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Showing posts from December, 2012

2012 - A Year In Pictures

1. January - The birth of this blog, cosy suppers with friends, cold weather, weekends spent hibernating at home, mugs of hot tea.
2. February - Snow, a week by the sea back home, my birthday, a day trip to London, cosy lunches with friends, stew and dumplings, 
3. March - An unusually hot month, blossom, trips to the park, gardening, ladybirds, lardy cake.
4. April - A brief snow fall, a day well spent learning to crochet, lots more gardening, Easter, a week spent in Durham with family, tulips.

5. May - Angus turns three, sunshine, a gloriously hot and sunny weekend celebrating my Dad's sixtieth birthday, bunting, ice lollies, birthday cake. 
6. June - John's birthday, Jubilee celebrations, paint, a new sofa, paddling pools, rain showers, union flags.
7. July - A joyful holiday in the Cotswolds, a week of sunshine, fresh air, countryside, day trips, strawberry picking, cream teas.
8. August - The Olympics, long school holidays, rain, my sister came to stay, day trips to local farms …

52 Weeks of Happy...11/52

We are being so very lazy today. It's lovely. John took the car to work and it's raining (still) so I can't see the children and I leaving the house all day. Anyway, it's after three now so it will be getting dark soon. We have done a lot of crafting, played with a lot of playmobil and built a huge train track all over the floor. Currently, Bella is writing a story about Barbie going to the pantomime and then to McDonalds, and Angus is playing with the wooden tool kit he was given for Christmas. 
A bit late but here all the same - joining in with Jen at little birdie, here are my simple, happy moments from the last week:
Baking gingerbread tree decorations with the children last Sunday, and watching them hang them on the tree. There are none left now.

Making up the bed with my new Christmas pillowcases. It's lovely to get away but even more lovely to come home to your own, comfortable, just-how-you-like-it bed.

Bella's love for the stick-on earrings she found in he…

Merry and Bright

We've just returned from three days spent with John's parents in Durham. On Christmas Eve I gave the children an early tea, packed up the car, then collected John from the station. The children and I made John listen to Christmas music all the way there - we had lots of fun, but John, strangely, does not share our love of festive music - and we arrived around seven. Stockings were hung and sherry and mince pies were left out for Father Christmas (to be consumed later by Grandad).

I woke around five on Christmas morning and had such a flutter of excitement in my tummy - I could not wait for the children to wake and see that Father Christmas had been. Silly, I know, but I was just desperate to see the expressions on their faces. Thankfully for everyone, I went back to sleep and Bella and Angus woke just after seven. The joyful chaos of unwrapping presents in bed began. It was the first Christmas that Angus was really aware of the notion of Father Christmas, and his expression was…

Merry Christmas!

Thank you for all your kind get well wishes, they were much appreciated. I am pleased to report that I am feeling a lot better. It's half past ten in the morning so nothing mulled or fizzy is being drunk (yet) but I am enjoying a cup of tea and a gingerbread angel while watching The Box of Delights with the children on the sofa.
I've worked hard to find my festive mojo these last few days; we've baked mince pies, made gingerbread stars for gifts and an assortment of Christmassy gingerbread tree decorations. The last few gifts have been bought or completed and wrapped, the Christmas cake is iced (it's a bit runny - my first attempt at royal icing was not a total success) and decorated with baby deer. The Snowman dvd has been watched many, many times.
I do love Christmas Eve. The hard work is done, or almost done, and I can relax and enjoy being with the children. John has to work today but he has a few days off after Christmas, which we are all looking forward to enormous…


I'll be honest, I'm not really feeling it today. I have a horrible head cold, my throat hurts, my joints ache. I can function just so long as I take cold and flu tablets - when they wear off, I know about it. I had a self-imposed and unusual (but very necessary) quiet day today. My parents are staying till Sunday. This morning, while they were out shopping and Bella was at school and Angus at nursery, I sat down on the sofa in the daytime and watched Downton Abbey and worked on my sister's scarf. Then, this afternoon, I sat down and caught up on three days of blog reading while my Mum (bless her!) did a huge pile of ironing for me. When she offered, instead of putting up the token fight like I always do I just said "Yes please." 
It's better to feel rubbish now than on Christmas day. 
Anyway, oranges. They do seem to crop up a lot at this time of year. Last week John made the most amazing flour-less orange cake f…

52 Weeks of Happy...10/52

Joining in with Jen at little birdie, here are my happy moments from the last week:
Mini glitter balls on the Christmas tree are, on their own, a reason to be happy. But when they bounce the sunlight all around my living room, scattering hundreds of little spots of light all over the walls and ceiling, well that makes me even happier. It's like a little winter disco.

John is much better than I at reading the children their stories at bedtime. He does different voices and everything. I love seeing them enjoy books I loved as a child, like this one.

Small people at play (Bella did a good job of sharing her new birthday toy, and only got a bit cross when Angus knocked the tables over).

I finished wrapping my presents last night. But I can't feel to smug as there is just the small matter of completing a scarf for my sister by Sunday. I feel some crochet late nights coming up...

I am wishing you all a happy week. I hope you are enjoying the Christmas preparations and are not feeling ove…

Happy Birthday Bella

It was old fashioned, the sort of party I remember from my own childhood. Ten girls and one boy came to join in the fun. There was an abundance of sequins and bows and sparkly shoes. They played musical statues and pass-the-parcel. The food consisted of sandwiches (plastic white bread, crusts cut off), crisps, cocktail sausages, cakes. Carrot sticks and grapes to tick the healthy box. I didn't know where to seat thirteen children so we moved the dining room table out of the way and put a disposable tablecloth on the floor and called it an "indoor birthday picnic", which they thought was great fun.
When I asked Bella what kind of cake she would like, she asked for a round, chocolate cake covered in Smarties. Yes, very specific, but I have to say I nearly cried with relief and thought - I can do that! Previous birthday cakes have included a train, a princess castle and a butterfly. (The castle had seven layers of rainbow layered sponge - what was I thinking??). I used my mo…

Some Thoughts And A Box of Play Patisserie

I don't think I can really say anything today without talking about two sad things - one private, one public. We had some very sad family news a couple of days ago, which I'll talk more about later. And I am shocked and appalled (like everyone, I imagine) by the tragic events in America yesterday. The youngest victim was five years old. Five. Schools should be a place a safety, and thank goodness they usually are. I send my two off to school and nursery every day without a second thought. My heart breaks for those parents, and the families of the adults involved too.

But I wanted to post something today and I really need to find my "happy", and that is usually to be found in things involving the children. So I will share some felt play food I made a couple of weeks ago. 

I made two little boxes of assorted play cakes for craft fairs - neither sold which I was very happy about as one will be given to Bella on her birthday next week, …

52 Weeks of Happy...9/52

Joining in with Jen at little birdie, here are my current happy things. It's a bit of a festive edition, this one.

1. Homemade tree decorations, made by Bella's fair hands and shedding glitter all over the floor as I type.
2. Mince pies. Mmm.
3. The Christmas edition of the Radio Times. It's a bit of a tradition in this house to sit down with a cup of tea and a marker pen and highlight all the things we want to watch over the next few weeks. Of course we wont have time to watch much of anything, and when we do we'll discover that we didn't record it or it's not avaiilable on catch-up tv any longer...but that's not the point. It's traditional!

4. The best Christmas song ever. I wish it was played all year round.
Wishing you all a splendid week. It's very cold here and we've had the most magical, thick frost all day making everything look enchanting.

Granny Chic Tea-light Holders

Reading back through my recent posts, you'd be forgiven for thinking that I never left the house. There is a definite making and baking feel to this space lately, and that's just fine. But I have been outside, I promise, it's just that family days out are less frequent at this time of year. John works every weekend during December and so it's often just the kids and I. We potter and play, we visit the park, we go to birthday parties (Bella has three this week!) During the week we do the endless to-ing and fro-ing to school and nursery and back, we see friends. After school I provide a taxi service to and from Rainbows, cheerleaders, play dates... It's busy. The last family "outing" we tried to have was a total disaster. We thought we'd go into Leeds a couple of weeks ago on a spontaneous trip to the German Christmas Market. It poured with rain and was very cold. We did not have hats or umbrellas. We had no cash with us. While John was queuing at the c…

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree...

Number of beautiful organic fir trees purchased from local farm: 0
Number of old, fake fir trees dragged down from the loft: 1
Number of slightly hungover adults: 2
Number of very excitable and noisy children: 2
Sets of fairy lights found to be not working: 2
Number of emergency trips made to very crowded supermarket: 1
Quantity of baubles smashed: 3

Many, many thanks for the abundance of kind and generous comments lately - I would really like to have you all over for some mulled wine and mince pies sometime. Hello new followers, you are ever so welcome! I will be back tomorrow with crafty jam jars. (Apologies to those of you suffering from craft fatigue.)


We've been a busy house recently, elving away, making and baking and scurrying around in a mouse-like fashion. Experience has taught me that if I want to have a reasonably peaceful and stress free Christmas, and really relax into those last few moments before the big day, then I have to put the hours in now. I can't be one of those people who wrap their gifts on Christmas Eve, I just can't. I want to be enjoying a glass of something sparkly while watching Carols at Kings, not running around panicking because I've run out of sellotape. 

Gifts are being furiously made. I have just discovered Downton Abbey (why did I never watch this before?? It's wonderful!) and watched the first three episodes in a row last night snuggled under a blanket, happily crocheting away.
Cards have been written and are piled up ready to post. Is it me or are stamps really expensive now?
Gifts for my god-daughter and her new baby sister were finished, packed up and taken to the post office.
A li…