Sunday, 30 December 2012

And how was it for you?

How was your Christmas? I'm trying to catch up with all the Christmas blog posts, those of my "friends" and some new ones. I know it's not over yet but I always think the few days between Christmas and New Year are the ones I enjoy most. The run up to Christmas always seems so hectic, especially this year as school seemed to finish so close to Christmas and I managed to develop a sore throat and sniffle just in time for the big day itself! The sore throat seems to have been brought on by my incessant talking to a friend one night (someone I hadn't managed to meet up with for over 3 years). We chatted A LOT, over the noise of a live band and by the following morning I had completely lost my voice. Not everyone saw that as a bad thing of course!

The builder continued to DIY his way around the house leaving a trail of mess & dust right up until Christmas Eve when we at last completed the shopping.

For the last few years we've created a new tradition of the 5 of us going up to Holt in north Norfolk, for Christmas Eve afternoon and early evening. It's a really pretty market town and is always decorated beautifully for Christmas. We stop at a posh coffee shop for a snack and then admire the lights before coming home.

Then we drove home via a friend's house where we needed
 to do a present swap.
We arrived just in time to be whisked down
 the road to her brother-in-law's
where a little champagne get together was happening.
Now the house in question I've mentioned
 before here when we went to the Easter Egg hunt. 
They are all very eccentric and when visiting you never know whether to wear a ballgown or a pair of old, ill-fitting, trousers! Luckily I'm usually dressed in the latter and fitted in very well this time.
I chatted to a few vaguely familiar (slightly mad) people and at one point mentioned how difficult it was to find little Christmas stocking fillers for a 16 year old boy - one lady in the group suggested (in all seriousness) condoms!! I was a little taken aback to say the least, but they do live in a very different world to mine. She later went on to say they were spending Christmas Day with some friends in Sandringham - I was bursting to ask if it was the Queen!

Anyway home we came to prepare for the big day, just the 5 of us being unsociable and inviting no one to join us. The magic reindeer food was sprinkled in the driveway and the carrot and biscuit were left for the man himself (usually a mince pie but I haven't managed to make any yet!). The builder and I didn't make it to bed until 2am as none of the wrapping had been done
& I was still feeling under the weather.
Due to my Father Christmas's tiredness some of the gift tags were on the wrong things but no one seemed to worry! I do remember one Christmas Eve when we just had 2 little boys and had to assemble a climbing frame before the morning. Boys went to bed early and we thought we'd have a little time in front of the fire & tv, eating cheese & drinking port (I love port). Well we started to assemble the frame in the kitchen - picture the scene, fluffy dressing gown (me not husband), slippers, slightly (very) tipsy and a tool box. We didn't do too badly until we realised it wouldn't fit through the door - climbing frame dismantled and re assembled on the patio - port glass still in hand and still in dressing gown & slippers!! Lots of giggling that night!

But Father Christmas came and did his magic......
The gymnastic crash mat requested by Little Miss seemed to be a hit,
 and was mis-used by the kids all day, it's now the wrestling mat!
Little Miss beating up her brother who still has the price tags on his Christmas trousers!
 The presents were noticably smaller this year, we struggled to find things as all of their lists were basically sweets & "suprise me"!
Anyway we had a good day with lots of food and a little sparkly wine.
 No one else has been ill & I wasn't really too bad.
Just a few Christmas photos....

Daddy really wanted his face painted!
Happy New Year to all the bloggers I have already met (virtually) and those I look forward to "meeting" in 2013 - Have a great one!
With Love

Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Merry Christmas Roundup

This will be my last post before Christmas, things are a bit hectic here; or do I mean fraught?! We've had a busy week when as usual best laid plans have gone up in a cloud of smoke!

Number 2 son finished school a week before the other 2 and his last day ends with a house music competition which is good fun to attend. As it was the night of my Book Group dinner I thought I'd be very organised and do hair & make up before the music competition - cue smug look at the other book group/school mum who hadn't been that organised! I knew I'd be tight for time so was all ready, that was until the torrential downpour as we left the school to walk 10 minutes to the carpark!! I had so much "product" (as the hairdresser would say - I don't really know what it means) in my hair that it was plastered to my face and then set solid!! A quick dampen down and blast with a dryer was all I had time for - at the end of the evening I noticed that it had gone very pouffey but it was too late by then and it may have been the wine affecting my eyesight! I'm afraid I took a lot of photos but none of myself - I'm not getting the hang of this blogging malarky yet am I?

As part of our Christmas get together we all take a mystery book and then choose one (hopefully not the one you put in) out of a lucky dip bag - lots of moans (pardon the pun!) when 50 shades of grey was unwrapped by one member (oops another unintentional pun!)!

During the course of the dinner I was waiting for the call from number 1 son about his cricket county trial - to be announced after 10pm we'd been told. As it turned out they decided to notify eveyone by email so the wait continued.

Well book dinner over I shopped and planned to clean the house and bake this week - best laid plans etc...etc  The builder decided he really could get the extension finished and we should buy a new sofa. I tried to explain that a houseful of dust was not part of my schedule but he assured me it would be fine - obviously it wasn't! Dust is everywhere and nothing has been cooked yet - and the work goes on.....

As for the sofa I assured him that these things had to be ordered nowadays but he knew better and has managed to purchase a job lot of furniture - ex display and delivered within 3 days! So the old 17 year old sofa - jumped on by three kids, regularly covered in puke and worse by three babies, slept on by various adults and stray cricketers had to go. I wouldn't fit through any doorways so was sawn up in the living room and carried out in bits - oh no, no mess involved in that!

And we had a series of Christmas events at Little Miss's primary school this week - "you won't miss any will you?" her sad little face asked - knowing I have a habit of forgetting everything these days. The Christmas production was, as usual, inspired! A fabulous version of Scrooge with the ghost of Christmas yet to come entering stage right (with his entourage) dancing gangnam style. It was superb; and Little Miss was wearing a slightly amended Victorian costume to the one I'd sent into school - the teacher thought she could improve on it apparently! I didn't think stapling the costume to her vest to keep it up was a bad idea.

Little Miss when she found out I'd left our raffle tickets at home!!

And number 2 son won £44 on the lucky square board - so a fish and chip tea followed.

Then on Tuesday the dreaded email arrived, sent accidently to an ancient email address and only found by luck - no, number 1 son was not successful this year and would not be playing County cricket in 2013. To say we were all gutted is an understatement. He's trialled since he was 10, and improved year on year, never quite good enough to make it though. This year he was down to the final 19 fighting for 14 squad places; and according to better qualified eyes than mine he was good enough. There are lots of politics involved though (and sometimes money!) and once we heard which 2 coaches had the final decision on who was in and who was not we knew it would not be us! He was the most upset he's ever been, mainly because he knew this year he had done enough to make the elite squad he wants to be a part of so much. He can have 2 more tries as the next year group is under 19's and he can have 2 shots at that. But the next 2 years involve A levels, university applications and then a possible move out of the County for Uni - so this really should have been his year. Thank you to those who kept their fingers crossed for him, your good wishes were very much appreciated.

Nevermind, as we have been reminded recently, if this is the worst thing that ever happens to him we will be forever grateful.

Now the last day at school/college for the other 2 children has been and gone; no cleaning has been done yet, no presents wrapped or delivered. The BIG food shop has yet to happen and I need to wash, iron, bake and do about 500 other things, but hey there's still plenty of time isn't there?? Please tell me there is!

We'll be spending Christmas Eve in the market town of Holt which is always decorated beautifully at Christmas time. Then we'll spend Christmas Day, just the 5 of us, at home.

Well it's my first Christmas as a blogger, I've loved getting to know lots of new friends - albeit all virtual friends and I'm lookimg forward to hearing about everyone's exploits in 2013.

Lots of love for a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2013, from our house to yours.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A little Christmas sparkle!

Well last night was my Big Christmas Night Out - an evening with the book club ladies. Our dress theme for this year was Hollywood Glamour, partly because of the hotel we had chosen this year, The Beechwood Hotel, has links to Agatha Christie. Hollywood being a bit of a tenuous link I know!
The hotel and it's staff were perfect, it's a very interesting hotel.
Anway I had put together an outfit, dress from ebay, fur cape from a friend along with long, black velvet gloves but I did treat myself to the perfect piece of jewellery.

 A new ring with a diamond cluster the size of a dinner plate!
The metal is silver coloured so I'm assuming it's platinum, the label didn't say. It's a little large so I had to wind an elastoplast around it to stop it slipping! The lady in the store was bemused when I asked if it could be made smaller so I guess the elastoplast stays.
Anyway it suited the outfit perfectly and a girl can never have too many diamonds.
And can you believe it cost just under £2 - gotta love Primark!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

That busy time of year!

We have at last begun our Christmas countdown in a flurry of confused busyness, as usual! I dream of a relaxing run-up to Christmas in the same way I dream of a coordinated Christmas, and I realise it's never going to happen!

We dashed out late on Sunday afternoon to a dig-your-own-tree place nearby and had an hour to position it before Sunday evening cricket practice for the boys. I am a bit precious about the tree as I explained in the last post and had asked everyone to leave it until I had it exactly right and the tub covered and the lights on; the lights must go on first. As I left the room I heard a flurry of tinsel and came back to find half the tree covered in 20 year old multi-coloured stuff (note to self, throw away the old tinsel!)

Anyway we all dashed out to cricket as while the boys had their 2 hour session the builder, little miss and I had arranged to have a quick meal at Prezzo (good old Tesco vouchers!) with 2 other parents. As we ran into the restaurant and sat at a table for 5 we felt something was amiss, then we had a phone call - the couple we were meeting were at the other Prezzo in Norwich - who knew there were two?? So we ran up the road and hastily ordered, bolted down a coffee & glass of prosecco (well it's Christmas) all at the same time, ate as fast as we could in the remaining hour and then collected the boys! What happened to leisurely meals and chatting to good friends without clock watching?

Anyway I decided I needed to have a thorough clean of the house before we finished the decorations - half way through doing so the builder decided to vigorously sweep the new floor, I think only about an inch of dust found it's way onto every surface in the house - cue a big row! We don't often argue but really! I just want to get ready for Christmas and all he wants to do is finish the extension - we've waited 7 years already, why the rush now??

In the midst of all this Little Miss reminded me she needed a Victorian pauper's outfit in time for Tuesday when they had a visit here - I'm not very good with a needle and cotton but we threw some things together out of the airing cupboard - I already had a mob cap and pinny of my own (don't ask!). I have been known to make nativity shepherds outfits from an old sheet and staple gun (my poor kids!). A good day was had by all and the outfit's are needed for the forthcoming school Christmas production. Apparently one of the teachers is going to look for a better costume for Little Miss (oh the shame!)

The Christmas productions at our tiny primary school are phenomenal, I can't wait to see this years - I'm rarely dry eyed - mainly due to laughter! The only snippet I know of this years take on Scrooge is that the three ghosts (past, present and future) enter the stage dancing "Gangnam style"! Sounds to be up to the usual standard - a brilliant effort for a school that has a total of just under 50 children.

But at last we have the tree up, some decorations remain untouched - we need a man with a tall ladder to put those up, smiling sweetly at the builder doesn't seem to have had any effect.
As I explained it the previous post I try to coordinate the tree - it's all red and silver - but can you spot the blue bauble and green boot on the bottom right - they think I haven't noticed yet!

The week ahead is just as busy, shopping to finish, wrapping (& hiding presents) to start. Deliveries to do and a fun dinner out with my reading club ladies. Always a great night and we theme it every year; this years theme is dress for Hollywood glamour, the wine is already paid for so usually by the end of the evening there is nothing glamorous about any of us - I'll try to photograph something!

And on the same night number 1 son has his final County cricket trial, and he'll be told if he's been selected on the night - I'll stay sober enough to take the phone call at around 10pm. I'm keeping everything crossed for him, I so want him to make it this time but it is unlikely. After trialling every year for so long he deserves it - but then I'm not picking the team.

I hope you're all getting festive and I hope I'm not the only one charging
around like the proverbial fly!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Some unexpected guests!

There have been some strange goings on here lately, and after quite some time I had the dawning realisation that we may have an uninvited guest in the house!

My beautiful new kitchen has a cupboard of crisps - yes a cupboard full! When the kids, or at least my eldest, were small crisps were banned from the house; along with sweets, chocolate coated cereal and any junk food whatsoever. Fizzy drinks and coco pops were allowed for the Christmas holidays and on someone's birthday - no exceptions!

But over the years they have all turned into Hungry Horaces, and I've been worn down with the constant complaining and begging. In fact I have no fight left in me at all so the cereal cupboard is full of chocolate flavour cookies/rice pops/flakes - there is a box of Weetabix and I regularly wipe the dust off it!

But back to the crisp cupboard, I had grabbed a bag on a few occasions just lately and noticed a little hole in it. I didn't bother about it too much as sometimes in a huge multi pack there will be a burst bag. It was happening pretty frequently though..... That particular cupboard has no back on it as it's where the stopcock etc is.

And then a few weeks ago, when the weather was warmer and our french doors had been open all day, I sat on the sofa watching tv when out of the corner of my eye something moved! I shouted that a giant spider was in the room and stood on the sofa pointing at a spot near the tv. After they had all finished laughing at me a little brown mouse was spotted in the corner - I think he was laughing at me too! We all chased him around the room back in the direction of the outside door and then he disappeared, we thought he'd found his way out!

As it turns out he's been with us for a few weeks, and possibly he's moved his friends and family in too. We have had no option but to lay traps and poison - not ideal I know but sitting quietly in the dark waiting for him to appear and then trying to talk him into leaving just wasn't working.

As I sat in the sitting room with number 1 son this weekend we both watched, a bit stunned, as he walked in from the kitchen - yes walked not ran -  walked around number 1 son and then passed me and crawled into the other sofa. I'm sure he smiled at us both as he walked across the room.

At that point we both leapt up (yes we're both slow on the uptake!) and got a box to catch him in. It was the builders lunch box as that was near and handy but please don't tell him! Anyway the mouse had disappeared yet again, and from the looks of the underneath of the sofa he probably wasn't living there alone! The poison placed around the downstairs of our house has all gone so I don't think they're going to be about much longer.

So it looks like we have more than one around the house, comes with living in the country I suppose; that and leaving all the doors open in the summer. I'll blame the kids for making a mess on the floor with their food. It seems we have them in the kitchen, in the understairs cupboard and in the sofa!

And by the looks of my lovely, soft, Laura Ashley throw
 they've made themselves a very comfy home!