Saturday, 29 December 2012

Table Presents

My mum and G somehow managed to avoid the camera being focused on them during our Christmas lunch, obviously I was enjoying the food and wine too much to notice, but we do have S wearing her cat ears

and T masquerading as a bear, or could it be a reindeer?

My sister actually looked a bit sinister wearing her pirate mask, the ladybird look suited her much more.

I think maybe I need to adjust my HRT dosage!

And I just had to include this one of S wearing a pair of glasses with specially shaped lenses which let you look at the world in the same way as a fly would. Loving the PJ's too.

Thank you all once again for all your messages of support and many kind words, each one was appreciated.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmastime and that you ate, drank and were very Merry indeed!
This Christmas hasn't been the easiest for a variety of reasons and it's not one I would ever wish to repeat. 
These photos will serve as a reminder that there were some laughs and smiles along the way.
Now where did I put that Immac?!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Thank you

A huge thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post, your kind words meant a lot at what is a very difficult time for my lovely husband.
Every single message was thoroughly appreciated.
Bloggers, just simply, are the best.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my friends, followers and random visitors a very Merry Festive Season. I hope you have all you wish for.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sad News

On Friday morning G's Dad had a stroke.
The doctor told everyone to expect the worst case scenario and very, very sadly yesterday evening B passed away.

I don't feel like I want to say too much as he is G's Dad and I know how it hurts to lose one so cherished.
What I can say, without a doubt, is that B was one of the gentlest, kindest and sweetest people there ever was.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Sparkly Trail

Now with a post title like that you may have been expecting to see photos of a snail let loose with a tub of glitter but it actually refers to our trip yesterday to Itchen Valley Country park to do the Christmas trail quiz.

It's the same country park we go to each year for the Halloween trail but this is the first time we've done the Christmas one. We liked all the festive pictures, here's our favourite ones.

As well as getting out for a walk and some fresh air we used our visit for something else which hopefully put a smile on the faces of other visitors. I had bought half a dozen bottles of bubbles and popped each one inside a plastic sandwich bag to protect it from the rain and stuck a label on saying 'This is a random act of Christmas kindness, ENJOY!' 
Here is S modelling one of the bags.

We then hid them around the different wooden climbing frames so they would be found by other children who had come to the county park.
This crocodile is at the very start of the trail and was the first one to be hidden, by the time we had completed the trail and got back here it was gone which was a very exciting feeling indeed!

Monday, 10 December 2012


Each week either before or after her swimming lesson S and I pop to Sainsbury's to do a top up grocery shop. On one of these trips a month or so ago I asked S to choose a tin or packet of food which we would then add to on a weekly basis and take as a donation to the City's food bank in time for Christmas.
I thought this was a simple idea (and relatively affordable way) to bring to the children's attention about how important it is to give to others at this time of year.
Then we had the idea of asking all our family and friends who were coming to our Christmas get together yesterday if they would mind bringing a small donation with them. They were all more than happy to and today I packed up my shopping trolley with 25 assorted tins, pasta and rice, cereal, tea bags and coffee.

In town I met up with my friend I and we spent a leisurely hour pootling around the art gallery looking at the two current exhibitions before heading off for a hot drink and cake.

If you want to give someone a kiss for Christmas then look no further than the official kissing point set up by one of the flower seller's.

I wonder how many smooches this mistletoe has seen so far?!

We are all hoping Father Christmas will be very generous with his gift giving in our house, do you think I should leave him some of this cheese instead of a mince pie on Christmas eve to try and curry favour?

The postman had a parcel to give me today. All the way from the USA and inside with a gift for each of us was a card with the cutest little trio of birds on the front of the envelope. Don't worry Sue I've safely tucked away the gifts and the card from the smallest people in the house!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Party Time!!!!

Today we had a little get together for family and friends.
We did a similar thing last year and as it was such good fun we decided we would do it all again this year.
Unfortunately I don't have very many photos to share, it's difficult rounding up 'volunteers' for the games, explaining the rules and then being on hand with the camera too.

I had a couple of quizzes set up in the front room. Guess the name of the Christmas song from an alternative title description such as 'Caribou with vermillion olfactory appendage', which of course is immediately recognisable as Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer.
The second quiz was made using an old RSPB calendar. I cut out the birds, stuck them onto a piece of paper. All our guests had to do was name them. To help I also listed which birds they were, they just had to pair the correct name with the correct bird.

As it was dry today I was able to go with Plan A which was to do a couple of games outside first before we did the indoor ones.
After everyone had divided themselves into two teams the first game was a Rudolph relay.
A smudge of Vaseline was needed to stick on a red paper nose and then holding a toy reindeer they had to prance their way up the course and back again. The reindeer was then handed to the next team member who stuck on a nose and away they went until all team members had had a go. Some were very graceful pranceers, one even did it 'gangnam' style!
Although I couldn't take part I did demonstrate what needed to be done and was told I had to wear a nose too, that's the reason for the slightly crazy reindeer lady look.

Once indoors and warmed up we got going with the Snowman wrap game. One toilet roll per team of two. Very simple game. Wrap your team member in a whole roll of toilet paper so they look like a snowman and add a crepe paper scarf.

I love what my cousin did to his little sister!

The snowman wrap was great fun but the one which caused the most laughter was the game which involoved blowing up balloons, stuffing them down a pair of tights (these were brand new!) and then putting on one team member's head to look like reindeer antlers.

Here my cousin decided his little sister needed to wear the tights pulled down a bit further, talk about being squashed in!

The afternoon was rounded off with a bit of a sing song. Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow and Buon Natale (I like a bit of Dean Martin and Nat King Cole at Christmas). 
I hope everyone left full of the festive spirit!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

When the Red Red Robin......

We haven't got our tree up yet, that's planned for next week, but I have been putting out a few decorations each day.

I love robins, they are handsome in their jolly rotund redness, but they also remind me of my dad. Not because he was red and rotund (well maybe just a bit eh dad?!), but he loved robins too and at this time of year he was especially jolly and he loved Christmas and being with his family.

So it makes me so happy to be drinking tea from my jolly robin Christmas mug

and I just had to buy this dotty, holly robin paper for wrapping up all S's pressies with.

Dreadful photo, but these are my new favourite Christmas ear-rings.

A hand knitted robin bought from a church Christmas bazaar for a few pennies

No robins to be found here, but this is my nest.
I love my bed.
And this duvet cover, it's so festive and snuggly.

Monday, 3 December 2012

The 12 Days of Christmas present

Today I want to share the present idea I have come up with this year for our friends R and S. They are (loosely) based around the 12 Days of Christmas carol.

1. A partridge in a pear tree. 
Well it just had to be a copy of I, Partridge for R and for the pear tree side of things there is a bottle of pink pear cider for S.
2. Turtle doves.
This one is for S, a bottle of Dove body lotion, quite an easy option.
3. Calling birds.
From doing some research into this song I found out that the song once contained the words 'colly birds' which means 'blackbird' and as R is a very keen cook we thought it would be fitting to buy him a blackbird pie funnel.
4. French Hens.
This one was a bit tricky to be honest. That is until I was wandering around TK Maxx looking for a birthday present when I spotted this mug with a Nice biscuit on it. Now this is a bit of a stretch, but if you read French hen as French 'en, then Nice fits as it's a French place beginning with 'N'! Hopefully S will enjoy a cuppa out of the mug at least.

5. Gold rings.
A small pack of golden wrapped Ferrero Rocher chocolates for R. Which just happens to contain 5 of them.
6. Geese a laying.
I was originally thinking maybe a Ryan Gosling film on DVD, gosling being a baby goose, but we went for a jar of goose fat for R given his culinary interests.
7. Swans a swimming. 
A female swan is called a pen so we bought S a pen and notebook, she is a list person. It was either that or a box of Swan Vesta matches!
8. Maids a milking.
Another present for S, a handbag size packet of tissues for her decorated with cows.
9. Ladies dancing.
Some alcohol for R here. We were thinking maybe a jar of spicy salsa, or a can of Tango, but in the end we chose a bottle of Pineapple Twist, rum with pineapple juice.
10. Lords a leaping.
R really likes cricket so something to do with Lord's cricket ground was one option, but as R already had a book we also got one for S. A book about Lord Lucan's disappearance. One Lord who leapt away from the law!
11. Piper's piping.
My initial thought on this was buying R a liquorice pipe, but this proved very tricky. Last Christmas S was very taken on Christmas eve with the gingerbread house we had decorated so along similar lines we have bought a decorate your own shortbread Christmas tree kit which contains a small tube of icing which you pipe on. Get it?!
12. Drummer's drumming.
Finally a bottle of shower gel for R. Very weirdly this fragrance is named 'Drums', weird but fortuitous for us.

Well done if you read to the end of all that.

I've wrapped it all today and now I just need to make up some numbered tags so presents are opened in order.
I really hope they like their little collection of oddities.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Christmas shopping trip to New Milton was planned for Saturday. Ages ago I had stumbled across information for their Christmas festival and we thought it would make a good family day what with the fairground rides, a French market, craft stalls and a Christmas parade. But you know what happens when you make plans, they get changed.
I still went to New Milton and had a fab day out, but it was with my mum because G stayed home, not feeling 100% himself and looking after a poorly S and T.

Mum and I watched the short Christmas parade (the dogs were our favourite)

and then meandered our way along the high street, checking out the stalls in between checking out the charity shops. One of them came up trumps for me. I now have a lovely new Irish tweed pure new wool coat, purchased for just £5.00 and it looks like it has hardly ever been worn.

So pleased was I with it I couldn't wait to wear it out today when we went to Manor Farm. When G saw me in it he first said it would look good on a scarecrow and then said I looked like I had gone out dressed as someone's nan. But it is so warm, it was like wearing a duvet.

The geese and chickens were pleased to see us at the farm as we had a bag of seed with us which we shared out between them as fairly as we could.

There were new born lambs in one of the barns and new born piglets in the sty which were an unexpected highlight

but the main reason for our visit was this

Father Christmas was popping into the farmhouse this afternoon and S took along her (and T's, yes I asked T to write one although he wasn't impressed!) letter. 

S has asked Father Christmas to put in her stocking a bubble gum dispenser and a Minnie Mouse cup, T has asked for chocolate and a keyring to add to his collection.

It was so hot and busy in the farmhouse I waited outside whilst G stayed with S and took a couple of photos. Father Christmas gave S a bell, asked her to close her eyes and make a wish as she rang it. She was then able to pick out a chocolate from a tin the elf helper was holding.

Here's hoping he can deliver their wishes on Christmas eve!

Friday, 30 November 2012

I hereby give you.....

fair warning that from today this little old blog of mine will contain the word Christmas on a daily basis and that there will be many photos along this theme too.That is as long as the internet connection behaves itself a bit more than it's been doing so far this week.

To kick off the festivities I thought I would show you the man in the red suit whose impending visit we are all getting just a tad excited about.
I bought this t-shirt in Primark during the week and I intend on wearing it as much as I possibly can over the coming weeks.

Santa Claus is coming to town..................

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Crafty Cards

An indoor day today meant S spent some time this afternoon on a spot of Christmas card making. She was busy with the paper, glue and sequins and I was busy reading the December edition of the Sainsbury's magazine.
Amongst the recipes which made my mouth water is the brown sugar brandy butter (although I'm not sure I even like brandy butter, but this does look so inviting) and a simple cinnamon cake which I hope to give a go soon as it sounds like perfect accompaniment to hot chocolate.

I enjoyed reading the column 'My Life' written by Fiona Gibson as it really struck a chord with me.
She has written about her views on how see feels towards buying Christmas presents for (and receiving them from) her husband. 

.....while this might sound horribly needy, there's nothing like having something chosen for me that makes me feel loved. If the search for said gift has involved many hours web surfing, plus several arduous journeys to town, then so much the better.......... Who would go to all that trouble for someone they regarded with indifference? ..........A hand-drawn picture in a charity shop frame is worth far more than all of the dismal boxes of chocolates in the newsagents............
This is our big chance to choose something delightful for the one we love the most.

I love Christmas.
I love everything about it.
I really, really love thinking up gift ideas for my family and friends.
I want to put some effort into it because if I care enough to want to give someone a gift then I want it to show I care.

Monday, 19 November 2012


This post is a little selection of things S has been up to over the past couple of weeks.

First day after half term was an inset day for S and as it was such a sunny one we wandered over the local park.  The reason for choosing this park is because of the zip wire which S had to herself for part of the time we were there.

Gingerbread men have been baked, there were plans to ice and decorate them but they were eaten before we got to that stage!

On our walk to school one morning we liked the way these leaves were silhouetted against a neighbour's the metal fence

Yesterday the two of us went to another park and took a sneaky box of Maltesers with us! S saw a couple of school friends and played happily for half an hour whilst I read a magazine. Happy half hour for us both.

Back home again we baked some mincemeat cakes from a recipe in the latest Co-operative free magazine. All were eaten with custard after our tea.

A new certificate for the wall, S has achieved her 10 metre swimming badge.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Lucky Winner

You may remember that I recently announced I am now amongst the ranks of those people who on reaching their early 40's discover they need to start wearing glasses, for computer use only you understand, which basically means whilst blogging and tootling around on Pinterest.

Anyway this very happily coincided with a give away which I entered and then was extremely lucky enough to win.

The prize is just the most gorgeous glasses case made by the very talented Gina at rosiebull designs and embroidered on the front is the four word phrase I can be heard saying on a very regular basis 'Have you seen my glasses?'

Thank you Gina, my new case makes me smile every time I see it.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Presents for Friends

I found the initial inspiration for Christmas gifts to my friend and her two boys via, yes you've guessed it, Pinterest.

First up is the one for my friend T and this pin showing the nail varnish and tag 'for your mistletoes' was my starting point, such a simple and sweet idea.
 To go with it I bought a tube of foot butter and a pair of woolly stripy tights. 
I was really pleased with this little trio and even more so when I found a little picture of a piece of mistletoe in my stash of cut up old cards to stick on the gift tag.

For her two boys I ordered each of them a Christmas DVD, Grounded for the older one, Deck the Halls for the younger. These have gone into a gift box with a big bag of popcorn 

and a cola bottle reindeer!

I hope they like them.