Friday, 24 December 2010

The night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads...................

by Clement Clarke Moore.

Don't you just love this poem? It is one of my absolute favorites and I have very fond childhood memories of it being read to me and my sisters every Christmas Eve when we were small. It was a tradition that I really wanted to carry on with my own little family too.

We always settle down to watch The Polar Express with the children on Christmas Eve and then after the stockings have been hung up and the glass of milk and mince pies have been left out for Santa. Oh....... and not forgetting the carrot for Rudolph! It is time for that magical part of the evening to begin. Once we eventually get the children tucked up in their bed my husband reads it to them.......... I love watching their little faces ~ all the excitement and anticipation of going to bed knowing that when they wake up in the morning Santa will have hopefully left them lots of presents.

I hope that Santa leaves you lots of lovely presents too and that you all have a very Happy Christmas and have all your Christmas wishes come true ~ whatever they may be!:O) xx

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Seasidey Stuff

A few weeks ago ~ when the sun was a little bit shinier that it is now ~ we headed out for the day to the Seaside on the East Coast of Scotland. Our first stop was at St Abb's Head which is a National Nature Reserve looked after by the National Trust for Scotland. We had never visited this lovely place before and were very glad that we decided to stop for a look. There are some fantastic cliff top walks and the sea views are beautiful. Definitely well worth a visit if you are ever in the area and as an added bonus there is also a little craft type village there with a little tea shop, an art gallery and a wool shop too.

After all that lovely fresh sea air we were feeling a little bit hungry so we decided to drive to Eyemouth for a traditional fish tea. Freshly caught battered fish, chips, mushy peas and bread and butter all washed down with a lovely hot cup of tea. Not very healthy, but very tasty indeed!

Still keeping with all things seasidey......... I just have to show you the picture that I treated myself to a few weeks ago. I absolutely love this seasidey picture which is a print by the very talented artist and fellow blogger Julia Crossland. You will also see on my mantle that there is another little picture there too ~ that one was made for me by daughter and I love it just as much!

Lastly, but by no means least, I'd like you to meet my very new helper ~ Ollie the Socktopus as I like to call him. This fantastic little chap came from Ikea for the grand sum of £4 ~ a bargain in my mind! He will be extremely useful in the wet and windy wintery weather for helping me to dry little bits of laundry ~ mostly socks (hence his name) and small peoples pants......... I'm not quite sure that his little peggy legs would be up to carrying pants any bigger than this!!

I hope that you enjoyed my seasidey trip. I'm off on another watery trip now ~ the school run in the pouring rain! See you all soon :O) xx

Friday, 5 November 2010

Halloween Happenings

We spent last weekend in the beautiful village of Alton in Staffordshire, attending the wedding of my younger brother and my very lovely new sister-in-law. The ceremony itself was in the registry office in Burton on Trent and then it was back to my Dad's pub ~ The Royal Oak ~ for the wedding reception. The weather actually decided to behave itself for once and was absolutely glorious and the sun came out to shine on a very perfect wedding day.

On Sunday ~ which was Halloween ~ we ventured off to Scarefest at Alton Towers which was fabulous! The spooky atmosphere and the special effects were amazing ~ the Towers were all lit up in their very spooky splendour and ghostly images were projected eerily across the night sky.

There were also lots and lots of different Halloweeny decorations dotted around the park to add to the spooky Halloween atmosphere.

We had a fantastically spooky Halloween evening and the children are now at an age where they are getting just that little bit braver with the rides that they will actually go on! Although, it has to be said that I just can't do the rides that go spinning around and around and around! I actually can't even bear to watch the children on them without feeling very dizzy and wobbly indeed!!

I hope that your Halloween weekend was as wonderful as ours :O) xx

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Happy Swap

I am a very bad blogger! x 100
I am a very lazy blogger! x100
I am a very neglectful blogger! x100

I have been such a very bad, very lazy and very neglectful blogger recently and decided that some kind of punishment was in order ~ I decided to give myself lines to write! Only, I also thought that you might not like the idea of having to read each of these statements one hundred times so I improvised ever so slightly!!

Thank you all so much for your kind Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary wishes ~ from almost a whole month ago! ~ they were all very much appreciated indeed :O)

Now, before any more time passes by I really do have to tell you about the Happy Swap that I took part in a good few months ago! Apologies to the lovely ~ and very patient ~ Louise for the very long delay in blogging about this!!

This Happy Swap was organised by Lisa and I was paired up with Louise, the idea behind the swap was that you were to send a little package to your partner with things inside to make them Happy. I sent Louise a colourful gardening book, a rosy Cath Kidston wash cloth, a flowery toast stamp and a big bar of chocolate which you can see here ~ minus the chocolate!!

Happy things that were sent to me were a very pretty wash bag, some beautifully fruity bath time treats, some lovely stationery ~ notebook, pencils and erasers ~ and some very yummy and colourful skittles which I absolutely love and didn't share at all!!

Thank you so much again Louise your parcel made me feel very Happy indeed :O) x

Monday, 27 September 2010

Family Celebrations

Hello ...........I'm back!

I haven't disappeared of the face of the earth at all!! I didn't quite mean to be away from Blogland for quite so long, but sometimes life has a habit of taking over and some things just have to take a bit of a back seat for a while! I am so glad to be back though and am looking forward to catching up with you all again.

It is a day for celebrations in our household today!

My little girl is eleven today ~ I really can't quite believe that it is eleven years since she was born and whisked away into intensive care in the Special Care Baby Unit. I didn't even dare to dream about birthdays then and just took each day as it came ~ but here we are celebrating her eleventh birthday. The time seems to go by so very, very fast once you have children. One minute they are tiny and helpless babies and the next they are nearly all grown up!

It is also our wedding anniversary today ~ I have been married to my wonderful husband for TEN whole years. We decided all those years ago that it would be a very lovely idea to get married and have our daughter christened on her first birthday. A little bit unconventional perhaps, but it makes today a very special day indeed!

Here we are looking very young indeed outside the beautiful church in Dirleton, East Lothian.

We took the children and some of their friends out yesterday for a Birthday Day Out ~ swimming and a Chinese Buffet lunch. Then it was back home for some Happy Birthday chocolate cake and a bit of a play ~ which involved much charging about the house, with lots of LOUD noise going on too!!

The celebrations today should hopefully be a much quieter affair and it will be just the four of us enjoying a civilised Birthday/Anniversary dinner. Although, at the moment I'm not quite sure what that dinner will be ~ because as usual I am Mrs Very Unorganised and have yet to go shopping for the necessary ingredients! :O) xx

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Back to school

My two small people went back to school today after a what seemed to be a very quick seven week Summer Holiday ~ I'm not quite sure where the time went to, but it certainly zoomed by at a very alarming rate indeed!

We were all up bright and breezy this morning, trying very hard to get back into some sort of routine. Breakfast, teeth cleaned, little faces washed, new clothes to put on, packed lunches made and new school bags packed.

Off they both trotted, looking very happy and cheery in their brand new school uniforms and their beautifully shiny new black school shoes ~ which will no doubt be scuffed to death by the end of the first day back! Thank Goodness for Scuff Coat is all that I can say about that!!

I delivered them safely to school this morning and am now sitting with a well earned cup of tea and enjoying the peace and quiet ~ Ahhhh...........Bliss!! There's nothing quite like coming home from the school run and being able to do whatever YOU want for a couple of hours. No constant cries of MUM!, or I'M BORED!! to be heard at all. It goes without saying that I will miss them terribly ~ but I can't tell you how nice it is to have some ME time back again.

I know that most of you still have a few weeks of your Summer Holidays to go and hope that you all have a very lovely time :O) xx

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Holidays ahead

I'm so excited!

I've got 3 whole weeks of time off work ahead of me ~ and after the last few weeks that I've had at work ~ I must say that I really am in desperate need of them!

I usually only work a few hours a week, but have been covering for holidays and other absences and as a result I have clocked up an extra 40 hours in overtime over the last couple of weeks. At times I have been stressed up to my eyeballs! Who ever said that libraries were supposed to be nice quiet places? A few days ago I even had to call the ASBO people out to deal with some horrid teenage trouble makers!!

We are not actually planning to go away anywhere very far due to the house selling situation ~ but I am looking forward to spending time with my family and having lots of days out and about........

I'm planning on reading lots of rubbishy novels and looking at lots of crafty books to try and get some new ideas together for future projects. I've got lots of ideas whizzing about in my head already just now but I'm really struggling to find the time to get them all done.......... Maybe one day!!

I have also got to keep adding to the pile of Summer Garden Grannies...... I would love to get this project finished whilst we are still in Summer! and ...........Yes, I do actually mean this Summer!! I really do want to make a start on a Lucy style Granny Stripe blanket but am not allowing myself to buy the yarn until I am nearly finished with this one!

I hope that you are all enjoying your Summer Holidays and look forward to catching up with you all very soon :O) xx

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Sunday viewing

Last Sunday the boys of the household set off on a bit of a Boy Adventure which they had been planning for ages.

They went off to visit Bo'ness and Kinneal Railway ~ which is Central Scotland's Steam Railway situated by the Firth of Forth. A real boys day out ~ lots of fun for the small boys and nostalgia by the bucket load for the big boys!

They took a ride on a beautiful old steam train to Birkhill station.

Where they also took a tour of the Birkhill Fireclay Mine.

Through the entrance and into the dark depths of the mine ~ definitely not my cup of tea! Far to dark and claustrophobic for my liking!!

Back up lots of steps ~ you can just spot a small boy charging up in front of everyone else!

They also met a lovely old doggy, who seemed to belong at the station. They nicknamed him the Dog Master as he parades up and down the platform barking at all the trains and being friendly to anyone who stops for a chat.

Little Miss Madam and I were left to our own devices at home. We normally would have planned a girly day out doing a bit of shopping, but as our house is still for sale we had to stay in ~ just in case there were any potential buyers looking to view our property on the Sunday afternoon. FAT CHANCE!! Nobody turned up!!

To alleviate our boredom we decided to do a bit of Sunday viewing ourselves and settled down with a new DVD ~ St Trinian's 2, The Legend of Fritton's Gold ~ which we had treated ourselves to especially for the occasion. We had a lovely afternoon cuddling up on the sofa, eating lots of yummy snacks and with the added bonus of no small boys running noisily around interrupting the film ~ Bliss!

Hope that you all had a fun filled weekend too ~ whatever you were doing...........:O) xxx

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Last day of term

Today is the last day of term!

I'm sitting here this morning with my feet up, having a little cup of tea and doing some hooky yarny stuff and making the most of the peace and quiet before the Terrible Two ~ Ooops!, I mean my lovely children ~ break up from school this afternoon for their Summer Holidays.

They went off to school this morning in a very happy and cheerful mood, clutching little bags of goodies to say Thank You to their teachers. We all went into Edinburgh last Saturday to do a bit of shopping and they both chose a lovely colourful Cath Kidston mug for each of their teachers, which we then stuffed full of yummy Thorntons chocolate bars.

I'd like to tell you that I took a very long time in wrapping them all up carefully but that would be a bit of a lie! I wrapped them up this morning in between making breakfast and packed lunches! To say that I am not the most organised of people these days would be a vast understatement!

We are all looking forward to this summer break immensely ~ 7 whole weeks of fun and adventures, days out to the beach and trips to the park, visits to some old rugged Scottish castles, yummy picnics and lots more have been planned. All we need now are some lovely hot summer days and life will be good!

Hope that you are enjoying your day and that you all have a lovely weekend :O) xx

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Baking Day

When I woke up this morning I immediately knew that I wanted to bake today. I haven't done any baking or making of any yummy things for eight whole months ~ as all my baking things have been packed away pending the sale of our little house.

However, this morning I decided that enough was enough and I rummaged about in my kitchen cupboards looking for suitable alternative baking utensils to use ~ and managed to scrape together enough substitutes.

I fancied something nice and sweet to have with my mid afternoon cup of tea and made some Fudge Slice ~ very yummy, very sweet and very moreish too!

This is a lovely recipe and it is just like eating fudge, but a lot easier to make......

The Ingredients are ~

225g digestive biscuits, finely crushed
225g butter
225g sugar
397g tin of condensed milk
200-250g chocolate ~ use either milk, plain or white, whichever you prefer!

First melt the butter, sugar and condensed milk together in a pan over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Then bring the mixture to the boil and boil for 3-5 minutes stirring continuously until the mixture thickens and begins to turn golden. Take extra special care not to burn the mixture or you will get little black bits in your fudge.

Remove from the heat and add your biscuit crumbs. I find that there is something quite satisfying about bashing biscuits into crumbs with a rolling pin ~ it's very theraputic!!

Next pour the mixture into a traybake tin and leave to set. I usually line my tin with tin foil to make it easier to remove. There is nothing worse than having all your hard worked ruined by the refusal of the fudge to come out of the tin and be eaten!

Once the mixture is completely cool, melt your chosen chocolate and spread over the top. Stick the tray into the fridge and once the chocolate has set you can then cut the fudge into small squares.

Finally ~ put the kettle on, make yourself a nice cup of tea, put your feet up and ENJOY............... :O) xx

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ups and downs

I'm just popping by to say Hello to you all and to let you know that I am still very much alive and kicking! I've just not had much time recently or indeed the motivation to have anything decent to blog about!

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments about my woolly paintbox cushion. I am so glad that you liked it and I did love reading all your wonderful comments about it ~ it really did cheer me UP alot ~ xxxx

I have been UP to my eyes in the end of year accounts for the wonderful charity that I do some voluntary work for. Rummaging around in piles of receipts and invoices and calculating and then recalculating ~ I think that I am finally getting somewhere though, and hope to have some kind of report done for the AGM which is happening very soon. Much too soon for my liking!

Earlier on in the week I had a little bit of a panic to myself ~ a little bit of a disaster....! No matter how hard I looked I just could not find my favourite and trusty metal hook. I decided that I needed to tidy out my crochet bag ~ which was a very necessary and very much avoided task ~ and do you know what? I found it hiding at the very bottom of the bag with all the scrappy little bits of wool that I keep 'just in case' I might need them again. I'm sure that you will all know how that is!!

Now that the little hooky stick has resurfaced again I really do want to get going with my summer garden granny squares ~ I desperately want to finish the little summer garden throw that I seem to have working on for ages. I have told myself that there are no more projects to be started until this WIP has been finished and as an added incentive to get it finished I have promised myself a new batch of Lucy inspired yarn once it's done. Better start crocheting quick then!!

I'm looking forward to catching up with you all sometime next week and I hope that everyone has a very lovely weekend :O) xx

Monday, 10 May 2010

Woolly paintbox cushion

Oh my goodness! Where on earth did the last few weeks disappear to? I just don't seem to have had the time to fit in everything that needs to be done and I have certainly missed the time that I usually spend blogging and visiting all your lovely blogs too.

Although I have been really pushed for time, I have actually managed to fit in a little bit of crochet and have finally finished my woolly paintbox cushion. And I have to say that I am very pleased with it indeed!

I was a very good girl and for the very first time I actually blocked! I must confess that I have never blocked anything before and I was more than a little bit apprehensive about it. BUT blocking is good! It seems to totally transform the piece of crochet and actually makes it look more lovely than it did to start with and it feels so much softer too. I definitely recommend it and it is well worth the extra little bit of effort involved.

The woolly paintbox cushion was made using Lucy's Summer Garden Granny pattern and lots of yummy bright colours of Rowan Pure Wool DK surround by a lovely soft creamy colour ~ which really did bring out the bright colours beautifully. I didn't really want to crochet the back of the cushion cover this time, so I bought a really cheap fleecy blanket for less than a couple of pounds and made an envelope style backing for it ~ which actually worked out as well as I had hoped it would!

I'm off now to put the kettle on for a cup of tea and am going to sit for a while and play a little catch up with all of your lovely blogs. I hope to be here again very soon :O) xx

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Monday Fun

Monday was the last day of the school holidays for us so we decided to try and pack in as much fun as we possibly could. We had arranged to spend the day with my very best friend who lives in the beautiful Scottish Borders and had all been looking forward to it for ~ what seemed like forever.

First stop was Ceramic Experience ~ my two small people had been excited about this for weeks and absolutely love this kind of thing.........they LOVE looking at all the little white ceramic figures and take ages choosing just the right thing to paint ~ this time it was a little hedgehog and a little dog. They LOVE rolling up their little sleeves and getting stuck in with all the colourful paints and brushes ~ there is usually lots and LOTS of paint on clothes and faces and arms but it is so much fun watching their little creations take shape.

Then there was a leisurely walk along the river Tweed ~ stopping every so often to throw in a stick or a stone ~ which sometimes seemed to me to be more like half a tree or a rock! Small boys and water ~ what is that all about?? They just can't help themselves!!

We stopped for a very tasty buffet style chinese lunch which went down a treat and then we made our way to Harestanes Visitor Centre which is just outside Jedburgh. I love everything about this place as there is just so much to see and do.

There are little thatched houses to be explored............

There are willow sculptures to be found............

And pretty gardens made with paper too..............

It was a lovely day out! A most enjoyable way to spend the last day of the holidays!

However ::

There were two very grumpy and tired children on Tuesday morning ~ very reluctant to go to back to school and now they are both on a BIG countdown to the Summer holidays!

I have to say though that I am somewhat enjoying the peace and quiet and the routine of getting back to normal. It is lovely to come home from the school run and to be able to sit quietly with a cup of tea and some crochet and indulge in a little ME time :O) xx

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Japanese parcel

Look what I got in the post this morning!

A very beautifully wrapped parcel that has come all the way from Japan! Can you guess what it is? I'm sure that if you follow the very wonderful Lucy at Attic 24 then you should have absolutely no trouble at all in guessing what is inside the parcel!

Were you right? Yippee............ it's my very own copy of the beautifully illustrated Japanese book ~ Pretty Colour Crochet and Knit Goods ~ bought on Etsy from a seller called Pomadour 24. Now......... as it came all the way from Japan there is only one drawback and that is that the book itself is actually written in Japanese too! Fortunately for me all the patterns are also shown as diagrams and although I've never actually followed any crochet diagrams before I'm quite sure that it will be MUCH, MUCH easier to teach myself how to follow these crochet pattern diagrams that it will be for me to even begin to teach myself Japanese!!

As you will see from the photos I have busying myself this week by sewing in all the little end bits and joining up the granny squares on my colourful painbox cushion cover. I've nearly finished joining them all together now ~ I've just got to block it and then find something suitable to make the back of the cushion cover from. I usually just crochet the back of my cushion covers but this time I have another idea that I want to try out ~ I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will actually work out just the way I want it to!

I have also been out and about in the garden ~ pottering a little and enjoying the spring sunshine ~ I've been planting some pots with geraniums, sweet williams, trailing lobelia and sweet peas which should hopefully provide me with lots of beautiful colours in a few of months time. Do you see the very lovely colourful flower pots that I bought myself? I just couldn't resist buying them when I saw them ~ they really do make a very lovely change from the boring old terracotta ones that we normally use and I am really looking forward to planting those little pots up too!

Hope that you all have a very lovely weekend :O) xxx

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter weekend

A very Good Morning to you all today ~ I hope that you had a Happy Easter weekend.

We spent Easter Sunday down in the very lovely seaside town of North Berwick visiting my Mum. The weather has been very kind to us this Eastery weekend and we decide to work up an appetite for lunch by going for a bracing stroll along the beach and believe me, it was very blustery and very bracing indeed! Don't be fooled by the weather in the beachy photograph ~ silly old me forgot to take the camera so this picture was taken on a much brighter day last year.

Yesterday the weather took a bit of a turn for the worse and it became very windy and very rainy indeed. We decided to have one of those very lazy, staying in our pyjamas kind of days and lounged about and ate lots of chocolate eggs and drank vast amounts of tea. A wonderfully satisfying way to spend a day I must say!

In between all the tea drinking and chocolate eating I also managed to find the time to sit with my feet up and do a little crocheting. I have now finished making all the colourful little granny squares that I need to make my woolly paintbox cushion. As you can see I have still got to sew in the little end bits and then join all the squares together but I'm quite sure that it won't take me too long to do that.

There's a very busy week ahead with two small children to keep entertained ~ in ways that hopefully won't involve spending too much money. Although with a trip to the cinema planned that will pretty much blow the entertainment budget in one go!!

I hope that you enjoy the rest of your Eastery break and that you have a fun filled time whatever you may be doing :O) xx