Sunday, 23 December 2012

Come Have A Peep Around My Christmas Home!

Been too busy to blog for a while - it's that mad time of year when all housewives/mothers have to complete their exams (shopping/baking/cleaning/ oh and going to work and be ready for 25th December).

So seems as I have fallen into that category and have been burning the wick at both ends of the day I thought I'd let you have a peep around my home and see what I've been up to.

My dad bought me this decoration last year. The previous year he bought me a set of little trees (the gold one just being one of them that you can see).

Dad bought me this decoration this year.

 These large cones I found on a beach in France this year and I sprayed them.

No 4 son bought me this candle decoration when he was small from the Leeds Christmas German market.

Dad took my sister, her family and Mr P and myself out for a meal and on the pub table were two decorations.He had bought them for the event and for us to take them home - how sweet and thoughtful of him.

This is my pride and joy and is treated almost with reverence. Many years ago we had a Swiss girl come and live with us and her mother made this nativity set for us.

Many years ago I made this cross stitch when it was all the rage. Shame I didn't allow some material for the top.

The front end of the room with the twinkling lights, oh and my first crocheted granny cushion.

The rear end of the room with more twinkling lights and my second granny square cushion.

Even the Welsh dresser has been dusted, ready for all the many rounds of food to come!

Boxes full of presies to give away.

My usual snowy Christmas cake - new addition this year is Santa's washing line!

The fridge is full! It is a military operation to remove or find anything! Should say that all my lovely children are returning home for Christmas and my dad. So I shall be feeding eleven people over the next few days.

Not even the inside door can escape the bulge!

The pantry where I store usually my cake tins etc cannot escape the food.

Under the stairs cupboard is storing the potatoes, vegetables and boxes of cakes.

And even in the airing cupboard spare J2O's!

Hope you enjoyed have a nose. Probably will not have time to blog till after Christmas so I would like to wish all my readers a Happy Christmas and all the best for 2013.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Late Jolly To Northumberland

Due to the road traffic accident I missed out on a weeks holiday so last week I was able to use some of those days up at our cottage in Northumberland. Oh it was bliss.
Sunday after arriving I had a quick look at the tidal crossing times for Holy Island(Lindisfarne) and realised if I didn't go immediately then there would not be another opportunity during the week. It was bitterly cold but wrapped up and off I went for a stroll around the bay. Here are some of my pictures.

Sorry I've probably posted a similar photograph before, but every time I go this view across to St Cuthbert's Island just moves me.

The light across the priory was just lovely. Apologies for grotty small pictures but I've run out of free space so need to revert to these small pictures.

 This is looking across the harbour to the castle.

I love the lobster pots that lie idle by the shore and the boats. My children would tell you that I have a thing about boats.

Again I love the way that the boats have been recycled and turned into fishing huts.

Monday I went into Berwick hunting for Christmas presents and the afternoon and evening was spent crafting.
Tuesday I went into Alnwick again hunting for more presies and then the rest of the day spent crafting.
Wednesday I went to Seahouses. It was very very cold and a lot of the shops were shut - even the fish and chip shops!

This is a view across the harbour at Seahouses with Bamburgh Castle in the background. 

Thursday was a gorgeous crisp cold day and I went for a walk onto Ford Moss Reserve.

Is this snow or is this just frost? I don't know but it looks so lovely.
 Just as I arrived at the reserve I could hear some gun shots and I walked as loudly as I could so that the hunters would hear me. Eventually I spotted them and I made myself obvious and as a typical townie looked gormless and asked was it safe for me to walk across the public right away or was I in danger of being shot at?! Thankfully they had just finished so I was safe. I have to confess to feeling rather vulnerable talking to these men, men with great big guns, on this remote moorland and me all on my ownsome!

I think these are pheasant footprints. Highlight of the walk - I felt a little spooked as I thought I could hear someone but how could that be as every time I walked I made a crunching sound and so would anyone else. Then I heard a faint noise again and as I stood still I had the pleasure of watching six deer walk near to me and leaping and grazing on the moor. They were sooo cute, didn't dare move to get my camera out as I thought they run away.

The next village have this wonderful full size wooden nativity scene - it's lit up at night time, but it was too cold to go out at night.


After the walk I made a Christmas wreath for the front door - very proud of my creation.

 This was what the dining room table looked like with some of my crafting gear. I cannot show you what I made as it would spoil it for those who are going to receive some of my mad creativity! After Christmas I'll show you!

This is after I've tided up! But sadly all good things must come to an end and early Friday morning I made my journey home and to go to work. But unfortunately it was one of those nightmare journeys when I started off with ice on the road, followed by snow on the A1 and then when I stopped for a comfort break at Washington services, just south of Newcastle this is what temperature the car was displaying!

I'm not sure I've ever seen that temperature before! Then the weather went to fog and the A1 stopped because there was a RTA and we had to be diverted off the road to Wetherby. Yorkshire was experiencing horrendous black ice. Hours later the fog then turned into heavy rain with the roads flooded! What a nightmare and I had to stop in order to rearrange my first appointment in the afternoon. Needless to say I arrived at work feeling rather wrecked and stressed. Unfortunately snow had not been forecasted otherwise I would have returned home the previous day. But at least I arrived home safely.

I'm only away for a few days and the cheeky Mr P took the opportunity to use some of the empty bookshelves that I had created by taking so much craft stuff away with me! Needless to say the books were duly evicted!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas is Beginning To Happen

Yes I have finally given in and started preparing for this full on exam! Cards to write, presents to buy, cake to marzipan and ice, Christmas puddings to make, wrap presents, tidy up house for guests, prepare Christmas food - oh and go to work al to be done by the 24th December! Is it the equivalence of a masters?

Have at least put up a Christmas wreath, bought from a water aid charity - looks better in real life.
It has been so cold this week and frosty but I don't mind that - much rather this weather than drizzle! Even the girlies hesitated this week as to whether to leave the warmth of their house and brave the icy garden!

Today I was up early to get ready for going away - yes! I am off to Northumberland early tomorrow morning to our home. So looking forward to going. But thought I'd better appease my hubby and made him a cherry and almond cake, some muesli marvels and some carrot and coriander soup. Oh I also marzipanned and iced my dad's Christmas cake - yes I know you're supposed  to leave a gap in time doing the two layers but I haven't got the time to do it properly. Off tonight to my dad's home to have a family reunion at a local restaurant.

Dad's cake has now a candle to go in the centre so should look reasonably pretty!

 Can't decide which toys to take with me tomorrow - so have emptied a lot of my shelves to take masses! I'm just so indecisive. Sorry should say toys = crafty, making things! I've got 45 minutes to go before I have to leave the house and I haven't packed my clothes yet so I'd better say bye and be back next week with some seaside pictures!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Under Repair

I must be the worst/ignorant blogger going - I didn't realise that there was a limit as to how much stuff one can put on to a blog. So when I went to do my last posting it would not let me add any more pictures as I have used my quota! I was horrified and due to my wonderful mad weekend did not have time to read further. Now back I realise that I will have to use small web size pictures in order not to run out of space! So slowly I will have to go back through all my rantings and ramblings and change the picture size - so apologies if any of the pictures previously go out of order! Danger "me" at work!

 I have had the most amazing last few days - hard to know where to begin. But I'll start with last Thursday when some work colleagues and myself went out for a meal to "More" which was al right but the rice pudding was to die for - so yummy. But more importantly it was not to have the opportunity to spend time with them as we all work out in the community and do not often see each other. At the entrance to "More" was some fruit carving.

Not a good picture but I wanted you to see that it was a melon.

Someone must be so talented to do this.

We then went onto Dave's Comedy Club. Well I have never been to anything like this. There was a drunk heckler in the audience who was evicted within minutes of the acts starting - much to the cheer of everyone. There were several acts and then came on this sweet looking young girl but how wrong can looks be! She was very crude and after a while(well for me anyway) she ceased to be funny. It was so good to laugh and after what had been a very busy tiring week that was a great way to end it. Arrived home to greet my No.3 child - Mrs R. We both took Friday as a days holiday and spent it watching 3 nice murders, drinking copious tea, eating a delicious potato lunch and knitting. What a perfect day. Then at 6pm we left to drive to Birmingham airport to collect No.1 - Mrs E who had flown in from Northern Ireland. Then we drove to a small village outside of Shrewsbury to stay with my sister in her very fabulous home. She cooked us a divine stir fry with noodles, lashings of wine and a delicious crumble to finish with which was eaten around her huge circular open fire. I could feel myself sinking further and further down as the heat, wine and full belly took over. We drifted off to bed very late - all three girlies in one room! So exciting. Except we had no energy left to talk and were asleep within minutes.
Really sorry but I forgot to pack my camera so no pictures of Shrewsbury.
Saturday morning the dog, my sister and hubby all in the bedroom drinking tea and talking. This was so lovely - perhaps need to explain that I do not often see my sister. After a French breakfast us three girlies headed into Shrewsbury for a day of shopping. I just love the shops there and at Christmas time they seem so special. We bought lots of goodies between  us all. Then headed back to Leicestershire.
Sunday we, naturally, had to make a trip to Fabric Guild and then onto Queens Road Christmas Fayre. Twice a year they close the road and fill it up with craft stalls, musicians etc. So many people were there yesterday - such a great atmosphere. At church they opened the doors for warm drinks, cakes and a nativity scene where people can choose an outfit such as a Mary costume, shepherd etc dress up and sit in the scenery and take a photo. Oh some of the smaller children looked so cute. Oh the day flew by so quickly - fed the girlies some baked potatoes and then they were off to take Mrs E back t the airport.

Mrs E's shopping

Cute angel being sold at the craft fayre

We all bought one of these boats.

Mrs R's shopping. Sadly I cannot show you mine because I don't want people to see their Christmas presies!

Thursday, 29 November 2012


Sorry readers have not had much time to write a blog for the last week. Life seems to have gone rather mad. I guess we are approaching that mad time of year when it feels as if the world gets put onto the  "fast forward" button. Last week I was busy at choir rehearsals, out for a meal with some lovely friends and then preparing for a weekend of visitors coming from Leeds. Oh also whilst they were here I had the choir concert to perform in! So this is my excuse for not blogging.
Also I have not been sleeping so well - think I've hit that menopausal age. (Sorry male readers you may want to skip to the next paragraph). Experiencing hot flushes, waking up in the night sweating having to throw off the duvet and then being frustrated because I cannot lie on my other side as it causes me too much pain with my damaged shoulder. Last night even though it was really cold I left the bedroom window open. Anyway enough whinging!
But throughout the chaotic week I did manage to read JK Rowlings new book - The Casual Vacancy. Oh dear cannot add a picture as my memory is used up. So will need to sort this out another time.
I am away for the weekend and will have lots of news to tell you all next time. Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012


The winner of the competition is.................................................................................................

Mandy with 125 books.
 I actually have 126 cook books!

Well done Mandy!

The reindeer will be delivered in the next few days.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Pre Competition Update

Just to let you know all the latest votes:

Jane 47 books
Jenny 45 books
Jim 67 books
Ann 72 books
Christine 110 books
Mandy 125 books
Rebecca 135 books.
Esther 147 books.
Jo 153 books
Jackie 220 books
Susan 260 books

Only half a day to go to vote!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Autumn and Update on Competition


Not too many entrants - maybe its a bit boring or the prize not so good, but here are the numbers so far.

Jane 47 books
Jenny 45 books
Jim 67 books
Mandy 125 books
Rebecca 135 books.
Esther 147 books. Just added 21.11.12
Jo 153 books, added 22.11.12

What do you think? Go on give it a go. Closing date is Tuesday 27th November 2012, 13:00.

Peering out of my bedroom window I couldn't help but notice what seemed to be almost a bed of leaves in next doors garden. This year I really seem to be noticing the leaves. Perhaps I am getting older and becoming more observant whereas when I was younger I was too busy to stop and look.

A lot of leaves have now fallen in the chicken run and I wondered today whether the girlies get enjoyment from shovelling the leaves around in their search for grubs and worms. Talking about the girlies I emailed my vet friend and he said that they will not be laying any more eggs until the daylight hours get longer! It goes against the grain having to buy eggs!

Also at this time of year I love to see the early morning frost in the garden. Again the leaves seem to take on a magical appearance.

I love sunny frosty mornings.

I have been having fun with my latest cookery book - just when I was beginning to think I didn't want any more. Then the television chefs entice us with more tantalising recipes - especially as Christmas approaches they all suddenly start producing a cook book. But this latest Jamie Oliver - 15 minutes recipes is good. It tells you how many calories are in each portion and they are balanced nutritionally.

 Oops forgot to move the wine out of the photograph!

Loved this recipe and even Mr P ate the tikka coated chicken breasts.

The golden chicken we had yesterday and have got leftovers for tomorrows dinner. What I noticed was that even after I had done all the preparation it still took me 20 minutes to cook! I must be getting slower or maybe I haven't got a back up crew to help me!

Have done this recipe twice. I have never cooked or eaten celeriac before and it is lovely, well worth trying. Having said I cannot prepare these meals in 15 minutes it also takes ages to do the washing up - not for the faint-hearted. This is a picture of the second pile I did after cooking the golden chicken recipe.

After the weekend when we have some friends coming from Leeds there will be no more fancy recipes as I have to work my way through the freezer - going to go where no man has been before! Or certainly not for a long time! Need to empty in order to be able to stock up for the family returning home at Christmas.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Competition Guesses

Ok have now had two enteries:

Jane 47 books
Jenny 45 books
Jim 67 books

So come on give it a go.

Ramblings and Prize

Was a rather strange week that started with a trip to a doctor for a private medical for the insurance company. This doctor then said that I was in danger of having a frozen shoulder and once my pain stopped whatever progress I had made would be final. This left me feeling rather deflated and phoning my GP for stronger pain killers to up the exercises. Well to cut a long story short by Thursday and Friday I discovered that the information I had been given was rubbish and was reassured that I had made masses of progress. Also that a frozen shoulder was not likely but the physios would sit on me if necessary to move it! So not to worry. Trouble was the tablets I had started taking were creasing me as they contained codeine and I was eating fruit and dried fruit nearly all day for 4 days to compensate for their side effects of bunging me up, oh and also they made me feel rather sleepy. Come Friday when I stopped this regime and reverted to paracetamol and ibuprofen oh my poor stomach was doing somersaults and it was not pleasant for two days. Well enough of my aching shoulder - golly how long will this story run on for( now 7 weeks).

Woke up Saturday to this on the living room window! How revolting. This reminded me of a story when my sister and I were small. Mom and dad gave us each an empty jam jar to go out into the garden and fill with slugs and snails. They said they would pay us half an old penny each for every one we caught. I think my sister gave up after a few but I continued to fill my jam jar right to the top. I went in to display my jar and get my money. Mom screamed, as they were coming over the top. They never did count how many I had collected and just gave me a lump sum of money - I always felt cheated that they never counted them! Funny what you remember!
This morning we went into Leicester to the Cathedral to buy some charity Christmas cards, Even though we have been married for 34 years this was the first time we have ever chosen some cards together. When we were younger we just bought the cheap supermarket cards as that was all we could afford, in later years I have made them but this year I have phyiscally not been able to do this.Oh it was so hard to choose the cards so many lovely pictures and so many well deserving charities. But in the end opted for one design as Mr P rightly said that we would spend ages deciding which card to send to who if we had more than one choice! How right he is. This was followed by a trip to Carluccios for a coffee, but even then it was more decisions did we want to see the breakfast menu or the lunch menu? I just stood there looking perplexed and the waiter was not helpful. But in the end I insisted on seeing both and then opting for a rather large yummy almond croissant off the trolley!(so did Mr.P) Then a stroll through lovely John Lewis back to the car - they are so good at making everything look so wonderful.
The afternoon was spent with Mr P trying to mend my cooker as it has started trying to spark and set the oven to on permanently. He tried cleaning the sensors etc etc but to no avail. So we have worked out a way to be able to use it and get rid of the noise. I did two trips to food shops as I seemed to have missed vital ingredients off my shopping lists.
Then I managed to finish off my second crochet cushion - so proud of them, and I so love the bright colours. This is all thanks to the inspiration of the blog Attic 24, I just love the bright colours Lucy uses.

Saturday evening we went to see the new James Bond film - golly it's hard work sitting still and not being able to knit or crochet or sew. I enjoyed the film but not really sure it was a true traditional Bond film.

Sunday was my turn to collect the minibus and take some older folks to church. But before this I made a trip to my sweetie shop(Fabric Guild) for some extra material for the quilt I am trying to make. The afternoon we had a band practice and then eventually I had some me time. Trouble was I was so tired that I didn't really have the energy and had to put it away after I had machined a few rows.

Oh well sat in front of the television and watched a murder of course and started on some new granny squares.

This morning I got up and one of the chickens was being naughty! Sitting on top of their house! The girlies are beginning to look much better with their new coats - but still NO eggs! Goes against the grain having to buy eggs.


Yes here's a picture of the prize. There have been no entries yet so if you enter currently you have a good chance of winning!

He comes complete with a small jingle bell!

All you've got to do is guess how many cookery books I have in my home. Answers at the bottom of this blog or email them to  - go on give it a go!