the B&P Chrimbo party?



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, the Friday before Christmas be there or be square.

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  49. Haha...you've succumbed to the egg nog!! We use to have that all the time when I was back in the states, it's really nice. When I was younger I was obsessed with egg nog candy canes..so good. I love the dress and think you look glorious in it!! Any time to the art museum is grand, I wish I lived closer to Edinburgh, I would be there all the time :))) And crumpets smothered in butter is heaven, it must seep through to the bottom for me :)))) delightful! Have a grand week doll xx

    La Femme Nouvelle

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  50. I am a rotter and should have told you about the egg nog. That red dress was so fabulous I really want one just seeing it on you, that silhouette is beautiful.
    I'm barely leaving my house these days it's so cold, I just want to bake cookies and drink sparkling wine. I'm getting lazier by the day it seems!

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    Replies
    1. Dani, I've lost my cooking/baking mojo, I'll just come to yours then.

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  51. Your red dress looks divine on you. I wish I can wear flared skirt. I've tried and tried but it just makes me look like a matron.

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  52. I know I am ridiculously late to the party ( and most likely come across very stalker-ish ) BUT that red frock is perfection on you!

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