We just want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and just a huge thank you for all your love and support this year with Little Winter. We are still so humble whenever we receive emails thanking us for our posts, or tweets that make us smile and Instagram comments declaring your love for these two terrors.. We genuinely appreciate it, and cannot believe that people actually enjoy reading about our lives, especially considering we spend most of it on the sofa with our slobs on, one hand in a bag of popcorn and the other probably picking our nose or stroking the cats (not at the same time, don't worry - that's gross!).

This year has definitely been a completely better one compared to last year, but it's also shown how unprepared we were for the big world of owning your own home. What were once bickers of who's turn it is to drive home, have now been replaced by worries over how to fix a boiler that we have to solve on on our own now and just how patient you need to be when wallpapering. And that Christmas wishlists change from being fun things, to sensible purchases like a new shower... But saying that, it's also been incredibly wonderful seeing our house turn into a home infront of our very own eyes, and of course having two little (or 8 if you think about it..) paws flying about the place. I guess you could say, that right now, we're feeling pretty content. And just like anyone and everyone else, we have our ups and down days, but come next year - we are READY for you. We're going to be even more grown up than ever, and maybe, just maybe, we'll finally get round to putting a handle on the downstairs toilet.. But y'know, priorities come first - there's front doors to be painted, and shelves to put up in the spare room!

We're going to be taking a few days off this big wide web, and embrace time with the ones we love most (that includes cheese!) eating, playing games and basically just slobbing out with the kitties and our families. Our Christmas tree is already bursting with presents underneath (that are not so hidden and already ripped thanks to tiny feet!), and we can't wait to open and share them with our to-be-full household on Christmas Day (we're totally hosting our first one!). So here's to all of you, to have the best Christmas that you possibly can, and take a moment to appreciate everyone and everything around you. Because Christmas is the best time to do that for most of us, but not all. If you are feeling alone, then please, take a look at this post. Christmas is a time for everyone to feel loved. Now, pass me that roasting tray.. I've potatoes to dice!

This year, we decided to get a little creative with some presents and opted for homemade onion chutney and orange shortbread. We finished them off with some hessain tops tied with string, and popped in a Christmas bag with red tissue paper and candy canes. We're really chuffed with how they've turned (and tasted!) out.
It was a pleasant surprise when this little tree decoration and a cute Christmas card arrived in the post from Olivia Burton last week (thanks guys!). We decided to keep our tree simple this year and chose only lights to complete it (those kitty's!), but we made an exception for this beautiful wooden one which now dangles with utter pride.
I've never been a wreath fan, however Harrods have completely swayed me on this one when this absolutely stunning (and such sweet smelling) seasonal wreath* turned up on our doorstep. Within minutes Little B had hung it for all to see... Although we're slightly regretting that we hadn't painted our manky coloured door sooner...
Christmas is complete in our household (apart from the food shop, which we keep off putting!) and all the presents are wrapped and each one individually tied with gingham ribbon and string. We're itching to put them under the tree, but I guess having two very excited kitty's means that they're hidden away until Christmas Eve. Cat life!
I love this little lady on top of our tree.. and as you know by now we're not very traditional (although, weirdly, I'm a traditional kinda girl about some things!) and instead of opting for a star or fairy, this tree decoration from Tiger was the only thing I liked. Plus her scarf and bobble hat are cute, and the kitty's can't reach her. So she's safe!
This year must definitely be a sign for all things new.. With my original dislike for wreaths and now being converted, the same has happened in the way of tinsel. Tinsel used to scream tacky to me years ago, but this year I really really fancied some for the bedroom. And with some rice lights tucked up in it, I absolutely love it! 
Christmas, we are ready for you!

There is not a day that goes by when these two don't do something which has me shouting to Little B "AHHH, but just come and LOOK at them (again)". Runkle and Ralph are comical together, even if Runkle sometimes wishes that Ralph would just disappear.. Just for five minutes peace. Seriously, that kitten, does NOT stop. Like ever!
When Runkle is laying down, he's pretty likely to be wanting a nap, y'know, that's what cats do.. But Ralph instead thinks that maybe he's just an easier target to pounce on and his only chance to almost be 'bigger' than Runkle. Within minutes though, Ralph is squished by Runkle and his big tum. Bur swings and roundabouts...
 One day out of seven (it's becoming towards 2/3), when they've spent all day play fighting (with sometimes the occasional time out session - no names, just little little paws....), they'll end up curling up on the sofa with Runkle feeling the need to wash Ralph before he nuzzles in. Ralph doesn't mind - it saves him a job!
 Trying to get things done lately is proving a little more difficult.. Whereas before, Runkle would sniff about and then head off to do whatever, Ralph wants to be about and THERE, constantly. LIke always about. And trying to take photos? 70 out of 80 photos have a cat tail or nose in. I don't mind though... It's my new favourite excuse.
 If Runkle could talk, I can guarantee that somedays he'd question "is he dead yet?". A few mornings when we've all been struggling to get up and want an extra few minutes in bed, Ralph bounces on to the duvet and heads straight for either the eyelashes, nose, phone cables or Runkle - mostly Runkle! Runkle gets up when he wants, and his only answer for peace and quiet? To slightly tap Ralph off the bed. Just one more push, he thinks.
And although they aren't the best of friends (hey, they're only normal) for under a month, Runkle has been amazing at letting this tiny-and-constantly-full-of-energy-fluffball into his home, and Ralph? He's just having the best time ever.. Because, THINGS, things just keep on moving, and he needs them all, at the same time.

With Christmas only two hand countdowns away (eight days SAYWHAT?) we're feeling pleasantly chuffed that everything is sorted (all except for Christmas Day food - I'm totally leaving it to Little B on Monday!) and most presents were purchased months before. Admittedly, next on the list is wrapping - which if you ask me, the first few are always fun and have attention to detail... Then the rest? It becomes a chore. So at the weekend, I carted all the presents upstairs along with boxes of wrapping and sellotape and a big mug of tea and headed to the spare bedroom to get fully festive. And feel like an elf for the afternoon.
In trying to be ridiculously organised, Little B has been tidying the house bit by bit daily, "so not to leave it to the last minute" (honestly, I'm such a messy person.. I can't help but leave things about the place..) and so Sunday morning I set about freshening up the spare bedroom with this new bedding set from the Secret Linen Store, which may I add is so incredibly soft, that it's almost difficult to stop stroking it (weird huh?). Little B's parents are staying in the spare room over Christmas and because we love playing host, new bedding is always a win (and even more of a win when it's packaged so beautifully that you debate leaving it like that in the airing cupboard...!) and by slowly replacing those floral bedsheets we used for guests, it makes for a very happy Little B's papa.
And because we all know how much I enjoy my own bed, and any form of cosy and snug bedding, I felt it was only right to jump into that freshly made bed whilst wrapping my presents.. I guess we could call it testing it out? To make sure the guests have a good night sleep.... Right?
And although I mentioned how much of a chore wrapping presents normally are, maybe this time wasn't so bad. Having a short break after every present wrap, before finishing it up with a pretty gingham bow and a tasty Lindt treat, and sipping on hot tea whilst staring out the window (or stopping those pesky kitties from fighting the wrapping paper...) made that afternoon a pretty chilled one. And one that has me counting down the days till those gingham bows will be no more. Next year I'll be opting for tin foil...!

Normally, if there's one thing that we're terrible at - it's dressing for Winter. Which is almost a funny sentence, considering we did a handful of Winter seasons in the Alps, where the weather was cold, and we practically wrapped up warm day and night. Yet, since returning to the UK three years ago, our sense of layering has gone down the pan, and well, we shiver in the morning when we're going to work, or for an afternoon walk around the shops. Basically we don't do UK Winter very well (which is always funny with our blog name!), BUT this year we've gotten SO much better. We are basically, set for Winter.
 Our wardrobe that once was filled with thin dresses and t-shirts have been replaced with chunky knits, super soft jumpers and tops that are ideal for layering. Our accessories collection is also rapidly growing with a variety of scarves and bobble hats to choose from in the morning and our chest of drawers are overflowing with thick socks.
 We've scoured the high street, with our favourite knits coming from H&M, Primark and most recently Laura Ashley. This sequin knit has basically not left my side since it fell into my hands a few weeks ago - and that's saying something, considering I am not a fan of sparkles (I know, weird huh?), but it's cream, and it hides those lumps that one would rather not show. And Little B? I have never known somebody to wear something in a row as much as he does this scarf. Every morning, without fail, it is wrapped around his neck as he leaves for work.
Little B has most definitely become an accessories kinda guy in the last year (maybe it's down to the fact that I work in men's accessories too...) and after two years of his beloved Daniel Wellington watch being worn to death, it seems that this new one came along at the right time. And as his pupils at school always tell him, he's a 'bit of an alright stylish guy'. I like to think so too - maybe one day, I'll learn that heels in the countryside are not so great. But I guess we can't get everything right...

Laura Ashley Knit* | Laura Ashley Scarf* | Topshop Jeans | New Look Boots | Olivia Burton Watch*
Primark Knit | Laura Ashley Shirt* | Laura Ashley Scarf* | Topman Jeans | Daniel Wellington Watch*

With us not having a spare five minutes this week, it's fair to say that we were incredibly grateful for that extra lazy day last Sunday. We stayed in bed all morning, and just about managed to pull the blind up to let the natural sunlight in, and opted for cuddles and treats for the kitties. I'm almost really liking these lazy days, which is funny, considering I used to hate staying indoors. I blame the cats!
Our house is feeling festive already this year, which is normally too early. Decorations are banned until after my birthday but this week I felt ready to buy a real tree (it's only small, but it's a start) and deck the house out with bunting and reindeer ornaments. We're attempting to be more handmade this year, with our Christmas cards already made, our hampers prepared and these cute decorations from Yankee Candle* waiting to be glued together.
Oh look at this little cute curling tail of his. Runkle is being a funny one lately, he wants to be wherever Ralph is and will only go outside for his morning wee and that's him done till the following morning (I don't blame him, it's too cold!). And although he wants to hang out with Ralph, he turns into such a funny character when Ralph is shut in the dressing room (normally to calm down!) and wants our undivided attention. I'm not complaining!
Ralph may look like the cutest little kitten who is so sweet and cuddly, but let me tell you.. He's a right terror. His cute pink nose and padded paws completely make up for it though - and those moments he's asleep on our heads. But the tree lights are really fun for him, as is the string hanging off the stairs, oh and anything that moves when he walks past it? Yep. He wants to play with it ALL. Even our pants that are left in the washing basket.!
Normally I'm pretty useless at dressing for Winter and whatever I wear, I'm always cold. But this year I'm getting it right (even if it doesn't look that way!) and have a nice collection of vests and knits keeping me cosy. This Sugarhill Boutique* is fast becoming a favourite (yep, and it's shorter than my others!) because it just goes with everything. Skirts? Yep. Jeans? Of Course? Over dresses? You betcha! My mama has her eyes on it now..! And my beloved new scarf - let's just say that it doesn't really leave my side. Like ever.
Talk about organised this year, not only have we bought all our presents but we've plans for NYE too. We're that organised that Little B is ALREADY debating what to wear for our evening in Birmingham (I guess his tie choices are like my black boot dilemmas?). We've already booked our hotel, but are currently deciding between the various choices of restaurants on Quandoo. This site is pretty awesome, and makes choosing a restaurant so much easier in one place (yeah, we've all done the 10 website links open before!). And especially with the fact I now have to look for Gluten Free options, I like how it gives you a glimpse of the menu.  Now do we choose Mexican? Or Spanish? Or a good pub? And I guess I best get choosing my own outfit...
We like pictures and we like Instagram. And we love our Instagram magnet covered fridge, with a lot of time spent on Sticky9 and PicStick*- so when Boomf appeared through my letterbox one cold afternoon, I was genuinely blown away. Instagram marshmallows! IN HOT CHOCOLATE. Hell yeah!! Although, I'm really struggling to eat the cat ones.. I'm sure it won't be long when I hear the kettle boil!

Now we're no cat experts, we just like cats. And if I had my way, our house would be full of them (yep, think hundreds!), but Little B drew a line, because he knows that if we had a hundred cats then he'd pretty much end up moving elsewhere. There just wouldn't be room, and well, if someone had to go.....
However, after months of pestering and leaving cute kitten pictures around the house, he caved. And three weeks ago, our Sunday afternoon was spent driving to Nottingham, to bring home another little ball of fur, who goes by the name of Ralph. Little Ralph. It was love at first sight as we sat cuddling in the petrol station whilst Little B filled up the car for the journey home.
You see, this is no normal story, where we let Little Ralph run wild around the house, exploring in cupboards he never knew existed, and peeing in places we thought impossible - no, this story involves an already much loved member of the house, Little Runkle. If you've followed us for some time, you'll know that Runkle is the apple of my eye (like literally) and we have more love for him than our love for food (seriously, we really like food!), so bringing home Ralph was almost a new experience, not only for us, but them too.
Let me fill you in on the basics... We got Runkle at 12 weeks old (untrained in every way possible), and he was a fairly shy kitten, spending weeks pottering around the house and finding his feet. Within the first few months, his character began to show and he became a fairly fussy (sometimes needy) kitten. He liked your affection but he also liked to do things his way (we're talking about his pooping on the leather beanbag situation!) and was incredibly playful and embraced being around other people. Runkle was also a housecat, and would only get a glimpse of outside life when he was either perched on the windowsill talking to the pigeons, or attempting to be walked with a cat collar (true story!). But he was happy with the way things were.
After almost a year, we moved back in with my parents.. They had a cat, Bear. Bear was male, four years old and a VERY relaxed cat. He always wanted to be around other people and surprisingly welcomed Runkle into his home pretty well. Runkle and Bear would play fight, they'd share treats together and they'd watch each other poop in the litter tray. But they never became best pals. They tolerated each other - but Bear knew when to walk away. Runkle didn't. He always wanted to be where Bear was, doing what Bear did. And then we moved out three months later, and I'm fairly sure that a small part of Runkle longed to play with Bear again (my dad would definitely disagree!!).
Anyway, since getting Ralph, we've had a few people ask us how they're getting on.. So we've compiled a few questions and our tips and tricks on how we've found it. Please bear in mind that this is just how OUR cats have been towards each other, and may not be the same as others..

How are they getting on?
So far it's been OK. We don't leave them together whilst we're out of the house, and only let them both have free reign when we're at home and can see what they're up too. They play fight a lot and a few times there have been some louder squeaks than normal (Ralph!) but with a tap on both their noses, this sorts them out... For five minutes or so. There are the occasional moments when we find them cuddled up next to each other - this tends to happen on a Sunday evening when they've been together all day, but it doesn't last long because Ralph soon begins nibbling Runkle's nose! They constantly want to know where each other is and what they're doing, but Runkle will sometimes walk away for peace which Ralph hasn't quite understood yet. But for three weeks, I'd say they're doing OK.

What did you do to prepare for bringing home another cat?
Not a lot actually! Instead of buying a new blanket for Ralph (we don't use cat beds - Runkle used to poop in it, so we sacked these off!), we used an old one that Runkle liked, which I think helped with smells and made Ralph adapt quickly. We turned our dressing room into a 'safe place' for Ralph where he would feel secure and would spend time in there whilst we're out. He has his own water bowl and food bowl and we did buy a toy for him as a comforter from when he left his mother.

Did they get along in the first few days?
As soon as we got home with Ralph, we made Runkle aware of him. For the first two days, Runkle wasn't interested at all and we'd each take it in turns to sit with one whilst the other sat with the other cat. Everyday we'd let Runkle see Ralph in the dressing room, and would bring Ralph into the living room to get them used to each others spaces. If they went for each other we personally didn't interfere and left them to sort it out and walk away. It took a few days, and we'd only do short bursts of them - and kitten milk was a winner to get them closer together!

How did Runkle find it with another cat in the house?
At first he wasn't interested, and then when he started to hear squeaking he was all ears. I wouldn't say he was jealous, but his affection levels went up and since we've had Ralph, Runkle hardly ever goes outside (which is nice, as I wouldn't want him to feel like we'd pushed him out). If anything, it's made Runkle more fussy. Runkle will be around him and is quite relaxed about sharing his things with Ralph. Although we have noticed that Runkle will get very playful when Ralph is in the dressing room (he almost turns into a kitten!). I think Runkle felt intimidated by Ralph, and although Ralph thought he was a mother figure, Runkle didn't like his belly being touched. At the moment, Ralph still sleeps in the dressing room at night, so that Runkle knows he's still the boss of the house. Which is kind of how we personally want it at the moment.

Does this mean that it'll cost you a lot more now that there's two?
Urm, of course this will go up - there's two mouths to feed. Runkle has dry food down all day, and is fed one wet pouch in the evening (some may disagree with this, but this is what he's used to and is fine with it). A bag of dry food costs us £26 - 3kg worth maybe (we use Pro Plan) and we buy this once every 6 weeks. At the moment we are buying Ralph kitten dry food which is cheaper, but since Ralph won't really eat his and prefers Runkles (?!) we mix the bags together so he's still getting the kitten goodness. Ralph is also having a wet pouch a day. We haven't noticed a huge difference in cost however. But y'know, we've made cutbacks elsewhere - yes, chocolate has been replaced by kitten milk!

Is it better to go for same sex cats?
This, I can't really tell you what's best. I researched on the internet and found very mixed reviews. We personally wanted another male as we know that Runkle and our girl neighbour cat don't get along. We find it works for us, but doesn't mean to say it will for others..

Do they eat together? And poop in the same tray?
We try to feed them at the same time, and are trying to keep them from eating each others, but cats are cats. They do what they like! And the same applies for litter trays. Ralph has his own in the dressing room, and Runkle has his in the bath (yes, weird!). But Ralph much prefers pooping in Runkles...!

Honestly, is it like having children?
I've never had a child, so I can't really answer this. But do they constantly want my attention and need checking on every five minutes? Yes. And if children sit on your lap whilst you're straightening your hair, on the toilet or trying to chop your vegetables (this is true), then yes. They maybe are like children. But fluffier.
I hope this has helped any of you who are debating another cat, and were interested in how we're finding it. It's a completely new ball game for us as my parents have only ever had one cat at a time. But you know what, those moments when they're curled up together and licking each others ears really do make me happy. Even if cats are stubborn, they're my favourite kinda stubborn animal!

A few weeks ago, we headed for a lazy weekend in Brighton. With the weather being truly British (think drizzly and pretty windy), we wrapped up warm with coats and hats and embraced the cold for a stroll along the pier. There was of course time for the 2p slot machines and to potter around The Lanes to pick up some fudge for the journey home. We also met this little chap who was incredibly calm (even if he did step in his poop..).
Warming up hot milk in the microwave and adding in two dollops of Nutella when you get in from work, is literally the craziest thing we've done on a week night (since then, we've discovered Lindt cocoa!). I think our shopping list every other week seems to have marshmallows and squirty cream at the top of it. 
The best kinda weekends are the ones filled with friends and food right? Rosie and Tom came to stay a few weekends ago, and although it was fairly relaxed, it was just lovely. We spent our late mornings filling up on tasty breakfasts and catching up and our afternoons browsing the local emporium for treats and presents, followed by a very giggly time on the ice rink. Nobody fell over though - wins!
The same weekend that Rosie came to stay, Claire and Sarah popped up for an evening of laughs and naughty card games (not that kind..!). There was plenty of homemade mulled wine, tasty snacks and a pretty epic surprise birthday cake. Of course the following morning, we treated our guests to a truly scrumptious Nutella French Toast. Because it would be rude not too..
Is it bad to admit that before we brought Ralph home, we were pretty busy every weekend, but now we kinda just want to hang out with our cats? Well, we've been doing that for three weeks. And it's been awesome! These two are absolutely comical to watch (not sure Runkle agrees when he's trying to get fourty winks) and bringing Ralph home was the best decision we made recently. Look at that cuteness.
Winter for us is kind of an extra special thing.. The cold nights and the constant drizzly weather (and frizzy 'fro) are always beaten by the beautiful morning frost, the time to actually relax and snuggle up in pyjamas every night with a sweet warm cocoa, and most importantly for us - the season where we met. I'm not going to get all smushy on you (I did that in my last post) but waking up to those snow covered mountains out the window, spending afternoons enjoying mulled cider, warming your feet up near an open fire and always finding time for a really proper hot chocolate, made me truly love the Winter months. And get slightly addicted to hot chocolate made with warm milk. The proper kind.
A few weeks ago, Lindt sent me quite possibly the best parcel* this household has ever received (like seriously, all those chocolate? Yeah, they were gone in a day). Little B and I fought over the variety of chocolate flavoured bitesizes whilst Runkle embraced the big ole box and tissue paper and in all honestly, we were pretty bloomin' chuffed with it (we're looking at you Sally!). But the best thing about the package (besides the humungous Lindt Bear..) is the hot chocolate. Yes, you heard right.. Lindt Hot Chocolate. And you make it with milk too. It's a win.
Somehow we'd managed to resist the hot chocolates (everything else had to go first) until the weekend. Sunday came around quickly, and none of us felt like leaving the house, actually, none of us bothered to even get dressed (no change for two of the house members..) and after a few hours of pottering about, watching some TV and planning the week ahead, we thought it was time for kitty bonding time again (it's a work in progress - but OHGODLOOKHOWCUTETHEYLOOK - can this be classed as a cuddle?).
Little B warmed up a jug of milk on the hob, and added in a few teaspoons of sugar before stirring in the msot wonderful and thick powder. With two big mugs full and a plate of biscuits, we headed back up to bed where our afternoon was spent feeling more than content. All thanks to the hot chocolate and it's rich and creamy ways.Lindt, welcome to the cupboards for life. Here's to a tasty Winter!

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