Christmas has come and gone, so did Boxing Day. How’s the shopping going, guys?

It dawned upon me on Christmas day that what I actually enjoy more than Christmas itself, were the days leading up to it. The anticipation, the excitement, the surprises. That said, I had a wonderful, quiet Christmas with the boyfriend & his family. I helped put up the Christmas tree aaaaaaannnnnnnnndddddddd I also got a bunch of Christmas presents (yayyyyyyy!) – total kid at heart here. My first proper English Christmas & the boyfriend wanted to make sure I enjoyed every single bit of this festive season. And I did, I really did. ♥

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In the short month that I was away (from the blog), there have been a couple of happenings. Things that I won’t be thoroughly detailing out. Let’s just say that as much as I can hardly wait for the new year to begin, I am wary, so so wary, of what will be in the new year. I am uncertain, and so is my future.

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

I’d like to believe that. After all, tough times never last, tough people do. Right?

I ran into yet another brick wall and once again I am stumped, almost defeated & kneeled helplessly in front of said brick wall. Despaired as I was, I actually have so many things to be thankful for. I am surrounded by friends & family who love me, applauding me for my successes as of date. They held out their hands and told me it is not the end of the world. Their words of encouragement mean so much to me, what would I have done without them? I admit I was tired, it was a stupid brick wall that shouldn’t have been, but yet there was. In the darkest corner of my heart, I felt the little flame of fight went out. It was scary, I honestly felt like I was already defeated and the worst is simply yet to come.

It was then that I realised that it wasn’t the fear of failure that paralysed me, it was the fear of not being able to stand up again after the fall. That was the fear I felt in the darkest corner of my heart. It was that fear that gripped my whole heart and turned it cold. And still, I have more things to be grateful for. The fact that I am here, with people I love, still able to go on and celebrate Christmas. It really wasn’t the end of the world for me. My friends reminded me: “You have come this far, you mustn’t give up now. You are so, so close. Closer than anyone has ever been.”

And they are right. I am SO CLOSE. Closer than I can ever imagine. I am here, & I am going to complete this journey. I just got to keep trying.

One of my closest friend said to me: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”

I want it so bad.

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It is painful for me to share that Bobby, the family dog, had left us and went seeking for dog heaven yesterday. We are all shocked & devastated, and I worry for my parents the most. Bobby had been such a joy for them both, they are still in denial. Maybe I am, too. We still can’t accept that he’s gone. I hope my sister is okay too.

Grief. Grief has not hit me this hard in such a long while. But with grief, there is also love.

And life goes on, like it always does. Life always goes on.

May the new year bring new beginnings. One can only hope.

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Happy New Year, everyone.

 

Toodles. ♥

 

Christmas is just around the corner (less than a month!!!). I am happy to share that this year I get to celebrate Christmas properly, decorating a Christmas tree, exchanging gifts & all that jazz. I have been pulling on my hair trying to sort out gifts for loved ones because I am absolutely terrible when it comes to gifts. So this weekend, I have decided to compile a list – an ever-growing list – of what I would like for Christmas because it is rather fun to be thinking of nice and pretty things.

IF by any chance, you are a dear friend who is pulling your hair out to think of a gift for me, fear not. I am here to solve all your problems! *cackles*

If, however, you are a complete stranger who stumbled across this little list, then I hope this would help you instead.

 

The Christmas Wish List

1) I love books. Give me anything to do with books and I will love you forever, for sure. This Christmas, I have my eyes set for Christmas Days 12 Stories and 12 Feasts for 12 Days by Jeanette Winterson. I have every plan to read it this winter by the fire, with a cuppa hot chocolate. And the dog for company. £10.49

  • Not sure if you’re making the right book selection for friend/family? No worries! Get them some book vouchers! I’m sure they’ll be happy raiding their favourite bookstores the very next day!

 

Image from Penguin Books

2) Y’all know I pretend to be a domestic goddess most of the time. Encouraged by my wonderful boyfriend to continuously feed him until he grows fat, I find myself wanting a Recipe Organiser: Food Lover from kikki.k to store my all-time favourite recipes. Just so I wouldn’t have to trace my tracks online only to find my favourite recipes have been taken down, moved, etc. £24

Image from kikki.k

3) Winter is coming, if you haven’t already noticed. And the one thing that is missing from my life right now is a soft, cosy throw. I don’t know about you but I do like the option of walking around in the house with a throw around my shoulders while I carry my cuppa. Or sitting by the fireplace with the throw for extra warmth. It’s like a mini blanket. Like Linus’s security blanket. There is a lovely range of throws in Ikea that I would love to get my hands on. Affordable as well. Like Gurli Black-Blue throw for £5.50 or a Hermine throw for £12.

IKEA GURLI throw

Images from Ikea

 

4) I have never been an avid Ted Baker fan but while frantically gift searching for people in the last week, I came across lovely selections of wash bags & make up bags from Ted Baker. My favourites: Shella porcelain large wash bag £22.50; Arleen Bejewelled Shadows wash bag £22.50. There is even a classic textured leather wash bag option, Assfrid and it comes in black or pink £46.

Images from Ted Baker

5) Cute stationery. Who can say no to cute stationery? Those who hang around me long enough will know that I have a crazy obsession for cute stationery, and that there will never be too much stationery. Some ideas for you to ponder on: Stationery Kit: Pause Guld £21 from kikki.k (currently unavailable); Everyday Ballpoint Pen 3pk: Cute £6 from kikki.k; Christmas Stocking stickers £1.50 from Paperchase (how cute are these!!!)

 

Images from kikki.k

 

6) I am one of your big time wanderlusters so I’m almost always on the look out for travel opportunities. I chanced upon this gem while browsing pages & pages of Christmas goodies and thought it’d make a great gift for pretty much anyone! I am sure most people you know (or even yourself) travel loads. So why not let them conquer their world, one scratch at a time? Luckies Scratch Map Travel Edition £6.99 from John Lewis. Note that this is a mini version of the original travel scratch map.

Image from John Lewis

  

I hope you’ve enjoyed this mini wishlist, I also hope it might have given you some gift ideas for friends & family this Christmas.

It is also time to buy (& post) Christmas cards! Ooohhhh, the joys of picking out cards. And pretty wrapping paper!

Better get going before the sun sets on me without warning!

 

Have a happy Sunday, folks!

 

 

P.S. Some of the items’ prices stated on this post may have changed by the time you view the links. Do note that this post was written and published during the Black Friday weekend.

 

Toodles. ♥

Earlier last month, I was invited to Etsy Christmas Cafe at Covent Garden. I would’ve posted about this a lot sooner but I had my dissertation deadline to worry about and then a stream of programmes lined up after that – now that it’s sort of settled a little, I can finally blog!

They say, pictures say a thousand words. Words can hardly describe the lovely products that were on display. I didn’t bring my camera, so all I had were pictures snapped on my trusty iPhone. However, the Etsy UK team were ever so kind to provide us with some high-res photographs!

I met a whole bunch of beautiful Etsy sellers and had a great chat with them about their products. Most of the new products are not up in their Etsy stores as of now (because it’s not Christmas yet) but they’re definitely coming your way! I’ve got a few pieces in my mind that I am certain to get once they’re up in store!

Here are some products’ photographs from Etsy – these are my favourite picks (in no particular order)!

 

1. a) Calligraphy Monogram Notecards by Cerulean Press – £12 for 10

CeruleanPress.etsy.com  Calligraphy Monogram Notecards £12 for 10

I had mine done too! 😀

b) Pink Bow Notecards – £12 for 10

CeruleanPress.etsy.com Pink Bow Notecards £12 for 10

 

 

2. a) Birds in Hats A4 Calendar by Alice Tam – £12

BirdsinHats.etsy.com Birds in Hats A4 Calendar £12

b) Flamingo in a Tropical Cap A3 – £18

BirdsinHats.etsy.com Flamingo in a Tropical Cap A3 Print £18

3. Cat’s Pyjamas Side Plate by JimBobArt – £25

 

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4. Christmas Cards by CecilyMaeHandmade – £N/A

 

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Such jovial cards to be sharing with friends and family, don’t you think? 😛

 

I snapped some photos during the event:-

 

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“Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. Whatever.”

 

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I love how creative CecilyMaeHandmade is!

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This amazing machine made all of these cards (below)

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I am absolutely in love with Alice’s gorgeous drawings of birds. Inspired by people around her (and sometimes strangers on the street), this is amazing art. I have my eye on her calendar and flamingo, I’ll be keeping a lookout for THOSE!

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I used to do this when I was much younger, sewing fancy things onto small bookmarks/mobile decoration – it’s really great to see it has gone all large-scale and it makes beautiful (and more practical) gifts now. Helena from POMPOM Kits.

We also received goodie bags upon arriving at the event, here’s mine! Got a freebie Christmas garland from CecilyMaeHandmade – thank you so much! <3

 

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All the links will lead you to the respective shops and their products. You should totally check them out. But may I also introduce Zack Mclaughlin who does beautiful art pieces and bird sculptures. They’re really wonderful so I do highly recommend that you check him out. 🙂

 

I had a great time with everyone at the Etsy Christmas Cafe. Once again, thank you Etsy UK for having me there! I look forward to more great things from Etsy! For now…let me save some money for Christmas shopping. 4 months should be good enough, no? 😛

 

 

Toodles. ♥

It’s been a rainy, windy London since I got back from sun and shine Italia.

And baby, it’s cold outside.

And it’s Christmas.

 

I’ve always thought that Christmas is both a joyful and sorrowful day. I can’t exactly explain why it is so, just feels like it. While some celebrate it with much happiness, there will be a few who silently reminisce on the heartaches this day reminds them of. Some years, I’d be absolutely delighted on Christmas; some other years, as you can guess, I’d much rather be on my own and let nostalgia take over. This is one of those years – the latter, I mean.

We survived a grand history adventure in Italy and it has been swell. But now that I’ve returned to a quiet home on Christmas, I am feeling both relieved and lonely. I need this solitude, yet secretly the loneliness creeps in and infuses doubts and thoughts inappropriate for the season. Christmas is supposed to be all about the snow, the hot chocolate and the love, isn’t it? (And fairy lights!) 

Photo: Fairy lights make me happy.

 

Nevertheless, it IS Christmas and I mustn’t let the bitterness overflow. Some things are best kept at bay. 🙂 I can wallow in my own self-nostalgic moments but I must also spread the cheer and happiness.

What is Christmas without the love?

So here’s a short cover I did on Christmas Eve (because I was procrastinating and I felt like singing. Don’t judge!). Hope you like it, it’s not perfect but it felt like the moment to do it anyway, lol.

https://soundcloud.com/alexianatouillia/merry-christmas-darling-glee

 

I miss you. I don’t know who I miss exactly but my heart is aching with this longing, this sense of absence. I cannot explain this strange emotion because this yearning is not directed at anyone in particular. All I know is I can hear my heart speaking to me in volumes about this person whose presence I am pining for, yet I know not who this person is. My heart keeps uttering “I wish you were here” over and over again but who are YOU? Do you exist? And if you do, where in the world are you now? Why have you come into my mind and befuddle my heart? Who…or what am I seeking for? This is all so confusing to me, I can barely stand this pang of sadness knowing you’re not here with me…whoever you are. 

Where are you when I need you most? 

 

Photo: Cinnamon chimney cake & Bailey's hot chocolate muahahaha

Have myself a merry, little Christmas.~ 

Merry Christmas, lovelies. Have a joyful celebration and a happy New Year!

Toodles. ♥

Greetings, everyone!

The long-awaited (and strangely predicted) “apocalypse” had passed, quite peacefully in fact. While the entire nation waited with bated breath whether or not the sun would rise on the 21st December 2012, I made a joke out of it, saying that if the world was to end on the 21st, then I would have a very long rest day (or shall I say, eternity?) after slaving for 9 long days. LOL.

Of course, the thought of it was both depressing and inviting. Though I very much prefer to be alive for now, thank you very much.

9 days of work is no joke. Even if you’re used to the job day to day. The mental energy required to function in one shift is enormous. The past 9 days had been a transition of shifts that left me drained. PM-AM-PM-AM-AM-PM-AM-PM-AM.  Crazy, I tell you. I only have God to thank for the strength He provided me with to hang on til’ the chain ended. And not forgetting my support system. If it wasn’t for God-given strength and the support, I would’ve gone downhill midway.

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My pretty darn cute date after work. 😛

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Cupcake(s)!

On the 9th day of work, I couldn’t be happier. One of my psychosis-diagnosed patient was in her better moods and although still a little delirious, allowed me to shower her, give her her meds (even if we still had to spike her drink with Risperidone, secretly of course).  I was rather ecstatic, thinking if the world is to end, my life is complete. LOL. No, I was just being crazy.

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These are my pillars of strength – the reason why I’m still hanging on, still doing what I’m doing. These people here in this post give me assurance that there is still hope in what we believe in. And we call ourselves the Happy Viruses. I asked – ‘Why virus?’ – and all of them told me (more or less), ‘Because we are contagious, infectious. We are genuinely happy people, we simply love one another and we are going to spread our joy to others.’

Oh, I am so glad. 😀

To have known all of them, and then get to know them better is my good fortune. They became my home away from home. May our friendship grows stronger with time and through obstacles life has in store for us. ♥ Amin.

Last night, we partied real hard. At least, my darling Phyu and I partied pretty hard. Her whole body’s aching, my legs hurt when I woke up this morning. It wouldn’t have been fun without my Happy Viruses. 😀

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More pictures to come! 🙂

 

Toodles. ♥