Thursday, 26 November 2009

Enid Blyton at her best

Like many other bloggers, I'm a great fan of Enid Blyton and we are all familiar with most of her books.

One which I hadn't come across until discovering it on Amazon is this one - Enid Blyton's Nature Lover's Book.

Every now and then when I want to forget the pressure's of every day life I get the book out to flick through. Having not done poetry since A'levels (remember those?) I had forgotten how enjoyable poetry can be.

This book contains many, all with a nature theme - this is November's.

It epitomises everything great about each season starting off with a short story for each month of the year, interesting things to do, such as fir cone birds -

The illustrations are so lovely.

My favourite is this one.

It is packed full of useful things such as identifying flowers, birds and trees.

I have to remind myself every now and then, that reading is good for the soul, and for me a book like this puts a perspective on life (simple pleasures) - thanks Enid!

So, for anyone interested in adding a book to their every growing list of books to buy, this is one of them.


I know when Christmas is coming

when I start making mince pies

when I flick through the Christmas CD's, put them on and start singing....
When I start putting out the miseltoe garland lights across the console table

I thought I would be restrained in my Christmas preparations this year, as I went into Baa-humbug mode protesting that I had gone off Christmas and would be relieved when it was all over. I was obviously in some sort of mood as that's all completely changed.

I'm in full swing and itching to get the Christmas decorations down. I love unboxing them all, remembering what was there and which ones to put out. Each year, I buy a few more and put them away, trying to forget about them, so I can yelp with joy when I see them again.....

My address book is already out in preparation for Christmas card writing which I normally do at the end of November.

My Christmas present notebook has all the goodies that I've bought various family members and friends, along with receipts (you never know!). The notebook goes back to the year 2000 when Toby was first born - it's lovely to look back to see what he was bought. Some may find this all quite clinical but in my quest to remain highly organised and in charge, it's proven to be invaluable!

Whilst on the subject - better go, got lists to write.....!!!!

PS - look what arrived at the front door for hubby.....unless he's not telling me something - I reckon inside the box is my Christmas present! Better not peep!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A bit of TLC

Poor old Jack has come down with the dreaded lurgy - temperature, sore throat etc etc etc. Lots of children have it so I'm not too surprised he's got it.

Yesterday he spent the whole day doing this.

Whilst flicking through a magazine at the weekend, I saw a great crafting idea to do with children - Make your own Snow Globe. Jack loves the ones he's got so yesterday was the right day to make one.

Choose a small plastic toy - we've got tons of Playmobil so Jack picked a Father Christmas man. Glue the object to a jam jar lid. Pour a small amount of glitter into the jar, then fill to the top with water. Secure the lid tightly and shake to create your own winter scene!

Ha Ha - we did have a slight disaster so we'll use our first one as a prototype! The man came unstuck from the lid and the glitter statically stuck to fab idea but will need some work.

I used the Slow Cooker yesterday too and it made a great beef stew. I wouldn't say the meat fell apart, but the flavours were really intense and a lot better than cooking it conventionally. So all in all I was really pleased and looking forward to using it again.
Do I dare say it, but I sneakily put out a Christmas decoration at the weekend. Not that you could call it that really......I spotted a set of 3 red toadstools at the garden centre and rather liked them. The centre had done various themes and this one was with toadstools, pine cones, etc - more of a 'nature' setting and it did look good. For me, my toadstools are now on our console table in the hall and there they will stay till the New Year!

Right, on with my Florence Nightingale duties!

Bye for now.

Friday, 20 November 2009

New Toy

I am so thrilled with my new toy - a Slow-Cooker!!! See, I've even blogged about it before taking it out of it's box! I'm hoping it will aid the speed at which I do things! Being an over organised person, I always time my day to the last minute (sad I know). As we have so much on after school, I either have to prepare meals during the day when I should be working, or it's a mad rush on our return.

I'm anticipating that with my new toy I'll be able to 'stick' something in pot and 6-8 hours later on our return from school stuff, the house will be filled with the aroma of home cooking (without actually being there - genius!).

I also treated myself to a cookbook which is great - you can do soups, stews, casseroles, roasts and even puddings. I feel like a new woman already. I hope it lives up to the expectations I have for it. I'll keep you posted.

Here in the south we had a glorious Friday so I took the opportunity of putting the laptop down, knitting needles, and paintbrushes and getting out to cut bushes back, sweep up leaves, clean windows and all those other little jobs that build up. It was lovely to get out into some sunshine and not really think about anything other than what I was doing. OK, they were domestic jobs, but I was outside and under no pressure to clock-watch, wonder what the boys were up to, or what needed to be done next. I'm sure so many of you will relate to that............

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

What a whopper

Here at Wednesday already - time is flying isn't it?....

With the 1st of December approaching, the boys get quite excited about their advent calenders, especially as they are chocolate ones - the only time of year they can have chocolate in the morning......I do try and get them to understand the true meaning of advent and Christmas, and I think they do appreciate it - both go to a C of E school who have good traditional values around Christmas and Easter. However, children will be children and like many (me included), get sucked into all the marketing hype - and why not, as long as there is a balance I guess.

Anyway back to advent calenders. Hubby came home last night with a huge bag and inside was a lovely advent calender for moi. Shaped like a snow globe it measures a massive 18" by 19". It's so pretty, I don't want to open it. There are so many gorgeous advent calenders around and I used to buy them for the boys, but in the end succumbed to the chocolate variety.
A little while ago Alex from Pink Feather Paradise and I did a little swap - I really liked her crochet doggies and she fancied something for her Christmas tree - unfortunately I didn't take any photo's of my goodies I sent her, but here's what she sent me. Thanks so much Alex - love the colours as they are right up my street!

Back to the CL fair - there was a glorious scented stall when you first walked in, selling fragrant wreaths, orange slice swags etc etc. I managed to spy some vintage spools threaded with pretty ribbon. They had also been scented with a spicy orange scent. I thought it was such a good idea, I bought 2. Now, the question is - do I dare do that with some of my own vintage spools???? Might have to think some more on that one.

When we were in Sussex I pounched on a lovely black velvet wooden handled bag, with some great patchwork on the front and back. I paid less than £5 for it. Whilst at the CL fair last week I saw something quite similar for £ am quite glad I got my black one. I'm hoping, during the Christmas break, I'll be able to get on with some patchwork. I've recycled some blouses and tops which will be perfect for a little project or two!!


Monday, 16 November 2009

Pre-Christmas ritual

Morning all,

Hope everyone had a good and safe weekend after the recent storms. It was a weekend of 2 halves wasn't it?

Ours was reasonable - lots of football matches for Toby, a meal out with friends on Friday night putting the world to rights (always good) and then flapping around yesterday about lots of silly little things....

Despite lots to do, I had my baking head on Saturday so made a Marmalade cake. The recipe had spices and ginger in and as we had some Marmalade with ginger, I thought this would be the ideal one to use. Scrummy it was too! Can you see the big chunk taken out of the side! Nothing like getting a knife and slicing a piece off!

I have unpacked my CL goodies and they are in a heap on the floor so I'll tease you yet again with just a quick snapshot of them.

At this time of year I have a sense of urgency in clearing out cupboards and having a general sort-out. We are fortunate enough to get lots of charity bags through the letter-box so I always feel good when I select some bags to fill. Mostly NSPCC, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. Not only are my unwanted items going to a worthwhile cause, but it enables me to sort out and have the items picked up! Fantastic.

What rituals if any do you have in the run up to Christmas? - aside from the obvious!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Crafting like mad and Country Living

At this time of year my business really hots up and I go into frantic and high stress mode - that's excluding all of those Christmas preparations we have to do. Not that I'm complaining. I still get a warm feeling after 7 years of doing this when people like and buy what I do.

A little while ago I shared some fabric with you so I thought you might like to look at what I made. Some retro Christmas trees lightly stuffed with some added cloves to give them that wintery smell.

My new best friends' - the snowmen family - they're work in progress at the moment but soon to be finished - I hope!

Last but not least a couple of handmade Christmas cards - I was pleased with how they turned out. I may well make some to give to family and friends'. I never normally make goodies to give as presents as I feel that people might see it as a bit of a cop out, especially as I do it for a living. Silly isn't it?

Aside from Christmas goodies, just a quickie to say that Country Living was on top form and really enjoyable. Spent lots and I'll share the goodies with you shortly. I have never seen it so busy and unfortunately the fire alarm went off so we all had to evacuate. It would have been a great time to shop......I always find CL inspiring and it certainly got me in the Christmas mood. Here's a taster of what I bought.

I had to take 1 item out of its bag as it needed watering! Isn't it sweet and so reasonably priced too.


Friday, 6 November 2009

Chairs and a drum roll.....please....

Hello All!

End of yet another week, wow it went quickly. Believe it or not my bric a brac goodies bought last week are still sat in carrier bags waiting for me to eagerly get them out and share them with you....I have been told patience is a virtue!! em..

Anyway, moving on. I've gathered the names for my giveaway, shaken them, stirred them and the winner of my simmering potpourri is.....................................Noelle! Congratulations Noelle. Please email me with your address and I'll get that off to you.

Something I've been looking forward to receiving is 'The Chair'. I saw a bespoke chair in Cirencester a few weeks ago and thought I have to have it. Unfortunately it had been sold, so I asked if another could be made up and was so pleased that it could.
Did I think about where I was going to put it - no. I briefly did but loved it so much I knew there would be a 'right' place for it. You're with me on this one aren't you ladies?

I also knew that if our good friend CK sold them - they would be in the £100's - my one was considerably less, bespoke, vintage and glorious. Fancy taking a look - go on then...

So there you have is official though - I am chaired out. There is no way this house will take yet another chair.

Off to Country Living on Wednesday so I'm really looking foward to that. Hope to see some of you there. We should have blogger badges!

Have a great weekend.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Another weekend....

Hello All

I hope you had a great half term and equally great spooky Halloween - we only just made it back from Sussex for the boys to go trick or treating.....! We wouldn't have been very popular otherwise!!

On Friday we went on our brief jaunt down to Lewes in Sussex and stayed in a different B & B this time which was just as delightful as our previous one. It certainly gave us an opportunity to visit another great part of Sussex.

As we are National Trust members we thought we'd stop off at Wakehurst Place which has the world's largest seed conservation project as well as beautiful botanical garden's and walks. The boys had fun as they had Autumn half term activities involving leaf rubbing, mask making etc.

After spending a lot longer at Wakehurst than we thought, it was then time to head to the B & B, drop our stuff off and go to Lewes for a wander around and something to eat. Lewes certainly didn't disappoint in terms of bric a brac retail therapy. I'll save those photo's for later in the week!

On Saturday morning we went back to Lewes to visit the castle, then off to the Bluebell Railway the UK's first preserved standard gauge passenger railway. It was lovely to hear the steam train and stand at a real old fashioned railway line. The weather was glorious too so added to the delight of travelling in a piece of history.

I'll leave you for now, don't forget to enter my giveaway for those who haven't - I'll be drawing a winner on Friday.

Enjoy the week!