Monday, 30 December 2013


We're struggling with condensation at the moment. Every morning we wake up to wet windows and puddles of water on the windowsills. It's become a daily job to 'mop up' and it's driving me nuts.
I don't think the amount of wet washing that's constantly hung on the airer is helping much, plus we're not feeling the cold at the moment so the heating rarely gets turned on. Maybe 30 mins first thing in the morning and possibly an hour in the afternoon and evening.

Anyway, today we bought a de-humidifier. Mark is the King of research and spent quite a while reading up about the different models before finally deciding on this one.
Apparently up to 10 litres of water can be removed on the first day of use. Ours has been on for 6 hours so far and we have emptied 2 litres out of it. We're not on a water meter so don't really watch what we use, but a good tip I read was to re-use the water - something I wouldn't have thought to do.

Mum has her own theory on the problem. She really is feeling the cold and says it's all the hot air we talk meeting the cold air in the rooms. She may well have a point. 


Sunday, 29 December 2013


Well, it's all over and as usual I find myself itching to ....

.... take the Christmas cards down
.... throw away my messy candles

.... pack away all the itsy bitsy decorations
.... take down the Christmas tree

.... tidy all the toys away that Father Christmas left
.... reclaim my dining table
.... visit the tip
But I shall have to hang on a few more days. The tradition at Number 38 is to leave everything up until 1st January, then it all gets put away for another year and we start afresh.


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Day

We had a lovely Christmas Day with the theme being very much 'going with the flow'  

We woke at 7am, to find Santa had left us all lots of presents along with some snowy footsteps and reindeer poop.
Amy got a teddy bear onesie and spent most of the day snuggled up on the sofa playing with a new DS game.

Thomas got a new 3DS XL, experiments to carry out and bouncy balls to make.
Mark got aftershave and a big box of his favourite biscuits, jaffa cakes

And I got a beautiful charm bracelet and some perfume
We ate croissants for breakfast, turkey for lunch and cold meats and salads for tea. Amy's Christmas cake took pride of place on the table and was rightly declared delicious by everybody.
We managed to seat 9 people around our table for Christmas tea including Mark's mum in her wheelchair. She has Alzheimer's and doesn't get out often so it was lovely to see her with all her family. It was certainly a squeeze but there was lots of chatter and laughing.
By 8pm Mark's family had left, Mum was back in the little lounge watching TV and we were all sat together watching a film. 

It was, to quote Pop Larkin, "Perfick, just perfick".


Saturday, 21 December 2013

It's begun!

Our countdown to Christmas has started and this afternoon I lit the fire for the first time in honour of the event.
Amy went swimming with her friends today so we've not seen much of her. Thomas had another day of school to get through but came out all excited about the Christmas holidays. It was his Christmas party yesterday and here he is in his party clothes. The boys had gone for the casual shirt and trousers look, but the girls had really gone to town with their party dresses. Frills, glitter and bows were in abundance yesterday in the playground. They all looked lovely.
I bought a TV guide yesterday and we all went through it circling all the programmes we would like to watch over Christmas. My top 3 are Call the Midwife, The Thirteenth Tale and The Muppets Christmas Carol. We're not big TV fans really. I'd rather read, Mark would rather go on a watch forum, Thomas likes the x-box and Amy spends most of her time drawing.
We don't watch any soaps at Number 38 either and looking through the storylines I'm glad. It's all doom and gloom. I can't understand why people find it entertaining, but I know I'm very much in the minority with this way of thinking.

Tonight we will be doing the first thing on our 'run up to Christmas list'. Thomas has been pre-warned he will have to come off the x-box at 7pm so that we can watch Nativity 2, Danger in the Manger.

I have popcorn, chocolates and some J2O's at the ready.
And I'm set to be entertained. 

This evening will definitely be the calm before the storm. I expect tomorrow night at the Lowry will be a little more raucous. 


PS. Took mum to hospital today for her 6 week check up. All is looking good and she has been discharged from clinic. The consultant reiterated to her that the wound will take weeks to heal so she will just have to be patient - she'll struggle with that part as much as the wound bless her. 

Monday, 16 December 2013

Love & Leftovers

Job of the day today was to marzipan the cake. On Monday Amy & Thomas will ice and decorate it. A bit like the Christmas tree, by the time they've finished sticking every decoration on they can find, it will look pretty awful. But it always takes pride of place on the table for Christmas tea. They bought me this glass cake stand for my 40th birthday. We were spending a weekend at Chatsworth in the caravan when Amy spotted it in a charity shop and I love it.
Mum wandered into the kitchen while I was doing the cake and commented that she loves chocolate marzipan. I never knew that. Funny how you can always learn new things about people isn't it. Anyway there was plenty of marzipan left over so I rolled a few balls, melted some chocolate and hey presto, chocolate marzipan. I then faffed around and made a box for them to go into which made her chuckle.
For the first time in 6 weeks the district nurse isn't coming today. They're going to see how mum gets on with having her wound dressed every other day. Mum is over the moon about this as she finally feels some progress is being made.

Thomas' first day at school went really well. He came out very happy and his teacher said he'd settled in well. I hope it continues for all our sakes. Here he is in his new uniform - the jumper went on just before we left.
And Amy is on countdown to finishing for the hols. It's non-uniform day again on Thursday so her priority this week is deciding what to wear. At the moment it's a toss up between a jumper with a heart motif on it or a sweatshirt with Love written on.

If only that was all I had to think about, how simple life would be.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Twas 4 days before Christmas

Amy finishes school on Thursday and Thomas on Friday. I've planned the following to get us all over the 4 days of waiting for Father Christmas to come.

Friday: I've bought Nativity 2 DVD so we shall have a DVD night with popcorn, chocolate and turkish delight for me.

Saturday: Experience has taught me that so soon into their holidays, Amy & Thomas won't want to do anything apart from stay in their PJ's glued to the x-box or you tube, so I haven't arranged anything. However, we're off to the Lowry to have drinks with my sister and brother-in-law. They stop here most years on their way to Gleneagles and we always have a good night out with them. Mark fell into a bush last year and had to be helped out by the concierge. I tell him it's nothing to be proud of and I hope there's not a repeat this year, but I know it's falling on deaf ears.                  
Sunday: Church in the morning for us all, (even after the night before!). Then my sis and hubby will come over to see Mum in the afternoon.

Monday: We're off to the Panto. "Oh yes we are"! Snow White is on at Middleton Arena. Panto is a bit of a tradition at Number 38. We've been every year since Amy was 18 months old. The past couple of years we've been on Christmas Eve but I end up rushing around playing catch up when I get home, and I'm determined not to do that this year. 

Tuesday: First job of the day is to go and collect my order from the butchers. Then we'll all go to a local garden centre to have a look at their wonderful displays, drink hot chocolate and let Thomas visit Santa in his grotto. Back home, we'll make mince pies and watch some sort of Christmas feel good film to get us into the spirit.

Never mind the kids, I'm quite looking forward to doing all that myself! 


Thursday, 12 December 2013

Buttons & Ties

We've had limited internet access over the past couple of days. It's not really bothered me but it's been a real eye-opener as to how much Thomas and Mark have missed it. Me thinks a couple of hobbies need to be found in the New Year for the men of the house.

Thomas is starting his new school on Monday. He's so excited. I think going in for the week before Christmas will be perfect for him. It'll give him chance to settle in and get to know people when everybody is happy and excited and there's lots of fun things going on. 

Today, we went to buy his uniform. It's trousers, shirt and tie for the boys. As he's never worn a shirt in his life we've had to spend an hour with him practising buttoning himself up and he is now a fully fledged 'buttoner'. The tie is another story though and has yet to be mastered.

We went to Sainsburys looking for shirts, which they didn't have, but what they did have was a black bag to go with my new red coat I bought from Debenhams yesterday.
They also had these lovely wooden reindeer which caught my eye - reduced to half price, because obviously by 12th December, Christmas must be over.
And Thomas saw these penguins which we also bought.

Slowly but surely, it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Number 38. 


Monday, 9 December 2013

It's Up

Our Christmas tree, that is. We did it Friday evening while listening to Christmas songs and indulging in a tot of whisky - Mark and myself, not the children!

The first job was to untangle the lights. I've no idea how they got like this, they were fine when I took them out of the box an hour earlier to see if they were working. I suspect some little fingers might have been fiddling with them.

This Nativity scene is put out each year. It's my favourite 'decoration'.
 These two little figures also make an annual appearance.
 As do these 3 Wise Men which I bought from Cirencester years ago while visiting my sister.
And we mustn't forget these cute little Angels as well.

Anyway, back to the tree decorating. After hanging the baubles and decorations in lovely clumps, Thomas took the instruction to throw the tinsel on literally. 
And Amy decided to decorate herself.
It wasn't long before it all turned rather silly
 With hands growing out of trees
And Amy popping out like a cuckoo in a clock
But they were having fun and that's what it's all about.

Our colour scheme is red and white simply because I bought a load of these baubles from a church stall years ago. I buy Amy & Thomas a Christmas tree ornament every year though and this year they got baubles with bells in.

A snowman for Thomas
And for Amy a more grown up version 
I love getting their decorations out. Each one is relevant to them for that year. We've had a gingerbread man and Mickey Mouse from the year we took Amy to Disneyland Paris. A Robin and a dalmatian in a stocking. Every one has a meaning for them.
We either have an Angel or a star for the top of the tree and this year we decided on the star. Thomas is too big to lift up now so he stood on a chair to put it on. I felt a bit sad about this, it means he's growing up and I really just want to keep him as he is. 
I have to say the tree looked a bit of a dog's dinner by the time they'd finished, so when they both wandered off to do other things, I took it upon myself to do a bit of re-arranging.

And finally, 2 photos for the album for when we look back. Myself and Thomas.
Andy Mark and Amy.
Last year with everything to do, decorating the tree was just another job on the list. After my heart attack things have taken on a different perspective. This year I treasured every minute of decorating it with Amy & Thomas. xxx

Friday, 6 December 2013

I'm done!

Woo-Hoo! I bought my final 2 Christmas presents today. A box of biscuits for Aunty Edith from Amy & Thomas and a 2014 diary for Mum's filofax. Now I can just sit back and relax and wait for it all to happen.

Amy has asked for 3 things this year. A game for her nintendo DS, a beanie hat and some berol felt tips. She spends hours drawing manga and colouring and these seem to last for ever. In case you're wondering what manga is there's a picture below. It's all big eyes, rosebud lips and heart shaped faces.
                                           Product Details
She really didn't know what else she wanted so after a lot of thought we've bought her a sewing machine. She spends many a happy hour on my Mum's machine creating bits n bobs and although her creations leave a lot to be desired at this stage, (do you remember this?), she really enjoys sewing.

I bought this from Hobbycraft. It was £100 but they had a 20% sale so it came down to £80. I then found a discount code for 15% so I ended up paying £68.
When we have Mum's machine she always asks if she can make something to wear so Mum is going to cut a pattern out for some PJ's which she'll help her with. Sewing is not my thing but Mum used to make some lovely dresses for me and my sister when we were little.

Keeping with the sewing theme, Mum has bought her some material and a sewing box and has put cotton, buttons, scissors and some bits & pieces in it for her.
I think Amy will be really surprised and pleased with this gift. She loves making things and if she can learn a new skill in the process then all the better.

There's nothing more fulfilling than making something that you know is going to get used or worn so I'm going to put an order in for a couple of cushion covers and get her and Mum to have a look at the pillowcase dresses for the 'Dress a Girl Around the World' charity.             
And who knows, maybe by the time her prom comes round she'll be able to whip up her own dress.