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.

Monday 29 November 2010

First Taste Of Snow

It's been Archie's first taste of snow, literally.

He loved playing in the garden, chasing snowballs then wondering where they'd disappeared to when they melted in his mouth.

He wasn't so keen on walkies in the snow though. He cried when his feet got cold and had to be carried home. What a soft puppy.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

A Hairy Story

For the last few years I've used a Henry vacuum cleaner and have been very satisfied with it's performance. Since having Archie, I've noticed that Henry isn't picking up the dog hairs very well so he's gone in to retirement. In his place we've bought a Dyson Animal which is designed to pick up pet hair better than an ordinary vacuum cleaner.

I haven't tried it yet so I can't say if it's worth it's hefty price tag or not, but the reviews I've read sound promising.

Of course, it's very tiring being a puppy. This is Archie after his afternoon walk, eyes dropping and ready for sleep.

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Pins and Needles

You would be forgiven for thinking that the sight of these pins meant that I'd been doing some sewing. If truth be told, I'm not very good at sewing, though I wish I were. It's definitely something I'd like to learn to do better. Determined that Eleanor won't be as useless as me, we bought her a sewing machine for Christmas a couple of years ago. She was thrilled with it and messes about on it making some lovely things. I've asked if I can borrow it so that I can try and improve my own skills, if only a little bit.

No, the reason that the pins were out was to pick the seeds out of my pomegranate. It's years since I've eaten a pomegranate. I remember my grandma would often buy me one and I'd sit for hours picking every last seed out of it with a pin. It was just as delicious as I remember from all those years ago.

Friday 12 November 2010

Another Scarf

I've finished the scarf I was knitting for my mum for Christmas. The photo doesn't really do it justice, it's a gorgeous blue, not quite the colour that the photo shows.

I remember that my mum was looking for a blue scarf last year but never found one she liked, so I hope she's happy with this.

I've now cast on a pair of socks. I need them now the colder weather's arrived.

Sunday 7 November 2010

Yummy Treats

Yesterday, Mick and I decided to go have a wander round Wetherby. Wetherby is a small market town about ten miles from where we live. I love it as it has lots of lovely little shops, nothing like the huge streets filled with department stores which you find in Leeds. There was the added bonus that there was an antique and collectors fair and also a craft fair in the Town Hall on Saturday so we had a look round those too.

Daniel and Eleanor stayed at home looking after Archie, so I thought we should treat them and all have a something yummy from The Market Place deli.

Mick chose chocolate and orange torte.

Daniel is a big fan of brownies so I chose a Boston brownie for him.

Eleanor loves cupcakes so it was a chocolate one which I chose for her.

I couldn't resist the fresh fruit meringue.

They all went down a treat.
Which one would you have chosen?

Wednesday 3 November 2010

Out For Lunch

As it was half term last week, we decided to have a treat and have a meal out. Daniel and Eleanor love going to Frankie and Benny's so it was decided that we would go there.

It can be quite expensive eating out when there's four of you and you're all eating adult portions so we decided to eat early and order off the lunch menu. This is served until 5pm and is a set price, £5.95 for one course, £7.95 for two courses or £8.95 for three courses.

We're never disappointed with Frankie and Benny's. Although it's not a posh restaurant, the food is always good, always plentiful, and the service is always excellent. Daniel and Eleanor enjoyed it and it gave me a night off cooking which is always good.

Friday 29 October 2010

The C Word

I know we're still in October but I've started thinking about Christmas, in fact I've done more than think about it, I've actually started buying some presents.

My love of Christmas stems back to my childhood when my parent's always made it happy and special. We had little routines and rituals which I've passed on to my children and the traditions continue.

I saw these Christmas cards on Amazon and just had to buy them. Doesn't it look like Archie waiting for Santa to arrive?

Friday 22 October 2010

Scarfety Scarf

The Knotted Openwork Scarf which I was knitting for Eleanor is now finished and I'm really pleased with it. I first saw the pattern for it on a link on Little Cotton Rabbits blog and liked it so much that I decided to knit it. I had never used Rowan's Kidsilk Haze yarn before but I like it so much that I'm now knitting the same scarf for my mum for Christmas in Hurricane, which is a lovely blue colour.

Whilst reading Damn, Knit & Blast It blog I followed a link to Jannettes Rare Yarns where an unreleased shade of Kidsilk Haze, Daffodil, is being sold. I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by so I ended up buying a couple of balls. There's some other bargains on there so I'm sure my credit card will be out again before long.

Saturday 16 October 2010

A Walk In The Park

Daniel and Eleanor had an inset day on Friday, so Mick took a days annual leave and we spent a few hours at Golden Acre Park.

It's the first time that we have let Archie off the lead on a walk and he was really good, coming to us when called. We made sure that we were well in to the park before we took off his lead as we were unsure how he would react, but our worries were unfounded.

Daniel and Eleanor had a good time climbing trees, something I took for granted when I was a child as there was a wood at the bottom of our street, and we had so much more freedom then than kids do nowadays. Archie enjoyed playing in the leaves.

There are so many mushrooms and toadstools around just now that I couldn't resist taking photos of some of them.

The trees are now showing their autumn colours, and many are slowly losing their leaves.
We forgot to take anything with us to feed the ducks with, but Eleanor found some bread on the floor which she threw to a hungry crowd.

Golden Acre is one of our favourite parks as there are so many different walks around it, a nature reserve, some lovely planting and there's also a wonderful tea room. Well worth a visit if your in the area.