Merry New Year

Happy New Year if I haven’t said it already. Yes, that just about sums it up. I want you all to have a year that is both new and happy 🙂 and just like last year, that’s what I hope for myself too.

Christmas has come and gone and was as good as we hoped. The week leading up to Christmas saw both Ben and I (ok mainly Ben) up to our eyes in flat pack instructions and Allen keys. We bought Oscar a KidKraft Kitchen as his main present, which took two full evenings to assemble and my mum gave him a book case that took at least an hour of Christmas Eve. But it was all appreciated by the little guy, who loves his kitchen (he’s taken to microwaving Thomas the Tank Engine poor old chap) and being able to access his books easily.

Flat pack to the max! But how gorgeous is this KidKraft play kitchen? It's nicer than my actual kitchen!

Flat pack to the max! But how gorgeous is this KidKraft play kitchen? It’s nicer than my actual kitchen!

As we weren't visiting family over Christmas, they'd all managed to get the boys presents to us before hand. What a very lucky young man!

As we weren’t visiting family over Christmas, they’d all managed to get the boys presents to us before hand. What a very lucky young man!

As, we did the year before, we went out for lunch on Christmas Day. Unfortunately it wasn’t the roaring success it was in 2013, which was a real shame. Our booking was for 2.30pm but we didn’t get our main course until 5pm! Thankfully Oscar was an absolute trooper and sat, in a high chair, for nigh on three hours without any real complaining. I was so proud of him. However it has made me think next Christmas I want more control over said dinner, as I can’t guarantee he’d cope so well every year. Short of moving house or building a giant extension in the next twelve months, the issue of not having anywhere to sit to eat at home will remain, so a bit more lateral thinking may be required. Hmmm, watch this space!

Clever mama keeping some gifts back to entertain the boy at the table. If I do say so myself ;)

Clever mama keeping some gifts back to entertain the boy at the table. If I do say so myself 😉

Boxing Day was really the triumph of the holiday. We literally did nothing and it was superb. We stayed in our Christmas jammas all day, watched TV, played with our toys (if you follow me on social media you may have heard I got an iPad for Christmas. Oh, you didn’t hear? Well I GOT AN IPAD FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!!) and ate enough cheese and chocolate to put us into a lactose induced coma. It was bliss.

Pyjamas and playing. Superb.

Pyjamas and playing. Superb.

All in all it was a lovely festive break. Ben was at home for nigh on two weeks, which the boy took full advantage of. Daddy’s such a softie compared to mama and many a time the boy simply took Ben by the hand and dragged him upstairs to play in the bedrooms. We also took advantage of Ben being home more to transition the boy from a cot to a bed. I know at 2 years 9 months we’re pretty late to this particular party, but I wanted to make sure Oscar was really really ready for it and besides he’d never manage to climb out of the cot so why change it 😉 . We had to slightly rearrange home room to fit in the new bookcase so took the opportunity to remove the cot bars, just from one side to begin with. We left him in his grobag for the first few nights, but he coped so well we decided to buy him a single duvet (turning it sideways and tucking it right under the mattress) and proper pillow. I still can’t get over how easily he’s taken to it. It didn’t upset him in the slightest and he’s slept brilliantly. What a star!

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Reading bedtime stories in his big boy bed

New Year was as uneventful as the year before, but I know we weren’t the only ones staying in. That’s what having small children does for you I suppose. I cooked steaks and we drank prosecco at midnight. Gone are the days of me running in to the street at midnight, shouting my drunken head off. At least for now!

So a New Year, what does it hold? I remember being so thoroughly pumped for 2014, more excited than I’ve ever been. 2015 has me feeling more cautious. I can feel this is going to be a year of big changes (I don’t know why I feel this I just do!) I feel a need for things to happen. Does that make sense. Less excited more purposeful. Older? Wiser perhaps. I want to feel I’m doing the best by everyone. I also want to enjoy life, learn and grow. Not much then 😉

I hope you had the Christmas you wanted for yourself and your loved ones and 2015 is everything it can and will be.

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

 

Blogger Gift Swap Haul

So you may remember back in November I mentioned that I was taking part in a Blogger gift swap, a kind of Secret Santa for people who do what I do run by Viola over at apieceofviola.wordpress.com.

I was so excited when I found out my swap pairing was the lovely Charlene over at charlenejess.wordpress.com. Turns out she is a book reviewer, so my first thought was to get her a book. However the more I read of her blog the more I figured she would get books no matter what. Charlene is a single mum, with very little family and mentioned in a blog post that she doesn’t receive many presents, so I decided to get her something she probably wouldn’t get for herself, something a bit fun. And when she told me she liked Marvel and the colour purple, well, I think I found a great present to send her. I do hope she liked it and I can’t wait to read her post about it.

I received my gifts from her a few days before Christmas. I was thrilled to have received several little gifts – I love the opening as much as what’s inside and I couldn’t wait to put them in my stocking on Christmas Eve.

My Blogger Swap gifts on Christmas Eve

My Blogger Swap gifts on Christmas Eve

Charlene told me her 8 year old son had wrapped and labeled them for me. What a dude! Thank you Lynx, you did a stunning job!

So I wasn’t sure what kind of things I get. I mean I’d never met Charlene and it was difficult to know what she’d think of me, just from what she’d read. It’s so difficult to know what kind of persona you put out there on social media, but turns out I put out exactly who I am! I loved the gifts and would have chosen them all!

Excited face!

Excited face!

 

What a haul - thank you so much Charlene!

What a haul – thank you so much Charlene!

Ombré nail varnish set. I haven't tried the ombré effect yet, but I have worn the mink colour. I love it!

Ombré nail varnish set. I haven’t tried the ombré effect yet, but I have worn the mink colour. I love it!

A neutral eye palette. I love neutral shadows and this pallets has a real great choice of shades. And a fab mirror!

A neutral eye palette. I love neutral shadows and this palette has a really great choice of shades. And a fab mirror!

A personal organiser/notebook. I've wanted a new notebook for ages and spiral bound are my absolute fave! Aren't the colours cute?

A personal organiser/notebook. I’ve wanted a new notebook for ages and spiral bound ones are my absolute fave! Aren’t the colours cute?

I can never find a pen when I want one. This one can live in the spirals of new new notebook and it matches the design too! Love it.

I can never find a pen when I want one. This one can live in the spirals of new new notebook and it matches the design too! Love it.

And more matching! Such a cute stationery set!

And more matching! Such a cute stationery set!

It was such a great set of gifts, that I’m loving using already. Thank you so much Charlene. I hope you liked your gift as much.

I’d also like to say a massive thank you to Viola for setting this  gift swap up and running it so beautifully.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers.

 

Christmas Wreath Workshop

Ok, ok I know, this is waaaaay too late. I promised and I promised I’d get this out, but hey it’s been Christmas. Good will to all men n’est pas? Well men or bloggers who’ve been a bit slack 😉 Either way bare with me!

So about a month or so ago, I saw a question pop up in my newsfeed (Facebook, Twitter somewhere like that) asking whether anyone would be interested in a Christmas Wreath making workshop if Dylan’s Ice Cream held one. Ok two things; one I’ve wanted to learn to make my own Christmas wreath for years (I’m not great at following written instructions so was baffled by the tutorials I’d seen in books and online) and two, it was being held at our local ice cream cafe. Yes it’s December, yes when they opened everyone said they’d be lucky to make it past September, but boy oh boy do we love Dylan’s Ice Cream. So really it was a no brainer. Despite having no one to go with I signed up as soon as they confirmed they were going ahead with them.

I was welcomed by Ben, the owner proprietor, when I arrived. He asked if I’d like a mulled wine. Only I wasn’t expecting the beaker full of warming deliciousness I was handed. I didn’t mean to be feeling quite so full of Christmas cheer before we got started but there you go. I’m sure it helped the creativity to flow!

The biggest mulled wine I've ever had. And so nice I had two!

The biggest mulled wine I’ve ever had. And so nice I had two!

The chap leading the workshop was Peter Clarke of local company Cracking Gardens. Peter has been a gardener for most of his career and when he told us he used to work as Head Gardener for various National Trust properties and made wreaths for the doors of stately homes, well I knew we were in good hands. He started by explaining the different wreath bases available. The foam oasis, the metal ring and the branch ring made for something bendy, like Hazel. Peter likes all three but for us he’d decided metal rings were the way ahead.

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We started by filling our rings with moss and bracken, securing it with florists wire. Then began the most enjoyable process of attaching foliage, in small ‘bouquets’, all provided by Peter (some I later found out from my friend Louise’s garden – with her permission of course!!!) I chose to make mine completely out of ewe branches, with fruits and various pieces of foliage added for decoration. At the time it looked wonderfully neat, however as time (and the weather’s) worn on I wish I’d made it more full, more diverse. The Ewe’s gotten pretty flattened by our British winter, as have the delicate pieces of fruit.

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None the less I found the whole process completely absorbing. It was so much easier than I had previously imagined, although what I had imagined Im not really sure! The rings and wire are easy to get hold of both at florists and online and from there you can (if you  so wanted) make the rest for free. It’s made me look at my garden in a completely different way (it’s also made me think about my friends gardens too – Claire Dennis I might come a knocking next year!) because thats the other beauty of the metal ring, once the season is over, the filling can be removed and the ring used again next year. Winner!

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My first ever wreath! So proud!

As it goes I was fairly thrilled with my first attempt at wreath making and am so glad I chose to do it with some guidance. Ben and Peter also ran a children’s workshop the following week. This would be a wonderful activity to share with a child, although probably one older than my boy! The sense of achievement at creating something so unquie and festive is wonderful as is evident in the smiles in this photo!

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