Deck the halls with boughs of holly….and some baubles too!

I cannot believe that it is only 9 days until Christmas……I love Christmas and who doesn’t love decorating the tree?I have finally unpacked my Christmas decorations and I plan to put up my tree which will be installed  at my sister’s house, where we will be having Christmas lunch. This will have to be done this weekend – my mum is arriving from the UK next week and I need to have it all decorated by then…I am also trying to finish up my painted ceiling project in time for Christmas so that I can at least take a couple of weeks off to spend with my family……so this weekend is going to be really really busy! I have been searching online for some decorating inspiration and there are some spectacular Holiday decorations out there…..look at what I found………

image via french garden house

The charm of simple red and green against white is wonderful….

image source unknown
image via martha stewart living

These wreaths are amazing and the little velvet dress is just perfect!

image via martha stewart living

Somehow Martha always gets it right…

image via southern accents

Chartreuse and turquoise…..what an unusual combination and it works beautifully.

image via traditional home

Glamour and sparkle….it wouldn’t be Festive without candles and flowers..

image via better homes and gardens

How fabulous to come downstairs to these presents on Christmas morning….

image source unknown

Although this tree looks almost sparse in comparison to the tree above, I love the simplicity and lack of colour.

I actually have never experienced a true white Christmas and even though the Middle East is relatively chilly during December, the chances of snow are minimal to non existent, so I plan to aim for a white Christmas next year…wherever that needs to be…..possibly the UK or the US…who knows? Something to add to my list of New Years Resolutions for 2012. I would love to experience the sights and sounds of Christmas with snow…I am sure it would be incredible and I am so envious of all the lucky people who will be sitting in front of a fire, opening presents while snow falls outside!! Yes, I am sure I would not be quite so convinced once I lived through a snow storm with no power……I have read some of the posts which other bloggers have written about being stranded without power for days and having to dig their way out of their snow covered properties! Probably not so much fun! Maybe a Christmas in the sand is not too bad after all……… long as you are with family and friends, does it really matter where we celebrate?

Some things I have been busy with…..

I recently painted a fun painting for my sister’s birthday (her request) and we are busy decorating her bedroom in pinks, aquas and silver so I wanted something pretty and feminine and I came up with a Chinoiserie inspired piece which I was sure she would like…..I have since decided to add a few more peonies….

the image is a bit dark...but the background is a lovely pale pink...

I  gave her a few other small things wrapped up with a gorgeous black ribbon I have been dying to use and left them and the paintng on her doorstep for her to find when she woke up on the morning of her birthday! She loved them all…

This is the mood board I came up for inspiration for her bedroom awhile ago….

mood board for my sister's bedroom

There is finally some progress on the home front with regards to her apartment and we have painted the entire place with gorgeous calming colours…..although she is not happy with how the colour has turned out in the guest room…she is convinced that it is “peach” which of course is unacceptable, conjuring up images of 80’s over the top decor a la Dynasty……so we may have to re-do that one room and I also feel that we may need a feature wall in her master bedroom. It is really big room and needs some focus, so I think a darker wall behind the bed might be a good idea.

These black, gold and silver organza flowers were posted off to the UK to decorate handmade Christmas crackers (for those readers who have no idea what a cracker is-it is an English custom dating back to Victorian times involving paper cylinders wrapped like a candy, which snap when pulled between two people and usually hold a toy or trinket..lots of fun at the dinner table!), to be sold at a  Christmas Fete my mum’s village is hosting to raise funds for charity. I am dying to see how they turned out -she promised to take photos, so hopefully I will eventually get to see the finished product!

hand made organza flowers

boxed up and ready to go

MIA for a few days…

I have not posted for a few days but I have a really good reason… sister has arrived from South Africa to start a great new job with a large hotel chain here in Dubai. I am thrilled to have her so close after so many years of being here without any immediate family-I do have two cousins who live here with their families, so I am very lucky, but sisters are special and it is wonderful to have her here.

We have been really busy for the past week setting her up with trips to IKEA,Pottery Barn, Crate and barrel, appointments with real estate agents (to find an apartment) and just general running around. She has also had a few suits made by a fantastic tailor recommended by Caitlin Wilson of Style Files blog …Cityland tailors are really, really good ! Anyone in Dubai looking for a good tailor must visit them in Satwa.

The next thing we have to do is decorate the apartment she selects…that will be the fun part , for me at least! She is looking for a serene , calm and feminine space with a French feel and as she is shipping some of her furniture from South Africa, I will need to incorporate them into the scheme. I am in the process of putting together a mood board for inspiration and to help her with ideas when she shops. Having lived here for so many years I am obviously in a good position to give her a lot of contacts with good deals from my suppliers here, so I am sure she will be happy with the space we design together.

I will post the image of the mood board as soon as I am finished with it…..This image was the inspiration for the overall concept…just gorgeous!

image via The White Company

The sand and fog…..

A few days ago, I awoke to this……

my apartment building
view from my window across the desert

Doesn’t it look chilly? Well, don’t be fooled…this fog indicates the start of the really hot weather at the start of summer and the start of the cooler weather about 6 months later….it happens like clockwork every year and causes havoc with road accidents and flight delays.