Thursday, 29 December 2016

When a Christmas present is just right!!

When my Ds said his girlfriend's son was mad on Thunder Birds, we knew just the right gift for him!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Merry Christmas


 
A very Happy Christmas to All and a Wonderful 2017..

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XX
 
 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Worrying over!

Did I say I had been having sleepless nights? I just couldn't see how we would cope with the garage 'stuff.'
Dh thought a few trips to the dump would do it, but that didn't seem possible to me. I had arranged for the council to collect three items, the cost was only £10 but we had a lot of 'stuff,' more than three item!! Small bits and pieces, old tools, screws, nails, paint pots and lots of other  'stuff.' Friday we sat and talked and I convinced DH we needed a skip for all the 'stuff.'
Well the shed is tidy and free of 'stuff' and a lot of 'stuff' has gone out of the garage, yeh!! I feel so much better and the skip is nearly full. I can sleep at last!
Do you have collections of stuff?

XX

Monday, 5 December 2016

FAMILIES

 Yesterday we had DD and her family for dinner. They ate everything, but were their usual noisy argumentative selves. Not my DD but her OH.. Gosh, can he talk.. and he is such a big headed prat. At one point later on in the afternoon, when we were having a cup of tea and a delicious piece of Victoria sponge with it made by my lovely husband, I suddenly thought why am I sitting here politely listening to this wind bag in my own house. His latest carp is why should older people have early morning appointments at the Drs,  when people who work have later appointments.??  What ??? So older people can't have the same service as those people who work? So I got up and left the room! He then had his usually hissy fit and they left, him striding ahead to their car, he is so rude. He didn't even say good bye to my DH. And they had had a superb meal, and went off carrying 2 full carriers of carefully wrapped, loving bought presents.
 So you may understand why I would long to be away from them all. Earlier on I had received a phone call from DS's girlfriend, her parents move to Suffolk has been moved forward to this coming Friday 9th Dec. eeeek !! They were packing and wanted to borrow some plant pots. While I don't envy their move so quickly, I had a lovely thought of how lovely it would be if we could be in Suffolk for  Christmas, I 'd really love that.
I can't wait now... it is going to be bliss.

XX

12 Days of Christmas explained.

Twelve Days of Christmas - what in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially th...e partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? Today, I found out. From 1558 until 1829, Christians in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for Christians. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace,
Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.
Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

So now you know!

XX
 

Monday, 14 November 2016

We are moving!!

We are moving to Suffolk!!  The house is in Leiston, not our beloved Southwold because houses in Southwold have an average price of £500,000 so out of our price range. We will have money left from the sale of this house to put in a new kitchen and bathroom and we are looking at a possible summer house as there is no conservatory. It will be a change for us, but I walked all round Leiston on Friday afternoon and the town looked a lot better to me than I thought before.  There is a small wool/fabric shop there!! But it is a small town with only one of everything, eg, a Coop supermarket, a green grocer, which looked lovely, one butcher and two cafes, one is an organic one, very nice so a typical small town. But a great library and a Baptist church so suits me. I liked the fact I could just walk to the high st. One thing DH wasn't too pleased about was there were 3 barber shops, perhaps more, he doesn't like having his hair cut so not his favourite place!!LOL
Saxmundon is only 4 miles away with a Tesco, Waitrose and a Costa, so what more could we want?? The nearest beach is a shingle one about 2 miles away by road,  but the lady in the house walks there with her dog along footpaths and says it's about a mile, so walkable.
So we are very happy and it is a house we have chosen together.
xx



Saturday, 5 November 2016

Relaxing and happy.

Now I feel I can sit down and not feel guilty.  We have spent the afternoon in the back garden. The green house is tidy and so is the shed.. we have planted some polyanthus and violas so with all the bulbs that we planted a few weeks ago, spring can come and we will have some colour!!
We have also ordered our Christmas meat, how'zat??? The local shop gave DH  a leaflet when he popped in there this morning with it all listed,  so we decided as we are having DH's girls and their men folk we'd best be organised.. we also went to my favourite little garden nursery to check when he was having his Christmas trees, so we can get a medium sized one before they all get sold.. so having bought our cards we are feeling ahead of the game!! yeh!!
Outside I didn't feel a bit cold, not even my feet even tho' the temps are only 8C Probably because I was moving around.
Next job to do in the garden is to sort out the top, where we dump pots and odd bits, if it's dry and I am up to it, that could be a job tomorrow. That rain yesterday was just enough to soften the soil and I have been able to riddle out the small weeds with the hoe left handed, mostly marigolds and love in the mist.. once you've got those plants you have them for ever!
I feel I have got my garden back and I am a happy bunny. Are you already preparing for Christmas? Sorry if I am early!

XX

 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Let the baking begin!!

We have all the ingredients for 2 Christmas cakes (I always do one for my youngest son) and a large Christmas pudding as we are have DH's daughters and one hubby and one partner.. so nice to have a family Christmas.
DH and I love baking altho' with always watching what we eat these last two months we have done none, but each time I look at blogs where there are cakes I have a longing to bake.
It was the final of 'Bake Off' last evening; we will miss it. Candice won. I wanted Jane to win altho' they were all good and the cakes they made each week made my mouth water. I doubt it will be the same on Channel 4, but perhaps Mary and Sue and Mel will do something together in the future, who knows? I do hope so they are a very good team and there have been some very funny times on the show.
Do you like baking?
XX
 
PS Thank you Lesley I loved your comment and like you love to plant for the spring, I would have visited your blog but couldn't find it?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Just a pleasant day.

We have had a really pleasant day; did a little gardening this morning. I hoed the main flower bed, it is still very, very dry so easy to riddle the little weeds. Most were marigold seedlings and love in the mist seedlings. There is no need to let them grow I have plenty seeds for spring time.
DH dug up some variegated grass, I have hated it for years and a failing rose, so we had room for a whole lot of daff bulbs DH bought from Wilko. 2.5 Kilos for £2.50 a real  bargain.  They have been planted behind where we intend the new Lutyen's bench to go, I can't wait to order it but DH say wait till we clear some of the garage so we can have some space to oil it. Product DetailsI have always wanted one of these!
Do you have any plans for your garden?
XX
 
PS. We also popped to Southend.. it was so lovely there, the sea was far out but like a mill pond.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Slimmer of the Week!!!

Today I came home from my SW meeting with this!! I was slimmer of the week.
Amazement doesn't come anywhere near how I felt when my name was called out.. wow!!
I have now lost 11 pounds, so I am well pleased and they are such a great bunch of people too, so much laughing, One lady said she had found the 'C' choices??? We were all perplexed because there are 'A' choices, milk and cheese etc And 'B' choices bread and cereals etc, but what were 'C' choices?
Cake, crisps and chocolate she replied.. we raised the roof laughing!!   It is such a fun time and I am loving the food we are eating, recipes from the magazines and web site.. only 3 pounds to go to  my first stone loss.. I am feeling good! How are you doing that contacted me?
XX

Friday, 21 October 2016

How does your garden grow?

I did say I'd show photos of my garden, but there are a lot of bare patches so just some individual flowers.
This lovely dahlia is from a dear friend. She thought of me as it called' Christine!'
 And this antirrhinum has cheekily  self seeded in the veg patch! 
 And I grew these for DH as he loves them..
 And waiting for labels are these eight jars of grape jelly. The same friend that gave me the dahlia gave us pounds and pounds of grapes.. so there are gallons of wine 'nurdling' on the side in our kitchen and this grape jelly, which has a wonderfully fresh grape taste... very nice indeed.
The wine making is DH's hobby and we have over a 100 bottles of all different wines in racks on the garage. You might be surprised but I rarely drink, but DH gives bottles away so it does go down and a reason for DH to make more! What's your favourite tipple?
XX

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

We nearly moved to Suffolk.

My eldest son and girl friend are moving to Suffolk and so are her parents. So while we were there last week, we looked at a semi-detached Victorian styled villa (Date was probably 1900-1910) I absolutely loved it, although it needed a new kitchen and the bathroom needed some TLC too, we would have happily had it all done.  But the rest was fine and truth be told we could have just moved in without having to do anything immediately. The garden was an ok size and had some sort of attempted design, which we could easily have continued and we planned a summer house. We put in a bid of the asking price,  which we both thought was worth it... and it was accepted. So we came home to put our house on the market. We cleaned and tidied, cleared away wool, sewing bits, (me) Books, piled on a blanket box, our TBR piles, magazines, (DH) We made up the empty beds, we polished, vacuumed, cleaned windows, in fact made our house sparkle, it absolutely gleamed!!The Estate Agent thought it very saleable, but do they all say that?
BUT...The one big snag we could not change about the house in Leiston Suffolk, was Leiston itself. Omgosh it was a dire and dreary little town. I tried to think past it. It had a good library, a cinema, a large swimming pool,  a Baptist church, a famous ruined abbey, and only about 2 miles walk to the coast at Sizewell, which has a super little café. So all the basics of a town, but so dark, narrow roads, no café (well there was one but it was closed till 25th Oct.) No shops selling pretty bits and bobs and cards, although a lovely fruit shop, with displays right out onto the pavements, so just like here in Billericay.. but there was too much of 'nothing' for me. We love Billericay town, we often pop in for a mooch and a coffee.. and this house has a very large kitchen which I had built in 2002/2003 and which we have just had re-furbished.. could we  really leave here.. NO!!


 Sorry this shot had our breakfast dishes waiting to be swapped into the dishwasher.

Our kitchen measures 12'x14' I have tried to take photos all round. The doors are shaker style and a vanilla colour with steel handles, the work surfaces a block beech effect. I love it and so does DH, who is doing all the cooking at the moment.
We sit in here in the summer with the door open enjoying the scents of the garden, which is rather nice too, when we're not sitting in the garden. In the winter we sit in our conservatory..(Photos of this and the garden tomorrow's post)
So we are staying here and we are happy to do just that. It has everything we want and need, it has shops 10 minutes walk away, buses to our little town, Basildon, Chelmsford, Brentwood and Lakeside shopping centre.. so a beautiful house and convenient for all we need. And not just a pretty house, with my customed designed front door...our home.

Signing off happy... yeh... very happy.. I am happy with my 'lot'.. I have so much more than most and am very blessed..
XX

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Stormy weather on our last holiday of 2016

We decided on the hop to grab five days away in Southwold..Although we didn't have rain we had some pretty fierce winds. Most days the beach was deserted and we kept to the lower prom to walk.
 
 And onto the pier where as long as you were wrapped up warm you could sit and have a coffee.
 And this solitary person is me!! I didn't know DH had taken this but you can see it is me in my pink fleece which will zip up with my arm in the sling inside, so I stay warm..
I did have a dreadful cold all week, but I dosed myself up and sucked throat lozzenges and I was ok.

We had a wonderful fish lunch on Wednesday at the Smoke House down by the harbour. It looked a bit ramshackled from outside but inside it was a food gourmet's delight. Omgosh was it good
I had the mixed fish platter DH had the lobster platter. I wish I had taken photographs, because just the look of them was amazing. I had crab in its shell, smoked salmon, cockles which I love, prawns and those big shell on prawns, whelks, smoked sardines, and mussels.. with them we had a crisp green salad and chips.. there was also freshly baked crusty bread and local butter, honestly,  I'd drive the 90 miles back there just for the same again. We washed it down with a glass of chilled NZ sauvignon  blanc, the perfect compliment to the food. I couldn't eat it all so I had some of mine wrapped to take back to the cottage which we ate with some added smoked salmon the next day.
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our week away and so did Nell.
Isn't it lovely to be able to just pop away when you're retired..anyone else do that? Being retired to do as you like is the good life!!
And while away I lost a lb so I am going down, I have now lost 9 pounds so I am happy.
XX
 
 

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Autumn has arrived!



 It is definitely autumn here,  I have broken out my warmer clothing, and needed it today in town. It was also raining just a bit and altho' I have been screaming for rain I hated it. It was cold and wet!! Our garden is so dry it is like a desert and trying to plant some new plants has been very difficult for my DH.  Digging down to plant some bulbs, it was still dry 12 " down and hard as iron.

We did our usual visit to the library this morning, and Costa's, both were crowded. There were children every where; in the library singing nursery rhymes and in Costa's just making a noise!!  I always say... thank goodness they're not mine!! Home now in the warm and cosy.

I have treated to myself a hottie bottle because I get cold feet,  but also because I keep seeing these lovely crochet covers which I thought I could do! I have actually bought a book on crochet squares, which I really, really  needed! OK so I do have another couple of books which are about 'grannies' and blankets, but you can never have enough crochet books! Don't you agree? Enjoy this time while temps here are still mid-teens, 14C and even up to 17C this afternoon... it will soon be winter, brrrrr?


XX

PS.. I am sleeping all night, which has been bliss..yeh!
 

Friday, 30 September 2016

A new hairstyle!!

 Here I am red in the face again, but showing my new hair style.. I like the shape of the back, unfortunately people have to see  my face to see the front! I am red in the face because it is hot here and because we have weekend guests arriving, we have been cleaning!

 
It does us good to have visitors because then we have to get everything tidy. We can spread our mess out, me wool and bits and DH his magazines.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On the weight front, I saw a Dr yesterday about my thyroxin dose I knew it was too high because I couldn't get to sleep at night and was awake till 2 or 3 in the morning.
My last blood test showed it was too high, so I have to lower my dose, I hope this won't mean a weight gain, I will just have to up the walking... ugh!! I have been walking four times this week because we have had glorious autumn sunshiny days.
Happy days, anyway I like my hair and it has given me a boost.
What gives you a boost?
 XX

Sunday, 25 September 2016

A Sunday stroll

On a Sunday afternoon, we often go to Southend for a stroll along the promenade. Today it was so hot, so we didn't stay long sitting outside Rossi's.   It wasn't  helped that we hadn't taken our sunglasses, the sun was dazzling.
The flowers there are still good and I wish I had taken a photo of the one bed of bright red and vivid orange pelargoniums because they were amazing.
 
Here is Victoria, this year we have watched her being cleaned.
We love visiting Southend, it's our favourite place.
Do you have a favourite place?
XX
 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Getting on with my life, in spite of everything

I am not in a good place at the moment, my other blog says why (www.alwayssmiling24blogspot.com) and to make things worse for 2 weeks my weight has stayed the same... so what am I doing wrong because when we were away I lost 2.5 pounds, so what am I to do? I am not giving up. I will continue with the food plan and walk every day!
Today after class we went into town to the library, one of my favourite places and then we mooched. I am so  glad we did because Clintons cards were having a clear out and all cards were just £1, so we bought all we needed plus more, 12 in all. Then in W H Smiths, the man in front of me in the queue told the girl, I am new in the town and an OAP, please can I  have 15% off, I cheekily said I 'd ask  for 20% and she promptly swiped a card for 20%.. so asked for the same for us, which we got!!
So we came away very happy.. my Boots card paid for our buys there, nice and we both got some good books from the library.. Home again, we had our SW burgers and yogurt and then we booked ourselves 5 days away to Suffolk in October. Why stay home when we can go away?
So looking forward to that! Do you like breaks away by the sea?
XX

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Last of the garden

 Everything is now looking like autumn in the garden. We have picked all the damsons and plums but as you can see we still have eating apples.

The last of the flowers are beginning to show their tiredness, altho' they still flash their bright colours.
 My friend gave me several dahlia tubers and this is still flowering, such a lovely colour.
We need to prepare the garden for next spring, but I am still not able to do much with this arm.. perhaps by next spring I will be gardening again.!! Our garden has suffered in the heat of the summer and although we did have some rain on Saturday, no way near enough. Everywhere is very dry and dusty. How has your garden fared this year?
XX

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness...


That Keats poem 'Autumn' was one of many I learnt at school. It brings back some lovely memories of a group of my friends and I sitting in one of the gardens at the boarding school I went to, learning them together.. Happy days, no not just happy days, the happiest days of my younger life.
And Autumn seems to have arrived this morning, a fine misty rain and chilly. What a contrast to the last week when our temps soared to 28°C and we were desperate for rain. Well it arrived yesterday but not enough, our garden is as dry as dust. Some of my plants have died; the ones I am most upset about are my Angels Fishing Rods. I had them four years before they flowered last summer and now, dried yellow leaves. I am hoping that perhaps under the ground there will still be some of the root still viable. This afternoon we went to Southend and I took some seeds from the Angels Fishing rods growing in the flower beds on the prom front! Is that stealing?? I shall sow some now and keep some for a spring sowing. If they do germinate I don't suppose  they will flower for years!




Aren't they beautiful?
xx

Thursday, 15 September 2016

A yummy lunch.

 A perfect lunch cooked by my LM.. A pastry-less veg. quiche made with leeks, home grown tomatoes, asparagus and a tub of cottage cheese with chives and a measured amount of strong cheddar (5 syns). With this we had a baked potato, lettuce, cucumber and more home grown tomatoes. It wasn't just delicious but also very filling.
Tonight we are having Heck spicy chicken sausages and roasted veg, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, one of my favourite meals... yes I am on plan.
So anyone else's food plan as delicious??
XX