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The Gallery – Christmas of yesteryear

Christmas of yesteryear

The theme for this week’s Gallery is Christmas of yesteryear. I love looking back at our family Christmases 🙂
 They look so little and cute on these photos!
Christmas of yesteryear
Christmas Eve 2010 – New pjs 🙂
We buy the girls new Christmas dresses every year to wear to Nanny’s Christmas party. I used to get them matching ones but now they like to choose their own.
Christmas of yesteryear
Christmas Dresses 2010


Christmas of yesteryear
Ella’s Gifts 2010


Christmas of yesteryear
Aiden’s Gifts 2010 – He opened them Boxing Day 🙂
Christmas of yesteryear
KayCee’s gifts 2010

I was planning to post a photo from each Christmas since KayCee was born to show off the dresses we buy each year but I can’t find them so here are the ones I can find from last year.

Aiden spent last Christmas with his dad which is why there aren’t any photos of him.
He’s at home this year so I’ll be taking loads of photos 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone xx

Loving my new table!

I’ve been thinking of ways to make our small table bigger for our Christmas dinner. I bought a new serving set earlier in the year with an oval plate, 2 serving dishes and a gravy boat.
I haven’t used it yet and would love to serve up a Christmas dinner where everyone can help themselves.
Our table was only big enough for a small centrepiece, a glass each and our plates and a cracker each.

Christmas 2008

The table mats had to be overlapped and it’s even more of a squeeze when it’s our year to have Aiden for Christmas (his dad and I take it turns to have him over Christmas) so you can imagine how excited I was when our next door neighbour asked if I wanted a bigger table. She didn’t want it anymore and needed it out of her kitchen. It’s huge!

Now we need more chairs! We only have four that came with our small table but that’s an expense that can wait till next year.
I’ve spent the day re-arranging the kitchen so we could fit it in and it also gave me the chance to give the kitchen a proper clean ready for our buffet tea on Christmas eve; talking of which, I just got all excited when I realised I’m going to be able to fit all the food on the table and not have it spilling over onto the work tops!
I can’t wait to dress the table for Christmas Dinner and be able to use my new serving set now. I’m so happy 🙂 Thank you neighbour 🙂


Mix Tape Monday – Fave Christmas Song

This is my first time joining in with Mix Tape Monday but I have a feeling it won’t be my last!

Out of the hundreds of different Christmas songs, this one makes me feel the most Christmassy, every time I hear it. I love the line, ‘tiny tots, with their eyes all aglow, will find it hard to sleep tonight’.
The whole song just sums up Christmas for me 🙂

I’m actually gobsmacked!!!

Photo Credit

Ant and I were sat at home enjoying a nice quiet Sunday evening when we got a knock at the door.
Ant went to answer it and was greeted with a group of young lads who informed him that they were Christmas Carolers.
Apparently, Christmas Carolers round here no longer sing, they just tell you they’re Christmas Carolers and expect to be given money!

Suffice to say, they didn’t get anything from us!

Dear So & So – The nearly Christmas edition

Dear Snow,
I don’t mind too much that everyone on facebook keeps posting that it’s snowing; I do mind that I’m not able to join in because for whatever reason you’re staying away from Lincoln. I’m begging you to please please please make an appearance sometime this week and stay for the special weekend.
I reallllly want to watch my kids play together in the snow and Ella just wants to make a snow angel so again, please come and join us for Christmas, you’ll be most welcome.
Yours, the one who LOVES snow at Christmas and will be most disappointed if you stay away.

Dear Children,
we now have a whole week of no school, no rushed breakfasts, Christmas movies and lots of lovely goodies to eat. Please be nice to each other. I know you can do it, you love each other really and I love to see you all playing together nicely so lets make a pact that for this week, we’re going to try really hard not to wind each other up and annoy each other!
Love Mum xx

Dear Santa,
no matter how much Ant tries to tell the children that you’ve been run over and there won’t be a Christmas this year, (or an Easter next year because apparently the Easter bunny was with you when the unfortunate accident happened!) we all know that you’ll prove him wrong and work your magic this Christmas Eve.
I have to say, I’m as excited as the children and can’t wait to track your progress with Norad Tracks Santa, like we do every Christmas Eve 🙂
Merry Christmas
Love Shell

Dear Readers,
thank you for sticking with me since starting this blog earlier this year.
I love writing and to know that actual people are reading my ramblings makes me very happy 🙂
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Love Shell

Pop on over to Kat’s at the 3 bedroom bungalow to share your letters and read everyone else’s.

Dear So and So...

Marshmallow candy cane twizzlers

I saw these on Pinterest; they’re from Good Housekeeping and I love the idea of them.
We’re making a slightly different version….instead of using straws, we’re using candy canes and we’re using Christmas tree shaped marshmallows.

They’re easy enough for young ones to do; the only problem you’ll have is stopping them eating the chocolate dipped marshmallows before they get chance to set!

Get the children to push marshmallows onto the the end of each candy cane.


Now the children can dip the marshmallows into the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off then either dip the chocolate covered marshmallows into the sugar strands or let the children sprinkle them over.
Put them on a tray lined with greaseproof paper and put them in the fridge to allow the chocolate to set.




Photo by: Taste of Home


These are lovely added to a home made gift of hot chocolate and mini marshmallows in a cellophane bag, presented in a nice Christmassy mug. (Click the link under the picture for the directions)
Or you could just keep them for yourself to stir your yummy hot chocolate with on Christmas Eve 😉


Advent activities – Find Santa, Story by candlelight & Ice cream sundaes

One of Ant’s sons from his first marriage, Jervais, left a Where’s Santa book (like the Where’s Wally)  for the children when he moved into his own place.
The kids love it. There’s a long list on every page of objects to find, as well as finding the real Santa.
They took it in turns to find the objects and helped each other if they got stuck, by giving little clues.
It was a lovely end to the day and made a nice change from the usual bedtime story 🙂
Another activity was to read our bedtime story by candlelight. I set up all the candles and KayCee found the next story in the Christmas book I bought from the works. It’s a really lovely book. It has a mixture of stories and Christmas Carols and we’ve used it every night since the 1st December.
At the moment, we’re singing the 12 Days of Christmas very regularly because the girls want to be able to sing it without having to follow the words from the book!

One of their favourite activities so far has to be the ice cream sundae activity! I put out pieces of dried apricot, sultanas, banana whip, sliced banana, golden sprinkles, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and of course, ice cream.

We topped it off with squirty cream and I have to admit that they were delicious. Good job it was Friday and I’d lost weight so I could have my treat!
Ella loved making the sundae but her tummy was too little to let her eat much of it!
They’ve all asked if we can make them again, to which I said yes, of course, but it has to be a very occasional treat. We couldn’t have all those sweet things in one dish every week!


I want to be Nigella!

She has a kitchen I can only dream of, she makes drinks I’ve never heard of and if her programs are real, which of course they are and I won’t believe anyone who tells me different! she throws some wonderful dinner parties with food that looks delicious!
Delia used to be my chef of choice at Christmas but whilst I still like her, and even though I feel a bit guilty saying it, (especially as Delia’s How to Cook book has helped me ever since I started learning how to cook when I was in my teens) she’s not number one anymore. It has to be Nigella; I can watch re-runs of her Christmas shows every year.


I’m making a promise to myself that one year I’m going to do Christmas, Nigella style!
I’m going to try all her alcoholic drinks, I’m going to make her Christmas Puddini Truffles and and I’m going to buy a cake tin shaped like a circle of Christmas trees that I can bake a yummy vanilla sponge in then sprinkle icing sugar over to make it look like they’re covered in snow. I’m going to cook a huge ham that’s covered in a delicious glaze and I’m going to make sure I make enough to have lots of leftovers that can be used to make more delicious meals!
I want to make jams and chutneys and give a home made hamper of delicious goodies as Christmas gifts, instead of a bottle of wine and a box of biscuits. I mean, how many boxes of biscuits can one family eat? (Notice I didn’t mention the wine there?!)
I get envious of her huge freezer and store cupboards every year and I wish I had all the lovely storage jars she uses instead of keeping my flour in the red/blue Tesco/Asda value bags!
I want to make cookies with the kids then hang them on the tree and I want to sink into a comfy chair late at night when everyone else in bed and snack on yummy leftovers, the Christmas light twinkling in the background, just like Nigella does!

I’m going to stop now, before everyone thinks I’ve gone a little crazy….if they don’t already!

Do you have a favourite celebrity chef?

A Christmas Tradition….. just for me!


  • Hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • A bar of chocolate; usually a twirl but I’m dieting so just treating myself to some Cadbury’s heroes.
  • A pen
  • A copy of TV Choice double Christmas issue
  • The house to myself for a couple of hours

These are the key ingredients needed for a Christmas tradition that’s just for me. I look forward to it every year and yesterday was no exception.
I know it sounds terrible but I couldn’t wait for everyone to get themselves off to school/work in the morning so I could get snuggled in my big, warm, woolly cardigan, thick socks, a blanket over my knees and get settled down to spend the next couple of hours engrossed in all things television.
Outside, the wind whipped the leaves up off the ground, making them jump and dance about while I circled the period dramas, comedies and movies I intend to watch over the festive period.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed with the choice of movies this year but there are quite a few dramas I’m looking forward to and of course, the soaps always crank it up a gear at this time of year
I enjoyed last year’s Little Crackers on Sky 1 and they’ve made another series this year so that’s on my very long list 🙂

What, if anything are you looking forward to watching this Christmas?

Decorating the salt dough ornaments

***SPOILER ALERT – If the girls call you Mama or Nanny, please don’t read this post until after Christmas Day!!!***


We made salt dough ornaments a few weeks ago and today’s advent activity was to decorate them.

We painted them red and green then used glitter paint to add some sparkle. When the paint’s dry, we’re going to thread them using pipe cleaners and string them to make a garland.
Our original plan was to hang them on the tree but as KayCee quite rightly observed, ‘we have far too many decorations on the tree already, don’t we mum?’.

The girls have enjoyed the whole process, especially making the salt dough hand print paper weights for my mum (aka Mama!) and Ant’s mum (aka Nanny). They used the most glitter on these!

All we have to do now is wait for the glitter paint to dry (it’s probably going to take a few days with the amount we put on!) then wrap up and deliver them to the Grandmother’s 🙂

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