Sunday, 4 December 2016

December - Week 1

We went into Manchester this week, Mark to do something with watches, me to pick up my picture from the gallery. While he was doing his thing I had a walk around the Christmas Markets. There's a lot of food, a lot of drink and a lot of over-priced bits and bobs. I did toy with the idea of buying one of these but decided not to.
Instead I bought macarons and pecans. 
This is the picture I bought. 'Midnight Caller'. Art is very personal thing isn't it. I was reading an article the other day about what some people consider definite no-no's in their house and for one person it was pictures. We have 14 which I expect to the person doing the interview would be considered naff and the equivalent of Hilda Ogden's 'muriel' and 3 flying ducks. But I likes what I likes and I liked this. 
Mark and Amy went to London on Tuesday and I don't mind admitting I wanted to go with them. Never mind, I dutifully smiled and waved them off like a good wife and mother does although I didn't think it was necessary for them to text me to say they were having tea and cake in Fortnums and then later on burgers in Byron's. Talk about rubbing salt into the wound. Amy bought my Christmas present while she was there. She's brilliant at keeping secrets and there's no way she'll spill the beans about what it is, so I shall have to wait patiently until Christmas Day to find out. 
Mark was under instructions not to bring me anything back this time, but he did buy me a 'Lidl' something when we went shopping this week. These truffles are delicious and I would 100% recommend you pop a box in your trolley if you find yourself in the store. 
The weather has been freezing this week with lots of frosty starts to the mornings. I made the effort to rake up the last of the leaves and apart from emptying a couple of pots the garden has been put to bed until spring. 
It's been the sort of weather that has made me want to take long soaks in the bath then snuggle down in front of the tele in my fluffy socks and dressing gown drinking hot chocolate and eating homemade cake, so I have done :) Nothing fancy looking about this lemon drizzle but it tastes delicious. 
On 1st December Advent Calendars were opened, the Advent candle was lit and the Christmas mugs bought in the January sales were dug out from the back of the cupboard.
And this little chap arrived at our house. As there are no longer any believers at Number 38 this 'Elf on the Shelf' won't be reporting back any misdemeanours to FC. I find the idea of him watching children and snitching on them a bit spooky actually, but if it works for parents then who am I to judge. He'll be getting up to mischief every day but apart from buying him I admit I will be putting no effort into this at all and have shamelessly copied some superb ideas of the 'net. 
Amy and Thomas have named him Christopher and from their reactions to what he gets up to you're obviously never too old for an Elf to come and stay. So far he's made a mess in my kitchen making snow angels in the flour.
'Personally' decorated some cookies
And set up a zip wire in the lounge in a bid to steal chocolate from the advent calendars, which he didn't succeed in doing....this time.
However, he's obviously a determined Elf because we woke up this morning to find he'd eaten Day 19 of Amy and Thomas' calendars. The other toys in the house are obviously not used to this kind of naughty behaviour and decided to take matters into their own hands. I'm not totally convinced he's learnt his lesson.
Thomas' school is taking part in the Key 103 toy collection this year so I bought this for him to take in. When I was in St Anne's a store was collecting toys for Rock FM so I popped a couple in their box as well. Next week I'll be making our annual donation to The Salvation Army and putting together some things for the food bank. 
I'm going to try some crochet on a quilt in the New Year and thought I'd have a go at The Hungry Caterpillar. The circles took no time at all to hook up and even though I'm not doing any sewing until after Christmas I might cut some material this week. 
Thank you to everybody who commented on the circle problem I was having with the dresden. I'm never going to be able to sew it on the machine so will hand sew it on as suggested. I also found a really good tip for making a circle. All you do is cut a template, a piece of material slightly bigger, pop it into a piece of tinfoil, fold the foil in to make a circle and then iron both sides and hey presto you have a nice circle with a hem. 
Amy went on the hunt for a job this week and struck lucky - ish. She was offered weekend work in a bagel cafe until they realised she's only 16. Apparently she's not allowed to work there until she's 18 because it involves using sharp knives and hot equipment such as coffee makers and ovens. Give me strength. We're raising a generation of namby pamby kids as it is but when they're not allowed to cut bread or boil a kettle until they're 18 I do wonder what world I'm living in.

And look who's come to stay. Dropped off at 10am this morning she's with us until 4pm tomorrow afternoon. Sophie has gone Christmas shopping to Chester with her Mum and they're staying overnight. Matthew took his lads out last night for their Christmas do so is probably still suffering from the effects of that. My sister says I'm too soft. If her grandchildren sleep over she has them from 6pm and returns them by 10am the following morning, although she does have 3 at once. Maybe she's right. I love having Sienna but her 'sleepovers' are certainly marathons :)
Sophie's Mum brought us this so I'll be trying a tipple later on. 
We're off out with Sienna now for some fresh air and then to see the Christmas twinkles at Housing Units, so I'll say goodbye for now and see you all next weekend. 



  1. A lovely catch up Suzanne. Christmas is gradually creeping in bit by bit isn't it?
    I do like your chosen picture, although it's made me realise we don't have many pictures in our house. I should rectify that.
    The Christmas markets look very festive. Seeing them makes me want to start mulling wine and roasting chestnuts.
    Enjoy the lights and your time with Sienna. X

    1. It's certainly arriving slowly but surely Jules. The tree is usually up by now but I'm waiting another week in the hopes I'm not quite as fed up of looking at it by Boxing Day!

      I have never tried roasted chestnuts but I've seen them somewhere this year so might give them a go - if I can remember which shop they were in. I think it might be Iceland.

      I'm not really a foodie person otherwise I'd probably enjoy the Christmas markets more but it is lovely to see them all set out and have a wander around. We've been a couple of times in the evenings in previous years but I wouldn't do it again. The atmosphere is good but all you can do is shuffle around in a crowd and you can't get near any stalls.

      Have a lovely week. xx

  2. We have one of those wooden churches, we got it from the garden centre, it looks lovely (not that we gave any Christmas decorations up).

    Who doesn't want pictures in their house?! I think your picture is very atmospheric. Do you remember that 80's tv show Midnight Caller? I used to love that, it was probably rubbish, but it obviously stuck in my mind!

    1. I really liked the tall churches but apart from being unsure if I'd get it in the car with the picture I wasn't sure where I'd put it at home either, although having given it some thought I know where it could go so I might still get one.

      There were 2 pictures I really liked but when I found out this was titled Midnight Caller I had to have it because I was a massive fan of the TV programme and had a bit of thing for Killian! My other big TV love at that time was Thirtysomething. Absolutely loved that programme. xx

    2. We watched all of The West Wing this year as I was delighted to see that Gary Cole turned up as Vice President!

    3. Will have to put that on our list. We watch House of Cards, Madam Secretary and Designated Survivor - there's a definite theme of American politics there! xx

  3. I think I would have passed on the macaroons and gone for the green church right at the front of the photo.....and maybe a little red one them.
    OMG.........that elf had me in stiches......especially decorating the biscuits......fantastic.
    Love your Christmas mugs so much. I used to have a lovely set from Starbucks but they have all got broken so they have been replaced with some OK ones from Home Bargains.
    Your picture is fab. It's funny but we don't have many pictures in our house....I'm holding out for a Jack Vettriano when we win the lottery.
    Astounded at Amy not being allowed to take that job. I started work in a restaurant kitchen when I was fourteen and my job was peeling and trimming large potatoes (to make posh little barrel shaped potatoes) with a very sharp knife.
    Loved catching up with you today.

    1. They churches are lovely aren't they. Sort of regretting I didn't buy one now, but there's still time.

      Christopher Elf is very naughty indeed, he might not get invited back next year! The mugs were only 50p each. They were originally priced at £3 so I got all 4 for less than the price of one - that's the sort of bargain I like.

      I've just googled Jack Vettriano - oh er Mrs, some of his art is a bit raunchy. If I win the lottery before you do I shall buy you one :)

      The job situation is ridiculous isn't it. She also asked at the local Tesco Express and Co-op but because they sell alcohol and cigarettes she can't work there either. I think it's because they're run on such a shoestring staff wise that everybody needs to be able to do everything and they can't just have somebody filling shelves. I worked in a newsagents when I was 16 and selling ciggies and porn mags was run of the mill. I can still see the 70 years + guy who came in every week for his stash! I feel sorry for teens these days. They're not all lazy but it's not easy for them to find work. xx

  4. You've had a busy and festive week. I'm glad Christopher is as much of a git as Jeff! (Jeff has moved, but I can't remember where he's moved to!).

    Aw,Sienna is a sweetie.

    The job thing is so stupid. A sensible girl using knife for cutting food, and a kettle for making tea etc, is perfectly normal and acceptable. We should be more concerned about ..oh, I don't know .. idiots taking knives into colleges to get into scraps over a girl!!!! So stupid.

    Off I go. Have a lovely evening xx

    1. You're spot on about the knives Sadie, I never actually thought of it from that point of view. The problem is this compensation culture we seem to be embroiled in whenever anybody has an accident. One cut or burn and I expect H&S would be crawling all over them and I'm sure we'd be entitled to sue the pants of them, although I'd be more inclined to say to her "well you won't do it again will you", but I'm probably in the minority.

      Christopher is so naughty, but he's a great alarm clock. All I have to say to Thomas in the morning is "I wonder what Christopher has done" and he's out of bed like a shot to investigate :) xx

  5. p.s that cake looks good! x

    1. It's lovely, even though I say so myself! xx

  6. A busy week and I can't believe you have such long sleepovers either - I couldn't bear to part with mine when they were babies! She's soooo gorgeous. Looks so squishy in her snowsuit!
    I don't like elfs on shelfs
    Or elves on shelves
    I think they are creepy
    But I love that others do and seeing what they up to and kids reactions is hilarious! I love that innocence of believing in magic etc. I watched a video of my little greatniece coming down to find her elf was sat playing top trumps with her barbies. She was so animated about it. Pure magic!
    I love macaroons so I think you made the right choice.
    The artwork thing
    Your painting made me immediately think of Doctor Who
    Must be the phone box.
    I like it. I have a lot of Paul Klee (?) prints. Then my friend told me he was a nazi supporter!! I still have them up. They match my decor!! I'm so90s ikea with my two camels and a donkey print!! Did you watch that Sotheby's art programme?? The prices people were paying for art was mind popping!
    Looking forward to next week's read x

    1. Christopher has become human! When I taped him to the mirror Amy said "aww Mum, I feel sorry for him"!

      I know what you mean about Dr Who, the painting reminds me of the telephone box scene in The Birds, especially as she has blonde hair.

      Paintings by criminals or those with a dubious history can sell for £1,000's. I've got a Rolf Harris cartoon that he did for Amy. It's rolled up at the back of the wardrobe. His sort of history definitely isn't worth anything. xx

    2. I only meant their faces are creepy generally!! Oooo no, never thought about Rolf though when we were watching that Queen at 90 programme - she's blinking marvellous and I Love her, the HG pondered if her portrait by him had been burned!

    3. I had a gnome cuddly toy even though I was in my 20's. My brother who was early 20's moved in with us for a couple of weeks. When he left I found the gnome stuffed at the back of the wardrobe. When I asked him about it he said he couldn't sleep with it in the room because it was looking at him and scared him pmsl.

      There's a thought about the picture, maybe it's been stored away so that in 500 years when nobody knows who Rolf really is it can be brought out again. xx

  7. Hi Suzanne. I wrote a big long comment yesterday which disappeared! Great post.
    Love Jack Vettriano-have lots of his prints after his Glasgow exhibition.
    Really like your picture, hate macaroons.
    Sienna is gorgeous-you certainly see lots of her.
    Luuurv your naughty elf.
    Hope it posts this time

    1. Hi Catriona. Another Jack Vettriano fan, you're in good company with Sheila who also likes him. I shall put put you on my lottery win list as well :)

      I bought 2 macaroons each for me and Amy but she didn't like them so I ate all 4 - felt a bit queasy afterwards especially as they were all different flavours.

      We do see a lot of Sienna, well actually about every 10 days but she stays with us for such a long time it feels like we see loads of her.

      Oh that Elf, he's soooo naughty and Thomas hasn't stopped going on about him pinching his chocolate! It's as though he's real. xx

  8. Sounds like you have had a great week. The elf is new to me, but I love seeing all the things he's been up to! Hope you and your family have a lovely few weeks getting ready for Christmas.

    1. I think the Elf has been around for a few years but I've never done him before. I just thought now there is no FC it would be a bit of daily fun in the run up to Christmas.

      Feeling a tad overwhelmed with it all today to be honest although I think it's because school finishes next Friday which makes me feel as though Christmas is here when really there'll still be another week to go. xx