Tuesday, December 27, 2005

363 days 'til Christmas

It was a lovely Christmas. We ate loads, drank LOADS, played great games (my favourite being the dvd pub quiz I bought Paul which we played in the bar with peanuts and cocktails!). We had fab presents, the kids were all happy and the sun was shining and warm like a spring day. It was Lizzy's first Christmas and I think she coped with it well. Of course she enjoyed the wrapping paper as much as the actual presents but has since reacquainted herself with her new basketful of toys and loves them all.

We have been to Paul's parents' today and have just finished packing for our holiday which we leave for first thing in the morning. Thank you to everyone for my many gorgeous presents. I shall be saying proper thank yous when I get back (and I can say them to you in person Saffron 'cos you'll be here, hooray). I have been thoroughly spoilt! I got this beautiful thing which is what every self respecting domestic goddess needs. My New Years resolution is to learn to bake better cakes!

Well all that remains for me to say is have a very Happy, Healthy, New Year. See you all in 2006 xxxxxx Pin It

Sunday, December 25, 2005

It's Chrissssssssssssstmaaaaaaassssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!

It's christmas, It's so warm, I'm drunk and I love you all, goodnight xxxxxxxxxxx Pin It

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

Wow! It's Christmas Eve and yesterday I got my first lie-in in well, in ages I guess. Paul got up early with Alfie and left the house leaving Lizzy and I snuggled up warm in our bed until almost 11am!!!! It was sheer bliss. When I woke up I was a bit worried as the boys were nowhere to be seen. I called Paul on his mobile and they were at the beach. They had taken a stroll to the beach and were warming themselves by a camp fire they had made from driftwood. They were being boys. What a lovely Daddy. We met up later in the day to do our Christmas food shopping and then Daddy and Alfie went to McDonalds, a rare treat, for a (un)happy meal. Alf was thrilled with the toy, a model of Aslan from Narnia, but I was perturbed to find that not only did Alfie not know who he was but also Jasmine and Paul had never read any of the C S Lewis books!! What happened there? They were among my favourite books as a child along with Swallows and Amazons, the Phoenix and the Carpet and the Faraway Tree, Wishing Chair books. I have read to my children religiously and am dismayed to say that I must have missed the C S Lewis ones from Jasmine's bedtime curriculum. I must make amends and read these to Alfie. He adores being read to and it is the worst punishment for him to not have a story at bedtime. He is now an avid reader himself and I think it's a great gift to impart the love of reading to your chldren. I noticed that when I was wrapping up the presents last night I had no books for the children so I am off to get a few last minute gifts. Pin It

I'm done

Ok, it's twenty past midnight, officially Christmas Eve and I'm done! Presents bought and wrapped, check, Xmas food bought, check, all cards sent, check now all I have to do is let it happen, bring it on, I'm ready!!! So why is it that, as I'm the one who has done all the work, the babies are tired and emotional? Alfie is bouncing off the walls, prone to crying for no apparent reason and is tired. I guess it's all too much for the little ones.

I am very happy with my choice of presents for Paul this year. I think I might have got it right for once. He is so hard to please. If I ask him what he wants he says silly things like 'my hair back' but as soon as Christmas is over he has a list of things he would have liked!!! We were going to buy nothing for each other this year and just focus on the kids but that hasn't happened. I know he has been out with Jazz on a shopping trip, he has been spotted in my favourite shops, I have spies everywhere, hehehe ;-)

Now I'm a 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose' kinda gal. I have no desire to be somewhere hot on Christmas Day (New Year yes, but not Xmas) but it is soooo mild at the moment. I have had to abandon my coat and scarf and went out in just a long sleeved T shirt today. No idea what the temperature was as I don't have my own weather pixie (haven't figured that one out) but it was warm for the end of December. What happened to that hard winter we were supposed to be having?

So tomorrow all I have to do is prepare the Christmas Morning muffins, defrost my homemade mince pies and start drinking the mulled wine. Happy Christmas everyone, hope it's a good one for you. See you in 2006 xxxxx Pin It

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Lovely surprise

Today I got a lovely surprise. I came home from shopping to find that the postman had left 2 parcels in the summerhouse. One was for Paul, the other for me. When I opened it I found the most gorgeous red polka dot Cath Kidston mug, a present from EuroTrac which couldn't be more perfect. I immediately made a well-earned cup of tea, which tasted delicious, and thought how lucky I was to have such a thoughtful friend. Thank you Trac, I LOVE it :-)

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Partied out

Christmas, I love it, it's my favourite time of the year but I don't enjoy the stress that comes with it. I'm sure most of it is created by me and my desire to get everything just right. I have had a small boy at home all week. he felt fizzy in his head and fuzzy all over his body. Clearly a case of fizzy fuzzyitis so he stayed home. The first few days were fine, he was too ill to get up from the sofa where he lay but once he started to feel better he became very demanded and his naughtiness returned with a vengeance. He was bored and didn't know what to do. Couple that with a mother who has so many things to do she is getting dizzy and you have a recipe for stressed out mother syndrome.

Anyway, we had a great party of which I wrote long and poetically about earlier and then lost the whole bloody lot. I am too tired to do it again so here are just a few snaps, it was great fun, we drank loads, ate loads and went to bed late.

There were bad boys in the music room,

drinkers in the bar,

diners in the living room,

sweet children,

glamorous grandmas,

2 grumpy old men

and someone out past his bedtime!

Oh, and me.

The bar was a rip roaring success, admired by all. I absolutely love it.

It was a wonderful mix of people, I love our friends. I was only sorry that I just didn't get enough time to talk properly to everyone, that is the only problem with hosting your own party. We are off to another on Sunday so I shall hopefully catch up with most of them again there.

Jasmine did what all 15 year olds do at their parent's parties, she got drunk. Mixed her drinks and was legless by 9pm. She fell spectacularly up the stairs giving everyone standing at the bottom a birds eye view of her knickers as she lay there shouting 'I'm fine, I'm fine'. She was very sweet and funny and a little embarrased about being so inebriated. She said to Mum and I 'this will never be mentioned again'. Oh yes it will my girl, oh yes it will, hehehehe

I adore teenagers. Jazz and her friends were fantastic. They are great company. She had 6 friends staying over, 3 boys, 3 girls. The boys played with Alfie and made him their little mate and the girls just started clearing stuff away at 2am and washed up without being asked. They can come again. Sadly there are no photos of this wonderful crew. Pin It

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fluffy Tails

With many thanks to Saff, my lovely sister and fellow cat lover who sent me this great link. Here for all you cat lovers out there (Onyx, Hippo et al) is a little something. Fluffy Tails Christmas Pin It

Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas trees and parties

We got our tree yesterday. Paul came home with one on Saturday night and tapped on the window saying 'here's your tree, I'll be back in an hour'. When I went out to see it I couldn't believe how tiny it was. It said 6ft on it but that was 3ft of tree with 3ft of top shoot. It was a teeny tree, beautifully formed but teeny, plus it had cost £30 because it doesn't shed its needles. When he got home he couldn't see that it was a small tree (in fact I think he could but was too proud to admit it) and we ended up having a row. I said that we wouldn't be able to get even one quarter of our decorations on it and for the size of living room we have it just looked pathetic. Eventually, and in a huff, he said he would take it back the next day (as he had bought it from where he works) but that I would have to choose another one. So I ended up choosing a beautiful 10 footer that sheds its needles and only cost £20. I think he agrees that it is a far better tree for this size of house but again he won't admit it! So we decorated it last night while the beef was roasting. The children enjoyed digging out the decorations and rediscovering some old friends. Most of the decorations are handmade, some by me, some by friends and family and some from various craft fairs, and I love them. The theme is predominantly red and white with a lot of polka dots which suits this house and the countryside we live in. I especially love our little polka dot fairy who presides over us at the top of the tree. Lizzy was asleep while we were decorating and when she woke up we showed her. She stared at it in serious silence for ages before raising her right hand to it. This is what she does to say 'hi' to people, so she was saying 'hi' to the tree!

We have sent out the invites, bought the drinks and food so we are set for our party on Friday night. This will be the officail opening of our bar. Paul got his own way (doesn't he always, that is why I have baby number 3!) and we have a lovely bar in our newly decorated living room. Paul is just waiting for some optics and bar stools and bob's yer uncle. Pop round if your in the vicinity, you'll be sure of a warm welcome at the Lendon Arms.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Top 10

Just thought I might share with you my personal top 10 music albums of 2005. in no particular order:

1. Gorillaz - Demon Dayz
2. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
3. Oasis - Don't believe the Truth
4. Babyshambles - Down in Albion
5. Kasabian - Kasabian
6. Paul Weller - As is now
7. Anthony and the Johnsons - I am a bird now
8. Coldplay - X & Y
9. Help - A day in the life
10. Madonna - Confessions on a dance floor

Anything I have missed/should have listened to? I still have to hear the new ones by Kate Bush and David Sylvian and would like to know your faves. Pin It

Weekend Cookbook Challenge

I took up the Weekend Cookbook Challenge from this lady gladly but had to ask if I could cheat and use my newest cookbook rather than my oldest as I had that day picked up a rather fine specimen from my local charity shop for the bargain price of £1.99. Simple Food is written by Jill Dupleix the cook for The Times and is full of .. well simple food really, simple but tasty!

I decided to make some chocolate truffles for the Christmas LETS Fair. Looking through the new book in my collection I found this great recipe which is an unusual one and one I have never tried before:

Chocolate Bourbon Balls

160g dark, bitter chocolate
125ml whipping cream
250g Italian sponge fingers
100g icing sugar
3tbsp cocoa powder
100g ground almonds
100g finely chopped walnuts
3tbsp bourbon or whisky
180g butter, melted
cocoa powder for dusting

Finely chop the chocolate. Heat the cream in a saucepan, stirring until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Add the chocolate and stir until melted.

Whiz the sponge fingers in a food processor, or crush with a rolling pin to fine crumbs.

Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Mix in the crumbs, ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Add the bourbon, chocolate cream and butter and mix well.

Take a walnut-sized pinch of the mixture and roll into a ball in your hands. If too wet, add a little more cocoa powder. If a little dry add more bourbon.

Place on a greaseproof paper on a tray, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until firm. Roll each chocolate ball in cocoa powder to serve.

I found it easier to refrigerate the mixture in the bowl for 4 hours before rolling them. I placed them in little petit four cases and packaged them up in greaseproof bags for the fair.

They were delicious. I gained a pound! Pin It

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Another day

Where do the days go I wonder? I can't believe that it has been 5 days since my last blog. I just don't seem to get time to myself anymore. I wish I could blog every day, I have so much going on that I think I would like to share with you but I just don't get to sit down at the computer to write about it then it's gone, old news, and I forget. As I sit here now I am typing with one finger with a baby attached to my left breast! Ah well at least I get 5 minutes or so to read everyone elses.

Had a great supper at Lisa's. She makes the most exquisite curry, her flavours are really delicate. There were 2 other couples there who are also friends of ours. After supper Paul did a pop quiz that he had picked up earlier in the day. It was very funny as the other couples are quite a bit older than Lisa, her partner Conrad, Paul and I but they did get a good few answers. We all sat and admired her newly decorated living room warming ourselves by the wood burner before stepping out into the wintery night to wend our merry way home.

The Lets fair was lovely. I made cards and truffles and they all went. I came home with 2 hand made scarves, some willow wands, home made pot pourri, a little felt handbag, handmade cards, handmade soaps and bath bombs, 5 cassettes for the car, a PS2 game, a hand made glove puppet, a beautifully carved and painted clothes rail, loads of paperbacks and a brand new (never been used) ice cream maker. A fair exchange I'm sure you would agree. I made over 200 talents and spent far fewer. We had a gorgeous and wholesome lunch with mulled wine and mince pies to follow and I caught up with people I hadn't seen in a while. All in all a lovely day and a great start to the Christmas festivities.

Went shopping with Paul again today (that's twice in one month!!!). He is insisting on being involved this year which is what I have always wanted but now he is doing it, it's scary! He wanted me to get out all the presents I have got so far and to make a list of who we are buying for and who we need to buy for and then write down what we have bought. He said we need to do this otherwise we aren't organised. Well I have been the one who does all the Xmas shopping for everyone (except myself which I leave to him!) for the past 18 years BUT obviously I don't know how to do it. I don't do lists. I have a list that exists in my head and bags of stuff that gets crammed into a wardrobe and I manage to do ok or have done up until now. Maybe I'll let him do it all next year seeing as he's now an expert ;-) We are making great progress though and I think I might well have tamed him after all this time. He seems to be scrubbing up quite well as a family man these days, apart from the odd Oxford Bag episode of course.

Check out the gorgeous advent calendar that I got from This lovely lady.

And finally, here's a photo of that boob suckling baby looking cute just, well, just because .............

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Busy weekend

It has been a busy one. Firstly I have finished two bags that I have been making. Saff and Maggs if you are reading this, look away now.

I said NOW!!!

Then I made some chocolate truffles for the annual Christmas LETS Fair that is held tomorrow. LETS is about trading talents rather than money and I have been a member ever since I moved to Devon 6 years ago. I love the Xmas fair where everyone makes beautiful little things and we all bring something for a shared lunch and no money changes hands. I wish I could do all of my Christmas shopping like this. I usually sew or last year I made corsages crocheted from angora, alpaca and silk. They are everywhere this year proving that once again I am ahead of fashion, hehehe. As I have very little time now since producing child number 3, I decided to make truffles and Christmas cards. The truffles are delicious, there will be no weight loss this week!

Then I had to make an invitation to our Christmas drinks party. I decided to use my youngest as a model and took some photos of her in an angel costume. Well that's the beauty of having a baby, you can dress them up. Some people have those cute little dogs in bags, I have Lizzy.

I must go and get ready, we have been invited out for dinner, homemade curry, and I need to get changed but once again I am sat here blogging. It's addictive. Pin It

Thursday, December 01, 2005

New Year

We're off for New Year. On the 28th of December we are going here for some winter sun. Whoopee, I'm off to dig out my Havaianas. Pin It

24 days

Yes folks it's the advent countdown. Oooooooh I love Christmas!

I went to Exeter with Paul yesterday, Christmas shopping, and survived! My friend Amanda phoned me when we were en route and was amazed that we were shopping together. We just don't do that! I love shopping and he hates it. He usually just buys a whole load of stuff as quickly as possible so that he can go home whereas I have to find just the right gifts for everyone which may take hours of scouring all the right shops. We went first to This shop to look for a cocktail bar as Paul is determined to get one for our new living room. We got a few kitsch gifts from here and looked at his stock of bars before deciding on one. Then lunch. Then more shopping before wending our way home. Paul was actually very well behaved and we didn't fall out but he did (rather cleverly) manage to slip off for a quick pint under the pretext of putting more money in the parking meter. I wasn't too bothered as it gave me time to slip into Hennes to see if there were any more clothes that I hadn't spotted the week before! So he's off to get a bar today and we will have our Christmas drinks party round it no doubt. You're all invited of course.

It makes my heart feel glad when you go to the end of our lane and see views like this

What a beautiful morning. You can see all the way to Lundy Island as clear as anything. Pin It

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm a Laydeeee

Ok I admit Paul doesn't always go out dressed like that. Sometimes he looks like this..................

10 points if you can name (and shame) his rather attractive girlfriend!

And here are the 3 eldest ferals with my middle one following in his father's footsteps. Yes it's Alf in a dress!

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Big Bad Boy Trousers

Is it normal for a forty something year old man to go out looking like this?

I mean I know he has a soul club to run once a month but really. He goes out, little bo head, short legs, do they really do him any favours? I could not stop laughing bloggers, tears pouring down my face. He adores his Oxford Bags. Can you see Jazz looking in disgust and disbelief? She was not amused and asked her dad 'what the hell you playin at? You're not even funny dad'. I asked him if anyone liked them and he said he did receive a few admiring glances. One friend said 'hey man, they are big bad boy trousers'. Midlife? Pin It

Friday, November 25, 2005

Music is my sanctuary

I'm really enjoying the new Babyshambles album (which I have just noticed my daughter has pinched and taken to a friends for the night!). So what are you guys listening to? Pin It

No more snow

Well the snow caused the usual chaos, schools closed, buses not running, accidents on the road etc but now it has stopped and all but thawed. Still it was fun while it lasted (the snow that is, not the chaos). Alfie loved it and said it was a gift from God and Father Christmas, hahahaha. Don't know where he gets his religious bent from!

Went to Exeter yesterday for a bit of retail. Got some nice Xmas goodies as well as a pretty tweed skirt and angora cardi for me. Well a girl has to keep warm somehow. Plus I was rewarding myself for being a good girl and losing 4lb last week. That means I have lost the 3.5lb I put on eating cakes (and the rest!) with my girlfriends plus another .5lb. I am bang on target now and will be able to fill my face with mince pies and christmas pudding come Christmas Day. We bought our Pud yesterday from the Carved Angel restaurant. I started buying this pudding at the Country Living Christmas Fair some years back and it is the most delicious thing ever. I have always said that I would not make a homemade one until I can better their recipe and, as I have far too much to do as it is, buying one just takes the pressure off. I do make homemade mince pies, truffles and Christmas Morning Muffins (courtesy of the delectable Nigella), which have now become legendary in our household. I must be careful still as I am coming round to Paul's idea of some winter sun. He suggested going away after Christmas and, as they fly from Exeter to the Canaries, I am sorely tempted, especially today. So bikini in January means control over Xmas, hmmmmmm :-/

My man is back in a minute. He has been in the woods all day, with his chainsaw, in the snow, so I am off to make a big chilli and jacket potatoes to warm him up. Ciao for now Pin It


Oh yes it is :-) Pin It