Tuesday 31 December 2013

My Month in Numbers 2013: December

Hello you. How'd it go? I hope you had a good time, you deserved to ...

Now then, before 2013 gets scrumpled up in a ball and thrown into the recycling bin with the remains of the Christmas wrapping paper I'm sneaking in here to statistically summarise the final 4 weeks of my year.

Thank you to everyone who joined me with theirs during 2013 and if you've been thinking of making 2014 the year you try out documenting your month in numbers then you'll be very welcome ... I'll look forward to it this time next month. But until then ... 

... here's my December 2013 in numbers ...

Let me begin with my responses to the Communal Count #6:
  • [a] How many Christmas movies is too many? Well ... I watched 8 full movies during December and snippets of at least 4 more and to me ... there is no such thing as too many Christmas films [unless they've got talking dogs in them, which too many of them seem to have].Watching the Christmas24 channel while I wrap presents is one of my favourite things about the entire season!   
  • [b] How many Christmas events did you attend? 8 which includes: 2 x Christmas lunches; a meeting, with added cake, at work; a muddy Christmas market at Bowes museum; a few cosy get-togethers and ...
A 12 hour crop = we decided that, for the final crop of the year, rather than our usual 6 hours we'd all get together for a 12 hour crafting marathon. We all contributed something to the table and had a lovely buffet lunch and tea [when you're crafting for that long you need an almost constant supply of strong tea and good food!]after which we really had to drag ourselves back to crafting rather than stop for a cosy nap!

To keep the creativity flowing we played an impromptu game of  'cardmaking by committee'. OK, this isn't an actual game [unless there's a way I can make money from it, in which case - it's definitely a game and I'm copyrighting that name! ;-)] ... but it involved us adding one layer to a card, then passing it on to the person sitting next to us who added another layer/element etc. It certainly managed to keep us on our toes ... although I'm not entirely convinced that each end result made a cohesive card ... maybe there's a reason we don't always create by committee ... ;-)

However we didn't quite make it to the full 12 hours after all; we finished after just the 10 hours. I know. Lightweights.

But, seeing as it finished earlier than  I was expecting at least I got home in time to pour a glass of wine, shove a bag of popcorn in the microwave and settle down in front of ...

the 2 final episodes of Borgen 3 on BBC4 =  if you'd told me, a couple of years ago when the political drama Borgen was first broadcast here, that it would be so very good that I'd regularly be on the edge of my seat concerned about the machinations within Danish coalition government ... I really wouldn't have believed you. [Just writing it out it still sounds faintly improbable ... and yet it's true!]

771 pages in the library book I'm currently reading =  For one reason or another I didn't read any books during November [breaking the regular reading habit I'd been nurturing for the last 18 months] ... and now my latest read seems to want to make up for it!

Somehow, in the reviews I'd read of The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt's latest novel, the actual size of the thing had passed me by. James collected it from the library for me and asked 'Have you seen the size of it?'

I hadn't; it's a biggie:
Let's put it this way, it's the kind of book which, if you plan to read it in bed, and if you're not overly fond of concussion you'll need to prop it up somewhere secure.

Other than the slight matter of the risk of personal injury ... yes, I would recommend it. I'm just over half way through and loving it. It's one of those books where, rather than get caught up in constant plot or action, you find yourself simply 'living' in it, like a second life. [And after the hours it takes to get through all 771 pages you actually will have almost moved in with the narrator!]

70 dresses on display at the Bowes Museum Laura Ashley exhibition:

Can I just repeat that for you. So you feel the impact: 70. Dresses.

70 dresses!!

Be still my frock-loving heart:
This was the colourfully beautiful sight that greeted me on entering the room [empty but for James and I ... and the 70 dresses!] containing a 60th Anniversary retrospective of Laura Ashley's dress designs.

And, dear blog reader, I almost cried.

Look, I know, what's new eh? Quite often I mention on here that I get overcome and shed a tear over really random stuff but that's just because well ... I do actually get overcome and shed a tear over really random stuff a lot of the time! But, look at it this way ...

... it was a room filled with pretty dresses, flowery dresses, colourful flight-of-fancy dresses; with no glass between them and me to give it a proper museum-like feel. So ... to someone who spent the first dozen or so years of her life playing with dolls ... it just felt like either I'd shrunk and was now inside a doll's wardrobe ... or else they'd all come to life:
I opened my mouth to try to explain to James why I suddenly felt all giddy ... and found I couldn't string a coherent sentence together. All I could manage was: 'You've never been a little girl have you?'.

But I have. And I know she'd have loved it as much as I did. In fact ... she might have loved it more because ...  they had a rail of replica dresses you could try on ... but they were only in child sizes!!

The only concession they made to full grown frock fans was two capes you could throw on over your clothes then take a photo in behind the frame which was no real compensation and yet, when you're a blogger/scrapbooker and you're in an unoccupied room with a perfect photo opportunity in front of you ... it would be a dereliction of duty not to take advantage of it! So here I am:
And finally ...
... something I found at the last minute became one of James's favourite stocking-filler gifts this year: 
'Over 120 ways of using bread' = Can I interest you in a Banana and lettuce toastie? Or lamb brains on toast? What? lost your appetite?
OK then how about the 'raw beef sandwich' which is recommended 'in cases of weak digestion' instead? These are all genuine dishes you can find in the pocket-sized vintage recipe book I managed to buy for James, without him noticing, while we were both browsing an antiques shop on the Saturday before Christmas.
The back of the book declares 'Bread built an Empire' and, as he's a bit evangelical about bread [major food group in his diet!] and we both love vintage books I thought it would make a perfect gift. Here he is sharing the loaf-love with my sister before Christmas lunch.
I think the empty Bucks Fizz glass is a clue to how she's managing to remain looking interested ...

So, that's my December ... and yours? Did you count up anything this time round? Are you sharing it in the coming days / weeks?
As usual all the instructions for how to join in the Month in Numbers community can be found on the dedicated page of my blog which is also the best place to start if you're planning to join us for a month or two ... or 12 in 2014.
I'll get round to visiting, commenting on, and Pinning all your posts as soon as I can in the New Year.
Wishing you all a peaceful and magical start to 2014 and if things ever feel like they might not be heading that way just think... things could be worse: you could be sitting next to someone who wants to share 120 ways of using bread with you ...
Actually I will be, and that's just where I want to be. [I know, sorry, I'm a big softie. Next thing you know I'll  be crying about pretty dresses ... oh ... ].
See you next year my lovelies.
Julie x


  1. I had 3 LA dresses in the 80s and loved them - I too would have been overcome by the exhibit

  2. I too had a couple of LA dresses that I loved to wear x
    Wishing you a Happy new Year Julie xxx
    here is my MMIN.

  3. I am so exceptionally old that I had a Laura Ashley dress when I was about 18. It was very similar to the blue one in the front row of the second photo. If only I'd kept it ...
    I've joined in again this month here http://debs14.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/my-month-in-numbers-december.html
    although my brain is dulled by over indulgance of chocolate I don't have too many numbers in it. Fear not, I have a notepad and pen ready for January!

  4. The Laura Ashley exhibition sounds amazing..I think I might have come over all funny too. I can still remember when the shop opened here after years of waiting and we all queued out the door to try things on.

    Loved Borgen here too..would love them to relent and make some more.

    A very happy New Year to you and James. Hope 2014 is full of a lot of everything you love!

  5. Happy New Year! I am adding the Goldfinch to my reading list for 2014! I will do my numbers later this week as i hope to finish one more book for December today! Love the dresses, I was a bridesmaid in a LA dress of a very similar style in the early 90's and it brought back some lovely memories thank you!

  6. A very intriguing set of numbers, Julie! I think I might give The Big Book a miss because I just hate thick books with lots of pages :(. But oh, that Laura Ashley exhibition - wow! Wishing you and a James a very Happy New Year :).

  7. Little kids do get all the best clothes options, don't they? I can't list the number of times I've seen things I would love to buy that only don't come in adult sizes. LOL!
    I might do a quick MMIN for my December visit to my family in Southern California.

  8. I've posted my numbers Julie, thanks for keeping such a great meme going

  9. What a fabulously festive December you´ve had with all those gatherings! Lol at the lightweight comment on "only" making it to 10 hours. :D
    The exhibition is way impressive, with all those dresses together. The concept of the frame for pictures is so cool.
    Here´s is my December summary. It was all a blur and I can´t remember much of what we did!

  10. Oh I love that picture of all the dresses and I am not even a dressfan. I don't even own one... Though I might have just ordered a tartan one in a bid to smarten myself up as bit... But I did also say I would wear it as a long top ;-)

    The cover to that goldfinch book is gorgeous. Guess what I got from my very bemused Dad for Christmas? Bears of England!! It had been on my wish list ever since you mentioned it :-D Am so looking forward to reading it.

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year Julie :-)

  11. I love those dresses and am impressed with the size of the book you are reading!
    I love bread too. 120 uses for it would be great!
    here is my round up for December

  12. Adapted mmin to cover our trip "home" for Christmas. It's at this link:

  13. Oh! LA, yes I remember a beautiful pale blue one I wore to death. I had LA wall paper at one time and it was just so lovely! Anyway sorry to say there are no LA numbers in my MiN which is here Julie.
    Happy New Year to you and James

  14. Finally collated my numbers for December! http://katieonagapyear.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/my-month-in-numbers-december.html

    Happy New Year!


Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.