Happy 4th of July!

memorial-day-0036-d112002-retouched_vert

                             image via http://www.marthastewart.com

To all my American friends and readers, wishing you  all a very Happy Independence Day!

waving-flag-cake-toppers-205-d112984_vert

image via http://www.marthastewart.com

Enjoy time spent with family and friends.

Advertisements

The countdown to Christmas is on…

image via www.marthastewart.com
                                                                  image via http://www.marthastewart.com

It’s just a few days now until Christmas and finally, I feel a little festive!We collected Mum at the airport lastWednesday night/Thursday morning (2am!!!!!!) and we’re planning meals and decorations…I think this part is actually more fun than the actual day… Christmas is really for the kids anyway…

For our family, it’s a chance to get together from opposite ends of the world and spend quality time together. I usually also catch up with friends who, like me, barely have time to breathe let alone socialise during the year…I have a few drinks planned with friends this week and a party on Christmas Eve (before or after Church I haven’t decided yet!!)..then on Christmas day  we will have a quiet dinner at home which will be lovely…my mum’s gammon is legendary so well worth waiting for that’s for sure!

So far, the turkey and the gammon are ordered and the menu planned..I have to come up with a festive starter so Pinterest, here I come!

image via www.marthastewart.com
image via http://www.marthastewart.com

I am working as usual right up to Christmas Eve although I believe that Thursday is a religious holiday here in the UAE so we will have the day off..I am thrilled, as this means a two day weekend for me!! Time to rest and relax and catch up on a movie…the malls and stores are already chaotic so I will be staying far away this year…I have enough stress at the moment!

image via marthastewart.com
                                                    image via marthastewart.com

 

Creative Christmas Ideas…

For a number of reasons, mostly work commitments, I find it very difficult to get into a Festive frame of mind with the lead up to Christmas. Living in a Muslim country (entirely my choice) Christmas as we know it is obviously  not observed in a spiritual sense. The decorations are all up in the malls (yes, its true..they are more festive in Dubai than London!) and the Christmas fairs have started.

Its a much more subtle feeling which to me seems to be lacking…no crisp and cold weather…no natural slowing down of work (I usually work right up to Christmas Eve and then again on the day after Christmas through to New Year) and very little sense of family unless we fly our mum to Dubai to see us. Most often we join friends for a get together and shared meal which is lovely but it’s just not the same!

5f6e59cb78475bafd938223ab0ce36c6

image via http://indulgy.com/post/PgjQqdXG72/holiday-decor

I have been scouring Pinterest to try and get some inspiration and infuse some of the Season’s excitement into the next few weeks and my goodness, there are some beautiful ideas around…there are some incredibly clever and inspiring people in the world!!

Look at these beautiful decorative baubles…

15418848923_f00232f7a7_b

image via http://www.hisugarplumsblog.com/

Oh to have some spare time to make these!! I LOVE them!!

3a371820ce50ff1269ba3657a96efbe2

                   image via http://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/hemtrender

For a natural Christmas, these ideas above are spot on…I particularly love the moss-wrapped shades in the image on the top left.

xmas_candles

images via http://www.tabithaemma.com/christmas-inspiration-candles/

These ideas for displays of candles are just wonderful and so easy to do…even for us in a greenery challenged desert!! I’m seeing a bit of a natural them going on here so what about a bit of sparkle…this wonderful collage below is from this blog

PicMonkey-Collage19

                            images via http://www.lizmarieblog.com/

These gorgeous images are from this blog...a lovely combination of natural and a bit of glitter.

I must say, just writing this post has literally lifted my spirits..with less than a month to go to Christmas, believe me I need it. The problem is that I have had a few Christmases in England with gorgeous cold weather, a proper Church service in a 300 year old church, real floral wreaths and trees , sparkly lights in cosy cottages…I feel like I am in a movie each time I experience it and a desert Christmas is just so different that it always seems to be a bit of a let down to me! I am fully aware that I sound like a Grinch!!

 

 

365 Paintings for Ants..

image viahttp://paintingsforants.tumblr.com/
image viahttp://paintingsforants.tumblr.com/

The title captivated me instantly….the miniature paintings mesmerised me…this artist is incredible! I love her work, not only for the fact that she lives and works in arguably the most beautiful city in the world, but also for the fact that she is South African and her works reflects every day life in that crazy country that I still view as home.

image via http://paintingsforants.tumblr.com/
image via http://paintingsforants.tumblr.com/
image via http://paintingsforants.tumblr.com/
image via http://paintingsforants.tumblr.com/

View Lorraine Loots website and work here: 

 

Happy Halloween

image via marthastewart.com
image via marthastewart.com

Halloween is celebrated in a big way in the UAE..there are  always a lot of parties, and the kids  trick or treat in groups, gathering vast amounts of candy and no doubt keeping their parents up for hours while they get rid of their sugar rush!

image via pinterest
image via pinterest

I would love to decorate my house in honour of Halloween but it is simply too small,so I may just put up a wreath  to at least make an effort for the kids in my building…I would love to go all out and dress up with gorgeous make up and a really great costume, but I have been really busy with work , so I will have to be satisfied with salivating over all the wonderful images on Pinterest!

image via pinterest
image via pinterest

Halloween Goodies….

I received these photos of Halloween gift bags and cupcakes this morning, from my sister in Australia ….I was blown away by her incredible presentation and felt that I had to share the images. Such a talented sister!

The cupcake toppers apparently arrived in the post all the way from the UK (sent by our Mum who is the most amazing Granny!) along with all kinds of Halloween goodies for the kids. My sister then made up some very sweet gift bags and made the cupcakes for the kids to take along to school…..just adorable, I have to say!

Bear in mind that my sister has three kids, about 4 horses, a sheep, 2 dogs, numerous cats, ducks, chickens and heaven knows how many other critters…and she has no domestic help at all. She manages the whole brood on her own because her husband works away three weeks out of every month!!! It exhausts me just typing all of this….I can barely manage to take care of myself, so do not ask me how she manages it all!!

Oprah always used to say that being a mother was the hardest job on earth and I agree wholeheartedly….I am in awe of Mum’s who somehow manage to do all of this kind of thing….it makes my job look like a walk in the park!!

The cupcake toppers were just precious….I particularly loved the witch….she is very spooky!

The gift bags were filled with  a Halloween character, eg. skull, skeleton, spider, bat etc; an eyeball ring; a blood lollipop; Halloween Natural Confectionary lollies; body part lollies; Halloween stickers and Halloween sprinkles.

The goodie bags packed and ready to go…..

The gorgeous labels…I love the cat!

All images by M.Botha

And the sweet little pumpkin…the  bags were a huge hit and the kids all loved them to bits….now what will you do to top this next year I wonder!!

Happy Halloween….

Happy Halloween to all!

While a lot of people in the US will unfortunately not be able to celebrate due to the aftermath of “Sandy” , there will be a lot of very excited children trick or treating here tonight and I’m sure many more frustrated parents trying very hard to get them down from a major sugar high from too much candy!

The queen of domestic style,Martha Stewart, always does Halloween in the most tasteful yet imaginative way so I leave you with a few inspirational images …..

Who says Halloween has to be all about orange pumpkins? I LOVE the teal blue as an alternative teamed with black!

all images via marthastewart.com