Sunday, 12 March 2017

A change is as good as a rest, so they say

As Mark had to work this weekend I was able to have a change of scene too and a trip up to Derby.

The town has plenty of shopping opportunities and a lovely shopping centre, (and a soon to be new bowling ally, when Mark and his crew finish, lol)

I did have a walk round the town and saw the Derby Ram

And discovered the bird man of Derby.

Twice I can across him feeding the pigeons by the river, I imagine this is a regular occurrence as he only called as he waked down the path and all of a sudden the pigeons descended.

Walking around shops is not something I particularly  like doing, so on Saturday while Mark was at work I took myself off to Hardwick Hall, If you want to find out more about Hardwick Hall and 'Bess' of Hardwick you can, here, and here.

There are actually 2 houses, the Old Hall, which is in ruins and the newer hall which houses the most amazing tapestries in huge rooms.

You can hire audio commentary, worth doing as you get to find out more about the family and this once beautiful house.

Old bread ovens in the kitchen

The rooms once had ornate plaster-work around the rooms, you can just imagine how grand it was.

The views that the family had of the surrounding country side.

The new Hardwick Hall viewed from the old Hardwick Hall

Harwick Hall from the front, the newer one that is.

And the back, yes, it's almost exactly the same

Some of the amazing tapestries

One of the huge fireplaces

There are some lovely walks too but as it was still rather muddy and I didn't have sensible walking footwear on I stuck to the main grounds, there were still some colourful spring flowers to see though

And a cheeky statue, lol

I was able to use my National Trust membership for my day out, we made good use of our NT membership last year, although this is the first time I've used it so far this year hopefully we will find time to visit more places during the year.

Until next time

Monday, 6 March 2017

Storm Doris and the blanket

Well February whizzed by pretty quickly didn't it, and here we are 6 days into March already.  I feel like I've been doing plenty but at the same time not achieving a lot, if that makes sense.

I'm working on trying to get this blanket done for Mother's Day.

I bought the yarn a while ago on a trip to Hobby Craft and i did start this blanket almost straight away and then thought that although I really love the colours they don't really 'go' anywhere in our house, so put it to one side.  
Then I thought seeing as i'd already worked quite a bit on it I would carry on and it could be a picnic blanket.  

But then it changed its purpose once again when my daughter, Joanne was visiting my mum and she said to her that she wished I would make her a lap blanket for when she is sitting at night.

I immediately thought, yes, a home for the blanket, Mothers Day present sorted :-)

I've been working on it almost every night for an hour or so, any longer and my hands ache because of the large hook, and being chunky, it's growing quite nicely though, and all being well it should be finished and ready to give mum on March 26th.

I love how the colours look with the V stitch.

Storm Doris swept into Midlands couple of weeks ago and she took the fence on the left hand side of our garden with her.   Everything from the fence post you can see in the photo,  right to the top of the garden, gone!
It's the side that belongs to our neighbour so we won't have to stand the cost, and to be honest the fence wasn't in great condition, he had mentioned last year that he would have to get it replaced.
We wanted to dig up that scrap of grass and make the path a little wider this year so i'm sort of hoping that he will leave the fencing a little longer because it will make working that side a little easier.

For now we have an open plan garden.

Some days have been lovely since, like today, I was able to hang washing on the line this afternoon, and it all but dried too.  Its lovely to see the garden slowly coming to life again.

And today's beautiful sunshine bought a little visitor out to sun himself.
He sat there for ages enjoying the weather on our neighbours tree. 

I think he had just spotted the cats in the garden here, he looks like he's peeking

I did remember to change my mantle for March and have just gone with a Spring theme as I didn't have anything stitched March related.

Still love this little freebie from Snowflower Diaries

But I forgot to show you my monster Amaryllis, it just kept growing and growing.

It finally reach 3 feet tall!!
It looks rather silly in that small pot lol

And I ended up having to tie the two stems together for support.
It is past it's best now but I think I will try the bulb again next year to see if it will come back, If it does at least i'll be prepared for how big it will be.

When I started this post I didn't think I had much to share with you, but it looks like I did after all.

Have a good week

Until next time

Thursday, 23 February 2017

It's a family thing

We survived the wedding!, we didn't stop late, the night time 'do' started around 7.30 and we lasted until about 9.30 and then headed home, we had been there since 2 o'clock so it had been a long day.
But it was a lovely day, the groom did get the brides first and middle names the wrong way round calling her Louise Marie, and it made everyone laugh when Marie said, no Rich, it's Marie Louise, lol

The bride looked beautiful, of course.

And there were some photo opportunity's that don't happen very often as it's very rare that we are all together in the same place.

Love this one of my brother and my mum

Actually, looking at this photo I can see how much my brother looks like my dad, I never really noticed how alike they were before, my dad was a bigger build but other than that they are very similar.  My dad hasn't been with us for a long time, died in September 1987, he was 61.

 My brother was 62 at Christmas, (his birthday is the day after mine ), that's a very strange feeling for me to think that he is now older than our dad ever lived to be, and looking at my brother brings it home that my dad did die very young.

Mum will be 89 in August, she had just turned 59 three days before my dad died.

She has spent these last 30 years since dad died by herself, that's a long time to live on your own, but she has been ok doing that and has managed well, and still does.

I thought It was a good time to get the grandchildren and great grand children together with mum for a photo, she does have 3 more grandchildren and 2 more great grandchildren, (my brothers other two sons and his daughter and his 2 grandchildren), who weren't at the wedding.

Dad wasn't perfect by any means, who is, but he loved us and did his best for us, he loved a family get together and would have been so proud to have all the kids together like this and seeing his first granddaughter get married.
Mum looks a bit serious here, I wonder if she is thinking that same thing?

Until next time

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Valentine swaps

Time for the Valentine swaps reveal I mentioned last time, I took part in two Valentine swaps this time.

The first one was for members of the Needlecraft Haven forum, this involved sending a pair of socks with the theme of  hearts, flowers or pink and also a couple of skeins of matching threads to your partner. 

This is what I sent to my partner, Dusty.
As the socks I chose came in a pack of 3 that's what I sent, along with the threads and a little chocolate treat :-)

And here are the lovely socks and threads that I received from Barb.

I've already road tested a pair :-)

Next was the Send a Little Love exchange organised by Tracy who blogs at Mad About Bags.

The brief was to send 5 things, Something heart shaped, something handmade, some crafty notions, something red and somethings delicious to eat.

My swap partner was Lyn.
Lyn doesn't have a blog but she does post on IG and we bounced a few emails back and forth before the exchange, and I found it very funny that she has a dog called Maggie, lol.

This is what I sent to Lyn all the way over in Australia.

And here is what Lyn sent to me.
Two successful exchanges I think :-)

I'm still not feeling 100% and haven't really done a lot of anything this week apart from have early nights.  My Niece is getting married on Saturday so we have a wedding to go to, does it sound really awful of me to say that I'm not really looking forward to it?

I'm not really a party person, well neither of us are and I know we will be looking at each other after a few hours to see if the other is ready to make an exit, lol

I'll let you know next time how long we lasted!

Until then

Friday, 10 February 2017

Oh Baby

 As well as the fabulous Christmas present the girls bought us collectively, Joanne and Gavin also had another very special present on Christmas Day, just from them.

Here is the obligatory scan photo, but as with most scan photos you can't really make anything out.

Her first scan was today and we are all very excited about his, or her arrival on or around August 27th!

They have been trying since they got married almost 2 years ago so it was a very special announcement and I don't think Joanne could quite believe it until today's scan.  I've been bursting to tell since they announced it on Christmas Day, and now I can, and I have, lol.

Nanny has already started knitting and squirrelling things away, (because that's what we do!), and I just can't resist all the cute baby things when I go shopping :-)

I haven't seen the scan photo in person yet because i've been laid up with flu like symptoms for the past 2 days,  I know it wasn't proper flu of course but it was bad enough to keep me in bed for all of yesterday and most of today, and i'm not one for lying around.  I didn't want Joanne coming up and risk catching what I had so i'll have to wait until i'm feeling better.

Any other news just feels a bit unnecessary after that announcement  doesn't it so i'll just say that at the beginning of the new month I changed my mantle decorations.
.  If you were reading my blog this time last year you will notice that they are exactly the same bits and bobs now as then.

I shall also be looking forward to opening my Valentine exchanges on Tuesday, 
I posted mine out in plenty of time so hopefully they have arrived safe and sound.  My Needlecraft Haven exchange parcel arrived sometime last week and my Send a Little Love exchange arrived this morning. so I will be able to share sent and received next time.

We've started the ball rolling with getting a new kitchen, and this weekend have to go and make final choices for handles and some other bits and pieces, the new window and door are being fitted on Monday.  I'm both looking forward and also dreading it at the same time.  If it was as straight forward as ripping the old out and putting in new I wouldn't be as bothered but there is a doorway to put in, some pipes to move, a water meter in the wrong place which has to be moved and plastering to be done.  I keep telling myself I survived the bathroom make over, I can survive the kitchen make over, lol

Until next time

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Things that made me smile

One day last week Jo, who blogs at Through The Key Hole wrote a post about her favourite things in January.  I thought it was a great idea, and to round off this first month of 2017 I thought I would share with you some of the things that have made me smile during this dull and dreary January.

My Amaryllis

How it looked last Monday

And now a week later!!

Since I posted about this last week it has shot up probably double the height in a week!
I love looking every morning to see how much it's grown and it always makes me smile.
Not long now to wait for that (hopefully) lovely white flower flower :-)


I've shied away from exchanges in the past, but I enjoyed gathering all the little presents for the 12 Days of Christmas Swap so much I took the plunge and joined in two Valentine swaps.
One of my parcels is already on it's way and the other one is all wrapped and ready to post tomorrow. 


It was our first Reading Group meeting of the year last Saturday and as well as our group choice we are all taking part in another reading challenge one of the ladies found on line.

Our first choice is A Book Chosen by the cover alone.  I spent some time on Amazon just scrolling through books when it was quiet at work one morning and this one caught my eye.

How could I not be drawn to this, lol
I had absolutely no idea what the story line is, I just went with the cover :-)

Saving Challenges

I mentioned the 52 week saving challenge a couple of post ago and I'm happy to say that I have added to my pot every week of January and I am crossing the amounts off  as I feed my Jar :-)

I also started a smaller challenge I found on Skint Dad's site, the 365 pennies - Saving Weekly Challenge.  I'm not saving just pennies though, I don't fancy bagging all those up and taking them to the bank at the end of the year!  

My 3rd jar is my 'Money I have Left In my Purse on a Thursday Jar' 

I always used to pay for our food shopping on the debit card but since the beginning of January I've drawn out cash for grocery shopping and I've found that I can keep track of what I'm spending much better, I'm more conscious of what I put in my trolley and  I am spending less money each week.  

On Thursday nights I empty my purse (minus the coppers) into the jar.
I've had as much as £30 and as little as £5 left  but it's all gone in the jar.
I have no plans for the other savings, but this one will go towards any foodie extras at Christmas.

It might sound silly, but it's made me feel happy to spend and save actual money rather than use my card.
I'm determined to try and keep it up :-)

Discovering a new tea, this one i picked up in Aldi
The taste is not over powering, Just a hint of coconut, very nice.

January has been rather a wet and grey month, but looking back it's nice to see that there have been things worth smiling about.

Tomorrows new month means that I get to change my mantle to things of love :-)

Until next time