crEAting, drEAming, fEAsting

sEAsons…and since we’ve no place to go

Finally I get to sit down and write.

The whole of December has been far too hectic this year, I am not sure why as I did not plan it to be quite so mad.

We closed the front door last night after saying goodbye to our final pre-Christmas visitors who had joined us for a festive drink and a few nibbles and it felt really good to wake up this morning and not be preparing for something or going anywhere – not even work as I have finished now until the New Year. Yeah.

I pottered around this morning doing the last of the washing and ironing, putting the tags and finishing touches on to the wrapped presents, even taking a few photos for my blog.

Gift wrap

After an early lunch we walked down to the village, dropping off a present or two for friends on the way, and collecting a sprig of eucalyptus and Hypericum berries from the local florist for my front door decoration.

The Flower Box

I decided against making a conventional wreath this year and have done something completely different to hang by the door, but you will have to wait until tomorrow for a photo.

It has been a lovely relaxing day and I have been able to sit back and savour Christmas.

Christmas china



Christmas tree

Christmas tree

The Christmas tree is adorned with mostly vintage baubles going back to the fifties, maybe even earlier, I love the fact that they have been part of our family and displayed on many trees down the generations.  Of course our usual tiny twinkly fairy lights failed this year when we got them on the tree so we had to scramble around and make do with some older ones that used to go outside.

I even attempted making my own Christmas card – I only had a couple of hours to come up with a design and make them so it had to be very simple – it turned out to be a bit of a disaster as you can see but I have included a photo of it here because I like to keep a true record – even of my failures!  My friends who have received them won’t mind – I know I always love to receive home-made cards.

Christmas card 2017

Christmas card 2017


Anyway to fill you in on the rest of my Christmas so far… last weekend was spent with much joviality at our family gathering on Sunday at the Black Swan in Fearby by courtesy of the owner – my daughter’s boss.

We had our best Santa hats and jumpers on, plenty of fun and games and our musical interlude…

and quite a few selfies.

Christmas Selfie

I have mentioned before that OH and I have been busy producing a Family Album photo book for my mum and it arrived just in time from the printers to give it to her on Sunday whilst all the family were in one place.  There are over 400 photos in the book covering almost 9 decades from when my mum and dad were children, through to their wedding and our appearance.  There were plenty of family holiday snaps, family weddings and christenings, first cars, Christmas get-togethers and of course many memories of our dear dad, in fact everyone who is connected to our family is in it.

This is the moment we surprised her in a true ‘This is your Life’ style…

Photo Book

Mum was so pleased she shed a tear or two and then at the end of the evening stood up and made a lovely little speech to thank us all and tell us how much these family gatherings mean to her.  In jest someone handed her the selfie frame and here she is holding it while she delivered her thank you speech.  I think this could start a new trend for the Queen’s speech.


At this same event we were also celebrating my younger daughter and niece’s birthdays and I made them a chocolate cake to share.

I bought some of those candles that spell ‘Happy Birthday’ in silver and gold to go on top but instead of putting them on the cake I wrapped each letter in random order between the layers of the pass the parcel together with a ‘Trivia’ type question and a Celebration sweet.

Chocolate Cake

When the music stopped and a layer unwrapped to reveal another candle letter they had to stick into the cake.  When the pass the parcel finished all the letters were in the cake and ready to be lit…however not necessarily in the right order!!  But it was good fun.

Chocolate Cake

Happy Birthday

After all the hard work I have put in to making Christmas so far I decided I needed a bit of a treat – Neal’s Yard have opened a new shop in Meadowhall – absolute joy for me as I love their Frankincense Intense concentrated serum.  So appropriate for the season – I can certainly feel the love and the assistant dropped a couple of free sachets into the carrier bag – I will skip the price on this one – you can guess it is not cheap.

Neal's yard

The golden pear was something I spotted whilst rushing through Next with my mum on her shopping bonanza – £2 for a bit of Christmas sparkle.

I was also lucky enough to find a copy of L’art de la Simplicite – How to live more with less – a book I read a while ago from the library and decided that it is one to keep should I find it – not only did I find it but it was free at Waterstones with my reward stamps.

So I am truly a happy bunny.

I will be posting one more time before the big day but I would like to say a big happy Christmas to all my readers and to all the other bloggers and friends whose blogs have kept me entertained all year.  I apologise for my lack of comments in the last couple of weeks – I have been reading along with everyone’s Christmas preparations but it has been so difficult to comment on everyone I read.

Thank you also to Simone at Linden Grove for the lovely card I received this morning – what a wonderful surprise – I promise I will be writing to you soon – just be thankful I didn’t send you one of my dreadful home-made cards!!

celebrations, drEAming, fEAsting, general chit chat, mEAndering, out and about

on safari…

How lucky were we today with the weather.

We had arranged to meet at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park near Doncaster to celebrate Little L’s third birthday (which is actually Tuesday) and of course my elder daughter and partner’s 1st Wedding Anniversary with as many of the family that could make it – my sister, hubby and daughter, my brother and mum, younger daughter and her partner – twelve of us in all – I think.

If you remember a year ago our elder daughter was married in Scotland near to our cottage on the Castle Kennedy estate where her granddad was once head gardener.  We had a lovely sunny day then and it stayed fine for us today –

Castle Kennedy Gardens

see more pictures here.

I cannot believe it is a year since we were celebrating their marriage and putting on such a big event – at least todays event was more manageable once we had all the family in one place!

We eventually found each other in the Lion car park (thank goodness for mobiles – though I mistakenly rang my sister-in-laws number instead of my brothers – she is in Spain – costly mistake!) and headed for the picnic area taking up 3 picnic tables to have our lunch.  Of course isn’t it always the case that everyone else’s picnic always looks inviting!  My brother had taken a full Sunday lunch for himself (not a roast but an individual Quiche with new potatoes and salad) his cool bag was larger than anyones!


We had all the trimmings as one should for a little girls 3rd birthday with a wild life theme – a pretty flamingo dress, raspberry jelly, a jungle table-cloth, animal paper hats, animal paper plates,

pink flamingo straws,

a monkey and

a monkey chocolate cake with 3 candles.

Given the windy conditions it is a miracle we ever got them alight!

With my family it is difficult snapping a photo of us all together at one time so as usual some of us are missing on this photo and so are the paper hats that everyone was made to wear!

After lunch we followed the trail around the park to see the Leemar…


and my favourites – the Giraffes…



Finally a much needed cup of tea in the Masai cafe to revive our feet and a final wave goodbye to the animals.

And all too soon the end of a perfect day (isn’t life just so exciting when you are only 3!) – after a quick head count to make sure that no-one had been left behind or eaten by a wild animal and a few Polaroid selfie shots with all the family this time – elder daughter and partner then drove off into the sunset to spend their anniversary night in a more romantic setting of a hotel in the dales – needless to say the family will not be joining them – though I did suggest it LOL!


beach cottage, bEAching, drEAming, general chit chat, holidays, mEAndering

home for a rest…

Back home from our two-week holiday and break in Scotland at the cottage – you may have noticed my absence.  The weather in our part of Scotland (the South West corner) has been absolutely glorious – so many hot sunny days and blue skies – who needs to go abroad!

Thank you to everyone for your recent comments on my previous posts –  I was not ignoring you all I have no internet connection at the cottage and so am oblivious to life in the rest of the world. I would normally reply to your comments but time is a bit scarce at the moment as I have a lot of catching up to do both in the house and in blogland so please accept this general acknowledgement.

Whilst we were on holiday (which I will write about in another post) I had my birthday, and also a funeral to attend  – not on the same day but close.  The call to say that OH’s uncle from the Scottish side of the family had unexpectedly passed away came as we were enjoying the first day of our holiday but being close to Kilmarnock (82 miles up the road from our cottage) we decided it would be fairly easy to attend the funeral.

Not everyone gets to go to a funeral on holiday and like most people we had not packed clothes for such an occasion so we had no option but to go in our holiday attire – the best we could do was black jeans each, a suitable top for me and dark t-shirt and jumper for OH and yes as you can imagine we did stand out from the crowd who were quite soberly and traditionally dressed, the men in black suits, white shirts and black ties and the women black dresses or skirts, but the family did not mind rather they were pleased to see us.

The funeral director and staff did however show a look of horror once or twice especially when the announcer called for any family members to enter the crematorium chapel first and we stepped forward – until then it was probably thought we were just passers-by!

Being on holiday for my birthday does mean I have spent a lot of my day today opening cards and presents and answering messages.  So back to the unpacking now as it is work again for me tomorrow.

I will just leave you with a few holiday snaps…


Kipford and Rockcliffe 

Ardwell Walled Gardens

Broadstones Stranraer

Across Agnew Park Stranraer



crafts, crEAting

A productive crafternoon…

The weekend before last I made some cards for my friends birthdays partly to save money on bought cards but mostly because handmade cards are so much nicer to receive.

My ‘Art’ cards are based on a concertina theme – almost like a mini artists book.

Autumn Leaves Card

For the one above I incorporated a beautiful photo my hubby took by the lake at Corsock House in Scotland and illustrated a poem about leaves with differing typefaces and some pressed leaves .

Peters card 2

This was a similar theme of Autumn with a pencil sketch I did many years ago of a Beech leaf

again illustrating a poem called ‘O hushed October morning mild’ by Robert Frost.

Butterfly Card 2

The Butterfly card is more on the craft side and made from  butterfly shapes

stamped out with a punch and stuck onto a printed stock paper with a few scattered stick on jewels to add sparkle  and finished with a Happy Birthday stamp.  I have made quite a few of these recently – I almost had a little production line going in my craft room.


This card was made from a  print of a water colour sketch I did of some very pretty Alstoemeria that I received from a friend for my birthday.

I had quite a productive afternoon and great fun exploring new ideas – I just wish I had more time.

You may also like to read

Christmas 2012
Homemade Christmas Cards 2012
celebrations, fEAsting

A week of celebrations…

What a lot of catching up to do when you have been away, I notice that everyone in blogland has been busy writing and posting profusely and it will take me some time to visit you all and catch up on the news – I feel quite out of touch.

I have so much happening at the moment that I couldn’t possibly write about it all but the most pressing thing is our office move tomorrow.

A different room on a different floor with a different view.  Change is always challenging and for us it will mark the end of an era after 7 years in the same place and we are not sure whether we should have a leaving do or a ‘room’ warming in the new place, whichever we decide on we have already got ourselves a stash of chocolate goodies to get us through the day.

Of course there is always one person who decides to be difficult and through her own very selfish actions has made the move a bit of a nightmare.  What a shame the management wouldn’t give her an office space of her own (which we believe to be the reason for the awkwardness) as we also would have welcomed it rather than have to work with someone who is going to complain and be obnoxious all the time like she has been for the last few weeks.

But less of the moaning it is not all doom and gloom as I will continue to share an adjoining desk space with my colleague, who does the same job as me and is a really good work mate, and we will get through this together just as we have weathered everything else over the last 12 years.  They don’t call us Hinge and Bracket for nothing!  We have become inseparable and really have fun working together.

On the brighter side I have managed to fit in quite a bit of partying over the last few days.  Last Thursday night we went to my friend’s daughters 18th birthday celebration, a gathering of close friends and family and it was so nice to relax and chat over a little wine, a few nibbles and some gorgeous cake on a week night.

Birthday Goodies

This was repeated again on Sunday when we attended my Russian niece’s babies 1st Birthday party in Pooh Bear style.  It was a lovely time for all our family to get together, have a good natter and catch up – and just like Tiggers it is what we do best!

Cake Pops

These were the delightful Honey Bee cake pops she had made using yellow chocolate – I didn’t even know you could buy yellow chocolate!  Don’t you just love those wonky grins!  We came away with goodie bags full of jelly beans, dolly mixtures and flying saucers – much more fun than the grown ups parties and I am still humming and singing all those Pooh Bear songs at work this week.

Have a great Wednesday.

crafts, crEAting

60th Birthday Bash…

The Error Horror

Last night we went to a 60th Birthday Party of a dear friend of mine who also happens to be my boss at work!  I was sure I already had a card with 60 on it but when I came to find it in my card box – I was mistaken and to my horror it had a great big 50 on it!!!

The Idea

However, all was not lost as I decided there was nothing to it but to get out my crafting tools and make one.  It has given me chance to use my newly acquired Vintage Numbers stamp set that I bought as a present to myself from Paperchase.  They really are wonderful to use and although I thought pricey at the time the quality of the stamp is very precise and nice to work with.  The set comes with a pad of black ink.

The Task

As I only had 30 minutes to come up with a finished product I had to keep to something very simple.  So after a bit of a play around I settled on stamping the 6 ad 0 different ways on a piece of white card.  I then cropped close in to the print keeping it a good square shape, then mounted this onto black card just slightly bigger to give it a finished edge and then mounted the whole thing centrally onto a bright purple card and voila!

The Finished product

I thought it was quite in keeping both with his party invite which was done in that ‘Ransom Note’ style and the dress code which was ‘Bright’.

The Temptation

I might even be tempted now to buy the vintage letter set when I next find myself in Paperchase (which will be when we visit my mum-in-law in Shrewsbury).  When we have spent a few hours in the care home having had slightly odd and often bizarre conversations with most of the residents – my mum-in-law included, we usually bring ourselves back into the ‘real’ world by spending the last half hour in the town centre browsing in one or two of my favourite shops.

The Realisation

I am already looking forward to using my Christmas Stamp set (from Waterstones) this year for cards and having realised that there is only one week left of September I had better get some ideas set in motion for Christmas pretty soon.

Is anyone else making their own cards for Christmas and how soon do you start?

You might also like to browse

Christmas Crafts

I love to hear all your comments and suggestions if you have the time – have a good day x

drEAming, hEAlth, random thoughts, wellbeing

Busy doing nothing…

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then rest afterward

Spanish Proverb

Today I hit 21 again!!!  Well a girl can dream can’t she?  I was given the day off work because it is my birthday and after spending the last few weeks on overdrive I decided that I would quite like to do nothing – in fact a whole day of doing nothing, however, the reality is that I was not sure how to do nothing – especially when you have been used to speeding along in the fast lane trying to keep up with all life throws at you – doing nothing seems quite difficult.

 So for today this is as close to nothing as I could manage

  • Sleeping half an hour longer
  • Eating a leisurely breakfast instead of grazing on the go
  • Pottering around the house putting things away – quite a relaxing pastime really especially when still in your dressing gown (no rush to get washed and dressed today)
  • Taking a very long hot shower
  • Making a healthier lunch
  • Sorting out my planner – weeding out the bits and pieces no longer required and updating To Do lists ready for the ‘back to normal’ speed tomorrow
  • Spending a delightful afternoon chatting with friends who popped in to see me with cards and flowers and presents
  • Catching up with a little TV whilst my birthday tea was prepared (and pudding too) – great treat
  • Relaxing on the sofa after being banned from doing any washing up – even better treat!

I had a lovely day and I am feeling much more rested even though I didn’t quite manage to do nothing – all I have to do now is snuggle down in bed with a good book – I could get used to every day being a birthday.