4 Sleeps To Go…Heaven In A Shoebox

I sat down to tap-tap-tap away and before immersing myself in today’s expatriate ramplings, decided to have a squiz at what my Facebook alumni have been getting up to overnight.

It was to be a cursory squiz as I had planned to return to the blogosphere and regale one and all with tales of London’s Christmas lights and general festive cheer.

But fellow shoe-fetish fan Lil Chicky had uncovered the most fabulous website on the planet and shared it. It’s called Shoes of Prey and here’s the best bit.

You get to design your own shoes!




So I made some (and gave them names)…

Colour Me Happy
Tiptoe Through The Tulips
Green With Envy
In The News


Make A Splash – I think these are my favourite.

…and lost an hour.

Christmas lights will just have to wait.

I think I may have found Heaven…in a shoebox.

ps…so now you’ve had a little more Christmas inspiration from this erstwhile online publication of all things festive and fabulous, now’s the time to check off another day in the Gidday Christmas Countdown. Only 4 sleeps left peeps…the excitement (or panic if you prefer) is palpable.

Sleeps To Go…On A Small Island

I have been reading Bill Bryson’s Notes From A Small Island during my commute this week and this morning, I read a page that really struck a chord.

One of the things I am asked by every second (or maybe third) Brit the minute they hear my accent is ‘what are you doing over here?’  Well, let me refer you to page 46 of Bryson’s tome:

“It has more history, finer parks, a livelier and more varied press (nowadays lively in a sinister, phone-tapping kind of way it would seem), better theatres…leafier squares…and more courageous inhabitants than any other large city in the world.”

He also talks about the ‘incidental civilities’

“cheery red pillar boxes, drivers who actually stop for you on pedestrian crossings …lovely forgotten churches …sudden pockets of quiet like Lincoln’s Inn and Red Lion Square…black cabs, double-decker buses…polite notices, people who will stop to help you when you fall down or drop your shopping, benches everywhere.”

It inspired me to think about some of the things I love about London and as I was gazing out of the window of the number 57 bus tonight, here are the first five that sprang to mind:

  • the light – it’s soft and beautiful and drapes itself gently over great expanses of countryside within 30mins of London
  • the fabulous place names – I am just dying to get on the bus to see what Seething Wells is all about and St Martin In The Field overlooks not a field but Trafalgar Square

  • the squirrels – skipping across the railing along my front garden, in the tree overhead, the little ones daring to venture a little way along my front path towards my open door before scurrying away at the behest of the bigger ones
  • the sun worship – with the merest hint of sunshine, Londoners appear from every nook and cranny and cram themselves along river banks, in parks and all sorts of public places to bask at lunchtime, after work, on weekends and any available opportunity
Source: Metro.co.uk
  • the irony – the Brit’s do that dry, dry wit better than anyone else – and really know how to poke gentle fun at themselves (and others) as a result.

There are loads of other things and I could go on (and on and on) but this post was inspired by someone else’s vision of the place I call home.  So what about you?  I’d love hear what you love about London, whether it’s your home, your home-away-from-home, a memory captured for holiday posterity or a trigger for the nostalgic yearning of days gone by.

What do you consider worthy of note about this small island? 

ps…there are 20 sleeps to go peeps…that’s less than 3 weeks for all your Gidday shopping and shipping. Just as well I’m super-prepared with my wishlist at the ready should any of you need a little helping hand.  I mean let’s face it, who has to have a wedding to partake of one of those Bridal Register thingies?

I Want One Of Those…

I have a confession to make.

I want a Kindle.

I know.  I feel like a traitor.  Like I am betraying those well-thumbed pages, spurning those beloved dustjackets, and treating years of toting books with me hoping for the chance to curl up in a corner and bury myself in the story with disdain.

But A-down-the-hill has one and she was telling me how great it is to be able to download authors and titles at a whim, and at greatly reduced prices, and to be able to store hundreds of cracking reads for revisiting at some future date.  And let’s face it – it’s a lovely handbag size and would certainly support my 50 Book Challenge efforts during my commute.  And then I could get a lovely cover for it – something to express my personality perhaps, and to keep it protected from all the other crap bit and pieces in my handbag.

But what will the Oxfam bookshop do without my cycle of donation-purchase-donation? 

And what will I put on my bookshelf?

Hmmm, before I abandon a joyful habit of a lifetime, I really need to give this some thought…

Amazon…Delivering The Ultimate Thrill

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d been wondering what to spend some of my birthday money on and that I’d decided to invest in The Midlife Manual (plus a fab cookbook, but more about that later) via that portal of all things useful and wonderful, Amazon.co.uk.

Before I came to the UK, I was oblivious to the behemoth that is Amazon and it was only when I got the way the whole Wish List thing worked (and saw some of the terrifyingly large numbers on postage stickers from Australia) that I started to fall for its charms. It is quite simply the place to find everything…and collect a few Nectar points along the way (when one remembers to use their card!) and the Wish List is definitely the way to manage the tyranny of long distance gifting.

So on Thursday, Reception called to let me know that an Amazon parcel had been delivered for me.  I could not wait to get downstairs and I gleefully tore the cardboard strip down the package to reveal two books that:

a) I’d ordered online 6 days earlier; and
b) knew were coming because I’d received an email to say they had been despatched the day before.

No surprises.  No special gifts.  Just exactly what I’d ordered.

The voice in my head (you know, the one in sensible shoes) tutted softly in the background at my impatient voracity in tearing the package open right there in Reception, while the other voice (the one in the ridiculously fabulous stilettos), purred contentedly as I entered the lift again, cradling The Midlife Manual and Fast, Fresh and Green possessively to my chest.

What is it about receiving an Amazon parcel that provokes such unadulterated joy and pleasure?

29 Sleeps To Go…A Cool Grey Day

Today is a cool grey day…

…and it rained last night. It’s not cold at all but the temperature is nowhere near the scorching levels of the last few days – a lovely respite from feeling constantly like a sweaty puddle of lethargy in un-airconditioned, not-built-for-any-heat UK.

There have already been a couple of little updates on the countdown to the big 4-0 too:

– My first present has arrived – courtesy of Mum and the ever-efficient Amazon Wishlist dispatched to my family last weekend as a bit of a fab-gift-for-Kym thought starter. However, J says I am not allowed to have it yet…boo hoo!

– J has organised my present (a landmark event in itself!) I…yes me…am going to Disneyland Paris for my birthday. YAY! WOOHOO!

What better way to celebrate 40 (or forty – which way looks better/more fun/less threatening? I am not sure – perhaps we could do a poll?) than to rush about behaving like a huge child with Mickey & co. You all should be VERY envious…

And I might just go on about it for…mmm…I dunno…maybe the next 29 days or so…

I love it when it’s all about me…