Friday, 31 December 2010

2011 Starts Here

Where has 2010 gone? The years seem to pass so quickly now, is that a sign of getting old? It's years since we've been out to a pub on New Year's Eve. Some years we've been to friend's houses but more often than not we stay at home and have a quiet evening, tonight is no exception.

The champagne is chilled ready.

Daniel and Eleanor have got Chinese lanterns ready to light at midnight.

I can start to use my new diary tomorrow.

Every page has a photo of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on it. Aren't they so cute?

I'd like to wish everyone a very happy, healthy and peaceful 2011. May all your wishes come true.

Friday, 24 December 2010

It's Time... hang up the stockings.

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2011.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Something To Look Forward To

Ilfracombe, Devon, 2010

I know that Christmas isn't here yet, but I'm already thinking ahead to taking down the decorations. There's nothing worse than taking down the trimmings after Christmas, everything looking so bare, and having nothing to look forward to. With this in mind we've booked our holiday for summer 2011.
We're a family who have always taken holidays abroad, Mick is a sun worshipper, but for the last two summers we have stayed in England. One reason is that both Daniel and myself hate flying. Another reason is that although I've seen many different countries, there's much of Britain which I have never yet discovered.
Lynton, Devon, 2010

Devon and Cornwall were two places which I was eager to visit. I have heard many people tell the tale of falling in love with the South West and I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. In 2009 we spent a week in Cornwall followed by a week in Devon and loved it so much that this year we spent another week in Devon followed by a week in Somerset.

Rockpooling, Devon, 2010

We've previously stayed in cottage complexes but next year we're spending a week in Cornwall in a lodge, followed by a week at the same cottage in Devon where we stayed this year as we liked it so much. There's swimming pools and fishing lakes at both destinations, so there's something for everyone.

Fishing in Cornwall, 2009

Another plus for staying in this country is that Archie is coming too. I'm sure he'll love it there as much as we do.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

The Owl Has Landed

How cute is this little owl? I have to say a huge thank you to Zoe at Scented Sweetpeas for hosting a giveaway, which I'm so happy to say, I won. I count myself very lucky indeed. Not only is the owl cute, but functional too as it's a hairclip and hairband holder. I've lost count of the number of times I have to tell Eleanor to tidy up her dressing table, hair accessories everywhere. Not anymore though, I know the little owl will give her the incentive to tidy away as she goes. Look at the cute little birdie on the end of the ribbon too, that's where there's a little loop to store hairbands. The hairclip holder was made by Marie at Heartfelt if you fancy one for yourself.

Zoe knows what a sucker I am for gardening and also slipped a packet of Nasturtium seeds in with the parcel. They will provide lots of colour in the garden and on the allotment.

Thank you very much, Zoe. Eleanor will be as thrilled as I am when she sees what's waiting for her on her return from school.

Talking of colour, I think we're going to be white over again soon. It's snowing quite hard here at the moment, though it isn't laying yet. There's lots more to come though if the forcast is to be believed.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Taking A Back Seat

My knitting seems to have taken a back seat lately. After a twenty year break from knitting, you can imagine I'm anxious to knit at every opportunity, however, Christmas seems to be getting in the way.

These socks were started on 11th November and this is all I've done. This is the first sock, not the second. It just seems that every time I've got a spare minute something else takes precedence. I've still got a few presents left to buy and a few Christmas cards still to write, but I've promised myself some time over Christmas to indulge in a bit of what I fancy.

Does anyone else find they lose nearly all their time when Christmas is on it's way?

Friday, 10 December 2010


You wouldn't believe that the snow in the field where I take Archie came over my walking boots yesterday. Today there is more green than white. Once it starts to thaw it doesn't take long.

The next field is at a higher level. It can't be quite as warm up there, hence the snow hanging on.

After a good run it's home for dinner. This photo doesn't show just how filthy he gets on his walks. He doesn't think it counts as a walk if he doesn't bring mud home.
If I'd known I was going to get a dog I would never have had black floor tiles and certainly not a white kitchen. My mop and bucket are never put away at the moment.
A good run, a full belly, and so to sleep. It's a dog's life you know.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Winter Hobby

Genealogy is one of my winter hobbies. I find I don't have enough time in summer to do the research as I'm usually to be found outside in the garden or on the allotment, so it's reserved for the long, dark evenings of winter.

I've had a crack at following all the branches of my family tree, some more successfully than others. I've traced some lines back to the 1700's.

I've met some lovely people along the way who have been researching the same family, albeit a different line, though I did stumble across my mum's cousin's daughter. My mum hadn't been in touch with her cousin for nearly sixty years, and we eventually set up a meeting for them.

It's wonderful when you find someone who holds treasured photos of members of your own family. I found someone who had a photo of my great grandparents, Charles (1872) and Lavinia (the lady in the middle) (1874), photographed here with Lavinia's sister, Maude.

Someone else had photos of my great great grandparents, Lavinia's parents, Thomas (1852) and Charlotte (1851). I've been extremely lucky to find these as I didn't know anyone else who had photos of any of these relatives.

I've also traced parts of Mick's family tree. It was very interesting finding out that his great great great great great grandfather is credited with the introduction of handloom weaving in to North Meols during the 1790's. I would love to find more out about this and take a trip to the area.

Genealogy is a voyage of discovery. I've unearthed a few family secrets, some tragedies and pages of such interesting information about my family. Now, where's the money?

Friday, 3 December 2010

A Lovely Evening

Last Thursday, Mick and I visited the Christkindelmarkt German Christmas Market at Millennium Square in Leeds.

It was bitterly cold, before the snow had arrived, but there was still a great turn out. The market has been held in Leeds for quite a few years now and always attracts a great amount of visitors, many from outside the city. There are over forty wooden chalet stalls selling traditional wooden toys, sweets, german food, jewellery, glassware, Christmas cards and decorations, woolen goods among other things. There's also an indoor bierkeller with evening music and entertainment. We gave this a miss as the queue to get in was so long.

There's also a small funfair consisting of a carousel and dodgems as well as a few side stalls.

We were really just passing time as we had dropped Eleanor off at the nearby Carriageworks Theatre at 6pm to get ready for a performance of Our House which she was performing in with her drama group. We had tickets to see the show but it didn't start until 7.30.

Our House is a play about Joe Casey, who, on his sixteenth birthday has to make a decision. The play tells of how Joe's life progresses if he makes a good decision, and also how it progresses if he makes a bad decision. There's lots of singing and dancing, the music as you might have guessed from the title of the play comes from Madness. We had a wonderful evening, and I wished we had bought a second set of tickets for another night so we could watch it again as it was so good, but it was sold out. Eleanor had a brilliant time too.

The cast were all aged eighteen or under and put on a fabulous performance, in fact, I've seen worse shows staged by professionals. There are some wonderful amateur dramatics groups out there, many of them aren't very well supported. I would urge everyone to give them your support, they really do put on some fabulous shows.