Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Endings and Beginnings

Happy New Year!  Today dawned with patches of blue sky and a peep of sunshine here in the Rhondda Fawr.  It's a welcome relief from weeks of endless grey.  My last blog post was back in November, so there's rather a lot to catch up on.  For each event, one picture, and a description.  A whistle-stop tour of the last two months of my 2018...

My mum and I went for a rather festive afternoon tea at lovely Miskin Manor.  They were just starting to get their decorations up, and it was lovely to see a bit of colour to brighten up the drab weather.  I wore my late 1930s coat, along with a dress by Pretty Retro, and a fedora from M&S.

Also in November, I went to an old friend's birthday party, in a 12th century castle no less.  There was enough food to feed a Queen and her whole court.  The lovely Frank Usher dress I'm wearing was a gift from my friend, so it seemed like the right thing to wear on such an occasion (though in hindsight something medieval might have been more fitting!).

As December began, a local town had a Christmas parade.  Despite the live reindeer, elves, and Father Christmas on his sleigh, it didn't feel terribly festive.  It was drizzling with rain rather than snowing, and it was all over very quickly.  We scurried home to warm up with a cosy fire and a glass of port.

Far more festive was a brass band carol concert, with lots of audience participation!  They played all the traditional favourites, and we had a jolly good sing-a-long.  Being a professional singer, Chris joined in with great Hwyl (Welsh for 'gusto').  So much so, that the family sat behind us moved back several rows in the interval...

Things continued to be festive with a party at a hairdressers (really!).  The owner had spent thousands of pounds on Christmas decorations, including the creation of a small 'grotto'.

I drove myself hard towards the end of 2018 to complete my PhD.  I took some annual leave from work to make the final push, and was pleased to submit my thesis in mid December (hurrah!).  I had grand plans for celebrating with dancing and cocktails.  Of course, after such relentless effort, my body protested and I came down with laryngitis followed by a nasty strain of flu.  The reality was therefore lying on the sofa with a lemsip.  I was too unwell to go back to work before Christmas as planned, and missed my work's Christmas party, a friend's Christmas party, and a few other social events.

Eventually I recovered enough to dress up and drink some wine, but we stayed at home as I still lacked the energy for a night on the town.  I wore this lovely Elizabeth Henry 1960s' dress, I think it's one of my favourite buys of 2018.  I think it was only about £8 from a charity shop.

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, I was feeling back to my usual self.  It was just my husband and I for Christmas itself, very low key and relaxed.  We had a lot of fun, but as there was no-one else there to take photos, all we have are some very blurry selfies!

It was lovely to have a quiet Christmas after such an exhausting year.  We scaled right down on presents, 'all the trimmings' and all the other 'must-haves', concentrating on having a relaxing time and not putting too much pressure on ourselves.  As part of the annual 'charity shop challenge', I had this lovely 1960s' sheepskin hat from Chris.

So that was the tail end of 2018.  There are a few more outings to fill you in on, but they will appear in installments.  I'm very excited for the year ahead.  My PhD viva (oral exam) is set for March, and in May I will turn 40 years of age.  Who knows what other adventures it will bring?

Best wishes to all of you for 2019!


  1. So lovely to see your post pop up! I've actually been thinking of you and PhD deadline, so glad you made it, although I never doubted this for one second. Isn't it typical to get ill at such a time? Glad to see there was still time for some fun, though. Love your outfit for afternoon with your Mum, as well as the Frank Usher frock. And sometimes, a quiet Christmas is all that is needed. We also celebrated with just the two of us! Wishing you lots of success and fabulousness in 2019! xxx

  2. Happy New Year to you and Chris! Lovely to see you pop up again after your absence and delighted that you've finished your PHD and recovered from the lurgy in time to enjoy Xmas.
    Fab vintage coat, Frank Usher frock and 1960s party dress and we're hat twins (mine was a generous gift from a blog reader many years ago and it's a winter staple!) xxx

  3. Hooray to see you back! Submitting your PhD is such an achievement, it really saw the year out with a bang, though I'm sorry to hear you got ill afterwards - all that work must've sapped you. It looks like you went to some fabulous parties.

  4. My dear Porcelina, congratulations on making it happen and submitting your PhD! I can only imagine...
    May 2019 bring you love, health, happiness and tons of fabulous vintage finds.

  5. Happy New year! And what an achievement come March! That is so exciting!


  6. Congratulations on getting the submission in I've seen the toll that takes and I am full of admiration. I'm so sorry you were poorly but isn't that always the way once you stop?
    Here's to a wonderful 2019. xx

  7. It looks like you had some lovely times in the last few months, despite being sick! I love your black dress- so gorgeous and festive. Happy 2019!


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