Friday, 31 December 2010

Three Birthdays and A Happy New Year

Well since my last post, we've had 3 more birthdays  Rachel and Becky  celebrated  theirs yesterday and it's mine today! Last night we joined Becky's family for a celebration dinner Becky is 30, Rachel went out with her friends to celebrate her 25th birthday!
This morning I had a lovely basket of flowers delivered, a gift from my cousin and gym partner Tina, I was really lucky to get a scarf and 2 dvds from James and Becky and  Gwen Headley's  book Drawn to Stitch from Rachel.

Then Dave and I went out for lunch to the George and Dragon in Ingatestone, I went there for lunch a few weeks ago with Lady Bugs patchwork group. We are going to spend a quiet evening in tonight and go for a walk tomorrow, this has become a tradition.

I am hoping that 2011 is a better year than 2010, which hasn't been a great year for me or my family, we miss my Mum a lot.  I'm not making any resolutions which I will break in the first few days, I just want it to be a good one.

I  want to wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010


Christmas is almost over, we had a lovely time despite the sore throats and sniffles (yes I have got a sore throat). Dave's Dad spent Christmas with us, he has now returned home. He says he had a lovely time and  enjoyed himself, shame his face didn't show it,  it's hard work! At least this year the work was shared  as most of the holiday was spent at James and Becky's. It was the first Christmas in their new home, considering that they only moved in two weeks ago they made a lovely Christmas for us all.

Yesterday we went to see Jacqueline and her family for a few hours. We  sampled the Christmas cake, that Charlotte and Jacqueline made, not the pink one Charlotte had taken that one home, never mind! The one we tasted was lovely and I was lucky enough to get a lovely hand made bowl, emery boards and a soap from Jacqueline, and yes I did try the bowl on my head!

Today we've stayed in and watched dvd's and films on the TV. Thankfully the Christmas food has nearly all gone...................

Friday, 24 December 2010

Twenty Fourth- Advent Blog

All the presents are wrapped and under the tree, Hooray! I have found blogging every day for twenty four days to be a challenge, but thanks to Gina I've found some lovely blogs which I will continue to follow into the new year!

So far this month we have celebrated 3 family birthdays Dave, Matt (my nephew) and James, we still have 3 to go, Becky and Rachel both on the 30th  and mine on the 31st, Christmas is just a blip that happens in between Birthday cakes...........

Thank you to everyone that has read or commented on my blog during the last year.

I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Twenty Third Day- Advent Blog

Today is James' birthday he's 29,  we went to James and Becky's house for drinks and birthday cake.  Becky's family were there her sister, her husband, Becky's Mum, Dad and Granddad. Rachel came home today and is staying with us for a week, it was nice all being together, in fact we will be together for most of Christmas.

Becky and James cutting the cake
Dave gave up on the turmeric and honey after keeping himself and me awake all last night coughing, he finally went to our doctor, who prescribed antibiotics. Hopefully by tomorrow he'll be coughing a lot less......... Lunch time he went off to pick up our new car it's a Ford Kuga, I driven it to my brothers house, it's lovely car to drive, I've been a bit worried as it's so much bigger than the Fiesta.

Sadly the decorations v. dusting theory doesn't work, I had to give the house a thorough clean today.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Twenty Second Day- Advent Blog

I'm feeling a lot better today, my throat is not sore, although I do have a bit of a headache which does not want to shift. Seems as though I don't have the nasty bug Dave has, thankfully! He went to a Walk- in Medical  Center yesterday in London, the doctor listened to his chest looked down his throat and agreed he had what everyone else has, and prescribed  1 teaspoon of honey mixed with 1 gram of Turmeric 2-3 times a day.......... After a bit of research on good old google Dave decided to give it a try, he's had 2 doses and says he feels much better. Who would have thought it? I'm waiting to see if his teeth and tongue turn yellow!!!!!!!
Well the two Christmas cakes are decorated, one for us no photograph, it's just iced with no decoration. Becky and James' cake has a bit of decoration but very minimal. I should be ashamed really, when we deliver it on Christmas day I'll have to smuggle it out of here. My next door neighbour is the niece of the tutor I had a college, if she sees it and tells him, well I don't know what he'd say...........
I have just piped dots onto the icing and used gold leaf here and there, I've never used it before but thought I'd give it a go as I don't own any food colouring. I did think about adding some acrylic paint to the icing but thought twice ( that is a joke by the way)! Jacqueline told me a story today ( I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it) She was in a cake decorating shop buying bits to decorate her cake, (take a look at her blog Charlotte's cake is lovely) another customer was buying edible glitter and said to the assistant "I didn't know you could buy the edible stuff, I usually just put craft glitter over  cakes" The assistant was astounded and said "you don't eat it do you?". "Yes it just passes through".  I can always rely on Jacqueline to make me laugh and cheer me up. Moral of this story is all that glitters is not edible!!!!!! The gold leaf is.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Twenty First Day - Advent Blog

Urrggh I feel really grim today. Dave has had a sore throat for a few days and it's developed into a really bad cough, I think I'm coming down with the same........ I have a sore throat and a bad headache. I'm hoping this doesn't develop into anything more, why do these things always happen around Christmas.

Today  was the Material Girls Christmas lunch, I missed it as I was feeling so grim, it was a shame but I really didn't want to pass anything on.

I have spent  time today wrapping presents, every year I say I'll do it as I buy them but never do!!!

An update on the Amazon situation, they have resent the books that went astray in the Royal Mail but this time they have sent them separately.  So far I've received one book another two to go, fingers crossed they get here before Christmas.

I don't like to post without a picture, this was taken a week or so ago, a squirrel looking for it's nuts I presume, it did this all over the garden, why I don't know.  There were nuts in the feeders and usually it climbs up and helps its self?

Monday, 20 December 2010

Twentieth Day- Advent Blog

The things that bring colour into my life!

New paints...........
New project.........
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Eighteenth and Nineteenth Day - Advent Blog

Oops I missed a day, but this one is for two days, a bit long I know...........

Friday I went off for the weekend with Dave, my brother Ray and sister in law Michelle to Belgium. I did think if it snowed Ray may decide not to drive all that way,  I knew that it would be unlikely that he would call it off. This is  the reason I thought I may come back twitching, but  I'm not!!  It did snow and no he didn't call it off,  he picked us up and off we went, actually the worse road was ours.  Once we were on the main roads it was fine all the way to Ypres, that's where we were staying. That evening we went to the Last Post Ceremony it happens at 8pm every evening of the year at the Menin Gate. It was really very moving, but absolutely freezing!

The Last Post Ceremony, Menin Gate


Town Square Ypres

Shame the shop was closed

Thankfully the shop was closed!!!!!!!

Saturday after breakfast we set off through the snow to visit Memorials and War Graves from the First World War. Our first stop was at Sanctuary Wood, and Hill 62 here there is a memorial to the brave Canadian Soldiers how fought in defence of Ypres from April to August 1916.

Sanctuary Wood Trenches

Hill 62

Hill 62

 After a coffee break we  visited Tyne Cot War Graves, there are 11,954 graves 8,367 are of un-named soldiers. As you can see  it was deep snow, thank goodness for our walking boots! 

Tyne Cot

Tyne Cot Block House

Tyne Cot

Grave with No Name
Then we went to pay  our respects to Michelle's Great Grandfather Stephen, his grave is in a small cemetery next to the road in Elveringe. I do have to say that all of these cemeteries are kept in the most wonderful condition and show such respect to these brave men. Ray and Michelle have been visiting Stephen's grave every year for I think 8 or 9 years. This is mine and Dave's second visit to the area, last year  the weather was a lot better.

Stephen  Ferry

Then it was back to Ypres  and  more food and a couple of well deserved drinks!

It was decided that we would start for home straight after breakfast today as the weather didn't look as though it would be too good. It was a very good and quick journey home, we got onto an earlier train than we had booked, we were home for lunch......

Here's to next year,  we  are planning  to pay a visit to Ray and my great uncle's grave and Michelle has another 2 relatives buried in France so we are going to make a visit to them as well, but in better weather. It wasn't all visiting war graves we did a bit of shopping and a lot of laughing, we had a really great time. I was so glad that Ray insisted we went and didn't give in, but then Ray never gives in, he has a lot of courage, for many reasons he is someone I admire.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Seventeenth Day -Advent Blog

Not much dusting to do, cover most surfaces with garlands and decorations then you can't see the dust. I just dash round the floors with a mop and it's all done. Mind you it's a different story once Christmas is over ( I know some of you will be thinking she never dusts anyway!)
Thanks for the comments on yesterdays post, that's only the second time I've seen a woodpecker in my garden in 25 years, so I was lucky to catch it with the camera.
By Sunday I think I'll be twitching rather than a twitcher tell you more Sunday watch this space......
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Sixteenth Day - Advent Blog

Is this a woodpecker?  I spotted it in a neighbours tree which overhangs into our garden. Sorry not  brilliant images but I couldn't get it to pose properly! Can you even spot it in the bottom image?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Fifteenth Day - Advent Blog Update

Just so you know I have received 4 orders from Amazon no problem! It's just one that hasn't arrived, but as they are Christmas gifts it's 1 to many, and I ordered them in November!!!!!!

Fifteenth Day - Advent Blog

Today is the second of the Birthdays that our family celebrate in December, Happy Birthday Matt.

The bathroom is fully complete now, the blind was installed today.  I can have a shower with the light on! That'll be good, I'm fed up on these dark mornings when I get up early to go to the gym. Our bathroom is at the front of the house and I've been told by Dave and Rachel that no one can see but.........

The mincemeat pies were a great sucess, Dave took a few to work and I had a phone call to ask how did I make the topping, one of the girls wants to make some. I think I may cancel the ones on order and make more of these.  If I do I'll have to book in extra visits to the gym in the new year.

This afternoon I posted the remaining Christmas cards and a parcel, fingers crossed they get delivered before the big day. I'm waiting for a parcel from Amazon to be delivered it should have been here on the 9th,  I'm not holding much hope. I'm waiting to hear from Amazon, I've emailed them but not heard back as yet,  it may be too late for Christmas, one of the downfalls of internet shopping I suppose.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Fourteenth Day- Advent Blog

This morning I went to get weighed lost 1lb which is a miracle  and better than I deserve, considering quite a few meals out this week and of course the fish and chips on the move day!!!!!!! I decided not to stay for the meeting but dash across to the super market and pick up a few supplies to make the frangipane mince pies from Gina's blog.  I cant say that they were a 100% success but they do taste great, (ssh! don't tell anyone I've eaten two), some look fine and some will be ok with custard over them to hide the defects. I forgot to add the flaked almonds on two batches, and maybe I overfilled the cases with the mincemeat, but at least I tried. I'm going to put some of them in the freezer so there will be some left for Christmas. Glad I have a ordered a couple of boxes as a standby from Waitrose.

Rejects below - overfilled and I managed to slice the top off a couple!!!!!!!
Bet you cant wait for the blog where I decorate the Christmas cake...............

Monday, 13 December 2010

Thirteenth Day- Advent Blog

It's hard to believe that today is 13th December, Christmas is certainly coming at a pace! All my gifts are bought, not wrapped as yet. But, I have those two huge bags of ironing done, phew!!! If I ever offer to do that again shoot me please!  It was for a good cause and I love them (not the ironing, James and Becky) and that's what Mums do isn't it? Anyone else do things like that for their children?

Anyway going back to the nuts, fat balls etc. While I was resting my back from all the ironing, I sat by the window with my camera poised. I caught these on camera, Gold Finches I think, I should have asked for a bird book from Santa. At one point there were five on the feeder or waiting their turn. The Robin was hanging around and was swooping in from time to time trying  to scare them away but was so quick I couldn't get it in shot a bit out numbered today though.  I'll keep trying............

Yesterday we put the tree up, not a real one, I cant be doing with all the mess, but I do miss the smell. I must say it does look better in the flesh. I've pictured a few of the decorations that we have bought while on holiday in America over the years.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Twelth Day- Advent Blog

Taken on 1st December 2010

Decided to try and attract more birds to the garden by not only putting nuts and seeds into the feeders but fat balls too, it seems to be working. Great Tits and Blue Tits as well as the Robins are visiting the fat balls as well as finches........ especially during the snow.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Eleventh Day- Advent Blog

Well it was up with the lark this morning, a bit of a house clean here, while Dave took Rachel home and  visited his Dad. By 2 o'clock  we were back at James and Becky's to carry on with helping them get straight. Becky's parents were there too, after a lovely lunch of butternut risotto, I decided to clean the oven, if I was moving house and leaving my oven I would clean it!!!!! After a couple of hours the oven and hob were shining like new, (well not new, but a lot better than before I started). By the time we all left  there were Christmas lights decorating the outside of their house and indoors the Christmas tree is decorated, a sorted kitchen, bedrooms, living room all sorted. They have quite a lot of boxes still to unpack, I stupidly offered to do their ironing so I now have two huge bags of shirts etc. I must be mad.......

Sorry no pictures today either, must do better tomorrow.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Tenth Day- Advent Blog

Today is the first of the family birthdays - Happy Birthday Dave. Next year it's a really big birthday for him so I'm planning to do something really special for him! This year he had a busy and tiring birthday, James and Becky moved house today! We were on the moving and cleaning team, with Rachel Becky's Mum, Dad and Granddad, her sister and brother in law joined once they finished work,  everything went to plan. They got the keys at twelve o'clock so we spent all afternoon getting cupboards wiped out I cleaned three bathrooms!
Tonight we all celebrated the move and Dave's birthday with fish and chips, champagne and birthday cake.

No photographs today sorry, promise there will be one tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ninth Day - Advent Blog

Today I met my daughter Rachel at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) we visited the Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes and the Imperial Chinese Robes from the Forbidden City exhibitions.  We have been planning to go to see the Diaghilev exhibition for ages, we both really enjoyed both exhibitions. No photos I'm afraid but I took these  of a red shoe and a patchwork dress.

This has a lot of reflection but you get the idea!

We then went to Oxford Street for a quick bit of retail therapy and left before the student protesters arrived thankfully! All this before lunch.........

For lunch I took a journey down memory lane, the Barclays Bank branch  that I worked in 29 years ago, 9 Gracechurch Street, is now a restaurant  bar! The building was listed so the interior is still the same, dark wood paneling and marble columns.  It's the first time I've been back since I took James, when he was about 3 months old.

My desk was by the window just behind where the two men are sitting! We then walked back to Fenchurch Street Station after a walk through Leadenhall Market, it wasn't quite so glamorous when I worked there it had a couple of pubs, a fish shop, cheese shop and fruit and vegetable shops. Now there are expensive clothes shops, how I would have loved that, I remember being over the moon when a Chelsea Girl ( I think that was what it was called) opened in Fenchurch Street. Well that's enough of my nostalgia.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Eighth Day - Advent Blog

The last two days have been busy, very little stitching done. Last night I went out for a meal with some of the ERTF Essex members, we had a really good evening.

This morning I was at the gym early  I was going to Lady Bugs the quilt group, I rushed from the gym to the car park put my ticket into the machine and the  £1.20 it asked for.  I got to my car opened the boot (trunk) put my gym stuff in, took out the bag with my work for patchwork, got into the car and thought where is the ticket? I searched the car, coat pockets, handbag, boot, gym bag in fact everything, walked back to the machine, no ticket. It then cost me £10.00 to get a replacement ticket, I wont be making that mistake again!

Sheila's Quilt
Sheila,  finished a lovely quilt she brought it along to show us.  The 100 hexagons were bought at a charity shop, they were already on the papers  she only needed to buy some fabric to match the dark blue  and I think she said the rest came from her stash the backing is a bright green fleece. She is going to use it on her boat so the fleece makes it extra snuggly. Sheila isn't a blogger but sometimes drops into mine for a read so I asked her if I could take a picture of it and put on here she said she'd be pleased. It's nice that something, the 100 hexagons that were given to the charity shop have found a deserving home and will be used and appreciated. After the group 5 of us went out for a nice pub lunch, it's that time of year isn't it?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Seventh Day- Advent Blog

Not many words today, some may say what a blessing!

Thank you for all the comments on these advent blogs.

For more Advent Blogs check these out.
Fan My Flame
Purple Podded Peas
Happiness is a Bottomless Button Box
Tiz Duster
Stitch & Bake
Pebble Dash
The Patchwork Dress
Handmade by Mia
Jam Jar
Diane Hobbit  

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Fifth Day - Advent Blog

Lang Melting Pot art work by Karen Good 'Happy Holidays'
The first Christmas Decoration to show it's face every year and usually the last one to be put away. This was a souvenir from  a holiday in New England  2003, I can remember buying it from a shop in Stowe VT.

For more Advent Blogs check these out.
Fan My Flame
Purple Podded Peas
Happiness is a Bottomless Button Box
Tiz Duster
Stitch & Bake
Pebble Dash
The Patchwork Dress
Handmade by Mia
Jam Jar
Diane Hobbit 

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Fourth Day - Advent Blog

Ok! this is a cheat ( I may have even posted a picture of this little chap before) I took the picture when we went to Wales in the summer, but I thought that it was appropriate. I do have Robins in my garden but they are not that easy to photograph this one was really very friendly. Yesterday I sat for ages watching a very vicious Robin keeping other birds away from the bird feeder, it hid amongst the leaves of a climbing plant and when the other birds flew onto the feeder it flew out  scaring them away.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Third Day - Advent Blog

Hope you've not fainted with shock, I surprised myself. Yes it is a cake, I baked it.......... Apple and Cinnamon  Cake.

Well someone had to sample it, lovely even if I say so myself.

I've even written the Christmas Cards, and this afternoon I'm going to get working on finishing the King size Quilt.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Second Day- Advent Blog

As promised  photo's of my finished Jelly Roll lap quilt. Hooray!!!!!

If the weather carries on like this I'll certainly get the use out of it this winter.  The last time I remember it snowing like this at the beginning of December,  I was pregnant with James 1981. My Dad used to call in on me at some point every day while Dave was at work, as I couldn't get out. James was due on the 10th, Dave's birthday. I had a false alarm on the 15th, we had a dash to the maternity hospital,  I remember the date as my friend Ann was being checked in at the same time, she delivered a boy that day, I was sent home! James wasn't born until the 23rd, the snow stayed I think, into January. I hope it wont be the same this winter.

The roads in this part of the country are very bad, so I'm not going to venture out unless it's necessary. This morning I checked on an elderly neighbour, she has everything but will need milk, Dave is going to get that for her. He's braving the weather and had managed to travel into London every day, thankfully the trains are running on this line.

Jacqueline had fun yesterday with her two lovely little granddaughter's check out the pictures of their snowman, it had me laughing all morning. I think maybe I'm lacking company and maybe going slightly mad, hope the thaw comes soon or I may end up talking to myself........

There are a few of us  that have decided to join Gina in this Advent Blog have a look at them. If you are joining in let me know and I'll add you to my list.
Fan My Flame
Purple Podded Peas
Happiness is a Bottomless Button Box
Tiz Duster
Stitch & Bake
Pebble Dash
The Patchwork Dress
Handmade by Mia
Jam Jar
Diane Hobbit