It is Christmas Eve here in London, and I could not be filled with more joy. After weeks of working up a frenzy in the political day job, it feels utterly glorious to have at last collapsed into the giant marshmallow-squishy sofa at my English family’s place right beside the big Christmas tree (complete with pine smell, fairy lights and vintage ornaments from generations of the family) as the lights of West London twinkle outside behind me.
Although Christmas as an expat will always evoke bittersweet nostalgic memories of loved ones who are either no longer here (my darling Mama) or on the other side of the world in Australia, there is something so very exciting about a northern hemisphere Christmas. Whereas in Australia Christmas, falling in the midst of the Southern Hemisphere summer, was always celebrated with lunch and cocktails and games in the garden outside, here I can happily indulge all the Christmas traditions that, due to the heat, one simply can’t enjoy with quite the same enthusiasm in Australia.
And so I plan to spend the next few days doing the following in as high a dose as possible (in no particular order): sitting beside the fireplace with the scent of Christmas candles burning, baking gingerbread men and roasting chestnuts, eating chocolate for breakfast (because Christmas is the only time, aside from Easter, when this is permissible behaviour as a grownup), going for long walks along the Thames to avoid a state of food-induced coma, going to watch the Nutcracker and the great British pantomime with the family, wearing all the sparkles in my wardrobe, attempting to work my way through my stack of as yet unread magazines, and cramming in as many Christmas movies (the cheesier and more childlike, the better) as the family and Clever Boyfriend will possibly allow me.
So, to each and every one of you, whether you celebrate Christmas or another equally precious set of traditions, I send you love and joy and good wishes from London. I am so very grateful for all your kindness and support and sweet comments, tweets and emails which make me smile every single day of the year.
Love, Miss B xx
The most divine package landed on my desk yesterday morning; the utterly charming and lovely Ralph Lauren (the undisputed Godfather of that polished glamour I love so much) sent me over a couple of his ‘Holiday’ candles to put a great big smile on my face and instantly get me in the festive spirit.
I love beautiful scented candles more than almost any other small luxury for the home, and this one is amongst the best I’ve ever tried. The fragrant cocktail of pine needles, redcurrants, cinnamon and juniper berries is almost indescribably lovely, and it has instantly infused me with festive joy more than any of the mince pies and Rat Pack Christmas tunes I’ve been gorging on all week. And as if by some Christmas miracle, it started snowing outside my window here in Cambridge just after I lit it. I can’t tell you how much it filled me with glee to awake this morning to the sight of a fluffy layer of white icing on the ground and a house that smelt of Christmas. How’s that for a magical holiday candle?
And because I adore you all so much and want someone else to have a little of Ralph Lauren’s holiday cheer (I can’t promise it will bring you snow, but I am sure one smell of this will make you feel instantly happy and festive), I’m going to give one of the these away.
To enter, just leave a comment here or send me an email telling me why you’d like to win. For extra brownie points (though I’m by no means going to be bossy about and insist you do anything), follow A Girl, A Style via your preferred methods (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram (on iPhone/iPad) or Bloglovin‘), and Ralph Lauren’s Facebook page. Be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win. And so that I can try my very best to get it to the winner in time for Christmas day, last entries by 11am Monday morning GMT.
Thank you Ralph Lauren for the holiday cheer!
Love, Miss B xx
Update: Thank you to all who entered, and congratulations to Barbara on winning!
I don’t know whether it’s because my imagination was over-stimulated as a child, but I tend to get ridiculously excited by themed holidays, especially Hallowe’en. When I was younger, we lived in a great big ancient house, with high ceilings, chandeliers and furniture carved with lions heads; perfect for telling ghost stories and playing spooky games. But as Australia tries to resist all form of gimmick (and because Hallowe’en there falls in Spring), it never quite felt right. So this year, I’m all about getting into the ghoulish spirit!
Apart from a hideously sprained ankle (which has left me with a rather attractive hobble), today was one of those perfect Autumn days in London. After indulging in new treats at Liberty and afternoon tea at Sketch, I limped down to Bond Street to drool over the bags in Mulberry (which lately is becoming a mild obsession to rival my love for Chanel).
I nearly squeeled with delight when I saw the store: it’s been temporarily transformed into a Hallowe’en grotto meets accessories heaven! Beautiful tan bags were perched atop pumpkins (carved with Mulberry bags and trees rather than ghoulish faces), and the clothes are the couture equivalent of Autumn leaves. And please gods of Hallowe’en, may I have everything in the window for my trick-or-treat?
And the best part? Pop into the store and you’ll come away with a trick-or-treat bag filled with old-fashioned candy. I brought a couple home for the Clever Boyfriend and his eyes lit up like a happy kid (he’s now in the subsequent sugar coma stage…).
Do you do anything to mark Hallowe’en? What would be your dream tick-or-treat surprise?
Love, Miss B xx