Saturday, 31 December 2011

One more day then its all over for another year!!  We have had a lovely Christmas.  Lots of friends and family.  Although my Mother-in-law did ruffle my feathers when she tried feeding Mimi a huge bowl of Sherry laced trifle.  Mimi has been totally spoilt and I have got a bad back after having to pull her along the seafront on her new scooter (we haven't worked out how to steer properly yet and can only go in a straight line).

Christmas Dinner was a success.  I managed to cater for 8 of us without any major issues.  I did however seriously over cater and we have been eating leftovers ever since.  I have made a couple of Turkey & Leek Pies for the freezer and a batch of Cornish Pasties.

I was obviously a good girl this year and got lots of lovely presents.

Camera Lens Mug
I got this really cool mug from my fab husband.  

Looks like we will be having a night in this evening as we don't really have a babysitter and we haven't got anywhere to go, but I am happy with this.  I think the plan is to get some good food, a bottle of champers and we might try to hold out till midnight.  I am fairly tired as Mimi has taken to waking me up at 4.30am with a bloody bell - (which is soon to be hidden).  I hasten to add that this bell was a Christmas Present from one of our friends who does not have children!  I have also noticed that Michael rolls over and turns up his ipod.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Festive Baking

Let the festive preparations begin...........

Shopping is all complete - just need to collect our meat and fish order first thing tomorrow morning.  House needs tidying from top to bottom.  The kitchen floor feels like you are wading through a puddle of treacle thanks to all of the Christmas baking.  But hey we had fun and it can all be washed!!!!

We made these cool Christmas biscuits using fruit pastels for the middle.  Do you know how hard it is to find boiled sweets I couldn't find them anywhere.  I think they would have worked much better with foxes glacier fruits.  Never mind Mimi likes them all the same.

Finally we made our Gingerbread House which I have to say I am very proud of.  We made one last year and I have a feeling this could become an annual activity.  I found the recipe on the BBC Good Food Website and it is great.  When you make up the dough you think it will never work but once the dough cools down it works beautifully.  We have got lots of off cuts left which hopefully later today I am going to make it into gingerbread stuffing ready for our Christmas Lunch.

We are hosting Christmas Dinner this year for 8 and I am really excited.  It is a bit of team effort with my parents bringing the pudding, cheese & biscuits and the veg.  We are in charge of the starter and the main.

I must get on with my jobs as we have friends coming up tonight and we are busy most of tomorrow.  Note to myself:  Must not drink too much tonight!!!!


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

101 in 1001

I am pleased with my progress this week.  I have managed to cross off a couple of items off my 101 in 1001.

17     Make and decorate a Christmas Cake.

I made a grand total of four (3 of which are Christmas presents)!  They have been work in progress over the last couple of weeks.  In traditional form I made sure that they have been well fed with Brandy and covered in marzipan before being iced and decorated.  I used Christmas Cake recipe from Nigella's Christmas book.  I thought I was being really good until I priced them up and realised that it probably would have been cheaper to have brought them ready made. Although obviously mine have more love.

49     Upload something I have made onto Pininterest

For anyone who uses Pininterest you will know how addictive it can be.  It is a great source of inspiration.  Today I uploaded a couple of things I have made.

I made these!!!
One of my uploaded images.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

We got caught out yesterday afternoon (Sunday) in a hideous, rain/sleet/snow storm.  In the process I had locked myself out as my keys were in Mikes car, so I couldn't even turn back.  By the time we got to the sailing club we were soaked through.  I think I need a new coat!  Maybe something to look for in the sales.

(Last night we had the battle of wills with Mimi, I think we can eventually say after half an hour that Mummy & Daddy won.  She just WILL NOT wear a dressing gown as she wants to dance like Angelina Ballerina.  Now I know this does not sound a major issue but our house is seriously cold.  I think it is safe to say that we are completely Angelina Ballerina mad in this house and keeping up the theme we struggle to get her into anything other than a dress.  The request today is for me to dress up as Angelina too!!!

Over the last two days I think she must have spent about an hour on the naughty mat for one thing or another.  Mike was fairly annoyed with her yesterday as she drew all over the table with a sharpie pen.  It looks like the table will have to be stripped down and re-varnished!!  Hey Ho - Happy Days!!!

What is it with Christmas you do the shopping then you always think of something you missed off the list. So this morning we are off to complete the final bits of Christmas Shopping!  Then this afternoon we are going to make a Gingerbread House.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Yay Christmas Holiday's

 Yay Christmas Holiday's are finally here.  It has been a tough term.  

Last weekend we finally got around to buying a Christmas tree.  This year our Christmas tree search proved much more difficult than normal.  I am sure that last year we paid about £17.00 from B&Q.  We originally thought we would go there again this year, however they ranged in price from about £16.00 (although these were brown twigs with a few needles left) to £49.99.  Now I am not a scrooge however £50.00 for a tree for 3 weeks seems a little excessive especially based on my recent resignation. So after some trips to some local nursery's we found a beautiful locally grown tree with plenty of needles for half the price of B&Q.

Mummy's little fairy!!!

I have as always got a few projects on the go.  Here are a couple of my latest projects:

A fabric Birthday card for my friend D
I decided to design and make some Christmas Cards.

First of all I made a quick sketch of a Robin.

Then using various fabric scraps I appliquéd my
Robin on to the front of my card.

Also this week we have picked up a bargain on ebay.  We got a whole heap of Brio train track.  One lot cost £4.19 and the other £15.00.  One evening I spent about 3 hours putting together this great track design only for it to be trashed the following morning in about 3mins.

Tonight we are off out to Pizza Express and then a Carol Concert at the Cathedral which I am sure Mimi will just love.  

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Thank Goodness for Online Shopping

Yay, Christmas shopping is almost complete thanks to the beauty of online shopping.  I attempted a trip to the shops the other day with Mimi but it was so stressful I gave up.  I did see lots of nice things to buy for myself and had to keep reminding myself why I had actually gone shopping.

At the start of the year I decided that we were going to budget to allow for Christmas as last year I was shocked to have to find the extra money in December.  This has panned out quite well and so far so good.  I would like to think we will do the same next year but my looming unemployment may put pay to that.  We will have to wait and see!!!

This weekend we have been fairly busy.  I helped my Mum deliver a wedding cake yesterday.  She is the most amazing cake artist I know.  She is very talented however she only really does it as favours to friends now and usually runs at a loss!  Despite all of this the cake was AMAZING.  I wish I could create something this beautiful.  I think she said that she made something like 700 flowers.   She is mad in one of the local cake decorating shops these retail individually at about 10p each and she charged about this for the whole cake!!!

I recently saw a great pin on pininterest where someone had made gift tags out of salt dough.  So after finding a recipe on the internet we got down to the messy business of using "big girls" Playdoh as Mimi called it.  I was quite pleased with the outcome.  To speed up the process I put them in our Microwave/Combi oven thingy at about 50degress for about an hour.  (Our cooker is still broken!!  This is Mikes job to sort one out tomorrow whilst I am at work!)

I considered buying a Christmas Tree today out at the local vegetable shop but decided they were a bit pricey so I think I will make this my mission for my days off this week.  Also I think I might take Mimi for her first adventure to the Cinema to watch Arthur Christmas.

Yay two weeks until the end of term!!!!!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

1st down 100 to go.

One of my goals on my 101 list was to resign from my job.  You know when something isn't right and this Monday I handed in my notice.
  1. Resign from my job.  Finish date February half term.
I am fairly nervous as it will mean that I will be skint, however sometimes you just need to put trust in fate and see where it takes you.  All I know is that I am not destined to be a Home Economics Teacher!!

What a bugger, we are sitting here waiting for our dinner when I went to check on it I have discovered that the dam cooker has decided to pack up 3 weeks before Christmas!!!  GREAT!  The nice bottle of wine we just brought as a Christmas Present is looking rather appealing!

Cooker aside I have completed some of my Christmas shopping and I have made two of my Christmas Cakes- good job I decided not to cook the other two this evening otherwise I would have been really hacked off.

This week I went out with my friend K for the day and we stopped in at Poinsettia Walk.  I would never have gone there if K hadn't suggested it.  It was a really random place.  They supply trade and have lots of green houses just full to brimming with Poinsettias.  I always thought that there were only Red Poinsettias, but they had different shades of Red, White ones, Pink ones, you name it they had it.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

New start?!?

I have eventually decided that when something isn't right its time to quit.
Taking my inspiration from Mackenzie over at Design Darling I have its time to take control.  Sometimes its all too easy to sit there saying what if, what if.  So here we go!

Starting my blog is one of the best things I have done in years.  Since starting it back in the Summer I have become a regular reader of Design Darling.  I have been inspired by her post 101 in a 1001.  A list of a 101 things to complete in 1001 days.  Having read her progress over a few months I have decided to give it ago myself.  Although the process of thinking of 101 things was much harder than I anticipated it to be.  To write the whole list would be way too much to digest so as I tick them off I will upload them.  Hopefully I will have a few to upload tomorrow.

In the mean time Mike and I went to the Sailing Club Prize Giving last night.  I was very proud to see Mike had managed to pick up Second Place in the Sunday Points Series.  Funny old world though.  I used to go Sailing when I was in my Teens and last attended the Prize Giving about 15 years ago, but it was like going back in time with the same people winning the majority of prizes, the same menu the same jokes.  However there was a slight deviation from the standard retro meal as the Turkey had run away and some of us had Chicken instead.

Check out the Shoes!!!  
Mike checking out his RETRO meal!

Mike with his prize!
We had a lovely evening catching up with a lot of old friends.  However I did find one woman particularly rude.  She was always rude when we were younger however this takes the biscuit!!!  She overheard another conversation that I was having in which we were talking about one of my friends who is pregnant again.  This rude woman thought we were talking about me being pregnant.  I told her that I wasn't and that I just eat too much, but she kept banging on about it so I said go and ask Mike.  To my horror she actually did and when he too told her I wasn't pregnant she then proceeded to ask if he knew who the father was.  What a cheek.  Not only this when I turned round to speak to someone else her partner then said to me "Well you hope your'e not".  How rude!!!  I know I could do with loosing a few pounds and this is one of my 101's but for someone who has a bit of a complex about my tummy this is quite upsetting.  What is the matter with some people????

What are you all planning for your Sunday?  I think I might make my Christmas Cakes for my Christmas Hampers I am planning.  Then we have friends round for dinner.  Oh not to forget I have to start planning my "Higher Order Questions" ready for my lesson observation at school tomorrow.

HAPPY SUNDAY, 4 Weeks today is Christmas Day.


Thursday, 24 November 2011

Mummy's Crazy Baby

Sometimes Mimi makes me laugh.  Ever since we went camping earlier in the summer Mimi has become obsessed with sleeping in a tent.  Tonight is no exception! 

Bless her she is just so cute!  Just before bed this tent thing was in the lounge, she went to get her duvet so that she could sit in her tent watching the TV.  (We live in a bungalow but there are a couple of wooden steps between the upper landing and the living area.)  I think she must have slipped on the duvet because somehow she fell over and hurt her tummy.  It was all red.  I hope it doesn't come out in a bruise.  Poor little thing!


Sunday, 20 November 2011

Here we go - the first round of winter bugs have arrived.  We came back from Venice two weeks ago to a poorly Mimi, which I caught then Mike caught (obviously this has turned into "man flu"), my Dad caught it then came down with another cold which has since been passed onto us and then last night I had a message from playschool to say that there is a sickness bug doing the rounds.  Great!!!  It is always at this time of the year that I develop the wonder lust - I was definitely designed for warmer sunnier climes.

Tropical Beach Aitutaki Cook Islands no78365
Ooo if only I could go back in time! - Aitutaki Lagoon, Cook Islands
Aitutaki was part of our round the world trip 03-04

I feel washed out at the moment.  Work is stressing me out and I have tonnes to do, the house is a tip, there is washing every where and we all have colds.

I had to take cakes into work the other week because it was my birthday over half term.  I found this trick on pin-interest and decided to try it out.  I was quite pleased with them although the icing was a bit too warm.

Multi-coloured swirls.

I am also considering making Christmas Hampers for some people this year and thought I would have a trial run making a Dundee Cake and some Mince Pies - or as Mimi calls them Wince Pies.  Mince Pies were ok but I think I over cooked the Dundee Cake so its quite dry.  Maybe I should feed it with some Brandy.

However its not all been bad.  Mimi is being very cute - although I wish she would stop licking her chin as she has made it sore with a nasty sore rash.  If you had asked me yesterday it may have been a different story.  The potty training seems to be regressing.  She keeps hiding and doing number two's in her knickers.  This happened yesterday, I am trying to stay calm about it as I don't want it to become an issue which manifests itself into something more than it is.  However I struggled to keep it together yesterday and burst into tears.  I stood her up and pulled down her knickers but she decided she wanted to sit down so slid down me and landed on the floor, you can imagine the rest!  Her response was "don't worry, your daddy will be her soon"  "daddy will make it better".  Hence we all needed clean clothes.

She does not like going to playschool, she is like an octopus that clings to you and has to be peeled off however she comes out 3 hours later with a huge grin on her face, covered in paint, a fist full of paintings and proceeds to tell you what a nice time she has had.  I was sitting with her at lunch time today when she said to me "I was a naughty girl at playschool".  I asked her what she had done and apparently she had been told off for standing on her chair at lunch time. 

The other day I met a very old friend of mine and her little girl at the Ashford Outlet Centre for a couple of hours.  The two girls are so cute together, however because we meet their quite often and we both like a bargain both of the girls were dressed in almost identical clothes.  This time they got matching boots from Clarks.

Mimi & her little friend with their matching coats & umbrellas.

Yesterday morning we were going to take Mimi on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Miniature Railway but its not running at the moment so instead we took her to Dover Castle.  The weather was beautiful.  It was lovely and warm and virtually no wind at all so we were able to go right to the top of the Great Tower without being blown away.

Mimi on the little land train which takes you around the Castle's grounds
Mimi decided to tell everyone very loudly on the train that Mummy & Daddy had both been to the toilet.  She then proceeded to tell them that she wasn't having a very nice time.  When I asked her if she wanted to go back another day she said No.

What has everyone else been up to?  Weather was great again today.  Mike went sailing first thing this morning then this afternoon we took a walk around the field.  Mimi (I wish I had taken a photo) decided that she would wear her bike helmet the wrong way round for the entirety of the walk.  Crazy baby!!!  I did try and remove it but she became fairly hysterical about it so we left her!

Monday, 7 November 2011

sshh don't tell Mimi

We have just enjoyed a fab (although not cheap) trip to Venice which very conveniently coincided with my birthday.   Mimi on the other hand has had a lovely action packed holiday at Grandma & Pa's.

I booked it a few months ago using the secret hotel's on - we were really lucky and got a the lovely 4* Papadopoli Hotel in the main part of the city about a 5min walk from the bus station. I booked our flights separately with

We stayed overnight at Gatwick the night before in the Marriot Courtyard.  This proved very useful as it included our parking and was walking distance to the airport.  The hotel had amazing sound proofing as we were right under the flight path for taking off and landing planes and we didn't hear a thing.

Gatwick proved to be a bit of a nightmare when we went through to departures.  We haven't flown since we came back from our gap year around the world back in 2004 so we felt a bit out of sink with the procedures.  I had got a bottle of relatively expensive conditioner and a few other bits of toiletries which I had to throw into the bin.  In my flustered state I then didn't realise that I then had to put all of my other toiletries in a clear bag so when I got to the counter the woman was really stroppy with me, then in my panicked state I managed to drop everything all over the floor.  Then she made me remove virtually all my clothes including my boots.  Mike was equally flustered and forgot to take his phone out of his pocket which resulted in a near strip search.  All of this on my Birthday at 6.30 in the morning!  Eventually we made it through to departures and safely on to Venice.

Our lovely room in Venice looked similar to this.

We didn't do very much however it was lovely to just be able to amble about freely without having to worry about Mimi either running off or pulling everything off the shelves.  I love the ability to just wander in and out of lovely little shops and cafes that take my fancy - I had forgotten how good that feeling is.

We went to the top of the Clock Tower in St Mark's Square on Thursday afternoon which was beautiful.  Friday it rained quite hard for a while so we made a trip to the Fondazione Querini Stampalia to look at some of Carlo Scarpa's work.

I came across this beautiful bag company Officine 904.  They have the most gorgeous bags which I was seriously tempted with.  However I thought they were a bit pricey at 300e and struggled to convince Mike.  Additionally it took us about 36hours of back tracking before we eventually came across the shop again.  Only to find it was closed!!!
The O'bag:  Truly gorgeous!!!  

On Saturday we took the Vaporetto out via St Mark's Sq to the Lido, Burano & Murano.  

Cute fishing village - Burano

We were fairly lucky with the weather and whilst it was wet it was not too wet to enjoy our weekend.  The city was on flood alert yesterday morning and as we left the raised walkways were out and the water was starting to lap up on to the pavements.  I was well aware of the possibility that it might flood as when I previously visited the city back in November 2002 the water in St Mark's Sq was up to my waist.

I visited Venice when I was at University as part of my Architectural Diploma back in 2002/3 and I was quite amazed at how it has changed.  It felt much more commercialised.  Designer shops, expensive restaurants & café's although it was good to see No Costa Coffee or Starbucks!   Piazza S.Marco was a little disappointing as there was lots of renovation work going on to the Clock Tower and there was a stage and hundreds of seats set out for a graduation ceremony which meant that the sense of space couldn't be fully appreciated.  However how amazing would it to be able to say that you graduated from the University of Venice in Piazza S.Marco!

Also this week:

I have finished Mimi's new hat.

Mimi is still obsessed with dressing up as an Angelina Ballerina/Scary Tiger combo!

Mimi applying her own war paint!!!

Not sure what happened to the tiger here:
She looks more like a member of the army!

Also I would like to mention the Brit Mums Big Sister Mentor programme.  I have been very lucky to have been teamed up with


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