Tuesday 27 December 2011

Happy New Year

I'm a little early but we go away tomorrow so Happy New Year to everyone x x x

Our Christmas has been quite eventful - Christmas Day my Dad didn't look well, he was struggling with his breathing.We ended up taking him to Accident and Emergency and they have kept him in. He is breathing much much better but is on oxygen. He willbe in until we get back from our trip to Rome - he insists we still go.

When we got back from form the hospital Ruby had tumbled in the garden and hurt her back leg. We had to carry her to bed and saw the emergency vet on Boxing Day. She has pulled her leg and it's probably bruised too. The vet gave her some painkillers and we have to give her more each breakfast. She is staying mainly on her bed but can hop about. This afternoon I took her for a short walk. On the way back she just sat in our road and Urszula and her dog Eddie came out to help encourage her to get up and hop home. She has been out again and seems more confident each tme. The kennels say they are ok to have her still and will give her the painkillers.

So we are still going to Rome tomorrow, although I am a little nervous about everything.

Here are my lovely pressies from my stitchy friends - thanks everyone :)

From Angie
From Karan
From Julie
From Christine
From Brenda
I sat and made all the cards for the Needlecraft Haven Birthday Exchange today- here they are - but who is getting which one LOL
Cards for NH
These are the gifts I stitched for Julie and her grand-daughter Isabelle.

This is the star I stitched for Karan

Here's hoping 2012 is a good one for everyone.


Friday 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas

It was Nick's 50th last Wednesday and I surprised him with tickets for a holiday in Rome - we go next Weds until new Year's Day which means New Year's Eve in Rome. I have kept the secret since June - it's been very difficult at times LOL and now we're both very excited.

We had a great free meal at Cafe Rouge - thanks to my winning their competition. 8 of us had a fabulous time at Leamington Spa - we'd definitely go back again.

Stitching wise I have planned and started my 2012 RR with Needlecraft Haven - it's a chart from Cross Stitch Gold and I'll put up a picture of it when I can but this is my work so far.
RR started 22/12/2011
Needlecraft Haven will be 1 on 31st December, I can't believe it's been a year, it is such a lively place thanks to all the members chat, pictures and our fun and games.

and a fabulous New Year

Sunday 18 December 2011

Christmas is a coming

The festive season is approaching fast and we have ana dditionalexciting time because DH is 50 on Wednesday. Today we're having a Family Buffet at The Abbey where DS works. I have been extremely lucky an dhave awona meal for 10 at Cafe Rouge - they have managed to get us booked in for Dh's actual birthday in Leamington Spa - fab fab times :)

Needlecraft Haven is a hive of activity, both Christmasy and with new RR's and exchanges being planned for 2012. I'm so grateful to me stitchy friends for making it such a wonderful place to visit - Julie, Karan, Christine, Ursh, Tina, Hazel, Angi, Barb, Barbara, Lindsay, Jaclyn, Dusty, Chris, Elaine, Kate, Sheila, Nicola, Sally, Kell and over 100 more members who pop by - thank you.

These are the ornaments I made for my friends at school

Our trees are up - this is the Friendship Tree that has ornaments, stitched and non-stitched given by friends from all over the world.

I hope everyone is ready for the festive season - enjoy your time with friends and family x x x

Tuesday 29 November 2011

Photos from France

I have managed to get my pictures up by using my laptop at school - sshhhh

Cite de |||Europe main centre
Close up
The train actually goes around
the shopping centre
Present display
It did look very festive - I loved the present effect

Monday 28 November 2011

Not quite a month

I am very bad at blogging just lately - sorry

Dad is safely at home, enjoying a quiet but happy life.

School is busy but fun. I'm stitching lots of gifts for Christmas, just hope they get done in time :)

Nick and I had a weekend in Calais to do a bit of wine shopping. We bought over 100 bottles back and had two lovely meals out. We had a little adventure too with a puncture and a trip in the rescue truck - a downside of having 7 seats s no spare tyre :(

I took some photos of the Christmas decorations at Cite de Europebut can't work out how to lad them from my iPad lol

Thanks for reading my quick update, I'll be blogging again soon x x

Sunday 30 October 2011

TUSAL at last and lots of news

At last I have time to blog - what a busy time.

Firstly here is my TUSAL for October - I had no chance to add a photo last month and I am late this month.

It's certainly fuller this year than last LOL

The main reason I have been absent is my Dad is in hospital again - he has been unwell on and off for the last year since being in hospital then. In brief he has problems with his kidneys. liver and heart so quite a bit for an 84 year old. He is quite happy in himself and we are hoping he will be home soon - he's been there 5 weeks now. He will need more care when he does get home but he is ok with that.

So my news - last Tuesday our son turned 21 !!!! how did that happen - it's been a bit tough for him the last few years but things are looking up. He has a good job in a local pub - full time and the owner seems to be giving him more responsibilities :) here's some photos from our meal out at Frankie and Benny's

Me, Mum, Michael & Amii
Michael and Amii
Kieran and Philippa
Our gorgeous son - Happy 21st Birthday Michael
We have been out and about quite a bit too - all these trips were planned before Dad went into hospital and to be honest it was nice to still go out.

30th Sept - Two nights in Bristol at the Tesco Wine Fair with our friends - we stayed at the Ramada Hotel and had a fab fab weekend :)

15th Oct - superb day - it was another Needlecraft Haven meet up - we had a lovely day and I'll be organising another one next spring.New members are always welcome - just apply for membership.

16th Oct - Trip to Wychwood Brewery for Kieran's birthday. We had a great time, lots of tasting for DH and Kieran but I was driving :(  I did have a lovely goblet for home though :)

22nd Oct - DH and I went to London on the train to the Tesco Wine Fair - yes again lol because we had free tickets :) London Midland had a great offer on and we had a gorgeous breakfast at Cafe Rouge (my absolute fav restaurant)

24th Oct - we had a trip to Glamorgan University for Philly to have another look. We visited the town and spent the afternoon in Cardiff - great day :)

The rest of my half term has been spent with friends, having a pedicure and a new hair cut - back to school tomorrow (for a rest LOL)

And my stitching - I have been making some Christmans ornaments for gifts and have stitrched these so far - they do need finishing.

This was my lovely scarecrow exchange from Tina - minus the choccies because I've eaten them LOL

I made some cupcakes the other day and too Dad a proper afternoon tea - Whitards Tea, proper cups, cake stand and serviettes - he loved it :)

Finally I must mention my Twitter friends who have kept me sane with everything going on Brown Bag Crisps (delicious) Busy Bee Candles (heaven) Victoria Connelly (fabulous author) Joanne Harris (author and caring daughter like me) and  Sue G (Alfie fan) - thanks everyone :)

So sorry for not being around to read everyone's blog - thank you for catching up with my news :)

Sunday 11 September 2011

Birthday thanks :) I'm a lucky girl

I had a fantastic day yesterday and have many people to thank, especially my DH Nick and my great children Michael & Philippa :) :)

We went to London for the day, DH getting a great deal on the train. Tottenham Court Road was great to walk down, leading us straight to St Martin's Lane where we enjoyed a fab meal in Pizza Express.

In the afternoon we went to Noel Coward Theatre to see Million Dollar Quartet which was SUPERB. A true story based on when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis met with Sun Records' founder Sam Philipps on 4 December 1956 in Memphis,

The show included Blue Suede Shoes, Fever, Memories Are Made Of This, Down By The Riverside,  (There Will Be) Peace In The Valley, I Walk The Line, I Hear You Knocking, Hound Dog, Riders In The Sky, See You Later Alligator and Great Balls Off Fire which had us all tapping, clapping and singing along.

We couldn't stay long in London as DS has his second shift at a pub in town - he worked 8pm to 2am plus cleaning til 3am BUT they want him on a 17 hour a week basis - whoo hoo perfect pressie :)

I had some wonderful gifts including a Kindle from DH, DS and DD. DH also bought me a new watch, DS and GF a bottle of Bombay Saphire, DD 'The Good Cook' cook book so they definiately spoilt me. DD BF gave me a Les Mis mug with my name on, Mum and Keith  a wine aeriator, Dad a handbag, MIL a bottle of Southern Comfort and Thornton's choccies.

I had so many cards and gifts from friends too. My gifts included cup cake accessories, mini crackers, Disney Tigger mug, stitching stash and more choccies :) Huge thanks to Julie who made me a covered tape measure and gave me a great worry notepad; Karan who sent a beautiful Heirloom Embroderies chart; Sheila for the gorgeous Kate's Kloths fabric and thread; Tina for a notebook to make, fabric and thread; and Christine for some lovely Carrie's Creations thread - all adding to my growing stash :)

Tape measure from Julie
Heirloom Embroideries from Karan
My lovely holiday stash - thank you
I had lovely messages on facebook and Twitter, with goodies being sent through cyber space- virtually champagne can be as good as the real thing, especially early in the morning :) We did enjoy a bottle of Cremant de Loire from Chateau du Petit Thouars - the vineyard we visited in France:)

Finally my thoughts and prayers go to all those affected by the horrific events that happened today 10 years ago:
God bless, God guide, God give you peace.

Monday 29 August 2011

TUSAL, stitching and an amazing story

It's TUSAL day and my jar is growing fast this year - I even saved my orts whilst in France and brought them home safe and sound. Here's my jar this time:

TUSAL 29th August
I have been doing a little more to Sampler au Bouquet SAL on Needlecraft Haven - not much but I am hoping for a few hours on it tonight.

Sampler au Bouquet
and so to my story;

Most people know life for me is at times a little tough; but I keep smiling and carry on :) This story is co-incidence really not a story, but it has surprised/pleased/amazed me, so I thought I'd share it :)

Les Miserables holds a very special place in my life; the music, the story, the characters and of course the superb actors who bring it all to life. Last year we were very lucky to see the 25th concert live from Leicester cinema and to see Les Mis on their 25th Anniversary tour. Like many fans I think Alfie Boe has captured Jean Valjean superbly and as a wedding anniversary treat my hubby took me to London for the weekend to see him, Matt Lucas and Hadley Fraser at Queen's Theatre.

Through Twitter I chat to the other cast members and some of the behind the scenes artists. I love finding out how things are going even though we're miles away. I stitched gifts for Alfie and Matt, bought flowers for Alexia (who plays Eponine) and before the show we popped round to the stage door to hand them in. To my knee quivering amazement Alfie was at the door so I gave him the gifts in person. He kindly passed on the flowers to Alexia who surprised me with a 'thank you' Tweet in the interval and I managed to say Hi at the Stage Door after the show.

This was the start of my Twitter experience; the cast were suddenly going made about Brown Bag Crisps which looked and sounded great. Unfortunately there are no suppliers near us so I couldn't try them for myself, but whilst on holiday in France (where I bought a copy of Les Miserables in french) Brown Bag Crisps tweeted me to say there was a new deli opening in Oakham, Rutland. I had to laugh as hubby and I had had a lovely weekend break there last September with me driving my new car (my first brand new one all for me). We fell in love with the area and have been back again. It is a special place for us and close enough to home for us to have a weekend away without lots of driving. You can imagine my surprise and smile when Brown Bag Crisps said it was Oakham.

So last Saturday hubby and I went on the train to Oakham - not in my car as we found out there was a beer fest on - hic hic. I emailed the new deli to say we were coming and to make sure they had some crisps. Leo (the manager) replied saying yes they had and sorry he wouldn't be there Saturday but hope we had a good day. It was his mum who was there and she guessed who we were. She thought it was a joke and couldn't believe we'd come by train for the crisps. Leo was actually in the States on hols - amazing. All because of Twitter and emails we were chatting away in the deli - purchasing crisps, cheese and olives. We enjoyed the beer fest and managed to get the train home safely :)

I have made many friends on Twitter; a brilliant welcoming vinyard in France being just one and I do follow many celebs including a few authors; Victoria Connelly and Nicola Cornick are two new authors to me (found through Twitter LOL) but I have been a fan of Joanne Harris for a number of years. Chocolat is my all time favourite book; and I've had many holidays in France, drinking red wine, nibbling chocolate whilst reading it again :) I found Joanne on Twitter through the Les Mis Twitters.

The end of my story happened this morning - Joanne Harris tweeted about needing a name for a cat in her latest book - she offered to 'follow' the person with the name she chose. I suggested Otter (the name of the Oakham deli) or Otto and she picked Otto. So now I have not only named a cat in a book but my favourite author is following me. Me who has a very ordinary life travelling 40 miles for a bag of crisps.

How can: liking Les Mis; following the cast; learning and wanting crisps; taking an hour's train ride to a deli; result in naming a cat in a famous author's latest novel :-> these things don't happen to me, I sort stuff out for everyone else - I'm still pinching myself hours later. Only remedy is to open a bottle of the lovely wine we bought from my Twitter friendly vineyard.

Phew what a long story - hope it's made you smile too. Here's a couple of orchid photos to finish my blog and a photo of my garden which is looking fab as DS, his GF and friend stripped and painted the deck and furniture whilst we were in France - great job :)

Philippa's orchid

My orchid

My garden

Thanks for popping by - off for that glass of vin now :)

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Home from holidays - a new SAL

We're home after a fabulous two weeks in France - I have been frantically washing and ironing before all the rain which is why I am a little slow in blogging. I have edited our photos and they are all online in our flickr album  - France 2011

There are too many photos to choose a favourite or just a few to put up so it's easier for you to look when you want. We visited many places; chateaux, fortresses, churches and of course restaurants/bars

Whilst we were away I nearly finished my Needlecraft Haven Summer Holiday exchange - just a few yellow stitches to do (I didn't take the right colour with me). I'm hoping to finish it this week.

I did start my Sampler au Bouquet SAL and I've done quite a lot already. I'm really enjoying it and it's growing fast.

My right hand edge
My overall piece
Today I have started off a bottle/jar of damson vodka -I have no idea if it will work but I have layered damsons and sugar and then topped up with vodka. All the sugar sank to the bottom and I have to 'turn' it everyday- we'll see what happens but it should be ready in six months.

Damson vodka
Thanks for popping by, I hope you enjoyed the holiday album x x x

Friday 12 August 2011

Bonjour from France

Just a quick blog from the Loire Valley :) We're having a great time. Philly and BF Kieran enjoyed a couple of days with us before moving on to spend ten days withhis family on holiday onthe Gironde. We went to Angles sur l'Anglin and watched a firework display against the chateau walls -fabulous. 
Philly and me
and if it works this is the link to the video on YouTube of the firework finale http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5y7HOsQmA5M

This is our house, which is called the Old Walnut Mill - the village is quite but sitting on the patio reading or stitching with a glass of wine is a perfct holiday
The Old Walnut Mill
I have nearly finished my summer exchange from Needlecraft Haven - and have started my Sampler au Bouquets
Summer Exchange
Sampler au Bouquets
We have visited a few old chateaus and ancient cite - and yesterday we visited the Vineyard du Petit Thouars - we were amazed when we drove up to this ...
de petit Thouars
Their wine was gorgeous so we had to bring some for home :)

Thanks for reading my very quick blog from a very warm, sunny and relaxing France x x x

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Happy Dance

I have finially finished my square on my JTHC Round Robin - with Hazel, Julie and Tina on Needlecraft Haven. It wasn't a lot of stitching but I ran out of DMC 869 and had to root through my stash where I thankfully had a spare. I need a few bits in town today and hopefully then I can make it up too.

JTHC RR - stitching completed
I have been working on my Summer Holiday Exchange - with NH- my partner sentme a gorgeous design which I am enjoying stitching. Here's my progress so far.

Summer Holiday Exchange
Last weekend I spotted this fab vase in TKMax - I did suggest to Dad we could fill it with red wine or a huge trifle - it did make him smile  but he didn't say no LOL

New Vase
Well I'm packed - no trouble fitting it into my bag - not sure how DD and DH are doing. Just 2 more sleeps and we're off :) Thanks for sharing my news xx

Saturday 30 July 2011

TUSAL and photos

This is a photo heavy post; my first photo is my TUSAL - I am amazed at how it's grown this year. A definite signthat Ruby is calming down as last year I hardly did any stitching because she was always getting into mischief :)
TUSAL - 30th July
I have nearly finished my square on the JTHC RR I did with Hazel, Julie and Tina on Needlecraft Haven - I have run out of 869 but think there is one in my stash. I'm off to town today to look for the cushion for it so I may have a real HD later.

I did have two HDs because two of my colleagues at school retired at the end of term.I stitched them each a little gift.
Stitched for my favourite English teacher

Stitched for a great guy who has
now retired to France
That's all my stitching news for now - we've just had a lovely few days at the caravan with Nick's mum nad her partner. We did a couple of walks, Precipice Walk and the Mawddach Trail. here's a few photos including the blueberry picking at high altitude LOL
Precipice Walk - looking north

Precipice Walk - looking towards
 the coast
Me and MIL - watching our step
The View
Ruby helping with the Blueberry picking

The five of us on the Mawddach Trail - a flatter stroll
There are a couple of other photos in my album from our walk - Wales Summer 2011.

Finally here are Philly and my orchids. They flowered last year and we thought they'd died. I have fed them and watered them - just look now. Philly's is amazing, so full of flowers - mine has fewer flowers but the colour is gorgeous.
Philly's orchid
My orchid
Thanks for popping by - I hope you enjoyed my photo fest - I should really blog more often but there is never enough time - good job it's school holidays :)

Take care and enjoy the summer x x