Sunday, December 23, 2012

Knitting

I tried to do some knitting a few years ago and I still have the wool to prove it. I tried and tried over and over again to no avail. My mother came over and I asked her to show me what the best thing to do was, for ease and simplicity, she made my knitting life so easy for me. She was a bit surprised by the small needle size and project I was given and said it was no wonder I struggled with it. So now I am knitting a simple scarf in just a knit stitch opposed to a knit one purl one (I will try this again for a hat) and I am really finding it therapeutic, I can watch the kids playing and it keeps me away from the laptop.

Here it is so far:

Photo: Knitting

A Festive Dinner Part 1

We have had a very busy few days. My parents came to visit for a few nights and we had fun touring the local shops. My husband and I met up with a group of friends on Friday night and went to the pub for a few bevvies. It was a great time to have a laugh and reminisce.

Saturday morning my parents, the kids and myself went to the local garden center coffee shop and to our surprise Santa came in and we asked him to see our girls, he graciously did so and it really brightened up the faces of my girls, they couldn't quite believe it!

Photo: Santa surprise visit.


Last night we went to the children's Christmas panto - Dick Whittington.  The kids, grandparents and my husband and I loved it and we had a lot of fun watching them scream and shout, "He's behind you". We got their late so ended up on the back row but it worked out well because all the kids were sat at the front - they were a noisy bunch. When we got home we laid the tables and served dinner and my mother-in-law joined us for a feast of roasted goose and figgy pudding. 
Sadly my parents could not stay for Christmas but it works out well because we get to have two Christmas dinners, opening of presents and a few drinks. It is a great start to the festive period.











Photo: Tonight is a cooked goose.                           Photo: The first of our Festive dinners.
Photo: Girls hyper after the pantomime.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012


I love these fun photos taken in a photo booth at a Christmas party. It was so much fun. I love the fun hats too.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Countdown to Christmas has begun


Yes, it is getting very close to Christmas day and the turkey has been ordered, the veg box from Able & Cole will be arriving soon and so will my parents.

We had a fun black tie event last weekend and we had fun having photos taken in the photo booth and gambling with pretend money. On Sunday we went to The Old Drum, where H.G. Wells once dined and they also serve amazing chips and also provides great service too (since it has been taken over). It was nice being a childless couple for a night and day, I have to admit, even though I missed them when I woke up in the morning.

Yesterday I found the Christmas tree on the floor! A little top heavy perhaps. So I had to redecorate it. What I do love about this tree this year is it sheds its needles so that you can that lovely pine smell and I also love the way the branch is curved and how the star sits on the top.

One last thing, I went to my daughters schools Christingles Service at the local church and it was lovely, I have never been to one before but basically the kids sang songs, recreated the nativity and swapped the money they had put together for less fortunate kids and got the Christingles they made at school. To learn more about Christingles see here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Part 3


Photo: We won the hamper. Yeah!

The kids plays were great, my youngest one had the lead role - little bear. You never know what will happen at productions like this, the more mishaps the better it is, as far as I am concerned. I have a Christingles service to attend for my older daughter next week, I have never been to one before, but it will be nice to step foot in a church and hear the children singing. As I get older, I think the church is lovely for Christmas services.

 We won a food hamper at my little ones school, I rarely win on raffles so it was a lovely surprise to win not only a prize but the main prize.

The black tie event is this weekend, now I have to fit in my dress - I have two to choose from but I think I will stick to black with my Gina sparkly shoes and either my sparkly clutch bag or my Fendi handbag, decisions, decisions.

Merry Christmas!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas Part 2

So it has been a busy start to December, kids Christmas parties, Christmas shows, pantos and there is still more to come. The Christmas tree is ordered and should be with us on Thursday which will be a perfect time since we can celebrate the last of the kids school Christmas performances in the evening. We can come home, drink hot choc, eat mince pies, play xmas music and hang the lights and decorations upon the tree. It will also be nice to put some of the presents under the tree.

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's the countdown to Christmas


Source: SPN

It is the best time of year again, Christmas. the children are getting excited, the winter has reared its head. Decorations are appearing in shop windows and people are gathering their trees and presents. There will be a number of concerts to attend and I can't wait to see my girls playing their roles and I have a evening away, attending a black tie event. A time to spend at home and enjoy a day of shop closures and less cars on the road and to eat as much food as a stomach can take. Don't feel guilty, we work hard earning a crust to enjoy this one day a year tradition. If there is spare cash, food, toys, donate what you can to give to the less fortunate.

Let's enjoy this festive season, whether it is a frugal one or a luxurious one, enjoy being at home spending the day without rushing around, either at home alone or with family. Make it your day.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas 2012

What a year 2012 has brought us. It is our first full year back in England, we have come on leaps and bounds as a family and recovered from a disastrous recession with the thanks to my parents. My mother-in-law has been an amazing help with the kids and allowing us the occasional break from being parents.

We have been lucky enough to see another Olympic in the country we live in, first Vancouver 2010 and now London 2012. We were here for the Queens Jubilee and more importantly we are home for Christmas for a second time running.

Our last Christmas was a frugal one, only getting the kids presents but this year hopes to be a little different in that we all get a bit of something but we never go over the top, we see no point but what we do like to do is have a nice breakfast and dinner on Christmas day which we tend to prep the day before so that we can have a relaxed dining experience.

We have plans to go to Hyde Park to see the Winter Wonderland which I am very much looking forward to and a trip to Harrods where we hope to meet Rebecca and her dog for a bite to eat and a bit of window shopping. And our town is having an ice skating rink built and festivities to enjoy.

Can't wait!!!

Joules jersey dress

MONICA Womens Stretch Jersey Dress
Dress-up dress-down I love this dress it looks really pretty on and you can wear it with heals for an evening outfit or a pair of boots with a nice warm scarf for day time. It flatters most figures and a must in any wardrobe.

Friday, November 16, 2012

'My Animals and Other Family' by Clare Balding

I am currently reading, 'My Animals and Other Family' by Clare Balding. Having been a horse and dog enthusiast and worked on a race yard and at riding stables, I can admit that I have an appreciation of her story and the passion, commitment and time that goes into the work of these animals.

She has a great way of story telling and makes the read an easy one but also a book that is difficult to put down. Funny stories that I relate too particular the adventures on horse back and the naughty pony and devoted dogs. It made me laugh and cry and it some instances it made me sad.

An enjoyable read for any animal enthusiast.

Product Details

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New Years Eve Parties

When I speak to people about New Years parties I feel that they are divided on it. My experience in general has been that it is a time for businesses to overcharge, a time for people to drink too much and people are forced to be merry. I can recall one time when I had a memorable time out with my friends but generally speaking it has been... BLAH!

Then came children, hoorah! I am not forced to go to boring New Years parties anymore because now I can stay at home with my family and have fun with them and not feel the need to be chuffed that I have managed to find someone to go partying with and to drink excessively, because that is the done thing. I can drink a few home made cocktails, eat home made food and dance with the kids and best of all I am not hung over the day after and can enjoy a fried breakfast. To add to our, what I consider to be a splendid evening at home, my best friend, Rebecca stays the night with her dog (the kids love this) and we watch chick flicks and merrily drink a few glasses of wine and have a chat without having to shout over load speakers and banging music. Best of all, I do not have to participate in any stupid party games some fool has made-up.

I am very happy to spend my evening with my husband, best friend and her dog and my kids and enjoy an evening that we all agree on, relax and be merry!

If you insist on doing something and want to spend it with your children, here are a few ideas that I like too!

Baby Zone  Craft ideas
Spoonful Party ideas Party Ideas
BabyLondon Stay in London

What are your thoughts on New Years?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wellibob - Joules

 I have these boots, I love these boots, they are fluffy and warm for my very cold feet. I toyed between these and Joules full length boots but I already have some so I needed something that I could slip on without the annoyance of pulling on wellies. 

WELLIBOB PRINT Womens Printed Wellibobs

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Benefit Make-Up


IMAG0570.jpg
Now, I have to admit I don't wear a lot of make-up, I would if I had someone that could do it for me but I find that I am hopeless at applying it flawlessly, nevertheless, I can do an OK job.

My skin is fair, sensitive and mixed combination, to add it also depends on the seasons too.

Upon occasions I have a need to update my make-up bag and purchase something a bit special. The pictures illustrated are from benefit cosmetics. I have used their products before and have been very happy thus far. I love their packaging and the little bonus of a bag full of sample products, with a few items I will buy at a later date.The Jetset box set has everything you need including a mirror, instructions and the make-up and I am very happy with it indeed.

I have done a vlog on these products which I may post later.

IMAG0573.jpg

Monday, October 1, 2012

Joules


Joules Bedding - Flower Power

I love Joules  clothing and their new line for the home and garden. The outfit below and the bedding are a few of my favourite things. The kids clothing is so adorable. I think my whole family need a Joules makeover.


JULIA Womens Front Wrap Dress
Joules


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Is it Autumn?

Waking up to a sunny Sunday morning, making breakfast in my PJ's, kiddies curled up on the sofa, snuggled in their blankets to keep warm. Yes that's right, to keep warm, even on this bright, lovely day.  There is a distinct chill in the air and it feels like autumn.

As it happens I love autumn. I enjoy the new fashion trends, wearing scarves, hats, gloves and layering clothing. Setting up candles for that warm glow and sitting in-front of a fire with delicious hot chocolate - made properly and reading books.

I read all sorts of books, educational books; I have periods where I crave knowledge. Chic Lit, easy to read books that lean towards humor. Children's books, for nostalgia and for the beautiful illustrations. I digress.

Autumn for me is for spending time at home, dreaming, inventing, creating, walking and being with my family.

How do you spend your time in autumn?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sophie Conran's kitchen

This is a kitchen that I aspire to have. A bright colourful kitchen that is large and is not only built for cooking and kitchen chores but where the family can sit,eat, do homework and create art. It will be the hub of the house and the bubblegum pink paint will no doubt put a smile on my girls face, my husbands, however will not be so cheerful unless I make him pie and cakes more often ;)

I love it, but dare I go this route, hmmmm! We shall see if I can persuade the other half.


roomenvy - Sophie Conran's sugary kitchen

Fairy Cake Recipe

The best, quick and simple vanilla fairy cake recipe is this. Making them is not rocket science and the little ones can help too. I get them to measure and add the ingredients, good with developing maths skills and getting used to measuring. To mix, I used a food processor, I NEVER use a food processor for cake making but this time I did and I am glad because it saved a lot of time mixing.

I am hoping the end result will look something like this below:

Picture from Fairy Cake Recipe website.

I am sure though that my cake will look more traditional with the icing in the middle and the fairy wings on top. YUM!

Friday, July 6, 2012

One year on back in the UK

I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone. This time last year we were on our way back from Canada, Canada being our home for the best part of seven years. After a challenging start to our return one reason being because  the UK's system complicate things - getting paperwork etc sorted out and we are born and bred here, unlike Canada who make it very easy for new immigrants to set-up accounts etc, evenso we have started to settle.

Our biggest bug-bear however, is the fact that we have to rent, our first time in about 10 years. Mortgages are hard to get, particularly more challenging when self-employed and we also have had to restart our credit rating history, which is such a bore, which means we have another 2 years to go before we can look into buying a place by which time I hope the house prices have reduced even further. I have been watching the house pricing trend, in the area I live, they are dropping by about 20K, great news for me however the price of houses in this area is high to start with.

My daughters schools are great, if it was not for the schools I think we would find somewhere cheaper to live but our constraints are we need to live near London which means higher house prices.

Anyway, eventually we will get a place we can call home in the meantime we have to make do.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rainforest Cafe and Hamleys


In London at the Rainforest Cafe for lunch then a trip to Hamleys for toy hunting. What great fun for all ages.


My bike ride



My new bike, almost fully loaded, just need a rack on the back and a few accessories. It is parked on the bridge on my usual trial run on a lovely summers day. What was particularly memorable about this ride was across the road beyond this bridge there is public access to the MoD training land. As I was on my way back I heard gunfire at close range and I wondered it I had gone into far or they were just too close for comfort. Anyway, it will last in my memory as one of amusement and initial horror of being on the battle field.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My new bike

Apollo Etienne Hybrid Bike 16"
Picture from Halfords website.
I have a new bike. This is it, not a great picture, I will get one of my own later. 

Bikes that I have had in the past are wide and varied but more recently I have been interested in the hybrid bike with a step-through frame and a skirt guard so that I can wear what I like without it being caught up in the chain. Normally I would go for a mountain bike, with its suspension, quick release wheels etc, more sophisticated in its technology but I found I did not use it to its full potential so switched to the hybrid.

So far I love it. Easy to ride, nice to be sitting up instead of hunched over but it is a very different ride. Without the suspension it makes for a hard ride on trails but it is far superior on the roads. 

I intend to accessorise it with a front basket, panniers, but that is all it needs, it has a bell, mudguards, I already have tools and a pump. 

I want the nice weather to come out so that I can take it on long jaunts and once my girls can ride their bikes go out for a cycling picnic treat.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Diamond Jubilee

It is very exciting to see a Diamond Jubilee, this jubilee is my second, the last picture of me at a jubilee street party was of me as a baby.

As per the usual British weather, it is dreary. The start of the week has been very hot, hot, hot, hot but come the holiday time and half term break it changes to cloud and now rain. But this does not drop the enthusiasm for a British celebration, not for one such as this. Get your brollies out and rain coats and enjoy it all.

Jubilee breakfast

Breakfast today.
Photo: Picnic
Jubilee picnic in the park

Photo: Picnic with grandma


Picnic in the park yesterday, the weather was lovely and so was the show.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back in the saddle

After 10 years or less of not riding I have gotten back in the saddle on a lovely ex-polo pony (actually she is a horse) called Snickers. She is calm, safe and nice to ride, great for someone who has not ridden for a period of time. She needs work as she has not be ridden for a while and I need brushing up on my skills so a perfect partnership for now. Sadly I can not jump her because of her tendons, overused and abused! However, for now I have no need to go jumping just light hacking and a bit of schooling in the manage is fine. Once I get more confident and gain more experience I would love to find a horse to ride that can be jumped and perhaps do some local competitions, I would love to do a one day event someday. I have no intentions on buying, the horse world is expensive I have also been there and done that.

Wish me luck, maybe it is a phase I am seeking out to rekindle my past or maybe I will take it further and compete again.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Harrods

I had a lovely few days with my friend in London. We met at a cafe near Harrods where we had wine in the sunshine. We then went into Harrods to find birthday presents for my kids where my friend decided to spend quite a bit of money on them. We are all very grateful for her generosity and we love the play house that she got but the others presents are for their actual birthdays.

Harrods is fun but it is not what it used to be and some of the toys in the kids section can be brought cheaper online or in Toys R Us however, when they have items in store that is Harrods only then there are some real treats.

Harrods even has a very pricey dog spa and some very expensive puppies, 2K for a puppy is a little extreme when most breeders charge 400-900 for a pup. Not sure how they justify it other than there must be people out there that spend money just because.

All in all it was a fab time.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Keri Smith - Living out Loud.

Living Out Loud: An Activity Book to Fuel a Creative Life
Source picture from Amazon.co.uk
I have this book coming this week and I can't wait to get my mitts on it. Perhaps there will be projects that I can also do with the kids or maybe I will keep it to myself, devour it in my own time and enjoy it completely or go mad and throw it at the wall. A review will come later.

xxxx

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Mother's Day.

 
 I am pleased to say the sun is out and I am hoping to escape from the house for a while, whether it be on my own or with the family. 

Have a great day.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Call the Midwife - Book

Another gift for my birthday is, Call the Midwife.  I love this book infact I plan to get more of Jennifer Worth books. I love the history and facts behind the stories. Actually some of it is a little hard to believe and things like back street abortions were happening late into the 50's. It is incredible to  read how far antenatal care has progressed in a short period of time and how the pill reduced birth rates and how social changes happened and affected people. 
Written in my grandparents era, it makes me wonder how women survived childbirth at all and survived some of the conditions placed upon them. Having read this book it makes me sad that my grandparents are not alive today so that I can ask them questions on their childhood, health care, conditions they lived in and so on. After reading this book I understand now why the elderly think we have it so easy and we do in many ways. We have bathrooms, running water, telephones, washing machines even dishwashers. However, it is also sad that family life and values have changes considerably and neighbourly tasks are somewhat a distant memory, we are lucky if we smile at ours or even get a smile back at times (well with at least one of them).
This is a great book to read and dare I say, better than the BBC series. A book that should be read at schools, it is all very well to read about all the Kings and Queens but even better to know what happened pre and post war.
Call The Midwife: A True Story Of The East End In The 1950s
Source picture by amazon.co.uk 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cath Kidston



So I got a new bag for my birthday by Cath Kidston and I love it. It is small, compact and it fits all the things I need for my daily errands. Not only are their bags and accessories to die for but fashion and kids items too. The cowboy wallpaper takes me back to my childhood, my brother had something similar in his room. So don't throw out your chintz because it is in style and looks amazing (but don't overdo it).

Go to the website, check out one of the stores (which I have yet to do).

Monday, March 5, 2012

Birthday

What a birthday!!! Well, I went down with the flu the day before, not your average flu but a full blown body aching, sweating, could not cool down kind of flu. Managed to meet up with my friend and go for lunch the next day, then came home feeling tired then the next day I could barely move. I did however, get some homemade birthday cake and some lovely presents.

So I very unsatisfactory birthday but it was my day and I got what I wanted and a bit more!



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Job Market

I have been job hunting for a few months on and off but now is the time to get serious with it. I have applied to quite a number of jobs and so far only had one interview and I am waiting to hear if I will be invited back for a second interview. I would like this job very easy commute and it is in central London and to top it off the job is exactly what I am looking for but in my line of work it is not just all about experience it is about personality fit too (like most jobs but mine more so).

I have also seen jobs closer to home, which would be ideal, some are paying what I would get in London, except the travel money would end up in my pocket opposed to the transport industry's account, therefore more income for me for which I would like to buy a house, eventually.

Fingers crossed I will get something sooner rather than later. It is quite frustrating waiting to hear when you are in need of work but currently the job market is on the side of the employer so they can be more picky and bide their time for the right person.

Let's see shall we?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Exhibition

Art show


I was recently in an art show, (Oct 11). There was a good turn out  sadly my work was too contemporary for the audience so I did not sell anything. Boo!


This was my corner of the group show.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Birthday AGAIN!



OK, it is shocking that it is nearly my birthday and another year older and time seems to go by so fast that I can barely remember how old I am. SHOCKING! I have had to order my birthday present which I wanted for Christmas, yes I have ordered it. At least doing it this way I get what I want and need. A camera. I like my phone camera but prefer a proper camera, nothing crazy expensive but a coolpix type. They do the job I require and one day I will have a fancy schmancy one but will have to make do for now. 

The camera will help a great deal. I love taking pictures, of my kids, my paintings, sketches, designs etc and I can post them easily too. 

xxx

Baking

While I am a stay at home mum I seem to acquired a knack for baking, reluctantly because I am not a fan of cooking but I love to eat! I have also found out that I am very good at making pastry. My husband is very happy with my new found skills because he normally does the cooking but it looks like I have to do my share and then some - pah! The kids especially love that I make cakes, muffins, pies and all sorts and it is also good because I can see what is going into the food opposed to the manufacturers ingredients.

So yes, I am a baker maker, pastry taster (well it sounds good), and although I do not add the love of pretty sugary items, like we need more sugar, the food looks OK but more importantly it tastes great, just like home made food should. YUM!

A visit to Jane Austen's house

Months have passed and a new year has arrived. My eldest daughter has started a new school which I am happy about, some great teachers and lovely families. I have been working on lots of sketches and paintings. I have also been to visit Jane Austen's house which was fabulous and a lovely location too and have been reading some of her books. I have been to London, Portsmouth, Stoke and a few other places I am sure. I hope to have a holiday this year but that depends on work and if I can find a job or business moves up a notch. I have been helping husband to set up his new business venture as well as thinking of ideas for myself.  I have been to the kids Christmas productions (it has been a while since my last post). We have played in snow and many more things. We are very much settled back into home life but my only wish is to buy my own 'forever' house but all in due course.

So what have you been doing?