Obviously this month's lately will be Christmas themed. It has to be, its December. Plus I've been dwelling on Christmas related things for a while now. In fact probably since August when we had to do all our Christmas shopping for relatives at home. With Pinterest around I've been slowly adding to my growing number of seasonal pins! 

I love the giant snowflakes they have on the wall here. They look so delicate and I imagine they take rather a long while to create (if they aren't shop bought). Its a simple decoration through and they are set off by that giant garland hanging on the bannisters. I rather wish we had stairs here so that I could decorate them, guess I'll save that for the next house we have that has stairs. 

Another simple Christmas decorative feature are these flowers. I love the ribbon round the simple glass vase and the little berries add a wonderful accent to the crisp white flowers. Shame that flowers don't last too well here otherwise I could try it myself. 

Now this image captured my attention a while back. It is actually a gift card for a store over here in California but I just loved the fact that it was a beagle. He looks so cute and it made me want to put knitted antlers on Macintosh! Oh and a coat!

These gingerbread cookies look gorgeous and probably taste amazing too. Haven't made gingerbread in a while but I might have to bake a batch soon. I have a feeling my icing skills aren't quite up to par with the photo but I'll give it a go. 

And finally, this image grabbed my attention because it reminded me of what we are going to be doing after Christmas. Along with some friends we are heading up to Lake Tahoe, to a wonderful wooden cabin to stay in a snowy winterland. I'm already planning lots of tea drinking and reading in cosy corners whilst observing the snow. We may go out in it occasionally, you never know!


This Macintosh Monthly relates to snow. I told you a little while ago in this post that we had two trips to snow but that I was saving one of them for here. Well that was because it was a snow trip that focused entirely around Mr Macintosh. 

He loves snow. He loves to run in it and to chase snowballs in it. He always eats the snowball whenever he catches it too which is pretty hilarious. So when we took our more local snow trip he had a chance to catch and eat some snowballs. We took about a billion photos of him and here are some of the classics.

We had so many photos that we even managed to make a GIF out of him!

He's so funny this dog. He provides us with endless entertainment. 


So this is the last little update about Peter's visit with us. Twice whilst he was here we went in search of snow. The temperatures had been dropping enough that in the hills nearby there was snow. So obviously we had to go and see it, there's not much snow that drops where we live. 

Our first trip was to Big Bear. We'd been there before, but not when there was any snow. There wasn't a lot there this time, but enough in the hills that it was cold and that we enjoyed ourselves. We went for a walk in the hills, mooched around the shops in the town centre, ate some good food and took a stroll from some of the lake. Here's a few pictures. 

This next picture is my favourite from the mini trip. It shows Macintosh in his true walking state. This is what he looks like when he's on a scent trail. He literally flies through the air with no regard for where he's walking or how muddy he's getting. Amazing. 

The second snow trip you'll have to wait to hear about until Macintosh Monthly as it features mostly him. No great surprise there! 


It's Christmas!! 

To be fair the Christmas excitement has been filling our household since early November, perhaps even October for some of us. We had watched some Christmas movies and Michael BublĂ© was already playing. But as soon as thanksgiving was over we went straight to hunt for our tree and yes it is another huge one.

We managed to get another 9 foot tree, although I suspect its a little bit taller than that. Andrew is very pleased with himself as it was one of the biggest trees there. We did look at another tree but when the guy held it up it was just too large. It would have filled our living room.

Putting the tree up in our house is always fun. Poor old Macintosh always gets a bit scared and worried. He doesn't like this giant green thing that's invading his space. The size of the tree means I always end up standing on something trying to help balance it and keep it straight whilst Andrew's fixing it into the base. Eventually its done and then suddenly Macintosh remembers he likes giant green trees. They provide him with an additional water bowl and he can also crawl around underneath it whilst it strokes his back. Silly dog!

So anyway, we kept the cardboard houses Andrew made last year and just added some new pieces that we bought. I tried to keep the natural look going with lots of natural textures and red and white as accent colours. Its not quite Pinterest worthy but I love it.

Coming in through the front door, the first thing you'll see is our wreath. Its the same twig wreath that I just keep adapting to fit the occasion. So far its been completely worth its money! 

There is our giant tree. Complete with crooked top section and Macintosh asleep on "his" sofa. The tree rather dominates the room but it makes the place feel Christmassy quite easily!

The stockings are pinned up on the sideboard in the absence of a fireplace. (Macintosh has his by his bed!) The advent candle is on the sideboard too so we remember to burn it. We also got this amazing red and white patterned candle on sale last year and I've been waiting excitedly to burn it ever since. The logs were scrounged from the desert around us and hauled back by Macintosh and Andrew after their long walks. 

The other sides and surfaces have little touches of Christmas, from garlands to cardboard houses or other bits. It helps spread the Christmas feeling around the room. Our open plan living space can feel quite large so with a giant tree and lots of Christmas bits scattered around it makes it feel cosier. 

But the dinning table is my favourite part by far. On one of Andrew's walks he found a long log that he adapted into this amazing centrepiece for the dining table. 

That bit might actually be Pinterest worthy as I stole the idea from there in the first place. Andrew drilled some holes in the logs for the candles and voila a centrepiece. Can't wait to start eating meals at the big table. 

So there you have it, our Christmas decor for 2015. As many of you won't get to see us over the holiday season I hope you can picture us having Christmas over here a bit more now. 


We used Peter's trip as an excuse to sneak in a couple of sports games so that we could give him an "American experience" but also so we could tick some more off our list. First up was an ice hockey match. 

I chose the matches to go to and decided that since I was in LA I should really go see the Anaheim Ducks who are in fact The Mighty Ducks. Yup, I was fully expecting to see Emilio Estevez coaching them and some impressive flying V formations. Unfortunately things have moved on since the nineties and in fact this game is played by fully grown men, not kids. Shame. But they were still pretty impressive. 

The NHL games are definitely entertaining and very full on. It was rather loud and noisy with lots of entertainment slots in the breaks. Every time the home team won there was lots of noise and flashing lights with everyone cheering their heads off. The cheerleaders came out on skates at different points and did their thing too. There were even a few minor fights which we enjoyed!  

Andrew got quite into it in fact, he was screaming his head off. Apparently he really likes hockey and has chosen it as his American sport. I however disagree. I have well and truly become an American football fan, especially after our next sports game.

So the final sports game was an American football game. We've been to a pre-season NFL game so we decided to try a college game as we had been told they were pretty impressive. They weren't wrong. We went to see the University of Southern California, known as the Trojans. It was homecoming week too so it was insanely busy and so much fun.

The build up and entertainment factor at a football game is definitely bigger than the hockey. When we arrived and finally found our seats there was a humongous marching band on the field playing and entertaining with a guy dressed up as a soldier in full costume leading them around. After the fireworks the team took to the field and the game began. 

Half time saw the band take to the field again, but this time it was 1000 strong! It played some impressive tunes and just took our breath away at the sheer size of it. No university game in England really has this much pomp and circumstance! Its insane!

But I have to say that the highlight of the game wasn't winning the match, it was what happened every time they scored a touchdown. Just watch and you'll see!

Yup every time they scored their mascot, Traveler the horse, would charge up and down the field whilst the band played and the crowd chanted! It was truly insane. 

But thats just one of the reasons I love football (said in a slow Southern drawl!). 


Andrew's eldest brother, Peter, recently came to stay with us for the middle part of his epic trip around America. When he last came in March of this year we didn't manage to get to see too much of LA and our local area, so this time we crammed in everything we possibly could. 

There are two major things in LA we did that I want to show you about. The first is the Huntington Library and gardens. We had never been to Huntington so it was a new experience for us too. Pasadena is a beautiful place (with some lovely shops!) but the library and gardens was amazing. There were lots of buildings spread out across the grounds with different exhibits in them such as European art and books. Then scattered around were different themed gardens such as Chinese or Australian. 

Our personal favourites were the Japanese and Chinese gardens. They were beautiful and so detailed. I think I could have spent all day in there just sitting and admiring it all. 

The second place I want to show you is the Getty Villa in Malibu. We have been to the Getty Center (see this post) before but never to the villa so that was fun. The villa houses the Getty's early collections and was really fascinating. Its a lot smaller than the the Center but we enjoyed our look round. 

So that's the LA edition of what we did. Get ready for the sport's edition next!