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Take your chance before the ducks arrive!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Crimbo Limbo or Twixmas!

This is my usual inbetween post after the festivities have calmed down before the newness of New Year that I really enjoy,although I'm a little later than normal as had photo issues!

We had a lovely time on Christmas Eve as we had a nice finger buffet and watched Elf, my very fav Christmas film although I am not a fan of Will Ferrell otherwise. The boys had their treat bags with new onesies, 



chocolate oranges and festive mugs for hot chocolate - however it has been too mild for them to really want a hot drink until yesterday - no photo! 

We also had a relaxing time on Christmas Day at home, just me and my three and had a yummy spread!





I received jimmers and slippers from the boys, a beautiful Welsh gold ring from Jon in the shape of a harp, a tea cup shaped bird feeder, an electric toothbrush plus a full, frilly apron and smellies and I had my fav Christmas tipple on the day - a snowball.



After opening our presents we had smoked salmon and bubbly for breakfast.


The boys had some fantastic electric scooters, basketball hoop and balls, clothes, books, battery powered flying 'things' etc. from us and various others and they declared it the best Christmas Day, ever!

On Boxing Day our neighbour and his lady friend came over for supper around 5pm and we really had a lovely couple of hours with them.


















Sadie, hope you appreciate the fairy lights!

I have taken all the photos for my December Daily and look forward to putting that together over the next couple of weeks and sharing it with you. I'm not sure if I will do another next year; I don't like the pressure of having to take a good photo or collecting something for each day, but will of course complete this one.

We had to pop to Aber as I needed to change the ring; it was a little bit too big for me but now it is just perfect.

Nothing much else is happening here over the next couple of days apart from using up leftovers. I put the Christmas left-over veg, spuds and pigs in blankets plus a spoonful of cranberry sauce (there wasn't too much left over) into a pan and made up some soup putting four servings into the freezer. 








Not the most appetising of colours but it tasted yummy.! Jon made a big pie to use up the turkey; nothing is going to waste!

That is about it really. The day before yesterday I thought I had lost one of my best earrings AND my January issue of Grow Your Own but pleased to say I have now found both! Last night I did a bit of New Year sowing and growing planning. I also pulled out all my Country Living mags from the year and started my usual read through for any recipes, ideas etc that I want to keep.

Ok, a chilly wet day today so not sure what is in store for us. 

Don't think I'll be back until the New Year so best wishes for a wonderful, peaceful year to everybody and to those sowing and growing for the coming seasons lets hope it is a very productive time. 

I just would also like to say that it has meant so very, very much to me to 'meet' and keep in touch with so many lovely people out there in Blogland this year. I have had lots of help, hints, tips, advice about things, and made some special friendships; to you and yours I send special love and wishes for 2017.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx







Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas Eve Blogland!

Hello to you all on this Christmas Eve!



I am catching up with the last couple of days and will be my last post before The Big Ho Ho.

I have ordered my seed potatoes for next year.I haven't gone too crazy but next year will be planting Charlottes and Arran Pilot along with Maris Pipers. I was chatting on What's App to Tracy over at Our Smallholding Adventure as she has been ordering hers, too. She has been kind enough to say she will send me a couple of her Salad Blue tubers for me to try. Thanks again Tracy.x

There has been quite a bit  it going on lately so may not get my dates quite right! At the beginning of the week Jon and his dad did some work on the garden to use the digger as much as we could until it had to go back. They have scraped over the main part of the back garden ready for when  we put gravel or stone chippings down in the new year. 

Also they have done what would have been a really tough job for me and Jon which is to have scraped over the spot which will hopefully be the site for more fruit trees. It will need a bit more work but the back-breaking bit has been done, thankfully


We hope to have a couple of ducks next year so we have decided to utilise the dog house Jon made for Jake, which he doesn't use, as the duck house! It has been moved to a great spot on the far side of the pond.



I had a little disaster with my Christmas cake. I went to take it out of its wrappings to decorate it and look at this! 


Gutted!

I'm looking forward to moving onto my new 2017 diary ready for recording what sowing and growing I get done in the new year. Sooooo exciting as last year I came to the game very late and didn't get started until April.

I have at last been making some crackers in the last couple of days. I have had the snaps for AGES and so pleased I have finally go round to it.








Really pleased how they came out, even though they are a little plain; and one will go in the boys' stockings for tomorrow morning.

The Winter Solstice, as I think we all know what on December 21. This is also the day when traditionally the greenery is brought into the house. I was taking a peek at Kirsty Allsop's Handmade Christmas and came over suddenly all decoration overload. I wish I could take photos to do it justice because I love the way the house looks now but this is on top of the dresser in the bottom kitchen.



I am so grateful to have a holly bush in the garden.

By 4pm today we had finished all the food shopping a couple of last minute gifts from me to Jon. This is the stash cupboard of goodies, well there is more in the fridge and freezer of course but I like this photo!



Chocolate flakes for the boys' hot choc drinks, selection boxes, cranberry sauce (not making my own this year and amongst other yummy things some Stolen!

This lunch time we have watched Elf - I LOVE that film so we are all in the festive spirit and we have a bit of festive spirit in us, too! I have a little wrapping to do from when we popped out yesterday, Jon and I will do the prep for tomorrow a little later and tonight the boys will have their Christmas Eve bags of treats, we'll fill their stockings and put their presents out.

So, that is is for me for a couple of days. 

Love and best wishes to everybody for a wonderful Christmas, however you celebrate, be it with family, friends or both.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx






Wednesday, 21 December 2016

One Year Anniversary!

One year ago today the paperwork was complete. 

After taking the chance and moving to Bronllan before all was sorted this was the day, just over three months from arriving with all our worldly goods, that the house was ours.

Here is one the rambles I posted that day; how we have come on since and this the second.

Not going on too much; this is really a record for me of the past, present -  and future!

I am so pleased that I have all my friends out in Blogland from when I first began to write about our doings, and that I am so grateful I have collected new ones along the way.

Lou.xx

Monday, 19 December 2016

Parking Space Project Complete!

I have been periodically posting about the work on our parking area. With hopefully having more people to stay as paying guests soon, and to make it easier for us to park, we have been working on the land at the side of the house.

This is how it used to look once the area had been cleared.


Work began on the fencing....




and the walls were started on...





including the front one which was taken down...


Jon made a new gate from some of the same metal railing we had in the shed...


and a new slate step...


then the area was all flattened...


 and gravel was put down and here is the finished project.


This means we don't have to open the main gate to the back garden each time we come home, AND we don't have to use the cellar steps to bring shopping into the kitchen.

There in another project just started which I'll get to at a later date.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx

Sunday, 18 December 2016

This, That And The Christmas Other!

Well, just 7 sleeps to go to The Big Ho Ho!

Tuesday was my last post so here is what the last couple of days have involved; various things going on in and around the house. (You may want to grab a sherry and a mince pie as this may go on for some time!)

Thursday was the day for baking biscuits for the teachers; I made them and Alfie helped decorate them. I gave three teachers biscuits and the headmistress some of my mince pies and one of the Merry Christmas biscuits. The little bags are the ones I found in Lidl a couple of weeks ago and were just perfect then I made tags for the boys to write on and the job was done. Just had to hope the boys got them to school in one piece!






The boys and Jon finished for Christmas on Friday and the boys came home with cards and bits and pieces they had made in school. This was made by Harry and I decided the perfect place to put it was right on the front door. I LOVE it!


I made a no-bake celebratory chocolate tiffin for the boys and Jon being home for Christmas and it came out really well. It is quite sweet so you wouldn't want to eat a lot of it at once but lovely to have a nibble of with a drink or after a meal.



The boys normally have pizza and corn on the cob for tea on Fridays as they go to Youth Club and it is a quick tea. They like the sausage stuffed crust from Iceland but I decided to make it myself this week and it didn't look too shabby an effort.



Yesterday we went into Aber for lunch and some festive family fun and shopping. The boys were pointed in the direction of a couple of things Jon and I may like for Christmas and took them to the counter and paid for them by themselves! We came home with a few things such as my Kilner jam pan and half a dozen new jars; 



I'd have had to wait until my birthday in September if I hadn't got them now. I have not wrapped them and Jon's new reciprocal (don't ask) saw in the black and blue case is also not packed but very gratefully received as were my goodies.


At our last house I managed to keep the same poinsettia going for five Christmases, yes five! However the one I bought last year does not seem to have the same level of enthusiasm so was very jealous when I saw this big beauty in the Tesco cafe whilst we stopped for a warming latte.


In Lidl later on I saw these darling little poinsettia plants. 



Sadie, a life in the english rain , lovely blog to visit, here is where one of the Oxo box comes into the picture, literally! (Not the best quality photo.)



I haven't shown many photos of the outside recently but here is my garlic coming on really well....

and my onions, too.



I did manage to plant some daff bulbs in one of my small planters a while ago and look here!


I am always tweaking the decorations and the easiest way is to make something quickly. I can't get a good photo of the one of these I've made for the beam in the kitchen but this is basically the same apart form the ribbons I've used to attach the pennants to; really pleased with both - nothing like a bit of Christmas crafting.



I took Alfie to his last piano lesson before Christmas this evening and i am proud as punch. He will be taking his pre-test in March and has his books to start preparing for it in January. He only began his lessons at the start of September but he is coming on beautifully!! The books are not cheap, £17 for the latest three, plus £10 for each lesson but I truly think it is worth every penny for the results we are getting.  If he goes down to the cellar for something he just CAN'T resist playing a few notes which I flippin' love!

In other news, I promise this will come to an end soon, we have a booking for our letting room for Boxing Day for two nights - can you believe it? That will pay for a good chunk of the Christmas food bill for really not a lot of effort.

Right, I'm going now as the final of The Apprentice is on shortly.

I will have pictures of the finished parking space project soon as Jon has been working really hard on it for the last couple of days and it is looking fab.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Christmas Catch Up. 11 Days To Go To The Big Ho Ho Ho!

It was only Friday when I last posted but it really seems an absolute age away! 
I forgot to say in that post that I ate for breakfast the first two mushrooms I have grown, along with one of our eggs on my home baked bread for breakfast. 

Can it get much better than that, really?!




Talking of chickens we are also doing our bit regarding the bird flu thing. I am hoping that the ban is lifted sooner than the allotted time to be honest. Also the one that was seriously malting is growing its feathers back as far as I can see, thankfully. Ho hum, life goes on.

On Saturday morning we were doing jobs in and out. Jon and the boys were carrying on with the wall project and I was inside cooking breakfast and getting tidied up before we went out at lunchtime.

The Gramps were coming to stay a couple of days and also to see Alfie's Stage School Showcase so we finished up and met them in Aber for a cuppa before the performance. It was just great to see him joining in with stuff and the children from the other groups.

When we came home we were just enjoying some family time and had a Chinese takeaway in the evening. I was very pleased we decided not to go out to eat as it was the Strictly semis and boy was it Glitter-ball Tastic! A-maze-ing!!!

Sunday morning I was up early making a big pea and ham pie and yet more mince pies as we had two friends coming to see us, so we were going to be eight for lunch. (I will say at this point since December 4 I have made 11 dozen mince pies!!) When our friends left I made my second batch of mincemeat, same amount as last time which had a base of 2lbs of dried fruit plus everything else; at least I know how many pies I can get from it.



I just make the lovely Mary Berry pastry for the ones I am baking off that day and then another lot for the next session. Good job I like making them! 

Jon and his dad continued to make progress on the parking area on Sunday and you can see it here looking just fantastic so far but still some work to do. Jon's dad is coming back for Monday when we have a digger being delivered so we can level it out ready for the gravel. At the same time we are going to gather up a big pile of the bamboo and green rubbish in the far corner of the garden and have a fire.

This is the view from the road with the new fencing in the background.



Then from the fence to the road...

followed by the new wall, and Jake, that's been built alongside the steps down to fire pit.


On Sunday evening we had a lovely meal out.

So, Monday morning found me making sure Alfie had his piano book and Harry his cornet as there was to be an assembly where all the children who were new to music lessons were playing.

I then popped into Aber with the Gramps for a spot of lunch and then came home in time to do a few inside chores before the boys came home and went out to get their Christmas presents and tea with the Gramps. Whilst they were out I made a little garland decoration for each of the boys' rooms with the tags I think I mentioned I bought at Waterstones. They both looked like this, just threaded onto paper ribbon.


And now we are at Tuesday which feels like a Monday because the Gramps went home this morning then the boys went to school. I've had breakfast, put the washer on, collected the eggs, made one lot of pastry for the pies, washed up, just taken some croutons out of the oven that I've made out of some loaf ends and I have my bread proving, too, whilst I do this.


I took a photo of the bottom kitchen window the other day and I love looking at this little vignette. I hope the hyacinths come into flower soon and that they are white - it wasn't possible to tell from the label on the pot they came in.


Ok it is now 11.30am and I will get the pies made and then it will be lunch time. That is a heck of a festive ramble but you know how it gets at this time of the year.

Bye for now.

Lou.xx