Review. Extraordinary Everyday: The Art & Design of Eric Ravilious and Turn and Return by Dierdre Wood

Maybe it’s the non-stop disturbing news from around the world, or the long dark winter and the recent wild storms (including Storm Eunice which carried a Red Alert warning) but I just haven’t been feeling the love. The year has felt slow in getting started.

This week I visited a new exhibition at The Arc in the historic city of Winchester, to explore the work of Eric Ravilious. It is the first time I have experienced Ravilious’ work up close. A display of stunning woven textiles by weaver, Deirdre Wood outside The Gallery was an added bonus. The intensity of colourful art proved inspirational and I’m back at my laptop with the first blog in a few weeks.

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New Year’s Resolution: Honesty Group founder, Romilla Arber, says no to dieting!

Romilla Arber began thinking seriously about a bread making business without any experience in food production. Arber began The Honesty Group in 2014 with the aim of producing fresh food ethically and, here’s the thing, while remaining a profitable business. With multiple coffee shops, a farm shop, two country pubs (one with rooms), a bakery and a cookery school, it is certainly a success story. In an unsettled world, does she still hold to her founding principles and what goals has Arber set for 2022?

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Bye Bye 2021 (Waving)

Well, what did you think of 2021? It’s been a mixed bag with a slight improvement on the previous year (it’s all relative) although, generally and personally, not in the top ten.

But as I scroll through my photo archives and clippings’ folder for the past year, transferring key dates to the new year’s diary adding anything new (who am I kidding), I’m surprised at how much I’ve managed to cram in. Despite the restrictions we’ve all been experiencing in the past almost-two-years, as a freelance writer reliant on travel opportunities, I’ve managed to keep busy exploring my little corner of Britain, making new discoveries and sharing them with you. December [ dih-sem-ber ]. Proper Noun: a time to reflect.

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Christmas Around The World: England

With only 12 days to go until the big day, ‘are you all set for Christmas?’ Whether you are planning a family affair, or a day in bed with a cuppa and a tin of Quality Street, in an uncertain world, and despite the marketing hype, remember, there are no rules.

In the last of the series exploring the Festive Holiday around the world, two expat Instagrammers share their Christmas plans. First up, an Italian working and living in London and secondly, a Yorkshireman returning home from Spain for the first time in more than a year of travelling.

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Christmas Around The World: Norway

As we move into December this week, the marketing machine cranks up to yet another level with endless advertising. There’s social media ‘sponsored posts’, texts, leaflets through the letterbox and banners at the supermarket. And, of course, there’s the battle for the ‘best festive TV advert’.

It can be hard to resist feeling like the odd-one-out if you’re not in a frenzy of anxiety yet. And if the only date in your calendar is the holiday bin collection service, it can feel as though everyone else is out partying every night, except you.

But here’s the thing, Christmas is a personal choice. There are no rules. Push the boat out or spend the day in bed, you decide.

This week we visit Bergen for the fifth in the series where I invite Instagram pals from around the globe to share their stories on how they spend Christmas.

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Christmas Around the World: Southern California

There’s a lot of pressure commerically and socially to keep up appearances when it comes to Christmas. But here’s the thing. There are no rules. In this special interview series I ask some favourite Instagrammers around the world how they celebrate the holiday.

Tamera Beardsley, fashion accessory designer, is determined to squeeze every last possible drop of joy from the Festive Season. Come with me to Southern California where Tamera reveals her infectious passion for all things Christmassy.

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Christmas gift guide 2021

You would think that finding wonderful gifts for family and friends would be an easy ask in the virtual ‘shopping mall’ online. The Christmas marketing season is upon us but with so much choice it can actually make choosing the right present more challenging, with hours spent peering at your mobile screen trying to find the best deals.

I’ve gone back over the past year to find the best books I’ve read, foods I couldn’t get enough of and delicious wines you might not have heard of. Here’s the Hashtagtravelling.uk guide to thoughtful and sustainable Christmas gifts in Santa’s virtual grotto.

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Christmas Around the World: Tokyo

“Are you all set for Christmas?” It’s a common refrain from now until 24th December. Christmas-related anxiety has become the accepted ‘norm’. And if the only date in your calendar for December is the holiday bin collection service, it can feel as though everyone else in the world is out partying every night, except you.

Welcome to the third feature in a new festive series where I invite favourite Instagrammers from around the world to share their stories on how they spend the Holiday Season. This week I interview award-winning travel writer, Rob Goss, about a typical Christmas in Tokyo.

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Christmas Around The World: NSW, Australia

Welcome to the second in a new festive feature series where I invite Instagram pals from around the world to share their festive stories.

Now in the second week of November and the advertising campaigns on social media, TV, glossy magazines etc are in full swing. With over-spending developed to an unrealistic level of ‘normal’, it can be hard to resist feeling like the ‘odd-one-out’ if you’re not working up to a frenzy of shopping anxiety and party planning by mid-December.

But here’s the thing, Christmas is what you choose to make it. Push the boat out or spend the day in bed, your choice. There are no rules.

On with the storytelling. This week I ask Nina Tobin, who lives in New South Wales and likes to hang out with ‘Ma Nature’… How do you spend Christmas?

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Christmas Around the World: the South of France

‘Twas the week before Christmas when I moved into a new house a few years back. For a number of reasons I found myself home alone on the Big Day unpacking boxes (with a glass of champagne to hand, naturally). It was a lot of fun but many (including the removal man) were appalled that I chose to spend the day on my own.

Advertising around Christmas-related products and services begins in early autumn in the UK. Planning (travel, food, gifts and sparkly clothes) and the related over-spending has been developed to an unrealistic level of ‘normal’. Now, a little sparkle goes along way in the dark winter months, but by mid December it can be hard not to feel like the ‘odd-one-out’ if you’re not seen to be tearing your hair out in a frenzy of anxiety over Secret Santa at the office, gift-buying for the family, and stuffing the turkey. And, as the marketing campaigns indicate, your calender must surely be choc-full with a host of fabulous parties to attend.

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