Category Archives: christmas

December catch up and Merry Christmas one and all!


It’s been a long Christmas this year.

It started around the 1st of December and since then it’s been a party of one kind or another every other night right up until the Christmas Day. Along with the parties we’ve earned ourselves a few God points by attending a carol service here and there as well as some festive lantern and wreath making. It’s a good job we’ve had very few guests in, we’ve been far too busy having fun to work!img_3944

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In between all this we managed a few days ‘up country’ as they say down here and had an early Christmas with family and friends in Lancashire. That was lovely but hectic. Two full Christmas Days and half a dozen meals out, lots of laughs, cuddles and catch ups. It was fantastic to see everyone but I always get more than a pang of sadness when it’s time to leave. We used a fairly central pub as a base for our entertaining. By the end of the trip we were on first name terms and exchanging B & B tips with the landlord. I’m pretty sure he’ll remember us haha.

On our way back from there we stopped overnight in the midlands for a dog show. Dougie the Doggie and me danced in a heel work to music competition and managed to come third! Get in!!!

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Straight from there and still in Christmas leggings we went for a lovely posh lunch and catch up with little sis and after that we headed off home.

It’s exhausting having all this fun!

On Thursday night Boofuls and I left the last party of the season, high fived each other and said “We’ve done it! We got through all the parties and survived.” Of course we had forgotten about the dog walker’s cocktails at a lovely bar near the beach. Oh well, one more night out won’t kill us!

Christmas has been a blessed relief. We’ve been glad of the break from all the parties! Mind you, we’ll be kicking it off again in the next few days as it’s our turn to host the ‘bar club’ meeting for all the B & B owners who have bars on their premises. After that we have a murder mystery dinner party planned.

To be honest, I was a bit worried about Christmas Day. Last year we went back up north for Christmas business as usual but this year it was just the four of us here in Devon. Would it be too quiet, tense, grim? Nah! It was bloody brilliant!

We changed the guest dining room around and basically sectioned half of it off to give us our own dining room, a luxury these days. We trimmed it up, ok, when I say ‘we’I mean ‘I’ with the gaudiest, tinselliest, sparkliest decorations I could find along with all the new and gaudy laser lights that Boxfuls has been investing in this year. The dining room glittered and twinkled like a magic grotto. Tacky in the extreme. It was BRILLIANT. I’d never let a guest see it. So far as they are concerned our restrained and tasteful decorations are the standard by which the bar is set. Haha little do they know what goes on behind the door of our little flat. Here’s little visual of our Christmas. Munki has grown a lot, hasn’t she?

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Let’s talk for a moment about the word ‘tacky’. In my day tacky meant slightly sticky. When did it start being used in place of the much more elegant word ‘vulgar? One of my mum’s favourite words, vulgar.

Oh yes. I know when it was. When our American cousins imported it into the UK via popular culture. I don’t like it. In this house ‘tacky’ will continue to describe not quite dry paint or nail varnish and anything else that is slightly sticky. Ostentatious, poor taste displays of well, anything, will henceforth be known as vulgar.

Anyway, back to Christmas. The day passed in a merry and laid back blur of jollity and laughter. By the time Dr Who came in we were starting to flag a bit but rallied round for a nice game of Pictionary. After that it was choccies, port and telly before bed.

Boxing day morning rose clear, cold and bright. A perfect day for a swim in the sea. Wait? What? Swim in the sea? In December? are you mad?

Apparently so. I donned the fetching wet suit that my lovely friend bought me as a gift, the Santa hat, a belt of tinsel and some fetching red and green bauble earrings and joined a hundred other swimmers in various stages of fancy dress for ‘The Boxing Day Dip’ Several hundred people lined the steps of the promenade to watch as we all ran into the sea whooping and laughing. It was so much fun, I could hardly stand for laughing. Still I carried on and got up to my shoulders in water before swimming back to the shore. I was so excited I went back in for another dip. Fair to say it was a bit bracing but I’ll be doing it agin next year. I love a bit of festive eccentricity and it certainly got rid of any cobwebs!

It’s almost two years since we moved to the bay and on an almost daily basis I am still amazed at how our lives have changed.

Our lives bear no resemblance to our old life up in Lancashire and every single day I thank God for the life we have now.

Ok, it’s bonkers. Working eighteen hour days in summer and struggling to get any business in at all in winter. Would I change it? Nope. My only regret is that we didn’t do it years ago. If there is any sadness at all it’s that I miss my family and friends. If only I could get a few key people to move to Devon, that’d be perfection!

Now we have opened the doors to the public again and are gearing up for the new year celebrations. So far working has been a lot less tiring that all the partying we’ve been doing. I’m glad to get back to work for the rest.

May I take this opportunity to say I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and may the new year bring you health, wealth and above all happiness. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

…nothing was stirring, not even a mouse.


Well, that’s not strictly true.

My phone was stirring. Someone who doesn’t even have kids sent me a text message while it was still dark to wish us a Merry Christmas. Dagnabbit woman, it’s still dark!!

Two minutes after that I heard a kerfuffle downstairs and ran down thinking the dog was having a fit but he wasn’t. He was just throwing up.

Ho ho hoooooo Merry Christmas, I thought as I cleaned up the vomit. Might as well get up now and have some quiet time before the spud peeling begins.

So here I am having a nice brew, dog nodding quietly next to me wondering why I’m up so early when it isn’t even a work day.

It feels like Christmas. Even sitting here on my own.

I love this part of the day, the anticipation, the pressies all piled under the tree, the table set ready for our guests later. Once the day starts properly it’ll fly past, I’m savouring the quiet moments because the busy ones will fly by without me even noticing them.

Anyway, that’s enough musing.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. Merry Christmas to you bloggy readers, thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. A special Merry Christmas to Vanessa who  feels like a friend now. I love your comments and occasional arse kickings 😀

Whatever your Christmas brings (or brought, depending on where you are and what time it is) I hope it is/was everything you hoped for. As for me and Boofuls, we’ll be going to bezzie mates to conclude the breakfast saga. Next we’ll be off to The Rev and Gembolina’s for pressies with the clingons. I hope The Rev  has sherry in.  I love a sherry at Christmas. It makes me feel like Miss Marple and I can’t help but say in a cut glass voice “More sherry, vicar?” as I hold out my glass for a refill.

After the Rev’s it’ll be back home with Big N, Lashes and Len for Christmas dinner. Munki will arrive at some point after the Queen’s speech from TTF’s full of sugar and bouncing off the walls. We have a plan for that – no it doesn’t involve sherry. Naughty!

Once they’ve all gone home it’ll be the sofa, Doctor Who and  Call the Midwife accompanied by a nice glass of something bubbly (probably water at that stage haha). A few snuggles with the hubby and the pooch should round the day off nicely.

That sounds like a perfect Christmas day to me.

What’s your idea of a perfect Christmas day?

 

 

 

Well I just don’t know


“What’s up that we haven’t got an invitation to bezzie mates for croissants and champagne this Christmas morning?”

” Well, I just don’t know. She hasn’t even mentioned Christmas Day. It’ll be weird not going there  for our Christmas morning breakfast, we’ve done it every year since she moved to Littletown many years ago.”

“Ask her.”

“No. I don’t want to basically invite ourselves. If she wanted us to go she’d have invited us. She must have other plans. She hasn’t mentioned anything though.”

That was the conversation between Boofuls and me earlier this week.

Yesterday Lashes requested that she come and spend a few hours with us today as Len was working, Munki was with TTF and she didn’t want to spend Christmas Eve on her own. Not unreasonable.

Up popped one of my little thought balloons.

“I know! I’ll invite bezzie mate and hubby for drinkies. If we aren’t going to see her Christmas Day we’ll see her today instead.”

So, I invited bezzie mate and hubby. Lashes came to visit as planned, Big N dropped by, The Rev, Gembolina and the kids stopped by, one of the neighbours popped in and we had a lovely time chatting and laughing uproariously while the wind howled and the snow made a dismal attempt for a few minutes at giving us a nice, festive backdrop to the festivities.

Eventually I asked the question the whole family was willing me to ask:

“So, Bezzie. What are you doing this year that you haven’t invited us for breakfast?”

She looked at me silent and shocked for a minute.

“What!?!  What d’you mean? You’d better be coming for breakfast. I’ve bought loads in and I’ve already set the table.” ( I would have used the English term, ‘laid the table’ but I didn’t want any Americans choking on their advocaat, or egg nog as you call it).  What made you think you weren’t coming?”

“You didn’t invite us.”

“OHHHHH SHIIIIIT!!!!  OHHHHHHH MY GOD!!!!!! ‘ Course you’re invited!!! You don’t need inviting! It wouldn’t be Christmas without you  all coming for breakfast. OHHHHH MY GOD! That would have been awful!!

Heh.

I love my bezzie.

Bye! Bye! See you next year!


Cowardice made me stay indoors today rather than get my new year get fit campaign off to a flying start by going for a walk on the moor with Mrs Woofy.

My reasoning being that out in the open it was so windy (and still is) that we’d be blown of our feet. Poor Munki was pushed up the drive by the wind earlier, her little feet were going ten to the dozen and struggling to keep pace with the cold and fierce westerly that’s been battering us all day.  Lashes had to run after her to rescue her before she got blown over. Anyway, back to excuses for not going walking. Down in the woods we’d likely get hit by flying trees or branches. Hhmm. What to do instead?

Take down the Christmas decorations. I’m always sad when I have to take them down but since only mad people leave them up all year I always think it’s best to get them down before we get fully into the swing of being back at work. With the ipod on shuffle and playing a delightful medley ranging from Michael Buble to Reel Big Fish, Whitesnake and Benny Hill, among others, I got down to the task of de-decking.

What?

Of course I have some pride. I only have Benny Hill songs on there to entertain the clingons when they’re here. I don’t choose to listen to him – except today when it was playing “Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West’, while I was standing on a chair with both arms full of christmas lights and unable to hit the ‘next’ arrow’ so even that wasn’t really choosing to listen to him.

Moving on:

Carefully wrapping up my old favourites, each with it’s own special memories and my new favourite decorations with their new  memories of the fun of buying them and putting them on the tree. Tsk. Talking of memories, I forgot to put the Christmas turtle on the tree. Oh how I was mocked when I bought that turtle on our family holiday last year. That turtle holds a whole host of memories and it hasn’t even made it as far as the tree yet.

I decided to grab my camera and shoot a few frames of my li’l Christmas pals.  I’ve also included one of Batty from when she was my Ice Princess, one of my favourite photos EVER!

So Goodbye, Christmas elephants (christmas elephants?!)

Goodbye, singing snowchild withe the spooky black eyes.

Goodbye, strawbeardy Father Christmas, have a good rest before starting on this year’s work

Goodbye Fairy with the ginger curly hair who looks just like Lashes (she’ll kill me for that haha)

Goodbye, jolly stick men and all my other favourite Christmas toys and decorations, see you all next December!

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What is it with men and boxes?


And men say women are unfathomable? Even after twenty six years of marriage I still can’t understand my husband’s total inability to throw away packaging.

One of his gifts from Father Christmas this year was a lovely sonic toothbrush to keep his recently whitened pearly whites bright enough to use as a torch on a dark night. I could see that he was completely underwhelmed by Santa’s generosity and the box has laid, unopened on the dressing table since the big day. Obviously he has no idea how much Santa forked out for this bit of electronic wizardry, over £100 it was and that was half price.

Fook! It’s only a toothbrush!!!

As he sauntered into the bedroom this morning prior to starting his morning ablutions ( Hubby, not Santa), I enquired scathingly as to whether the aforementioned toothbrush was going to sit on my dressing table unopened for the next two years before I finally give it away to a charity shop. “No, no, I’m going to use it right now,” he said as he scooped it up quickly and made a show of opening it.

After a brief discussion about the merits, or not, of  copious amounts of unnecessary packaging and ‘perceived value’, he popped the empty box into his wardrobe.

What? Memories of clearing out the hay loft in the stable  a couple of years ago swam into my hand. Boofuls had saved all manner of boxes. Boxes from just about anything we’d ever bought were up there. There were boxes inside boxes, big boxes, small boxes, boxes with padding, boxes with polystyrene inserts, boxes of all shapes and sizes all just waiting for that magical day. The ‘you never know when we’ll need one of those’ day.

“Did you just put that empty box in the wardrobe? Why, Boofuls, why would you do that?”

“It’s got the instructions in it.”

“It’s a toothbrush, Boofuls, How hard can it be?”

The box was duly removed from the wardrobe to be swiftly collapsed and shoved into the recycling bin by me and Boofuls  went to try out his new toothbrush.

Five minutes later he was back. “Look at this!!!”,  he cried excitedly as he flashed his pearly gnashers at me, “It’s amazing! I can’t believe what a diffentence it’s made!”

I felt a huge smile spread over my face, not a present fail after all then.

The Feast of Stephen


Firstly: Apologies for the terrible spacing. I think WordPress may have partaken in a bit too much of the Christmas spirit, nothing is staying where I put it.

 

So, we visited, drank, ate, opened presents, laughed, hugged, kissed and played family games through Christmas Day. What a fantastic day is what. By 10pm I was absolutely exhausted and slumped on the settee watching Strictly Come Dancing as my eyelids drooped and sleep called.

In honour of the perfect day we had yesterday, and to nod in the direction of The Feast of Stephen today, I thought we’d gather round and sing a few carols. Ready?

Let’s start with that old favourite, ‘We Three Kings’

We Three Kings

We three kings of Orient are,

One in a taxi, one in a car,

One on a scooter, blowing his hooter,

Wearing his girlfriends bra.

While Shepherds Watched Watched Their Flocks

While shepherds washed their socks by night

all watching ITV

the angel of the Lord came down

and switched to BBC.

And now that Christmas Day is over, let’s celebrate The Feast of Stephen by singing together my  personal favourite:

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out

Of his bedroom winder.

Silly bugger he fell out

On a red hot cinder.

Brightly shone his bum that night,

Though the pain was cru-el.

Then a doctor came in sight,

Sitting on a muuu-uuu-el

Aaaah, there’s nothing like a good old singalong to brighten the sprits and get the day off to a good start.

Yesterday was lovely.
As normal, we arrived at bezzie mates good and early. Her son and partner were there with their baby, Lashes and Len were there as well with Munki who was amazed that father Christmas had obviously got all his houses mixed up as he’d left presents absolutely everywhere for her!
The Rev and Gembolina were next on the visiting list. My two glasses of champers at bezzie mates were followed with a very nice glass of sherry. I always feel a bit like a vicar’s wife when I drink sherry and can’t resist saying , “More tea, Vicar?”  as I hold out my glass for a refill. The clingons were excited and lively as they unwrapped their presents. Mrs Woofy was outside in the garden and watching through the patio window, obviously wanting to join in with the excitement and she’d occasionally run round in circles, jump about and then come for another look through the window. Munki was once again amazed that there were yet more presents for her to open.
After a flying visit there we popped round to Len’s Mum and Dad’s. As usual their hospitality was generous. “Have a glass of Buck’s Fizz.” “Umm, ok then.”   Now, all I would say about drinking early in the morning is this: If you don’t normally drink at ten in the morning then the day you need to cook an enormous meal and entertain people all day probably isn’t the best day to start. By this time my eyes were looking at each other and I was well and truly feeling the christmas spirit! We certainly were all merry and bright, as the carol goes.
I soon got over the urge to find a quiet corner to sleep in when we got home and it was time to open our gifts to each other. Father Christmas has been extremely generous this year, sending me a book  by Dawn French and Miranda Hart’s biography as well as others that I can’t wait to get started on –  and lots of other goodies. Munki’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw yet more presents. Isn’t three just the perfect age to accept all the magic of Christmas without question?  She was delightful to watch.
Then it was into the kitchen. The cook fest of the previous day had certainly paid off. Getting the dinner out on the table was a doddle.  It always seems like a good idea having an umpteen course meal till you actually start eating it. We took a break between courses to watch the Inbetweeners film. More suited to the mentality of an eighteen year old boy than a fifty one year old woman it had me alternating between cringing and guffawing. Sophisticated it is not.
A few games of fiddlesticks, bingo and funny faces ( yes, we know it’s a kid’s game but it made us laugh) finished the day off nicely.
I know Christmas can be a time of tension in lots of families when they are thrown together and have to pretend to get on.
We had the best day yesterday I have to say that I feel truly blessed to have the family and friends I’ve got.
Did I mention that I love Christmas?

Christmas Day in the Mad House


A Christmas days go yesterday’s was just about perfect.

The day got off to a cracking start at bezzie mates. Copious amounts of champagne and croissants set us up nicely for the day ahead.  Next we went to Len’s Mum and Dad’s for Bucks Fizz. When we arrived we realised that his Mum had put on a full buffet for us!!  Oh Lordy!

After having already consumed my own weight in croissants I didn’t really feel the need for more food but of course not wanting to offend I got stuck in and gave it my  shot. I noticed that my  food   achilles heel was there – honey coated cashew nuts. I could eat them till hell freezes over. Nom nom nom choff slurp.

A quick detour in Bigtown to scoop up little bro and we were all assembled at home for the pressie fest.  Lashes had made some canapes so we tucked into those as well. At this point I was starting to feel like I was starring in the Christmas episode of the Vicar of Dibley when Geraldine has three Christmas dinners.

The table I’d got ready the night before, here it is before it got demolished:

The television behind  The Rev caused me much hilarity as I downloaded the photos:

I don’t know what Gembolina just said but it must have been bad if it got a reaction from The Rev AND the man in the box:

WHAT!!!

And then provike a reaction like this one. Look behind you, Son!

Look behind you!

Len was really shocked.

Is it always like this?

Everyone else though had a lovely time, oblivious to the drama going on in the corner.

Merry Christmas!


Just sitting quietly having my customary cup of hot water and enjoying the peace and quiet before the day begins.

Plan for today: Run round like a silly bugger cooking, tidying, washing up  etc etc.  You get the idea.

Fist stop today will be bezzie mate’s for Buck’s Fizz and croissants. Can’t wait for that. It isn’t Christmas till we’ve been to bezzie mate’s.  Then we are going to see Len’s parents for more Buck’s Fizz. Can’t wait for that either, I love Len’s parents. You would too if you met them.

After that it’s into Bigtown with Lashes and Len  to scoop up my little bro then Boofuls will pop down to get The Rev and family and from then on it’ll be all systems go!!!

I’ll be back with all the gossip and the photos later in the week.

Whatever you’re doing this Christmas I hope it’s perfect for you.  Merry Christmas!!!!

Over! Over! Over! Splat!


Mrs Woofy and me took the clingons for a walk on our favourite playing fields the other day. You know the one. It’s the one with a nice footpath down one side and a fence at just the right height for Mrs Woofy to practice her jumping skills. I quite often sit her in just the right position so, on my command,  she can make a flying leap over it followed by a handbrake turn and a leap over in the opposite direction.   Clingon the younger thought this looked like great fun and decided to join in.

One jump, two jumps…..and she fell at the third hurdle with a resounding and undignified SPLAT straight into the snow. Was it too cruel of me to fall about laughing?

The snow has all gone now. I miss it. Winter is great as it’s clear, cold, crisp and white. At the moment everything is a dull and miserable grey, even the grass can’t be bothered to be green and has taken on a decidedly grey hue.  More snow is forecast for the end of the week so I’m keeping my fingers crossed it arrives safely.

Well, it’s been a busy old few days. Reprint orders are practically coming out of my ears, people are booking portrait sittings and the special offfer engagement shoot we set up with the local jewellers seems to be taking off. It’s all good. I hope it carries on.  If every week was as busy as last week and this week I’d soon be needing staff! There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write!

Last Thursday Clingon number one had to go to Manchester for her four monthly check up at the children’s hospital. After sitting and waiting for the best part of an hour while umpteen people who came in after us were in and out, Gembolina went to complain. She was then called in immediately to see none other than  ‘Big Prof ‘  himself who, on noticing the the clingon wasn’t in school uniform, smilingly made the comment that we were clearly in a hurry to get out shopping so he’d make it quick. And he did.

We were in the Trafford Centre eating fajitas and nachos in no time.  Batty made a new friend:

Frosty the snowman with a clingon

Mrs Santa seems to have had one too many sherries:

Flashing santa

All in all it was quite a nice day out. I’d expected to spend all day at the hospital so a spot of lunch and shopping was an unexpected treat.

Boofuls and me bought our Christmas tree  on Saturday. It’s now Tuesday and it’s still sitting half naked in the living room as I just can’t find the time and/or energy to decorate it. Normally I’m brimming with ideas for trimming up but I have to confess I’m struggling a bit this year.  Mind you, Boofuls insists he’s brought in all the decorations from the barn but I think he’s made a mistake because I can’t find my Christmas elephants anywhere and it just isn’t Christmas without them. I’ll go and  have a look later when I’ve made a dent in my latest print order.

Christmas elephant

I have found my little mates though. It definitely isn’t Christmas without these guys.  Did I tell you that they managed to secure a modelling contract and will be featured in a  magazine over the festive season?

The Christmas team

I’m not sure how they’ll fit in with my half thought out sophisticated and elegant purple and gold dining room theme this year. I really need to get my festive head on and get my act together or it will all be over before I’ve got it done.

I’m not totally lacking though. I’ve already put the sprouts on to boil so they’ll just about be ready for the big day. I’ve also made some parsnip and apple soup and some spicy red cabbage which has gone in the freezer.  It’ll be a big do this year with potentially 12 of us for dinner.  We have an 18lb turkey on order. 18lb!!!   I might have to get the hedge clippers to it to get it in the oven!

Right, it’s been lovely chatting with you but now I have to stop chuffing about and work out how to upload photos via FTP to the local lab. Sounds easy enough, I’ve done it loads of times with other sites but this particular one always causes me issues.  Wish me luck!

It’s beginning to look even more like Christmas


The snow came! Not the huge amounts we were promised an continue to be promised by the Met Office, but it came. When I look at the weather forecast it always says we are due heavy snow tomorrow – and of course tomorrow never comes so it’s always tantalisingly close but never actually makes it.  Still there’s enough to make me and the dog happy and enough to mean Booful’s car is stuck on the drive and my super duper 4WD is working overtime.

This photo is from the University of Dundee and shows just how much of the country is covered:

UK snowfall _50265949_uk_snow_dundeeuni

Some places have even had two feet of snow:

two feet of snow. source: unknown

Here are a few photos, taken on my phone, from our walks over the last couple of days.

Snow, grass, trees
snow, tree
snow, grass

Not that I am likening myself in any way or putting myself in the same league as the great John Chang McCurdy but I am most certainly influenced by his gorgeous snow photographs. They are simple, elegant, moving and very zen like in their simplicity – I can only aspire. Sigh.

Mrs Woofy has certainly been enjoying the snow. She’s been making doggy snow angels and snuffling round in it before setting off at a breakneck speed sending snow everywhere. She’s had so much fun she’s been like a dog with two tails:

dog with two tails

Hang on a minute! She IS a dog with two tails!  How did that happen?  Answers on a postcard please. The correct/best answer or the one that makes me laugh wins.  I’ll tell you how it happened after the closing date of Sunday – whatever time I happen to be blogging.

The only trouble with the snow is that everything grinds to a halt.  Snuggling up under a blanket with a hot chocolate and watching telly all night is ok once – maybe twice.  To someone like me with the attention span and boredom level of a gnat it quickly becomes tedious.  This week our agility class was cancelled, our dog  obedience class as well as our salsa class and ballroom lesson. Nothing else for it: GET THE SLEDGE OUT!!!

The denizens of Darwen have been busily trimming up over the last month or so. Generally we wait till after big N’s birthday but I’m itching to get on the trimming bandwagon so we’ll be doing it on the 11th, a week earlier than normal. I was a bit surprised to see real christmas trees in the shops by the last week of November. It’d be a dead, bald, glittery skeleton by christmas day.

Boofuls has been busily practicing his Scrooge impression.  He’s been under pressure at work as staff have been dropping like flies and for the first time in years the christmas rush has really been a rush and there is more work than he can keep up with.  Two important warehousemen down the other day, he was on the phone to a customer  who mentioned that The Rev seemed to be under a lot of pressure and he could do with a bit of help.

“I’ll give him the number of the Samaritans,he can ring ’em after work” growled Boofuls, drily.

You’re all heart, mate.

As you know I recently decided to redecorate our bedroom. After everything had been spruced up and pared to within an inch of it’s life, I decided that what was lacking was a picture. I took the orchid from the kitchen and  placed in the bedroom so that it had my newly painted wall behind it with the sun shining through, gently diffused, then I shot a few frames. This is the result. You likey?

white orchids

It looks ace its dark wood frame with an off white mount. I’m quite pleased with my little self.