Friday, 30 December 2016

The December post

December, you stole my heart a long time ago.
Now every year I seem to love you more.
This year, the celebrations and expectations have been twined with the promise and excitement of Father Christmas.
And the elf. The mischievous elf who visits Father Christmas every night accompanied by reports of Tommy's good behaviour. Then he returns to our little cottage and climbs the Christmas tree, and other such fun places.
How could I not embrace you December, and the magic you sprinkle in our lives.

These are the best bits from our December:

A big Christmas tree this year, well bigger than the tree on top of the cupboard, as was the case in previous years. Can you spot the elf?

Cinderalla at local theatre, it was fabulous.

The day Tommy met Father Christmas. He went all shy.

Group picture. Tommy, daddy and granddad, with Father Christmas!

Christmas fair. I love a Christmas fair.

Handmade stalls. I felt the need to buy reindeer and Christmas tree pegs, and why not.

Tommy and the police car, at Christmas fair. He said it was his best bit of the day.

And the steam train.

Safe trip everyone!

I made Christmas cards for family, friends and my friend's tearoom.

Friend's tearoom, with the best cakes ever.

Tommy loves the rocky cake, and the toy box.

Every year I make the crackers and collect the tiny gifts.

Christmas Eve. Letter, milk and treats for Father Christmas. After the glittery reindeer food we scattered in the garden.

Christmas morning, checking out the snow from Father Christmas.

A very happy, excited boy on Christmas morning.

I hope you all had the best Christmas ever.

Brace yourself for the next post, things are about to get a whole lot sadder around here.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Flowers in a teapot

"And I don't want anyone mentioning my age!" warned my mother.
My mother's birthday was fast approaching, her 70th to be precise.
She didn't want a fuss, just a relaxing day spent with her loved ones.
So we all decided her day should be minimal preparation on her part, and maximum effort on ours. Each guest was requested to bring food for her dining room table.
Ham, pork pie, sausage rolls, trifle, just a few of the goodies which arrived with flowers and family. It was a feast of splendid things. Food made with love, for a woman fit to be our queen.
My mother's best friend arrived with partner and very tall grandson. Literally squeals of delight and lots of hugs when they, and other attendees, were greeted.
It all went to plan.
I had great fun beforehand, decorating the dining room with pretty paper plates, napkins and cups (decreased clearing up time for recyclable rubbish), with floral bunting and flowers in a teapot.
We even all sang Happy Birthday and toasted the celebration with a glass of champagne.
It was lovely to see everyone; God mother and auntie Wendy, with Jean and Brandon, auntie Helen with her famous chocolate cake, uncle John and uncle Jim, my cousin Sarah and her three kids, my cousin Sam with his new fiancee and beautiful baby, cousin Jack and his dance partner and girlfriend Jessica, and last but definitely not least, auntie Leslie.
And no-one mentioned her age.
How about that for a successful birthday tea party.
(Oh apart from the lover's tiff Mark and I experienced on the way home as we thought we'd lost the iPad, we hadn't, it was under the car seat. But we won't mention that.)
Happy Birthday mum. You're the best.
The most wonderful mum that I could have ever wished for.

Preparing the table.

Flowers in a teapot, how quaint.

Bunting up, and there's Mark on the beer. He regretted that later.

Cake time. I bought two finely decorated ones and made cupcakes with Tommy. It was fair to say, with Auntie Helen's baking as well, there was plenty of cake. As it should be.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

The one where I didn't miss my train home

I worked out (with no help from the elf on the shelf or anyone else whatsoever), that the last office Christmas party I attended was BT (before Tommy), with Mark (a time when we both owned a different sir name),and during a period in my life when my living arrangements featured a house by the pylon, with friend and big dog.
It was the one where Mark and I missed our last train, consequence being, we had to fork out for a very expensive cab journey home.
Then I lost the receipt to claim cab journey from HR.
Not that I was sure HR would have allowed me to claim money.
My argument for claim was based on; the coach driver waited too long for drunken people to leave party (I would like to add here, Mark and I left party on time to meet required scheduled coach departure), coach driver insisted on pleasing all drunken people and dropped them at places other than the designated train station, so Mark and I missed last train, from last designated train station.
I'm hoping I've now made a clearer picture - it most definitely was not our fault that we missed our last train.
Unfortunately, as stated above, I misplaced the cab receipt, in my drunken mood.
So I lost all hope of a fair trial.
What's worse, I will never know the outcome, due to misplacing my unexpected expenditure.
It will always be a mystery to me.
I've moaned about this for years (yes, really).
The year is now 2016.
I have decided to be mature and let bygones be bygones and attend the office Christmas party once again.
How about that for progress and forgiveness.
A round of applause please.
Or perhaps I just fancied a rare night out. With my great team.
One things for sure, this year I was safe in the knowledge, the office Christmas party was held at our London based head office.
Thus allowing me to be in charge of leaving the venue on time, and descending straight home via train only, thank you very much.
So I left Mark behind to look after Tommy. Not that this has anything to do with missing last trains, merely a reflection on life AT (after Tommy).
Okay, who agrees it's not a proper Christmas party until you've worn bright/weird wig and posed with prop for photograph?
It's one of my shinning memories of the night.
This was of course after a quick drink at pub beforehand, our welcome drink and mini burger (not enough food, my lame excuse), our drinks tokens and non drinking people's drinks tokens.
At least I didn't spend a fortune on a cab ride home!
Oh no, not this time!
Even if I did feel shockingly awful the next day and remembered another reason why I have avoided office Christmas party for the past four years.
Still, it was a cracking good night of beneficial bonding, starring a great bunch of colleagues.
Colleagues I feel lucky to work with and who don't mind wearing wigs and props.
The end.
I hope you liked my true story.

I love working with this one.

Here we are! Can you spot which one I am?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Teacups and scones

Something rather good has arrived in the village.
It's definitely my sort of thing.
And my parents fully appreciate it too.
Although Mark would rather be playing football, or watching it on the telly.
I'm yet to take Tommy for fear of him breaking some valuables, but I did carry him in once, when Mark and I collected the green leather armchair my mother had purchased.
Yes folks, the antique barn and tearoom is finally open!
And I'm pretty pleased about it.
What a splendid way to spend an afternoon, admiring vintage books and floral tea sets. Then choosing which cake you fancy.
It's a great place for stocking up on presents. Not to mention treating yourself, if in need of some time out and chocolate fudge cake, on rose painted plates.
All within a ten minute walk from our cottage.
Not bad hey.

Here's the bad boy I've been harping on about.

Tearoom now open.

What treasures.

Love that vintage vibe.

This reminded me to stop off at the village shop, for our Saturday night wine bottle.

My dad was mighty impressed to find a book dating back to 1875.

I love a tearoom. Especially one is such sweet setting.

I also love tea and cake. The diet starts in the new year!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Super hero Sunday

With an eager heart, clutching a bottle of wine, used to be the usual procedure for visiting my friend Caron.
Last Sunday I visited her with an eager child, clutching a pot plant.
Oh these days of our lives, how they've changed.
Caron now has two boys, of similar age to Tommy, and he was very excited about visiting them. He also asked repeatedly throughout the hour and a bit car journey, "Are they tall?" and "Do they use a potty?"
Tommy is currently very concerned about being tall, like Spider-Man. We tell him if he eats healthy food he will grow very tall. This concern is actually working well in our favour. He is also curious about who uses a potty and who does't. Unfortunately this is isn't helping him to use one yet, despite Pirate Pete and the potty book, fire engine stickers, and a Mickey Mouse potty, he flatly refuses to use potty. I'm sure we'll get there in the end! Besides, when was the last time you saw an adult wearing a nappy? That's what I keep telling myself...
Anyway, the dinosaur book Caron kindly bought Tommy was a massive hit. This kept the three kids entertained for ages, so I could chat away to Caron, whilst she prepared the shepherds pie and whipped up a sponge cake.
Then Tommy spied the super heroes costumes, in the corner of the playroom. I expect you can imagine which one Tommy wanted to wear.
As three kids crazily ran around the kitchen and lounge, pretending to be super heroes, Caron opened the fridge, pulled out a bottle of wine, and poured me a large glass, with a massive smile.
Arr, not so dissimilar to old times after all.
I happily obliged, you know, for old times sake.
Cheers. Here's to super friends and super heroes.

Dinosaur book was a massive hit.

Silly faces dinner.

Batman and Spider-Man.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Look who's 3

So long, Postman Pat.
Personally, I've rather enjoyed your morals and your almost epic fails with your special delivery service.
It's been fun watching you whilst also watching Tommy come to terms with feeding himself and grasping sentences more elaborate than, "Car! Car!"
Thanks Pat, for easing us into many a tired morning, with your cute animation and pleasant story.
And my goodness, what a year it's been for achievements.
You've got yourself a helicopter (I won't reveal this to my postman for fear of belittling his career progression), and Tommy has spent many a happy hour, at park, riding his tricycle.
There's been lost sheep whilst glitter painting, a poorly horse whilst shop keeping. Oh the fun we've had to the Postman Pat theme tune.
Not least the very important matter of Tommy slowly turning into a three year old.
Among your forgotten parcels a little boy was remembering so much.
His mummy and daddy watched with awe his inquisitive and affectionate nature.
Mighty proud of his excited chatter and his silly faces, wrapped up in his learning and wonder, we almost didn't see him replacing the orange haired postman with the red and blue Spider-Man.
But he still likes fire engines, long may that continue - he has a fire engine bed and quite a few toy ones, so quite frankly, it has to stay for a bit.

Mark and I booked the Friday off work and took Tommy to the (halloween) open day at our local fire museum. Lots of red engines.

Tommy liked this one.

Fire helmets.

Fire equipment. Tommy screamed with delight when he saw the cobwebs from Spider-Man.

Through the years.

Then to the soft play area at local garden centre, followed by lunch in a blue bear bag.

We made cakes the day before the Spider-Man party. Think Tommy ate most of the decorations.

Saturday night, on our way to pre-birthday night meal. In case you had forgotten, Tommy and I share the same birthday. (I often forget it's mine too.)

Wine glass of crayons. What more could an almost three year old wish for?

The night before. Mark and I always decorate the house and spend ages blowing up balloons.

Opening pressies. Note the Spider-Man wrapping paper and costume.

Party food for the Spider-Man party.

Cake time.

Finally got him to look at the camera. It's easier said than done.

Making a wish - with nanny and pappa. May all your dreams come true, Tommy darling. Happy third birthday, you rock our little world.