Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Flash New Camera

I've been eager to go for some walks over Christmas so that I could try out one of my Christmas presents from Mick, a new camera. I really don't understand photography so I'm going to invest in a book and try and learn a few things. We've had some miserable weather for walking, but Tuesday was a beautiful day, warm with blue skies, so we took advantage and headed off to Roundhay Park.

Many other people had the same idea, and we had a game of spot the Christmas present. There were children on bikes and scooters, many hats and scarves which looked brand new, and along with me, quite a few people had cameras in their hands.

This squirrel was a little shy, he didn't want his photo taking so he ran up a tree, but I still managed to snap him.

There were lots of ducks, swans and Canada geese on the lake.

This young swan was fishing for his dinner. Bottoms up!

You can walk right the way round the lake, but Archie has to be on his lead near water otherwise he jumps straight in, so we headed off in the other direction.

We managed to find some seasonal holly.

The water fountain was in action in the small lake.

It wasn't long before Archie had tired himself out and wanted a sit down.

The ice-cream man was doing a roaring trade. Eleanor added to his coffers.

I'd like to thank everyone who left Christmas wishes on my last post, they were very much appreciated. I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas. Our's has been quite low key this year, but we've spent lots of family time together, which is what I love the most.

I'd like to thank everyone who has visited my blog this year, and especially those who have left comments for me, I always appreciate them. I hope you'll continue to visit throughout the new year. May I wish everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year, and all the very best for 2012.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Christmas is here at last. All the shopping is done and presents are wrapped. I'm going up to the crematorium to take some flowers for my sister this afternoon and then it's time to really get in to the Christmas spirit.

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Another Busy Week

I feel as though I've been at the last minute with all my Christmas preparations this year, I'm usually so organised. I think it has alot to do with having to be here, there and everywhere with Eleanor as she's had so much on with her drama and singing.

Last Saturday, she was singing at Leeds City Museum. As well as watching Eleanor and her drama group perform, we had a quick look around the museum itself. It's housed in the impressive Leeds Institute building which was completed in 1862 by Cuthbert Brodrick who also built Leeds Town Hall and the Corn Exchange. The museum is spread over four floors, we didn't get to see much of it as we were short on time, but I'm definitely going to return to explore further. From what I could see though, it looks to be a very hands on museum with lots of things for little hands to explore.

On Tuesday evening, Eleanor was performing with some of her GCSE Music class at school in a Christmas concert. Her group had been working on an alternative version of We Three Kings, a reggae version, so they performed that as well as Step In To Christmas. Eleanor and another girl sang while the rest of the group supplied the music. There are lots of different musical groups at the school including a clarinet trio, various choirs, a brass ensemble and other exam classes. There are some really talented kids at the school and we enjoyed watching them.

We eventually managed to get the house trimmed up last week. We were contemplating buying a new tree this year, but after seeing the price of them we decided not to bother. I'm glad we didn't now as our tree looks quite acceptable after being decorated.

I've been very late buying presents this year and I've still got a couple to get but they're only small things so I shouldn't have any problem getting them this week.

School has broken up now and Mick should finish at lunch time on Friday but he's taken annual leave so he finishes on Thursday instead. I want to have everything done so that we can sit back and relax when everyone's at home. I'm starting to get in the Christmas spirit now.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Giveaway Winner

A winner for my giveaway has been drawn today, and I'd like to announce that the box of goodies will be winging it's way to Caro at Urban Veg Patch. I'll get the prize posted out just as soon as you let me have your address, Caro.

Thank you to everyone who took part. It's a shame that I can't give everyone a prize, as much as I'd like to, but the budget just won't allow.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Liebster Award

I was thrilled to bits last week when Ruth from Dian's Timpanalley awarded me the Liebster Blog award. Thank you so much, Ruth, it made my day. I was also given the award on The Good Life blog by Mum from Mum's Simply Living Blog who said the award would extend to this blog too, so thank you too, Mum.

The Liebster award is awarded to blogs with less than one hundred followers, and comes with a couple of rules.

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver(s) and link back to them.
3. Choose five blogs which you would like to pass the award on to and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

There are so many wonderful blogs out there to choose from. On this occasion I'd like to pass the award on to the following five blogs.

I hope you'll pop over and take a peek at the blogs I've awarded. I know that many people don't accept awards, and I don't want to put anyone under any pressure, especially at this time of year when it's so busy, but I think it's nice to be able to recognise blogs which I enjoy reading.

Thank you, Ruth and Mum, once again for the award.

If you haven't already entered my giveaway, don't forget to do so. You have until 14th of December to leave a comment on my giveaway post.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

In The Recording Studio

You may remember, back in July we booked Eleanor a session in a recording studio for her birthday. It took ages for her to decide what she wanted to sing, she changed her mind on a daily basis, but she eventually made a decision so we got it booked.

Saturday was the day it all happened, and Someone Like You by Adele was the song she decided on.

She had a brilliant time and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, though she tells me that she still prefers to perform live. Recording a song is so different to singing it in front of an audience.

A CD was made of the recording, and Eleanor thinks she sounds so different on it. I think she sounds exactly as she always does. I think we all think we sound different to what we actually do, well, except for my singing voice, I'm under no illusions there. I don't know where Eleanor gets it from but it certainly isn't me.

If you haven't already entered my giveaway, don't forget to do so. You have until 14th of December to leave a comment on my giveaway post.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


I celebrated the first anniversary of this blog back in September, and I promised that I would have a giveaway. I know we're three months down the line but I've finally got myself sorted out, so without further ado, here are the prizes.

Make! by Cath Kidston. There are 48 projects in this book which use 16 of Cath Kidston's signature motifs. This book contains step by step instructions.

The Pocket Enquire Within. A guide to the niceties and necessities of Victorian domestic life. Enquire Within was first published in 1856 and was the essential guide to Victorian domestic life. The book has words of wisdom and advice on everything from entertaining and etiquette to household management. It gives a fascinating insight into the day to day life of Victorian Britain, and also contains wisdom which can be used today.

A small tin of vanilla fudge. I treated myself to one of these too and can vouch that the fudge is delicious. The pretty little tin is useful too, I'm using mine to store my pins in at the moment.

A selection of flower seeds.

All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning this little lot is leave a comment on this post. The giveaway will run until 14th of December after which time a winner will be chosen at random. I'm happy to post worldwide.

I also have a book giveaway running on The Good Life blog, so if you're interested in allotment life, head over there to be in with a chance of winning.

All that remains is for me to wish you all luck.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A Busy Week

It's been a really busy week making sure that Eleanor has been at the theatre on time for her performances. We've had an hour round trip to drop her off and then another hour round trip to pick her up afterwards. We haven't been getting home until nearly 11pm, and then Eleanor has had to get a quick shower before going straight to bed. She's shattered now and her voice has finally given in, she's very croaky.

We went to see the production last night and it was fabulous. It's hard to believe that it was performed entirely by kids, it was so professional. We had a brilliant time.

We dropped Eleanor off at 6pm to get ready but the show didn't start until 7.15pm so we decided to have a wander around the German market which is situated at Millennium Square, right outside the theatre. There were some wonderful stalls and lots of things which caught my eye.


Wooden goods.

Honey and beeswax products.

There were lots of food and drink stalls.



Whilst we were wandering around the German market, Eleanor was getting ready for the performance. She loves the backstage buzz and has lots of fun with her friends. She took a few photos which she's allowed me to share.

Her next event is a Christmas concert at Leeds City Museum, I'm looking forward to that.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Cards

I finally got Mick to climb up in to the loft and bring down my box of Christmas cards which were left over from last year. I thought I remembered having quite a few left over and I was right, I won't need to buy many this year.

I'm usually at the last minute writing cards, rushing to get them finished before the last posting date goes by. I'm determined to be more organised this year so I shall start writing them now, a few each day.

There was a couple of these Cavalier King Charles Spaniel cards left over too. It looks just like Archie waiting for Santa to arrive. I'm going to see if I can find any more similar ones for this year.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Lovely Ladies

Next week, Eleanor, along with the rest of her drama group, will be performing at The Carriageworks theatre in Leeds in a production of Les Miserables.

She's been cast as a Lovely Lady (prostitute), and had to go for a costume fitting today. This is one of the outfits she'll be wearing.

There's lots of late nights coming up, a technical rehearsal tomorrow which doesn't finish until 10pm, a dress rehearsal on Tuesday and then the performances from Wednesday through to Saturday. I can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Jazzy Socks

I've finished the first of the Waving Not Drowning socks which I started a while ago. These are being knit in Laughing Yaffle yarn and it's so soft and squishy. They were supposed to be for my mum for Christmas but she has bigger feet than me, and so although they're a nice fit on me, I don't think they'll fit her.

I've decided to knit my mum a different pair of socks for Christmas and have chosen this jazzy Regia yarn to knit them in, they'll certainly be nice and bright. I'm using an easy plain pattern which I've used before, and which I know will fit her.

The Waving Not Drowning socks won't go to waste, I know a few pairs of feet which they'll fit perfectly.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Book Thief

I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusac today. I started off by reading a couple of chapters each night in bed, but it didn't take me long to get hooked and I was picking the book up in any spare minute I had. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it, just be sure to have a tissue handy when you're reading the end.

I had another trip to the charity shop yesterday to drop off some more bits and pieces for them. I'm trying to have a good clear out before Christmas comes. I didn't think it would harm to have a mooch around the charity shop whilst I was there, and I came across a couple of books to add to my collection.

The first is another book which I've heard recommended on many blogs, The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. There's a whole series of these books, which are set in Botswana, so I'll have plenty of follow on reading if I enjoy it.

The second book is The Other Side of the Dale by Gervase Phinn. This book is about the author's experiences as a school inspector in North Yorkshire. I'm looking forward to reading it.

It certainly looks like I've got my reading mojo back.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Our Holiday Is Booked

I know it's a little early to be booking our holiday for next summer, but we didn't want it to get booked up and then be disappointed.

This year we spent a week in Cornwall in a lodge, and a week in Devon in a cottage where we've stayed before. We enjoyed both places but have decided that next year we want to stay in one place for a fortnight rather than moving half way through the holiday.

The lodge in Cornwall was so lovely, and the on site facilities so good, that we've decided to book for a fortnight for next year. There's eight lodges and two cottages on the site which is in a village about five miles from Bude. On site, there is an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a games room with table tennis, pool, table football and darts, a gym, three fishing lakes, and there's also a beauty therapist who visits to give treatments.

Archie is coming with us again too, and there's some lovely walks nearby as well as plenty of dog friendly beaches which Archie is very pleased about, he does love to swim in the sea.

It seems like a long way away but I'm sure it will come round in no time.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Preparing For Winter

Last winter was especially harsh and I consider myself very lucky that I didn't have any burst pipes to deal with, I know so many people did. Water expands when it freezes and if the water's in a pipe when it freezes, it expands just the same and can cause the pipe to burst.

I came across an offer from Yorkshire Water offering it's customers a free Winter Protection Kit. I sent off for it and it was delivered today.

Included in the kit was a leaflet full of useful advice on how to get your house ready for winter.

Pipe lagging to protect wall-secured pipes and some cable ties to secure it with.

A tap cover to insulate an outside tap.

This lot should help me to get the house ready for whatever winter has got in store for us, let's hope it's not needed though.

I know other water companies as well as Yorkshire Water are offering similar kits, so do check out your own water company's website.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Books Galore

I've had a splurge on books just recently. It all started when The Book People catalogue dropped through my letterbox and there were a number of books in there that caught my eye. The Book People has some brilliant reductions on books, you can buy many quite new titles at a fraction of the retail price.

The first book I just had to have was Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench. The cover of the book caught my eye, the jam pot covers are so lovely. The book is ideal for someone who has just learnt to crochet, like me, as it explains techniques and explains the stitches. The recommended retail price of this book is £12.99 but I got it for the bargain price of £3.99.

The 35 projects included in the book range from Starting Out, for the more easy ones, followed by Practice Makes Perfect, getting a little more difficult, then ending with Confident Crocheting.

This bag is in the Starting Out section, perhaps I could manage that.

I love this cushion, I'll definitely give this one a go.

The second book which caught my eye was The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss. This book contains 52 seasonal knits, the projects are grouped by season. The idea of the book is that there's a project for each week of the year. There's lots of different types of projects, not just garments but also things like a cushion, lavender bags, pencil case and bunny egg cosies. There's some great ideas in the book for gifts. This book cost me £4.99, much less than the £18.99 recommended retail price.

This mug cosy is cute, and the pattern for the tea cosy in the background of the picture is also included in the book.

I could do with some of these fingerless gloves for when I'm gardening at the moment now that the weather's turning colder.

I couldn't place my order without including this next book, The Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree. The book contains recipes for tea parties held at all times of day, from brunch, afternoon and through to evening. This book has a recommended retail price of £20.00 but I paid £7.99.

There's some wonderful photos in the book to accompany the recipes.

Not only does the book contain recipes but it includes all the information you need to make your tea party special. There's samples of invitations, information on where to source props and even instructions on how to apply fake eyelashes.

The book shows some ideas for hair decorations...

...and even gives instructions on how to play parlour games.

There's so much more to this book that I thought when I ordered it.

I was thrilled when my delivery of books arrived, but it didn't stop there. Last weekend I visited a few charity shops and managed to pick up another couple of books.

The first was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I've heard a few bloggers mention how good this book is, and the reviews on Amazon seem to confirm this. I'm certainly looking forward to reading it. I paid £1.49.

The second charity shop book purchase was The Illustrated Lark Rise To Candleford by Flora Thompson. I'd seen this book in a charity shop whilst I was on holiday in Cornwall earlier this year but I left it behind as I thought the price tag of £7.00 was a bit steep. I picked up this copy for £1.99.

I absolutely loved Lark Rise To Candleford when it was on television and I'm so looking forward to reading the book, especially as it's so beautifully illustrated.

So that's my recent purchases. Plenty there to keep me occupied now that the dark evenings have come round once again.