We Wish You A Merry Christmas


Whistler could not be more Christmassy.



With many, MANY thanks for all your support, comments, suggestions and advice over the year. I’d slip a little something in all your stockings if I could.

Here’s to a hugely happy, healthy and properous 2010. From my family to yours – Merry Christmas!


The Homies 2009


Ooh, please vote for me. I know there’s not a snowball in hell’s chance that my peculiar little blog will get close to winning, but it would be good if it weren’t too embarrassing.  And at the same time you also get to check out a ton of fabulous proper home blogs.


Christmas Decorations on Tour


You’ve seen mine! Now show us yours.

This is a very lazy on vacation post with the idea entirely stolen from Liz at Violet Posy

If you’ve done a blog post about your Christmas decorations, lack of decorations, other holiday decorations, beautiful decorations that you’ve seen round and about or anything else festive that you’ve done and want to show off then use the fun widget below to post up a link to your blog.

It will be running from now until 6th January or Twelfth Night or the Epiphany, the day when decorations are traditionally taken down in the UK (or else you face a year of bad luck).

I’ve added a link to my post and to Violet Posy to get you started and show you what it will look like.



Whistling While I Play

I’m in Whistler watching the snow fall gently on the already laden fir trees, finishing up on some gentle emails as the mirrormirror Christmas season draws to a close – a Christmas season which was not half as bad as it could have been, so thanks so much for all your support. Clare back in the UK has done an IN-CRED-IBLE job, learning the ropes and keeping everything on an even keel over the Christmas period and we’re both feeling happy and optimistic about the year ahead.


The current view from the Whistler webcam.  I am not so crazy as to actually be out there.

The Minx is in ski camp, the Husband is off on the slopes and I’m trying to decide whether to knit, read, watch TV or get up off my ass and check out the pool and fitness centre. The horrible cold I’ve been struggling with these last few days seems to be departing. The cupboards are full of proper English food – we stopped off at the English food shop in Vancouver on the way to Whistler and bought pork pies, Scotch eggs, proper English bacon, a Christmas pudding, Mr Kiplings Cherry Bakewells and Jelly Babies for the Minx. This afternoon I’ll pull on my cold weather gear and wander into the village.  Hot chocolate, playing in the pool, building snowmen and buying a baby Christmas tree for our apartment here begins at 3pm when the Minx finishes skiing. Later on this week when the weather improves I’ll go tubing, ziplining, sledding and snowmobiling.

Life is GOOD.

If you want to read something a tiny bit more substantive from me then check out the gift guide I wrote for Shelterrific* published today.

*Only if you’re not my husband or daughter

Last Orders

You can’t procrastinate any more! It’s time to get shopping.



Orders placed on mirrormirror today before 2pm will go in the mail today First Class and should therefore get to a UK recipient before Christmas.  Oh and we’re offering FREE shipping on all orders over £25.

The picture above is of the Tarina Tarantino Red Carved Lucite Bracelet, a snip at £25 and also available in aqua blue, pink and black.


It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We’re off to Whistler on Sunday to spend Christmas there with friends.  It will be the first time we haven’t gone back home to the UK for Christmas since we came out here, and I think we’re all feeling a little nonplussed (Christmas and England very much go together for the Minx).


It will also be a little strange to leave Seattle, especially now that the house is looking so festive and cosy.  But we’re all looking forward to snow and skiing (the Husband and the Minx) and relaxation and knitting and reading (me) and seeing Whistler in all its pre-Olympic finery.

I had the tripod up so I thought I’d take some pictures of our decorations. It’s all a bit of a mish-mash but I’m so fond of all the individual elements.

What with owls, wooden deer, a new little bird (from Amy Ruppel) and various snowy/furry things our mantelpiece has inadvertently taken on a bit of a winter woodland theme.



In pre-Minx days our tree was quite strictly silver, gold and crystal, but it’s become rather more eclectic and colourful over the last few years.  I was going to tie some big bows on it in an attempt to bring it all together, but that just didn’t happen this year.



Gingerbread men and candy canes now mingle with a little embroidered horseman from the V&A (known affectionately as John of Gaunt  – my ultimate fictional lustbunny from Katherine).


Each member of the family has their own embroidered and sequinned initial.


Here’s the little baby carriage we bought when I was pregnant with the Minx.


And there’s the little baby angel we bought the year after.


This frankly creepy creature – known as the Candy Cane Child – was picked out by the Minx when she was two and is adored by her more than all the other decorations put together.


While I am a sucker for tiny 18th century shoes.


IMG_2670 IMG_2477


Looking at these photos, I have made one definite resolution for 2010.  NO. MORE. EGGYOLK. YELLOW. WALLS.


Jolly Cookie Jar

I found this recipe for layered cookie mix last year on the Williams-Sonoma website and the Minx and I had fun making jars to give to some of her friends and godparents.

This year we decided to make some for her teachers.


This is a great project to do with young kids as they can be genuinely helpful, measuring out the different ingredients and patting it down into layers.  I got the jars quite cheaply at Ikea but they were much bigger than suggested in the recipe, so we had to stuff them with coloured tissue paper. I like the decorative effect and it means the teachers end up with a bigger jar to put the cookies in afterwards.  As you’ve probably guessed the Minx chose the colour schemes for each teacher (and she had very precise ideas for each one).


You could use any cookie recipe for this though the one given in the link above works very well as it makes for some interesting layers  – brown sugar layered between white sugar and flour, and layers of nuts, cherries, rolled oats and chocolate chips.  Recipes for hot chocolate mix, with chocolate chips and marshmallows would also be good.

All the recipient needs to do is stir in butter, eggs and vanilla and then bake the cookies, using the recipe provided on the label.  The recipe in the book tells you exactly what to write.


Next year I’m thinking it might be quite fun to decorate the jars with glass paints.


The Williams-Sonoma recipe comes from Kids in the Holiday KitchenI picked up the book this year as we’d enjoyed the cookie jar recipe so much last year. There are lots of fun projects for kids – including makes, not just baking , though I was a little perturbed by how unhealthy some of them food was– yes that is a chocolate brownie covered with buttercream and crushed candy canes you can see above. Also not all of the projects come with pictures, which is a great shame. But overall I think we’ll be using this book a lot.


The Hello Kitty Plane

You would not believe the amount of Hello Kitty crap the Minx is going to get in her stocking (or if you’re in possession of a five year old girl maybe you would).

I do have to question the business logic behind this Taiwanese Eva Airways Hello Kitty plane though – is your average business class passenger really in Hello Kitty’s target market?

Please don’t show this post to the Minx, she will be demanding we go on holiday to Taiwan.


Fortunately too big for the Minx’s stocking


You’d think they could do a Hello Kitty butter pat too. 


I’m sure Mr Taiwanese Businessman is THRILLED




Actually I do think most of the branding stuff here is rather lame. But the Minx would have exploded with excitement at this point.


Teux Deux

This looks very, very, VERY useful.


Uber-cool design blogger and web designer swissmiss has had this simple and free little To Do app built.  I’ve been playing with it this morning and my productivity has already increased! (Or maybe that’s because the Minx is back at school).  It looks nice, has been well thought out, has no distracting fancy bells and whistles and will soon be an iPhone app too.

My only slight quibble is with the name. Being a pretentious European with a degree in French I’m finding it very difficult to pronounce it ‘Too Doo’ as I’m meant to, but instead keep calling it Teuh Deuh in my head. This does however give it a nice Ta-da!ish quality.

{via Not Martha}


Petrossian Hot Chocolate on a Stick

About this time last year I did a little blog post on Petrossian’s very exciting-looking ‘Hot Chocolate-on-a Stick’ – big chunks of chocolate on sticks specially designed to be stirred into hot milk.

Petrossian somehow found my post and very kindly offered to send me some to try. Sometimes this blogging business is very hard, but someone has to do it.  Today I have a sick little Minx at home, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to experiment with decadent hot chocolate.


Each chunk of chocolate comes packaged in its own little box. My only criticism of this product is that the packaging could be SO much more exciting, as it is it doesn’t give much of a hint of the pleasures lurking within.


There, that’s more like it.  There is after all nothing more attractive than a large unadulterated lump of chocolate. The Minx and I decided that our Snork Maiden and Moominmamma mugs (we are great fans of the Moomins) would be most appropriate. If you’d like some of your own they are available here from FinnStyle in the US or from the DesignShop in the UK.

The chocolate blocks are designed to be enough for 8 fl oz of hot milk, so only one is enough for two Moomin mugs as they are quite small.


The blocks seem to be made mostly of Belgian chocolate, with cocoa powder and heavy cream.  Petrossian recommends eating them within 2-4 weeks. I expect all ours to be used within 2-4 days.


All you need to do is stir the stick into warm milk or cream. It takes a minute or two for the chocolate to fully melt into the milk, but it’s worth the wait. 

This hot chocolate is seriously divine, not too bitter, not too sweet, just really rich, creamy and chocolate-y, with no clumps of unstirred powder. It’s like the gorgeous stuff you get in European ski resorts. You could add whipped cream or marshmallows, but honestly this doesn’t need it. The Minx pronounced it ‘yummy’ and devoured it in about 5 seconds flat, so it’s not too sophisticated for kids either.

You can get yours here.They cost $18 for 6 individually packaged 1.3 oz chunks, which will make six enormous mugs-full or 12 perfectly reasonable cups-full.

Thanks Petrossian!