Bit Of Me Time

Searching for more time …

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Our Christmas

As a child my Christmases were all about pulling out all the stops – best china, best crystal and the biggest turkey the oven could take, with all the trimings.  I then read Sarah Miles’ post “In Excess” about the excess of Christmas and my concern is that we have possibly swung the other way.

There will be the four of us, my parents and a great friend who is unable to be with her relatives.  Of the five adults, there are no “big eaters” and two children who are yet to appreciate the joy of roasts.  So it’s a turkey saddle and a small ham, with most of the trimmings for us.  We’re not ones for using up endless left-over turkey and so it suits us fine, but I do wonder whether I should be making more of an effort.  So, as of 8am this morning, when I suddenly realised that the good old kitchen table definitely needed a make-over. we put up more decorations and made a panic call to my Mum to see if she could pick up some table decorations I’d seen in a shop near her.

One thing I love about Christmas is the different way people do it.  As a child I don’t remember Christmas Eve as much more than wrapping presents, or helping around the house.  Our Christmas Day was Church at 10am, and I remember so well, desperately trying to get our parents to stop talking after the Service and come home to open presents.


Whereas we spend our Christmas Eve organising the last few bits, having a visit from one of the Godfathers for a quick present opening session, and then off to the Crib Service in the afternoon.  This will be followed by a special Christmas Film Night with “Arthur Christmas” and then prepare the fireplace for the special visitor this evening.

Tomorrow is then free to join friends for drinks in the morning and rush back to get the “quick cooking” Christmas lunch.  There is an element of cheating to be able to do all this.

I love Christmas and try to make it a special time, but I do feel that it’s about family and friends, and not a table groaning under the weight of too much food.  I agree with Sarah.


Happy Christmas to you all.



Twelve years on

Twelve years ago, I walked up the aisle and married the man of my dreams.  Since then much has happened, most notably two children and a dog.

It all began in Salcombe in August 1999 when I was invited to friends house and upon arrival was told that I was to be set up.  The week was spent with friends coming and going, and all seemed to be going well.  There were walks, shopping, pub visits, body surfing and squeezing into borrowed wetsuits.  The holiday ended with the two of us being packed off to the pub for some “gruesome twosome” time.  We had a lovely meal and chatted away very happily, however, when “now Husband” bumped into his best mate from Uni, who was only in the UK that night, we ended up joining 14 others round a table.  It was a great evening.  This holiday was followed by snowboarding and in May 2000 we got engaged and married on 16th December that year.

St Andrew's ChurchWe wanted to get married in a Church and our wedding was the traditional white wedding, with many friends and family in attendance.  The day whizzed by and the most nerve wracking part was saying the vows from memory and not repeating the vicar.    Our friend who was due to sing, was understudy for Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” and he was needed on stage and our trumpet player has laryngitis.  So the day was not exactly how we planned, but we had the support of many friends and family.  One of the sisters who set us up initially, wrote a beautiful poem for our engagement present, and she allowed us to use in the service, although she refused to read it – so we asked her sister!

We honeymooned in Australia and had a wonderful time with friends and family, seeing the sights and relaxing on Fraser Island.  The fireworks in Sydney Harbour for New Year were something to be remembered.  Since then we have had many amazing holidays, pre-children, and some very fun ones since.  We have done our best to celebrate all 12 anniversaries and remember why we did it, and re-connect if we have drifted over the year.

So, to my wonderful Husband – thank you for the last 12 years – here’s to very many more xx

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Christmas Magic

It’s The Monday Club with Sarah Miles

Well, it’s arrived inside and outside of our house.  The Magic Of Christmas.  Lights, paperchains, tinsel, cards, glitter, sparkles and Christmas songs. I love it.  We have Advent Calendars, present lists, and Husband and I have secret hiding places to ensure surprises for Son and Daughter.

Christmas Tree

The day after the children broke up for the hols, they went on a Santa train as part of a birthday party. It was a carriage full of very excited 5 year olds, their siblings and parents and the noise level grew; particularly when Father Christmas walked down the train and handed out presents.

We also had a very exciting morning when the NSPCC letters from Santa arrived. The “big eyes” of both children when the letter mentioned their age, their best friends and where they live.  Both Son and Daughter were totally amazed and the belief in Santa was in abundance.

Over the next few days, the children will be going to Granny this weekend for sleepover, where they will visit Father Christmas, again.  Husband and I are off for some peace and quiet to celebrate 12 happy years.

nativityOn Christmas Eve we go to the Crib Service and focus on the real meaning of Christmas, followed by the preparations for the most exciting visitor of the year.

We love Christmas.

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Book Club – Chapter 8

Our latest book club was on another very wet evening, so there were move of us using 4-wheels instead of 2!  Our planning of the weather has slipped somewhat recently! It was, of course, great to see everyone and also gave us the chance to check-out a friend’s recently built extension in the house we were meeting up in, all very exciting.

Our book was “The Seamstress”, and for the first time, I did not reach the end!  So here’s a bit about the book ….. It is set in Spain in 1936 on the brink of civil war.  The lead character, Sira Quiroga, was apprenticed to a Madrid dressmaker. As she masters the seamstress’s art, her life seems to be clearly mapped out – until she falls passionately in love and flees with her seductive lover.   But in Morocco she is betrayed and left penniless. As civil war engulfs Spain, Sira turns to her one true skill – and sews beautiful clothes for the expat elite and their German friends.   With Europe rumbling towards war, Sira is lured back to Franco’s Nazis-friendly Spain. She is drawn into the shadowy world of espionage and where the greatest danger lies. . .  I enjoyed the bit of the book I read, although it did not particularly “take me with it”, and I did manage to put it down; I suspect this was partly due to the fact that I have been extremely tired.

It was the first book that split the group, and one of the few books that we have really discussed in detail.  We also chatted about Spanish history at that time. It was great and I think we maybe heading towards being a “real book club”, rather than a “wine club”!  Afterwards we skyped our long lost book club member in KL, and had a quick chat via an iPhone.  Brilliant.100 year old man

Is it just me

As we have a longer break than normal before the next book club, we are attempting two books – “The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window and Disappeared” by Jonas Jonasson and “Is it just me” by “Miranda Hart.  Both are apparently very funny….

BOOK CLUB HISTORY: “One Day” by David Nicholls; “Before I Go To Sleep” by S J Watson; “Ship of Brides” by Jojo Moyes; “Vanishing Point” by Danielle Ramsay; “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E L James; “Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri; “Sworn Secret” by Amanda Jennings and “The Seamstress” by Maria Duenas.


No Time!!

It’s been a while since I was last blogging, and I realised this when a good friend said to me “so you don’t have much time to yourself, do you?”  “No” I replied and then it hit – when did I last sit and blog…?  It was six weeks ago, just after half term.  I started this blog to have a “bit of me time”, and in the last few weeks there’s not been much, but that’s not surprising as a Mum of two working full time.

Unfortunately I can not wax lyrical about all the many exciting things we’ve been getting up to, although I am glad to say it has not be all work and no play.  So aside from an incredibly busy end of term (and a few chores)…..

Son had his 5thRobert cake birthday, with a party at a local indoor play centre, with all of his 17 classmates, big sister and one of her friends.  Considering the number of over-excited small children running around, I have to say I found the whole experience remarkably calm!  Next year we will be downsizing the party, if only to save the thank you letters afterwards!  He was very happy with his robot cake and I was very grateful for all the pictures on the net to copy!

We also went to Longleat, which we have not done for quite a while.  It was a lovely day and quality family time, which beats “me time” in my book.  There are lots of new areas to see and do, and then there was the Adventure Castle and the animals, both family favourites.  We timed our drive through the safari perfectly, there were lots of animals running and playing, as I think it was coming up to feeding time.  Lions, tigers, rhinos, deer, flamingos, giraffes, zebra to name a few.  Son and I were disappointed that Anne the Elephant did not come out to see us as we both love elephants, or “ephalants” as he used to say.  I’m sure we’ll be going back soon.

So, I must sign off, and find all the Christmas decorations, as the fun begins…..