Welcome to Homemaking Heaven: Make it Home. Pull up a seat and pour yourself a cuppa!

Friday, 30 December 2011

Not so bad

Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

Mark Twain

Can't i feel good knowing that in about all the cold cuts and sweet treats there is fruit?

How do you get your exercise?

Have you been looking at the sales, or have you been sitting inside all cosy and warm? Shopping online or walking the dog?
This year its TH’s turn to be poorly between Christmas and Hogmanay, the poor thing has had an awfully bad gout attack which has come along at the same time as the dreaded lurgy.
We had everyone round a couple of days ago and luckily The Husband was well enough to see it as the treat it was and not a horrible chore-which catering for others whilst poorly can so very often be.
However, apart from that, we’ve been lazing around, eating sweeties, and watching television. Cosying it up, and petting Daisy Dog, yup, its all good!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is my favourite day of the whole year.  Its even better than Christmas Day itself, but only because its the day TH and i don't have to give over to spending time with anyone else, the whole house is sparkly and shiny, clean and tidy.  The day is entirely given over to whatever we wish to do, and i plan out every spare moment and have a whole plethora of lovely things to fill our day if we want them to. 
Like every single year before it, we head off to panto in Aberdeen for the seven o'clock showing.  We have to book it the year before, but by jingo we get good seats!  This year was no different, we headed in a little earlier than normal as we had booked to have our tea in town also.
This is the leopard that sits outside of the three big old buildings Education (the City Library), Salvation (one of the Churches) and Damnation (His Majesty's Theatre) that sit in a row near at one end of town.
This is an old picture of the theatre, right up from the seats in the gods!  We booked super early and had our favourite seats in the front stalls.  I'd sit anywhere but TH needs the leg room only some seats can offer!  
Just across the road from the theatre is the art gallery and Robert Gordon's.  This is the secondary school and part of the University.  I never went to this part of it, but its still very special and so beautiful.  Its also just along from lots of shops, and so i stood in the middle of the busy last minute shoppers getting bumped and pushed and attempted to take a steady photo.  All of the good pictures that ever grace this blog are taken by TH, who kindly lets me use them.  I should have attempted to persuade him and make him trod down into town to get this one, but he was in no mood to trot this far into maddening crowds!
Our beautiful theatre. 
And the new 1906 restaurant handily built on next door-the yummiest of pre-theatre Christmas Dinners awaited us! 
Taken earlier in November when the lights was switched on, but i never did get back to get a better picture of the tree.  Alas, the snow turned into nothing. 
The Good Fairy at Panto!
Poor gentleman-must have thought i was crazy, not crazy though-just excited! 
Oh and i never did get a chance to show this pic off earlier, so here it is, thrown in haphazardly.  All the same, its hardly Christmas without it!

It has all been..

I think 2011 is the year of being an awfully lax and lethargic blogger. There have been, in my defence, many changes. One of which is the fact that I’ve got a new job. It’s very exciting and I love the new challenges involved. I love working with kids and its keeping me busy, very busy!

However it leaves me really tired at the end of the day. Its also a completely different shift pattern-I’ve actually got weekends and evening to myself-something I don’t think I’ve had since I was a teenager! So I should really feel like I’ve got more energy, but for now its something I have to get used to, and my sleepy body is only slowly going that way.
This year has been difficult in places and very, very good in some others. Something that I personally think has been a massive achievement is that I have lost four stone. I wish I kept a better diary of it on here like I said I would do. There is still things I need to get a hold of, so I'm still a bit far away from my original plan of putting up a before and after picture-yup, I was that bad ‘before’. I would ideally like to lose another three stone, but my main goal is to be healthier throughout…maybe I should make it a better and more defined resolution.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Lucky Birds

The Husband had woken up early because of some really tough tablets he's on, so when i crept through the house to find him i caught him in the kitchen making treats for the birds!  How cute...i can just imagine these strung up in a line...lets hope the bigger ones dont come along and steal them all!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A Pause in Advent

Oops-this was written up on Saturday during the snow storm, but i guess i pressed the wrong button and it wasn't posted!
Another week closer to Christmas and some more traditions being fulfilled.  This week we put up the Christmas tree, and all of the other decoration that go with it.  The wreaths, the garlands, the Christmas candles, the lights, baubles, bells and oodles of other things i know I'm forgetting.
The outside of the house has been decked out for the festivities since the snow came about quite late this year, but some things remain the same.  The Christmas Cd's come out, we invariably tuck into the tins of roses early and stuff the freezer as if we're going to have to begin bartering for bare necessities over Christmas and Hogmany.  I'm late again with sending off cards, but quite happy with the progress on the long journey into the Christmas Holidays, which can be as calm and peaceful or bewitchingly busy as you wish to make it.  I'm bewitched with the busy and so i may begrudge rest, calm and easy, i enjoy it all the same.

Couldn't help myself

Just a quick wee shot of a pile of presents waiting to go into a little wicker basket and taken out into the cold.  We're heading out visiting and need to get them to their true owners before it gets too icy to make these trips.  I thought they were just too adorable!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Peeping in

The Wind in the Willows is a classic of children's literature by Kenneth Grahame and one of my favourite books ever.  I don't care how old i get, i will read this book forever.  I wanted to share this little snippet with you, because i think it sums up the season perfectly.  I'm awful, i constantly look in windows.  i dont mean to, and its not that im a terrible person and utterly nosey, but i do like to peep in quickly when the curtains are slightly open and the light from inside shines out into their gardens or paths as i walk past with Daisy.  The happy little houses remind me of dolls houses.  They twinkle of an evening and they all look so inviting.  So i can only offer an apology, albeit tongue in cheek, becuase i will also offer you this knowledge....other peole also do it: 

"The rapid nightfall of mid-December had quite beset the little village as they approached it on soft feet over a first thin fall of powdery snow. Little was visible but squares of a dusky orange-red on either side of the street, where the firelight or lamplight of each cottage overflowed through the casements into the dark world without. Most of the low latticed windows were innocent of blinds, and to the lookers-in from outside, the inmates, gathered round the tea-table, absorbed in handiwork, or talking with laughter and gesture, had each that happy grace which is the last thing the skilled actor shall capture— the natural grace which goes with perfect unconsciousness of observation. Moving at will from one theatre to another, the two spectators, so far from home themselves, had something of wistfulness in their eyes as they watched a cat being stroked, a sleepy child picked up and huddled off to bed, or a tired man stretch and knock out his pipe on the end of a smouldering log."

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Everyone deserves a treat

Everyone in this house deserves a treat, two legs or four!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Oh so very hungry

Christmas makes me hungry...very hungry.  All i can think about are little gingerbread men iced and standing in little rows, golden poultry and sugar plums.  Mr Dickens isn't helping any either....

"The Grocers'! oh the Grocers'! Nearly closed, with perhaps two shutters down, or one; but through those gaps such glimpses. It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound, or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose, or even that the raisins were so plentiful and rare, the almonds so extremely white, the sticks of cinnamon so long and straight, the other spices so delicious, the candied fruits so caked and spotted with molten sugar as to make the coldest lookers-on feel faint and subsequently bilious. Nor was it that the figs were moist and pulpy, or that the French plums blushed in modest tartness from their highly-decorated boxes, or that everything was good to eat and in its Christmas dress; but the customers were all so hurried and so eager in the hopeful promise of the day, that they tumbled up against each other at the door, clashing their wicker baskets wildly, and left their purchases upon the counter, and came running back to fetch them, and committed hundreds of the like mistakes, in the best humour possible; while the Grocer and his people were so frank and fresh that the polished hearts with which they fastened their aprons behind might have been their own, worn outside for general inspection, and for Christmas daws to peck at if they chose."
from A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Charles Dickens
I just had to share this, as soon as i read it i started to picture everyones makes and beautiful tables set out with the best china and most shiney silver!
One of my very favourite books ever and something that i read every year in December.  I urge you to read and re-read this book.  It is so wonderful, and so very short that you can infact treat yourself and read something lovely and have that time to yourself, even at this time of year.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Some bakes....gone wrong!

Ooops, guess i should have rolled out the dough a wee bit more
And tidied the kitchen too 
And not eaten soo many as testers....and stayed within the lines.... 
But the main thing is...um, whats the main thing? 
Oh...yes, now i do remember...That it got me playing with my new icing set.  That it got me some ME time in the warm, sweet smelling kitchen with my Christmas CD.  That it was the first time i have baked in a long, long...LONG time.  And it was good fun.
Now to throw these guys out and start again, maybe a wee cuppy first!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

I'll be standing in line...

The line for the Christmas panto tickets will be round the building, so I'll have to get there early.  The tickets for Christmas Eve sell out very quickly, and if you have a lot of tickets to buy its even harder.  So instead of opening up my advent calender on December first, i will shoot out of the door and head right on into town.  It also means that I'll be there early enough that it wont be horrible trodding around town collecting parcels and ribbon.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Oh to dream...

I love looking through catalogues, brochures and magazines in the run up to Christmas.  I love the over-the-top fuss of them all.  The Fortnum and Mason one (in the picture) is brilliant! Its not something i buy into once the catalogue's been put down, but its lovely to fall into all of the images.  Its the same when you look through Country Living, Good Housekeeping or Easy Living, all of which i adore-but they are made for selling, so i don't see anything wrong with pouring over the images.  Its a very good method of escapism, and something to do wihle sipping a cup of cocoa.

Monday, 28 November 2011

So far....

So far I’ve done some baking-the first this year-and its some lovely Christmas sugar biscuits. I have bought most of the presents I’ve been intending to buy and feel really quite pleased with myself. Mr Tesco has sent out club card points and we’ve doubled them up so we can spend them in the clothing section.

We’ve been (I should stop making out TH has been doing anything, or else when I get crazy as I’ve laboured away making Christmas single handed you’ll all wonder why I'm so ungrateful!) buying up Boots the Chemist presents in carefully planned batches so as to make the most of any free points and free three for twos! It’s been a bit planned out, but unless you have very time or money rich I think that’s the way it needs to be to stop you going crazy.
Well done to those of you making lots of presents, it’s something I always say I’ll do, but never have attempted yet. I really don’t craft all that much either so it wouldn’t save me any money as I don’t already have stocks and bundles of anything in particular in the store cupboard.
I printed out the Cherry Menlove gift checklist and have checked off quite a few boxes, the presents to be sent off are waiting by the door for TH to take away in the car to send away, and it’s only really the cards that are left to do and post.
I think the old adage about asking a busy person to do something is quite right, as i've never been this organised before.
Please don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty to do, and i’ve been buying things up since last Christmas. I've been saving money and saving up any points shops offer all year through-so this isn’t about ‘money’ or being ‘smug’, however I am genuinely pleased with myself for not running about like a headless chicken this year. I don’t want to panic buy and load up on a lot of overpriced rubbish I'm not happy about giving. I want to be able to buy second class stamps and not send things super-express-fast as you can Mr Postie-postal service, and to that end I'm very happy. I'm calm, able to spend time watching Christmas movies under blankets. I'm able to walk the dog on the long pretty walks we love best, I'm able to see the lights get switched on in the village, I'm able to spend what money I’ve saved going to the nice coffee shop in town, or doing any thing I want to do.

I hope everyone is feeling quite pleased with themselves and ticking off those boxes!

Haddo Christmas Fair

A little while ago now TH and i headed over to Haddo as they had the annual two day Christmas Fair.  Last year was the first time we went and we had taken TH's Mother and I'd met up with my friend Holly while they sat in the tea room keeping cosy.
This year was quite different as TH had just come back from Vietnam and kindly decided to take me as he was away right after our anniversary, Halloween and bonfire night.  We met up with my Uncle and Aunt although we hardly saw them as we decided just to stay for a little while.  It was lovely getting TH home to have a little wonder about, a short walk and a cuddle up on the sofa.  We had a little walk around the house and down the Scots Mile to the pond, then back to the car park.  We had a quick look into the antique shop, but the place was so jam-packed you couldn't really pick a thing up...well, without the fear of someone bashing into you and the piece going flying through the air...
We did pick up a couple of things in the fair, there was some soap made by a charity called Inspire.  All of the soaps and the beautiful pictures that decorate the packets are made by children with learning disabilities.  I got for TH, and some for little bits to add on to presents for various people.  We also picked up some lovely chocolates, fair trade and hand made locally, as well as a gorgeous hat and glove set.  There was a giant poster at that stand as the woman who made them had them featured in one of the early Harry Potter films!
It was a lovely, lovely day, but the best thing about it really was when i could take TH home, and know that he was mine to keep at home for a long, long time!!!

A Pause in Advent

I remember doing A Pause in Advent this time last year, and here we are again.  Thank you very much Floss for getting us all thinking about it again.  Its so crazy to think that it was twelve short months ago when we last did this!
Last year I stuck with tradition and spoke about whatever would be spoken about in Church at the lighting of the candles.  You can read about it here if you would like to.  This year I'm going to talk about tradition and what we're up to in our small corner of the world in the lead up to Christmas.  
So far we've not been particularly Christmassy-neither of us are big fans of Christmas cake, and so i make a Madeira closer to the time and decorate that, therefore that's not a job i need to think of just yet!  The things-commercial as they are-that have signalled to us its Christmas time are things like adverts (Cola, Irn Bru and John Lewis), the smokey smell in the air, and the lovely Yankee Candles I'm finally allowed to fill the house with!  The traditions that we will be following this week will be the putting up of the decorations-something we do on the first of December.  We pull out our many decorations and our own advent calender and start making the house glittery, bright, more welcoming than normal and altogether like a scene in a Christmas movie!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Cuddle up, sit back and watch

Oh Mr John Lewis, you always do make me weep with your Christmas adverts.

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa..
I should maybe just send you the CK catalogue...

as i like quite a few things....

but some presents are really for the house...

or to be taken out and used at very specific times....

OK, some things are just plain old pretty...

or quite a treat...

or indeed, a place to place a treat....

can you fill some presents too?

and socks this cute are certainly allowed to go under the tree...
as its always good to get cosy warm presents!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas has been a bit of a slow starter this year, when i think back to last year i was so much more organised!  Its all a bit scary when i think of the lists of things to do...
But the word 'lists' is really quite right.  Lists are what i use all of the time, woe betide the person that moved my lists....everything depends on The Lists! 
So pulling everything out, all of the books, all of the magazines, all of the old lists...everything gets looked over.  I feel like Santa Clause what with checking my lists twice.  However its the only thing that works for me, and I'm not about to change that method.  So for a little while now the place will be messy...slowly the mess will be put into piles of mess, then order will come.
I hope you are all much more organised than me.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Time to breathe

Its been a long time coming, but i can finally breathe.  I'm starting my new job soon, but for now i am without work, and i couldn't be happier.  I am in a very lucky position where i know I'm starting soon, but I've got time to tidy up, redecorate and make things beautiful, and make beautiful things in time for Christmas!

 Im finally starting to get the festive feeling and get back to looking at everyones lovely bloggs. 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011


little ideas to keep me more than busy...

Some simple, and some a little more difficult (well, for my skills and attention span!)

Up at the top of my list of things to do is making proper Christmas cookies

However, its also just lovely to look at the ideas....and buy the products in shops and add special little touches myself.

Do you think edible place cards would ruin our appitite?