Next Christmas Press Day 2012

Cold and continual rain, flooding and slate skies, bitter winds and dark afternoons. When we had a few sunny days towards the end of May, I made the idiotic decision to swap in my Winter wardrobe for my Summer one, a choice I regretted hugely until the beginning of this week. I’ve spent most of July fishing at the back of my cupboard for jumpers, coats and scarves. So with that in mind, it wasn’t exactly a stretch to attend the Next Christmas 2012 press day one Wednesday morning to review for

As I say in my article, I’ve always eschewed Next with a firm hand. I have no idea why, but I took against it in my callow youth, and didn’t revisit for many a year. And neither would I have done, had I not entered a world of adorable boucle jackets laced with silver, of heritage tweeds, flat riding style boots, Fair Isle knits, and military style coats.

The actual event was spectacular. We stepped off a plain grey Bloomsbury street into an underground…well, grotto, I’d have to call it. Except in a chic, rustic sense – not like a third rate garden centre grotto. Huge verdant Christmas trees stood proudly all around the room, fairy lights twinkled, and delicious canapés and drinks were perched on a long wooden table replete with pine cones.

The lucky attendees were given the chance to peek at the men’s, women’s, children’s, beauty and home collections for Christmas 2012, and I was delighted to spot so many beautiful items. The collection couldn’t have been more up my street, inspired by the idea of a ‘country house weekend’ and boasting various Russian (fake) fur hats, chunky knits, embellished dresses and coats with dramatically upturned collars. Some of my favourite pieces included silky smooth shirts with pearls or studs at the collar, and the 60s style miniskirt suits.

I’m annoyed that I missed out on Next and their amazing ranges for such a long time. That said, I’ve never felt that my local branch is particularly well merchandised, and I’ve been rather put off by it. That said, I’ll be making a pilgrimage to a much larger branch – either when the Christmas drop happens, or most likely…before!

Also, the goodie bags were AWESOME. I am now the delighted owner of a grey scarf-y wrap cape-y thing (technical term) with a fur trim, some black leather look gloves, a rather darling checked blanket, and an enchanting stuffed owl. I put them all on at once because I am achingly cool. Oh yes.

3 weeks till Christmas!

Is everybody feeling festive yet? I am! We picked up a tree yesterday – sadly everywhere in the world seems to have run out of lights though, so I’m looking at it right now, perched against the garden table, all sad and undressed. This is my first Christmas where I’ve been working from home – the last two years, I worked time-consuming jobs, and in 2009 I was working both Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, so I’m really excited to be a little more in control of my schedule this year.

Apparently we’re due for some snow in the South East, and for the first time since I was a child/at uni (fairly similar times in my life, actually…) I’m really excited about it. The prospect of not having to fight my way across icy streets/have a 7 hour journey home from a town 6 miles away is extremely thrilling. I hated the snow we had last year as it just represented a whole heap of problems in terms of getting around. Oh, woe is me.

Anyway, we’ve got a tree, the house is full of things like candied peel and Heston’s mulled cider (if you’re near a Waitrose, GET SOME), the weather’s getting colder, we’re going to have our first open fire….perfect. Sussex in Winter is absolutely beautiful. What are you looking forward to? What makes you instantly feel festive? When I was younger, I always felt mega Christmassy whenever I heard Simon & Garfunkel. Yep, that’s just how cool I am.

I’ve posted this particular music video not because it’s wildly festive, but because it’s been on my Winter playlist for two years running now, so it’s intrinsically linked with Christmas for me. Not the most imaginative of videos, but actually quite nice to have a break from some of those very ‘try hard’ videos that some of my favourite bands seem to go for. I had a spate of watching music videos that put me off my lunch (Yeasayer and MGMT, I’m looking at YOU), so it’s good to see just an old school video that isn’t making any huge point. ‘Old school’? Did I really just say that?! I’d better stop typing now…