I don't know where to start. On the one hand, I am bubbling over with things I want to tell you about, on the other hand I am somewhat dumbstruck and speechless.
I suppose I ought to start with the really big news first. NOOOOOOOOOOOO, I am not pregnant, although there seem to be quite a few bloggers (whose blogs I follow) who are preggers right now.
Most of you will know by now that we have a little cottage in France, which we bought over six years ago and where we spend as much time as we can, because it is our little piece of heaven on earth.
For the last three years my wonderful, hardworking husband has been trying to get early retirement, which has been quite traumatic at times. You can imagine what he must have felt like, when with only one day of work left (or so he thought) he was told that his bid for freedom had failed. We were gutted. The next couple of applications were rejected as well, and when he tried again this year, I just didn't want to think about it at all. Last week was the final step in the whole process, and he was told to expect the final decision yesterday. I honestly don't know how HE got through the morning, I was a nervous wreck. I finally got a phone call from him early afternoon, all I could say was - is it a yes or no? And when he said yes, I just burst into tears. Finally, he was granted early retirement ( 4 1/2 years early), and he will finish just before Christmas. It is the best Christmas present we both could have wished for. Of course it means tightening our belts, spending our money more carefully than we already do, but I don't care if it means baked beans on toast forever, as long as it means that my DH doesn't have to travel 4 hours each day, get up at 5am, get home at 7pm at the earliest, and have his asthma (from working in London, the doc thinks ) getting worse and worse.
So there you have it, it was pretty emotional. It will be at least a year before we move to France on a more permanent basis. We have a lot of work to do on our house here before we put it up for sale and buy a small place as a base here in the UK somewhere. I don't want to cut our ties with the UK completely, as our children and grandchildren are here, and we need our own place to stay in when we come to visit them. It also means that I have to make huge decisions about what to take to France ( I have managed to fill the cottage up pretty much already, lol ), what I would be able to get into a small 2 bed house, and what I would have to part with. ARRRGGHHH, can you imagine, me parting with some of my treasures? I suppose the sooner I start the better. I really must start putting some of my antique and vintage treasures up for sale. I suppose I ought to do it on Ebay again, I used to sell an awful lot on there, but I got so miffed with them a couple of years ago, I stopped. Hmm. The other option is sellling some on my soap website, IF that ever gets done, and/or put some into a blog shop, which of course would be Lululiz in Vintageland, lol. Ah well, I'll let you all know what I decide on, when I decide.
Right, on to the next subject. I am thrilled to bits that some of the Rainbow Swap parcels have now been received. The first one to receive hers was Sarah in New Zealand. Yep, you read that right, the one right on the other side of the world, the farthest away, got hers first, lol. It was sent by my occasional co-author and lovely friend JJ. Half the fun of the swap is admiring all the lovely things the others received, of course, so if you would like to see what JJ sent Sarah, then go here .
Then I had the most lovely emails from my swap partner Elizabethd in France, who had also received her package. She wrote such warm and wonderful things about the swap bits and pieces, that I got all teary again. See, told ya, the last 24 hours have been somewhat emotional.
Ah, and then on to this morning. As soon as I woke up, I just knew that I would get my parcel from my swap partner today. Nope, didn't hope, or thought I might, I just knew I would. Going out was out of the question of course, I couldn't possibly miss the delivery, now could I? However, yesterday a package for one of my sons was delivered, around lunchtime, so I thought I had plenty of time to have a nice relaxing bath, get ready for the day etc. Well, bath was undisturbed so all was well, and I went to our bedroom ( second floor ) to get dressed. Right. As soon as the towel dropped, the doorbell rang. Sod's law. 8.30am and they were delivering MY PARCEL this early?? Of course they were, they also KNEW that this customer just couldn't wait any longer to get her little mitts on the parcel. I just grabbed a Kaftan, ran down the stairs trying to get the darned thing over my head, tripped and stumbled a few times, but made it downstairs without breaking any bones. Only to find that the postman wasn't at the door anymore. After a few frantic "hello hello hellooooooooooooo " from me, he popped back. Poor thing, he must have seen the wild look in my eyes, lol, he was laughing when he pointed out that he had left the parcel behind the porch door. Errrmm.
And this is where the dumbstruck and speechless bit starts. I still don't know what to say, because words are so inadequate. So I will let the photos do most of the talking. Well, I might get a word or two in as well, lol. Here are the precious gifts this wonderful lady sent, all of them so totally me, so perfectly chosen and so BEIGE, lolol ( this might just upset one person in particular, who thought I was bonkers to like beige and who thought all my poor swap partner would be able to find would be a pair of full size granny knickers. HAH, eat your heart out, Sarah!) -
After removing the packaging paper, this lovely box was revealed. OMG, I took off the lid, and the box was crammed full with beautifully wrapped and presented gifts-
Can you imagine the huge grin on my face as I took each little package out of the box?-
I didn't know where to start, honestly, there were so many beautiful things. With some it was obvious what they were, others just hinted at the treasures inside-
Isn't this the most gorgeous flower? It is attached to a little ribbon and has a magnet under the flower and one at the end of the ribbon, so that you can use it to gather a curtain for example. I may just have to repurpose it though and sew it to a little plain linen cushion, I think that would look so adorable-
Just look at this beautiful lavender bag, filled with lavender from her own garden!-
More lovely smellies, a very yummy peach fragrance drawer scenter-
A cute little tissue holder, beige with dainty little blue flowers (I'll think of you every time I blow my nose now, Elizabethd!)
The most sumptious scrumptious silk, apparently bought by her many years ago in Thailand-
A gorgeous snowflake ornament, isn't that the cutest little face?-
This handsome little hanging cushion is just perfect for the cottage. In the summer, it will hang outside on the barn door, I can picture that so well already, and in the winter it will live in the bathroom, which is decorated in shades of................. tehehehe, yep, beige
Beautifully embroidered serviettes, I love the delicate cross stitch work-
This stunningly decorated little bag had a " bits and pieces" label on it-
Just look at the "bits and pieces" which I found in the bag, pieces of the prettiest lace, large buttons, a delicate little soap and sea shells, woohoo, they will join my collection of sea shells in the BEIGE bathroom in the cottage-
Ah, mustn't forget this dinky little ribbon, which was wrapped round one of the gifts. It will be used to make a couple of hangers for little lavender hearts for the cottage -
I couldn't have wished for a nicer swap partner, and I was really overwhelmed by the generosity and thoughtfulness of her. Thank you so very much, I wish I could give you a big hug right now.