Monday, 30 November 2015

New cookware

Was picking up my Christmas tree at Longacres today with a friend (I wouldn't fit in my car) and swung by the cookware section as I needed a few more pieces of bake ware with the festive season upon us.  Not sure other shoppers were too pleased to see my 6' Christmas tree meandering down the aisles (with a great sticky-out top to poke their legs) but hey-ho, when I'm focused on getting something, nothing - not even a wobbly trolley wheel - will beat me.

I was after another cake tin as the girls love making fairy cakes and I only have the one tin so usually cook in batches.  It occurred to me the other day, whilst waiting for the first lot of cakes to come out of the oven, that a 2nd cake tin may be a good idea.  I know, sometimes it takes me a while to cotton on. I found a great selection of tins and so taken with them was I, that I almost decided to make my own bread just so I could have a tin with little holes all around it!   I ended up with these two tins. They are heavy so when not in use for baking, I'll be using them to build up my arm muscles *grin*.

I then spotted (yeah, yeah, I know how dreadful I am at just coming in for the one thing) this cute cutting board. I did need another one...honest!  It was such a bargain I couldn't resist it.

Then I spotted this. Isn't it cute?  I know, how can a frying pan be cute but trust me on this, it is.  They come in all sorts of different colours.  I bought this little purple one as it's S's favourite colour and as she's a fussy eater (understatement of the year), I thought it would be a great way to cook her the occasional fried egg when she decides she no longer wants to eat chicken/fish/lamb with the rest of the family. It's an odd situation but one we're used to.

S does enjoy a boiled egg though but since my 'egg perfect' timer died (1st was was great, 2nd was crap not so good), hubby and I have played the game of 'guess when the egg is ready'.  We're not very good at it and the eggs can be a bit random to say the least.  So I bought this funky timer - in purple again of course - to finally give S an egg that she didn't either squeal over (as it was so snotty) or need a pick-axe to get into (hard-boiled anyone?).

Thursday, 26 November 2015

I only went to Longacres for a Poinsettia...

...and came back with quite a bit more.  Argh! It's fatal when I go over there.  I just can't resist all the lovely things.  No matter how restrained I think I'll be and whatever talking to I give myself before I arrive, I crumble. On a good note, I did get said Poinsettia.  It's 13cm high (says the label), and is gorgeous. You can spot it just to the left in the picture. No, not that one, the other one. However, I had no idea that these plants came in such a range of colours.  

Look at them all - aren't they lovely?  I was almost tempted by the yellow one but, call me old fashioned, red is the colour for Christmas.

I also picked up this fabulous plant. The 'flowers' look kind of screwed up and it is called Euphorbia Pulc (so says the label).  Not an appealing name but a lovely plant.  I'm guessing from the style of the 'flowers' it's of the Poinsettia range of plants. 
Poinsettia *and* pot
The thing I always find when I'm buying plants is that I get them home and then realise I don't have a pot to fit them.  This normally results in cursing under my breath whilst wandering in and out of the garage and shed trying to find something that they will fit into to put on the table.  Not today! Oh no.  This gal is sorted.  Longacres have cleverly put some red and white shiny pots right next to the plants.  Guess what?  The plants fit the pots!  How smart is that?  Anyway, I popped my two plants into the pots (just to check you understand) and toddled off feeling rather smug. 

Before I got to the tills, I spotted that the artificial plants also had a bit of a Christmas vibe going on so I picked up this little cutie.  We've just had our bathroom done with a grey tile floor so I thought it would look ideal in there. Also I won't forget to water it up there.  I know you're thinking 'but it's a bathroom. It's full of water' but trust me, I forget anything living that goes upstairs. That's how my teenager can spend a whole day in her bedroom without me disturbing her *grin*

On the note of getting a bit more than the single Poinsettia I went in for, I was a total failure. I had to have yet another look around the Christmas decorations and found these lovely hearts to hang up, some little bells for the tree and this gorgeous little candle holder.  I'm a bit wary of candles - even the tea light ones - with children in the house but I noticed that Longacres displays had 'fake' candles in them.  If they were in the displays, they must sell them somewhere!   I headed off to find them and failed.  I got distracted by LED lights again and the real candles.  I finally asked someone and she directed me to them. I'd been thrown as they looked so real!  Some of them have a little 'flame' that moves.  You'd be hard pressed to tell them apart from a real candle until you got close or put your hand over them.  I settled for the tea lights I wanted as S wants one of those for a little painted jar she made at Rainbows earlier this year too.

There were some fabulous festive door wreaths and table centre displays as well. I may even pick up one of these lovely Festive planters for a present or two next time I'm there, but my arm was dropping off today and I was already juggling plants to the till. Mind you, I couldn't leave without getting the girls an Advent calendar each as well - Cadbury chocolate of course!
P.S. Dear Longacres - please get some bigger baskets - thank you!

Monday, 23 November 2015

One week with Cloud

Sadly our lovely little kitten, Cloud, was returned to the breeder we got him from on Saturday.  He'd been with us 6 days.  Whilst N was being quite 'brave' around him (but still scared), S was absolutely scared to death of him.  On Saturday, we thought the girls were so tired they'd actually had their first ever lay-in.  Turns out they were awake but being super quiet in their room as they were too scared to come out until they heard us walking around.  How sad is that.

He was the most beautiful, gentle cat.  The reason I paid so much for a pedigree Ragdoll was that I knew their temperment having had one before.  I knew they were real softies, didn't mind their tummy, feet or tail stroked and thus would be pretty 'safe' for the girls. But alas it was not to be.

Sadly he moved too fast for them and S wouldn't even be in the same room as him (bar a couple of times where she sat on the coffee table) and if he moved off my lap, she'd run and lock herself in the cloakroom or hide in her bedroom. Hubby and I did try to integrate him and our thoughts were that she is so frightened that maybe we need to keep him to get her over this fear of animals.  However, in the end, it just seemed wrong - for both of them.  He was being shut in the kitchen or his cat box (if we were having to go in and out of the kitchen) whilst we ate or the girls did anything downstairs, otherwise they were too scared to come out of their bedroom if he was roaming around.  Not fair on either side I'm sure you'll agree.  He was a lovely boy and once the girls were in bed, would have a play with us and then just curl up on my lap or sit behind my head on the back of the sofa to sleep. 

We had his claws clipped at the vet so he couldn't scratch (he'd caught both of them whilst playing which upset them).  We bought him lots of toys to play with and we played with him so they could watch and see what fun he was.  It didn't work.

Hubby wanted to keep him a bit longer and try a bit more but in the end we agreed that it wasn't the right thing to do and returned him so he could go to a home where he wasn't shut away and was loved.  I cried most of the way back to the breeder and had a good cry again when I got home. This little bundle of fluff had really got to me in less than a week.  I'm sad but my children come first.  Maybe once they are grown up and off to college or university, hubby and I will get a Ragdoll that will stay with us forever.

Despite being scared of him, S, in particular, cried and screamed when I said he was going back. She begged to keep him and said she'd try harder but do you know what, I knew within that week that it would never work. I know my girls so well.  S drew this amazing picture of us with Cloud for me to keep. So much detail in the image.  

I was proved right as well. Yesterday the jumped out of bed, came downstairs and were the bubble, noisy girls I know so well, not the subdued, nervous children they had been last week.   

Monday, 16 November 2015

School, Art and Cat

I can't believe we're just over halfway through the new school term.  Where has the time gone?  I'm only keeping track of the weeks as the girls are doing after school clubs and there are only 5 more of them, including this week, before everything stops for Christmas. Tell me it ain't so?  
S has settled down well into Year 2. She says it's a lot harder work than year 1. When I ask her how her school day went and what she did I get that look and she normally replies saying "maths, phonics, more writing, lunch and then maths, phonics and writing again".  Hard slog when you're only just 7 I guess.  She's doing an art club with one of the very talented mummy's who runs it after school, and she loves it.  She very definitely has a talent where art is concerned.

N has finally settled and has stopped crying every time she goes in to school.  Yes, there's still the odd morning but she is happy in the main. That's a step in the right direction. She's also doing an art club with her teacher and came home from her first week with this amazing little picture made of buttons. It's on the wall in her room now.
J is finding 6th form quite hard work. She is ok with it all but said that the work really has ramped up now.  We're still carrying on with her extra maths once a fortnight and she said on Saturday that really helped her as one of the subjects they started last week, she thought "I already know this" and felt quite smug.   Having a great private tutor makes all the difference.

We've also got a new addition to the family. He's called Cloud and he's 13 weeks old.  He's a Ragdoll kitten.  The girls love him and are scared of him in equal parts.  He arrived yesterday and prompted explored the house, decided my computer chair and laptop bags were his places to sleep and settled in. He has cried almost non-stop since we got him as I suppose I would too if I'd just been taken away from all my family.   He's very affectionate and follows us around everywhere.  He did not like being shut in the kitchen overnight but we have hardly any doors on rooms downstairs (daft design) and therefore didn't want to leave him roaming around. Have you seen how full the girls' toy boxes are? We'd never find him again! As I'm typing this, he has curled up on my lap and gone to sleep.  Guess he's quite happy with us then.  
I'm just hoping that the girls settle with him.  They are so scared of everything, especially anything fluffy, that both hubby and I thought a cat would be an ideal pet to help shake the fear.  Unfortunately he put his paws up onto S's chair this morning and she fell to pieces, screamed, nearly tipped the chair backwards (she already had her feet up in case he touched them under the table) and ran crying to her daddy in the other room.  Please let that be a short-lived phase whilst she's getting used to him as we don't want to have to find him a new home in a few weeks as he's upsetting her so much.  Does anyone else have a child like that?

Friday, 13 November 2015

Eat, drink and buy baubles

Yesterday my friend J and I headed over to Longacres for the open evening, to enjoy a fantastic 10% off.  Of course, on top of the discount there was free wine and mince pies, so who wouldn't want to go right?
Parking was, shall we say, bonkers on the night.  Fortunately we had a secret (but I'm not telling you what it was) and we arrived fresh and relaxed whilst we watched cars going round and round the car park, like a teddy bear, one space, no space....

Greeted by a very happy Santa handing out sweeties.  This is a great start. We headed over to the Christmas decorations as I'm changing my colour scheme this year and wanted to get some new baubles and bits for the tree. But first, let's take a selfie (as you do).

So much choice and great prices even before the discount.  It took us 45 minutes to get out of the white and red decoration section! This was not due to the crowds of people, but due to much dithering by me on exactly which decorations I liked (best).  Bumped into a couple of friends there and had a catch up. Atmosphere, despite the place heaving, was very jovial.  There were plenty of staff on hand too.  In fact, I reckon there was a member of staff for every 10 customers.  They were extremely helpful and also seemed to be having a good time.

Look at the size of those ba....baubles!
J thought these little Lemax musical village items were lovely.  The way they were displayed was fantastic and lots of children were admiring them (and probably nagging mum and dad afterwards for one!).  I took a little video (but didn't show it to *my* girls).

Once J had hauled me away from the Christmas bits, we headed into the area where the band were playing for her to pick up a cup (or three) of red wine and a piece (or two) of scrumptious mince pie.  I'm on a diet so I kindly gave her my share.  That's what friends are for.  We did think about going around a few times saying we were identical twins/triplets/quads to try everything at least twice, but weren't really sure that would wash *grin*.
Don't mind if I do!
It seems that we managed to miss the carol singing by the Brownies and the tree decoration masterclass (which we were both looking forward to) as they were earlier in the evening. We will make sure we're here earlier next year. 

Into the next area we went and what did we see but these huge, cuddly...things.  We weren't exactly sure what they were until I picked one up and shouted, rather too loudly "It's a muff. It's huge!".  J collapsed with laughter which meant I did as well.  Queue the innuendo for the next five minutes or so. Apologies to anyone who was around us at the time.


So, I've now got some great new decorations along with these two super 'tins'.   My two contain a teddy and penguin that you can make (my girls will love these at Christmas) but they also had a tea-set in a tin, farm in a tin, and loads of others.  Aren't they adorable?  I've never seen anything like them before. 

My new pink and white colour scheme is almost complete.  I do have a mini Christmas tree for our dining room too (from Longacres, naturally) so I may well be back for just one or two more decorations. This time I might let hubby choose the colour scheme.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Pink motorcycle boots?

You know those times when you should have waited to read the email on your PC, not your mobile phone?  Yep, that.
eBay seller: "Thank you for your order. I will be despatching the boots via Hermes tomorrow"
Me: "Thank you for letting me know. My husband is looking forward to getting them as his are now leaking"
eBay seller: "Err...just to check, these are girls, pink, size 13 boots. Is that what you ordered?"
Me: "Oops, sorry, just won some motorcycle boots and thought that was what you were sending. Girls boots great, just not any good for hubby"
eBay Seller: "Phew. Glad to hear it. Didn't want him to be disappointed when the pink boots arrived for him lol"

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Happy birthday - have a pierced lip!

What a great weekend. Saturday I collected J and we headed into Wycombe to see if I could get (another) tattoo.  Whilst we were queuing outside the tattoo studio (I kid you not), I suggested to J that she might like her lip piercing as an extra birthday present. She was surprised but excited and decided to check with her dad before going ahead.  Unfortunately for us, the tattoo would be too late in the day and her dad didn't reply to her text straight away so we headed back to ours.  En-route, her dad replied to say fine (well, not exactly those words but along the lines of 'OMG, I suppose so') so naturally she wanted to do it NOW!  

We ended up in Woking but the tattoo studio there was too busy.  Of course, she wanted me to find one that would be free. Did you know, I had no idea there are 3 tattoo studios in Woking!  Anyway, 2nd one was also busy so called the 3rd and they had a space.  Off we went and I'm so glad we did.  We arrived at V1 Studio and the folk in there were fantastic. The studio is probably the most modern and cleanest I have ever been to.  Ladies and gents in there also really friendly.  J went in and had her lip pierced and I have to say it looks really nice.  I was feeling a tad left out so decided to have my ear done as well.  Early birthday present to myself *grin*
So 'Wednesday'

They were so nice at V1 that I decided to show them my tattoo idea and see if they could help.  The chap who'd done our piercings was also a tattooist so he took at look.  I didn't want someone else's design (and it wasn't quite right for me) so he's going to design something similar and I'm booked in on 14th to get it done (J is coming along to watch).

That afternoon N had a party with her little friend from her old school which was great fun but sadly before it was time to sing 'happy birthday' she felt a bit unwell with tummy ache so we had to go.

Got home and changed as we were off trick or treating in the evening.  J was dressed up as The Joker (Heath Ledger version), S as a vampire, N changed into a witch, hubby then produced a scream mask, which meant that from just planning to walk around with the girls, suddenly I need a costume.  So I went as a...I'm not sure really as I wasn't planning anything, so let's call it a demon ok?

The girls got lots of sweets and were really spoilt by friends and neighbours. Certainly enough E numbers to last beyond Christmas!
Just a normal night out for us

Today was J's 17th birthday.  Goodness me, where did 17 years go to?  She was up at 8am (where's my real daughter??) and opened her cards and presents. Money and gifts to make her smile.  Sister-in-law and children over at 10.30am and more presents and good chats.  Then off to take her back to her dad for the rest of her birthday (where she got a ticket to the premiere of the new Star Wars film in London as one of her surprises). 

It's been a great weekend and everyone has enjoyed it.  Hope you all had a good Halloween!