Last year I shared a post with all the books I’d read in 2015, this year I thought I’d do the same. Whether on Kindle, Audible or on paper, I love to devour a good book. As you can see from my list I read a big mixture of books, both fiction and non fiction.

The Viceroys Daughters Book ReviewThis year I’ve found a huge interest in female history and have read a lot of books about women in the early 20th century. I always really enjoy anything about society in the 1920s especially.

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-17-45-30I’ve also just started reading all the Jane Austen novels and finished Sense and Sensibility last week, I’m currently re-reading Emma. I also re-read lots of Jenny Colgan novels. When I need a little chick lit or light reading, she’s always the one I go for.

Margot at War ReviewMy favourite books of the year would have to be Margot at War and First Lady the biographies of Margot Asquith and Clementine Churchill. It was so interesting finding out more about the wives of two very prominent prime ministers both in the first and second world wars.

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-17-45-43Earlier in the year I also read lots of books by Cathy Bramley, her books are so lovely and very cheerful and I’m really looking forward to her writing some more. Another reading highlight of the year was Take Six Girls, a new book bout the Mitford sisters, who always really fascinate me.

Love Notes For Freddie by Eva Rice ReviewA fiction highlight this year for me was Love Notes for Freddie, by Eva Rice. I’ve really enjoyed all her books and I love the way you get such a strong representation of the era they were written in.

screen-shot-2016-12-23-at-17-46-00There’s a slight overlap with last year here, but at the end of last year I started re-reading all the Harry Potter books and then while looking back at my favourite books from my teens I also re-read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman which I absolutely adore.

Young Elizabeth Book ReviewI read so many books this year, that it will hard to read as many next year, but I’m definitely going to try. So you have any good book recommendations that you think I’d like?

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So as usual, I left all my christmas shopping until the last minute. I only started on Monday! I do try and make christmas shopping as stress free as possible, so this year I did everything online. I’m not a fan of crowded shops so I couldn’t really face the crowds.

I always try to think of useful gifts that the receiver will really enjoy, I also like gifts that can be used all year. Then of course there are gifts for people who already seem to have everything, so I think subscriptions and experiences can work really well. Here are a few ideas that take this into account and will also appeal to vintage lovers like me.

vintage-life-december-2016Vintage Life Magazine Subscription: Having recently relaunched, Vintage Life Magazine is better than ever. It is absolutely packed with lifestyle and fashion features, from a huge selection of amazing writers. They have a selection of subscription lengths, making this an excellent gift for vintage fans.

Festival of Vintage Tickets: The Festival of Vintage is a hugely popular festival which takes place in York every summer. Tickets are really affordable and a lovely day out full of music, classic cars and shopping would make the perfect gift for vintage loving loved one. Buy tickets here.

Lila Hatchlands ParkNational Trust Membership: My National Trust membership is one of my favourite things. I use it constantly and love that it gives me the opportunity to enjoy so many fantastic places. A membership would make a fabulous gift for a heritage or history fan.

House of Foxy Gift Voucher: A gift voucher also makes a really good gift for those people who are really hard to choose for. I’ve chosen a House of Foxy as my perfect gift voucher because their clothing is really special and definitely towards the higher end of reproduction vintage, so a voucher to spend would be a real luxury.


Steam Train Tickets: Why not take your loved one out for a ride on a stream train? There are heritage railways dotted up and down the country. Even better why not book tickets to one of their special events or 1940s weekends?

Oxfam Charity Gifts: I love Oxfam’s Unwrapped gifts. For a friend who has everything, this can be a great alternative to buying them an actual thing. Gifts include donating a goat, a toilet, warm clothing and clean water to people who really need them.

What are your alternative Christmas present ideas?

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Usually at Christmas I like to make as many gifts and cards as possible. As the big days has crept up on me a bit this year the only crafty thing I’ve done so far is to make these pretty marbled gifts tags.

diy-marble-gift-tagsI bought this marbling kit from Hobbycraft absolutely ages ago, and had never got round to using it. Having seen some marbled crackers recently, I loved the idea of using the effect as part of a Christmas theme so I decided to give it a go.

marbling-kit-2To make these you will need; white card, string, scissors, a marbling kit, some thing round or bauble shaped – I used cookie cutters.

marblingMy kit came with a small tray and several different colours of oil based ink. I used different colours to create my my marble and used a cocktail stick to swirl the ink into patterns.

hobbycraft-marbling-kitI cut my card into small squares and places them onto the ink.

marbled-paperThey take a while to dry, so lay them out on some newspaper for a few hours.

marbled-cardI love that each piece of card came out differently. I had experimented with different amounts of ink and swirling different patterns in each one. I really like how unique they all are.

bauble-cookie-cutterI pressed my cookie cutter onto the backs on the card to leave an indentation, this was quicker than drawing round something and didn’t leave any pencil marks.

marbled-bauble-tagsI then cut them all out into bauble shapes.

marble-gifts-tags-on-stringI poked a hole in the top of each one and added a piece of string.

marbled-gift-tagsI am so happy with how these came out and marbling was so fun and a really relaxing thing to do. I’d definitely like to pick up some more inks and try some other crafts using this technique. Have you ever tried marbling?

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Things have been very very recently. It’s always like that at the time of year, wit h birthday, school commitments, the Kids Christmas shows and of course Christmas itself. As someone who longs for life simple pleasures it can all be a bit busy and hectic for me. If I could choose any way to spend a day, it would getting some fresh air and exercise with the girls. Nothing makes me happier than some pretty scenery and just enjoying being a mummy with nothing else getting in the way.

morden-hall-park-water-wheelI hadn’t had a chance for what felt like forever, to have a relaxed day out with the kids. Every single weekend has been really hectic and in the winter it’s already dark by the time we get home from school and all their numerous extra curricular activities (Jess seems to collect them!) I had planned to take them out all day on Saturday, but unfortunately Jess wasn’t feeling well. I spent the whole day cleaning in the hope that I would eradicate every germ from the house, so stayed in all day.

morden-hall-park-bridgeFinally today we had the most perfect day. We ate breakfast together, everyone got ready with no major disasters and before long we found ourselves in the park. We went to Morden Hall Park, which is a beautiful Nation Trust park and garden only 5 minutes drive from our house. The girls had a ride on their scooters, we played in the playground and got very muddy. It was lovely! I took a few pics on my phone, which I thought I would share with you, of the lovely park.


morden-hall-park-buildingsThe park also has a lovely second hand bookshop, filled with a really great mix of modern books as well as some really amazing older ones. We always find a few bargains in there. You can never have too many books after all. I spotted this one and I really wanted it just because I liked the cover. I didn’t get it this time, but I might have to pop back.

something-lightAfter that we popped to the shops to get the girls a Christmas jumper each, as they needed them for school. We got back and Rob cooked a delicious roast dinner. After that Rob and Lila watched a Harry Potter film and Lila and I did some Christmas drawings.

It was a simple day, but in our busy modern lives, it can be hard to make time and just enjoy the simple things. Perfect Sundays should be treasured and appreciated and I feel so happy and refreshed by mine.

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This morning a very exciting bit of mail arrived. Something I’ve been looking forward to seeing for ages. The Most Marvellous Meet Ups Calendar was put together by Kia from the meet ups group I’ve mentioned a few times. Some of the members of the group came up with the idea of creating a calendar for charity. The group supports the British Lung Foundation and all the money from sales of the calendar will go directly to them.

most-marvellous-meet-up-calendarWe shot the pictures for the calendar back in the summer at AJ’s Diner in Northampton with Pete from Tickety Boo Photography. It was a wonderful day where we all came together to help each other with hair, outfits and make-up.

calendar-carrie-ann-and-hattieCarrie-Ann doing Hattie‘s hair and make-up

calendar-hair-and-make-upClare, Emma and Nadine styling Tanya’s Hair

I was so nervous, despite taking photos for the blog all the time, I’ve only ever done pictures with my friends and family and never with a professional photographer. It was great fun though and Pete was absolutely fantastic.

calendar-shootOnce we had finished shooting at AJ’s we headed to Pete’s studio, where he does Old Hollywood style shoots, using traditional lighting methods. This was such a great experience and I was amazed by the pictures.


vintage-frills-most-marvellous-calendarIn the end the group voted on which of our pictures should be used for the calendar and this is mine!  It was a bit of a shock at first as I’m not used to be airbrushed at all, but I really do love how glamorous we all look! I love that we are all different ages, shapes and sizes and the calendar is a real celebration of what our little community can achieve.

most-marvellous-calendar One of my favourite images from the Calendar would have to be this one of Chereeka

The most important thing is that the calendar is supporting an absolutely amazing charity, Kia worked so hard on every aspect from organising the shoot, to rising the money to get the project up and running, to all the design and printing.

If you’d like to help support the British Lung Foundation you can order a copy of the calendar through our Just Giving Page. Just make sure you leave your name and follow the instructions and Kia will post it out to you.

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