Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Happy New Year

A small present, very me
Another year is about to end, 2015 has rushed by, 
it has been a good year, at home we have lost loads of clutter from the house, our wasteful spending has all but stopped, we do not go to town each weekend and buy clothes we do not require. Our out going has settled down, we do not go without anything we want, we have just stopped seeing and impulse buying things. I feel we have stepped off the commercial world, we watched a programe on TV last night with Mary Portas, she was showing what 'we in the UK' spent our money on in 2015, as a child of the 70's ( I was 18 in 1973) I was surprised to see the clothing revival this summer was 70's style, it completely passed me by, having said that, I firmly believe if you wore it the 1st time round, you are better off giving it a miss when it comes back. We are also eliminating waste from our lives, we hope to get even better this coming year. 
Hubby has settled into retirement and is enjoying his time at home, he is using his cooking skills to create meals using ingredients rather than packets, jars or tins, our food taste much better. We are hoping to eat seasonal fruit and veg local sourced or home grown. He has started to sort his belongings and is decluttering. Plus he has more time to play golf with his chums. 
Both my girls are happy and with a wedding in the spring we have a celebration to look forward to. Grandsons are a complete joy, would not change any of them, they are growing up fast, but amusing as well. 
I have packed most of Christmas away, just left the cards, we are driving to Somerset today, spending tonight in the Village, on a pub crawl, we will visit all 4 pubs in the village, it's a great time to catch up with loads of people. 
1st is Logan's birthday, so a day with him. 
2nd is Martin's birthday so a meal out with brothers and sister, then drive back home on Sunday. A busy few days filled with laughter and celebrations, I love family life.
I hope you spend tonight with some one you love, 
it is a special evening, a new year with  so much promise to offer.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Leftovers

I only had one book this year 
it is a good one, look Simon's cat up on you tube, great fun
 I have opened a few of my 12 days of Christmas and loving the little gift's, 
It is great fun, I hope Mary is enjoying her gifts. 
I will show what I sent to Mary later when they have all been opened.
 In this year's leftovers challenge I have made a turkey and cranberry pie
we made this before, the top is stuffing, very tasty hot.
Simple, moist and lovely
Our trip to Hobby craft and Haskins was cheap, I got a couple big candles at half price, and just a couple small crafting supplies in Hobby craft, I got two DMC threads, 1st time in ages I have got them in store, at almost a pound each, not at all cheap. No lovely Christmas fabric, no different tree ornaments. We spent the rest of the day home together, it's great to be doing so little.
My ethics are rubbing off on hubby, he has chosen a couple of cookery books he does not use to get rid of, it's a small start, but he is beginning to see my way of reducing what we own as a better life style.
The boys are here later, I will collect them just before 11am, we are having a play day, they can bring what they want, tomorrow they will travel to spend time with Grandma in Manchester and not back until 3rd. Hubby is on the golf course, both daughters are back to work today.


Monday, 28 December 2015

Some where in between

Christmas day was fun for the boys
Lego featured in loads of forms.
 I have managed to stitch, but I did pack it away for Christmas, the plan was not to see it until after today, but boxing day I had the itch, so whilst hubby was watching a film, I sneaked it back by my chair. 
 My stitching is being blamed by a couple of bloggers as a reason for them to start projects, I hope they realise how addictive it is and how much it can cost. On the other hand it's loads of fun and very rewarding. I stitch so much, I always look for a large project, I have a box of smaller piece, ready for any use. Most of what I stitch, ends up in my work box, or I give it away, I love the stitching but don't want to fill my house with framed work. This will be a cushion for the sitting room, I would like to make another using the same colours but a different design. Both designs came from this book which I love, I designed how I should use them.
We enjoyed a lovely walk along the coast on Boxing day, it was dry but very windy, I love to see the sea when it's rough, from the safety of the land (standing well back), the crashing waves are fascinating, lazy rest of the day at home.
Yesterday was another lazy day, we had a second helping of soup, with one serving left, both hubby and I love the way we use our left overs. I sorted the nibble mountain, and packed away a couple of tins of biscuits both have very good dates on them.  Josh and Sam popped in with daddy, so we cut our Christmas cake, it was moist and tasty, hubby was very pleased. The boys helped eat some of the opened biscuits. Later we went to see Star Wars with youngest daughter Su and David, did I enjoy it, was it worth the cost of going, we watched in 3D which made it different, but I felt the story line was a repeat of things gone on before, and a true boy's film.
Today we are popping out, 1st visit to the shops, Hobbycraft 1st, I am looking for something to allow me to stick my small cut shapes to cards, I also want some shiny fun Christmas material. Next door is Haskin's and their Christmas sale is on, most of my tree ornaments have been purchased in sales, I don't need anything, but a wander around will probably bring home a couple of the expensive items if they are reduced. But no frenzied impulse buying.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing day

Christmas table laid for 4
We had a great meal out on Christmas Eve, and would hope to do it again next year, I was driver and happy to drink coffee all evening, the food was good, we all had different dishes. Loads of laughter and smiles, just six of us, both daughters and their partners, hubby and I. We dropped Su and David back to their place and 4 of us had the rest of the evening at our's. We swapped presents in the evening, both Fliss and Johathan would be with their children so we would not see them. Later, hubby and I watched the recorded final of Master Chef and was pleased Mark won.
Christmas morning was just hubby and I, we prepped veg together and Skyped both of hubby's sons and their families. Su and David after a morning together came for lunch a beautiful turkey meal, I love turkey. We watched films in the afternoon, paying to see 'Inside Out' a funny film. Later Call the Midewife and of course Downton Abbey, a perfect family day. We each had smaller gifts this year, all agreeing to curb the excess of previous years, less chocolates and nibbles, but still loads of fun, and too much food.
All the leftover veg from the serving bowls have this morning been blended and seasoned and made into 'Christmas dinner soup' which we have every boxing day, no waste and a tasty soup for after our walk. It's a lazy day, doing nothing much this morning, later we will do our normal Boxing day walk along the coast at Lee-on-the-Solent, it's dry here. Later cold turkey sandwiches.
We did watch the news this morning, hoping the north west of England would miss the weather storm, no luck there, our feeling are with all the flooded homes and those who at this point live with the fear of flooding. Plus the wild fires in Australia, not every one enjoying a festive season.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

No soggy bottoms

Hubby finished his baking today
supermarket shop is done
We have the food we require
 In the garden again
buds on the Magnolia tree
 Plus more flowers

It's been a busy week but filled with nice things. On Monday we all met up at a local out of town shopping center, loads of easy free parking. I took both daughters to Pandora and got them to choose a gift, it's a reminder of my brother who passed away late summer, when the girls were young he would come and visit and play games with them, he was also great as a babysitter. One had earings and the other a ring, I did think they would get charms for their bracelets, hubby has tried to get me to have a bracelet, but they are not my style.
We sat all 10 of us in a coffee shop for over an hour, chatting, Sam was very amusing, he was captain of a rocket, and we had to put on our space suits and seat belts.
Yesterday was a quiet night in together, I worked a bit later so I can finish early tomorrow, so we sat and watched a bit of TV. I have done more stitching, photo's next time.
Tonight I have one last job, after tea, I will give the kitchen an going over with my steamer, it makes every where so clean without cleaning products.
Tomorrow I finish work at 1pm, we will have Sam and Josh for the afternoon, they will have their presents from us to open, it's a tradition we have done for a few years. Later we are going out for a curry with both daughters and partners, I am driving so no drink for me, which I don't mind.
So here we are sliding into a Happy Christmas, I hope each of you spend time with those you love and your Christmas is happy, merry and bright. xx

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Money real and saved.

We are not opening the jar this year
we are hoping to fill it again in time for next Christmas

I did my 12 days of Christmas
12 things from my office to a charity shop

1; Cotton reels and pin cushion (unwanted gift)
2; Onyx eggs x3
3; Skipping rope 
4; Leather purse
5; Photo frames x3 (1 unwanted gift)
6; Poster frames x3
7; Pretty tin (unwanted gift)
8; Flower pot (unwanted gift)
9; Nana poem in frame
10; Wife poem in frame
11; Snowman ornament
12; Loads of little stand for plates and frames.

Most of the items came from my big storage drawer,  it's nice now as I don't have loads of stuff in there. It was a shame to have so many unwanted gift's, but hopefully they will end up with some one who will love them, the decluttering is so rewarding in many ways. 

We have watched so many different programes on TV regarding Christmas and the extravagances or lack of funds people have, the difference between them are unbelievable, I would not want to be so rich I have to find weird things to buy, reindeer tarts with a ruby nose (is that just stupid to me), we have both given to charities this Christmas , it's easy to forget how lucky we are, we have our health, family, a warm house and the Christmas we want. So whilst we are having a family time, we are avoiding all the extra's, eliminating as much waste as we can.

We have just a final food shop to do, we have £38.00 in Nectar points, £50.00 of Waitrose vouchers and £50.00 vouchers from Co-op. We will pop to Sainsbury's to pick up a few cupboard store items tomorrow. Later in the week hubby will go to Waitrose to get veg and last minute things. The Co-op vouchers we plan to keep to the New Year. 

The garden is so bare at this time, this is from my back seating area, next door has finally cut back their shrubs along the fence, they are still high but not above the top of the fence.  I was down this end, putting more food out for the birds and squirrels, we are not hanging things in the tree this winter, something s digging up our lawn.
We are enjoying another weekend without going into town, so no crowds, no panic and no loud Christmas music.
Sam was brilliant yesterday, we walked to our village to take the items to the charity shop, which confused Sam, but he did find a nice ambulance car with working lights for 50p, he was offered to choose another, but was happy with just the one car.
My brother did not have the greatest of weekends, his car played up just as he arrived on Friday, he left it at ours and called out Green Flag today, who was able to repair the car, but had to wait 90 minutes for the part. Martin started the drive home, felt the car was still playing up came back to ours and recalled the mechanic, who then had to get Martin and the car taken home.
PS like so many others I lost a few followers over the past two days, I am still amazed you all follow my twittering on about any and every thing.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Diamonds, are a girls best friend

Mine are the cheap ones
 it's fun to be back on this pattern.
 Friday was Christmas Jumper day at work
Same jumper as last year.
Sam was very cute in his Nativity, he sang well but by the second half he was tired, it was lovely to have the Nativity at 6pm, but Sam is normally in bed by 7pm, so he struggled to keep up with the others, there were a few who looked tired and of course a few who were little buggers. It was lovely to see them all and nothing is more Christmassy than young children singing.  No photo's or video this year a few parents objected. The school will add photo's to their site once any face have been hidden, but not sure if Sam will feature, it's a shame we have Josh's 1st Nativity video.
My brother is down for the weekend, he is staying with his daughter, but we hope to see him this evening, I do love his company, we have a few things to discuss, he has worked his magic and sorted our younger sister out, without the row which was brewing.
Sam will be here later, daddy is taking Josh to see the new Star Wars film, so we can have fun together. So no shopping this weekend, just family time. All Christmas's should be like this.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Surprise

These appeared on my desk at work
 No one has owned up to getting them for me
as you know I love white flowers
lovely healthy plant
 Another book, half price in Tesco
fingers crossed it's a good one. 
The middle diamond is completed
 Strange angle but you can see all of the stars. 
Our party day at work went well, we still had food left over today, hubby's minced pies went down well. Everyone is in great moods, we have loads of people taking their last days off before the end of the year. Tomorrow is the building raffle, their prizes are huge and loads of them, I'm not expecting to win, not that lucky, later we will have our department raffle, not such great prizes but a better chance to win something.
It is just too warm for the time of year, we are all wearing short sleeved tops in the office, typical MOD the heating just belches out heat, nothing to lower the temperature, most days we have a window open. At least it's not raining.
Nothing much doing at home, youngest daughter and other half came for tea last night, a free meal always results in visitors and exchanges of news. At six tonight it's Sam's Nativity, Josh is narrator for part of the time, it's in the church this year, we are both looking forward to going, not sure if we will be able to get photo's. Thursday and Friday are party days at school for them both and then two weeks holiday.
Looking forward to the weekend, Martin my brother is down visiting, so fun time together, no need for shopping in town so a relaxing weekend planned again.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Jingle bells

1st we got tickets to Sam's Nativity.
---------------------
Today we took the train to Winchester
 There was a Christmas Market in the grounds of the Cathedral
beautiful setting, the crafts were brilliant, not a bit of tat any where 
 We visited the inside of the Cathedral
Here the main window with a huge Christmas tree
 Hubby loved the vaulted ceilings
 I loved these floor tiles
 and of course all the carved wood
a very peaceful place to wander sit and people watch. 
 My only Christmas purchase
It was lovely to leave the car at home, we live 10 minutes walk from our local train station, it cost a bit more than taking the car and using park and ride, but it was a restful journey we both enjoyed, and just 30 minutes. Winchester has beautiful old buildings and lots of history. It was busy but no where as bad as it could have been, we had nothing to get, just a nice day out together. I could not resist the red star for our tree, I also spent £9 on some Spanish herbs for cooking Paella from a market hut. The  items on sale were mainly hand made and stunning, but in our spirit of not buying unnecessary things we walked by most of the little huts. We visited the pastie shop for lunch and had mulled wine at the market, all very tasty.
It started to rain after lunch so we decided to take the earlier train home and got back in about 3ish. We watched a Christmas movie with a predicable ending, now we are home alone and enjoying a restful evening. So yes I am feeling festive, almost everything done, we have started our Christmas supermarket list, it's much smaller than normal and will stay that way.
This week I am doing my 12 days of Christmas challenge, last year I took 12 items to a local charity shop from my wardrobe, this time it's 12 items from my office space, I will list next time the items.
Back to work tomorrow, but it's party day, I have home made mince pies to take, I will leave at 3pm and pick the boys up after school, last time this year.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Saturday fun

Josh decorated the little tree in the garden
it does have coloured lights on as well
it looked lovely last evening.
 We still have colour in the back garden
 These are everywhere
 I got this box set from my birthday money, 
and I have asked for the following two series as hints for Christmas, 
Matt Smith to me was the best Doctor, 
Josh and I can watch them together.
We had both Sam and Josh yesterday afternoon whilst mummy and daddy were both busy, it was loads of fun, I had recorded a programme on the making of the first Star Wars film, which Josh loved. We then watched The Wiggles, not had that DVD on for ages. I was crew for Captain Sam's boat we had adventures all through the sea's inside our living room. It's amazing what you can find on the sea bed of our living room, Sam chatted non stop all afternoon. So hubby and I had a very quiet evening, we watch X Factor and each decided on a different act to win, at this level all three acts are good, it's just the case of who has caught the voters eye, and of course who is watching, a younger audience would vote differently than an older audience.
After another very windy day this morning is bright and calm, we are home most of the day, a friend coming for lunch, I hope to be able to help Win sort her pots later, she has not yet put her bulbs in, so I will get them sorted later today.
I have tomorrow off, it's my last day off of the year, we are contemplating taking the train to Winchester to see the Christmas markets, it would be nice to get the local train and not have to worry about driving and parking. Winchester is a beautiful place but not designed for the car.
We have everything crossed we can get tickets to see Sam's first Nativity, parents have been given theirs and tomorrow the few remaining ones will be handed out, all names went into a hat, so keep everything crossed, We really want to see Sam's 1st Nativity.

Friday, 11 December 2015

All dressed up

 Our posh photo came from our night out last Saturday
We are both very pleased with it
Will have to find a frame
 I have done nothing but stitch
finally choosing the colours for this square
 The finish line for this central section is so close.
Hope to have it done by middle of next week.
Our Christmas lunch on Wednesday was good, we all ate together, it can't be easy to cook for 400+ people, they kept away from using anything with nuts in, so I had some choice. It was my 1st turkey lunch this year.
Josh was very pleased with the family tree I had printed out for him, it had enough information for his project, they had to go back to their great grand parents, which was interesting because Josh never met any of our parents.
Sam was tired again, he had been busy practicing his Christmas Nativity, the school always has a true Nativity, we can't wait to see it next week. Both boys loved the garden lights, Sam was sure the Light fairy had done all the work, they checked under the tree to ensure there were gift's with their names on, just looking, no touching. Dawn,  Sam took home his snowman with chocolate coins in, he loved it, the other two were posted to Taunton for Logan and Finn. Josh is too grown up for snowmen but not for the chocolate.
All our cards are now posted, hubby went to the post office yesterday, except for the one's we have forgotten, there are always a few.
Hubby finished the Christmas cake as well, it's the first time I have not baked it, he has a few things to make, sausage rolls and mince pies, we hope to pop to the butchers tomorrow to get supplies.
Our last task is the supermarket shop, we don't require a huge amount, just 4 of us for Christmas lunch and just two of us the rest of the time, we will be in Somerset for the New Year. Hubby will do the shopping nearer to Christmas.
I am having a real stress free run up to Christmas, firstly we are not over buying presents, food or anything this year, plus hubby had done loads whilst I am at work. The main thing I am not missing is the constant Christmas tunes blasting out every where, normally by this time of the month I have had enough of them.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Stitchy catch up

stitching update
I'm getting excited I am nearing completing this center diamond
 The lower pale lemon was stitched wrong so this evening I have unpicked it
soon I will stitch for an hour. 
Hubby was bored today, so when I got home from work he had put lights in the back garden, we had decided not to bother this year, but he made noises along the lines of not to disappoint Sam.
Sam has already rejected dressing my real tree in the garden with bird food, so I have a couple a strings of beads and stars for him to use tomorrow after school.
Josh is doing a project about families, and I have created a small family tree for him, we will discuss everyone tomorrow, it's nice to help with school projects.
In work we are full on into Christmas, Wednesday is our Christmas lunch, our whole office is eating together. Next week we have Christmas Jumper day, department raffle and secret Santa, which is a party day, loads of party food. Then we have the building raffle, with huge prizes, not that it will matter, I'm not lucky enough to win.
My knee's are still aching from Saturday night, but it is worth it, we had so much fun, we are waiting for the photo's to be published, we had a nice one of us taken. Another earlyish night tonight should see me back to normal, it really does take longer to catch up with missed sleep.
The festive season is really upon us.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas tree

I'm feeling festive
got my presents wrapped
 I love my tree
it's our main and only large decoration
 No lights anywhere else inside 
It just glows in the corner of the sitting room. 
Last night on a very windy night, no rain for us in the south east, we went to a local Naval Base and enjoyed a Christmas Ball, all long frocks and mess dress or dinner jackets, the whole place was full of Christmas and looked magical. We stayed out to 1.30 this morning, with a lovely meal, which without fuss catered for Fliss, gluten free, hubby no cheese and me no nuts, which mean different food on one course for hubby and I, and Fliss's food cooked separate. We danced to Killer Queen, who were just brilliant, hubby loves Queen and these were the best tribute band we have seen.  I managed to dance on and off for 90 minutes, which was pure joy. We left Fliss and Jonathan to enjoy the rest of the party, I did not want to push my luck by overdoing things. Hubby and I came home to cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit.
Lazy day at home today, my knee's ache so not much walking.
I have checked the garden and all is OK, my summer flowers are now gone, the wind finished them off. We have decided not to put up Christmas lights in our garden this year, we normally only light the back garden.
So my task for today, get cards ready for posting tomorrow, add a few silk holly and ivy to the sitting room and stitch, with time for an afternoon rest.

Friday, 4 December 2015

1st Friday in December

My 12 days of Christmas swap 
arrived today and look at this lovely stocking
what a great extra bonus
After work yesterday we popped out shopping, I required a pair of shoes for Saturday night, so we went to M&S, they always have what I am looking for, low heal party shoes. They had nothing, so we popped to a few shops, it looks as if this year party shoes only come with 3+ inch heals. On our final desperate search we went to TOP Shop ( I Know!) and got just what I was looking for, the bag came from Accessorize. The hope is to keep them and use them for daughters wedding in April. They are beautiful. 
 My dress is not new, it's about the third time I will wear it
the beads are new. 
We are going to a Christmas Ball at HMS Collingwood, we will see the group Killer Queen, which hubby is very happy about. Should be a lovely meal but a long night. We are hoping to get a good photo of us, it's been a while since we had a posh photo.

Thank you for all your wonderful comments regarding our health after earlier this week, we are now all much better, it really was not nice. I picked both Sam and Josh up from school on Wednesday, it was a cuddly evening, Sam and I watched new Bob the Builder on TV, poor Sam was tired. They are back to normal today and full of fun.
I have not done much stitching, but I have finished the book, I let you go by Clare Mackintosh, if you can get a copy it's a real good read and noted as my December good read.
I have presents to wrap tonight, I have just one small one to try and find for hubby, then I am finished. I do have cards to make, so that's a job for Sunday. I hope to have them all in the post by Monday, then we can relax and look forward to the holiday break, with out stress. We do have a couple of busy weeks in work and at home.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Really two days lost

How to lose a couple of days, 16 of the people who attended the lunch on Saturday, have been really ill over Sunday night into Monday, including both hubby and I, Fliss and both boys. Josh was ill in the car on Saturday, we just thought it was travel sickness. On speaking to the pub, who were very helpful and ran through every thing with hubby, (hubby taught food hygiene), we don't think they did anything wrong, it was a clean lovely location, but the bug came from there, it was the only place we all went together. It could have been another customer with the bug, they do travel fast. On the plus side 4lbs lost.
Monday was lost to us all, spent all morning in bed, afternoon reading in my chair, a second day off work, where I had no energy. I am reading I Let you go, Clare Mackintosh, it's brilliant, I have just got to the twist, it's very clever.
Back to work today, but I finished early to collect both boys from their first day back at school, both were very tired, so snuggly time all round, again we will have an early night.
On Monday our neighbour had his four large trees cut down, Conifers not my favourite, but I hate to see trees being cut down. We now have more light into the sitting room, but I would rather see trees.
This is one reason I love December, I love these CD's of Christmas music,
Our tree is up, looking pretty in the corner, Sam spent loads of time checking everything out. We also have a singing Santa on a motorbike which is fun to see out again. I still have a few things to put up inside, but they can wait until tomorrow, the room does look cosy with the lights on, again this year I am using the little sets of battery operated lights in the tea light holders, it's just so safe and they can be tucked in dark corners. We purchased a new set of tree lights, it was 15 years ago Kev's youngest son was caught in a house fire and has serious burns to his arms and body, caused by tree lights in an adapter which overheated, here we take no chances.
I hate the news at the moment, should we bomb more people, will it change anything, are we adding extra risk to the country, but doing nothing won't resolve anything, oh I wish I had a magic wand, just one wish, peace everywhere, that in it's self would solve so many other issues.

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