Thursday 30 December 2010

Thank you Secret Santa & Christmas Part 1


How is everyone? How was Christmas?

Can't believe I've not blogged for over a week - not like me at all.

Thanks for all the comments on the little knitted bears in the last post. Their new owners loved them. I managed to finish a couple for my boys too - even big son was impressed with his - it now sits on his computer.

Its been ok here - different because the family dynamic has changed this year. I missed my Grandad wanting to take apart stuff to see how it worked. Was also strange not seeing FIL wearing his party hat all day - though we are told he did this in the nursing home and there's a photo somewhere to prove it :) Good news on that front he really is coming home on Tuesday so that will be an excellent start to 2011.

I must say a big thank you to my secret santa and to Rebecca & Lynda for organising it. Its been great to take part again this year. Want to see what I got??

I think I showed you this one before but its in the photo folder so is coming out again!!

Inside the parcels were;

4 big sheets of soft and colourful felt, a santa for my tree and a gorgeous little pot with a cross stitch top.

A tealight holder printed with snowflakes - very pretty and its been used loads over the past few days.

Two pretty and very festive teddies that have been adorning my tree.

An address book - perfect as the one I've been using is falling apart and has more crossings out in it that actual usable addresses!!

I do know who my Santa was as she put her name inside my card - so a big thank you to Wendy :)

Now I can't remember if we were having a big reveal at some point? I know my ''victim'' got her parcel and she's written a lovely post about. So the big question shall I leave her to guess a while longer or put her out of her misery?? Was it you I wonder????

Christmas day passed in a whirl of cooking, eating, pressie un-wrapping and a tad more eating - there are photos but they are on my camera still so I'll share those next time.

Boxing Day saw us going to my parents - their house is quite small so they divided the family into 2 - those without children went Christmas evening and those with went for tea on Boxing Day. It did mean Boxing Day their house was full to bursting and it was survival of the fittest to get a chair!!

We've also been to visit my FIL and as we guessed all the old ladies in the home wanted to adopt little son - apparently he's cute!! This comes as a surprise as he's busy practising for being a teenager is few weeks and has had a good dose of hormones!!

The boys both had loads of Christmas money burning holes in their wallets so we made a trip to the big electrical stores so an enormous tv and ipod touch could be bought - both gadgets are happily up and running and their new owners are thrilled with them.

We headed back into Ipswich again another day so we could hit the high street - there were sales aplenty and MrVV & I now have some smarter new clothes and new boots each too. Mine are utterly gorgeous and his are practical!! Here are mine - very comfy;

In between all of this I've managed to be ill - had a stinking cold for 24 hours and the only cure was to take to my bed. Think yesterday I slept 20 out of 24 hours!! Much better today thank goodness.

Right I best go - I've managed to confuse my ipod and MrVV is trying hard to make it work again for me - so the least I can do is make him a cuppa!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Tuesday 21 December 2010

More tiddly teddies & festive stuff

Good evening

Its oh so quiet here - all 3 men are watching/dozing in front of the first 'festive' Top Gear so I've a whole hour to myself. I should be finishing more tiddly teddies which are a silly pressie for the boys stockings but instead I'm having a wander around blogland. I did manage to finish the four I needed to go onto family pressies which have been delivered;

Last nights sisters get-together was great fun - very silly, lots to drink and loads of lovely pressies exchanged and opened!! I was thoroughly spoilt and shall share some pictures with you sometime over the holidays.

Big son went off on a 24 hour christmas Explorer Scout get-together. They prepared and cooked a massive 4 course dinner, had a party with lots of silly games and then slept over and had a big breakfast before arriving home here late morning. Am hoping to see some photos soon - want to see him with the entire troop balanced on his lap during what sounded like a riotous game of musical chairs!!

Over the weekend we finally put up our christmas decorations. We opted this year for our smaller tree which meant there were rather more decorations than branches - lots were left off (just baubles that are normally used as fillers) - we made sure that every handmade and special decoration found a space - the whole effect is unco-ordinated, colourful and very Vicki :)

I left the little son to decorate the staircase - he went mad with tinsel and my collection of stockings;

I've noticed that my hall dresser has taken on a patriotic theme;

As its now the school holidays it means that afternoon mugs of hot chocolate, have turned into mugs of snowman soup! Hot chocolate, squirty cream, chocolate chips, marshmallows - all stirred with a candy cane!!

I think that this will be my last post until after christmas - I really do have rather a lot to do over the next few days. So I shall wish all of my lovely blogging friends and followers .................

A Very Merry Christmas

I hope Santa brings you all something wonderful and you have a great time whatever you are doing :)

Oh sort of good news - my FIL is out of hospital and is now in a nursing home for a few weeks. He's much happier now he's there and hopefully will soon be well enough to come home properly.

xxx Vicki xxx

Monday 20 December 2010

4th & Final Pause in Advent for 2010

Good morning

Just a quick post - a final pause in Advent. Can't believe there's just 5 days left. I am sticking to my keep calm and don't panic mind set but there's the occasional - panic & freak out thought rushing through my mind too!!

There is no theme to today's post - except maybe a loose festive one and one of family (my favourite theme).

We have escaped the heavy snow that everyone else seems to have had but it is still bitterly cold here. It was the same yesterday when we made our annual trip to Snape Maltings to watch Father Christmas arrive by barge. Looking back my final pause last year was about this event!! Guess I am really a creature of habit. However there were differences from last year - no snow, no big son (he was still in bed!!) and little son was not watching the band play but playing with it :)

Like father - like son
One very happy small boy - he's now the shortest member of the band and absolutely loves being out with them. He's got two more carol playing sessions this week and then he can put his hat & tunic away for several months till they start playing out again in the spring.

Here's the man of the moment arriving on a barge along the river - he was very vocal yesterday - was wondering whether he's got a part in a panto somewhere ;)

Right today's a manic Monday, hospital appointment, present wrapping and then a sisters get together tonight to exchange not-so-secret-santa pressies and have a glass or 2 of something!!

Keep warm & calm ;)

xxx Vicki xxx

Friday 17 December 2010

Little tiny bears and the kindness of ''strangers''

Good evening from frozen Suffolk

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr its gone very cold again :( Don't think its been above freezing all day here - even a little wander down the lane to the postbox required lots of layers and careful treading. Everywhere was frozen solid and yours truly needed ended up on her well padded rear end several times!!

Little son remained at home again today - is feeling much better but we decided that he'd be better off in the warm rather than risk getting to school and then feeling ill and having to return home.

The presents never got wrapped today instead I've been knitting - I saw these cute little bears on Wispo's blog and I fell in love. Unfortunately I didn't win her giveaway but she did post the link to the pattern on this blog. I had a look and decided that I'd give it ago.

This is my first attempt and its turned out ok - I've now sussed how to make the top of the head neater and the 3rd one will be perfect!!! I think I might use these as tags on my little nieces & nephews pressies.

It seems after a slow spell the post is moving again and today I've been very lucky - 3 parcels/envelopes for me all containing lovely things - pressies from ''strangers'' - other bloggers I've never met but who have pulled my name out of a hat or just kindly thought of me and sent me something lovely and festive;
This was a giveaway on a forum from this lovely and very clever lady. Thank you so much it will become a very treasured part of my christmas collection :)
A gorgeous vintage inspired card and one of those so very Cath felt doggies from the lovely Kandipandi. I wasn't lucky enough to win her giveaway but she had a spare one and kindly sent it too me.

A total surprise - a pretty hand made card & little felt holly heart from Pene (and Daisy). Again thank you very much - its been a pleasure opening post today - so many treats :)

Really looking forward to putting our tree up tomorrow - so many lovely handmade things to put on there this year :)

Right I'd best go and finish another bear and then wait for MrVV to arrive home. Typical as there's bad weather he's been out driving today and is running a couple of hours late :(

Wrap up warm and keep cozy

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday 16 December 2010

9 days to go!!

Good evening

And no I'm not in a panic. Taking my own advice - after all its only one day!! Thanks for all the comments on my last Pause post :)

Its been a busy week - so many things crammed into the final week of term - christmas dinners, brass engagements galore and rather a lot of late nights.  Well its taken it toll on the (currently) shortest member of the household :( Little son dozed off whilst watching the end of the brass concert last night and when he woke it was obvious that the lurgy had struck. Hence one small boy spending today on the sofa, snuggled under blankets with a sock monkey for company!!

Looks like he might miss the last day of term - something he's not happy about but I don't think he'd last the day without curling up asleep in a corner somewhere.

I've said before that MrVV mostly works from home and today that was handy. I was able to leave him in charge of the patient and head off out. I was keen to watch my little nephew in his school nativity play.  It was for the whole key stage - about 75 children and everyone has a part however small. O was a star and in my opinion the cutest one ever (that's him under the mistletoe);

I've managed to add to my christmas decoration collection this week too - I was passing my favourite charity shop the other day when I noticed in the window something I've been looking for - bottle brush christmas trees - 2 of - for just 20p each!!

Hopefully by the end of the weekend, they won't feel so lonely as the rest of the decorations and the tree will be up. After this morning I am feeling festive :) Plus the postie has been this week with a Secret Santa parcel for me - I had a poke and prod and then just opened the outer layers;

Lots of shiny parcels, a card, chocolate coins and candy canes - thank you Santa - its all been hidden away till the 25th - well except the coins *blush*

See you on Sunday for a final Pause in Advent.

xxx Vicki xxx

Sunday 12 December 2010

3rd Pause in Advent 2010 - Simplicity


Blimey we're now halfway through advent - it does seem to go quicker and quicker each year. How are your Christmas preparations going? Cards written & posted, turkey ordered, tree up, presents bought/wrapped/delivered, sprouts on to boil???

Just seeing that sort of list can drive a person crazy. What about all the TV adverts, the Christmas magazines and of course the God & Goddess of Perfect Christmas's, dear Kirsty & Phil? Did they whip you all up into an orgy of spending, making and general perfection??


Just think...

Is it all worth it for just one day?? Does it matter that you've bought your mince pies & just tarted them up rather than spent hours making them using a special recipe and 57 different ingredients. Will your children care if you've spent hours wrapping their presents in hand printed paper?

Remember the Christmas episode of the Good Life? Where Margot sends the tree back coz its a few inches short. They then wake up Christmas day with no provisions or decorations. Poor Gerry gets 'chicken pox' because they can't admit this to their 'friends'. They instead go and spend the day with their truest friends and neighbours Tom & Barbara and join in with their homemade Christmas and have far more fun than they'd ever do if everything had been 'perfect'.

Just remember this in the next week or so - when you are having a total melt down or queueing in the supermarket - perfection is stressful - simplicity is fun. After all what will your family remember of the day - the specially sourced sprouts from the same farm that the Royals buy from or the fun you had telling silly cracker jokes and just having a good time??

Sorry I didn't want to sound 'preachy' - I guess Kirsty & Phil wound me up this week. I mean just how many of us have their budget??

And breathe!!

Just think in 2 weeks time it will all be over - a pile of paper/cardboard to recycle & enough cold turkey to see you through till mid Jan ;)

xxx Vicki xxx

Friday 10 December 2010

Almost stitched up!!

Good afternoon

According to the forecast its supposed to be warmer here today - my bones don't agree and I'm writing this post in between mugs of tea and dashes around the house trying to get some little jobs finished and too keep warm.

Its been a heck of a week - my 'dear' husband had to go delivering this week and his route took up the country via the Lakes and over the border into Scotland. As everyone knows and of course so many have seen, the weather up there has been awful. He was very lucky - apart from a few delays he managed to complete all his drops over the three days and get home just 1/2 an hour later than he expected last night!! I didn't let on whilst he was away but I was so worried that he'd get stuck or have an accident - quite glad to have him home again.

I've been trying hard this week to get some festive preparations sorted and have so far managed to cross some essentials from my list - I've been to the butchers to order something for Christmas Lunch and finally written my christmas cards and also hunted out pressies which have been bought & made to make sure I hadn't forgotten anyone!! Oh and I finished little sons wrist warmers - am so glad its been dull otherwise I might have had to wear sunglasses to knit these!!

He loves them and now wants a scarf to match - least they'll never get lost or stolen!!

When I sorted out the pressies I was pleased to see how many I'd managed to make - mainly for the females in my family;

For my not-so-secret-sibling-santa-swap

For my Mum

For one niece

This is for my youngest niece - she's getting a mini sewing machine from Father Christmas so I've made her a starter kit (based loosely on a giveaway win I had earlier this year from Lissylou). A thrifted jar filled with ribbons, cotton, a patchwork pin cushion, buttons, pins and 3 pretty FQs.

Even for my oldest niece who is far more interested in gadgets, I've managed to find something on her list that I wanted to buy - a beginners knitting book :)

Right my hands are getting cold - time to find another job to warm them up.

Quite a busy weekend ahead - brass engagements, a christmas party and then on Sunday the menfolk are helping MIL move house. My role in that is providing meals!!

See you Sunday for a 3rd Pause in Advent.

xxx Vicki xxx

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Brass bands & winter warmers

Good afternoon

Still cold here in Suffolk today with the added treat this morning of sleet & hail when I was trying to do my jobs in town and cycle to see my Grandma. Not planning on leaving the house now until tomorrow - am wrapped up well and have been keeping warm whilst being busy in the kitchen.

When I was out this morning, I popped into a couple of the charity shops and of course I didn't leave empty handed. This little bunch of wooden soldiers reminded me of MrVV & Little son's band;

Here's 2 of my menfolk on Sunday. They played in Framlingham for the Christmas Charity Market - for Little Son this was the first time he'd played out with the big band. His junior band were supposed to play elsewhere but that got cancelled due to the weather. Instead it was suggested as he's been practising hard he'd like to come along & play with the other more experienced players. He had a great time and has now arranged to play for a few other engagements with them over the next few weeks.

Now I hadn't been to Framlingham for years so in order to keep warm and amuse myself for a while, I took a wander around the town and also over to the castle;

I've been knitting like a woman possessed these past couple of days, I've finished my wrist warmers and made a start on 2 more pairs. A pair the same as mine for a sister and another pair for little son.

He kindly modelled mine for me this morning before school. The Sirdar Crofter yarn knits up in a random 'fairisle' style pattern - hence they don't quite match and I rather like that.

In return I went and bought the yarn for his - I asked what colour he wanted thinking he might say a sensible colour but then this is little son we're talking about - his request was bright orange - do you think this is bright enough??
Right time to go back into the warmth of the kitchen - I need to make some cookies for the boys for after school. Big son has had 2 mock GCSE exams today so I think he needs spoiling.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

BTW - thank you for all the comments on my header - its definately one of my favourite pics of 2010 :)

Sunday 5 December 2010

2nd Pause in Advent - 2010


Welcome to my 2nd pause in Advent for 2010.

My theme this week is Thinking.

I wrote a post last advent about how I was thinking about a young friend who was very ill in hospital. Well there was good news - he was well enough to come home for Christmas Day and permanently in the new year. He has had a much better 2010 and has been able to attend school for most of the year.

At the moment I am thinking lots about my FIL who is unwell and in hospital. At the moment we are hoping he will be able to come home for christmas. He is unable to move back to his current home so over the next few weeks we shall be helping MIL move 40 years of life from one large house into a smaller more manageable bungalow not too far from us.

Lastly for this post, just one pause to remember all those who won't be with us this christmas.

xxx Vicki xxx

Saturday 4 December 2010

What a difference a day makes

Good evening

Just a quick post tonight.  When I started writing my blog I decided that I'd try hard to keep it as a diary of family life and events that happen during our year. Sometimes it means that almost every blogger is writing very similar posts - basically what I'm saying is - 'here's more snow pics!!'

This was our rather scruffy patio yesterday morning - much improved by a layer of snow - sort of reminded me of a gorgeous natural patchwork. Of course with snow comes icicles - I love these and get very excited when I find any formed on the house!!

The boys enjoyed their day off school - many snowballs were thrown and our drive & lane were so frozen there was some very kamikaze sledging going on - good job there was no cars about!!

Last night MrVV & I went off to a christmas party - a meal out with an Abba tribute act as the evening entertainment. Just wish I'd taken my camera. It was a wonderful evening - the highlight of for me was the sight of our very sensible training band-master up on stage singing along with the 2 girls and another poor male dragged from the audience!  A great evening and very very late night.

When we woke this morning and peeked out of the hotel room window we were shocked to discover that sometime after our 2am snowball fight a thaw had occurred!!

Today has been rather quiet - I've not really done much. However I have made good progress on some wrist warmers for myself, having finally had the patience to get the ribbing for the cuffs right!!

Right off now - time for SCD. I wonder what delights Ann & Anton have in store for us tonight? Will they stay or will they go??

See you tomorrow

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday 2 December 2010

My babies were up to their waists in snow!!!


Oh yes that white stuff has been falling here today - not enough to close the boys schools - though their little cousins in the primary school did get a snow day today.

Since lunchtime its been coming down more & more and now we've about 3 inches of the stuff and the sky is laden with more for later.

The school websites are being checked and they are hopeful for a day off tomorrow.

Anyhow - my snowy babies;

I won these little lads & lasses on Tuesday night in a draw!! Very tasty they are too - the big question - heads or feet first????

I braved the back garden this afternoon - mainly to feed my feathered friends and to rescue my radio from the now abandoned till springtime summer house!!

I hid in the summerhouse for a while hoping to get some pics of all the feathered visitors - they seemed to sense I was about and after a cold ten minutes I gave up and came indoors again.

Almost as soon as I was indoors a flock of seagulls (no not the 80's band) came and devoured the bread crusts I'd put out. Then the robin came and raided the feeders - just wish I could get a photo of him - he'd make a lovely christmas card picture.

Just before the boys arrived home it started snowing heavily so of course I had to take a picture;

Please keep your fingers crossed that they get the day off tomorrow - as even at almost 15 & 13 they are no too old for snowball fights, making snow angels and building a snowman or 2 ;)

Keep warm and snuggle under lots of blankets & quilts.

Till next time

xxx Vicki xxx

Their snow dance worked - school is cancelled tomorrow - hurrah :)

Monday 29 November 2010


Good evening

Guess what? Its been another cold day here. We've had snow on & off all day - enough to cause panic buying in the local Co-op and for the boys to enjoy snowball fights with their friends at school today.

This was the view that greeted me this morning when I unburied myself from the duvet & blankets;

I still managed to cycle into town today - carefully & even more slowly than normal but I did it. I needed to do a post run and also collect some vital supplies from the supermarket - can't have snow without hot chocolate and marshmallows ;)

Just as I was leaving the postie handed me large, flat parcel - I knew what it was - my handmade Christmas decoration swap parcel from Pene

Lucky me - look what she made & sent;

Its gorgeous - when she said in an email about the shape of the parcel I kind of hoped that it might be a wreath of some sort and it was and I love it. Thank you Pene very much and also to Betty @ MrsYappy Dog for organising this swap. My parcel to Pene went on its way on Friday so hopefully her postie will soon be knocking at the door.

Whilst browsing my ever growing list of blogs this afternoon, I spotted a lovely giveaway over @ Hapi-ness - lots of crafty things as prizes :)

I wonder what the weather will be like for us tomorrow - the boys are hoping for a day off school.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx