Friday, 28 December 2012

Christmas catch-up

Just the five of us at home this year so it was a very laid-back Christmas.  No visitors, no schedule, no dressing up - just a very relaxing, laid-back couple of days. 

Nobody stirred until after 8am on Christmas morning - now that we have three teenagers in the house the 6am starts are a thing of the past.  8am is so much more civilised!

MrG did all the grocery shopping and all the cooking.  Christmas has always been his time to shine in the kitchen, he has been in charge of our Christmas food since the children were small.  He enjoys cooking, trying new recipes and experimenting with ingredients but doesn't get to spend much time in the kitchen unless he's on holiday.  Our lunch was a resounding success.  I do feel very lucky that I have a hubby who enjoys cooking! 

I really enjoyed the Christmas cookery programmes on the run up Christmas - Hugh, Nigella and Jamie.  They really get you in the mood don't they?  On Christmas Eve, after watching one of Jamie's programmes I was inspired to 'attempt' to make his Snicker semi-freddo and a chocolate meringue nest to have on Christmas Day instead of the traditional plum pudding.  My 'attempt' was amazing - lovely chewy meringue with creamy, nutty, chocolatey ice-cream.  Yum!

My only other tasks were to set the table and clear up the wrapping paper.  I know I'm spoilt!

Alf had a great time in the wrapping paper - jumping, diving and snuffling.

We were all pleased, delighted and 'chuffed to bits' with our presents.  

CK played a big part in my pressies this year!

I have really enjoyed having the time to catch-up and read the blogs I follow.  It's so nice to see the Christmas decorations and baking and to  read about family's and fun times.  Some blogs have such beautiful photos too - I really do need to take more photo's (a New Year's resolution?) to add to my blog. 

I hope you all had a great time over the Christmas holiday. x

Monday, 24 December 2012

Christmas Eve

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas - have fun!

Friday, 21 December 2012

four more

Last day of school today so after a morning spent singing Christmas carols in church we were able to head home by 1.30pm.  The Christmas holidays have begun - yippee!

Still got lots to do though.  We need to collect Ben from Uni (2 hours drive away), deliver presents to relatives (1 hours drive away), and then do the mammoth grocery shop.  

And if that isn't enough to think about, we have just heard that the lease for our new office is now ready to be signed so there is a possibility that we will be doing an office flit over the Christmas holidays!  In one way it's bad timing because we won't be able to sit and relax and recharge our batteries (totally vegetate) but on the other hand if we do get everything moved into the new place we will be able to make a fresh start in the New Year.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

this time next week

the panic will be over.  

The decorations will be up, the food will be bought and crammed into the (too small) fridge, the cards will be written and received (hopefully) and the presents will be wrapped and unwrapped.  

Every year there's a mad rush to get things done but we all get there in the end!

collection of cards - growing by the day

little robin red (polka dot) breast
a tin of sweets for my Dad - who happens to be called Robin
a bunch of flowers from MrG - lovely

from Santa?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

ten days to go

And so the Christmas countdown begins...

a tasty gift from my sis made by my niece

Friday, 14 December 2012

fresh freesias

It would have been my Mum's 68th birthday today.  I bought a bunch of her favourite flowers - fragrant freesias.  I wish you could smell them, they're divine.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmas 'do'

Last night we had our book-club Christmas 'do' at a local restaurant.  Much fun and frivolity.  Oh boy was the food good.  Sorry I don't have any photo's - I'm sure they wouldn't have done it justice anyway but see if this line-up makes your mouth water...

... Starter ...
 Chicken Liver Pate wrapped in Serrano Ham, Pear Chutney 
& Toasted Brioche
... Main ...
Baked Fillet of Salmon on Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Vine Tomato, Red Pepper & Chorizo Dressing
... Sweet ...
Chocolate & Vanilla Crème Brulee with Butter Shortbread

I'm already planning my next visit.  I may surprise MrG with a Christmas 'do' of our own - just the two of us!


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

getting side tracked

I got my sewing machine out tonight to take in some trousers (ready for the Book Club Christmas 'do' next week) but ended up using it as a drying rack for these little birds.  I bought blank wooden birds from ebay and used gift wrap to decoupage them.  I then added some glass beads.  Once dry I will give them a coat of varnish then they'll be good to go.  I plan to pop some in with Christmas presents and keep a couple to hang on my dresser.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

parcel of pressies

My darling friend Ginny sent me a surprise parcel today.  I'm sure she has psychic powers because she has a knack of getting in touch just when I'm in need of cheering up.

This did the trick - a lovely parcel full of gifts, a late birthday present and an early Christmas present.  Oh how exciting.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

cuttlebug cards

I met my sister in Penrith again today.  This time 'shopping' wasn't on the agenda.  A couple of weeks ago we booked ourselves onto a card making workshop and today was the day.

The craft shop holds various workshops throughout the year.  Today, the lovely Samantha took us through numerous techniques using the Cuttlebug to emboss and cut shapes in card. 

We were shown how to use distress inks, glitter, chalks, ribbons and buttons to decorate our cards.

The workshop was really well planned and we whizzed through loads of cards.  Samantha was full of ideas and gave us lots of handy tips.

The day flew by as we were all totally engrossed - it was great fun.

If you live near Penrith and fancy going to one of the workshops send Samantha a message via her blog I will definitely do another workshop after Christmas so maybe I'll see you there!


Friday, 30 November 2012

frosty start

Fffreezing cold today.  This is the car windscreen.  Isn't Jack Frost amazing?!

This is the last day of my MissG challenge - I successfully completed a 'blog a day' for the whole of November. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

barton grange

My friend Helen whisked me away for the day.  We went to browse around the Christmas decorations and gifts at Barton Grange Garden Centre - and to chat and have lunch of course!  We had a lovely day.

I took some photos inside but they're not great (bit blurry and out of focus) but I did take these two outside.  A full-size horse and cow made with living plants.  I have some of these plants in my garden wall but I can't remember what they are called.  

We also saw a few monkey puzzle trees and I was amazed at the prices - we have one in our garden (we inherited it from the previous owners) and it has doubled in size in the fifteen years we have been here - it would cost over a thousand pounds to buy.  Blimey!?!

our front garden and drive - june 2012

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

all wrapped up

It has been sooooo cold today.  

I headed up the M6 today towards the Lake District.  The scenery was beautiful - the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was snow on the mountains - shame I couldn't stop on the hard shoulder to take some photos.  

I met my sister and aunt at Lowther Castle near Penrith to check out Lowther's Lavish Christmas Fair.

The stalls were laden with lavish gifts.  Lavish and expensive.  I would have loved to have bought myself a jacket - it was a gorgeous, velvety creation.  The perfect colours and with large polka dots - what more could a girl ask for?  Well maybe for the price to be a little (?) lower.  I think I would have struggled to part with £75 let alone £175.  Never mind.

The Castle itself looked quite splendid.  

It is in the process of being restored and there are some lovely features.  

Some of the stalls were in the converted stables.  

There's a very nice coffee shop too.

Afterwards we headed into Penrith for lunch and to do a little bit more Christmas shopping. 

A lovely day. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

out to lunch

Ever get that feeling that things are just not going your way?  

MrG and I went out for lunch today to cheer ourselves up.  We had a lovely lunch at the garden centre but I'm not sure it really hit the spot as our thoughts were elsewhere.  This 'life plan' lark takes a lot of thinking about, especially when little things are sent to try us!

I'm feeling a bit down, a bit tired and lethargic.  I need a boost, some good luck, some good news or something.  Please x

Monday, 26 November 2012

bah! boots

Now that the wintery weather is upon us I am after a pair of long winter boots.  Everywhere I go I see people wearing lovely long leather riding boots.  I'm not having much luck finding a pair that I like in my size though.  

I found some in Next, they were faux leather but at £48 they were a good buy.  Unfortunately everyone thinks they are a good buy too because they are 'out of stock' in every size!

I hunted down a pair I liked online, they were a bit pricey at £99 but they only had 1 pair left in my size so I promptly put in my order.  Today I went to M&S to collect them and was upset to find that I couldn't even get them on - they had no zips down the side and had to be pulled on like a pair of wellies - I was really disappointed.

The hunt goes on...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

delighted daughter

MissG is now the delighted owner of a dressing table.  

I found one on ebay, made one bid and won it.  MrG and I have been to collect it today.  

MrG has a new (to us) car and he was a tad concerned that we wouldn't be able to get the dressing table into the back!  Why didn't I check the size before bidding?  Well I did check the size of the space in her room but not in the boot of the car.  Doh!  

MrG used to have a car that was brilliant for picking up ebay purchases, the back seats lifted out so it was like having a van.  I've been all over the place collecting ebay purchases in the old car and have been able to fit in a dining table, 5 dining chairs, a bookcase, a computer table and a day bed - not all at the same time of course!  

Anyway, I don't know what all the fuss was about.  It fit in fine and is now sitting in the garage awaiting its make-over.  I'm hoping it will encourage MissG to keep her room tidy! 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

two ticks

Another two ticks on my to-do list.   Today my new electric oven has been installed √ and the light fitting is now up in the garage  √.

I have spent the afternoon in my craft room tinkering about and putting the finishing touches to some presents while MrG and MissG have gone grocery shopping for the ingredients for me to bake a Victoria sponge to put my new oven to the test! 

Friday, 23 November 2012

what a pain

This morning I had an appointment at the acupuncture clinic.  There was no pain there though.  It's hard to put into words but I do find it very relaxing.  Penny and I have a chat for half an hour or so beforehand and I do think that helps too - it's good to talk.  Afterwards I feel quite chillaxed (chilled-out and relaxed) and quite often sit in the car for a while and watch the world go by.

Then I have to snap out of it and get on with things.  'Things' today included a trip into town for some Christmas shopping.  I have just started my shopping over the last week or so, ordering a few bits and pieces online but now feel that the big day is approaching at an alarming rate I really must get into the shops and get stuck in.

My, oh my, what a pain it was though.  It was so busy and the queues were awful.  I went into M&S for some sandwiches for a 'quick' lunch but queued for about 20 minutes.  Am I the only one that avoids the self-serve check-outs?  I really don't like them at all - I think it's like doing someone out of a job and I like interacting with a 'real' person.  I sound so grumpy don't I?  I told you it was a stressful shopping trip!  I did manage to get everything on my list but I don't think I'll head into town on a Friday afternoon again.  I wonder which is the best (quietest) day to go in - I want to avoid those queues!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

the greyest day

Today has got to be one of the greyest days ever.  We have had the most awful wet and windy day here.  The afternoon got darker and darker with each passing hour and by 3.15 when I had to venture out for the school run it was so grey and gloomy that I had my full headlights on in the car. 

On a more positive note though... another item can be ticked off my to-do list.  The joiner came round this morning and fitted two new doors - one door through to the garage and one to my craft room.  I've never had a door on my craft room so it's quite exciting for me (I know I don't get out much!) and it now feels like a 'proper' room.  It should be a lot cosier in there and therefore a more appealing place for me to sit and 'craft' to my hearts content!  I have been doing a few things - sewing and decoupage - but can't show pictures as they're for Christmas presents and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

fading flowers

There is still a bit of colour in the garden - all faded and past it's best but still hanging on in there.

faded pink hydrangea

red geraniums and verbena

blue campanula

orange gerbera

My friend Helen bought me this potted plant for my birthday at the end of September and it has flowered non-stop, I think we're now onto flowers 3 and 4 and I can already see flower 5 sprouting.  I am amazed (and delighted) that I have managed to keep it alive and looking so good.  I don't buy indoor plants anymore because I just don't have the knack, I either parch them dry or drown them in kindness. Gerbera's are my one and only success.  I may have to get more - I know they come in some fantastically jewelled colours. 

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

blogging and giveaways

I'm not yet feeling 100%.  I've been into the office today but have been quite lazy since coming home.  I have snuggled up on the sofa with a hot water bottle, fleecy blanket and my iPad.  

I have been reading lots of blogs and admiring all the beautiful photo's people manage to take.  I always regret not taking more photographs to add to my posts.

I have found a few new blogs tonight.   I clicked on links from one blog to another (it's amazing how the time flies doing this) and found some lovely new ones to follow.  There are some lovely Christmassy 'giveaways' too.  

Here is a link to a beautiful angel 'giveaway'

Here is a link to a Christmas fabric bundle 'giveaway' I'd love to make a fabric wreath as featured on the blog

I really wish I knew how to create picture links down the side of my blog - I need to have a fiddle about and see if I can do it!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Heart Handmade UK: Giveaway!

I'm feeling a lot better today, just a bit weak and wobbly.

I've been taking it nice and easy and just pottering around the house.  

I've also been catching up with my blog reading - there are some lovely blogs out there.

Heart Handmade UK is a favourite of mine - full of inspiring ideas.  Today I entered Claire's Giveaway to win a Cath Kidston Christmas felt decoration book and now I have to keep my fingers crossed until the 30th November!

Follow this link if you want to a chance to win too - Heart Handmade UK: Giveaway! Cath Kidston Felt Decorations Christmas Book and Falalala Felt

Sunday, 18 November 2012

feeling poorly

decidedly green around the gills!

I woke this morning feeling fine.  I made a breakfast of poached eggs, lightly fried sliced mushrooms and toast for MrG and I and we sat and discussed our plans for the day.  MrG had to go into work so my plan was housework, school uniforms and planning/preparing our evening meal.

By 12noon I had developed a headache and felt a bit nauseous.  I went for a 'little lie down' and didn't get up until 11.15pm!  I came downstairs for 10 minutes to say 'hi' then promptly skulked off back to bed.

Hope I'll feel better in the morning!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Christmas Fayre

Travelled up to Carlisle to visit the Christmas Fayre with my sister.

The hall was choc-a-bloc with stalls. A great range of locally sourced produce, arts and crafts, delicious food and drink - mulled wine and hot chocolate to keep us warm and get us into the festive spirit!

We bought some presents, some decorations and some home-made fudge. I took a few photo's (on my phone) but unfortunately they are too fuzzy and out of focus - sorry.

The Fayre is on tomorrow too so go take a look for yourself. 

Friday, 16 November 2012

friday feeling

oh don't you just love it?  It's one of the most wonderful feelings, isn't it?

The week has now reached the point of rest and relaxation!

No cooking tonight - a Chinese takeaway is on the menu.  MrG is on his way to collect it as I write!

The kids have a busy weekend planned - much texting and face-booking has gone into making the arrangements!  They are both meeting up with their friends in town, going to the cinema (Skyfall and Breaking Dawn) followed by a party tomorrow night.  Living where we do, in the middle of nowhere and with very, very limited public transport, there will be lots of taxi-ing around but MrG (the wonderful MrG) has offered to do it while I swan around shopping with my sister again!  Marvelous!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

tackling the to-do list

I've been able to tick the first thing off my to-do list √

I had an impromptu day off work today and didn't need to go out until the school run at 3.15pm so I changed into my 'scruffs' to do some painting.

I think I may have already blogged about my huge wardrobe and how I gave it a make-over.  

it started life as 'orange' pine

Well, I started giving it a make-over but didn't quite finish it as although the frame and five doors got painted, the five drawers (underneath the doors) were left with just the undercoat done.  

I am happy to say that my wardrobe has now had the final touches to it's make-over and it can be ticked off the list. √

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

shopping with sis

Today I met my sister for a spot of shopping in Penrith, the Gateway to the Lakes.

We live an hours drive away from each other so Penrith is a handy little town for us to meet as it's about half way (well, 40 mins for me and 20 for her).  

There are some nice little independent shops which are especially pretty at this time of the year, all decorated with their Christmas stock.

There's quite a good selection of eateries.  We had tasty panini's in The Bewick this time but the food is great at No.15 too.

There is a small craft shop where they stock a wide variety of crafty things.  Samantha, gave us a demonstration on a Cuttlebug machine.  I hadn't heard of a Cuttlebug before but I happened to mention how much I liked the intricately cut paper samples that were hanging up and Samantha explained that they had been created using a Cuttlebug. 

It is a small portable machine used for cutting and embossing.  It's quite a pricey piece of kit but it creates a really professional look and I'm sure both MissG and I could make all sorts with it!  My sister and I have signed up for a workshop to learn how to use a Cuttlebug to make Christmas cards and we will hopefully learn a few tricks of the trade.  We may even ask Father Christmas for our very own Cuttlebugs.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

office bound

A day in the office today.  But between the filing and invoicing I took took a sneeky peek on ebay to see how bidding was going on a vintage wire shelf I've had my eye on for our bathroom - unfortunately for me the bidding went mad and I could see that there were two people outbidding each other every few minutes towards the end of the auction.  In the end it went for far more than I was prepared to pay.  The only thing is now I'll be scouring ebay for hours looking for something similar!

Monday, 12 November 2012

that monday morning feeling

really wasn't bad at all this morning.  Everyone was up and ready to do the school run at 8.  I think it helped knowing that the school day was to end at 1pm and we could all return home early.  Our school is trying out 'review appointments' in place of the traditional 'parents evenings' so once a term the whole school gets to finish at lunch time.

Just before the children came out of school I nipped into the shop and picked up some bread rolls filled with hot Cumberland swirls (sausages) and on the way home we called into the office and had lunch with MrG.

I have used my extra time at home quite productively - sanding a door frame, painting a wall in the kitchen, painting a couple of picture frames, sorting through a stack of mail, making dinner and doing some online pressie ordering.

Time now for a relaxing soak in the bath me thinks x

Sunday, 11 November 2012

autumn walk

Alf and I had a slippy walk along the canal today.  It was so muddy it was like skiing, with every step forward I slipped a bit backwards - it was quite a hard slog (but probably a good workout?) and I was relieved to get back onto terra firma.

view from canal towards our village

view over canal towards sheep!

It was only when I got back onto the road that I was able to look up and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  It was a gorgeous sunny day which made the autumn colours shine.