My plans for daily December loveliness haven't worked out so well this week. Perhaps that's just because it hasn't been a particularly lovely week: I seem to have spent most of it working, or sitting on the bus, or being tired, or walking round town on a fruitless quest for Christmas presents, getting periodically bashed by people with armfuls of Primark bags in remorseless pursuit of the nearest bargain bin, all set to the tune of hyped-up electro Christmas carols.

Bah humbug indeed.

I feel the need to catch up a bit on the 'loveliness' front. Today has been a lot lovelier so far, in spite of the greyness and the rain: it's Saturday, and I've just come back from a nice pub lunch, and now I'm sitting under two blankets because the house is cold, and am contemplating lighting the fire and making a cup of cocoa.

First though, here's some rapid-fire 'good things' to make up for some of the ground I've lost through general apathy this week:

I quite like this new blog. It's full of useful advice and eyeopening insights, mostly in capital letters.

The excellent artyarn will be launching their Shed Jumper project next week. Working with the local community, they have knitted a jumper for a shed! Check it out at the Pool Arts SHED Gallery, Tonbridge Road Allotments in Levenshulme from Thursday.

Academy:academy is a new blog and a very useful online resource, with links to 'free material of educational value' on the web. Go there to check out lectures, interviews, artists film and video and tons of other interesting stuff.

I like this new blog too. It doesn't have a lot of posts yet, but I have a good feeling about it.

The Manchester Craft Mafia Christmas market is taking place at the Whitworth today and tomorrow. Go there for everything from paper shoes to cuddly robots. Check out the information here.

A new exhibition at FACT opened this week called DING>>D0NG (very appropriately seasonal) which I'm looking forward to seeing when I'm next in Liverpool. The exhibition 'closes FACT's 2008 programme with bleeps, bangs and electronic noise' and features new work by Andy McCluskey, Peter Saville, Hambi Haralambous and The Fragmented Orchestra.

And just for a little variety:

I stumbled on this blog quite recently. It is called 'Sea of Shoes' (a good name) and it is penned by a young lady called Jane, who lives in Texas and is 16 years old. Although I can see that her taste might not be everyone's cup of tea (I thought these Martin Margiela 'sandal booties' were fabulous but my boyfriend thought they were horrendous) I can't help feeling deeply impressed that any 16-year old has such a strong sense of personal style, especially when I look back at the kind of things I was wearing at 16 (we won't go into details, but in retrospect, it was Not Good). To be fair to me though, Dries van Noten and Balenciaga were a little out of my price-range, and not really readily available in Lancaster town centre!

Right, that's enough for one day - now it's cocoa time...