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November 2012

The Christmas Tag

I saw a meme doing the rounds and seeing as it’s about Christmas, there was no way I was going to pass this up!

Q1. What’s your favourite thing about Christmas?

All the preparation that goes into making Christmas special for my family is what I love the most. I think I love the planning, decorating, baking, cooking and everything else that leads up to the big day, even more than I do the day itself.

Q2. What’s your favourite make up look for the festive season?

I don’t wear makeup, in fact, I don’t think I even own any anymore!

Q3. Real or fake tree?

We always have a fake one but every year I wish for a real one! Just once I want to see what a real one looks and smells like but for one reason or another, we never get round to buying one.

Q4. Giving presents or receiving them?

Both! I love choosing gifts for everyone and get excited when anticipating the recipients reactions but I also love the surprise when I receive gifts I’ve not been expecting. Last year was a bumper year for me! I LOVED my kindle and Tassimo that Ant and the kids got me 😀

Q5. Do you open your presents Christmas morning or evening?

Why, no not why, HOW could anyone wait until the evening to open their presents? It would be impossible for me let alone the kids. When I was a kid we’d have our mum and dad up and opening presents at 4am!
Q6. Handmade Christmas cards or bought?

I like making them but usually end up buying most of them.
Q7. What’s your favourite Christmas film?

Christmas films are my favourite films of all and I’m slowly building my collection. It’s impossible to choose just one though. I watch every film on the xmas 24 channel, some more than once!
I do love, It’s a wonderful life and all the scrooge movies. I have to watch them every year. Two others I always watch are One Magic Christmas and The Night They Saved Christmas. I watched them as a child and every year and now I watch them with my children 🙂
Q8. What’s your favourite Christmas food?

Oh no, how can you possibly expect me to pick between the full dinner, mince pies, chocolates, buffet teas with loads of yummy desserts. It’s too hard so I’m not going to try!
If you want to take part, feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments 🙂

Read 100 Books #17 Ryan’s Return

This was another freebie download from the Amazon Kindle store although it’s not free anymore! It’s worth the price though as it’s a great read for those who like chick lit.

Available at Amazon

It didn’t speed through the story, which I find often happens with these kind of books and it has a bit of everything I like; romance, ghosts, family feuds and a small town that I’d love to move to!
Ryan returns to his home town after years away travelling round the world taking wonderful photos.
He fell out with his dad and brother years ago and his return to the town is hard for them all.
It’s a nice easy read and I looked forward to going to bed each night so I could read some more!

I did mistakenly delete it from Kindle half way through reading it while we were away on holiday and didn’t have Internet access! I was really looking forward to finishing it while we were away and somehow (I still don’t know how to delete books from the Kindle without going to my Amazon account and doing it from there!) I accidentally pressed something which deleted the book on the first night we were there.
I couldn’t wait to get home, sign into Amazon and send it back to my Kindle!

Our wonderful grandsons came to visit

We have Jason staying with us (one of Ant’s sons) who usually lives in Scotland. He moved down a couple of months ago and his two boys live in Scotland with their mum.
She brought them down at the weekend so they could spend time with their dad and she got to catch up with friends 🙂

We miss them dearly when they’re at home and it had been a couple of years since we had last seen them. Jamie is 7 and a few months older than Kaycee and Damien is 5 and just under a year older than Ella.
The girls think it’s really funny that their nephews are older than they are!

They arrived in a whirl of noise and excitement on Friday evening and they have the cutest Scottish accents you’ve ever heard!
After a late night (it must have been gone 11 when they finally went to sleep!) they woke before 7am on Saturday morning. I was shattered!

Around 10ish, Granddad came round with Jervais (another of Ant’s sons) and together with Ant and Jason they took the kids off to fun farm for the morning, stayed for lunch then went to see Nanny in the afternoon so I had a nice quiet afternoon 🙂

While they were here, Damien loved taking photos with my camera and I’m now the proud owner of quite a few self portrait shots along with photos of the tv, pictures on the wall, the back door and lots of others! Here are just a few taken by Damien and Jamie 🙂

Damien – self portrait 🙂


and another!


Ella – taken by Damien


Granddad – taken by Jamie


Grandpa and Ella – by Damien


Not sure what Jamie and Ella were doing here!


Jamie – by Ella, or maybe Kaycee or even Damien…..I started to lose track!


Uncle Jervais – by Damien


Daddy by Damien


Kaycee and Jamie by Damien


Damien and Ella by Jamie

Jason said their mum is bringing them down again in the new year and both Ant and I can’t wait to see them again. They really are gorgeous and oh so cute! 😀


In my winter cave!

I’ve noticed a definite change in me since winter arrived; I usually like rooms to be very bright and it’s not uncommon for me to have the light on all day in the hope it’ll give just that little bit extra brightness to the room.
However, since winter came on the scene, I’ve hardly switched the big light on at all, instead, opting for the two lamps and the fake orange glow from the fake fire! It’s cosy and gives the impression of warmth without actually having the heat on. The bright light from the kitchen invades the cosiness of my winter cave and I’m tempted to close the door and the curtains so I can shut the world out for a short while.

We switch the lamps on in the morning and they then stay on all day until bedtime. I love the soft glow from them and find myself nice and relaxed, so much so that if there wasn’t a chill in the air right now, I could happily drift off to sleep for a doze!
I think it’s time to get the woolly cardi out; it’s big and long and so warm it feels like it’s wrapping you up in a snugly hug. It only comes out at this time of year and I’ve had it for about 4 years. It’s kind of becoming one of my winter/Christmas traditions that are just for me. When it’s cold enough to need my big cardi it signals winter then Christmas is on the way and seeing as, ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’ (bet you sang that in your head didn’t you? I know I did!!) it makes my heart happy 😀

I can’t wait to get the Christmas decorations up. I’m planning on putting lights on the mantel, on the tree and in the window and I’m never more at peace than when sitting in a darkened room with only the twinkle of the  beautiful fairy lights.
Only 17 more days to go till the tree goes up 🙂 We usually put the decorations up on the first Saturday of December but because the first Saturday is the 1st of December and that’s a little too early for me, we’ve decided to put them up on the 8th.

When do you put your decorations up? Do you do the whole shebang with garlands and tinsel everywhere or do you go for a more sophisticated, ‘less is more’ look?

Equestrian Budkins Review

When I was asked to review some wooden doll house toys I think I was more excited than the girls! I’ve always love everything miniature and still love dolls houses; we’d have a huge one if we had more room! Anyway, I digress!
I chose Budkins Equestrian Dolls, a Grey Wooden Horse and a Le Toy Van Jumping Set.

I set the equestrian budkins up on the kitchen table while the girls were still at school and waited for their first impressions when they walked in the door.

Kaycee took a sharp intake of breath and asked who’s it was, Ella walked in and said, “wow, awesome, who’s is that?”
When I told them it had been sent for them to review, they were super excited and instead of going to get changed out of their school uniforms, (which they know they should do as soon as bags and coats have been hung!) they went right back in the kitchen and I’m now listening to them neighing away!
They’ve been playing for ages and the only negative I’ve heard from them is that the poles that sit in the slots for 2 of the fences (are they called fences? I know nothing about horses/show jumping!) don’t stay in very well. I know they’re meant to be able to come out during play when the horses hooves catch them but these seem to roll out when no one is near them. Ant said the cut out on the uprights should have been slightly angled to avoid the problem.
It didn’t stop them playing though!

As a parent, it’s great to hear your children playing nicely together for a change and even nicer to see it’s with really well made wooden toys and not like a zombie with another computer game or crying because another plastic piece of rubbish has broken within days.

Note to self: make sure dishes are put in the dishwasher before taking photos, not after!



There are some really great toys on the site and with Christmas coming, I’d much rather spend my money on toys like these for the girls because I know they’ll last well and get plenty of use.

* I received the items in return for a review. However, the review was written by me and reflects my personal opinion.When I accept a product for review, it does not guarantee a favourable review.

Welcome little Chi-Chi :)

Nanny (MIL) bought the most gorgeous puppy I think I’ve ever seen and now I’m in love with Shih Tzu dogs! Chi-Chi is tiny and fluffy and so cute you want to pick her up and hug her to you all the time!

Ella didn’t want to leave Nanny’s today and asked if we could just borrow her for a little bit; she promised she’d give her back!
Everyone adores her and I know she’s going to be coveted by everybody who meets her 🙂
Even Ant thinks she’s got the cutest face ever and he’s agreed to contemplate the idea of us having a Shih Tzu in a couple of years when I’ve lost weight and got healthier so I can care for it properly 🙂
I’m so excited!

She bounds round the kitchen on her tiny legs, her cute little tail wagging playfully and you just know she’s already loving the kids and the attention they give her.
Nanny and Chi-Chi are going to be inseparable and I think Chi-Chi is going to be just the tonic Nanny needs after losing Jack.


Welcome to the family Chi-Chi 🙂 Just look at that cute little face!

New windows and doors

I’ve spent all day re-arranging rooms because I’ve had to move everything away from the windows. We’re having new windows plus front and back door fitted tomorrow, which I’m totally happy about 😀 but now my back is killing, my poorly ankle is swelling and to top it off, my hernia keeps reminding me it’s there!
I have to say, I’m also a bit annoyed that the housing association decided to do it all at this time of year because the house is going to be freezing all day tomorrow and guess who’s the one who’ll be here all day tomorrow?!
Mind you, Ant doesn’t get it much better because according to him, his workshop is freezing at this time of year and he has to work there everyday!

I’m just having a cup of coffee before tackling the living room. Ant’s huge shelves and his office desk are near the window and I don’t think I’m going to be able to move it on my own so I may have to wait for Ant to come home.
In the morning, before work, he’s got to go round and take all the curtains down then hopefully everything will be ready for them to start work.

They did next door’s last week and I think it took about 2-3 days. I hope ours doesn’t take that long!

Anyway, I’m not really complaining, just having a mini rant and since sleeping in that tent on the first night at Featherdown Farm, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people without a home, having to sleep out in these temperatures. I’m certainly not complaining about having new doors and windows, not having to pay for them and only having to put up with a little disruption to have them done. I’m quite lucky really and I’ll keep remembering that when it’s cold in here tomorrow 🙂

Things to remember on a Featherdown Farm holiday

These are things I’d do if we had a Featherdown Farm holiday again:


  • Pack the things you’ll need for the first night in a separate bag so it’s all together and you don’t have to go searching in everyone’s bags.
  • Arrive as close to your check in time as possible if holidaying in Autumn/Spring. It really isn’t easy trying to unpack and make beds in candlelight!
  • Talking of candles, take plenty. We bought church candles from Tesco which were brilliant and lasted for days. We left a big candle from Tesco burning in the toilet all the time and it lasted at least 2 full days, if not 3.
    We also bought a pack of six from Asda for £5 and they lasted really long as well.
    We bought tealights from tesco that we used in the holders above the dining table every night at dinner and they were great value for money.
    We also took the hurricane lamps that use lamp oil. They gave off a lovely glow but Ant said if you want brighter light, a gas or petrol lantern would be better.
  • Make sure you have designated places for things like hats/scarves/gloves etc and make sure everyone uses those places because it gets really annoying hearing, ‘muuuum, where’s my gloves?’ for the twentieth time.
    The amount of times we lost the warm weather gear was ridiculous in a space so small!
  • We bought small LED torches from Asda for £1.50 each and they were brilliant. Next time we’ll make sure we have one for each person so they don’t have to try and share when they want to read in the evening.
  • Take a clothes horse. You’ll need somewhere to hang wet and muddy clothes and coats. Ant also did some hand washing which we wouldn’t have been able to do if we didn’t have the clothes horse. There was a small one in the shower block but we didn’t know about that until one of the other guests put it back there when they left!
  • A flask is a must if you want coffee straight away in the morning. Ant filled ours every night so he could have coffee while getting the fire going the next morning.
  • And finally, make sure you take your own, ‘Ant’ who will get up earlier than everyone else and light the fire! It’s much nicer to wake up to a lovely warm stove than to a freezing cold tent.
If you have any tips of your own for a family going glamping or indeed, camping, please feel free to share them in the comments 🙂

Elf on the shelf

We’ve had a message from Santa this week telling us that he’s going to be sending us a magic elf sometime in December. His job will be to watch the children in the run up to Christmas to see if they’re going to be put on the naughty or nice list (I haven’t told the children yet, I’m hoping he/she will be a nice surprise for them!).

We’ve never had an elf visit us before but Santa said it’s getting harder for him to keep up with every child in the world so he needs a little help from his magic elves.

I’m so excited! From what I’ve heard from other parents, the elf gets up to all sorts each night when the children are asleep and I can’t wait to see what our elf does while the kids sleep!

We’d love to hear what your elves get up to during December and I hope you’ll all share your Elf on the shelf posts with us 🙂


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