Monday, 16 January 2012

Walking with Jack Frost by my side.

I need to give a HUGE shout out and heart felt THANK YOU's  to all my new followers! I seem to have tripled my following number since last week! It's such a nice feeling and I really do appreciate each and every new follower and comment that spring up on Brag Doll. So, Thank You! Thank you for having faith in me and this space, and liking what you see enough to stay a while and maybe return for a few more helpings. I make you the promise, my new, and dedicated followers, that I will try to post more often, become less 'wordy' in my posts and keep Brag Doll evolving and up to date. As I've said before, if you have any advice or experience, tips or just general thoughts on how I can improve or grow, then please do drop me a line, either on here, twitter, or by email. I really appreciate each one.

The reason why I've suddenly grown is due to signing up for the Independent Fashion Bloggers site. I stumbled across it the other day via another blog and decided to try for membership. I got it and was quickly inundated with many, many welcoming emails showing support and tips on how to best get to grips with the website. I've found so many new friendly contacts, from all around the world! It really has cheered me up and pulled me out of the funk that I've been in since Christmas. I'm filled with such excitement at being involved in such an established community.

So this weekend we finally had some really, really cold weather. It was white with frost and ice with stunning blue skies. We put on our warmest clothes and headed out for a wander round the frozen town and scout out some new eateries for our visitors at the end of the month. We walked the scenic route into town, via Regent Road - if you know it. I love that way into town from our flat, it gives you a wonderful view of Arthur's seat, the parliament and the Old Town. It was strangely busy, loads of people with the same idea as us I guess. We stopped to take some poses just before the road drops back down to Princes Street. There's a fantastic view where these were taken, but it's difficult to make out because the sun was so low. I really want a decent camera, I look at other blogs and really love the look of their photos, and mine look so amateur in comparison. But my plan is to save up every month when I've got a regular income again. Bring it on.

I was so excited that it was so cold. I finally got to wear my sheepskin coat for the first time this year. I wore it LOADS last year in the snowy winter, it was so cold for months and it was the only thing that would keep out the chill. I love it, it's just so comfortable to be in and so incredibly warm. It's another one of my Mums old coats,  love inheriting her castoffs that she no longer wears or fits into. It's great. I don't agree with fur on clothes, not new ones, but vintage items, that have had a previous owner and were created before they became mine, I feel like it would be a waste for it to be binned or never worn.

Anyway, it's crazy warm! So warm in fact that I wished I hadn't put it on until we'd got to the top of the hill. It's so heavy too! But super for the extreme low temperatures.

Ok... so I'm wearing a Christmas jumper... and it's January now.... but I bought it and hadn't worn it yet, and it's still kinda a winter jumper, not just a Christmas one... so I just went along with it anyway... and got some seriously funny looks. Which I quite like - it gives people something to talk about when they get home and reflect on the day :-) I am looking forward to digging it out again next Christmas. I didn't quite get this one into the Chictopia Ugly Sweater contest..... next year.

I got the black satchel from Primark last week. I got a similar one from Accessorize's sale, but I'd like to keep that one good, for work (once I get some) and the job interviews that I've had and have coming up. It's a lovely dark red colour and is a perfect fit for the usual interview things, but not much else. So when I saw this black one in Primark for super cheap, and bigger than my other one, I thought Yes Please! But, it's not actually as good as I was anticipating. The catch just doesn't shut unless you do some sort of weird leaning, dancing, pushing manoeuvring... or get someone else to help :-P But I'm going to persevere and hopefully it'll become slacker and more co-operative.  
I'm also sporting my usual 'heilan coo' ear muffs, wrangler boots and thick jeans.... what you cant tell... is that I've got about 4 layers under my jumper... and thick thermals under my jeans (hense no skirt and tights), it was that cold! Look at my freezing red face too.... how flattering! I'm really looking forward to warmer days so that we can explore wider afield and not be shrouded in dark just at the beginning of the afternoon. Spring... please come and visit soon! I miss you!!
Our day was short, productive, but lovely! A wee jaunt into town enjoying the still, frosty, winter day! Cold, but intensely beautiful! The atmosphere had a wonderful shimmer and white sheen to it all as the air froze. All the greenery places were covered in ground frost (or hoar frost, tee hee hee). Really beautiful, and could so easily go unnoticed by many.

We walked back via a nice chain restaurant where we enjoyed a 'free' meal courtesy of Stu's Mum who wrote a wee letter to the chain about a previous meal we'd had before Christmas that just wasn't up to scratch at all! It was really quite awful what they put in-front of us and expected us to pay full price for! We said nothing at the time, just ate, paid and left. But we got a pair of £10 vouchers through the door last week with a lovely letter from the company and Stu's Mum. Such a nice surprise. So we had a nice Sunday dinner on them. Woo!

So that was our weekend recently really, nothing much happening, just waiting for the warmer, brighter days, and the daily routine of applying for jobs, being rejected from jobs, being taunted with interviews and the potential of jobs, then the rejection. It has to end soon.... right? I've lost count the number I've applied for. Thank goodness for Brag Doll, the distraction and other purpose that it gives my days! And all my lovely new readers and followers :-) The next few weekends should be good, a visitor next Friday, and then friends visiting for a joint birthday. Bring it on :-)

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year - Old Memories.

Just a quick, random, photo filled post. Apologies for the grainy photos - took them while it was quite dark in the room.

We we're putting away the Christmas decorations today, a sad event in itself since that means it's over for another year, but we came across a wee festive looking box that immediately filled me with wonderful, happy nostalgia. I'm not sure how we missed this box putting the tree up, but I'm so glad I found it again this side of Christmas. It's a very dear item to me, even if it's a worse for wear.
 And inside this mysterious Christmassy looking box is something that fills me with wonderful childhood memories - oh and the box is filled with these lovely wee guys.
Beautifully hand carved, wooden, vintage/retro tree decorations. Delicately painted and glued together with wee wings, musical instruments, presents and ski poles.

I've no idea where they are from, or how long we've had them, but they've been in my family for as long as I remember. I associate them with the smell of real pine trees we used to cut down from the forest behind us (that's right, I'm a country bumpkin, you'll see more of Foyers later on here) and with the chocolate baubles you used to get - does anyone else remember them? It used to be my job to decorate the tree (I think it probably got 'amended' by my parents afterwards) and these were always my pride and joy. Think I used to take them off and play with them too - maybe explains why only a handful are still intact. But they are still beautiful!

They really are delicate wee things - varying between a couple of centimetres to about an inch/inch and a half. A lot of them are wee Angels in various poses - like the 3 above. I remember their wings really clearly, I also remember them snapping off :'( but the majority of them still have the original tree loops so I'm tempted to put them on our tree next year - a vintage inspired tree :-)

There's around 4 wee gnomes/elves with pointy felt hats like the one in the third picture, but since they're spheres they don't really stand up. Very cute wee beardless things though. The four bells are beautifully painted - two pairs with opposite colours. Could maybe do with a wee touch up to their paint. I love the wee guys on sledges - they look like they're having fun. Both of those Angels still have their wings. I think the presents used to have wee bows on them too. I'd love to make a wee wintery scene to put them all in actually, like something you'd find in the fancy shop windows. Maybe next year.

A wonderful choir scene with soldiers and Angels singing. I think they all had something in their hands - now it's only a few. The drummers definitely had beaters and I think the furthest right Angel had cymbals but now she's only got one arm - how sad. I asked Mum tonight where they came from but she doesn't remember. I'll need to show them to her next time she's down. But I'm so glad I found them. They bring back such vivid childhood memories of a much simpler time, a time where I still had Christmas at home. As much as I love hosting, I do miss waking up to my wonderful Foyers view - simply stunning in winter, and summer, and well.... always. Think I'll need a trip home soon after reliving all these childhood memories.

The box says there are 20 of them inside, there are 25 here... so obviously there were multiple boxes with different characters - I only remember this one box, so they must be from before my time. Wow! 

They're very precious to me, if I didn't realise before, I sure do now. I'm going to keep them very safe from now on - somewhere that I'll remember where they are for next year.
One last picture before I head to bed. Lovely wee crocheted hanging decorations that were in the same box. I remember these well too. Not sure if Mum made them or they came from somewhere else - I'll need to show them to my parents and hope they remember. I love the face of Santa. So unusual. The heart is really delicate too. Lovely.

Do you have any old decorations that trigger any childhood memories? Or any other item that might do the same? I love it when that happens. Guess it shows I had a happy and full childhood.

Do you recognise any of these? Or know where they might have come from/rough age? I'd be fascinated to find out.

For now - night night, I'm off to put these lovely things somewhere safe until next year.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

And a Happy New Year!

Just a quick pre-bell post.

All the guests have arrived, the flat is spick and span to see in the New Year, we're all glammed up and ready to hit the town and enjoy Edinburgh Hogmanay! Woo! This will be the first time I've been out for Hogmanay in Edinburgh and actually had my own bed to climb drunkenly back into at the end of the night/morning. So I'm very much looking forward to that! So excited for tonight and the year ahead! It's going to be great, I can just tell!

So for now, from me, Max-ie Cat, and the 11 people staying over in this teensy tiny flat....


I hope tonight is great fun for everybody out there and you are seeing in the bells in style, no matter where you are, or what you are doing! It's strange thinking it's half way through day 1 of 2012 for New Zealand and Oz just now! One day I'll see in the New Year there. One day.

Stay safe, stay with people you know, and don't drink too much. But above all, have a FANTASTIC night and start of 2012!! See you next year! Eee!