new year's eve

Not too many words, probably too many photos, all taken over our Christmas break which was wonderful, the best in a long time I think. My parents came to stay - on Boxing Day; later than planned because of the big freeze although we certainly made up for it. They left today - earlier than planned because of the predicted second big freeze! And given they're out gritting the roads as I write (not my parents, of course!), they probably made a very wise choice. Oh well, but I have to say I do almost feel as though it's January 1st already since we celebrated well last night!!

For those of you who read my St Julia's post, you will know that 2009 has been a bit of a rubbish year for my parents and me - our "annus horribilis" (love that saying) if you like. But I for one am hoping for a truly splendiferous 2010. I gave up making resolutions years ago because I never could stick to them but this time? I'm going out there, grabbing it tightly oh yes, taking some opportunities for myself and my family - and now I have that in writing, I'm going to have to go through with it aren't I? Oops ...

no idea what colour these will be ..

not much crafting I'm afraid although our resident Wall-E's been raiding the recycling (again) ..

a familiar sight now, he's been three times so far this week ..

taken today, the photos don't give away just how cold and windy ..

love this ..

definitely no takers today ..

daily challenges, endless laughs ..

are these early?

Thank you all for having me, for bringing me into the fold, and for making this thing called blogging a whole lot more fun than I ever thought possible - I so wish I'd started sooner!

Happy New Year to you all. See you in 2010!


dear oh deer!

Yesterday we had a visitor. A very special and almost timely visitor I think (sadly no red nose). There we were minding our own business when we looked out of the window to this view

Really quickly I ran downstairs to grab the camera from the kitchen. Because the kitchen is an open large windowed conservatory affair, I did my best commando manoeuvre, got down on all fours and crawled low down to the floor to get the camera bag without being seen. Phew, made it!

Gave the children instructions to keep still and quiet - there's a challenge in itself. Many, MANY snaps taken for fear the beast upped and ran off at great speed! Not a chance.

Finally we decided we needed shots of it standing up and reluctantly started to make noises. Loudly. No change. So we jumped up and down and waved our arms. Nothing!

Opened the windows and shouted. Louder. Aah, something's happening, but not at great speed! He's just staring at us, wondering what on earth we're doing, I guess.

This deer's got attitude, I'll say that for him. Let's have a quick stretch. No rush.

Munch a few trees, why not?

Time for a quick (or long) scratch.

Starting to settle in now. In fact the children have now named their "pet" deer Munch Munch.

This explains why the winter flowering Jasmine has never put in a good show! By now there's only a matter of feet between us, and an open door!

And three hours later, Munch Munch decides he's finally had enough and saunters off through a gap in the fence. Slowly.

One final look behind at the creatures in the cage!

And off he goes.

We sort of miss our dear (!) Munch Munch who we now know to be a Sika deer.

And on that note, I wish you all a truly merry Christmas and a very very Happy New Year. Thank you all for supporting me as a fledgling Blogger and I look forward to doing, and reading, many more in 2010.

Kate x


a tree ... finally!

And finally, finally, we too are the proud owners of a TREE ! Only not that one.

For the last few days we have had the pleasure of this little chap who, it must be said, looks a lot cuter than his photo would suggest ..

Only now we are in the countryside are we finally able to get fully into Christmas mode. Driving out of London yesterday turned out to be a breeze; quiet roads and beautiful blue skies, albeit a freezing cold start - literally. The pavement outside our house was no less than treacherous, making loading up the car an interesting task I can tell you. In fact I very nearly did a double lutz (or "klutz" as my hubby would tell me) at one stage whilst wielding a particularly delicate piece! Fortunately, though, the roads were nowhere near as bad and once we got out of London, well the temperature welcoming us into Dorset was positively tropical - 4.5 degrees.

This morning, we set off in search of the one. The children had already made it clear they wanted small - for some reason they are both into small things. Granted they are fairly small themselves, even for their ages, but there's starting to be a running theme - "Mu-um, please can we have a baby?". "Err, no-ooooo!". Anyway, it's just as well the consensus is small in this case, since hubby is in 30 degree Singapore until tomorrow and is clearly out of the running to lug around/saw the end of the trunk/set it in its stand/put the lights on it. Oh no, have I really got to do all that? As for getting the thing in the car in the first place, along with two children ... but it's going to be a small one, it's going to be fine, it's going to be alright ...

Of course by the time we got to the farm it was raining and the Christmas trees were beginning to get damp, which kept us well away from too much dithering. The tree we chose isn't a perfect beauty but will do us proud for the fortnight we'll have it sharing our home and actually, looking at it now, it is quite sweet in a not a lot of choice kind of way.

As is tradition in our household, the tree is decorated solely by the children (apart from the lights, that is). Granted someone has to be lifted up once in a while, particularly since they're not allowed to stand on the back of the sofa for fear of falling into the tree (Health & Safety and all that). But aside from that, their role is taken very seriously.

Daughter's favourite bauble as it was bought for her first Christmas back in 2003

Son's favourite for obvious reasons

This is my favourite - I bought quite a number of wooden decorations from a German shop in Penzance years ago. Sadly it's no longer there

Can't seem to get enough of birds on the tree

One of several different types of garland

And it wouldn't be the same without these two ..

So, as seems to be the tradition here in Blogland, would you care to see our tree?

By the way, it's not actually that small, in fact we had to chop a bit off the top before we could stand it up in the house!

The excitement levels are getting fairly high here so I do hope you're enjoying the final countdown too?


what a week!

Just a quickie - this week is just proving to be the busiest week ever!

I came back from Cornwall on Sunday evening to organise the decorating for my daughter's school Carol Service. I'm the Chair (please don't take that literally!) of the school PTA and I have to say when I took on the role in September I knew it was going to be fairly busy but I didn't count on it being quite as hectic as it has been this term. Right from the start there has been one thing after another - Welcome Drinks for new Reception parents, Harvest Festival, Open Day, Christmas Card art work to be coordinated for the printers, presents to buy for a variety of people on behalf of the PTA, Carols on Monday, Childrens' Party yesterday (including entertainer and Santa), sorting out gifts for 108 to be done on behalf of the man in red himself, etc, etc. All that as well as preparing and chairing two meetings. Phew, I for one am mighty glad it's all coming to a close and now I can pay a bit more attention to organising my family!

Santa gave all the children a little bag, beautifully wrapped in cellophane and containing a silver decoration, the ribbon printed with the school name and year, together with a sachet of reindeer dust. This is made up of bird seed mixed with glitter and the idea is to sprinkle it on the doorstep the night before Christmas so the moon can light it up, so pointing Rudolf and his friends to the right house. A very simple and inexpensive idea that went down an absolute storm!

Of course, I just had to slip some crafting in there somehow, so I made eight stockings to use as "collection bowls" after the service. I made them out of some fabric originally bought to make a pirate costume (red/white striped skirt with a plain red headscarf) for a themed party on board the Golden Hind last Summer. And what a party that was! How satisfying to be able to go to the "stash" on the spur of the moment and have the luxury of choosing fabric - don't you think? Anyway, the eight children who had done little readings during the Service each donned a Father Christmas hat and took their stocking round the guests. It was perfect and worked a treat.

The PTA members all made festive cookies so that each child got one on the way out at the end which was a lovely touch too.

Finally, some last minute presents for teachers - these embroidered lavender pillows which, hopefully, will be appreciated.


I do hope you approve?

Anway, got to go, school run beckons - one child just about to finish, second one tomorrow. Hurrah! I hope your end of school week goes well.

(PS - heartfelt thanks to those who left messages on my last post - I can't tell you how much they mean to me, it really is a wonderful place this Blogland!)