Tuesday, 23 December 2008

It's just about here!

Christmas eve (and here I am up and awake at 5.30am!) I am done except for a pile of ironing then I'm off for a manicure, lunch out and then the crib service at our church - perfect. Of course poor Jonathan will be chained to the shop all day waiting for all those drunk men to fall out of the pub and realise they still haven't brought their wives a gift yet!

Okay, let's just get Anthea out the way!:

*Lay the table

*Prepare as much as you can for the Christmas meal

*Get out all the serving dishes you will need

* prepare the after dinner coffee tray

That's it!

Because I have been pretty much up to date (and we are at my brothers on Christmas Day!) I have been busy crafting - something I never usually do this close to Christmas. I found a banner like this on Two Peas and was desperate to make one myself! Please excuse the photos, the light was awful!

Also made another of Annie's Christmas decor projects from the Scrapping Angels workshop, this time a smaller JOY one for Jonathan's parents and a mini book for Jonathan's brother whom we may meet on boxing day (he has never met the children, but that is a whole other story!)

This is a wooden Joy I got in Homebase last year and just got around to altering with Basic Grey papers:

Found this little project in December's issue of Creating Keepsakes and fell in love with the quote that had been used from The Grinch:

These star's are from a Basic Grey kit, they are definitely a bit tricky, but the finished result's I love!

Also made 5 of these little Doodlebug albums for family cracker gifts:

And made the children one of these note pad's each to go with some pencils I got them as 'table gifts'! Really pleased with the way they turned out.

We have made last minute plans to drive to Margate on Boxing Day to visit Jonathan's parents, we are quite worried about his mum's health (both his parents are in their 80's) and Jonathan and his brother are never in touch and we hope he will be there so we can break the ice a bit, they need to be talking if anything happens to their parents! Families hey! So I made a last minute Lasagne ready to take with me, the Salmon Couilibac can wait until New Years Day!

So Anthea's final countdown words are:

Finally, hang up the stockings, put the champagne on ice, relax and get ready to enjoy the celebrations!


Sunday, 21 December 2008


My First blog award!

The wonderfully talented and inspirational Lisa has given me this Award, it is The Marie Antoinette, A Real Person, A Real Award.In order to share this award I must:
Nominate 7 or more real PERSONS
Link to the person who gave me the award
Link to the nominees
Let the nominees know
So here are my Nominees:
Thank you!!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

All things Christmas

Sunday was great, we decorated the Christmas tree first - Evie is not old enough to remember our decorations from the year before, so everything is new to her which is wonderful, we then headed off to Ickworth, our local National Trust property, to see Father Christmas, and he did not disappoint!
It was wonderful and so was he. Evie was quite nervous and didn't want to get too close, but was happy to tell him what she wanted for Christmas (a pink dummy for Tiny Tears - I think Father Christmas can manage that!). Then after hot chocolate and scones in the restaurant we headed off home for an afternoon in front of the TV watching Christmas DVDs.
Tuesday morning Henry had his Christmas performance - the Raggedy King, held at the local church. It was lovely, lot's of singing. Henry was quite disappointed to only be a cow in the stable, especially as his best friend was one of the narrators/shepherds! but he was full of smiles on the stage. I realised, for obvious reasons, that he desperately needed a wee (Henry cannot hold a wee!) so I had to dash up the side of the stage and rescue him, I'm sure the parents are really pleased to have my head going past their video screens - but I couldn't sit and watch him have an accident!
I have made reindeer food for Henry to give to his classmates

and cookies for the teachers (recipe here) and made bags to put them in from Anna's blog - I loved them so much I didn't want to give them away!
Today I have made Salmon Couilbiac for Boxing Day lunch and popped it in the freezer, so easy but so effective! So all in all I am feeling pretty sorted and calm.
We have a busy few evenings coming up, tomorrow we are out separately with various friends, Saturday is the 'work do!' and Sunday we are at friends for dinner.
Henry's last day at school is tomorrow, but unfortunately he is going to miss his Christmas party as I need to collect him after lunch and take him to an appointment at the hospital to check his hearing - so as a treat we are off to MacDonald's for tea.
Anthea's Christmas countdown:
One Week before:
*Decorate the house and Christmas tree
*Shop for any foods that you need to see or touch before buying. Leave buying fresh food as late as you can.
*If you've got a frozen turkey check how long it will take to defrost. Make a note on the calendar, so you don't forget to get it out of the freezer on time.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Deck the Halls

Well, I have finished the sewing and the machine is put away and I have spent two days 'spring' cleaning the house, from top to bottom, inside and out and it feels lovely! I have a great furniture polish recipe for anyone out there with any antique or old wooden pieces of furniture, what I like about the mix is it sinks into the wood rather than coating it with a waxy residue like most sprays and cream polishes which in turn attract dust and general dirt. From Home Time by Jocasta Innes: Home made furniture Polish:

2 parts raw linseed oil

1 part white spirit

1 part malt vinegar

Mix together and shake well as you use it because it behaves like a vinaigrette with a tendency to separate. The vinegar is the cleaning agent, while the white spirit cuts out the fattiness of the linseed oil. Use sparingly, applying it with a soft rag.

So now that is done I have started to get out the Christmas decorations, I took Evie out the front of the house to see the few lights I put by the front door and the berry wreath on the door and asked what she thought - 'Lovely Mummy, and I like these raspberries' - will now always think of that as the 'raspberry wreath'. On Sunday we will decorate the tree and go and visit a Father Christmas somewhere, then snuggle down to watch a few Christmas DVDs.

I have to say that if you saw my desk at the moment, you would know I still have stuff to do, paperwork, bookwork and filing both for home and the shop, but once these are done I am really looking forward to having a go at these projects of Anna's and this banner from Two Peas.

Henry has had his Christmas lunch at school this week , where the children are invited to make a

Christmas hat to wear, this year Henry decided he wanted to go as Joseph (which Henry and I saw at the theatre at the beginning of the year and LOVED!) so he wore the head dress my mum had brought him back from Egypt!:
Then Friday was Santa Fitness Friday where they had to wear a Santa hat for Huff and Puff, we all stayed in the playground to join in - even our local PC, a couple of Santa's and Sherbet the school mascot joined in - good fun for all:

And I spent Friday without Evie (she had a few hours at mum 's) and I went to Amanda's at Your Touch of Craft to help organise their 'Spring Workshop' it's in Newmarket on Sunday 29th March 2009 if you want to book phone her on 01284 761222, then I went off to school to help set up for the Christmas Fayre.

Evie has made us laugh with a few of her little sayings. Jonathan came in from work and gave her a kiss the other day and she looked at him in his shirt and tie and said, "nice scarf Daddy" ! She mis-pronounces a few words which make us smile - swimming cosmume, smamich (sandwich) and water mountain (fountain) are favorites!

Nearly forgot to give you Anthea's two week countdown!:

*Post any last minute cards or parcels

*Buy your tree, but bring it into your house as late as possible

*Decorate your front door with a wreath

*Ice and decorate your Christmas Cake if you've made one

*Buy or collect evergreens and other foliage for Christmas decorations and arrangements

*Order non-perishable foods and have them delivered

*Order flowers to be delivered next week

Isn't Anthea's world wonderful! As we are out on Christmas Day I have not had to do much food preparation (just the pudding and cake) but I will make a Russian Fish Pie for us for Boxing day and freeze it so I don't have to do much on the day, I will post the recipe for this on my recipe blog next week.

When we were children we always arranged the decorations on the Christmas cake once mum had iced it and I am trying to recreate this tradition with my children and niece Daisy:

I have also just made some of Anthea's Mincemeat Blondie's, which are very tasty, so I will get that recipe on my recipe blog asap!

Have a great weekend xx

Thursday, 4 December 2008

3 week countdown

Okay, I'm going to start with Anthea's 3 week countdown:
*Post your UK parcels and cards.
*Cook and freeze sauces, desserts and vegetable dishes that can be made ahead.
*Make/buy and freeze a few 'family suppers' for the busy days before Christmas.
*Locate the nutcrackers and corkscrew - two vital gadgets that have a habit of disappearing.
*Finish your gift shopping.
*Prepare your guest room.

So, how are you all doing? Keeping up!
Well I have come down with 'the cold'. The rest of the family have had it and I thought I'd managed to avoid it, but unfortunately not, I have to admit to feeling awful as it is making my sinus's very sore - I even have ear-ache. My lovely Mum has taken Evie off my hands this afternoon and is also collecting Henry from school and giving them both tea before bringing them home tonight, love Mum! xx
I have been busy making various bits, like these fabric 'crackers', 16 of them actually, to fill with little gifts for everyone sitting around the Christmas table.

And I have made a load more of these little albums that Anna taught us at the Scrapping Angels Workshop in November. I have filled them with photos of the children and will post them off to various family members.

I am also making a patchwork quilt for Evie. I made one for Henry when he was a similar age and I have been meaning to make one for Evie for months, so with 3 weeks to go until Christmas here I am making it (mad, I know) I can't wait to get it done so that I can get the sewing machine put away.
The only trouble with doing all this is that my house is a tip! Really need to have a good clean before I start to think about putting decorations of any sort out.
Jonathan has been out and about lot's, he's in London today having a Christmas lunch with some committee or other!
We spent Sunday afternoon at the Hafermann's celebrating both Addie's birthday (which is on boxing day!) and Thanksgiving. The children were all very over excited and a bit of a nightmare, so we didn't stay late (as children's parties are Jonathan's idea of hell!) but we had some fantastic food, Annie and her friends had worked very hard. I made a cranberry upside down cake for her, the recipe of which is now on my recipe blog for you to check out.
There are a lot more craft projects I'd like to fit in before Christmas, but I am not going to push it!
The children got their December pressie on Sunday, they always get a Christmas book and/or DVD at the beginning December. Then Monday they started the advent calender. I always make sure they get a nativity calender, so they remember what advent means and this year M&S came up trumps with a nativity calender with chocolates in. I really don't agree with the whole chocolate thing, but when all Henry's friends have one, it's difficult to say no, but I do make them share it and take it turns each day to open the doors (I have Christmas jelly baby ready for the one who doesn't open the door that day!)
Catch up again soon - let me know how your Christmas countdown is going xx

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

4 Weeks to go!

Yup, 4 weeks to go, so here is Anthea's 4 week checklist:

*Start cooking meals for the freezer - meals for the family, plus dishes for entertaining.
*If you are making mince pies, do them now and pop them into the freezer.
*Buy your Christmas cake and pudding if you are not making them.
*Get your Christmas cards written and ready to post. If you can, put the addresses on the computer and print them out on adhesive labels. Save and file and you won't have to do it again next year.
*If you're planning to do a supermarket shop online book a delivery slot - deliveries for the week before Christmas are quickly booked up.
*Do any last-minute online present shopping so there is still time to get to the shops if the gift you want is out of stock.

Well, I have to admit to feeling pretty smug! I have finished making my 160 Christmas cards and I am babysitting the gorgeous Euan on Saturday night so I am going to take them all with me and sit and write them then! I also managed to get all my addresses onto my laptop (as I lost all the ones from previous years when my laptop died earlier in the year so had to start again - uurghh!) so I print labels, which I find makes life much easier!.
Let me know how you are all getting on


Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Back home

Had a lovely few days away with Jonathan, the weather was perfect and we stayed in a very beautiful village in the Yorkshire Dales called Askrigg, I would really recommend. We visited Rippon which has an amazing Cathedral
Also had a day in Harrogate which is gorgeous. We wanted to have a coffee break in Betty's but the queue was out of the door, so we just peeped in the window! Also managed to see Quantum of Solace at the cinema. We spent the last day looking around Leyburn and Hawes then an afternoon spent watching DVDs in our room (Jonathan's knee was pretty sore and swollen by that stage!) We also went to see these beautiful falls
Saturday we woke to a very pretty sprinkling of snow and we headed down to Sheffield to visit our dear friends Jim and Pauline. We spent a great evening with them, their friends and family at their Ladies night which was great fun!
So now I am home and trying to get organised. The most important thing is to get the Christmas cards finished and written. I only have a few odd presents left to buy.
Two tips - one I read in a magazine is to set up a 'wrapping table' in your spare room so you can leave all the bits and pieces out for when needed. And secondly I was left a comment by Goosey letting me know that Fly Lady has some great tips.
Remember to check out Etsy for some amazing presents and I will be back on Thursday for another Anthea countdown!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

a break!

Jonathan and I are going away tomorrow for 4 nights with no children (thanks Mum & Dad - love you!) We are staying in Askrigg, North Yorkshire for the first 3 nights then finishing up in Sheffield with our dear friends Jim & Pauline on the Saturday night. Really looking forward to this break and exploring some beautiful countryside and towns.

No photos to share I'm afraid, but I have been a busy girl, out Friday night to celebrate Annie's birthday, Saturday Jonathan & I were at a Hockey club dinner as we are now the main sponsors of Sudbury Hockey Club, last night my friend Tracy had a little open house event and was selling some of her amazing jewellery creations, then tonight I am out to the theatre with some friends to see our friend Polly in 'The Merry Widow' - phew! Lot's of fun, but it will be so nice to get a break!

I hope to come back with lot's of photos to share

hugs to all xx

Friday, 14 November 2008

Crazy hair

Yup, Henry's school are having a crazy hair day for Children in Need :)
Gabriella Henry
Henry, Elise, Thomas,
Alfie, Aiden and Daniel
How cute do they all look!! I even saw Mr Rice the head teacher with red hair!
Yesterday after school the children and I took a trip up to the childrens ward of our local hospital with a huge bag of books, toys and games we had 'sorted' a few weeks ago. I think it is so good for the children to realise how lucky they are. I think I got the message accross!
Well off to collect Henry from school

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Six weeks.....

Yup, you read right, it's six weeks until Christmas!

Okay, Anthea's 'six weeks before' list is quite a short one:

* Start buying your gifts-and wrapping them to save time later.

* Place any online orders for gifts to make the most of regular posting dates.

* Plan the theme for your dining table and buy any accessories, such as crackers.

* Check your table linen.

Another 'Anthea' update in a couple of weeks time!

I have to admit to not getting everything done off the eight week list yet, especially making the Christmas cards! Although I have wrapped one present, made the Christmas cake and pudding, so quite proud of myself for that! I have also made some very simple gift tags with labels I brought cheap at the post office !

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Lot's of bits to share

Well last Wednesday was the day I needed my camera and didn't have it with me! Firstly I took my niece Daisy to our Music with Mummy session and she and Evie were sooo cute together you would not believe! Lot's of cuddles, kisses and pudding stirring going on! Unfortunately I got a completely flat tyre on the way home, but a nice AA man got it sorted and luckily (as all my tyres are new) when I went to the garage they could mend the flat rather than replace it! Then on Wednesday evening I got to take the children to see some fireworks, a bit impromptu, but that's always the best way! After Henry's swimming class at Culford School we spotted the huge bonfire across the field and decided to go and join in the fun! Evie was very apprehensive at first, but loved it after the first few bangs, "those are amazing mummy" she kept saying and later told my mum that they had been 'fantastic'! I do love a good old fashioned bonfire and fireworks (especially when they start early enough for the children to enjoy) I am really not into the whole fairground thing!
The week has gone by in a blur as I have had to work a couple of extra lunchtimes at the shop and Friday Annie and I spent the whole day sorting and re-organising her scrap room, which I think, she is very happy with. It is not quite finished but still 100% better than it was!
Last night was the Etheldreda Ladies Night at Newmarket and we had a table of friends with us, alot of fun and sillyness was had by all, as you can see!:

This is such a fantastic group of friends and it's always great to dress up, eat, drink and dance!
Then today we went to town to watch the remembrance service on the Angel Hill. This always brings a tear to my eye and I have memories of laying the wreath for the girl guides when I was young in our village. We are so good at these traditions, I just love to watch and be part of it. Here in Bury we even have two helicopters that fly past at 11am, really an amazing sight.

And lastly I have been crafting again! Two baby quilts (and one more to make) a few bits for Henry's class Christmas hamper and this..... to go beside our front door!

Thanks for stopping by!