Monday, 19 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 17th: Christmas Do

I'm not sure quite how it happened, but some how Kendo managed to convince me that it was a good idea to go on a work's night out with two of the people he works with (who I've never met) and their wives. Hmmmm. Still not sure how he talked me into that one, especially as I make a particular point of avoiding all my works do.

Anyhoo, he'd agreed I'd go so off I went. We caught the train into Liverpool (which is really not far from us. 25 minutes on the train. I don't know why we don't go more often) and began the night (well, afternoon really) at a place called "Viva Brazil":

We sat there, at the round table at the front (only it was bigger, with more chairs). This is the strangest restaurant. It's a kind of all you can eat. You start with a plate and then hit the salad bar (although that's something of a misnomer because there was a darn site more than salad on it). You have a little coloured card on your table (like a beer mat). One side red, one side green. When the green side it showing waiters come to your table with huge skewers with meat on (all different stuff, chicken and beef and lamb and pork and sausage) which they carve at the table for you. When you've got enough you turn your card to red and they stop coming, when you want more you flick it back to green. Easy. Kendo literally thought he'd died and gone to carnivore heaven. That he just sat there and people brought him meat. Lots of meat. He was one happy diner I can tell you.

From there we ventured to a Liverpool land mark. On request from two of the people we were with we went here:

You probably recognise the name, if not the place. Some small Liverpool band is famous for starting out here. See, here they are at the Cavern:

Don't recognise them there? How about here?:

I have to confess despite living so close to Liverpool this is the first time I've ever been in the Cavern (how bad is that?). It's actually quite a nice club (if a little claustrphobic). There are tonnes of names graffitied on the bricks inside. If I'd known before hand apparently I could have looked for my Mother's, it's in there somewhere (what a rebel she was!).

From one Liverpool band we ventured to another. Echo and the Bunnymen at the O2 Academy:

Not really my cup of tea but I did spend 10 minutes in the mosh pit looking for Kendo while they were playing this song (which is thankfully one I know):

Phew. That was hard work. Couple it with a broken down train on the way home and having to get up the day after and do a fitness challenge at the annual karate club party (100 push ups, 100 crunches, 100 squat kicks) it's hardly surprising I don't feel like I've had a weekend off! I think I'll give strict instructions not to volunteer me for any Christmas Do's next year!

JYC 2011 - December 16th: Gratitude

Two years ago around this time we received the news that my Dad had cancer.

One year ago around this time we heard that despite chemo and radiation treatment it had recurred.

Today we heard that following a big surgery and chemo in the last 6 months he has the all clear.

For that, today, I am truly, truly grateful.

The best Christmas gift of all.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 15th: Visitors.

Christmas visiting. Ahhhh. Neither my husband nor I are good with the whole visiting thing but it's Christmas and there are people to see and who want to see us (well, want to see the kids anyway ;)). We have our Christmas visiting schedule and it hasn't changed much in 7 years. Off to my parents after presents and breakfast at home (not like its much of a trek though as it's next door!). Back home for Christmas lunch then off to the In-laws for a bit (Santa's really good to my kids, he delivers to grandparents houses too (both sets!!)). Back home to "next door Nanny's" for Christmas tea then home. Boxing day it's back to the in laws for MILs roast dinner (roast lamb - nom nom nom).

This year my Mum is particulary excited about Christmas visiting. My sister and her partner and my two nephews are coming up on Christmas Eve and staying until the day after boxing day. Whilst that means (coupled with the other waifs and strays she collected who would otherwise be alone on the big day) that she'll have 14 people for Christmas dinner she couldn't be happier. All her kids and grandkids under one roof.

Thankfully we're past the age where we feel the need to pick on one another and cause fights all the time.........I think ;)


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 14th: Christmas Presents.

Ordinarily at this point I have already written my own Christmas list, shopped for my own presents, wrapped them and haranged my husband into writing the tags (I have to draw the line somewhere!). To be honest, it never bothers me. At least I know I'm getting things I want and will use and its much less stress for him having to think about what to buy (not to mention trying to fit shopping in amongst the ridiculous hours he works!).

In his defense I am in charge of the budgeting around here so usually he doesn't know when the Christmas budget is available for spending or indeed how much it is. This year some extra hours and bonuses at work meant he had pennies to spend and I was more than happy to provide a "Dear Santa" list of things I might like to see in my stocking. I know what I sent on the list but I don't know exactly what he's bought. I'm looking forward to having a nice surprise when I open my presents Christmas morning for a change. I think I could get used to this arrangement.


JYC 2011 - December 13th: Christmas Tunes.

The best thing about JYC blogging. I don't just get to write about my favourite Christmas tunes this year. I can share them :) 

So, if you fancy getting into the festive spirit with my, crank up the PC speakers and have at it....

My all time FAVE Christmas tune:

LOVE this song :)

Completely useless factoid to accompany the song... the New York Police Department doesn't have a choir... it has a Pipe and Drum band, who were featured in the video. They are not in fact playing "Galway Bay" however because they didn't know it. They're playing something else and the speed was adjusted to fit the beat :)

On the other side of the festive tunage coin we have my all time favourite Christmas Carol (i.e. a traditional Christmas song, not a pop song). Always loving this version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by the awesome Annie Lennox. The music on this track is amazing:

The CD that this song comes from is completely fabulous (even Grace loves it). It's called "A Christmas Cornucopia" (how cool is that title?) and I highly recommend it for injecting some Christmas spirit.

That was easy :)


Monday, 12 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 10th: (Definitely No) Christmas Wrapping.

No time for JYCing at the weekend (even with the mobile blogging) it would seem.

This weekend particularly there's been little time. Mostly because there's been one very special Christmas present arriving at Chez Cookie this week. One that definitely came with no wrapping!

Meet the latest members of the Cookie family:

This is Opal (the tabby) and Loki (the ginger). They are 17 weeks old and totally bonkers! Our current cat, Scully (who is a grumpy, old lady cat) is less than amused by the new arrivals We're hoping she'll come round in a few days.

In the meantime Opal and Loki have been making themselves well at home. Exploring every inch of the living room (including the top of the bookshelves and the widescreen TV (eek!). They are so loveable and cuddly, the kids just adore them. Loki has even been assisting with Kendo's University work. He's very helpful, see:

While he was expanding his brain Opal was busy catch up on some much needed Kitten Zzzzzz's:

All that exploring and stalking your brother really takes it out of you!

So, not a very Christmassy JYC post for the 10th, but I had to share our new babies with you all. Sorry about the tenous wrapping paper link (that was the prompt for the day!).

Back with more tales of kitten madness soon I'm sure. They're home alone today while I'm at work.... God knows what they're doing to my Christmas tree while I'm gone!!


Friday, 9 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 9th: Traditions.

I have just relented and done my Christmas food shopping online for delivery (on Thursday 22nd as all the 23rd and 24th delivery dates had been snapped up). I have a standard list that I have saved on the computer for Christmas food shopping. I roll the same one out every year and add other bits I'll need (so at least I know I won't forget anything).

I noticed that there's one particular item that always appears on that list and it's a little sad and lonely looking.

I always buy an individual Christmas Pudding. Just a little one. Why? Well, no one else in the family likes it (freaky people I live with!) and if I buy a big one it just goes to waste (or I end up scoffing the whole thing which, Christmas season or not, is really not good for my waistline!).

So I have my little individual Christmas pudding and custard while the rest of the family tuck into very unfestive cheesecake for dessert. The weirdos.

I'm happy though, that little bigtof Christmassy goodness tops off my Christmas dinner quite nicely, thank you very much. Yum, yum, yum.


JYC 2011 - December 8th: Do you see what I See?

Four years on and we're still playing this game:

These days with even more gusto and louder voices and to even more incredible displays of Christmas light extravaganza mentalness! It's comforting to know somethings don't change :)


Thursday, 8 December 2011

JYC 2001 - December 7th: Organised, much?

Thankfully, there is not much left on my pre-Christmas "To Do List". I learnt a long time ago that I need to be organised for Christmas. I can't abide a last minute rush and the thought of going into town or a shopping centre so near Christms just brings me out in a cold sweat. WAY too many people for my liking. Probably 97% of my present shopping is done (mostly done online it has to be said (and wrapped and stashed around the house away from prying eyes!)).

I still have the following to do:

  • Buy the kids Christmas gifts to each other (Grace wants to buy Ewan a Nerf blaster - Lord help us!). I'm thinking he should probably buy her one in return so she can at least defend herself against the foam they come in pink, I wonder?)

  • Christmas food shopping (this will be getting on on 21st - before the absolute insane supermarket madness begins, hopefully. Why do people do that? Shop for food like it's Armageddon??? It's not like the shops aren't open Boxing Day these days! *SIGH*)

  • Fix up the fireplace (I won the Ebay auction!) and get the stockings hung up.

See, not many things at all. I can live with a list like that. Of course I will probably end up buying last minute presents for the kids (when I look at their pile and decide they need more stocking fillers - which I will buy and they will probably not play with. I wonder if I can disuade myself from spending the extra money this year?) but all in all not much left to do except enjoy the season... which is exactly the plan :)


**don't mention the absence of December 6th. As I am officially not sweating the JYC catch up this year I decided to give prompt 6 a miss. Do I feel bad about it? Not one jot! Hurrah! I am finally JYC guilt free :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

JYC 2001 - December 5th: Christmas Countdown

There was a whole different kind of Christmas Countdown going on at Chez Cookie last night. Yes, the kids are merrily counting down the days with their chocolate advent calendar (because despite all my craftiness I am clearly incapable of EVER making a reusable one - not that they're complaining, because lets face it, who doesn't want a Cadburys chocolate every morning after breakfast for 24 days?) but I was counting down the seconds on an Ebay auction.

What might be so exciting and Christmassy about this Ebay auction you might ask. Was it a Christmas present? A fabulous toy for the kids? Something blingy and exciting for my Christmas stocking? No. It was somewhere to actually PUT the Christmas stockings!

The year before last my lovely FIL took out our old, decrepit heating system and fitted us a nice, shiny, new, super energy efficient combo boiler. As the old one was a back boiler behind the fire in the living room that meant as the boiler went, so did the fire (and the fireplace). Now we hadn't used the fire in about 5 years so it wasn't an epic loss, and I did loathe the brick monsterosity of the fireplace that was there, but it did present one problem. Last Christmas, there was nowhere for me to hang the Christmas stockings :(

This year I've decided that we need a fireplace back. The living room is just missing something without one. So that's what I was bidding on. A lovely wooden firesurround for the living room....... so I'll have somewhere to hang my stockings. Is that a bit overboard just for Christmas decorations??? I think not :) The good news is I won, and for the bargain price of £9.99. I just need to get round to picking it up and find something for a hearth, and drag the mantle decorations out, and find the stocking, and the money to buy a fire!


Monday, 5 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 4th: A Perfect Christmas.

My good friend Louise and I went on our annual Twilight movie pilgrimage yesterday (we have a tradition of meeting at a cinema in between our two houses (about a 100 mile round trip for each of us) to spend some quality time scoffing Ben and Jerrys and drooling over scrumptious shirtless werewolves (so very wrong when you're practically old enough to be his mother! LOL).

Anyhoo.... over our obligatory Christmassey lattes we also had a discussion about December 4ths JYC prompt and how you can only write so many times about what your "Perfect" Christmas is like. Lou has taken a different tactic this year and gotten her DD to write down what would be her perfect Christmas. Mine hasn't changed much since I scrapped this page in 2007:

So, rather than rehash the whole thing I thought I would take today to ponder one element of it, my favourite Christmas movie. Now, I'm not generally one for black and white films. As a rule they usually don't float my cinematic boat, but I do have to make an exception when it comes to "It's a Wonderful Life". I totally love this movie, Jimmy Stewart is fab in that swarve fabulous forties kind of a way (what it it about me in suits and hats?) and I think the story is the perfect Christmas tale. I think there's a point for all of us when we wonder why we bother doing the daily grind but this film at its heart shows us just how much the smallest things we do can have an impact on other people. It also gives us food for thought over striving to make the decisions and actions we do make in life positive ones (as every action we take has an affect on others).

I do try to make the effort to watch this movie on Christmas Eve but the last few years things have conspired against me (mostly poorly small people I seem to recall... why do my kids insist on getting sick on Christmas Eve??). This year I'm going to attempt to watch it earlier..... hopefully I'll get to settle down with a nice glass of something festive and some lovely chocolates and just enjoy the black and white festiveness (even though I don't do black and white I still can't bring myself to watch the colourised version that's on my DVD. It just seems wrong!).

I'll leave you with a little clip then. Always remember.... no man is a failure who has friends :)


Sunday, 4 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 3rd: Christmas Cards.

I'm torn on the issue of Christmas cards. Kendo is firmly of the opinion that Christmas cards should be reserved for those people you don't see throughout the year, that's its crazy to send Christmas cards to people who you can easily say 'Merry Christmas' to in person.

The older I get the more I'm inclined to agree with him. Especially when you consider how much the whole card thing feeds into the consumerist agenda of Christmas. That said, in these days when written correspondance (that's not in the form of junk mail or a bill) is few and far between maybe its a time to revive the tradition of putting actual pen to real paper and penning some thoughtful words to someone special.

I have long since given up on handmade Christmas cards (way too much guilt for not completing them and who needs that stress?) but I have actually gotten round to buying some cards this year. Whether they actually make it to being sent is a whole other issue though!


Friday, 2 December 2011

JYC 2011 - December 2nd: Winter Weather

The "winter"weather this year seems unseasonable warm. I blame the fact the my lovely husband went out and bought a car (to use for his commute to work instead ofhis motorbike) on the basis that the UK Met office told us we'd have snow comeOctober. So, clearly, lesson #1 NEVER believe what the Met office tells you! Wehaven't seen a sniff of a snow flake and it's barely gotten to freezing even at this point in December.

The weather for today? A positively balmy (for this time of year) 7 degrees..... and set to be even warmer tomorrow.

When it comes to the weather I'm a fickle creature. I love the snow, but only for the first day of excitement and fun. I soon lose any desire for it when it's turned to grey slush then refrozen and I have to attempt to drive on it! I don't much care for the rain, unless I'm tucked up snuggly in the house with the heating on, then I could listen to rain and storms all night.

I was hoping for a little snow this year, mostly because the kids just love it so much. It's so much fun to see their faces when they realise that it's snowed and they can't wait to get outside for some snowball/snowman/snow angel action.

Last year we had the most excellent snowfall in January (Miss G loved it.... until it interfered with her birthday celebrations!).

The local park was transformed to a winter wonderland:


and the kids had tonnes of fun playing in the snow both in the park (amidst the blizzard!) and in my parents garden:




Unfortunately we had to wait until January for our snow last year. I'm secretly hoping we'll get to have at least a little snowy fun over the actual Christmas period this year. For me it really does make the whole thing that little bit more Christmassey. The biggest benefit to a day in the snow though? A perfect excuse to indulge in a guilt free one of these:

Nom. Nom. Nom. :)
Here's hoping for some of the white stuff before the Big day.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

JYC 2011 - 1st December: A Christmas Manifesto.

The first test of JYC blogging on the fly. Hopefully the Blogger app will prove successful....then there might be some hope of me actually getting some way through JYC this year!

So, to start with. A Christmas manifesto. I've been a little lazy for sure and stolen Shimelle's premade one, but really it does actually sum up what I'm hoping for from this Christmas. I really want to try to get into a proper festive mood and to just relax and enjoy the season. To make it as magical for the kids as possible. To let go of the stress and be a fun Mum for a change instead of one who is cranky and busy all the time. I just want to kick back and enjoy the Christmas tree scented, minced pie flavored, holly berry coloured, wrapping paper covered ride!


JYC 2011 - Welcome to December

So. Kicking off as I (hopefully) mean to go on, with the first task of this year's Journal Your Christmas.

The prompt for today hasn't yet arrived but there was a little taster in my inbox this morning from the lovely Shimelle asking me to consider and take a little time to fill in this:

I'm really hoping that as I'm (mostly) organised for this year I will be able to take a step back from the usual madness and spend some time actually enjoying the festive build up, rather than being all "Bah! Humbuggy" like I usually am come the first week of December. So this Christmas I will attempt all of the above....... most especially that last one!

Back later with some JYC prompt 1 related waffle.


Thoughts on Christmas Journalling.

There was a time (in the dim and distant past) when the 1st December came to mean one thing to me. The beginning of Shimelle's "Journal Your Christmas" class.

This was a time when I had enough time to make albums, and plan pages, and enjoy the delights of sticking sparkly lovely Christmas themed paper in to hand made albums with jolly little embellishments. Oh I did love to do that.


These days there seems to be much less time for things like this. My scrapbooking supplies have laid mostly untouched for the last couple of years (with the exception of a few occasions where my lovely friend Lou has shamed me into scrapping some more of the kids photos!).

Last year, knowing that an album was never going to work for me and my hectic schedule I began JYC 2010 in a spiral bound sketch book, just writing and doodling a little each day. I don't think I made it past day 10 and they certainly didn't make it onto the Cookie blog (although I seem to recall there being a "Word Cloud" one that I was quite pleased with. I wonder that I did with that book?)

We're here once again at the 1st December (which I still really cannot believe is actually here.... I'm sure it was August last week!) and once again I'm getting that JYC feeling :) There's no way on this planet I would be able to keep up with an album. I know this, even as that scrapbooky voice in my head is saying "you could just get some stash out and whip up something pretty".  What I do really like about JYC is that it forces you to stop and look at the festive season as something to be enjoyed, rather than whizzing through it in a mindless blur of "must get this done" madness.

I want to take part this year. I also need a way to take part that is going to give me a half decent chance of actually getting something done. Album is out, sketch book didn't work. I'm thinking I need to rely more on the wonders of modern technology. I have a smart phone, it has a blogger app. I'm at my desk most of the day, with my computer, which I can blog from. I have a much neglected blog. The answer seems reasonably simple them, and I'm all for the Finding your Simple at the moment.

So, an attempt at a bloggy JYC this year. I have no idea if it will work but I know this - I won't sweat about it if it doesn't and I will enjoy it if it does!

Wish Me Luck.... I'm going in!!


Friday, 25 November 2011

Attitude of Gratitude

A long time ago when Grace was a teeny tiny baby (feels like a million years ago!) I was trawling t’internet in search of some breastfeeding advice when I came across the message boards for a lady called Tracy Hogg. Affectionately known as “The Baby Whisperer". I’d seen Tracy’s programmes on the Discovery Health Channel whilst I was pregnant with Grace so I was familiar with her work. Little did I know that that message board would become my online home for the next 5 years! (and that I would moderate boards on that forum for 4 of them!).

Through the Baby Whisperer forum I met some amazing people. Some very quickly became RL friends (who I speak to in one form or anotherpractically every single day).  Even after retiring from the site there are some I am still on contact one way or another…via facebook or blogging or some other means.

The women I met on that site touched my life in a myriad of ways. Some helped me with parenting isssues (or were helped by me in parenting issues), some shared my love of all things crafty, some got my bizarre sense of humour, some loved to argue with me (in the nicest possible way), one of them was/is my Canadian doppleganger and some shared my desire to try and get some organisation into my home and my life.

It’s one of the latter that inspires this post.

The lovely Debra Dane, who’s  BW tag line always intrigued me so. “An American, married to a Brit, living in Oz” was what it used to say. Deb was always there to spur me (and a hundred other life-crazed women) on when we couldn’t get a handle on the laundry, or feeding everyone, or get over the fact that we couldn’t actually do everything. With a wise and invariably honest word she could put your mind at ease.

Deb has recently started up a new blog called “Home LifeSimplified” where she is sharing her fantastic take on life as a busy family. The tag line there says it all “Find YOUR  Simple”. What could be simpler?

A big part of Deb’s attempt to find HER simple is trying to promote an “Attitude of Gratitude” within herself. To see the positive in life rather than the negative. To be thankful for what we DO have, rather than what we don’t. A wise move at any time I would think but even more so in light of current economic climate the world over. We could all stand to focus on the positive aspects of our lives (lest the negative ones overwhelm us).

As a culture I think us Brits tend not to go in for this “gratitude” business very much. Insofar as it’s not common for us to express gratitude just for the sake of doing it. On the contrary, Britain is apparently a nation of Moaners (most spending on average 9 minutes per day just whining about stuff).   
After reading Deb’s blog for a couple of weeks I decided I would try to go against my heritage and try to see the positive more. I’m working on trying to shift my thought process round to seeing the good, instead of bemoaning the bad all the time.

As part of her Attitude of Gratitude promotion Deb is posting a weekly “Attitude of Gratitude” post on her blog to talk about what she’s feeling grateful for that week. Given I’m trying to follow her example I thought I would follow suit.

So, This week I am most Grateful for:
Being well prepared for Christmas and not having go into debt to pay for it.   

I’ve managed to do the majority of my Christmas shopping this week and unlike a very large proportion of the UK I haven’t had to amass a huge amount of debt to do it. Now, we’re not talking a massive amount of extravagant gifts here. Just a little something for each family member and a pile of presents for each of the kids. More than enough for a happy Christmas.  It takes quite a lot of money management to get to the point where I can be able to do this but I’ve learnt that it pays to plan for it to avoid that stress of wondering how we’re going to pay for Christmas at the last minute. It makes me really sad when I see families struggling under the weight of consumer pressure to buy stuff for their kids. Parenting is hard enough without feeling like you’re letting your children down because they don’t have the latest this or the best that. We try hard to teach our kids the value of money. They don’t just get whatever they want in the year. If they’re asking for something big they’ll likely be told to ask for their birthday or Christmas. I want them to really value what they have, not be so surrounded by stuff that they lose the value of the things they do own.  This year I am going to try hard to encourage the spirit of Christmas more at home. Family activities to make the festive season come alive…. Cookie baking and winter walks and hot chocolate and tree decorating (I will try to let go of my Christmas Tree perfectionism and just let the kids have at it! LOL).
Most of my presents are wrapped now except for the few I am waiting to be delivered. I will wrap those when they arrive.  I might even get around to Christmas cards this year!
My Parents and My In-Laws.

I tell my children all the time just how lucky they are to have two sets of Grandparents around that they see all the time. I literally do not know what we would do without my Mother. She has watched my children almost every day since I had to return to work. She never says no if I ask her to sit for them. My parents and In-Laws have such an active role in my kid’s lives (and our lives) and I’m so happy that they’re around to do that. I’m grateful for every day they are with us and every day that my Dad is a step closer to being healthy again.
The Acceptance of Potential Happiness.
Yesterday I saw a dear friend of mine who lost her husband a few years ago (just a short time after their wedding). She has travelled a long road the last two and a half years in terms of dealing with her grief and the aftermath of her loss. I’m grateful that she finally seems accepting of the possibility that it is okay for her to be happy again. It lifts my heart to see her smile without seeing the immediate shadow of guilt behind it.
A long overdue kitchen remodel.
I have a new (to me) kitchen. It was something of a surprise (inherited from a friend who is having a new one fitted).  It is currently in pieces in my dining room. I’m very grateful that it will eventually replace the hideous brown kitchen we currently have. I’m grateful I have a husband capable of fitting it, and a father in law more than willing to help.

That are tonnes of other things. Once you starting thinking of the positive things then you start to see more and more, it’s definitely a knockon effect.

I'm going to try to do this every week, If nothing else it will hopefully encourage me into a little blogging. Which has been sadly lacking this year.

If you haven’t already you should definitely pop over to Deb’sblog for some interesting reads.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Once Upon A Time.........

........there was a (not so) young girl lady who woke up one day and decided that all the silly things that went on in her head were worth sharing with the world. The (not so) young girl lady set up a colourful space on the big scary internet where she whiled away some of her SAHM time waffling about silly things like teapots and Scooby Doo and picnics and sick babies.

She made things too. Things with paper and things with fabric and sometimes things with yarn.

She baked lovely things to eat like cakes, and cookies and delicious bread and all was happy and well in her little world.

Then, one day, the grisly, mean old bank manager decreed that the (not so) young girl lady must give up her peaceful SAHM existance and venture back into the world of work. So off the (not so) young girl lady went to work in a big castle of learning not far away from her home.

Years passed and for a little while the (not so) young girl lady carried on doing the things she loved and whispering about them to the folks who would come to visit her colourful corner of blogland to listen. Knowing that she was not getting any younger the (not so) young girl lady took up other pasttimes. Things with running, and kicking and jumping that helped to keep her healthy and give her skills to fight off dark forces that may cross her path.

One day, the (not so) little boy of the (not so) young girl lady was old enough to go to a castle of learning of his own, so off he trundled with his sister one morning, resplendant in his shining uniform of grey and regal blue.

Ewan's First day of school

Shortly after that, the castle of learning where the (not so) young girl lady worked decided that it would take many more students into its academic fold and so the leaders of the institution asked the (not so) young girl lady if she would work many more hours than she already did. Mindful of the grisly, mean old bank manager the (not so) young girl lady decided that she would.

Unfortunately, many more hours spent at the castle of learning meant even less time for the things the (not so) young girl lady had once loved. On the occasions when she did make things with paper, or things with fabric or yarn, or bake lovely things to eat she rarely remembered to capture picture of them and whisper them in the colourful blogland space.

Unfortunately, many more hours spent at the castle of learning meant even less time for the things the (not so) young girl lady did not love aswell. So the laundry pile grew and the work surfaces gathered crumbs and the floors went unswept and the dust bunnies gathered in dark corners and made plans to take over the world.

Slowly but surely the (not so) young girl lady began to notice the appearance of a rather grumpy old lady round the house. At first she didn't appear very often but over time her visitations grew more frequent and there didn't seem to be much the (not so) young girl lady could do to prevent the intrusion. Not even the (not so) young girl lady's new found kick-ass martial arts skills could keep the grumpy old lady at bay. As the grumpy old lady appeared more and more the (not so) young girl lady felt herself slipping away. Taken over by the grumpy, grumbly, shouting, snarky old lady more and more with each passing day.

So, surrounded by mess and tired from hard work at the castle of learning, and fearful of the grumpy old lady the (not so) young girl lady decided that things would need to change. Plans would need to me made. Great plans to organise the things that the (not so) young girl lady loved, and more important big plans to organise the things that the (not so) young girl lady did not love.

Could these plans be realised? Could these problems be surmounted? Would the (not so) young girl lady ever live happily ever after, or would the grumpy old lady win out in the end. Only time will tell.

The End.... for now.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Swirls and Sprinkles

Two posts. Two days. WOW. It's a miracle!

And what's warranted another post so soon? Well, I've been spending a lot of time over on this last few weeks and I've been totally inspired by the awe worthy collection of cupcake images over there. Seriously, some of them are just TOO gorgeous looking.

Take these for example (one of my absolute faves):

What is not to love about those cupcakes, I ask you?

So, inspired by all the pinterest cupcake lovliness, and in response to a request from Mr K for baking for his co-workers I dutiful dusted off the muffin tins and cupcake papers and set to it.

Nothing ground breaking in terms of newness. Devil's food cupcakes from here (my go to recipe for chocolate cupcakes) and a test out of this frosting recipe from I am Baker. I used half shortening and half butter. I really, really, REALLY like this frosting recipe. I think I ate half of it from the bowl before it even got to the cakes! LOL. What I love about it most is that the shortening means its white (I find when I make butter cream with all butter it's always got a bit of a yellowish ting which I don't really like). This worked great, would have piped better if it wasn't so bloomin' hot here too.

Without futher ado then. Cupcakes, with swirls and sprinkes. Delicious and beautiful, what more can you want in a cupcake..... well.... calorie free maybe? Can't guarantee that though, sorry ;)

Spirls and Sprinkles Cupcakes

Don't they look lovely? Want one? Here you just for you:

Enjoy :)

Swirls and sprinkles cupcakes


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Back in the Scrapping Saddle

So, it's been a while. Of late though I've felt ticklings of scrapbooking mojo re-emerging. Lots to do with this lady, who inspires me greatly with her endless enthusiasm for all things scrappy.

Also to do with this lady, who has been endlessly cranking out great scrapbooking pages to keep me entertained while I've been out of the scrapping game.

I do have to confess that whilst my mojo is somewhat returned it has been greatly dependant on a helping hand of late (in the form of sketches, classes and scraplifts). I like to think of it as easing myself back in gently :)

As promised then, the latest layouts from Chez Cookie:

He loves me He loves me Not

He loves me He loves me not Title Close up

(This one is actually from a last year but I haven't posted it yet *slapped wrists*)

BeWILDer Wood LO

(This one is based on Shimelle's Sketch to scrapbook page from 29th June. Photos from our holiday in Norfolk in April)

A Spin on the Teacups LO

A Spin on the Teacups Title Close up

A Spin on the Teacups Embellie close up

(This is based on Shimelle's 4x6 photo love class for June. Random collection of photos of Gracie on the teacups. If you look closely at the other little lady accompanying Grace in the photo on the left you just might recognise her from here.)

And last but not least:

First Scalextric LO

(Based on this LO by Shannon Tidwell from the Products you love every which way class for June).

My new found scrapping led to a bit of a reprimand from Mr K in that I haven't scrapped any where near as many photos of Ewan as I have of Grace (second child syndrome I'm afraid *bad mummy slap*). So, my scrapping effort for the foreseeable future will involve all things boyish and lots of tales of the Eggman.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Joy of Discovery

There aren't many things in life (these days) as much fun as discovering a new blog.

I may well have died and gone to cake making heaven.

Be warned... you could put pounds on just looking at this blog!

It's here: I Am Baker.

Peruse at your calorific peril!


P.S. Rumour has it there's been some scrapbooking action going on a Chez Cookie. No, really. There has. Pics to follow. Promise.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Did You See The Size of That Chicken?*

Oh, it has been a while. Three months in fact. Wow. I remember a time when I used to blog everyday......oh for the days of SAHMness. *SIGH*

Ah well.

I thought I'd come and share the news of the latest additions to the Cookie family. A little while ago (about 9 months or so), we inherited a chicken coop from some friends of ours who had upgraded theirs. It sat in the garden with a tarp over it for months gathering slugs and spiderwebs and other insecty type adornments. After a visit to said friends over the Bank holiday period (and an introduction to their new chickens) we decided we'd bite the bullet and finally put the coop to some use. We'd made the decision we would get some hens come September.

When I returned to work after the bizillionth bank holiday weekend I found an email had arrived in my inbox from a collegue who's cousin had rescued some battery hens and was looking to rehome them. Divine Providence? We thought so to and so three of those ex-batt hens have come to live out the rest of their days hopefully at lot happier around at Chez Cookie.

We've had them a little over a week now and they've settle in beautifully. So, without further ado let me introduce you to our new girls:

First we have McQueenie (top of the pecking over and the escape artist of the group):


Next, in the middle we have Ruby:


And last but by no means least we have Iron Chicken (or I.C for short) - yes, this is what you get when you ask your 4 year old son to name his own chicken!:


They're pretty well feathered for Ex-batts and are amazingly tame. They'll happily come to investigate and stay a while. If you hang around long enough Ruby will practically sit on your knee!

They've even been gifting us with some yummy eggs (we thought they might go off lay for a while with all the moving commotion) which are definitely the BESTEST eggs I've ever tasted.....although I could well be accused of being a little biased. Maybe.

I've really come to love these ladies over the past week. They entertain me no end with their chickeny antics. I haven't even minded the poop scooping so much (although I'm sure having to go out there in the winter will be a real test of just how endearing they can be. If they can still win me over then they'll be lucky!).

So. Welcome to our new lovely ladies. Here's to make happy hen moments for them (and for us).


*if you didn't get this reference, you should totally watch this clip: