Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Present Ideas

Last year I shared a couple of ideas I had had for themed Christmas presents. For those who were here then you may remember the 'pepper and chilli' gift and the 'lemon and honey' one I did for two of our friends.

Here are two I'm pleased with this year.

First up is for our friend S. A travel toiletries bag, love the illustration, which fits neatly in with

the cover of this book about the antics of air stewardesses. Thanks to Caroline over at http://whatshappeningatmyhouse.wordpress.com/ who blogged about this book.

Then to finish off this gift we bought a set of travel size smellies, a luggage tag and a tin of boiled sweets which I didn't notice until afterwards are made by a company named 'Sky Candy'. Hopefully all will be useful when she goes off on her holiday next year.

For G's mum, sister, niece and his brother's partner I have collected items to go inside Ikea glass jars which will have pretty labels added to them saying 'warm winter wishes' or some such thing. Each one contains a packet of snowman tissues, a pair of festive patterned socks, winterberry hand cream, Christmas lip balm and two sachets of hot chocolate. These will be their gifts from the children.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Goodness me it doesn't seem 5 minutes since I did last week's Thrifty Thursday post. The weeks are galloping past.

This week I have bought home with me this GORGEOUS polar bear. I love his little woolly scarf! He is actually a money box but I don't think I'm going to be using him for that. He cost me £1.50.

A new top, like I need another one, but in my defence I HAD to buy this. It's Boden and it was £1.00. I'm sure you understand.

I've been in town again today. Coffee with a friend and more Christmas shopping. This evening I'm out for a meal with friends I used to work with. I'm glad it's nearly the weekend.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Dress up day

The main project theme at school this half term for S is the Titanic disaster.
Today was dress up day when the children had to go in in costume.
S was told she was to be a 1st class passenger. Her outfit was a dress I found in the charity shop last week, the shoes and sliver cardi she already had and the gloves and tiara came from her dressing up box.
How glam!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A Full Day

There was lots to do yesterday. In the morning I dropped T off as he was meeting up with a couple of friends and dropped S at local school for a choir rehearsal. She was only going to be there for an hour so I took a wander around the park on the opposite side of the road.

Still glimpses of colour to be found,

I love this leaf in mid colour turn,

and the way the dew was sparkling in the sunshine on this leaf.

Can you spot the squirrel who kept peeping round this tree trunk at me?

Early afternoon S and I wandered round to a Christmas fair at one of the local churches. This is normally a really bustling affair with lots of goodies on offer and things to do for the children, but was a bit lacking in all aspects this time.

Late afternoon I took the children out to Eastleigh for their Christmas light switching on event. It's been a couple of years since we went. They had lots going on all day and when we went before we had a really fab day.

We took our place on the street to wait for the parade and when I realised we had stopped by Iceland, I nipped in and bought a box of these Christmas tree shaped ice cream lollies for us to enjoy.

We all liked these shiny Father Christmas balloons.

The charity I volunteer for also has a branch in Eastleigh and this was part of their window display.

After the parade we walked up to the park, along with the rest of the hundreds of other people there, and watched a brilliant fireworks display.
A busy and fun day.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thrifty Thursday

After I had finished at the chiropractor's yesterday I went and did a couple of hours of my usual weekly shift at the charity shop. Walking and moving around was the best thing for me to be doing and I didn't want to let the other volunteers down.
We were really busy. Lots of people buying lots of things. Some things were going out on the shelves and being bought soon afterwards. I lost count of the times someone wanted something from the window display which had been decked out with Christmas items.

I bought a few things too, no surprise there then! A couple of DVD's and CD's for pressies plus these plastic containers. Not sure where they'll end up and what they'll have in them but for 10p each I had to get them.

I hadn't noticed this top during the previous couple of weeks it must have been on the rail, but it caught my eye yesterday. It's a size 12 and I wasn't sure it would fit but as it had been reduced down to £1.25 I thought it would be worth trying on to check. Fit it did it'll be fab over jeans.

Lastly this book for £1.00. My mum doesn't read much but mentioned a while ago she would be quite interested in reading Fern's autobiography so I was pleased when I spotted this on the shelf.

Thanks for the messages about my back. I'm feeling much more flexible today. Ice packs are my new fashion accessory. Back to the stretching exercises, not that I should have stopped them really I suppose.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Easy Tea

I wanted an easy tea tonight and this fitted the bill just fine. It's one of those feed a family for a fiver recipes from Sainsbury's. You see I've gone and done my back in again and didn't want to be faffing around in the kitchen for too long.
There was a bit of a playful incident here on Sunday morning (nothing naughty I hasten to add!) which has resulted in my lower back ceasing up. A trip to the chiropractor's this morning, £32.00 shelled out and I can once again stand up straight and walk without limping.
So if you fancy a tasty tea, don't want to spend too long in the kitchen and like bacon and rice then give this a whirl.
This amount feeds G, T and S. This evening it was accompanied with garlic dough balls.
Fry a packet of chopped up bacon rashers or cubed pancetta with an onion (have used a leek before), a diced carrot and a pepper. Tonight it was a red one. Add 200g arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes. Pour in 500ml stock and bring to the boil. Transfer to a baking dish. Cook @ 130c (mine is a fan oven so lower temp) for 20 mins. Remove from oven, stir and add 200ml more stock and a tin of sweetcorn (forgot that bit tonight). Turn oven up to 150c and cook for another 15-20 mins. Serve and enjoy watching family eat and leave clean plates.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bits and Bobs

Friday evening I asked my sister if she would like to join me at the Ladies night being held at T's old Junior school. There were lots lovely craft sellers, book stalls, nail and cosmetic specialists and of course jewellery sellers. I couldn't resist this sparkly ring. I also manged to buy more Christmas presents and won a bottle of bubble bath in the raffle.
On Saturday T spent most of the day out with friends (yikes!) but came home saying he had had a really good day.
S and G went off to the cinema and saw Mr Popper's Penguins which they both enjoyed.
I went to an indoor car boot sale with my mum and sister. They arrived before me and mum had alreayd snaffled these 'sweeties' for me for 10p. They were strung up as a garland but I have snipped them off and am now of the look out for a glass jar to display them in. I think they'll look fab on the dresser as part of our Christmas decorations.

I had two good buys. The first for 75p was a copy of The Holiday. I have only watche dthis movie once but LOVED it and look forward to watching it a lot more now. Who wouldn't want to stay in that cottage?!
My second buy was this fab black M&S skirt for £1.25. I am thinking this will be fabulous to wear Christmas day with some sparkly on top. The waist is elasticated so will be perfect for after lunch comfort!
Sunday was spent in Salisbury. We went to the Grasmere Hotel for lunch to celebrate 2 birthday's in G's family, his sister's last week and his mum's this coming week.
G's mum gave us these to bing home for the children. She is an avid car booter too and found these on one of her bargain hunting Sunday's. Aren't they cute. She has also given us the chocolates to pop inside each pocket.
Lots of Christmas items in this post. I think it's going to the way of things to come for a while.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Such a Good Day

I have had such a good day today.
After dropping S at school I took the bus into town and spent half an hour mooching in Primark, coming out with 2 bags full of purchases and the first ticks made on my shopping list against items I had wanted to buy.
From there I walked up to the City's art gallery to meet a friend as we had arranged to go and see Boo Ritson exhibiton. Neither of us knew anything about her work so it was all new to us. Certainly gave us something to talk about.
To catch up with each other's news we decided on a sit down in Starbucks where I had the tastiest caramel macchiato, such a treat!
Once we had caught up I came along with me to Hawkins to act as my basket carrier.
I had browsed the catalogue about a month ago and had written down the things I wanted to buy, but did the list make sense to me today? Never fear a very helpful young man spotted me looking a bit confused and came to my assistance. I had only to read out 'wacky whirler' and 'bean boozled' and off he went gathering up my purchases for me.

My friend and I then parted company as we needed to shop in different parts of town. Not only did I buy the things I had hoped to, I also managed to buy T and S's Christmas present from G's brother which was an unexpected bonus. I arrived home with half an hour to spare before I needed to collect S. My arms and feet ached but I was so happy to have packed so much into one day and for it all to have been so enjoyable.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Christmas Mags

I'm building up quite a nice little collection of Christmas editions of the magazines I don't normally buy the rest of the year.

They are hard to resist when the covers look so festive and full of interesting articles, gift and decorating inspirations and recipes galore.
I am so looking forward to enjoying them over a couple of quiet, indulgent hours.

Especially this one which was a gift from Clare. The ever lovelyMrs Summerfete came over to visit us last week bringing me this fabulous magazine and sweets for all. We had a good old chat, ate cake, drank tea and before all that we even managed a quick flit around the local charity shops.

I'm off to bed to make a start on the Country Living one which was delivered today!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

October Scavenger Hunt

This month's hunt is late and incomplete but it's here which is more than can be said for July, August and September.

Something eerie, the sign above a beer pump, Spotted this whilst we were enjoying a refreshing drink after our 6 mile walk in Shawford.

A river. The River Itchen which we walked along side of on part of our 6 mile walk.

Candlelit and pumpkin together! One of the pumpkins we had lit on our windowsill on Hallowe'en.

Heritage. Salisbury Cathedral.

Golden. The horn of a unicorn from one of the troupes of Morris men we saw in Reading last weekend.

Crunchy leaves, the park in Reading was littered with them, in a good way.

Black cat, the sign on a pub just down from Salisbury train station.

Only 7 photos for 8 catergories, lets hope I can do better this month.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Behind Again

It seems to me that for the past couple of months I keep getting behind on writing blog posts and then doing a big catch up. This is another of those. Oh well, better late than never I suppose. My scavenger hunt for October will also be late (surprise, surprise) and I haven't managed to get them all either.

So last week was half term. Monday was spent with my sister for her birhtday, Tuesday G and the children went to Salisbury and Wednesday morning we spent indoors playing Just Dance on the Wii. I do enjoy that. In the afternoon we went to the local duck pond and fed the ducks, walked through mud and puddles and the children ran around for a while too which always pleases me to see.

I became slightly obsessed with taking photos of all the different berries but won't bore you with all of them, just these blackberries

and these 'traffic light' ones.

Thursday was miserable weather wise and was spent indoors. T was off colour all week as he hadn't gone to school on the last day of term and we all got a bit grouchy with each other, so let's move swiftly on to Friday when we did our annual Hallowe'en trail through a country park. Which we followed with a trip to the garden centre to have a look at their Christmas decorations and enjoy a hot chocolate in the newly opened restaurant. Very nice indeed, will definitely be going back there again.

On Saturday G and I had ANOTHER night away! Get us, 2 in one month! It won't happen again now for AGES. This one had been arranged a while ago. Friends of ours are nearing the end of the adoption assessment process and felt a bit of hands on experience would be good. So they offered, we accpeted and off we toddled to Reading. Neither of us had visited this town before and G was in charge of booking a hotel and found a good deal so that's why we ended up there.

We wandered around the town centre for a couple of hours and during this time came across a meeting of a few troupes of Morris Men which we stood and watched for a while. I love the sound of all the bells and the wood when they knock the sticks together. There is probably a more technical name for that!

G's back was starting to give him a bit of pain so he went back to the hotel and I carried on looking around. I could have stood in front of the John Lewis window for ages, it looked so festive.

The next morning we took a different route back to the station and found a lovely restored Victorain style park

which had this magnificent lion in the middle.

We also found the town hall and art gallery building which is stunning.

Really I should have done a bit of research into Reading before we headed off but as I explained in the last post I have been preoccupied with work, more than I realised, plus T had another MRI scan on Monday morning. I know his doctor says they are just routine but I can't help worrying all the same. Well it's part of the job description isn't it?!

Monday afternoon saw me sat on the floor tracing and cutting out bat shapes from black card and then sellotaping small chocolate bars and fizzy sweets inside and then folding the bat wings over and securing with another piece of sellotape. Talk about leaving it to the last minute. I saw this idea ages ago on Pinterest, but they got done. I made 35 of these. In total I had nearly 80 trick or treat callers. Thankfully I had other sweets but in the end I did run out and had to put on a sign on the door to say 'sorry sweets all gone.'

I took a quick snap of both T and S before they went out too. T went with friends and S went with G. The mask T wore was really scary, just little holes for his eyes. S was much more excited this year than last and was very keen to get out there.

Finally I must include our 30 minute craft project from last week. Another idea from Pinterest, mummy lights. Empty glass jars wrapped in toilet roll with black card shapes for the faces and tea lights popped inside.. S's is on the left, mine in the middle and T's on the right. We were very pleased with them.