Friday, 31 December 2010
We're all supposed to be looking forward to 2011, but I'm going to use these last few hours of 2010 to look back even farther... to the kinds of festivities my family have every year to celebrate Christmas and the New Year. This year's been a bit different; I'm in Barcelona (which is great, don't get me wrong) and my family were in the upheaval of moving over the Christmas season. Things will be a bit different but equally fun in the future I'm sure, but here's a little look back at some of my favourite festive moments...
Christmas dinner got a bit surreal last year after my grandfather got a headlamp for a present. My uncle keeps his best straight face. It's terrible getting old.
Flaming Christmas pudding!
Me and my two fantastic sisters. Paper crowns are mandatory!
On New Years' Eve we usually play board games over endless bottles of wine and sparkling wine.
Some people are suspected of being devious.
Some people are suspected of being drunk.
Some are just confused as to what all the fuss is about.
At all festive occasions for the last several years, our family friend opens the bubbly and Shona stands with the waiting glass. We're big traditionalists. It's never going to be any other way.
Then everybody makes sure there is an exactly equal distribution of liquid between the glasses. Our friend evens them out with a spoon. Newcomers sometimes say, "Oh, never mind, I'll take the one with less." That is not the point. They must be equal. And then we all stand around making mock-pretentious comments like, "you can definitely taste the slight hint of rosehip and saskatoonberry on the palate."
Sometimes, guitars are brought and old folk songs are played...
And others sing along.
There's a constant at every party: Shona always falls asleep on the couch.
Happy New Year Everyone! It's been great getting to know you all, and I'm looking forward to "seeing" you all again in 2011!
Thursday, 30 December 2010
Changing room lurkings is back! Longish-time readers may remember when I went to Urban Outfitters and tried on all the tba dresses I couldn't afford, and blogged about it. It was strangely therapeutic. I still couldn't afford them, but after blogging about them I felt like I didn't need them after all, I'd already "had them" in a way. And these days I'm inclined to think of them and sniff "£150 and it was still polyester velvet--hrmph."
So today we're going to that powerhouse of Barcelona fashion, Desigual. For some reason, Desigual gets largely ignored by bloggers, who prefer the infinite blandness and frequent poor quality that is Zara (cough, and 'sorry,' to the devoted Zara fans...) But I kind of love Desigual. It's crazy, colourful, clashing, and if the label said "Marc by Marc Jacobs" instead, it wouldn't be much of a stretch and everyone would be drooling over it. But my favourite thing about Desigual is that in their clothes, your chipping red and green Christmas nailpolish is no longer a lazy afterthought, it's the only reasonable manicure to have. So there! ; )
First up: I have too many coats already....
But I could probably make room in my heart and on the back of my door for this one. It's electric blue, I'm mad for plaid, the buttons are multicoloured, and the various coloured safety pins could be romoved. I'm all for colour in the winter; otherwise I kind of look like warmed up play-dough...
I definitely have too many dresses but...
Three patterns, an innumerable array of colours, sleeves... Unfortunately, there are three Emilys in the above picture and not one of them gets to take home this dress, due to mad inflation at Desigual in the last few years. Bah.
I'm not even a hearts person, but for you I would make an exception.
See you all again on New Years' Eve, when hopefully I will have a rough draft of paper #1, at the cost of a few more wrinkles...
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
These photos were taken in Mataró, a city about an hour up the coast from Barcelona by train. I was somewhat overdressed for the day's activities... starting work on the horrible prospect of three essays that are due in January. Honestly, it's a special form of torture to give people work to do over Christmas...
I bought this skirt in my favourite charity shop right before I left England (read: the only decent one I've found. Anyone have any London charity shop recommendations)? You can't really tell in the photos, but it's woven through with golden thread, which I thought made it properly festive for the Christmas season!
Look how well I match the train station!
skirt: French Connection (charity shop)
sweater: hand me down
flower pin: Spitalfields Market (came with coat)
tights: Dorothy Perkins
shoes: Steve Madden (via ebay)
bag: stolen from my mother
Sunday, 26 December 2010
Don't be fooled by all the sunshine... it was realllly chilly! However, I have to say that I could get used to Christmas in Barcelona, going for a bike ride in the sun and stuffing myself with cava and torró (amazing sweets) and all sorts delicious typical things in the afternoon. I hope you all had the very merriest of christmases, in all your different corners of the world!
These photos were taken in Parc Joan Miró, named after the famous Catalan artist, and featuring this sculpture of his, Dona i Ocell (the majority of his works are called "Woman and Bird," so no suprises there). In some of the pictures, you can see one of Barcelona's two bullfighting rings (only the other is in operation). It was never a tradition on Catalonia, and a ban was passed in the parliament earlier this year, effective in 2012. This one is currently being converted into a shopping centre, which I think is just replacing one evil with another, but anyway...
My already-chipping but festive nails with the requisite café con leche...
photos by Albert
dress (as skirt): River Island, summer-sales
Christmas socks: Sainsburys
boots: Timberland (ancient)
ring: was my grandmother's
Thursday, 23 December 2010
While I'm resigned to not having a white Christmas this year, it was still fun to play in the snow for a few days in Germany.
This is my second winter coat, and I am sooo in love with this one. I've always wanted a really nice toggle coat, and I found this one second hand (but in mint mint condition) at Spittalfields Market. It's made by an old famous English duffle coat company (Gloverall), is made of thick soft wool with a great plaid lining, and features real horn toggles. I'm in love. Especially since they are selling the EXACT same coat at Urban Outfitters and John Lewis for £250. ; D ; D ; D
Other than eating loads of sausages and drinking loads of mulled wine, the time in Germany was spent driving around in my friend's awesome turquoise mini, above, and eating home-made cookies, below.
lumberjack shirt: via a friend of my grandfather's
scarf: second hand
shoes: ancient ; D and therefore just right for clambering through slush
Wednesday, 22 December 2010
My disappearing for a few days was on account of a somewhat last-minute trip. A good friend of mine from my time in Scotland, who is German, emailled me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I wanted to come visit and go to some Christmas Markets. As fast as you can say "Ryanair" (man I hate that airline, but it's cheap) I had booked some flights, and somehow, amazingly, although much of Europe ground to a halt under the snow, none of my flights were cancelled or even delayed.
My friend lives in Mainz, a small city near Frankfurt, and all I did for three days was tramp through falling snow to and from the Christmas market, where I stuffed myself to the brim with bratwurst, currywurst, potato pancake things, gingerbread and mulled wine. Soooo good!
Saturday, 18 December 2010
So, I temporarily escaped my essays and the snow that started right when I was taking off, and I'm in Barcelona again for Christmas!
That second picture requires a bit of explanation. In Catalonia, a Christmas tradition is to have a log with a little blanket on top, and a few small gifts underneath (candy, that kind of thing). Later, all the children take a stick and dance around the log, hitting it, and singing "Shit, log, shit log, if you don't shit I'll keep hitting you!" Accordingly, an adult pulls out the gifts from under the blanket and the log is "shitting" presents. I promise I'm not exaggerating it at all, and I'm not translating it any more vulgarly than it is in reality. The Catalans have an amazingly scatological culture. A student gave me a Christmas ornament a few years ago of a little man in a red hat having a poo. I always sneak it into my family's Christmas scene! ; D
I've worn this dress a few times before on the blog, but I never really get tired of it. What's to argue with orange, and tartan on top of that? Anyway, I don't know about you guys, but my favourite blogs are the ones where I see the same items again and again... it makes me feel like the bloggers are real people that I know, rather than just walking closets!
dress: Pepe Jeans
shirt: Smart Set (via my sister)
boots: Steve Madden
bag: was my mother's
necklace: Les Jumelles