Bound to Please

Gift cards can be so boring to give, although of course to the receiver they’re appreciated. I purchased this little gift card holder from Barnes and Noble to liven up such an offering. Looking like a miniature book it also has a secret cubby behind the card itself. I filled this with a flexible bookmark so there was a little surprise for the book lover in question, and afterwards they can use the box for trinkets. It’s bound to please!


Bear Down Chicago Bear

Chicago Bears are number one!

With the Bears doing so well in the NFL at the moment it seemed a good time to buy this football doll, as a present for a Dad-to-be. Branded in the home team colors, he’s bound to be the first love of any Chicago-born baby.

I love the Zubels brand, with its old-fashioned, cotton handknit products. As well as being eco-friendly the designs are just so imaginative. I think Baseball Bear Bob would make a good pal for Chicago Bear, especially as he seems decked out to play for the Chicago Cubs. Now if only the good luck would only rub off on our baseball team too!…


Dear Santa

It’s exactly one month till Christmas Day and I’ve been thinking of Christmas presents for a while now.

I hate to buy just anything for the sake of having something to hand over on the 25th, but instead like to take my time searching for that perfect gift. I begin early in the year, gathering my ideas and keeping my eyes open. Like Santa, I start a list and listen out for what everyone might appreciate.

For the little folks I’m encouraging them to write letters to Santa (or Father Christmas as he’s more usually known across the pond). Rather than encouraging greed, I see this exercise as one in creativity, expanding valuable writing skills. There are many websites where children can direct their letters and receive a reply back in the mail. However, I really like the Macy’s program. Here a child has to handwrite their letter and physically drop it in a mail box in-store. I like this traditional approach, and especially because it benefits a good cause: for every letter posted they will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish.

Dear Santa, please make my wish come true…


Think Small

Today is Small Business Saturday, a day when shopping locally is advocated. Coming hot on the heels of infamous Black Friday this provides a welcome change of pace to big box buying.

We spent some time this morning strolling around downtown Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where this window caught my eye:

paper parties presents

This store, The Write Impression, focusing on custom invites, was full of cute gifts. We purchased a set of mini candles. Made by the Chicago company tag this was the perfect way of supporting the local stores where we’re staying while still supporting our hometown economy.

Who says bigger is better?


Countdown to Thanksgiving… 1

Thankful for family

It’s Thanksgiving Day and we spent it with my husband’s family. We took them out to dinner for the traditional feast at a favorite location. To me this is the prelude to the British Christmas lunch that I love – turkey – only with new, yummy sides. Sweet potato takes on a whole new appeal when combined with brown sugar and butter (although adding marshmallow is a little too sickly for my English palette). While pumpkin pie finds the perfect middle ground between sweet and spicy. It’s lovely to enjoy this mealtime with family and to treat loved ones at this special time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Picture on display at the DePaul Art Museum


Countdown to Thanksgiving… 2

Thankful for home life

It’s always lovely after a day of work to come home to my husband and our beautiful home. This is the place we bought and decorated together and it’s our sanctuary, somewhere we can totally relax.

This evening we spent the eve before Thanksgiving just the two of us – enjoying a home-cooked meal (I love to cook), a real fire (my husband is master of the fireplace), and an old-fashioned movie (Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn’s Charade). It’s important to spend time not just entertaining friends or family, but taking time for each other too. Movie Night In (Film Night In) is one of our favorite wintertime activities, the perfect start to the holidays.


Countdown to Thanksgiving… 3

Thankful for work

I go to work for the good karma. I have a job in the philanthropy world, which means I get to see the best of human nature; I see people at a time when they are giving and feeling good about themselves. In addition I am surrounded by wonderful colleagues who are kind and generous. I feel so lucky to have found a career in a place that I cherish. Being able to give through working towards a mission I believe in is truly a blessing.