Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Our Christmas

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and that these in between days are being enjoyed too.
G and I returned to work yesterday but I'm off again today and have been endeavoring to set the house tidy again, with not much success I may add due to the many little piles of new gifts sat around our home awaiting new homes of their own.

Christmas eve S went to spend the day with my mum as, again, we were both at work. S always goes prepared with things to do to keep them busy and she very kindly agreed to squeeze in a little festive treat making. I gave her a packet of teacakes, icing sugar and holly cake sprinkles to make these 'puddings'. I think she did a great job, they look very sweet.

Whilst reading the Christmas Countdown on Brocante Home one day I found information about the origin of Christmas crackers and I decided to begin a new tradition for our table. Instead of sugared almonds I enclosed a little chocolate Father Christmas wrapped inside a little quote. Everyone chose a twist at random and then we went round the table reading them out, things like Be the Reason Someone Smiles Today and Always Believe Something Wonderful is About to Happen.

A couple of days before Christmas T came to me very excited as he had seen an idea on youtube for wrapping presents and he was keen to do this to the gifts he had bought for me and G. A trip to Hobbycraft later he had amassed his supplies and took over the front room.
This is the end result for his gift to G. It was such a thoughtful thing for him to want to do.

One of the lasting memories I will take from this year is S's reaction when she opened this gift from my sister. S has such an unusual name and finding anything with her name on is impossible. When she opened this cushion she got a little teary, my sister asked her if everything was ok and she replied 'I'm just so happy.'

G looks prepared for winter in his new hat and scarf and what do you think of his little companion? Back In August I went out for the afternoon with my sisters and I saw this rabbit. He is a garden ornament and I fell in love with his handsome face. I ummed and ahhed over buying him, but decided against it in the end. Apparently the very next day my sister went back and bought him for me. I love him although I don't think I can put him outside.

We don't always buy cards to each other but when we went to the vintage fair last month I saw this one made from an original Babycham coaster and G said he would buy it as his card to me this year. It's going to be framed and put up on the dining room wall once I've gone to Ikea to buy the frame.

One of our long running family traditions is silly table presents to wear during lunch and here is this year's selection. Sequinned antlers for S.

Mistletoed headgear for my sister.
I buy everyone else's and G buys mine and by co-incidence T and I ended up with the same hat and glasses combo. He looked far better than me though.

What you can't see in this photo is that G's nose lights up and makes him look even more attractive!

Last but by no means least is my mum and her new facial hair.

Boxing day and the days after didn't go quite as planned as unfortunately T was sick that morning and quite out of sorts. We did manage to get to Salisbury to see G's family on the Sunday. G and S went up for the planned lunch out and T and I followed later in the day, joining everyone at Grandma's for a couple of hours to exchange pressies and play a game or two.
Now I really should return to the tidying, or maybe I'll just put my feet up and read. 
Where did I leave those chocolates..........

Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Marathon Catch Up

There aren't many pictures in this post and the ones that are here are of shocking quality but I need to make sure I get down some kind of record of our December.
On the first Saturday evening of the month the annual festive event at our local shops was held. It was opened by the lantern parade which was a bit of a haphazard affair as S didn't want to take part without her friend B and we couldn't find her in the crowd.
Earlier in the day, whilst out looking for more new school shoes we had bumped into friend G and we ended up inviting her to come along with us.
 The girls had fun on the fairground rides, bumping into friends from school and mooching around the shops before it was time to visit the fish and chip shop and make our way home.

The second week of December was a long one as I had agreed to work extra hours to cover a colleagues annual leave. So at the time of year when I'm looking for more time to get things done I actually had less than usual, like many others I'm sure. 
I have really enjoyed the advent activities S and I have done over the past couple of years but when I asked her about doing them this year she wasn't so keen. I have to admit I was a little sad at the prospect but it probably made this week a little more manageable. 
I did squeeze in a bit of socialising one evening though as one of the ladies from our book club had issued an invite to all for wine and nibbles. And very nice it was too.

Although S and I haven't been doing the crafts and games we've done before we have been getting out and about. Last weekend I suggested to G we went along to an outdoor carol service. I can't sing in tune but I do love singing a good carol like Come All Ye Faithful. I never want to sing In The Bleak Midwinter again, I'd never sung it before and thought it was a bit of a dirge. We ended with We Wish You A Merry Christmas and that left everyone smiling.
As we were leaving G said he had really enjoyed himself and it had got him feeling festive. He isn't a fan of Christmas time, even less so as it was this time of year he lost his dad a few years ago, but he was glad we went along and joined in. I think the free mince pies may have helped. 

The last week of school was a hectic one. This being S's last year at junior school it will probably be the last one quite like it. Senior school is so different. As are the children as they grow into teenagers!
Tuesday was Year 6's production of Oliver. This year S, who is normally happy to be part of the choir, auditioned for a part as a dancer in the tavern when they sing Oom Pah Pah. She looked like she was having a lot of fun and the children did a really good job throughout.
Wednesday was wear a Christmas jumper/t-shirt to school day. There was the carol service to go to in the morning and Christmas meal to enjoy at lunch time.
The day was rounded off by me, S and T going into town. There we met up with my mum and sisters. Our arrival, without planning it, coincided with Father Christmas and his sleigh. There was a little shopping done, food eaten and festive atmosphere soaked up.

As if there wasn't enough happening at school this week Thursday was Greek Day. The Ancient Greeks have been the topic this half term and a day of Grecian activities was on the agenda, which of course required a costume. Thank goodness for the internet and youtube. Instructions were found for making a long tunic out of a sheet, being December we went for a thicker material in the shape of an old fleecey throw. A few stitches added to make arm holes and a bronze coloured leaf brooch to hold it in place and it was done. S wore a plain cream long sleeved top and her leggings underneath.

G had been called for jury service last week, he has been along to the courts but not actually been called as a juror. He is back there again today.
I'm off for the next three days so I hope I can accomplish the little bit more of wrapping which needs to be done and the small amount of food shopping which needs to be bought. 

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Day Off Together

Last Friday I had the day off  work.
I work Tuesday afternoons, Thursday mornings and all day on a Friday.
There is a really silly rule at work whereby I have to take my 4 weeks annual leave as either whole weeks at a time or if I want to do it by odd days here and there they have to be 4 Tuesdays, 4 Thursdays and 4 Fridays.
As lovely as it was to have a day off with G a Tuesday or a Thursday is of far more use to me when there are childcare issues.
Anyway, as we had the day off we wanted to go out for a few hours and decided upon Christchurch.
The children and I had had a lovely day out there back in 2013, G had never been, it was easily accessible by train and we could be back in time for S coming in from school.

First thing to catch my eye was some artwork brightening up the walls of the train station, always love to see deckchairs and a beach hut.

I liked the fact that even for estate agent signage was looking festive.

Other things which caught my attention were this pretty seating outside a pub, the rustic wreath on a pretty gift shop, the jolly Father Christmas apron in the window of a sewing shop and the muted shades of a stained glass window.

We took a little detour away from the high street (where we had made a few present purchases) towards the river which is where we saw this narrow house. You can't really see it in this photo by it had a very cute illuminated set of holly leaves hanging above the door.

It really was quite chilly and G and I didn't take the walk along the river past the chamber block as I had done with the children, he said he'd like to return in the summer and explore more then.

Lots of birds were sheltering on the walls, all puffed up against the wind.

The charity shops didn't have much to interest us- apart from this gorgeous Brora skirt. Mine for a bargainous £4. This photo doesn't do it justice, it's so much nicer than this in the flesh.

My only other buy, apart from the aforementioned Christmas presents was this hand knitted bunch of cherries. I'm going to attach a pin to the back and wear it as a brooch. Mine for only £1. I was so happy with this find given my love of cherries.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

What a Pudding

I'm loving the little pictures behind the doors on my advent calendar.
Favourite so far is this Christmas pud.
I didn't think puddings could get much cuter than this,

That is until this morning when I unwrapped my advent gift for today and found this mini Christmas pudding brooch.
It's about the size of a 10p coin.
Going to be wearing that every day for sure.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Sister Swap

Last year a new tradition was started between me and my 2 sisters.
 It was decided would exchange 24 gifts, one to be opened every morning counting down to 25th December.
All of the gifts are put inside a pillowcase of our own choosing.
When we were little we would place a pillowcase at the end of our bed on Christmas Eve, hoping for a visit from Father Christmas.

Last year I bought for my sister C and I only managed to record a couple of the things I gave her.
This year I'm (slightly) more organised and have managed to record all the ones I've bought for my sister T.
All apart from one that is. Along with the ones shown below is this book.

Our rules are simple.
Day one is an edible gift and then every fourth day after that is also a consumable gift.
It could be something such as a bar of chocolate or maybe a sachet of something warming to drink.

T's edible gifts are shown first.
I've given her some Christmas cake cases and a sponge mix as one of them so she'll have to do a bit of work before she gets something to eat that day!

Each item is to cost no more than £1. We keep an eye out all year round and slowly but surely they mount up.
T likes things with a moustache motif and so I was really pleased when I found the paper straws.
The shopper with the face on was one of the best bargains by far, it was 10p in Superdrug.

T opened the book marks yesterday and she text to say she liked them so much she was taking them into work to show her colleagues.
I was a bit unsure she would like these so I was really pleased with that reaction.

The festive patterned material all the gifts are placed for photographing purposes is her pillowcase, it's the one from the duvet set her son used to have on his bed each year when he was little.

Today she opened the heart patterned socks.

The bunting was my other great buy. It spells Celebrate when it's hung up and so can be used for different occasions.
I bought 3 sets, one for each sister and one for myself.
These were 10p each from Oxfam.

This is the gift she'll be opening on Christmas Eve.
It's my favourite of them all.
I did go over the £1 limit on this, but not by much.
She likes the Flower Fairies and I hope this will become a favourite for her to wear each Christmastime.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Festive Goings On

It was strangely quiet here on Saturday afternoon.
T was busy with his weekend shift at the charity shop and S had been invited round to her friend B's house.
When S, eventually, came home she bought this beautiful lantern with her.
B's mum took the girls to a craft session where they each made a lantern in preparation for the procession which will take place at our local shopping centre this weekend.

Sunday morning me, G and S took ourselves off to a vintage fair.
A couple of purchases were made towards Christmas and I treated myself to this serving spoon.
Back in the summer my sister gave me this gorgeous stamped tea spoon and butter knife and I was keen to add to my collection.
I'm not sure what I'm going to be making for dessert on Christmas day but I'm sure it will taste even better when served up with this vintage spoon.

Having a good old tidy up at home on Monday I couldn't resist putting out the odd decoration. 
I bought this metal sprig of mistletoe from Wilkinson's last week and now it's hung over the door way into the dining room.
Pucker up.

The banner on the wall has been changed to something more festive

and of course the advent calendars were found and put in position for this morning.
The children have one each which hang on their bedroom door into which I pop a little sweet something for them to find each morning.
I've never wanted one of the chocolate advents, I prefer the ones just with pictures and this year's one features some very cute woodland creatures.