Sunday, 28 December 2014

'Do you want to build a snowman?'

Well how appropriate! I was enjoying a quiet late afternoon as David and Jonathan had gone up to Elland Road to watch Leeds play, catching up on some TV that I hadn't seen on Christmas day and noticed a documentary about 'Frozen' which I thought would be interesting. Having no contact with young ladies on a regular basis since I left teaching I really have no idea what the film is about. I didn't even know there were two sisters till I had watched this program ( note to self - get hold of DVD and watch film). However I digress, when I started watching the program it was raining, lots of it, as I walked into the kitchen at the end of the program I was aware that it seemed rather light and discovered that the rain had turned to snow, lots and lots of it. (Luckily David and Jonathan had arrived back having driven through the rain). We were due to go out for the evening, up to Wickersley where I work. When I say up I mean up as it lies higher than we do, so if it snows with us it will be worse there. By the time we were due to go it wasn't looking good, as we very carefully drove to the main road and looked at it totally covered in snow the decision was made to return home whilst we could, definitely the right one as you'll see from the pictures.

I do love that silent late at night when snow has fallen and no-one is around, it's all so still and calm.

By the morning a lot of the snow had fallen from the trees and this was our sunrise

We hadn't realised the extent of the snow till we were listening to the local news later yesterday. We had a slight flurry last night which looks as though it has turned to ice on the cars. I have to say that looking through the window now at 8-30am it looks very cold out there. 

Monday, 22 December 2014

The final countdown

Well I'm on my final countdown here @ number 6. Another early start saw me at the supermarket just after 7am to get the final bits of shopping so my list is now looks like this

Turkey - bought
Christmas pudding - bought (although not impressed with the total lack of choice so might make one)
Brandy butter - bought
Stuffing - made
Bread sauce - made
Pigs in blankets - made
Cranberry sauce - made
Vegetables - bought
Wine - bought
Baking - almost done, just Nigella's rocky road to make
Tree - decorated

Trimming up - done

Table - sanded, varnished and decorated

 Presents - bought but not wrapped
Christmas stockings for Charlotte's future niece and nephew - almost finished, just need features and sparkles adding

Even got a fairly clean house!! Don't ever remember being at this point on the 22nd before so what have I forgotten? Maybe after all these years I've finally 'cracked it' So all that remains is for me to wish you all 


BANNER New Years Eve Decorations HAPPY NEW YEAR by WineCountryBanners, $27.00

Love Anne xxx

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Unpacking decorations

I love unpacking all our decorations (don't really like putting them away) and this year is no exception, probably even more so as I had a massive re-organising of boxes when they were put away so it was easier to find what I wanted. Over the years we like everyone else collect decorations from all over the place, so I would like to share just a few of my favourites.

 These two were bought whilst on a company paid trip to Las Vegas. I love the colours and the way the rabbit and mice are looking up at the snowman, waiting for his nose to drop off maybe? They add decoration to my plain welcoming lights

These stars were bought when we went to stay with Charlotte's Godparents in Dubai for Christmas

They hang perfectly on our light fitting, which reminds me I must replace the bulb that has gone.

When Charlotte was doing ski seasons in Les Gets we took Becky and Jonathan out for New Year so this next decoration is from there. In fact that whole garland in the kitchen is hung with wooden hearts bought out there and is labelled up as 'French garland'

The next few were bought for me by Charlotte when she and a friend went to Russia just before Christmas

My next is the 'Padstow reindeer', fairly obvious where he's from (actually he's from Stein's shop) He sits on the piece of wood covering the gas pipe where one day a fire will be.

This young lady was bought by Charlotte again,this time from the Christmas market in Winchester.She's got a new home this year- on the mantle piece, usually she's on the kitchen windowsill.

The angel chimes go back to when Charlotte was little and she always looks for them when she comes home, unfortunately I've no candles as yet for them, must put them on the shopping list as she's arriving tomorrow for a few days.

This year I bought myself a very appropriate decoration whilst in Lisbon

It's actually hanging in my sewing/crafting room but it photographed better hanging from a cup hook in the kitchen. 

I'm sure you all have tales to tell about your decorations, I certainly have enjoyed reading about Christmas preparations on the blogs I follow. I think my task this weekend is to sit with a good cup of coffee (when the coffee machine is mended) and take stock of where I am and what still needs doing. I did get up at 6-30am today to make mince pies, bread sauce and I now have a large pot of soup bubbling on the stove as maybe I'm getting there. Till the next time, have a great weekend Love Anne xx

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

60 year old lights

Along time ago, 60 years to be precise a young father (he was only 29) went down to the local electrical shop and spent the equivalent of a WHOLE WEEKS wages on a set of Christmas lights. They cost him
£1 10s 6p, that's £1-50 in today's money, and going on to some special money conversion site which takes in to account inflation they equated to about £500, which would be a good week's wage today.
Here is the actual box, just in the yellow bit on the right hand side the price is on.

He bought them to celebrate his daughter's first Christmas and as you'll have guessed that was me! 
Inside the box looked like this

As a child these lights were always on the tree and had to mended several times by my dad who could turn his hand to anything. I remember moving the shades around so the green one had the red bulb in and the blue had a yellow one in - it drove my Mother mad! 
One Christmas, despite all my Father's efforts they just would not work and it was impossible to get any bulbs to fit (no internet to find whatever you want in those days) so the lights were put up in the loft and left there until the Christmas after my Father died when I decided that there must be a away to rescue them.
I took them down to a nearby Homebase where one of their more 'elderly' assistants found me a set of lights which had the same shaped bulbs which the shades would fit on - BRILLIANT. The box was duly wrapped and put under the tree and given to my Mum on Christmas Day, who as you might imagine just burst in to tears. The following year they were back on her tree and for several after. 10 years ago I had a very familiar shaped present for Christmas and on opening it I found the lights. Each year since then they have been put up, not on our tree but on the stair banister where they were admired by many and young children could see the pictures on the shades. 

You might think that that is the happy end to the story but unfortunately not, as last year half the bulbs were out. The saving grace was that the set from Homebase were a 20 set and we only had 11 shades (one had got broken years ago) so we were able to put the shades on all the bulbs that worked and used them like that. I started to look for more bulbs after Christmas last year but didn't get very far so left the search till a few weeks ago. Amazingly I found what I needed and they arrived. Now I had had the lights on and knew exactly which bulbs needed replacing. I did that, switched them on and the total reverse happened. All the bulbs with shades were off and the un-shaded bulbs were on. What had happened there? David, bless him spent a couple of hours trying to sort them out but failed. We tried putting the shades on the lighted bulbs but some wouldn't fit properly - nothing seemed to be working. I was really disappointed but couldn't help thinking that there must be a way to get them going. It was then that I had the idea of trying to fit the shades somehow onto some other lights. By careful wriggling I was able to push two bulbs through the hole in the top of the shades and IT WORKED. Not ideal but it doesn't matter they work and here they are on the banister

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Cornwall in December

What a great time we had down in Cornwall last week-end at the Padstow Christmas festival - even bigger and better than last year. Unfortunately the downside is that it was so busy and at times you really couldn't move.

On Friday night there is a lantern parade with local children following Father Christmas around Padstow carrying their homemade lanterns - nothing like that to get you in the mood for Christmas.

Later they have a firework display over the harbour. We didn't stay for that this year but here is a taste of it from last year.

We had an early start on Saturday as my godson David was helping with one of the cookery demonstrations in the main marque. He works at the Treglos Hotel at Constantine Bay, gradually working up the ladder to very near the top now. Whilst Gavin Hill (Head Chef) demonstrated, David was busy in the background preparing delicious canapes for us to try

(David on the right)

I have suggested that when he is 'up north' for Christmas he might like to come and make some for us with me acting as his sous chef!
It was still quieter when David had finished so easier to look and buy gorgeous goodies

My David was attracted to the brewery stands (no surprise there) which were very generous with their samples, apparently Doombar tastes very good at 10-30am!

We had a walk over the road to the Memorial hall where local crafts people had their stands and I was very pleased to find Coastees. A newish enterprise run by Richard Bond (known as Bondy) and helped by Sarah and little Mabel. Both Sarah and Richard are friends of Charlotte and Angus's and I first met Sarah several years ago when she and Charlotte were working together. I had seen this photo of their mugs on facebook so was so pleased to be able to buy

Photo: *****************************MUG WINNERS*****************************
Apologies for the delay but we had a hectic weekend at the Padstow Christmas festival and I have just caught up with all the printing and orders! 
The new mugs are going down a treat and were the most popular items sold at the festival too.

Thank you all very much for all the shares and likes. 
Randomly picked out are the three winners, as follows

* Sue Smith
* Linda Dakin
* Ralph Stubbs

Well done you three, you have won yourselves a FREE mug each. Please comment, private message, email or telephone in your chosen design from the selection available on the Coastees website.

Thank you ALL once again for the shares and likes.

Don't forget there is still plenty of time to get Christmas orders in!!!

So many mugs of our favourite beaches, but for me it had to be Constantine. I was also given a teatowel as a gift.

Seven Bays Tea towel

Charlotte, David and I moved on from Padstow to Wadebridge and after a successful visit to the large shoe shop there, where I managed to get a pair of  boots (a Christmas present from the girls), we went for a much needed coffee and cake at Tim's Place on Foundry Street. You may remember we visited him  here at Spring Bank.

We finished our afternoon on both Harlyn and of course Constantine beaches

There's no better sunsets than those on Constantine! 
We were out in the evening back in Padstow starting off at BinTwo 

where I had the nicest mug of mulled wine ever

and then it was onto the Basement, the restaurant where Charlotte works, for a VERY delicious meal

Sunday was much more of a lazy day and David and I went down to Watergate Bay where the sun was shinning and the wind was blowing, just what we needed to blow the cobwebs away. The kite surfers were out in large numbers and we spent a long time watching them.

Finally we left to pick Charlotte up and we ended up on Harlyn beach again as I had had an idea for my homemade Christmas cards - a Christmas tree out of slate, decorated with shells and a string of gold beads. 

So here is the final result

What do you think? 

Too soon it was time to come home but with Charlotte and Angus buying their first house I guess it will not be long before we are back.
Now back at home preparations for Christmas are getting under way and I'll share those with you next time so have a lovely weekend and enjoy the sun whilst it lasts.