Monday, 23 December 2019

The Festive Wrap-Up



The presents have been wrapped, the Xmas cards posted and we're off for a festive all-dayer in 'Spoons - which is basically the same as our normal all-dayer but with my brother accompanying us -and I'm wearing a vintage gold crochet wedding dress, as you do.


I snaffled it for the grand sum of £5 from a car boot sale in 2009. It did come with a flesh coloured full length slip but I much prefer it worn over leggings and a bodysuit. The velvet ankle boots and felted wool hat are old charity shop finds and I bought the 1970s Pakistani velvet and mirrorwork tote bag from a jumble sale in the 1980s.


Jon's giving his £1 Alexander McQueen shirt an outing. He's wearing a pair of Levi's 510 jeans I scored on eBay for him for the princely sum of £3.20 and a 1970s Italian-made cord jacket.


Did you know that if you were to lay out the Xmas wrapping paper we Brits chuck out every year it would reach the equator and back nine times? To make matters worse, most shop-bought paper is a composite of synthetic inks, plastic film, chlorine and metal-based foils and glitters and can't be recycled. On average the UK buys 6 million rolls of Sellotape in December, which is made from polypropylene and also can't be recycled.


As usual I've made my own gift wrap using recycled brown paper which I've block printed with an Indian wood block and leftover paint I'd found in the cupboard. In an attempt to do away with Sellotape I've used biodegradable garden twine. 





I posted a photo on IG which led to a discussion about other eco-friendly ways to wrap gifts ranging from using architects' plans, incomplete dressmaking patterns, fabric off-cuts, jute tote bags and vintage scarves to recycled gift wrap saved from Xmases past embellished with salvaged ribbon and broken jewellery. Vintage pillowcases tied with old ribbon make for great pressie sacks.

It may be too late to implement this year but lots of inspiration for next time. Xmas doesn't have to cost the earth!
WEARING: Vintage Phool quilted waistcoat (Eyewoodwake Vintage), Vintage Phool block print midi dress (Second to None, Walsall), Wool trilby (originally Reiss, via eBay), Clarks' Orinoco Club boots (eBay) 

This is my rosemary door wreath - photographed on the garden wall so you can see it a bit better. The ring is made from heavy duty garden wire that I wound around a large mixing bowl. When it dries up I'll chuck the rosemary sprigs in the compost bin, unravel the wire and reuse it in the garden.


A friend mentioned that rosemary helps keep the moths at bay and, as my brother has a bit of a Lyle & Scott addiction and terrible trouble with moths I made him a couple of rosemary bags as an additional Xmas present (my secret's safe, he doesn't read my blog). I used some muslin which I salvaged from a parcel I'd had shipped from India last year and block printed it using a holy cow wood block (bought in India) and some fabric paint from a job lot I got from a car boot sale over a decade ago.



As always, Xmas Day will be a low key affair. The Dead Relatives Society, our band of orphans, will meet up for a lunchtime curry and a glass of wine or two (not to excess, one of our gang works in retail and has to be at work the following morning) and we're usually so full after our Indian feast that we don't eat again till our Boxing Day lunch in Wetherspoon's.



We generally loathe the usual festive offerings on the TV (Hollywood blockbusters, animations, anything with celebrities and any sentimental sh*t) and have a stock of films to watch but we're making an exception this year as the BBC, in conjunction with Tom Hardy & Steven "Peaky Blinders" Knight, have created a new version of A Christmas Carol to be shown over three successive nights. We watched the first episode last night and neither of us to each other spoke for an hour - we loved it.

And that's it from me, the pub is calling!

Have a fantastic 25th December however you choose to spend it.

Loads of love from Vix, Jon, Stephen Squirrel and Frank.

71 comments:

  1. Sevgi dolu nice Noel'ler dilerim <3<3<3

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  2. https://turkkadinlari.blogspot.com/
    uğrarsan sevinirim <3<3<3

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    1. I've just popped by - thanks for the link!

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  3. With a view to having a much more eco friendly Christmas next year I have been using up all of my stocks of wrapping paper and bags. I have kept all of the brown kraft paper I have and that will be all I use next year for both birthday gifts and Christmas gifts.

    Have a wonderful few days over the festive period.

    Love and Hugs-x-

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    1. Great idea to use all the old stuff up first, next year can be a fresh start!
      Thanks, Sheila, you too! xxx

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  4. I love Jon's shirt and the way you've worn the crochet dress with leggings beneath looks fab.
    Your wrapping looks beautiful, far more appealing than bought stuff and -shudder- foiled paper.I use old Christmas cards cut up for gift tags. I hate all the tat but usually enjoy my sort of Christmas, not so much this year, I just haven't been feeling it. I opt for a fairly quiet time. I'm watching feel good films at the moment, anything positive.
    Wishing you, Jon and your feline family a happy time and a tasty curry xxx

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    1. I remember cutting up last year's Xmas cards with my grandma and making hexagonal hanging ornaments out of them - such fun.
      I'm a fellow hater of tat, excess and over-eating - I'm looking forward to watching a few subtitled Italian films and disconnecting from the PC for a while.
      Have a happy 25th December, Sally. Spend it exactly how you want to. xxx

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  5. Solstice wishes my dear. I'm being super-eco this year...no cards sent, presents, such as there are, to be given in their cardboard delivery boxes.
    Our best present has been the intermittent arrival of a battle-worn, black Tom cat.Ist knew about him when I moved my foot in bed and there was a great big grumble go off! He now has a big fluffy mat by the kitchen door to call his own. So different from Tabby & Rene...he rubs up against your legs and puts his paws up on the side to reach up when we do his food! He does go off for a couple of days but comes back when he's hungry!! He is our Christmas miracle.
    Zxx

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    1. That makes me so happy! A little Christmas miracle to help heal your broken hearts. Tom sounds absolutely adorable, give him a huge cuddle from me. xxx

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  6. Happy festivities to you all, too!

    I love your block printed wrapping paper idea. I used brown paper last year and ribbon bought from charity shops. I'm always seeing those print blocks in the chazzas so I will pick some up in the New Year and use them on my Christmas wrapping paper next year. I had no idea about the sellotape either.

    I loved your muslin bags - just like lavender bags. I am going to try and plant a Rosemary bush in our garden but in the meantime I'll buy a couple of bags of it in the supermarket and use it in my wardrobes as a moth deterrent.

    Fab outfits and I so love the necklace you're wearing in the first photo. Jon's AMcQ shirt is ace!
    xxxx

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    1. I do love a bit of block printing, it's wonderfully therapeutic to shut yourself away and spend time getting paint splattered!
      I would wear that Thomas Fattorini Egyptian Revival necklace all the time if I could, Jon's got great taste! xxx

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  7. I may need to check with our BBC America channel to see if and when it's playing here States side. I've started watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix about six months ago. Have fun at your Xmas dinner!

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    1. Thanks, Tracie! Several of my American friends have watched A Christmas Carol already, I think it was a three hour special over in the USA as opposed to an hour over three nights. xxx

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  8. Wishing you a happy Christmas too Vix and Jon, great pressie wrapping ideas - I had no idea printed wrapping paper and selotape could be so un-eco friendly. I have some felt bottle bags with a snowman felted on the front which are great for (bottled) gifts and recycled annually. I think this version of Christmas Carol will be worth watching (saw an interview with the writer). We are thinking of Calcutta and beyond next year.. gotta have a plan for 2020!

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    1. I loved all those alternative ideas for pressie wrapping - sari fabric would be particularly effective, wouldn't it?
      Kolkata was our original plan for this trip - I've even been issued with dinner invites from a couple of IG girls who live there but sadly the price of flights is prohibitive (for us!) so that's been put on hold for another year or so. xxx

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    2. oh we hadn't even looked at flights, might be prohibitive for us too then!

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  9. That crocheted wedding dress is stunning, and so is the necklace you're wearing with it. I'm loving Jon's outfit as well. How clever you are making your own wrapping paper. I love the rosemary enhanced gift tags and your brother's rosemary bags. Using garden twine instead of the abominable sellotape is a great idea. I'm recording A Christmas Carol, and will be binge-watching it during my days off, which are starting right now. Enjoy your 'Spoons session and I'm envious of your Dead Relatives Society Christmas day curry. Not really looking forward to that family event of ours, but on the plus, it's at the house of Jos's son, which includes the lovely Abby! xxx

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    1. Jos's son will have to search your handbag on the way out just in case you've "borrowed" Abby!!
      A Christmas Carol is wonderful, I never thought I'd have so much sympathy for Ebeneezer Scrooge! xxx

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  10. I need to overhaul our wrapping. I did not know before this year traditional wrap was not recyclable. The wrap with block paint and twine look so festive.

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    1. Thanks, Sam! The general rule is that is you scrunch Xmas wrap up and it doesn't stay in a tight ball then the chances are that it's not recyclable. xxx

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  11. Excellent wedding dress! You look very festive!!! I agree with you about alternatives for wrap. I've used alternatives for at least 20 years as when I was a teenager, I used to turn foil multipack crisp bags and kitkat wrappers inside out so the silver side showed and wrapped presents in that as it annoyed me that they couldn't be recycled and the silver was pretty!xx

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    1. Thanks, Kezzie! I love the idea of using inside crisp packets - silvery shimmer! xxx

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  12. Ooh, look at that dress!! It's so amazing - and you look stunning in it, dear Vix! Also loving John's subtle McQueen skull shirt - and he is also looking very spiffy!

    I use mostly tissue paper for wrap, and as much of my leftover stuff and old gift bags as possible. I did buy nearly all second-hand for all my gifts this year, though!

    Wishing you, Jon and the furr boyz a very happy holidays and here's to another decade of clothing shenanigans!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila! We've both been rocking the metallic wool this week!
      Tissue paper and crepe paper are both pretty and recyclable (and easy to wrap with, too!)
      Hooray for second-hand gifts - unique, special and value for money. Win win! xxx

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  13. I really enjoyed this post with all the wrapping and gift ideas, Vix--plus all the great uses for rosemary. And that crocheted wedding dress looks like something my mother would have made in an alternative universe. (She was great at knitting and crochet, and I inherited 0% of her talent.)

    In my U.S. neighborhood, alas, holiday waste is so prevalent that all I usually have to do for Xmas wrap and packaging is to tool around the 'hood on the first trash day after Xmas and scarf up whatever I want. I recently heard a cashier in a grocery store moaning about all the wrap and gift bags she'd have to go out and buy. I thought about giving her a quick tutorial in my methods, but decided against it. Maybe I shouldn't have.

    And, like another poster here, I use last year's holiday cards as this year's gift tags.

    Happy holidays to the entire Kinky Melon gang.

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    1. Your mother and mine sounded like they shared the crochet talent that passed me by - it took me 52 years to master the Granny Square!
      I was so impressed with all the brilliant alternative gift wrapping ideas I thought it was only fair to share. Those you didn't realise the environmental impact of fancy foil wrap have got a whole year to try something new.
      I've noticed the same on bin collecting day here, unused rolls of wrapping paper dumped by the bins. Do these people think Xmas isn't going to happen next year?
      Lots of Xmas love to you, A.Marie. Thanks for your comments! xxx

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  14. I have put a twig of rosemary in the wreaths I make to take to the cemetery and some posies but I've never made one entirely from rosemary-I shall have a go now for my door-thanks.Your lovely dress reminds me of a gold short one I wore to the disco over 40 years ago with a gold bikini underneath.Your Christmas sounds just right-I wish You - Vix,Jon,Stephen Squirrel and Frank a very happy Christmas and New Year x

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    1. Your wreaths and posies sound lovely, Flis! What a thoughtful way of honouring those no longer with us. I loved making that rosemary wreath, I think I might keep it up all year and change the content depending on what's abundant in the garden.
      How amazing you must have looked at the disco in your gold mini dress and bikini!
      Wishing you and the dogs a very happy Xmas. xxx

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  15. Love your block printed wrappings. Merry Christmas to you, Jon and the fur babies - Cheers!

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  16. I love your crochet wedding dress. Ii also didn’t know that Christmas wrapping paper is not recyclable. Time to give a serious rethink to how we can be more sustainable and how we can reuse and recycle. Have a great Christmas. I follow your blog all the time and look forward to it arriving in my inbox.

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    1. It's lovely to "meet" you, WobblyBobbins!
      I was unaware of Christmas wrapping paper being mostly recyclable until last year. It's the same with foil and glitter Xmas cards. As if there isn't enough waste at this time of year already.
      Happy Christmas to you! xxx

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  17. Jon looks like Bruce Willis in that Photo! I haven't used Christmas Wrapping Paper in a long while, we buy Green Bags and use them and cycle them every Year.

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    1. He often gets called Bruce Willis in India!
      Thanks for the Green Bag suggestion - loads of inspiration for next Xmas. xxx

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  18. Oh, I so adore your gold crotchet wedding dress. I had a shorter crotchet dress back in the late 60s and why oh blimmin why did I not keep it?

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    1. Why on earth didn't you? We do some crazy stuff, don't we? xxx

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  19. Merry Christmas Eve Vix and Jon. That crochet dress is absolutely stunning. Is it hand crocheted? Just think of the hours it would have taken.. not to mention the cost of the yarn. I think Tony and I might need to wander round to the pub today.

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    1. Back at you, Cherie.
      Apparently the dress was made using a pattern from Golden Hands magazine (I've got quite a few old issues from the 1960s and 1970s but haven't managed to find the edition that featured this dress yet!)
      Enjoy the pub - we did! xxx

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  20. I'm going to stamp my own wrapping paper next year. This year I've been using up what I already had.
    Enjoy your Christmas day. Xx

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    1. You and Lily will have so much fun printing your own paper!
      Have a wonderful Xmas. xxx

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  21. Have a great Christmas Vix.

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  22. you in that crochet dress - stunning!
    thanks for reminding about the gift wrapping! not that i needed it personally - comming from the GDR aka "mangelwirtschaft" we always reused wrapping paper, twine, bows and cards until they fell apart....sometimes good for a laugh when you got back your the paper from last year ;-D ironed of cause! tape was rare and not used for giftwrapping.
    and since i always have some fabric scraps i often use them to dress the pressies - around the year.
    have wonderful celebrations! xxxxx

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    1. Thanks, Beate!
      We were brought up to save Xmas wrappings, too - my grandma would painstakingly remove the Sellotape from the paper, iron it and roll it. We'd reuse ribbons and bows and even use envelopes for scribbling notes and lists. Waste not, want not.
      I think I shall embrace fabric wrapping next year - any excuse to acquire more vintage material! xxx

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  23. You've reminded me of happy holidays when I traveled with a Japanese Minyo dance troupe. They wrapped gifts in scraps of gorgeous fabric -- and thrift shop scarves. The technique is called "furoshiki". Shall now raise a glass to honor the memories of those gallant ladies (many WWII war brides who lived to cheer 6'-tall grandsons in basketball tournaments) who taught me so much about seeking joy in every minute of ordinary life!

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    1. Those ladies sounded both fabulous and creative, I'd have loved to have heard their stories! xxx

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  25. You guys are so stylish!

    I wish we had that program here.

    I'm big on trying to use natural items for wrapping. Last year I dried slices of oranges and apples in the oven and added them to brown paper packages. I added a cinnamon sticks and some twine. They turned out great.

    Have a great day at the pub!

    Suzanne
    http://www.suzannecarillo.com

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    1. I hope A Christmas Carol makes it to you next year, it really was an amazing remake, beautiful to look at and with a revised story line to make it both more current and relatable. I never thought I'd fall in love with Scrooge! xxx

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  26. I'll be sad when my two beautiful granddaughters get too old to do potato block printing on brown paper! Your crocheted dress must have been a labour of love for whoever made it to begin with. Glad you rescued it. Happiest of Christmasses to you and yours, lovely lady. x

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    1. You're never too old to do potato printing! I'll come and do it with you when they tire of it! xxx

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  27. I remember you were wearing that dress when I met you at the vintage fair, it looks fab on you! I tried making a crochet dress myself once, gave up after one sleeve so I always admire the amount of work that goes into them.
    Your wrapping paper looks great, and I love the idea of fastening it with string. I tend to use gift bags and I gather them back up afterwards and reuse them year after year, so whilst they're not eco in themselves at least they're getting reused a lot.
    Hope you and Jon have a lovely day tomorrow x

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    1. I was, wasn't I?! I think you'd need the patience of a saint to crochet a dress - something I'm sadly lacking in! There's a certain ebay vintage seller that I'm sure you know who charges absolute crazy money for her clothes - she did have the twin of this dress up for £975! xxx

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  28. Both you and Jon are so stylish. Love your crochet dress. Thank you for the wrapping prezzie tips. Will take note for next year. Also thank you for all your beautiful posts and tips this year. Am looking forward to seeing more next year. But for now we're off to the seaside for a few weeks. Have the best Xmas and new year.

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments and support, dear Suzy. Hope your Xmas has been wonderful and you enjoyed some quality time on the beach - I cannot wait to see the sea again! xxx

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  29. I just love that necklace and drool every time I see it! I try to recycle all wrap, save bows to be used again, etc. This year, I found a pair of sandals for TBG that replaces another pair that's worn. They were impossible to find, and when I did, there was no box. I wrapped them in a t-shirt, two presents in one. I am inspired to make my own printed paper on the brown packing paper I save.

    A happy holiday to you both!

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    1. That was an ingenious way of wrapping TBG's new-to-him sandals which has just reminded me, I bought a NEW pair of Birkenstocks before I went to Greece and still need to break them in before India as they didn't half rub my feet - we're spoilt by mainly wearing secondhand shoes! xxx

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  30. That gold crochet maxi dress is so beautiful! How amazing it was a wedding dress. You do find the best stuff. This is a great styling. Jos looks very stylish in his AM shirt with skull print.
    It's great you've wrapped your presents ecologically and what is more, your handmade block print wrapping paper looks amazing. I think it always makes the gift extra special when we wrap it ourselves, and even more when you block paint the paper yourself. I used to come up with ways of wrapping presents that were eco-friendly too, but this year I neither bought nor wrapped any Christmas day presents. I was terribly busy and didn't buy any, but fortunately nobody bought me any so I didn't feel too bad. I suppose I can always buy something for New Year but if I do, I'll make sure to opt for ecological wrapping methods.
    P.S I didn't know rosemary keeps moths as bay but now that you said it- makes perfect sense. I should make some rosemary bags asap. How do you make them? Do you dry the rosemary or just stuff it into the bag? I've been making lavender bags for years, but I've never made a rosemary one. Funny how it never occurred to me with so many rosemary around?

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    1. What with your new job and moving country I'm not at all surprised that Christmas and presents took a back seat, you've got enough to keep yourself occupied!
      I just used the leaves from the rosemary straight from outside - I pulled them off the twigs and stuffed them in the bags. I figured that they'd be hanging up anyway so they'd dry out in their own time. xxx

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  31. wonderful blog

    greeting from Indonesia
    happy blogging and merry christmas

    followers 1549

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  32. I always buy my wrapping paper from Paperchase in their sale (because I'm a cheapskate), I love the fact they tell you which ones can and can't be recycled and which is made from recycled paper. I always choose very carefully now, I'm quite ashamed of all the glittery stuff I used to buy. I hope you had a fabulous curry, we did the same on Christmas Eve and everyone was amazed at what I ate, clearly all the trips to India have had an effect!

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    1. I've never been to Paperchase but occasionally see their stuff in chazzas. that's great that they let you know which of their gift wraps can be recycled - it's a minefield out there!
      Curry in India is the best - counting the days! xxx

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  33. I totally love your crochet dress and admire the job that it takes to make something like this, so fab that you make it shine properly!. Great idea to wear it black leggings under it instead of flesh coloured stuff!.
    And Jon looks really elegant and his shirt is particularly cool! lots of attitude!
    Love your block printed paper and your block printed dress and waistcoat! ;DD everything is so fab!. And I've also taken some notes on recycling ideas provided by commenters.
    besos

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    1. Thanks, Monica! Yes, the flesh coloured stuff made it look a bit demure and frumpy, can't be doing with that! xxx

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  34. So, is that the version of A Christmas Carol with Guy Pearce as Scrooge? If so, I think I saw an advert for that over here. That gold wedding dress definitely needed an outing, and I love the way you've styled it. I don't do much in the way of gift exchanging but if I do, I save bags that people have given me in the past and re-use them. The amount of waste created by gift wrapping is ridiculous.

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    1. Yes! GP is such a brilliant actor but he was breathtaking in A Christmas Carol. Try and catch it if you can! xxx

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Lots of love, Vix