Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Things are very busy here as I'm sure they are with you but I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year.
Fairy Lights

Christmas always seems to take me by surprise.  I know it's coming but somehow no matter how hard I try I am never as organised as I feel I should be.

The supermarket was manic last night.  I hadn't intended going but Steve needed some last minute bits so off we marched.  We had both indulged in the Harvey's Bristol Cream whilst putting the tree up so driving was out of the question.  I decided to have a basket instead of a trolley so as not to buy too much to carry and this turned out to be a stroke of genius.  The basket isle was quite short by comparison to the others with their trolleys piled high and I was checked out in double quick time.

Today we have to visit again to finish off but I have already instructed hubby that we both should grab a basket as I think today might be even busier.
I also need make the mince pies, sausage rolls and trifle.  I'm sure no one would miss them if I didn't bother but it's tradition to try to do much more than is physically possible to do in 24 hours, isn't it?
Thank you for stopping by and thank you for your comments.  I love hearing from you and hope that more of you will visit next year.  I still feel very privileged to be able to share my comings and goings with you and think that blogging has made me appreciate my life so much more.  Sometimes we stumble through life not noticing how interesting things are.  When you have a camera in your hand and a loyal following of friends to share things with, things take on a new meaning.  I appreciate you all more than you can imagine.
All the very best and take care x
I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

Friday, 21 December 2012

Floristry by Lord Hurst - Tea Rooms and Gifts

On my day off last week I took Mum to the Doctors for a blood test and in return she took me to a new tearoom she had discovered.  It is actually a bespoke florists ran by a man called Andrew Hurst.  Not a Lord unfortunately.
She didn't tell me anything about it, just that she thought I might like it.  Boy was she right.  It was love at first sight.
You can read all about it here.
The lady who does all the baking used to work at The Point which is just down the road on South Parade, Doncaster.  The cakes are amazing and I recommend you try the homemade soup.  We had warm tea loaf with cheese for afters. I couldn't decide between that and the Lemon Cake.
Vintage tea cups and candle light
We sat in the front room but beyond there is a tiny lounge, a kitchen, a garden room and two further rooms upstairs. 
Handmade wreaths, Christmas cushions on all the chairs, flowers on the tables
I have to say that it is the most unusual place I have ever been in.  It feels like you are actually in someones home.  The staff are so welcoming and the owner comes and speaks to you and was having tea in the garden room with some customers when we left.
The smell of Christmas coming from an oil burner, handmade gifts
There were so many things to buy too.
This has to be my favourite place ever.  I can't wait to go after Christmas to see if it is still as magical.


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Frozen in Time

It has been absolutely freezing these past few days with Jack Frost nipping at our toes.

I find the way the frost attaches itself to everything simply magical.  It makes the mundane interesting.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The White Swan, Blyth Nr Worksop/Retford

Steve surprised me last night by taking me for a meal to the White Swan in Blyth.
We go there quite regularly and it has become a bit of a tradition to visit on Christmas Eve to exchange Christmas presents with my son's partner Heather.
White Swan in Summer

The pub has had a recent refurb and new management and has been transformed in to a beautiful place.
Inside the blazing fire remains but the upholstery and decor have had a revamp.
The food is absolutely amazing. It is about mid range as far as price is concerned and the menu is a little restricted however the presentation is fantastic. Our meals even came with their own tiny salt and vinegar pots.
Homemade Burger with thick chips in a basket with parsnip crisps
We chose from the bar menu although there is also the festive menu which we are thinking of trying next week.  They have a candlelit restaurant too which is lovely.
Fish Goujons
I would definitely recommend this place.  It is fast becoming my favourite hostelry.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Vintage Style

I'm feeling very nostalgic at the moment probably due to the time of  year and reading a lovely book called Miracle on Regent Street. I was drawn to the cover by the beautiful colours.
This was such a romantic book which emphasised the importance of the old and traditional and was a joy to read.  It was based around Christmas too.
I needed a dress for the Christmas party.  I already had one that I bought last week but thought I'd just have a quick browse on the Internet just in case I saw something more suitable.  My friend gets a lot of bargains on eBay so not to be out done off I went, virtually of course.
This is a copy of a 1940's tea dress which fits like a dream.  I love it and it has tiny little swallows all over it.  I wore it with black patent leather court shoes and a vintage art deco brooch.
I was explaining to my hubby how I have suddenly jumped on the vintage band waggon and that I had always wanted to own my own bottle of Channel No 5. The sheer decadence of it makes me all tingly.
I just love it's old fashioned simple style and elegance.
Oh and yes this is mine.  I love a man that can take a hint! Who said romance was dead?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Sledmere Christmas Market

Wow where did the weekend go?
Sledmere held it's Christmas market which started on Friday.  This was excellent and I managed to forget to take any photos of the actual event.  However here are a few of my purchases.
Bear in a box with handmade quilt

Basket to put my contact lens bits in

Gorgeous beads to complete my knitted necklaces

Bow ring to wear with my new dress for the Christmas party

Calorie free hand sewn sweeties

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.  Steve gave the kitchen a good clean yesterday whilst I pottered about nursing a slight hang over from the previous nights works Christmas party.  I had a great time but didn't get to bed until three in the morning. I don't very often let my hair down but when I do I make it count.
No stall this weekend due to car trouble.  We did arrive however the radiator had burst on the way so we had to turn round.  We did manage to get it fixed though.  We're going to be a few hundred pounds short of a Christmas though.  (Did you see what I did there? Sausage short of a barbie, etc.).
Hey Ho, Hey Ho, it's off to work we go.  Such fun.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Happy Birthday Shiela

I have been trying to find time to blog and failing miserably so in an attempt to fit everything in I have come to bed whilst hubby practices his mandolin to get on with a little Internet shopping and blogging.
I have just wasted about thirty minutes opening emails and trawling the Internet looking at things I had no intention of looking at.
How much time do I waste during the day, I wondered to myself.  A heck of a lot is my reply.
If I could stay focused at all times I would achieve so much more, I'm sure of it.  Maybe that should be a new years resolution.  I have already started making a list of next year intentions.  I looked back at last year's and out of 33 I managed to achieve 24.  I don't think that's bad at all. There is always room for improvement though.
We've been to see my Mother in Law tonight.  It is her birthday tomorrow and no she isn't carrying this cake for someone else.  She is definitely 70. Can you believe it?
The family arranged a surprise party for her at the weekend.
Three generations
She loved every minute of it.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

MUA Makeup Academy Products

I have been browsing around a few blogs myself this week and it made me wonder why some are more popular than others.  I dropped on this a couple of days ago.  Victoria's blog is so pretty.  I am really getting in to this vintage stuff although I still think of it as second hand, jumble sale but it doesn't have the same ring to it. She talks a lot about clothes, makeup etc and I liked her style.
Anyway today folks I am going to tell you about a couple of products I bought from the MUA makeup range.  At this stage I would like to beg for forgiveness from any male followers, you can skip this bit.
My friend told me about this brand a while ago which she had found in Superdrug.  The eye shadows are £1.00 each and although I was interested I didn't hold out any hope of them being any good.
At the weekend Mum and I had a trip out and stopped off in Retford.
I couldn't resist the MUA offer of 3 for 2 so quickly scooped up a couple of eye shadows and a blusher, paying the princely sum of £3.00 for the lot.
Above is Shade 4 - a lovely deep lilac.
This one is Shade 3.  a gun metal grey.
The blusher is called Bittersweet and is a cream rather than a powder.
Well I gave the grey one a try yesterday wearing it with my Urban Decay Eye Potion which I wear under eyeshadow so it lasts longer.  The eye shadow lasted all day.  It is amazing. I think it would suit a younger person better though simply because it is very sparkly and on my eyes it emphasised my crepe skin.
The blusher was excellent although the colour was perhaps a little pale.  I expected it to be a stronger colour.  The cream gave my cheeks a dewy glow though. Overall I was very impressed.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Just because I'm trying to resist naughty cakes I don't see why you should suffer.
Here is the recipe for the most delicious cake ever.  Everyone who tries it loves it and it's so easy.
6oz Self Raising Flour
4oz Softened Margarine
6oz Caster Sugar
5 Tablespoons Milk
Grated Rind of 1 Lemon
2 Eggs

Drizzle Topping
4 Heaped Desert Spoons of Icing Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon

2lb Loaf Tin

Put all the ingredients for the cake into a bowl and smooth by hand or electric mixer.
Pour mixture in the prepared loaf tin and smooth the top level.
Bake for approximately 55 minutes at 180 degrees, Gas Mark 4, 170 degrees F if fan oven. Cover the cake with baking parchment after about 30 minutes if it starts to brown too much.
The cake will be cooked when a skewer inserted in to the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven but leave in the tin.
Put the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat gently until the icing sugar has dissolved.
Prick the surface of the cake all over and then slowly pour drizzle topping over the cake.
Leave in the tin until cold, then turn out and store in an air tight tin.

I'm not sure why I don't have a picture of the finished article.  The topping gives the cake a sticky, slightly shiney look.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Weight Watching

I was looking for a particular photograph of me when I was slim so that I could show you how I want to look in the future.
I don't really have a photo I want to show you of how I look now.  No wonder when someone else takes one of me it always gives me such a shock. I always look so much older on the outside than I feel on the inside.  Does everyone feel like that or is it just me?
These are all the old leaves I have turned over in the past.

Anyway I am turning over yet another new leaf.
The picture I was looking for was when I was about to leave to start my training as a Weight Watchers leader. I had my before picture and Steve took one of me at my goal weight.  I was 9 stone 9lb and felt absolutely fabulous. I was a comfortable size twelve but owned a couple of size 10 skirts!  I now pack more than a couple of stones on top of that and feel the exact opposite.
Since starting back at WW a few weeks ago I weigh more than when I started and short of having my jaw wired shut I'm not sure how to stop spiralling out of control.
I don't do things in moderation.  I'm like Topsy.  When I'm good I'm very good but when I'm bad I'm horrible!
I realise that as always I have left it far too late to slip in to that little black dress for Christmas and will probably end up in something that makes me as invisible as possible.
Anyway Steve and I have decided that eating healthier is the only option and today is the day.  I promise to keep you informed and feel very positive.  Wish me luck I am going to need it, particularly as I opened a bottle of the new Orange Truffle Baileys the other night.  Oh dear!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Bathroom Bunting

Gosh is it that long since I said hello.  Doesn't time fly.
I thought I'd make some bunting this weekend.  I have made lots for my stall and the surrounding ones but I decided that I would match the colours in the bathroom and create a vintage effect.
The lace is tiny little triangles which I think works really well.

Not a bad weekends work.  It's a pity the pictures weren't a little better.  Trying to take photographs against a window in daylight is tricky and using electric light at night is just as bad.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Sunday Morning Bliss

I have just hopped over to Jane Brocket's blog where she is waxing lyrical about an old fashioned newsagent and how wonderful it is to experience having your papers delivered and of paying bills over the counter instead of on line etc.
It makes me cross that we all seem to love and long for the old and traditional way of life but have been happy over the years to allow it to disappear.  Surely if we loved it so much, why is it not still a part of our every day lives?
I think it is such a shame that we only appreciate things when they are gone and that when things come back in to favour they are expensive because they are deemed fashionable and quirky.
You must be thinking that I am getting very grumpy in my old age but I'm not.
I have been spending a lovely morning sat in bed watching Create and Craft whilst knitting yet another project which I am making up as I go along.  All will be revealed in due course (if it works out).
Also I have just worked out how to use our DeLonghi coffee maker which was a Christmas gift from Mummy Sheila a couple of years ago.  Steve has used it in the past but I thought it might be a bit complicated for my delicate brain so have avoided embarrassing myself.  However I had a go (unfortunately the instructions have gone walkabout) and I am really impressed.  This morning I made a beautiful cup of frothy coffee.
With the cold weather upon us already I now have the scarf making bug.
I made this in for my holidays.
I took my inspiration from all the snoods in the shops at the moment using 3 balls of Cygnet Seriously Chunky and 15mm needles.  I finished it in an evening and it is so cosy.  Ideal for narrow boat holidays and long days stood outside on my market stall.
Steve liked mine so much that he asked for a masculine version.  This one was knitted again in one evening using just 2 balls of chunky wool.  I just ran a ball of black and one of grey together to get the variegated look.  Just 48 stitches and THICK needles.  Knit 2, purl 2 and that's it. Easy!
Lastly I obtained this pattern from the Internet free.
Using 100grams of double knit this is a one row lace pattern. I will give you the instructions for this shortly.  I have tried to find this again on line but as luck would have it I just can't seem to locate it right now.
I wore this scarf yesterday and it was just great, a lot warmer than you would think and long enough to wrap round a couple of times.  Having the loop there holds it all in place too.  Sheer genius.

OK well it is noon already and I am expecting my brother to call.  We have a major leak in our tank and I'm hoping he's going to come and rescue us, yet again.  Our house is about forty years old and everything is coming to the end of it's natural life so we will be throwing yet more money at it.  Why we can't just move I don't know.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

There are bad days and BAD days

I'm sure that if we looked at an astrology chart for yesterday there would be a big X marking this day as 'Do not not leave the house' or something similar.
I had an opticians appointment yesterday to follow up on the contact lens trial I have been doing.  Unfortunately one of my lenses was missing when I went to put them in. How stupid did I feel?
What made it worse was that when I was sorting out a pair ready for today the old lens had miraculously appeared again. Am I going mad?
Ginger and Lemon Cake 

At lunch time I went to my Weight Watchers meeting where I was told I had regained all the weight I had lost before I went on my holidays. I can't imagine how this could have happened, can you?
My friend had lost two pound even though she had eaten and drank for England over the weekend.  How fair was that?
Finally my lovely friend from work who I have sat opposite for the last 6 months and shared many a hysterical hour of two with, lost her job.  Apparently this has been coming for a while as she is in a sales role and her figures have not been great, but all the same it came right out of the blue as far as I was concerned and I was devastated.  She on the other hand is quite philosophical about it and sees it as an opportunity to get out of the insurance industry and do something she is more passionate about.  I am going to miss her terribly.
They say bad things happen in threes so lets hope today is better.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Kruger Brothers Concert - 2012

As a finale to our Autumn break we went off to the Eagle Music Banjo Festival which is held every year near Huddersfield.
Eagle Music has to be one of the best music shops ever and is the worlds biggest seller of Deering Banjos which just happens to be the make of banjo hubby owns.  He has another lesser banjo too for some reason which escapes me.

We arrived about 1.30pm and had a wander round but we were there particularly to see the Kruger Brothers who were on stage at 2.30pm to do one of their famous banjo workshops.  These are excellent for banjo players but I found it very interesting now that I have a better knowledge of music.  You might remember that I started to play the violin back in February and am loving every minute of it. It is the only instrument I can truly say that I have enjoyed learning to play.  My piano lessons still leave me in a cold sweat when I think about them.
The highlight of the afternoon was an opportunity for Steve to play alongside a host of other banjo players with the famous Kruger Brothers.  It was great and I was very proud of him.  He is quite shy so to stand up in front of an audience and play was a really big thing for him. I recorded the whole thing but the file seems to be taking forever so I don't think I'll bother adding it to my blog.
The evening concert consisted of a couple of bands.
The Kentucky Cow Tippers who were a group of four young people.  They were great and it was lovely to watch them having a great time.  They were a bit Mumford & Sons ish and wrote a lot of their own material.  Steve loved them and bought their CD.

And the Down County Boys were were a band that had started back in 1964.  They were brilliant and the singing was beautiful.
Obviously the best bit was the Kruger Brothers who came on last and played until 11.30pm.
What a fantastic night.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Bosworth Battlefield Visitor Centre

I don't know about you but I never expect a great deal when I visit museums.  Over the years we have seen loads and often they are a disgrace.  They have on occasion reduced us to fits of laughter with the sheer embarrassment. We went to one (the name escapes me) which was filthy and the Heartbeat Museum in Whitby was awful.
On the Wednesday of our holiday we decided that due to the appalling weather we would moor up and take a walk up to the Victorian tearooms at Shackerstone railway station.  This is just off the Ashby canal and takes about ten minutes to walk to.  We had heard that they now opened on a Wednesday. I love this place.
Whilst there we bought train tickets to Shenton.  This is where the visitor centre is.
There is a short up hill walk to get there but at least it was dry.
There was a beautiful monument to Richard III, King Henry and Lord Stanley.  It was paved in a circle with  red and white roses planted in sections to depict the War of the Roses theme.
The museum was well laid out and all the life size models were immaculate, not a speck of dust anywhere.

This was an actual skeleton of someone who had died in battle.  There were little buttons to press which lit up the several wounds that this poor man had received over the years.  The one in his thigh had finished him off.
Originally this stone was situated in a field in Shenton village where it was said that Richard III had been killed.  However following the recent find of several relics elsewhere they have been able to prove that he did not in fact die there.  We had visited the stone where it had been and felt quite sad that it no longer had a proper resting place.
We spent a lovely afternoon learning lots about our history and had a very cosy train journey back to the boat.