Friday, 29 November 2013

Advent Boxes

Last year I decided to make advent boxes for some of my friends instead of giving them a gift for Christmas Day.  I decorated 5 shoe boxes, and bought each person 24 little gifts to open.  I think all 5 people enjoyed knowing that someone had thought of them every day in the run up to Christmas Day and I had great fun making them up.  This year, I was down to 4.  5 were just too much to wrap up last year!!

Each person gets 24 presents, some are identical, others are specific to each person.  G has a great sense of humour (I hope!), S likes handmade, C likes pretties and M likes a mix of all 3.  I start buying in Jan and have a bag for each person in the present cupboard (do you have a present cupboard?).  I also have a notebook to record items and cost so I can keep an eye on both throughout the year.  I have tried to made handmade gifts this year and they all have at least 4 in the boxes.  I haven't taken photos as at least 2 of them read this blog - sorry guys no spoilers here.  So if you email me a photo of your favourite items I will add them to the blog once you have opened them.

This year S and M have made me an advent box.  To say I am excited to take part is an understatement.  I have had M's for a week or 2 now and S delivered hers yesterday.  I so want the 1st December to come round so I can open them.  How many sleeps left?

Thanks S

So Pretty- need to up my game next year.

Thanks M
Is it too early to go to bed??????

Thursday, 28 November 2013

This week

This week has been lovely.  Two visits from different people to make a difference to my week.  First up we had S and M over to say hi.  M is definitely crawling now and I suspect she will be walking soon as she seems desperate to be moving more.  S - you have a fast mover there!

As I knew M would be crawling I took special care in trying to hoover up as many dog hairs as I could.  A triple cleaning of the carpet in the living room.  First on my hand and knees, then with my slipper (so good at getting dog hairs out of carpets but god it's tiring) and then with the hoover again.  Phew, I was ready for a cuppa Diet Coke at the end of that one.  I wouldn't mind but I spilt a can of the stuff just as I was finishing the floor - arghhhhhhh.  Even Anni looked unimpressed!!  M has grown so much in the last few months.  Anni was a little growly in her crate but M just giggled at her which was great.  I hope as Anni grows older she becomes less scared of people.  She's all Grrrr and no trousers but we don't want her to be scared of people.  S and I had a really good catch up, we can talk for England so it was fabulous having the time for a proper catch up.  The pub lunch helped too!!!!


Then today my friend G came over.  We try and see other at least once a month.  We are fortunate that we have one bus which goes between our houses (with a 20 min walk at one end).  I don't mind going to G's but I hate the walk back to the bus stop.  I am usually running late and end up trying to leg it for the bus - not a sight for sore eyes, let me tell you.  Anni actually loves G.  She's scared of most people but not G.  So a walk in the woods for G to take photos and A to have a walk, win-win.

Do you think Anni is happy?  She has a huge smile and no food was used in the taking of this photo!!!!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Making me HAPPY this week

1) Time at home.  I know that'll sound silly as I am at home a lot these days but this past week, I have only ventured out twice (apart from dog walking).  It's been brill.  A time to unwind and relax.  Fab.

2) Anni making friends with other dogs on her walk.  She even dropped her stick (can you see it behind her?).  She loves her stick but wanted to meet the other dogs more.  This is a big change.

Anni making friends.
3) Buying a pair of wellies.  It's only taken 2 months to find a pair which fit my calves.  They are even a size smaller than I usually take (that's why I hate buying shoes/clothes, you can never rely on one size).  This is big news.   I can now happily walk Anni in the woods without loosing my trainers in a field of mud! 

4) Swapping my first advent box with M and she's made me one too.  Can't wait for the 1st of December to see what goodies she has come up with.  I know she has made some too so they'll be worth the wait.

5) A photo of Anni and I after our walk/swim.  The problem with taking the photos is that you are hardly ever on any of them.  My Mum wanted one of Anni and I and after many, many attempts this is the best one (so far).  Anni adores my Dad.  I think this is because last winter we did a lot of walking together and she loved it.  The downside is that whenever Dad moves, Anni tries to be with him/looks at him which makes taking a photo of her very difficult.  It finally worked in our favour (below) when he stood next to Mum to get the photo!!!

Anni and I at the outdoor gym.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Can you get any closer?

Hello, Anni here.  I love my humans.  They are so nice (and so gullible).  Last night was date night and nothing says date night better than being cuddled up on the sofa watching a film.  I tried to sit between them (I usually get away with it) but there was something wrong last night and they wouldn't let me.  I didn't sulk for long and settled to sit at one side.  Well, he tickles my ears til I fall asleep.  Comfy!

BUT, I wasn't happy.  I NEED to sit closer.  I like the female human bestest (unless he has biscuits) and I wasn't close enough to stay happy.  Need to get closer, time for a stealth attack.  She's knitting she won't even notice I'm there.  Ah much better.

(Erm, Anni that's my knee.....)


PS Film was "Wolverine" and it was fab. Hugh Jackman rocks - needs to cut his nails mind.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Do you use snail mail or email?

I love getting mail.  The real stuff, through the letter box.  Don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy emails but nothing beats the joy from a real letter on the doormat.   (I think it helps that I LOVE stationary.) Kettle on Diet Coke opened, comfy sofa, opening a letter full of news.  HAPPY.

Now I used to write a lot of letters and I stopped.  Not sure why, I think life got in the way.  I now only write to 2 people and for the last couple of years I've struggled to do that.  Not because I didn't want to, and not because I don't love getting their letters, as they make me so happy but I think when you are not feeling 100% happy with life and are a little stressed you let the things that make you happy, pass you by whilst you focus on managing the other things in life.  I've been guilty of that - a lot.

Family illnesses, hubby's MS, miserable job.  All got on top of me.  Last Christmas was the worst of my life and one I never want to go through again.  The person I am today can look back and think "P'ah, it weren't too bad.  Others have it much worse."  But last Christmas was not good.

Anyway, I digress.  Post.  Love it - want to send me some???? (Not bills please).

I have just been to the PO to send some mail.  It cost me over £15 to send:
1) A small card to cheer someone up who is feeling unwell (USA)
2) A handmade bunting and a bar of chocolate to cheer up someone going through a hard time (USA)
3) 4 chocolate bars (Greece) to pay off a debt
4) A bar of chocolate and some small (light) packets (Greece)

Now, I could have bought a lot of chocolate for £15 and almost bought a seat on a cheap airline and delivered the chuffin stuff by myself (to Greece, not USA).  The PO complain that they are losing money and are in financial trouble and they wonder why.

So should I not be myself and when I see someone in need think "N'ah can't be bothered, too dear to post"?  I won't as I am fairly happy with myself (we all have bits we'd change), and I am happy knowing that maybe, just maybe that little parcel that arrives as a surprise might help make someone's day better and that's enough for me.

Now I've written this, I am wondering whether to post as I know some of the people who read this and I don't usually reveal myself quite so much but I'm going to click that publish button and the heck with it.  I am in a good place now and it's only going to get better. x

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Another walk and more trees!

Am sat on the sofa with the dog gently loudly snoring away next to me.  I am hoping that by  the time I finish this post I will be tired enough to go to sleep.  Not sure Anni will be as happy to be kicked off of the sofa but we'll see what I finish this.

Another walk in our local woods today, a bright blue sky, frosty grass in the fields and gorgeous leaves all over the floor just begging for more photos to be taken.

The woods are now very muddy.  The paths dry out pretty quickly but there are patches of very muddy areas and Anni knows where EVERY single patch of mud is located as she's been in them all.  On Sunday she even decided to shove her head into as many as she could.  She does love the dirt my dog!!!

Muddy Face!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Not again

Earlier this year, I got a phone call from my bank telling me that my debit card may have been cloned and they had put a stop to it.  I nearly ignored the bank as initially they sent me a text asking me to get in touch -when did banks start texting??????  Anyway, when I finally got in contact I had to speak to the security centre in India.  Now the 2 men in India were trying to be helpful but were so heavily accented that after 10 minutes I just kept saying no whenever a question was asked and there was a pause- I have no idea what was being asked but felt too bad to keep asking what he had asked.  In the end I heard the words cosmetics and since I don't often use make up etc then I said no (and I hadn't spent on them).  Turns out someone in America was trying to buy cosmetics on my card (I so don't use cosmetics usually!) so easy to say it wasn't me.  Card was cancelled and a new one arrived.

Then this Summer, my hubby's credit card was cancelled due to a security alert.  New card eventually arrived.  This morning I received a phone call saying mine needed to be cancelled.  Is it just me or is 3 times in a year a little excessive.  I am grateful that the card companies have caught the problem and would rather have a cancelled card than a huge bill for things we haven't bought, but I am shocked to have been hit 3 times this year.  Is the problem getting worse or are the companies getting better at catching the toe rags?  Any thoughts?

Monday, 18 November 2013

Do you like trees?

I have a thing about trees.  They fill my nightmares.  Well I don't have many nightmares but I have had one since childhood (always the same one).  For a long time I didn't like being surrounded by trees.  On our recent holiday I was fine until it was dark - then I struggled to take Anni for her last walk of the day (indeed after the first night I let Mum and Dad take her!).  The photo below is my very idea of hell.  Lots of straight trees with little space between them - shiver....

I know I am irrational.  It's just an area of trees, minding their own business.  No threat to me (unless one were to fall on me).

However, since leaving work and getting Anni, we have been walking through local woods and I can appreciate the beauty of the trees.  I have seen them in snow, spring, summer, and Autumn (perhaps my favourite time to walk Anni).  I love taking photos of this kind of tree.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Making me HAPPY this week

1) Going out for a meal to celebrate my Birthday (yup, the one that was back in July!).   How can you not love this face???

Bless my hubby


Especially when he gets the giggles when he sees it on the camera.  The giggles so much that L and I were nearly as bad, laughing at him!!!!

2) Walking in Judy woods.  The colours of Autumn are gorgeous at the moment.  My Mum and I are having a disagreement.  I think it is lush and she thinks it's been better!

Judy Woods

3) Back to York with N.  We had planned on Manchester buy hubby warned me they were running buses instead of trains so we quickly thought better of it.  We went to a designer outlet and didn't spend that much time in the centre of York but it does remind me that I'd like to live closer (over £16 on the train for a day out :-) ).
N keeping warm

4) Anni B in the river (again).  My Dad wonders whether she won't automatically run in when it next snows.  My Mum and I think she won't care.  This dog LOVES water.

5) Crafting - I can't show photos but I have started to get my crafting mojo back - woohoo.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Last day of the hols and a Miracle!

Final Day

The best part of our forest holidays was that no-one felt rushed to do anything.  In a morning, at least one of us (usually 2) would take Anni for a walk whilst the others got ready.  Every one was so chilled and relaxed and unpressurised.

After walking Anni through the woods, the view at the top of the hill was worth the effort (Dad will laugh now at how small the hill was- well if he read this he would!)

Looking towards York - we think!
We then went to a lovely village called Helmsley.  It was so picturesque.  Difficult as Anni is still afraid of people and can be hard to control when on her lead in a busy place.  She nearly pulled me off of my feet a couple of times, and is something we are working on.  Off lead she is a pleasure to walk, more confident and happier.

Hubby may have been a little cold - bargain hat at £4.  Not sure it works with the sunglasses but heh ho.  

There is always room for Orange cake.  Oh yes please.

On the way back to the cabin we were determined to sit in a sunny beer garden and have a drink.  Well it was sunny when we set off, but maybe a tad cold when we got back to the beer garden.  Can you tell?

You have to laugh!

PS.  The Miracle?  After 16 years I finally made my hubby a chicken and mushroom pie.  He loves pie.  I don't - unless it has apple in it.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Forest Holiday part 2

Day 3

Day 3 was my most anticipated day of our holidays.  We went to the seaside.  My Grandma used to live in Scarborough, so I do have a soft spot for the place, especially out of season (and it was definitely out of season!).  It was so cold.

We knew we wanted to give Anni the chance to run on her first beach, so we headed straight down to the North Bay.  Well we tried to.........

 Have you ever tried to push a wheelie through sand?  Do you see Mum and Anni in the first photo - they were raring to go. Us, not so much.  Well we were trying - did you see how far down I got the wheelie into the sand - I tried really hard to get through that sand!!!!!

We did have one casualty on the sand.  See the ball in Anni's mouth in the photo below?  Well it's now on Scarborough beach (or out to sea) somewhere.  My Dad blames the dog for leaving it somewhere, the rest of us have suspicions!!!!  She did love chasing the ball on the beach, another reason to live closer.

Along the Prom they have they most gorgeous beach huts - could you just see yourself sitting inside with a mug of something warm, watching the world (and plenty of dogs) run by?  Oh, yes please.  Just for a little while.  I remember when I was a girl (when did I get old?) these were really run down and not brightly painted this way.  I think these are lush.

My Dad posing (I think he needs to practice his chosen pose!) so I could try and get a pic of everyone.  

Anni was unsure about the sea.  She seemed to like the water but those pesky waves weren't so popular.  The first one which came towards her caused her to leg it back to my Mum for safety.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Making me HAPPY this week

1) Being in the Countryside (especially when it's stopped raining!).  Beautiful Helmsley below.

2) Sharing cake and the most delicious Jaffa Orange ice cream - never too cold to eat ice cream.

3) Spending time with Hubby (Dad in background) away from the day to day stuff of home.  The photo before makes it look like he's perving at my bust.  He swears he just blinked but not sure I believe him!!!!!!

4) Time with the parents.  We don't spend enough time with them but then one day it'll be too late......

5) Being at the seaside.  Love it.  One day we will live nearer (hopefully).

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Holidays in a Forest

Earlier this year, Hubby and I asked if my parents wanted to join us (and Anni) on a short holiday towards the end of the year.  We searched online and chose to book a log cabin just over a 2 hour drive away near Pickering.

Day One
We arrived in the early afternoon as we didn't fancy driving through unlit forest roads in the dark.  Here's the back of the cabin.  The window at the top was a double ensuite.  The windows at the bottom (l to r) twin room, shower room, toilet.

The balcony and huge glass windows on the other side.  One big room containing a kitchen, dining table and sofas.  A staircase upstairs to my right.  I could get used to living on one floor (with a few minor adjustments).  I wonder how much it'd cost to build our own cabin?????

What a welcome.  There was even a doggy biscuit - which obviously didn't last very long!!!

 Mum, Dad and an Alien dog watching me at the top of the stairs.

We had take away pizzas for tea.  Dad and I grabbed our torches and walked to reception and they made and delivered them back to the cabin.  The pizzas were a little sweet for me but we all enjoyed them.  Even if Dad and I got wet walking through the forest in the first place.

Anni was fascinated by one of the big picture windows and could frequently be found in a similar position to the one below!

 Day Two
The morning was a little wet.  Anni had a fabulous time playing in the forest, she doesn't mind water.

View from same window as above
View from Anni's window
We then went into the neighbouring town of Pickering for a little look see before going back to the cabin.

You can't beat Yorkshire.  FACT.

I love the style of the cottages in this part of Yorkshire.  They are so different from where I live.  They remind me of visits to my Grandma.

Posts from our other days will be posted soon (Blogger is starting to play up).