Wednesday, 30 December 2009


I don't like 'em, the kids don't like 'em, but M and his family DO like brussels sprouts and as everyone would be joining us for Christmas, I resigned myself to having to cook these horrid little vegetables as part of the Christmas feast.



On Christmas Eve I happened to be reading the letters page in the Daily Telegraph and there, in a letter from a Stuart Gillies in Chester, was advice on how to get sprout-haters to eat them:

'Fry a chopped rasher or two of smoked bacon. Add sprouts, cut in half and fry a little more. Add enough chicken stock almost to cover and reduce until barely cooked and the stock is getting sticky. Delicious!'

And they were, too! The youngest even had a second portion! Thank you, thank you Stuart Gillies of Chester. We are converted. May sprouts forever grace your life.

I hope everyone's Christmas was wonderful despite burst frozen pipes, trees falling down and boilers going on holiday. Here're some pics of my pressies this year. I must say, I've been a very lucky girl:

The Cath Kidston bag, Make do and Mend book and jumper were from M (the jumper came from the Oxfam shop on the King's Road, London. Am SO going there in the New Year!).

My brother bought me this make-your-own Camper Van, which I thought was a great gift seeings how there's no way on earth I shall ever own a real one.

This adorable elephant pin cushion was from my sister-in-law and family. Not sure I have the heart to stick pins in him though.

And I happen to know this little cake stand came from the Country Living fair because I pointed it out to my mum at the time. Lo and behold, there it was Christmas morning underneath my tree. Thanks, Mum (and I'm pretty sure you didn't organise the fire alarms going off at the Fair, and consequent evacuation of the whole building just so you could buy this without me knowing. Pretty sure).



Andi xx

Monday, 21 December 2009

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year

Thanks for visiting my blog

See you all again in 2010

Andi xx

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Smile, please!

I have an album which comes out at this time of year. It's full of every Christmas photo I possess of the family, and begins with Christmas 1962:

Wow, just look at that fab kitchenette. I wish I still had it. I remember there was a turkey in the oven! The Santa sack was made of very thick paper and was great for sack races about three hours after we'd opened all our presents.

Christmas 1962 was spent at my grandparents' flat and was kept quite simple (well, there wasn't a lot of money around). Look at those vintage baubles. I've been a hoarder ever since I can remember, but sadly the habit hadn't kicked in when this photo was taken otherwise I'm convinced I'd own those baubles now:

My dad used to work part time as a photographer, otherwise I don't think we'd have these precious two photos of that Christmas. I think he was the only one in the family who owned a camera. My mum had a Box Brownie which was hardly ever used.

How different things are today, with CCTV cameras everywhere we go, mobile phones that can take pictures and computers that can send the images across the world in seconds. Our descendants will be swamped with photos of great-great-grandma. Wouldn't it have been wonderful if the ancient Egyptians had managed to invent the camera so that we could have had thousands of years worth of images?

My daughter recently took part in a show with her drama group. She was one of the first performers, in the first act, in the first show EVER in the brand new theatre. Parents were instructed NOT to take photos and to report anyone they saw in the audience taking photos as this was not allowed under health and safety regulations.

So no parent has any personal photographic record of their son or daughter taking part in this local historic event which, as you can imagine, was very disappointing for us all. What made me angry though, was the fact that a member of the Press and a theatre archivist - complete strangers to us - WERE allowed to take photos of our children. Twisted principles indeed.


Andi xx

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas Deliveries

Thanks everyone for visiting my blog and leaving comments. I really do appreciate them, especially as I've only just started blogging and am eager to 'meet' you all. I really enjoy visiting your blogs. They're opening my eyes to so many different things!

Christmas deliveries:

I came home from choosing my Christmas tree last Thursday to find a note from Postie:

'I have left your parcel on the back doorstep'.

Parcels in the post! Aren't they exciting? I rushed to the back door and sure enough, there was the parcel:

Seeing the pattern on the box was even more exciting:

I LOVE Emma Bridgewater designs and when I opened the box inside were two beautifully wrapped presents. One for me, one for husband:

Just look at those bows. I wish I could tie a bow as exquisitely as this (I'm sure there must be a web site to tell me how. Must remember to look it up):

There was an invoice which told me the gifts were from my lovely friend Roz and her husband, and also what was inside - Christmas star mugs:

Roz gave me permission to open them before Christmas Day because, as she pointed out, they are CHRISTMAS star mugs and we must get full use of them during the season (and in case you're wondering, I DID let husband open his!)

I'm looking forward to the weekend when we can snuggle down with the kids and watch Christmas movies whilst sipping our hot chocolate. Yummy!


Andi xx

Monday, 7 December 2009

Old Friends

When you unpack your Christmas decorations and treasures, do you sometimes get a lovely surprise because you've forgotten some of the things you'd packed away last year?

And they bring back lovely memories of flaming, brandy-soaked puddings and the kids' delight at having their own special Christmas plates.

Then there're the figurines that grace the mantlepiece and who only joined the household last year.

The results of your own crafts from a few years back:

Here's an item I bought a few years back from a charity shop. I liked it, but I didn't love it. The decoration is spoiled, I think, by having been sewn on off-white aida, but I bought it because of the work that had obviously gone into sewing it:

I've always kept it in the Christmas box because the cross stitch is so festive, but I've never really known what to do with it. Actually, I don't even know what it's for. It measures about 3 1/2 feet by two and it only has a frill at one end. Some red tatting:

So I doubt if it's a table runner. It seems too large to be a chair back cover. I just couldn't bear the thought of someone's hard work being left in the charity shop.
Anyone got any ideas what it might be?



Tuesday, 1 December 2009

One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

I had a suspicion I was in for a rough few days when I looked out of my bathroom window first thing last week and saw this guy sitting on the roof outside:

One for sorrow. I looked around desperately for his mate, but the garden, trees and sky were empty. Ohhhhhhh dear!

Downstairs, I was greeted with a broken down washing machine still full with water, suds and clothes. Took me the good part of an hour to get the water drained and the door open so I could rescue the clothes inside. The machine had been quite ill for a few months and as it was an old lady, I decided to put her out to pasture and order a new one. Express delivery. Cost me an extra £20.

A couple of days later I had a trip to the dentist where I had a wisdom tooth extracted. I kept the tooth (Alas the Tooth Fairy didn't call. I'd hoped for paper with a nought on it. Damn that magpie!) and I thought about putting a photo of it here, but didn't want to spoil your breakfast.

Sunday I hunted for a pattern to make a robin. I could only find a regular bird pattern at Spool and my first attempt looked rather like a very sad and lonely budgie:

So I adapted the pattern to make the neck and tail shorter:

Slightly more the shape, but still not right. The poor thing looks one tweet short of a song, doesn't he? And is that what's called a Roman nose?

Third attempt, and I think we're getting closer to what I had in mind. Got to get some decent eyes:

And hearts. I had a go at some hearts. This is the only one that came out well enough to be shown. It was supposed to be snowy/Christmasy, but I think it looks more like a wedding heart:

Oh, and my cooker broke down. They're coming to fix it tomorrow. It's an Aga and the kitchen is so cold and sad without its constant heat. Can't wait for it to be fixed. HOWEVER, looking on the bright side, I now have the chance to give it a thorough clean while it's cold - something that's difficult to do when it's working. And....

The magpie's mate appeared! Hallelujah! Nice things began to happen.

Through the post came a parcel from Sarah at The Blueberry Patch. It was the lovely reindeer I'd ordered and he just looks great on my mantlepiece along with the Cinnamon Colonial Candle I found in TK Max (am I being stupid or is Colonial Candle almost impossible to find in the UK?)

Another parcel in the post was this lovely snowglobe advent calendar that I also saw on Sarah's blog site and immediately sourced it and bought my own:

Then, for the first time since I was small my mum bought me an advent calendar. So now I have two! This one is from PastTimes and is the real old fashioned type that you stick to the window and the light shines through the little pictures and illuminates them:

And today my copy of How the Grinch Stole Christmas arrived. This is the original version with Boris Karloff narrating. I've never seen this movie so I'm really looking forward to a cozy afternoon with the kids next weekend, by the fireside, homemade cake and possibly hot chocolate:

It's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas! Happy December! And God bless us, every one.