Sunday, 27 December 2015


It seems that I failed miserably again this year on completing my advent posts for
Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar.

I think I was so exhausted after our trip to Lapland that I never quite got back into the swing of things, although I did manage a few extra days over on Instagram

Day 15

Paul's birthday and the first year I've really realised how pants a December birthday really can be!!

Day 16

My card arrived from Brenda in Canada as part of the Christmas Card Swap

Day 17

All packed and ready for our very very early flight to Lapland

Day 18

Flying off to Lapland today!!!

And that was as far as I got with posting my advent photos, if I had managed to post more they would have gone a bit like this.....

Day 19

Meeting Santa in Lapland

Day 20

Our last day in Lapland and there was just time for some last minute tobogganing before flying home.

Day 21

A collage of my amazing gifts that I received from Melanie in the Santa Sack Swap

Day 22

There seems to have been a distinct lack of photos on the 22nd December this can only mean that

a) I was still wading through the holiday washing and ironing

b) secretly wrapping presents

c) catching up on social media

d) visiting our Nana

probably all four but hopefully not at the same time and a few more besides.... 

Day 23

We blew away the cobwebs today with a walk in the woods with friends as part of
The Big Winter Feed at Danbury Lakes where we had to fill up up socks with bird seed.

Day 24

We finally got around to making our chocolate house, needless to say it didn't last long and I think it could have done with a bit more decorating on our part!

and finally to end look who I captured on camera visiting long after we had all gone to bed.......

although I didn't quite manage to post everyday I will enjoy looking back over these photos and seeing what we did get up to during the build up to Christmas.

Busy doing nothing......

I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas 
and you are enjoying this funny time between Christmas and New Year.

We are busy doing nothing in particular.....
as long as you don't include

digging for gems

lego building



playing boardgames

watching TV

counting moshi monsters

Lots to show you just need to muster the energy to sort the pics and write the words!!!

Monday, 21 December 2015

Advent - Day 14 Cracker Swap

My photo for Day 14 of Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar is my gorgeous quilted fabric cracker that I received from Suzanne, my swap partner in the Cracker Swap

The stitching detail on the cracker is just lovely and this will become a Christmas Cracker to treasure for years to come.
Inside were lots of wonderful gifts 

including this very sweet pocket charm.
I'd never seen these before and had to look them up on the internet,

 I love the saying on the card just as much as the bird charm.

There was also this mini glass apothecary jar filled will teeny tiny colourful bells 

A cute stocking hanger, I have these for the children with a little fireplace to hang them on and I'm so glad I have one of my very own now.

This heart shaped soap smells divine and I've popped it in my smalls drawer!

Some very tasty chocolate snowballs, which I ate whilst everyone was out and a candy cane that was eaten by Tomas!

We love robins in our house so this painted pebble is just perfect.

I'm looking forward to trying out my new nail varnish although I have hidden it away because I can see it disappearing into my daughter's room if I'm not careful!

And finally this sewing machine charm which I think I might an to add sewing themed embroidery or make into a scissor fob. I shall be scouring Pinterest over the festive break for some ideas.

And here are all my goodies together.

Thank you Suzanne for all my wonderful gifts especially my quilted cracker.

Here is what I sent Suzanne. 
Now Suzanne and I have been emailing each other for a while and I found out that she likes owls, well....
I think I may well have gone a bit overboard with that theme!!!
Caution - Owl heavy photos.....

I found this christmas owl fabric on one of my recent trips to And Sew On fabrics at the Blake Craft Centre, which I used to wrap the cracker in.

I also found this owl button there too. I thought Suzanne could make it into a brooch or add it to one of her makes.

I was lucky on my owl themed hunt at the fabric shop as they also had this owl ribbon.

I love Ebay as if you can't find what you are looking for on there then it probably doesn't exist!
A quick search for owl buttons and I came up trumps.

As most of you know I belong to a swap group on Facebook and as part of a swap with Ems Genuine Gems I received this owl themed kilt pin brooch which was ideal for Suzanne's cracker. 

I picked up these two cheeky chappies on a recent charity shop trip,

and I couldn't believe my luck when I went to my WI meeting the other week and as part of the trading table boxes were these delicious owl chocolates. How do I know they were delicious I hear you ask, well there were more of them in the box but I could only fit six in the cracker tube and......

I ate them!!! Sorry Suzanne!

I cheated a little on my handmade make for Suzanne as I really wanted to make her a bag and the only way to do that and fit it in her cracker was to wrap it around the tube before putting the fabric over it.

I loved the colours of these fabrics as soon as I saw them.

I told you I went a bit mad on the owl them didn't I....

Here is Suzanne's finished cracker

and another lucky find at the charity shop was this bottle gift box which the cracker snuggly fitted into

but I completely forget about how I was going to add the owl themed Christmas card to the tube so I had to put it all in another box!!!

I've really enjoyed this swap again this year and I am always amazed at how much lovely stuff you can cram into a kitchen roll tube. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as me and please add your Cracker Swap blog posts to the linky list below.


.......what a weekend Tomas and I have just had meeting Santa in Lapland.

We arrived back yesterday completely exhausted and I can't wait to show you what an                    amazing time we had.

I had planned to schedule some posts before we went away but there just wasn't enough time in the end so I apologise now for all the posts that are heading your way!

Monday, 14 December 2015

Essex Blogger Meet Up

Last Saturday evening I headed into Chelmsford for an Essex Blogger Meet Up organised by Gem over at Gem's Country Life Dream

This was my first blogger meet so I wasn't sure what to expect, everyone was meeting outside Lush, which was our first stop of the evening. 

The staff at Lush were really welcoming and we started the evening of with a demonstration of some of their new lines and gift box sets. 

Then it was time for all of us to have a go at making a Bah Humbug bubble Bar
This was definitely a lot harder than it looked and I take my hat off to the Lush staff that make these, I'm hoping that the benefits of the bubble bar will be the same despite their appearance.  

There was even time for a bit of late night shopping, it was lovely to be able to wander around the store looking at all the amazing goodies and quite a few fell into my basket!

Finally we were put into pairs and and learnt how to give a relaxing arm and hand massage using some of the Lush massage bars. 
Thank you to the staff at Lush for a fun evening.

We finished off our evening at Bar and Beyond (the old Chicago's), now I haven't been out in Chelmsford for a long time and got a lot of stick at home for going to a nightclub at my age!!!
The interior is very trendy with the walls covered in graffiti and it has a industrial feel to it with the fittings and the quirky way your food is served in mess tins and yours soft drinks in tin cans. 
The staff were really friendly and the food delicious although it did feel strange eating whilst people were dancing and enjoying their night out. 
You can see some photos over on Gem's blog as unfortunately my phoned ran out of battery shortly after we arrived. 
We left as the night was just beginning for most and the place was full of a real mix of ages but my clubbing days are over and I don't think I could cope with the morning after!

It was lovely to meet some fellow Essex bloggers and to see what goes on on a blogger meet up.
Thank you to Gem for organising such a fun evening!
Now where did I put my slippers......

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Advent Day 11, 12 and 13

Last year I took part in a craft swap for an Elf Door with Rachael's Fairy Doors over on Facebook

and so we have started a new tradition of putting up the Elf Door and seeing if any Elves visit us.

The Elf Door is amazing and allows the Elves to come and collect your letter to Father Christmas, check on you to make sure you are being good and generally spreading a little Christmas magic.

Our Elf Door sits onto on the skirting board so Tomas made a Lego staircase so that the elves didn't hurt themselves as they came through the door!

Day 11

Tomas then wrote his letter to Father Christmas

Day 12 

and left it by the tree

I set my phone up throughout the night and this is what we saw.....

 Day 13

and they left behind a letter from Father Christmas inviting Tomas (and me) to come and visit him in Lapland (Eek! we fly out at the end of this week!)

and a reindeer bell.

Joining in with Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar.

Day 11 of Brenda's Restoring the Joy of Christmas is about taking time out with a cup of tea either with a friend or on your own, Friday was a busy day for me, some last minute sewing and then collecting Tomas from school going tenpin bowling and having a bite to eat with a couple of friends before heading back to school for his Christmas party as there wasn't time to go home and get back again. Whilst the boys were at the party us mums enjoyed an hour and a half of friendship and laughter and although it wasn't tea that was drunk but just soft drinks it was the coming together and the laughter that I enjoyed the most.

Day 12 of Brenda's book is about "counting your blessings", I do try and do this most days and am grateful for so many things in my life, not material things necessarily but moments in time, people and words of kindness spoken.

Day 13 is about "lighting up" especially during these dark mornings and even darker nights. I very much hibernate in the winter months but because of the mild weather so far this year that hasn't happened yet but I have added more lights and lamps to our home this year and they have definitely made a difference too.

Advent - Day 10

I'm a little behind with my advent calendar posting so I apologise now for the multiple blog posts!

Advent Day 10

The first of my swap parcels arrived recently and I now have my very own Christmas sack under the tree full of wonderful presents just for me!

Joining in with Julie's Scrapbook advent calendar.

Day 10 of Brenda's Restoring the Joy of Christmas is about doing something for someone else, being an Elf and bringing a little cheer to someone's day. I had heard that the least donated item for the homeless is socks so I think I might find some think woolly socks and keep them in my bag and when I'm next out and about give them to someone who needs them now that the weather is getting so much colder.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Advent Day 9

I can't resist a mince pie or two and normally start eating them in September! I know shocking isn't it!! This year I didn't have my first mince pie until November and I've also been enjoying them warmed in the microwave and with a dollop of creme fraiche or covered in cream. Delicious!
Advent Day 9 - warm mince pie and a dollop of creme fraiche

Joining in with Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar.

Day 9 of Brenda's Restoring your Joy of Christmas is all about "Downsizing your Christmas" and she tells a wonderful story about her sister and how a simple Christmas was one of the best ever. So pop over and take a look and have a read. Although I love to decorate the house at Christmas and is has become tradition that we do this the weekend nearest the first of December we have downsized other aspects of Christmas over the years. I, probably like many of you, grew up in a house where dates, nuts and a tin of Quality Street or Roses were a sure sign that it was Christmastime. The Quality Street or Roses were eaten with great gusto, although the gold hard toffees were usually found languishing in the bottom of the tin come January eaten by only the hardiest of sweet lovers and those with strong teeth! As for the sticky dates, I'm not really sure what they were all about?? The plastic pick and the pip/stones!! I think these were just some of the reasons they were still sitting on the coffee table months later! As for the nuts, a huge bag was bought and they were placed in a large green glass bowl along with the nut crackers. Obviously everyone has their favourite nuts and ours were brazil and walnut, closely followed by the hazelnuts once all the brazils and walnut has disappeared. This meant that the almond nuts, everyone's least favourite, were left in the bowl for months until an undetermined amount of time had passed and it was acceptable to throw they out!!
Needless to say I don't buy dates or nuts (especially as I can now buy just the ones I like all year round) and this year we haven't even bought a tin of Roses.
Are there any family traditions that you still follow or that have fallen by the wayside now you have your own family?

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Advent Day 8

Advent Day 8 -Carol Concert at the Cathedral
Joining in with Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar

Tonight was Tomas' school Carol concert, which was held in Chelmsford Cathedral, the evening was spent listening to some wonderful singing, some very loud organ playing and a lot of miming from me! I just can't sing that high!

Day 8 of Brenda's Restoring the Joy of Christmas is all about smiling. I love this one as my favourite saying is
"If you see someone without a smile give them one of yours ". Try it, it really does work.
Some things that have made me smile recently have been :-
Seeing our garden squirrel sitting on top of our driveway gates as if waiting to welcome me home!

A lovely chat I had today with a lady in Tesco's car park about my little brown mini clubman.

And finding a needlework stand for free on a local selling
page, although this find was also a time to reflect on how grateful I am for good health as the young woman that gave me the stand was having to give up cross stitch as she is gradually losing her sight. Makes you think!

Advent Day 7

Even the car is feeling festive today....

I found these Festive Spice car fresheners in Next today and couldn't resist buying them!
My car now smells wonderfully festive.

Day 7 of Brenda's Restoring the Joy for Christmas is all about "Think Happy Thoughts". Having three children we have created lots of happy Christmas memories over the years and I love watching the children's faces on Christmas morning as they come down the stairs eager to see what they will find in their Christmas sacks & stockings.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Advent Day 6

Oh boy! We're not even a week into December and already I'm a day behind with my Advent postings!!!

Day 6 - The Christmas Tree Festival

joining in with Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar

I'd never heard of a Christmas Tree Festival before until I saw Sue's blog post about the one she visited in Stowmarket and luckily as I was driving through Danbury last week I saw a sign about one being held at the local church. There were about a dozen trees are wonderfully decorated by different groups within the Danbury community.

These three trees were decorated by the other churches within the village.

The quilted ornaments were beautifully made.

Tomas wanted to write a prayer and add it to the Prayer Tree

and there was even time to speak to Father Christmas.

Tomas's favourite tree was the big tree but I don't think this was actually part of the festival.

It was getting dark as we left and it was lovely to see the warm glow of the lights inside the church as well as the twinkling tree.

It was lovely way to spend an hour and I would definitely love to go again next year.

Does your local church hold a Christmas Tree Festival?

Day 6 of Brenda's Restoring your Joy of Christmas is all about "Just Being".
It's so easy to try and cram to much in during this Christmas period, whether it's making gifts, going out, cooking or shopping. This year I have purposefully not committed to too much sewing. (although I'm still busy and still running out of time!) Last year I was burning the midnight oil trying to finish orders right up until a few days before Christmas and it was exhausting. So this year I'm "just being" a little bit more and trying not to stress too much if things don't get done.

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