Wednesday 30 December 2015

prepare to take next year by storm day and wishing you a happy new year

today is "prepare to take next year by storm day"
the weather is responding with yet another storm.
the cats are too frightened by the wind to go outside.
my preparing seems to be mostly drinking cups of tea and looking in despair at the mess in the study, where everything has been dumped for the last 2 weeks, in a "quick fling it in there and shut the door" style.....

I'm not mentally ready for next year anyway, unless I can plan to hibernate, which probably wouldn't be popular with the family by dinner time...... 
Instead I shall content myself with reflecting on Christmas, the children don't like to be photographed, so here's a cat with his new catnip fish,.

We took advantage of a brief respite from the rain and went to the beach yesterday,  where I contented myself with playing with sticks and bits of Christmas tree which had been washed up the the crazy high tides, and E and J flew the Christmas kites and E began his new "career" as teenage film director. If only he was as enthusiastic about revising for his exams he has in January as he is about learning to use film editing software...........

Tomorrow we're going for a day trip to Cumbria to check on my mother in law, she's now got a flat to live in whilst her house dries out after the floods, and we need to make sure that the dryers are doing their best, and that the house is secure after the latest storms. I'm not sure I'll be back in time to write a happy new year post, or write a wonderful thoughtful reflective post about 2015 (ok I'll be honest, I'm not ever going to try and write one of those!) or make a gorgeous photographic mosaic (no - not going to do that either!) so instead this;

I wish you all the very best for a wonderful New Year, may 2016 bring you happy times, friendship, love, joy, good health, and cake. 

I also want to thank you for all your friendship, visits, comments, emails, and posts to read this year. You make me a better person and for that I thank you. 

now if you need me I'll either be trying to convince someone that learning about antibiotics and friction and chemical reactions really is worthwhile, or I'll be in a cave of duvets and quilts.

Thursday 24 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, 

filled with family, friendship, love, peace and joy, 

and a little bit of elf magic x

Sunday 20 December 2015


I'm not a great fan of televised awards ceremonies and certainly wouldn't normally watch one about sport, but tonight's BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2015 includes as one of the nominees Lucy Bronze, the women's international footballer who scored for England in the World Cup and inspired a nation of girls to participate in sport.  So what you may say, but you see when Lucy's family used to live on our street, and now live on the next street to us, and you know that Lucy's mum is Miss K's maths teacher, and that Lucy went to the same school as E and Miss K the you'll realise that the whole town is rooting for her. She's totally the underdog, amongst a cast including Mo Farah and Any Murray but we be watching and will  #votelucy !

watch this video, her mum is so proud!

Friday 18 December 2015

five on friday - the festive version.

Five random things from the last week, all with a vague festive theme. joining in Amy's five on Friday.

1. Snowdrifts of cream and ice cream - Miss K's birthday celebrations.

 2. Real Snowdrifts! The perfect visitor at the guide and ranger Christmas weekend away, a four hour blizzard which left huge amounts of perfect snowman making snow, and then stopped just before all the adults got into a total panic about being snowed in, in the middle of nowhere with 16 guides and rangers, and not enough food for a prolonged stay..... Truly magical.

3. Of the many crafts provided over the weekend this was the one I was most surprised by. Take one polystyrene ball, a bag of sequins and the tiniest pins in the world and sit and poke them in. Mesmerizing, addictive, fiddly, frustrating (I dropped oh so many sequins), controversial (everyone else turned their sequins so the curved side moulded around the ball, but I liked the sticking out look....), exactly the perfect craft when you know you have a billion things to do, but you're in a farm house in the middle of nowhere, with a blanket of snow covering everything and no wifi and so what you do is just sit and chat and select the next sequin!

4. In contrast to the bauble, this was the quickest craft ever, take one bunch of holly, add a ribbon and a tangle of Christmas beads, and loop over the outside lamp instead of a wreath on the door. 

5. Holy toast.  Just because.

Happy Friday. I am so glad you're here. Hope everyone has a lovely weekend. 

Tuesday 15 December 2015

bird feeder therapy

I won't lie. life is a bit chaotic here right now. it's the time of year when there are more activities than there is enough time or energy. add in the two birthdays and the flooding of my mum-in-law and I have to admit I have never ever been so ill prepared for the day that is only 10 days away....... We still have to organize visits to family, and family, buy gifts and food and as of half an hour ago I hadn't written a single card. I've now written two.... In the face of too much too do, and no idea where to start I have been doing what works best. Making a mug of tea and a slice of cinnamon toast, and looking out of the window.....

We have a bird feeding station just at the edge of the patio, and this is my kitchen window view. There is nothing more mesmerizing than watching the visitors coming for breakfast, lunch and perhaps a little afternoon snack.  We frequently get a good variety of finches and tits and small garden birds, and occasionally some local enterprising pheasant who is not content to sit underneath and catch the dropped seed, but balances precariously and helps herself!

I was contacted a few months ago by Mill Race Garden Centre  who offered me a voucher for their online store which sells a wide variety of things for your garden needs. I've been attempting to shop locally more often, instead of using big multi national online stores, but it's not easy when local doesn't always provide what you need, or it's too heavy to walk up very big hill with..... When I realised that local doesn't always  have to mean local to me, but can just mean supporting a real store or small business that just happens to deliver then I felt like I'd reached a good compromise.  Whilst reading Mill Race Garden Centre's useful blog post about caring for your garden in winter I decide to buy some bird food. I found a wide range of bird feeding products to keep my kitchen window viewing supplied all winter, delivery was fast and the birds are delighted with their feasts, especially the berry suet treats which despite looking shockingly pink are clearly very delicious, as that's the feeder I have to fill up most often!

So come on, is it just me that stares out the window, when there's too much to do?  Does anyone else have a pheasant who comes to tea, or a pigeon that eats so much seed we have affectionately named him FP - short for fat pigeon....... and am I the only one who can't get a single decent photograph of the birds who actually come to the feeder, despite hundreds of attempts?........

Mill Race Garden Centre provided me with a voucher to purchase these items. Thoughts and words are my own.

Monday 7 December 2015

random things of the week

When the skies are grey and the rain is pouring down sometimes you have to create your own light.

Create cosiness benefits all the family, even though I did tell the cat that this table runner really is Not a nice table quilt for him to sleep on. He is in disgrace now as he's licked a sore patch on his leg and his wearing the cone of shame, so he can't jump onto the table. 
I suppose it would be cruel to keep it on permanently to stop him getting on the table.....

The storms here this weekend cancelled the Christmas market stalls and brought down the town Christmas tree. Nothing compared to the flooding in Cumbria, I've been watching in horror at the amount of water and the damage it's causing. J's mum had to leave her house on Saturday as the water started to come in, we have no idea how high it got, she's hoping to go back in today and look. We can't drive there to find out for ourselves as the roads are closed and the main bridge through her town is currently closed while it assessed for damage. The rumours on twitter last night that it had collapsed are thankfully untrue.

On a lighter note I found myself this weekend saying the one thing to my son that I thought I never would.

"make sure you take off all your make up before you go to bed"!

Tuesday 1 December 2015


According to my calendar this Thursday is "get excited about Christmas day". Both of the teenagers have birthdays before Christmas and those are definitely the focus of excitement right now! I might get involved with "panic shopping day" but it's more likely to be a frantic hunt for a gluten free pudding than an online present buying spree...
I do love December, the birthday parties and family visits, and cake and fairy lights and the smell of cinnamon and cloves and boxes of oranges. 
and at the end of the month the most exciting day of all? 
"prepare to take the following year by storm day" !

Happy December everyone x