Friday, 30 November 2012

Another month bites the dust!

Good morning

Another month is almost at the end - tomorrow is December the final month of 2012 - I can't believe how quickly this year has gone. So many events have taken place and we are now into the time of year that is littered with events that happen every year - mainly brass / family stuff. I love this sense of familiarity and routine - it suits me down to the ground.

Tomorrow is the Christmas event in our little town - the band will be leading a parade and playing in the town square. It promises to be cold but that's ok - those brass players of mine have thermals and there's a nearby pub where they can warm up when they are not playing!

The weather has changed from wet & windy to cold and crisp - I love this and especially views like this;

Low winter sunshine with clouds that look like snow covered mountains.

I shall be wrapping up warm today and I'm off to Southwold with my MIL - we are going Christmas shopping and probably finding a warm cafe for a coffee & cake.

I'll leave you for today with a mosaic for November;

Baking, late flowering roses, poppy wearing, band parading, Christmas cake making, bare branches, misty mornings, soggy leaves and advent chocolates ready to go into the calendar.

See you Sunday with my first Pause in Advent for 2012.

xxx Vicki xxx

Monday, 26 November 2012

The madness has started!

Good evening

Yep the festive madness has started. Firstly Saturday saw those brass players of mine at their first festive event - Christmas Lights Switch On in Aldeburgh. Oh dear the weather was pretty dire - wet & windy. However most of the band are a hardy bunch and there was an excellent turn out and they played their sets and then retired to the pub!! Therefore we missed Lenny Henry actually doing the switching on bit but I'm told he was lovely!!

Sunday was drier which was handy as I'd a hot date with Little Son. We headed on the train to Ipswich. He has his first proper girlfriend and wanted help choosing Christmas presents for her. There was also a list of other things that are needed both for Christmas and now including trainers for said teenager who is growing far too quickly.

What we didn't realise until the morning was it was the big lights on event there too - luckily we were in and out in a couple of hours before the hordes descended on the Cornhill. This picture from the local paper shows how busy it was after we'd left and also the Christmas tree which is dividing local opinion;

I don't think I need to go into any big town now until after Christmas - any remaining pressies can be bought locally or online :) Rather handy as there are now no spare weekend days left!

I treated myself to two things - firstly this cute gingerbread house which you can light up with a tealight;

Good old Poundland!

and secondly the Pretty Nostalgic book - its normally for sale for £25 but WH Smiths had it on offer for just £12 - an early pressie to me from me!!

Lots of lovely pictures and articles - I've started on the Winter section with pictures of vintage Christmas celebrations and decorations.

I've decided to join in with Floss's Pause In Advent for a 4th year - some might have noticed I accidentally published the draft of my first post yesterday - whoops - its now back in draft form till next weekend.

I hope none of my lovely readers and followers have been too affected by all the awful flooding? 

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Changing of the seasons - the end of the Autumn

Good afternoon

I didn't intend for a bloggy break it just happened - what with family stuff and illness this past week has rather hurried by. Oh yes not only has my stupid gallbladder been playing up, MrVV took another of his wedding vows too seriously and shared his stinking cold with me!! Anyhow cold is improving and gallbladder under control thanks to a extremely low fat diet.

We did get out last Saturday to visit the new huge John Lewis Home store thats opened in Ipswich - oh what a place - full of lovely stuff and friendly staff. Its just a stones throw too from MrVV's office so he'll never have an excuse to miss my birthday/christmas again!! Even the carrier bags are lovely;

This week for me sees the end of Autumn - I always feel that once our family birthdays finish and those brass players of mine start their christmas engagements then winter has arrived. The first engagement is this Saturday - the christmas lights are being switched on in nearby Aldeburgh and the town have been on and on about the big event thats planned - they've got Lenny Henry switching the lights on - am tempted to heckle with some Tiswas style OOOOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!

I took the last lot of Autumn Views Challenge pictures on Sunday - what a difference a week made to one tree - the cherry lost all its leaves overnight;

 All the berries have been eaten from the back hedge - the only green remaining is the Leylandi and some ivy weaving its way through.

 An almost bear silver birch now.

Nothing left on these 3 either - even the oaks in the background are losing their leaves rather quickly now.

An almost bare cherry tree - you can now though see the buds for next season already.

One last thing for today - signs of new life - like last year, I found an abandoned hyacinth in the conservatory with tiny green shoots poking through - its in the house now and hopefully it might flower for christmas;

One advantage of being stuck indoors, I've made great progress on my two swaps and a pressie or two for family / friends too.

Time to go - I best go make myself some lunch and then I think a blog catching up session would be a good idea.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Autumn mornings and lovely parcels

Good evening

What a gorgeous day - it started with a proper autumn morning - misty but with sunshine. As I cycled down the lane this morning I wished I'd brought my sunglasses the low sun was shining into my eyes. Everywhere looked pretty and as I was actually a few minutes early for work, I hopped off my bike to take a few photos;

The tree in the last photos I've nicknamed Squirrel tree - when the weather is warmer there are always squirrels there - I think there's a drey high up in the branches. You can spot the older ones - they leap from tree to tree with no fear. The youngsters are more cautious and I'm amazed in the 10 years we've lived here that one hasn't landed on my head or in the bike basket!

A busy morning at work - Christmas stuff was flying off the shelves as fast as we could find it, price it and put it out! Still looking for items for the CS swap I'm taking part in - something will appear soon - either in our shop or one of the others. I've high hopes the little church shop will have the perfect thing soon. The only downside is my swap partner has very similar tastes to me - I might find something I can't bear to part with!!

When I got home from work there were parcels on the doorstep for me :) A new toy for the kitchen that I shall be testing tomorrow - a slow cooker - I've wanted one of these for ages and we finally decided that we would get plenty of use out of one.

There was also a parcel from a company for a product review - I need to do that tomorrow as there's more time after school and I need those boys of mine to help.

Lastly 2 pretty parcels for me. One a giveaway win from a maker on Facebook - Fairy Shack makes lots of cute things and I was lucky enough to win this Toadstool house in a recent giveaway;

Also in the parcel was this little fairy kiss - so sweet;

The other parcel was a little present from me for me - a purchase from the rather talented Fi @ Chipper Nelly - I've loved her blocks for a long time and decided that I needed one of her Christmas ones - the little gingerbread houses are just so cute;

Is anyone else watching the new Kirsty series on C4? I'm not sure so far about it - was hoping it might be less twee? The 60's styling last time wasn't me sort of thing - I'm hoping the 50's stuff tonight will be more colourful.

Thank you for your good wishes on the last post - I am feeling better but I'm awaiting an appointment to have an ultersound scan - it would seem my gall-bladder isn't happy and might need removing!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Sunday, 11 November 2012

One weekend in the VV household

Good evening

No Downton Abbey this weekend and I'm lost!

Time for a quick blog about our weekend.

Of course it included this;

Thank you to everyone who bought poppies - I was able to add £28 to the Poppy Collection :)

 Christmas Cake prep - just love the smell

 The fruit soon soaked up all the fruit juice & brandy.

 Watching rugby whilst crocheting and drinking cranberry juice - I've not been well this weekend - I think a trip to the Docs is in order tomorrow :(

 The devastation in the kitchen once the cake had been mixed - whilst there was a mess I thought I'd strain the Hedgerow Gin too - almost a litre of the stuff - I've hidden it till Christmas Eve.

Part of the band on the march back from Church this morning. The veterans were pleased that the youngest cornet players played the last post. They are always pleased to see the young members of our band on parade.

As it was sunny today, it was perfect for the 8th week of Autumn Views photos;

 The blackbird enjoyed a quick splash just after I'd taken this picture.

 The leaves on the birch that remain are all a lovely golden colour.

 These 3 trees have almost lost all their leaves now.

 The cherry leaves have all changed colour now too and are falling off rather too quickly.

I hope whatever you did this weekend you had a good one? I've had a quick scan of blogland and seen many pictures from parades today.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Friday, 9 November 2012

Pretty Nostalgic v The Simple Things

Good afternoon

Brrrr its gone chilly here - just in time for the weekend to start :( It starts here about 3.30 on a Friday when the boys arrive home from school. Once the house is fuller I might sneak the heating on for an hour until then its cardi & scarf time - clashing patterns are the thing today!

Anyhow - Pretty Nostalgic v The Simple Things - 2 relatively new magazines that have been mentioned many times in blogland and also in my other home of Instagram.

I've bought several issues of each now and now its time to decide - which one is best.

Simple Things comes from the same publishing team as Molliemakes. The first two issues I enjoyed and was excited to see No3 in the shops. However like MM the quality varies and this issue is not great. Rather too many ads and rather commercial :(

Pretty Nostalgic is independently published and has a much more cosy feeling to it. Its published bi-monthly so its £8 cover price makes its actually cheaper than the monthly published Simple Things and there's a wonderful subscription offer on at the moments where you can save 25% - I've just done this.

It is the sort of magazine that you'd want to keep and refer back to for a long time. It feels almost wrong calling it a magazine as the quality is more that of a book. The articles are lovely and there's lots of emphasis on handmade by British makers rather than the imported from the far-east-even-though-its-pretending-to-be-handmade that other magazines seem to feature rather a lot of - I can't name that maker as I don't want to be sued!

Anyhow off my magazine soapbox - just a note to say - there is no sponsorship involved in this post - just my opinion. Have you read either of these two mags - if so what do you think??

Oh and just to prove it - one quick final picture;

Have a lovely weekend what ever you are planning - here it includes Christmas cake baking, rugby watching, crochet, Strictly Come Dancing, Remembrance Parade and a roast dinner to finish it all off.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Ideal Home Show at Christmas - Christmas Cake Decorator Competition

Good afternoon

Just a short post today. I received an email earlier in the week from PR company inviting me for a day out at the Ideal Home Show at Christmas next week at Earls Court in London (14th - 18th November). Sadly I'm unable to go but I thought other might be interested in knowing about this event - especially part of it.

Basically take along your decorated Christmas Cake on Thursday 15th November by 2pm and you and a friend will get free entry to the show that day! All the details are here and there's other information about the show too. This a sister show to the long running Spring Ideal Home Show and this is its 2nd year. 

I wish I was able to go - I get rather excited about Christmas and as hard as I try that excitement starts before the beginning of December - its done well this year only to start early November!!

I've found my Christmas Cake recipe and have added all the bits I need to this weeks shopping list - tradition dictates that the VV household cake gets made on Remembrance Sunday as normally I have a quiet house with 2 of the menfolk out all day. This gives me time to get the cake made and baked. Here's last years effort;

Once this weekends parade is out of the way those brass playing men of mine know the carol book will be out - though most of the band know the notes by heart! I've been given a list of festive engagements and note the first one is actually the end of this month!!

Just scary how quickly 2012 is going past!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Monday, 5 November 2012

Gingerbread Men, Raindrops & Autumn Views

Good morning

What a difference 24 hours makes - yesterday it was dark, damp and raining for most of the day - this morning the sky is clear and the garden bathed in autumny sunshine. I am being brave and planning on hanging washing outside!

The weekend started well with a Friday afternoon baking session;

I found a fab and simple recipe on the BBC website - we shall definitely be having these again - they've proved very popular over the weekend.

Saturday wasn't a great day - plans for a family day out in Norwich or Cambridge were scuppered when Little Son woke with a migraine :( Rather that all of us stay at home, Big Son & I caught the train to Ipswich and left MrVV to nursemaid duties. Big Son wanted to start his Christmas shopping as well as buy a present for a friends forthcoming birthday. We had a lovely time together wandering round the shops and having lunch. I might have started my Christmas shopping too!

As I said I woke Sunday morning to the sound of rain on the bedroom window - one peak outside made me decide it was an indoors sort of day. Chores were done in the morning and part of the afternoon was spent watching the Grand Prix and crocheting. My Giant Granny blanket is coming on rather well - just 2 more colours and then I think its finished;

It was rather lovely sitting under that yesterday whilst adding a couple more rounds.

As its sunny this morning, I thought I'd go into the garden and take this weeks Autumn Views Challenge pictures;

 The back hedge is slowly being stripped of its berries - at least we are left with a wall of green over the winter.

 The birch is losing leaves quickly now - MrVV spent ages Saturday raking them up so he could give the grass a final cut for this year.
 The trees in the front garden at almost bare now - again MrVV got the task of raking on Saturday!

I love the cherry tree at this time of year - the leaves are the most gorgeous fiery colours.

One thing I did notice when I took the first picture - the rose on the summer house is still producing new buds and flowers;

Lastly for today - one picture that sums up Sunday nights in the VV household rather well;

Waiting for Downton Abbey (such a shame it was the last episode last night) - armed with glass of wine, wearing fluffy socks and covered by a blanket - utterly blissful.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Last bits of October news even if it is November!

Hello again :)

 I know 3 posts in 3 days, scary! Rest assured I can't keep this momentum up - just sometimes there are so many things I want to share with you.

Lets just get October finished with, firstly a mosaic for October;

The first toadstools, boot wearing time, dragonflies & spiderwebs, fairy houses, Halloween, crisp skies & fiery leaves, an icy storm and comfort food - I think that sums up October rather well doesn't it.

Last nights S&B session included Happy Birthday to a friend who claims to be 50 but actually looks a good 10 years younger. As a group we made her a wall hanging - all producing a square - here's mine;

And then individual pressies too;

A snugly infinity scarf in the perfect green for her.

I practised this at the weekend with one for me;

Very warm and snugly and unlike normal scarves they don't unwrap themselves or have ends that dangle annoyingly.

I think these three makes shall be my monthly makes for October - whilst I've been hooking away on two blankets as well I've yet to finish them - hoping at least one will be finished during November.

BTW - Little Son had a fab time yesterday - pumpkin carving, baking Halloween cakes and then an evening of trick or treating. He came home with a huge bag of sweets - should last him for weeks!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx