"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Friday, 30 December 2011

Foray into Ebay....

So two years ago, we began a massive reorganisation and de-clutter exercise!
It went well - slowly-  but well ;-))
We have rooms that are more functional with less dead areas and furniture that has better storage and - more importantly - what is stored is more accessible.

We -  the royal we here as it was in fact not we  - just Alan:-) even cleared out the lofts and now have new insulation so the house is toasty and warm.
So all the rooms and roof space is clear and clutter free.
 All done except for one room.. The spare room...
It is full to the brim with all the bits that have been left from various car boots sales Alan has done and bags upon bags of clothing from when Milly was younger. I have been saying for the last two years that I will get on EBay and try to sell things but have always been put off...
One thing is just the logistics of finding stuff in the room. Two, the hassle of washing, ironing, listing it all on EBay. Then three, dealing with any awkward people who challenge that the goods aren't as described or that they never received them. I could do without it.

However over the two years the stuff has - strangely - not sold itself ;-))  Some of it has been taken to charity shops but the bulk of it still remains. So after a conversation with my Hairdresser - and a couple of others who sell on EBay  - who said how easy it is and to just start with a couple of items, I decided it was time to strike!

Operation EBay has begun and so far it has taken up a great deal of time and energy. However this is just the learning curve and research stage so each item listed is taking time and the whole procedure is being refined so that we have a working model to follow that will make all the other ( hundreds of  ) listings a much smoother process. Files will be made and records will be kept so we know exactly how much we make ( fees for selling on EBay and fees for using Pay pal to take into account! ) and there will be a sheet of instructions so that Alan is able to do it if need be - if I am having a bad day, week or month as sometimes happens ;-))

We have decided that at the moment we are going to trust that there are more good people than bad out there and just send things by second class post, obtaining a proof of postage certificate so it keeps postage costs down for buyers and makes items more appealing to purchase as they are such low value items. We may have to reassess that at a later date but we will have to see as time goes on.

I listed four items yesterday and have sold one item via buy it now on EBay and one item to a friend on facebook . Can't tell you how exciting it is to see people watching and bidding on items - can you tell I don't get out much ;-)))
I have listed a couple more things tonight and we have sorted all the bags out into winter/spring and summer clothing and washed and hung some jackets to list tomorrow.

So onward and upward. Washing, ironing, listing and storing the items and with any luck we will have a spare room back again sometime soon :-)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

It was a monster (X) mash :-)

Milly had generously invited all our family for Xmas dinner this year.

We ( all the family ) were sitting round my Sisters table having a meal one weekend and she invited us all to have Xmas dinner at theirs. Milly piped up with " is it not our turn this year" :-)))
How lovely that she wanted to do that....The only slight problem was that her tendency to bounce into our room at 5am on Xmas morning would mean I would be in no fit state to be hostess with the mostess and - more importantly - stay awake through the day :-))
When we talked about that she said she did still want everyone to come and she would try really hard not to wake me before 7am. She thought that she would still wake early but decided she would play and listen to her ipod and then bring toast and tea in to wake us up and we could open pressies in bed together.
 She was quite concerned that she wouldn''t be able to sleep on Xmas eve ( past history would bear this out ) so she enlisted Amy's help in tiring her out on Xmas eve :-) They had a sleepover and on Xmas eve morning they woke at 8 and set of for a run! Then a couple of hours walk with Alan and Beauty and lots of play and chatting on their return til Amy left. She was however still bouncing and it was gone 12 before she actually slept...

Alan had said that if she woke early that he would be available to play/chat til 7:-) She asked to be woken at 7 if by some fluke she managed to sleep late - she did and he woke her at 7 and they went off downstairs together:-)

I woke to see them bringing in a tray and a big sack of presents.

And so it began:-)

She sat at my feet and the first present she opened was from Amy.....

A fantastic head band with a large velvet bow - looks even better when the price tag was removed :-)

Another one from Amy - a necklace with a bottle of poison dangling.

Eleanor's had been opened when we saw them on Friday and El had got her a rather lovely monster high doll to add to her collection :-)

Some rapid fire present opening followed :-)

Abbey abominable Monster. The one monster she was desperate to get.

A happy bunny.

Another monster.

and a witch from Buffy:-)

Gorjuss Mug and Evanessence CD followed. 

Dad got to open a porcelain plaque that Milly had bought. She used her own money for the first time this year and bought gifts for friends and family. The plaque read...

Everything I am,
 and everything I'll be
 I owe it all to you Dad,
 for so inspiring me.

Alan cried which made Milly cry, which made me cry !
Big hug for Dad:-)


A lovely calendar with prints from Klimt one of my favourites. I especially love the Mother and daughter one. I will be able to frame some later in the year :-)

More monster inspired books and diary's. This looks ghostly....

More Gorjuss in the form of a really beautiful journal with pockets for storing secret things :-)

Monster beds for the monsters :-)

I opened a few more and got a longed for cookery book from Milly and Alan:-)

Soundtrack from the latest Twilight movie Breaking Dawn.
I do enjoy surprising her and getting her things that aren't on her list of possibilities.

Another couple of things she would never have guessed were t'shirts from How I met your Mother with
"Suit up it's going to be legendary"
 on. And one from the big bang with
Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur, happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr, purr, purr on it.
They were both big hits.

Super Xmas glasses from an old friend :-)

More presents opened....
Buried under mountains of paper and gifts......
 One of which is a wonderfully smelly Xmas bauble with ginger spice soap inside:-)

More presents opened
Do you think he's nodded off ;-))

Any one fancy helping me put these together so the monster girls can sleep ;-)

Time for me to head off and make bacon butties and leave them to it.

After breakfast we enjoyed a very chilled morning, long bath for me and a walk with Beauty for them. Table setting and food prep before all the family arrived.

The table in all it's glittery, bejewelled glory with homemade place mats and place cards with added presents :-)

We had a lovely meal, everyone played a part with various elements such as starters and puds being made. The prep I had done earlier in the week freezing gravy, veg, spuds etc paid off and Alan and my Sister Paula made a good double act getting the main meal on the table.

It was a great day and am pleased Milly invited everyone.
I also appreciated every body's help in making it as stress free as possible :-))

A monsterly lovely day :-)


Saturday, 24 December 2011

Xmas eve

Well it's that time of year again :-)
 Things are a little different here now that Milly is in the know about you know who;-))
She wavers between extreme excitement and then saying she doesn't feel christmassy at all!

Amy came to sleepover last night and they had a great time getting to bed shortly after me at about 1.30pm. I heard them giggling at 8am and they got up to make toast and tea ( Milly made me one that Alan brought up  ) then they headed out for a run! Amy was in charge of tiring Milly out so she could sleep tonight ;-) Then on their return Alan was ready with Beauty so they could walk for a couple of hours. Whilst they were out I had breakfast and started the housework. They called when they were nearly home and I made eggy bread and beans ready for when they came through the door. The combined activity had tired them out but they then got into the game they had going on with Monster high dolls and Bratz :-) Amy left at 2.15 and then around 2.45 my Nephew ( 15 ) was dropped off to help with the table dec's for tomorrow. I adore Alex and really enjoy his company. We all chatted ( Alan sat with us too ) whilst Milly and I made pouches to put chocolates in to put in each place and name cards for everyone Alex took on the job of making place mats using wrapping paper ( in the red and silver theme ) and the laminator.
They turned out really well:-)

He left and then it was time for a bath and hair wash and into new Xmas jim jams :-) Salmon, roast pots, broccoli and carrots with garlic butter and a glass of wine for tea watching The Big Bang Theory together.

We have had a tradition - started many, many years ago - of taking a walk on Xmas eve to see if we could see Santa's sleigh. Milly still enjoys doing this and was insistent on us going tonight. We didn't actually need persuading. We quite like it too :-) Howling gale and rain meant waterproofs over our PJ's and off we went. Carols sung and the cobwebs blown away back home for a spritzer and some chocolates :-)

Outnumbered is on the cards soon and then I think Milly is going to hit the sack and try to sleep :-)

She has made plans to wake me at 7.00 with a cuppa and pan au chocolate and a big bag of her presents that she wants to open first :-))

All my family is due here for lunch.
Everybody chips in and I have prepared a lot over the last few nights so it should be a doddle :-))

Peace, love and joy xxx

Friday, 23 December 2011

Seasons Greetings...

We have just got back from meeting friends from Northumberland at a halfway point - well on this occasion the meet up place was actually nearer to us but lovely Liz was very kind and came the extra miles as it was an easier drive for a very tired me :-))

Presents exchanged and my first Turkey of the year for lunch :-) A chat and a wander round the garden center and the hours whizzed by and it was soon time to say goodbye.... Looking forward to seeing you all in the New year xx

Brief stop off at home before heading out to another friends house for a traditional Xmas get together. It will be a shorter visit than normal as a hot bath and a snuggle on the sofa is on the cards for me and Alan whilst Milly and Amy have a sleepover :-)

My wish for you all is that you enjoy a peaceful, happy and memorable festive season. xxx

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Silver linings....

The plan for today was to travel to Northumberland to visit and stay over with friends. We were going to watch two members of the family in a play.
It was around November last year that we met for the first time. Time has flown!
We visited them before Xmas last year to see Gary, El and Patrick in The Railway Children - a really fabulous production that I have very fond memories of:-)
 Over the year since then we have spent many, many happy times together. We would have loved to see this years production of Arthur ....
Events conspired against us though and this time we couldn't make it :-(

Milly is under the weather. The actual weather is also a factor because of the unpredictability and possible snow falls.
 And my dad has had a stroke.
Mum had noticed that he was having difficulty with his speech. He was not able to get out what he wanted to say and had also been showing other signs over the last week or so. She got an emergency appointment at the Dr's yesterday and they ended up in A&E. It is a small bleed apparently and after assessment he has been discharged from hospital to attend the stroke clinic on Monday to have a scan and find out what treatment will be needed.

So the weekend has taken on a different shape.
On the bright side ( cos you just have to find that silver lining don't you! ) we got to practise making brownies again today and family members who sampled them gave them a thumbs up:-)) A little bit more practise but we are on our way to being brownie making queens :-))

Alan was at work this morning. I hadn't been able to sleep last night and saw 2.00:-( I woke at 8.00 and couldn't get back to sleep . I eventually got up and pottered about - well mainly sat and drank tea but a little pottering was done:-)) Made Breakfast - for Milly when she got up - which was lunch for me :-) 
This afternoon has seen me and Al doing some housework and also sorting out the garland for the fireplace - it is many years old and looking a little tired... We have put it up and I will get some twinkly lights and buy some bows to give it a new lease of life.

 Milly decided to clean out her room.
She found it tough going as she has a temperature but she had music on and took everything off her surfaces and put them in the hall whilst she dusted and sorted everything out. She took her time and after it was all put back in I vacuumed and put her bedding on for her as she had run out of steam:-)

Another silver lining is that I get to watch the Strictly Come Dancing final. I would have taped it and got to watch it tomorrow but I am enjoying watching it live:-)
Harry to Win!!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Decs and dedication....

Over the last few days we have spent time together as a family adding a little festive decoration to the sun room ;-)

The Easter tree ( branches from the garden that we had sprayed gold and then - with Amy's help - we decorated with cardboard eggs ) has been gathering dust on top of the bookcase as Milly didn't want to throw it out. We decided to change it to an Xmas edition. I dashed out in between hail showers on Monday to spray it silver - forgot to put paper down so we now have a sparkly step up to the patio!

After Al got back from Tai chi that night we sat down to make baubles and pretty it up :-) Chocolate fudge cake and a cup of tea made the job manageable:-) We had a good laugh and ended up with the above article...

Milly and I made some snowflakes today and whilst she hung out with Amy this evening Alan and I threaded and hung them up.

My friend Liz gets the award for dedicated Mum tonight. El was due to come for a sleepover today and we were due to meet up at a half way point to spend time together before we brought El home with us. However... El had a commitment to a rehearsal for the play she is in and couldn't miss it. We tried all other permutations to see if we could fit it in other days and so on but it just wouldn't work with other commitments. El was really keen to make it.... so amazing Mum Liz is bringing her here after the rehearsal. They should arrive about 11.... Then she is driving back home again.

So Milly and I are sitting watching TV and awaiting their arrival :-)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Easy like Sunday morning....

Today looked a little like this...

A slow and easy start to the day, Alan brought me a cup of herbal tea and - after I had prized my eyes open - we had a chat about plans for the day and what we hoped to achieve. We had a lot we wanted to pack in. We are trying to get on top of all the Xmas preparations so that - hopefully - next Sunday we will have all the gifts bought and wrapped. We also want to get as much food prep done for the big day as possible. Mum,Dad, two Sisters, Brother in laws and most gorgeous Nephew are all coming here for Christmas lunch.  Alan and I talked about how to make it all as easy and stress free as possible. They are all a great help though and it is very much a combined effort. We generally all take elements of the meal so one might do the nibbles/starter one might do all the veg and one might make the puddings. I have a recipe from Jamie Oliver for gravy to make ahead and freeze and then on the day I just need to add the turkey juices. I am going to par boil spuds and freeze them so they can just be roasted. Bread sauce will also be done prior to the day I am sure there will be many other ways we can get ahead of the game too.

After breakfast Alan walked Beauty and I woke the girls. Actually Amy was already awake and reading in bed, Milly was still snoring away :-) They had enjoyed Breaking Dawn immensely and went to bed early - for them - about 11.30 - I didn't hear a peep out of them when I went up at 12. Apparently they had gone straight to sleep - must have been all that walking and fresh air doing the Christmas shopping ;-)
Having spent time talking and making plans for the day I decided to change them! It made more sense for me to go for the Xmas tree by myself and that way we wouldn't have to be in such a rush to get to my sisters. I headed off in the car to the place ( five minutes away ) we have bought our tree for the last ten years or so. I pulled up saw a tree on display and it was perfect size and shape it was bagged and in the car within five minutes :-) That has never happened before - we normally have to hold and size up many before we find the one :-)

Back home and showers for us all before we headed off to my Sisters where we enjoyed a really lovely meal with fantastic company :-) 

Back home - again - and Amy wrapped a few presents she had bought yesterday before we had to say goodbye. Loved having you hun... see you soon :-)

Then the Christmas music went on, some dancing was done and the tree was dressed. A couple of hours later and a whizz with the vacuum and a duster and the living room is chritmasified :-)

Milly watched some Buffy. Alan did some ironing whilst watching TV. I wrapped some more presents and organised those that need to be posted or in the case of the gift for our homeopath ( and a special gift for her son ) delivered to the office before her last day of appointments. I missed it last year so determined they get them before Xmas this year.

A late tea of soup for Alan and I and bacon, egg, and toast for Milly.
Milly is now playing with monster high dolls and has been down for string and various other implements and has a zip wire, ladders and rope ladders across the top of the stairs!
Limbo on the way up to bed then ;-))


Saturday, 3 December 2011


Twenty to eight at night and today hasn't finished yet!
Down and out yesterday with a Migraine and then I didn't get to sleep until after two. I woke with a start at 5.00 and thought I heard laughter. I was sure the girls were still awake. I couldn't believe it and I took my earplugs out and listened but heard nothing. I decided to look in on them and sure enough they were snoring and sound asleep. Got back into bed and tossed and turned for another hour before I managed to sleep again :-( I felt lousy when the alarm went off at eight...
I woke the girls when I finally rolled myself out of bed at 8.30

Strangely as the morning wore on I found myself feeling more and more energetic :-) I ate and then made the girls eggy bread before whizzing round with the vacuum, washing up and getting a shower. We were all ready to go at 10.00 which was earlier than we had anticipated.

On to Carlisle to do some shopping :-)
 If you are looking for some gifts or cards or a wide range of Christmas decorations you could take a look in a fantastic little shop just near the nativity scene.
Alternative is a beautiful little shop, jam packed with goodies - they have also opened a Christmas shop just over the road brimming with festive delights :-)
Shameless plug for my baby sister and her hubby :-))) 

We arrived home late afternoon. Al had been at work til 2.00 and got back from walking Beauty just after us. I took the opportunity to wrap some pressies whilst the girls - Amy ably assisted by Milly :-) -  decided to make fairy cakes and rocky road' Alan cleaned the bathroom and then went to bed for an hour:-)
I prepped some garlic cheesy bread and pasta to add to the bolognese sauce I had made yesterday.
Once they had eaten it was time to get ready and they have now gone to the cinema with Alan. They are happy to go in to the film on their own so Alan doesn't have to go in with them and is going to do a little window shopping and wait. He has the daily paper and supplements so that will help pass the time with a cuppa :-)

I have a table full of presents to wrap - not tonight but I hope to get them finished tomorrow.

The table also has the Easter tree ( branches from the garden sprayed gold that we had decorated with coloured paper eggs ) on it... Milly wanted to keep it up ( on top of the bookcase in the sun room ) and it has been catching dust since then :-) It is now to be transformed into a Christmas tree and sits in the middle of the table with boxes of glitter, coloured card and glittery pipe cleaners and ready for inspiration to strike ;-)

There is washing to be hung,
 chocolate fudge cakes ( to take to my sisters tomorrow ) cooling, then they will be ready to be iced .... 

and - after all the baking and meal making -  this

to clear - for the fourth time.
And miraculously ( a real novelty for me ) I actually have the energy to finish it!!
Would be nice if this energy could hang around a while - I could get used to it :-)

Friday, 2 December 2011


Second Migraine of the week today:-(

I crawled out of bed at 6.30 and got one of the new pills presribed from the Drs last week. That meant the pain soon left but the nausea and fatigue still lingered. I stayed in bed til about 10.00 and then decided I would get up and eat with the hope that would help. I woke Milly before I went down - we have a busy weekend ahead and she wanted to be able to sleep earlier tonight so had asked to be woken earlier.

Porridge drizzled with syrup, a spoonful of greek yogurt, sprinkled with milled flax seeds and a cup of herbal tea helped to make me feel slightly better.

I decided to rest as much as possible but was loathe to go back to bed. I pottered, picking up and tidying bits and peices but mainly watched daytime TV:-) Milly lay in bed. She was awake - we have phones with an intercom and she has one in her room so we chatted on that a few times but she wasn't hungry so she spent her time daydreaming :-) When she came down about 12.00 we wrapped Amy's Christmas present and then I made her eggy bread with beans and bacon. She helped by getting things out for me and declared it the best breakfast/lunch she had had for a while, everything was cooked just right :-)  

The afternoon was spent lounging on the sofa in the sunroom listening to the rain lashing on the windows and writing Christmas cards. Then I decided I would get on with the one task I really needed to do to make tomorrow evening easier..

I am taking Milly and Amy Xmas shopping tomorrow. They have been planning this day for two years!! Last year the snowfall put paid to the trip. They are spending their own money to buy gifts for friends and family :-)  We will get home late afternoon, eat tea and then they get ready to go out with Alan to see Breaking Dawn at the cinema. I had intended to make meatballs in a tomato sauce but Spaghetti bolognese was quicker and easier to put together. It simmered on the stove for 3 hours so it will be a lovely rich sauce. Not only will it make tomorrow easy but I will freeze some and when El comes to stay during the week we have a ready made tea :-)

I always do a weekly menu and create my shopping list from that but this week I decided to do a two week menu and try to do one big shop with top up shopping for fresh foods as and when we need it. We won't be making unnecessary trips ( saving petrol ) we can get it when we are out and about or Alan can get it on his way home from work. I am hoping to do more batch cooking and freeze meals to make things easier and  hopefully cheaper if I can buy larger portions of meats and poultry and veg and also save on the gas by making more meals in one go. I get so tired of thinking about what we are going to eat and by doing this I should at least have a week where I don't have to :-) I do enjoy trying new things and looking through recipe books to create the menus but the pleasure is taken away from it as it normally happens in a rush the night before I need to go shopping. I am a week ahead of myself now and should be able to take my time to find recipes and meal ideas so it becomes a much more enjoyable process... That's the plan ;-))  It will require a level of organisation though and I need to check the menu each day to ensure I have all the ingredients..... I will let you know how it goes :-)

Amy is staying over tonight and also tomorrow night. We are aiming to get our tree on Sunday morning before we head off to my sisters for Lunch with them. A lovely family friend and her son and his new fiance will also be there. Amy is joining us too :-)

A busy weekend full of friends and Family to look forward to :-)

Hope your weekend is a great one.