Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Morning Stroll

With me having to start work at 1pm and S having to go and spend the afternoon with my mum we needed to make the most of the morning.
A short walk seemed like the ideal solution.
I thought a return visit to West End copse would be ideal as it's near to where my mum lives.
Last year I took a photo of S sat on the oversized chair with G and today she offered a hand up to her nan so they could also have one taken together.

When we reached the sign post we followed the route for Pine Walk and made plans for taking an alternative route next week.

I don't think so Miss S, up you jump we've still got a bit of walking to do!

Always a treat to see a robin and this one, very obligingly, stayed just long enough for me to snap his photo.

An hour and a half spent outside this morning certainly made my 5 and a half hours in the surgery this afternoon more bearable, whilst S was able to spend more time outdoors helping her nan in the garden.

Monday, 27 July 2015


Yesterday whilst at my sister's house she asked if I would like this cookery book she no longer wanted.
S and I had already decided Monday afternoon was going to involve some kind of baking so we gladly accepted the kind offer and then spent a while perusing it's pages.
In the end we selected two recipes.

The first was extremely quick and easy. 
Here is S proudly showing off the Snowballs.
They were made from melted white chocolate, cake crumbs and coconut.
You can tell she was pleased the result.

Our second choice was iced coffee biscuits.
S chose to bake them in 3 different shapes.
Hearts, ducks and, especially for her dad, guitars.
If these two are anything to go by we're going to be in for a tasty summer hols.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

So Many Happy Things

Another big round up of our family happenings is due.
The last couple of weeks at school were a bit different.
T spent a fortnight at his old (S's current) junior school completing his work experience. 
He really enjoyed the experience of helping the children in class and he even volunteered for extra activities outside of the school day, staying on a couple of times to help with tidying away after a leaver's assembly and the school fayre.
S has also been having an exciting time as she went on a school camping trip.
They went away Tuesday 14th and came back on Friday 17th.
 It was wall to wall activity during the day with things such as abseiling, canoeing, raft building and  a zip wire and then they were kept busy each evening with games and a disco.
I've never seen S look as tired as she did when she came home!

A piece of S's art work- baguette and salad made from tissue paper

We didn't make any plans for the weekend after S came home thinking she probably wouldn't be wanting an early start or a long day out. The most we managed was a gentle stroll in the direction of a local church's summer fete. I liked these flowers made from empty fizzy drink bottles which were planted along the path leading up to the church.

The past couple Sundays haven't been great for car booting and it's been a while since we've been, but this doesn't mean I haven't been buying the odd item for myself or the home. I took a bag of donations into T's charity shop and spotted this hand knitted cushion in the window on my way in. I paid £1.50 for it.

This past week has been full celebrations as on Tuesday it was my birthday. I went for coffee with a good friend in the morning, spent the afternoon at work and then spent the evening opening presents and playing swingball in the garden. Wednesday I went out with my mum and sisters and there were more presents. There may also have been a takeaway treat. 
I know some who read my blog like to see the pile of presents my sister  C and I exchange and I will show the ones she gave me over the course of a few posts. We set a budget of £10 to spend and items have to be preloved. We have broken this rule a few times when things seen in shops have been just too good to miss and this birthday four of the ten gifts I received from C were brand new and it's these I'm sharing today.
I absolutely love the storage jar although I haven't yet decided what I'm going to use it for.
The tins are fab too, stripes and dots and the colour combination are all things which make me happy.

And as if those items weren't enough just look at this swoon worthy mug and plate. There are two of those heart shaped plates. Not just one plate of prettiness two of them.
And these are just 4 items from a total of 10 which all in all cost £10, what a bloody marvellous sister.

And my other sister T is pretty marvellous at gift giving too.
Look at this cute baby blue cup, complete with teabag, biscuits and spoon.
That spoon needs closer inspection because

love tea has been stamped on it. 
Wrapped up alongside it was the knife.
That has spread love stamped on it.
How darned cute are they.

Keeping with the present theme for the moment here is S's little thank you for her teacher who was leaving the school at the end of this term.
Using a template I found online I cut out some paper shapes which S stuck together to make the face of an owl.
On the back she wrote
'Thank you for making me WISER in year 5.
Hope you have a HOOT in your new job.'

So now the school holidays have started.
 The first day T took himself off for an appointment with the orthodontist, he likes to be as independent as possible and S spent the day with a friend.
This summer is going to be different because it's the first time since becoming a parent I will be working during the 6 weeks holiday.

Today sees another birthday, this time it's my mum and this is the children's gift to her. A huge snuggly bath sheet in deep shade of purple, with a set of berry scented candles and a bottle of blackberry memories bath foam. In my opinion a nice little trio of happy things.
We've been out for a birthday lunch where the children shared a dessert called Candymania. This huge glass goblet contained chocolate and vanilla ice cream, cream, twix bars, a cookie, M&M's and Maltesers. 
It was one very large happy thing.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

To Cook or not To Cook

image from the graphics fairy

I don't know about you but these days I tend to do my grocery shopping in more than one place. We like certain products from certain places and with an ever increasing need to make our money go as far as it can I need to make sure I buy wisely.
So for instance I go to Sainsburys because we all like their tomato ketchup, I go to Tesco because I know our cats will eat their own brand of cat food and I go to Lidl for their cheese because it's so much more reasonably priced. 
Some places I go to for just a couple of items and one of those places is Iceland. It just so happens I was in here a couple of weeks ago and feeling really fed up with the whole idea of cooking and so I bought 3 frozen ready meals. 
I had had enough of people complaining about the food I cooked, suddenly not eating things I have been cooking for ages saying they now didn't like them, deciding they didn't fancy what was on offer, the list went on.
When I served up tea that night and presented them with the ready meal they were genuinely shocked. 'We never have ready meals' T exclaimed.
I explained that I was fed up.
It wasn't just a case of going to the kitchen night after night and opening the cupboards and making something appear.
I explained how I planned the menu for the week trying to ensure a variety of foods, I wrote a shopping list, I shopped for and paid for the food needed and then I stood in the kitchen and cooked it all.
With all that effort I was then more than a little ticked off when I then ended up scraping that food into the bin.
Discussions were had.
Things have improved for all.
One new recipe I have tried and which has been given the thumbs up is for something called Lazy Cheeseburgers. I didn't serve them in buns but with slices of garlic bread and this sweet and sticky BBQ rice.
It's quick and easy and good for a mid week meal.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

18 years

Today is our 18th wedding anniversary.
Time flies.
It's been a fairly quiet day today, so different to the one all those years ago!

We had a lovely long day out yesterday and then a lovely long lay in this morning to recover. Our day was spent in Romsey for the beggars fair. A day of musical entertainment at various different venues across the town.
I only managed a couple of photos before the battery in my camera went (and I found I didn't have a spare with me) and this is by far my favourite. 
Red white and blue.

We spent a very entertaining half hour watching the Chequered Flag Appalachian clog dancers. Morris dancers were also performing but we didn't manage to catch any of them.

The venue for our picnic lunch this week was the grounds of Romsey Abbey. In all the times we've been to Romsey we've never been to the Abbey and another first visit was made to the Memorial park. Both need further investigation. With a fully charged camera.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Hat Fair

For a few years now we've been meaning to go to the Hat Fair in Winchester, but it's always clashed with something else we've wanted to do or see.
Not so this year.
Event began on Friday and ended on Sunday.
We went on Saturday.

As we walked out of the train station there was a group of people milling around and we wondered if something had just happened and we had missed it, but lucky for us it was just about to happen.
Music started and people from amongst the little crowd made their way forward and began to dance.

S is off on a camping trip with the school next week and as we had to shop for  new leggings as part of the kit she'll need for the exciting activities they have planned, we made our way through the city centre and past Parchment Street the home of the sculpture of the kite flyer.

Once at the shopping centre we stopped to watch a couple of acts. The young pair on the left preparing for a tea party we could only stay and watch for a few minutes as the sun was blazing in through the glass roof and it was just too hot a spot to be in. The young lad in the bottom right was part of a group of half a dozen smartly dressed office workers. Their performance involved one of them depicted as literally drowning in his work signified by the balled up pieces of paper he was floundering in.
Then when the shopping was done, as our per our last trip to Winchester a few weeks ago, we made our way to the Cathedral close to have lunch. We struggled to find a spot to sit as it was packed out with hundreds of others who were also picnicking and enjoying the festival atmosphere. Judging from the laughter and applause coming from where the man on the unicycle was just away to our left he must have been very entertaining.

I left G and S sitting in the shade whilst I went an watched this quartets performance which was all about how something you say as a joke could be taken out of context and used against you to a detrimental effect through the medium of social media. Ring any recent bells? It was really good.

The final act we all caught was Ernest the Magnifico. This was absolutely fantastic. 'Ernest' had the audience in the palm of his hand throughout, he was so funny and the volunteers who he coaxed into taking part really joined in with it all. If you are ever at an event or festival where he is playing I urge you to go and watch, you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Transfer Day

Just words today. 
It's just something I wanted to record which S has written.
Yesterday was transfer day at school. The day where children spend time in their new year group, with their new teacher, in their new classroom.
S was very excited when she trotted off to school in the morning.
Thankfully she was just as excited when she came home again, brimful of things she wanted to tell me about the day.
One of the tasks they were set was to write about themselves and feelings they had, good and not so good, and liken them to animals.
I really liked what S wrote and her reasoning behind some of the choices.

There is a confident dolphin inside me who is always happy and cheerful.
S said she chose a dolphin as they look like they are smiling and the clicking noises they make sounds like they are having a happy conversation.

There is a working hard tiger inside me who is always cool and fantastic.
Well there is no arguing with her reasoning that a tiger is a cool animal. I also wondered if she felt they were cool because we have always called Tony (and he'll hate me for this) Tony Tiger after the Frosties character and she adores her brother.

There is a tidy hippo inside me who is always helpful and clean.
When the recycling bin is close to overflowing it's S we call upon to climb into the bin and stamp it down for us. She loves doing this, always has done. She decided that a hippo was the right animal as once a hippo sits on something it's got to be tidier as it's going to be so much smaller!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Dear Diary

I've finally cracked it.
Looking at my new diary it is ludicrously simple and I wonder why it took me so long to get there.

I've tried many different sorts of diary over the years and none of them really worked.
I like the page a day format, but with the notebook size diary I prefer, when it comes to the weekend Saturday and Sunday have to share a page.
This is no good.
I like to keep a note of different events going on at weekends which we may want to go to and once these get jotted down along with all the other day to day things I want to record there just wasn't enough room.

I really do try to be organised, I have to write stuff down or else it gets forgotten.
I am a list maker, always have been, always will be.
Trouble is I ended up with lists for different things in different notepads and so my handbag was always weighed down with far more assorted stationery than was sensible.

No more is that the case.
I have one notepad in my handbag which contains everything I need.
It has meant I need to write out the whole year myself but doing a little at a time is no big deal and now it's complete I have a diary which looks how I want it to look and will work for me.

The date on each page is written in ordinary black biro and each different catergory has been given it's own colour. This way each sections stands out when I refer to the pages. 
Under the date I have a line for our evening meal. I meal plan on a weekly basis and so once that job is done I just write them in.
The space underneath is for events happening we may want to go to, dentist/medical appointments, activities at the children's schools we need to be aware of, dates for meeting up with friends, all that kind of thing.
Next is Home week 1,2,3, or 4. Since getting my act together on the home front with the help of Brocante Home I have divided certain tedious jobs over a 4 week period and do them on a rota basis. Some may think this is ridiculous, but I NEED a routine to keep a reasonably clean and tidy home for my own sanity.
Next comes Shopping. This covers anything which needs to be bought. It could be food, toiletries, school shoes or pillowcases. Anything.
Then comes the To Do section. This is for phone calls which need to be made, bills which need to be paid etc.

I use the space at the very top of the page to record  birthdays or any such occasions which require a card.
The very bottom of the page is used to record what day it is from www.daysoftheyear.com. If I think I can incorporate the day into our lives somehow whether it's a weekend craft as in ballet day or an excuse for a picnic midweek then I do try to do it. It all helps towards making the best of every day.

It's all so basic and took no time at all once I sat down with pen and paper and clarified exactly what it was I needed and wanted to remember.
I'm so glad to have got there in the end.