Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell 2014; You Kept Us Busy!

Teetering on the dawning of another new year; a time to look back at what the last 365 days brought us. 

So how was 2014 for you?  I hope it treated you kindly!  Will you be celebrating at the stroke of twelve?  Me? Well I’ll be in my PJs, having consumed a takeaway, watching Foyle’s War and eating chocolates; such a rock and roll lifestyle!! :o)

There is something about the New Year that I adore.  The blankness of the pages in my diary and a crisp new calendar hanging on the kitchen wall; a whole 365 days worth of potential just waiting for us!

In the most part, with the exception of the blip in the summer with my Mr’s work life, this year has been joyous, filled with family fun, friends and much laughter, and when I compare the ride we’ve had to others close to us, we’ve had it easy, and for that I am thankful, and feel incredibly blessed.

The girls have grown another year older, their little personalities beginning to shine through just a little more each time they grow.  C, a book loving, soft hearted, fun loving child, she has been my little rock this year; great company, and such a great conversationalist! 

M, my forever baby, cheeky, a giggler, wears her heart on her sleeve and often lives in her own little world.

We’ve been on our adventures with them, had fun, and learnt more than any school could have taught them.  Home educating them is a gift and pleasure.

From a productive point of view, it was another bumper jumper year; over 20 woollies knitted and sold to fabulous customers both here and overseas. 

Lots of my little felt posies also crossed the miles as far and wide as Australia and the USA.

I also added more than a few knitting patterns to my collection, so there will be lots more woollies coming in 2015!!  Oh to have the time to knit them all :o)

2015 is already shaping up to be another good year.  I’ve given up making resolutions, after all, I’ll only end up breaking them.  Instead I’ll be making a list of things I hope to do, and places I hope to take those girls of mine.

To each and every one of, thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and for your wonderful comments and kind emails, especially those of you who got in contact over the summer.  I genuinely hope that 2015 is kind to you, and that it is everything you hope it will be.


Monday, 29 December 2014

We've Been Making Memories

To all of you who celebrated the festive season, I hope you had the Christmas you wished for.

We were very fortunate and had a very relaxing time, making lots of memories with our little pickles, and the rest of the family. 

Mr Y has been on holiday for over a week now, how is it that holidays fly by so quickly?!  To be fair, it seems like he has been on holiday a lot longer as we have kept ourselves very busy.

As soon as my Mr had finished for Christmas, we popped out of the county and over the boarder into Norfolk to make a rather special visit to the man of season; a ride on the Santa Special on the North Norfolk Railway.

Although we’ve taken countless rides on the NNR, it was the first time we’d taken the girls on the festive special steam train.  The Black Prince did the pulling, and it was such a crisp, clear winter’s day, with stunning views, it was truly magical for them and us!! 

After sherry, a mince pie and a little bit of carol singing, we had a warming lunch in Whelks Copper and a brisk, blustery (freeeeeeeezing cold) walk along the prom before heading back into Sheringham for some last minute Christmas shopping and a trip to the fudge shop!!  The coffee fudge from there is divine!

A quick journey in the car to Norwich, where we were resting our heads for the night, an overindulgent dinner picnic and the final of Strictly Come Dancing, our weekend couldn’t have been better!

On the 22nd, we made our yearly pre-Christmas trip to the local pantomime; this years offering was Cinderella.  It really was a great night, highly entertaining and engaging.  The evening’s entertainment was only slightly marred by the beastly man to my Mr’s left who felt it necessary to belch loudly after every sip of his seemingly never ending supply of Pepsi!!!  He looked like such a sweet little old man - proves you can never judge a book by it's cover!!! ;-)

Anyway, I finally managed to track down that illusive golden marzipan, so was able to finish my booze laden Christmas cakes!  We’ve made a start on the one for us; the others were for gifts and seemed to be well received.  I don’t eat Christmas cake, can’t stand dried fruit, so ours should last well into January.

For the first time since we’ve been married, we had Christmas Eve as just the four of us, and it was perfect.  Of course, there were some last minute preparations to be done, a mountain of vegetables to peel and chop, those last few presents to wrap, but we crammed the rest of the day full of family games, and festive baking to ensure that the little monkeys were tired right out! 

Watching Santa fly through the night sky at about 5.20, flying from West to East, added an extra special touch of magic to the day, before they tucked into a meal of roast gammon, jacket potatoes and pickles, then we all snuggled on the sofa to watch Arthur Christmas.  

Once offerings had been left for Father Christmas and his Reindeers, (yes, I burnt their cookies!), it was time for bed, and time for Mr Y and I to put our feet up with Foyle’s War and a box of Roses for company!

Christmas Day went smoothly, and all the days and weeks of preparation really paid off.  We spent it at home, cooking a roast dinner for my parents and brother, and the crackers that I made only a few days before went down really well. 

With the exception of my mum, everyone else spent the afternoon constructing some of the Lego that the girls had received for Christmas.  You’re never to old for Lego!   

I was lucky and was gifted some truly lovely things, including some scrumptious vintage goodies.  There were more knitting patterns from Mr Y (he knows me so well!), 6 brooches to add to my ever expanding 1940’s brooch collection (he had apparently been collecting these for months, sneaky thing!) and two new wool holders, one in a bright lemon yellow, the other grass green!

But my all time favourite gift was a Womens Land Army brooch, just like my Nan would have worn during WW2, given to me by my parents.

The tree is looking a little worse for wear, a few bald spots on its bauble heavy branches, and I’m itching to take it down, but it’s my birthday tomorrow, and I’ve never had a birthday without the tree being up, so I’m resisting the urge to de-needle everywhere; that can wait until New Year’s Eve!!!


Friday, 19 December 2014

Exciting Times!!

Woohoo!!  Today marks the end of the school term, a glorious 2 weeks stretching before us.  As I sit here typing this, when I should really be wrapping the last of the presents, my girls are off on a jolly jaunt with their grandma for a trip into the town and a hot lunch somewhere.  C has dressed up for the occasion, with dress, petticoat, and cardigan; oh how I love her dress sense.

Can’t quite believe it’s the 19th already?!  I promised myself last year that this year would be different, that there would be no mad last minute rushing and that I would have every card written and parcel wrapped before the middle of the month.  I haven’t!!  There are cakes to marzipan and ice, presents to wrap, a couple still to buy (hoping for divine inspiration!!) and a few handmade gifts to finish making. 

It’s not that I’ve been lazy; we’ve actually had a pretty busy month so far, with lots of festive fun, indulging in the magic of Christmas and making things special for my growing girls.  I've done a lot of shopping, most is for other people, but I couldn't resist a couple of knitting patterns for myself :o)
One of my favourite knitting models in colour!
There was a trip to a chocolate shop where tasty treats were bought, (the snowman is no more!!) and a visit to family for festive fun.

The girls and I made a gingerbread house where little fingers got a little trigger happy with the piping bag!

Each year we let the girls choose a new decoration for the tree.  This year C went for a sparkly glass polar bear, and M picked a mahoosive Santa! 

They have joined our ever increasing collection of decorations, some more special to the girls than others.

We bought the tree, a scrumptious smelling 7 foot pine.  It took me a while to choose “the” tree, it always does.

The girls thought their luck was in this year, as we got to decorate it twice!  Yes, twice!  Three days after the tree had been decorated, both sets of blasted lights burned out!  I was so disappointed and more than a little cross.  The air was blue!  So,  decorations off, lights off, new lights on and then decorations back on, and the tree was restored to full twinkling glory!

This lovely man of mine turned another year older; 43 this year.  Such a cute picture of him at a family wedding the in 1970’s with his velvet shorts and white shirt!

Yours truly baked two dozen cupcakes for him to take into school for the other science teachers to enjoy. 

The very next day this lovely little lady turned 7!

I can’t quite believe she’s 7.  Every girl deserves to look the best for their birthday, so I finally cut into this gorgeous Poppy and Fred fabric, and with the help of my mum, made dresses for both girls.

And as you can’t have a birthday without a cake, I made her a baby Toothless dragon cake.

The girls’ came down with a rotten cough and cold last week, which was rubbish for them but quite fortuitous for me!  It was a week of Calpol and Christmas films, their fuzzy little heads being up for little else, and lots of knitting time, and now I just have the one sleeve to finish on my mum’s jumper.  Will it be done in time for the big day?  I hope so! 

I better crack on with the wrapping before my pair of little peepers come home!!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Bit of This and That.

Well, I was looking back through my blog and it would appear that it has been a while since I’ve done a catch up post, so I’m here to try to rectify that!

So what have we been occupying ourselves with lately?  Well, let’s go back quite a few weeks, back into October, to be precise, when the weather was unseasonably warm, and the evenings weren’t as dark and chilly as they have been of late.

October started out pretty poorly really, when we had a decidedly scary few days when some planned building work went awry.  The back of our Victorian house is rendered.  It wasn’t something we had done, it was done many years before we bought the property, but we had always wanted to have it refreshed as there were some cracks in it, as happens in old properties.  Anyhoo, the builders turned up with cement, sand, mixer, all that gubbins, and the craziness and mess began. 

Argh, the dust!  I’ve never seen so much dust.  It was literally everywhere; in the cupboards, over all my precious things, at the front of the house, the back of the house, up my nose!  I’m sure you get the picture. 

I won’t bore you with the finer details, but the long and the short of it was that on the second day, they discovered that the moron of a builder who had done some previous work on my beloved home had basically rendered the property to cover a multitude of his sins and shoddy work!!  Cue tears, fretful phone calls to parents and chocolate consuming!

Thankfully, the builders were incredible, (I think my tears had a hand in that) and when plied with bacon and egg sandwiches, with added dust!, they worked tirelessly to put right what had been done oh so wrongly, and made everything good once more, with not a shoddy bit of brickwork in sight!  They were even kind enough to let my curly haired girl have a go at rendering!

Understandably, our daily routine was up in the air, and it took me a couple of weeks to get things straight again, hence my sporadic Facebook and Blog updates!  

However, the half term brought with it a week off together, so we made the most of it.

Somewhere we’ve always fancied visiting was Crich Tramway Museum.  It’s quite a trek from home for us, some 160 miles, but we combined it with a little hotel stay so we could enjoy an entire day riding the trams without a tiring journey home. 

The girls loved it and my Mr was like a child in a sweetshop looking at all the trams in the shed!  The village had been lit for Halloween, so we waited until dark, when many people had gone home, and saw the woods in all their eerie glory!  M isn’t that keen on the dark, so stayed firmly at my side, her warm little hand held securely in mine.  C, dressed in her dark winter coat, found it hilarious to creep up on her dad in an attempt to frighten him!  It is on days like this that their personality differences really show.

The end of October meant it was time to pick the pumpkins which had been so lovingly grown by the girls.  The pumpkin plants ended up being gargantuous, creeping their way over an immense amount of the garden!  Who knew they could grow so big!?  Not us, that’s for sure.  The girls’ were rewarded for their green fingers, and the plants yielded these weighty beasts (and a tiddler to boot!)

A couple of weekends ago, we went to Cornwall for a real whistle stop tour!  We spent little more than 30 hours in my Mr’s beautiful home county, and we were asleep for 15 of those, but we had a good reason for going.  We did the annual family Christmas present drop off and we picked up our new car!  I’m not really that fussed about what car I travel in.  My only requirements are that it will get me from A to B safely, but I have to admit that I am a little bit enamoured with our new automobile, not least because it has heated seats and can keep my backside warm in the coming winter months! :o)   

On the way home from Cornwall, we stopped, as we always do, at Reading Services (oh how I dislike motorway driving!) and were persuaded by our two little monkeys that there was a “need” to bring some tasty delights back home to East Anglia.  Mmmm……..doughnuts!!!!!

On the 16th, we celebrated 12 years of marriage.  I can’t believe I’ve been with this man of mine for over 13 years!  It’s been a fantastic journey.  We had a lovely family meal, and then just the two of us went to watch The Imitation Game at the cinema.  The film was brilliant, a worthy watch, so much so that I hope to go again.

When my fingers have needed a break from the knitting needles, I’ve picked up a spot of crafting of the felt kind and have made some more posies, and have finally added some more anemones to my Etsy shop.

A friend kindly informed me today that it is only 4 weeks until Christmas Eve!  Are you ready?  I’ve dipped my toe in the water, so to speak, and made a start, albeit a feeble one, on preparations for the big day!  Four cakes baked, I must add not all for us, and 3 puddings boiled.  The house smelt fabulously festive.  Ever since I was a child, the smell of the cake baking slowly in the oven has signified the countdown to Christmas.  I can’t deny it, I am more than a little bit excited about this festive season :o)                   

Talking of festive makes, I have decided, maybe foolishly, to once again make some handmade gifts.  I fear I’m being a little ambitious, as I have picked some not so small projects.  One is a jumper for my dad, quite a simple design, not Fair Isle like the last two!  The other is a jumper for my mum, a design she has wanted to have made for an age, but, as is so often the case, never got round to.

My girls are off swimming today, happy time spent with their Grandma, and I should be doing some of things that little eyes shouldn’t see this time of year!  Instead, I think I’d much rather curl up, knit, and watch a festive favourite.  My afternoon will more likely than not look like this.

I hope all is well with you, wherever you are xx