Monday 31 December 2012

The Last Post

Good evening

Almost a rush to get the last post for 2012 sorted - a small matter of playing with my new camera and getting the photos off it and sorted and turned into a mosaic!

Oh yes a new camera - Father Christmas was very kind and noted my wish list - more on that another day.

As its the end of the month it must be time for a mosaic - not possible in the normal 9 pics - here's a bigger one for December;

Lots of candles, Christmas food, decorations, a bit of snow and a Little Son's festive jumper - what a month!

Even though I've got this new toy, I've not taken too many photos - still getting to grips with things and trying to read the online manual (I hate this - give me a little booklet one every time!). Here's mosaic of the past few days;

Christmas Lunch, a long walk along the river & seawalls at Aldeburgh, another walk at Southwold, MrVV & I braving the elements, mad surfers in the sea and some serious waves - we almost got a soaking!!

I've been sorting pictures for one of those review of the year posts - just trying to narrow it down to my favourite and the best bits!

I suppose all it leaves me to do is to wish you all a very Happy New Year - however you are celebrating tonight, enjoy. I plan to see the new year in with MrVV and a bottle of something bubbly.

Here's to 2013 - I've been adding dates to my new diary and there's some good stuff to look forward to - might just have booked tickets today to go and see our favourite band again very soon! Plus there's MrVV's first festive camping experience to happen in August - can't wait for that!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Sunday 23 December 2012

A Pause in Advent 2012 - No4 (Fun)

Hello again

Just how quickly has this month gone by? Here we are at the last Sunday in Advent and time for one final pause before the main event on Tuesday.

I think we're just about ready here - a bit of veggie prep to do and another batch of mince pies to bake - one more session of carol playing for my brass players and then its time to hang stockings, leave a drink and mince pie out for the bearded fella.

My last pause is all about fun. The boys have had some fun things at school this week. Big Son's 6th form centre hold a charity dress-up day each year. Batches of 16/17/18 year olds forget their usual 'coolness' and dress up in silly costumes and visit 3 local towns to collect money for charity.

Big son along with 2 of his mates were the Thunderbirds - here he is as Brains;

The 6th form raised over £1,000 in about 3 hours which is pretty amazing.

Next it was Little Sons turn - his school were doing the Save the Children Christmas Jumper event - a week later than everyone else but a rather fun thing to do on the last day of term. Quite simple - wear a Christmas jumper - either bought, knitted or made - and pay 50p for the privilege;

Little Son hoped I'd be up for the challenge and between us ( he cut out - I did the sewing);

He jingled rather nicely!

I spent one morning this week in the kitchen - Christmas songs playing and a cloud of flour/icing sugar in the air - time to decorate my Christmas cake and make a batch of mince pies;

Vintage plaster carol singers were just 50p from my favourite little charity shop!

Now this is going to be my last post for a few days so I shall wish all my blog followers, commenter's and friends a very Merry Christmas;

See you soon

xxxx Vicki xxxx

Tuesday 18 December 2012

A bit of festive sparkle

Good afternoon

Hurrah just 3 more school days left - looking forward to 12 alarm clock free mornings starting from Saturday.

Have spent another day working my way through my to-do-before-Christmas-list - nice things such as buy cake ribbon as well as the dreaded hoover the entire house! Another thing on there today was take photos - I made that task the last one so it was a treat to look forward to.

I think we're now finished on the festive decorating though I may still add things if I find anything else on my wanders this week!

 The top of the piano

Something new for this year - this nativity set was greatly reduced in our shop as one of the Kings had been beheaded! Luckily I'm a dab hand with superglue and he's able to join his friends. This set reminded me of the primary school nativity plays the boys used to do - all home made crowns and tea-towel headdresses.

 The hallway - complete with stockings on the banisters and an eight foot tall snowman! Please notice an almost tidy dresser - just the last few cards to deliver sometime this week.

 My collection of Santas & Snowmen - haven't managed to add to them this year - however there's still a week left!!

 One tree with almost every decoration we own on it!

Fireplace with stockings hanging already!

Even the mirror got a tinsel scarf and a Christmas banner.

I'm rather looking forward to tomorrows to-do-list it includes mince pie baking and Christmas cake icing - there's some ironing on there to but not much!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Monday 17 December 2012

Faith, Hope and Festive Charity Shopping Swap

Good evening

Almost in the home straight for next Tuesday - I've a long list divided into daily tasks - if I stick to it, we will have pressies to unwrap, a scrummy dinner to eat and a tidy house to cover in wrapping paper!!

I do love it when you know that a swap parcel has arrived and been well received - an email last week told me that my swap parcel to Marina at Evelyn-May Vintage had arrived safely and I was happy to reply to her the next day saying mine had too.

Now it was dark when I got home to find my parcel had arrived but I so wanted to open it. So not in the best of light here are all my parcels and the gorgeous stocking that some of them were in;

The stocking has joined the rest of my collection and is hanging from the banister and making the hallway look very festive. The chocolate coins had a very limited life!

Inside the parcels were;

 A vintage tea-plate - just big enough to hold my elevenses!!

 A pretty cushion cover, some 70's napkins (that pattern is very familiar - we must have had that on something in my childhood) and a knitted angel.

There was also this gorgeous table cloth covered in the most amazing cross stitch - so, so pretty.

Here's what I sent;

A vintage Christmas book as I knew Marina collected children's books, some thrifted chinese lanterns, some CK smellies, chocolates, a Christmas tealight and handmade reindeer and toadstool house decs.

Thanks as ever for Lakota for organising this swap and to Marina for being a great swap partner :)

We spent part of yesterday turning the VV household into a colourful, slightly kitsch, Christmas explosion decorated house - the tree is up, things are hanging on shelves, windows and pictures (not ceilings - I live with 3 giants). No subtle, tasteful, colour co-ordinated stuff here - its so dark this time of year and we need colour/light to brighten things up.  Anyhow I tried to take pictures today but my big camera struggled and my little camera had a flat battery. I shall try again tomorrow and bore you all senseless with the pictures sometime soon ;)

xxx Vicki xxx

Sunday 16 December 2012

A Pause In Advent 2012 - No 3

I had written another post for this third pause but it now seems wrong to use it this time after hearing the 
news from the US and seeing those news pictures.

Instead for this post - lets pause to remember the 26 innocent lives lost.

xxx Vicki xxx

Tuesday 11 December 2012

A Winters Day in Cambridge

Good evening

I said I was planning a little escape from Suffolk didn't I. Well all went to plan and yesterday I headed by myself to Cambridge to meet a friend of mine. She lives in deepest Cornwall and we don't get to see to much of each other. Her clever daughter was off being interviewed for a Uni place next Autumn and it left us too with time to wander, natter, drink coffee, shop, drink more coffee and more shopping!

The sun was rather low yesterday so the river, bridge and Kings College look rather dark. The river was empty no punters.

Cambridge seemed rather quiet - am guessing lots of students have already gone home on their Christmas breaks and perhaps the shoppers invade at the weekends only? Anyhow, the two of us had a good time - we found some gorgeous little independent shops in the back streets and presents were bought for family & friends. We also found the CK shop in the Market Place - rather hard to miss. We spent ages in there looking. As you know Miss Kidston & I have had a rocky ride this year both craft kits I've bought have turned out to be rather useless. However her Christmas design with the cute Bambi style deer is rather appealing so I bought a couple of things - Christmas cards (I must get these written) and festive tea-towels;

My friend arrived to meet me at the station bearing gifts;

A gorgeous blue & white cornishwear jug and a Ladybird book - lovely additions to two of my collections :)

All to soon it was time to say goodbye and head back on the train to Suffolk.

Fingers crossed if her daughter gets her Uni place then more meet ups can happen next year.

We've got to that point of the year now - lots of things happening and not many days left for them to happen - meaning that some days we've 2 or 3 places to be at the same time. Roll on Friday 21st when the school madness stops and MrVV finishes work.

See you soon - just can't promise when.

xxx Vicki xxx

Oh btw - thank you & welcome to my new followers. I shal endeavour to pop over to read your blogs very soon. I can't at the moment follow any new blogs as blogger says I follow too many ! I shall have a look sometime to tidy up my reading list - maybe unfollowing some blogs which are no longer in use.

Sunday 9 December 2012

A Pause In Advent 2012 - No 2

Hello again

It seems the hanging up of an advent calendar and the eating of chocolate or opening of doors makes the month go past quicker.

The boys have already munched their way through the top row of theirs;

 This weeks pause is about rituals/traditions - things which we do at the same time and the same way each advent/Christmas - am sure many of you are the same.

The first one is the hanging of the advent calendar. Bought when there was only one son from a Christmas charity shop. The pockets use to contain a few sweets and also a few treats and Christmas activities. It was meant to be a stop gap until I made something but that has never happened and now its probably too late. Those boys of mine are growing up fast and now need reminding about their chocolate each day!

The calendar hangs in the same place each year and I like to put it up on November 30th and fill it so its waiting for the next morning.

The other thing that happens at the same time is the first bits of Christmas find their way onto the dresser in the kitchen;

My calendar is stuck on the cupboard door, a candle is put out and lit when I have a few quiet moments to myself. I also gather together some of my Christmas ornaments.

Other things that have to happen are the cooking of a ham joint on Christmas eve so we can have it for dinner that night, always with baked potatoes, red cabbage and pickles.

This gets eaten after we've been to the open air carol service - though last year only 3 of us went - big son opted to stay home and make sure dinner was ready for when we got home!

Oh and for the carol service - a hip flask is filled with sloe gin and  when I meet with my friends and sing carols - we keep warm with the odd nip or two!

What special things do you family do?

xxx Vicki xxx

Friday 7 December 2012

The Christmas Cracker Swap

Good afternoon

I do love it when the postman brings a parcel for me - often just bits I've bought online but sometimes something special and today was one of those days.

I was partnered with Kerry @ Blueberry Heart in the Christmas Cracker Swap. Quite simple - take one kitchen roll tube - wrap it in festive fabric and fill it with lovely pressies for your swap partner.

Here's what I received;

 One cracker wrapped in fabric printed with stripey streamers.

 Inside 8 parcels including a chocolate Santa (he tasted great!!)

 A christmassy scented tea-light, a little pouch of festive pot pourri, 2 christmassy pegs and the most gorgeous little clay decoration with my name on it.

Also some festive stick-ons which will look lovely on some gift tags when I get round to making some and a felt snowman making kits - though this might get used slightly differently as I have a project in mind!

Here's what I sent to Kerry;

A little felt toadstool house decoration, some embroidery scissors, a christmassy tea-light, festive ribbon on a dolly peg, spotty buttons, some CK shower gel and of course chocolate in the shape of coins and christmas puddings. I forgot to take a picture of it all wrapped up in its red & white fabric with spotty ribbon.

Thank you Kerry for being a lovely swap parcel and Tracey for organising this swap. This has been such a lovely one to take part in - a simple idea and I had fun finding things that would fit inside my tube. I have to confess a couple of things wouldn't so an extra little package was attached!

Have a lovely weekend all - more carol playing for my brass players and I need to plan a little trip out of Suffolk for myself next week!!

xxx Vicki xxx

Thursday 6 December 2012

A little blast of wintery stuff

Good evening

Absolutely no doubt this morning that winter had arrived - when I peaked through the curtains it looked like someone had sprinkled the garden with icing sugar - all glittery & white. A sprinkling of snow and a layer of ice - very pretty.

I had to stop on the way to work this morning to post some letters - I thought this view was rather pretty;

I much prefer the cold weather to the wet - much easier to wrap up against the cold - I counted 15 separate items of clothing this morning! I felt rather like the main character in this book the boys used to love;

I took a few photos before I left the house - just a few seconds outside in my pj's was enough!

 Frozen leaves - we've given up in the battle with them.

 A neglected for the winter summerhouse - the spiders are welcome to live there for a while, its too cold to sit out there at the moment.

 An early morning departure - I wondered if they were off somewhere warm?

The sun starting to rise - love the silhouette of the bare branches against the sky.

I wonder what it will be like here tomorrow - the boys would love a snow day but I think that's a bit hopeful.

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Ta-Dah Tuesday - Giant Granny is finished :)

Good morning

Just a quick post - I should be doing something else! However its sunny today and just enough good light for a picture of my giant granny square blanket that I finished this weekend. Oh yes Saturday afternoon rugby is ideal for this - one eye on the tv and another on the project!

53 rounds of trebles and 2 rounds of singles to neaten the edges and its done. Mostly in Stylecraft yarn and apart from the centre & edge all the colours are different. It started as a using up the odd bits project but grew - I now have more leftovers but that's fine as our families special baby due in March wants a colourful blanket!


Its rather lovely to snuggle under on these chilly evenings. It will also come camping in Bertie with us next year I'm sure. We've got our first trip planned already - MrVV & I are off to Folkeast for the weekend together next August - first time I've ever persuaded MrVV to camp at festival!!

Oh if colourful is your thing then have a look here at the blog of a friend of mine - Scarlet-Sometimes - she's a colourful, clever lady who makes the most brilliant things and also renovates old caravans with her partner too.

Right - to the housework!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Sunday 2 December 2012

A Pause in Advent 2012 - No 1


I was reading back on old blog posts the other day - seeing what we'd be up to 12, 24 & 36 months ago - yep I've been blogging for that long! One thing I noticed was the Pause posts and I wondered if this would be happening for a 4th year. As I was wondering, Floss posted -as if like magic!

I've read my old posts and tried to think of 4 themes for 2012 - I make no apology for repeating myself slightly on some themes - I am after all a creature of habit.

My first theme is inspired by a newspaper article I read in the week - Time to ban Christmas presents??

No not those for our nearest and dearest but those for Uncle Tom Cobley & all.

Even within my family we've cut down on our buying rather dramatically over the past few years. Bear in mind I'm one of seven siblings - 6 of us live with partners, 3 of us have children and some have pets too. If we bought for every adult & child, that would mean for me - 14 presents plus those I buy for my parents, MrVV and the boys. Plus of course there's MrVV's family, much smaller but still 4 additional pressies.

Instead we have a Not-So-Secret-Santa between us siblings - one person to buy for instead of 6. We don't buy for the partners only the children. We came to an agreement with MrVV's brother that we just buy for children only - not the adults.

Therefore my Christmas shopping list looks lovely and small - my parents, my SS sibling, 3 nieces, 1 nephew, my MIL and my 2 Grandma's.

Much easier to manage and far less stressful than trying to remember what sizes each of my sisters are or what their taste in music/smellies etc is.

We have a get together as siblings one evening just before Christmas - we have music, food, drink and loud chat and pressies are exchanged and opened. This reminds us all of Christmas when we were small and we'd come downstairs on Christmas morning to open pressies from our aunts & uncles. OMG there were loads - my Dad is from a big family and the look of panic on my Mum's face each December when my Grandad would struggle up the path with 2 or 3 black sacks of pressies - the look - OMG where am I going to put this all? Come December 26th - the bathroom shelf would be groaning with bottle of bubbles and we'd enough soap-on-a-rope to last the next 12 months!! Rather these the pants that didn't fit or a schoolgirls diary for an 18 year old!!

Anyhow back to the main theme - do you really need to exchange boxes of biscuits with the neighbours each year? or buy every adult your child has contact with at school a pressie too?

Its never too late to jump off the over-consumerism bandwagon - perhaps 2012 could be your year??

Oh and if you get something you don't like - please donate to your local charity shop - even if you don't like it, someone else will!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

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