Monday, 31 December 2012

Christmas 2012

Hope you all had a wonderful christmas! We certainly did. I was working christmas eve but it was only half a day and we had such a laugh! We went to my parents house and I got to finally spend some time with my two sisters, my brother was with his wife at her parents. Christmas day was just Sam and I which we loved. It was our second christmas as husband and wife so we're still figuring out our traditions but christmas dinner is already getting better every year - nothing beats my mommas dinner though!
We got some really great gifts. My favourites were a cute collar clip necklace and a beautiful watch from Sam and he also got my an ice cream maker! Can't wait to start using that. :o)
Sam of course got the inevitable stack of new blu-rays, CDs and books and as always I got him a new jumper. (you can see in the photos from asos)

We then spent boxing day at Sam's parents with his sister and two nephews, 3 & 6, so a lot of noise and laughter going on! The 27th was back at my parents for 'christmas day' again. My mom was working christmas eve & boxing day so it was nice to have a big family dinner and be home for a while.

*sigh*. This year I haven't had too much of the christmas blues, I think because we started early and put the christmas tree up in November, so I feel I've had plenty of time to enjoy everything. It's been a wonderful christmas full of crafts, food, laughter & love!

Now looking forward to a new year!
Seeing my best friend and her husband for dinner tonight and then going to another friends new year's eve party later on in the evening - totally hardcore! - lots of people to see! I think it's going to be a late one!

Hope you all enjoy seeing in the new year! Can't to see what 2013 has in store!


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Here comes Santa Claus!

Happy christmas eve-eve!
My computer has been out of action which is why I'm terribly behind on blog posts.
I can't believe christmas is in two days! December went ever so fast. What I learnt this month is getting the present shopping done early allows for more time to enjoy the run up to christmas, get more crafts done and enjoy the season. We were done at the beginning of the month so have had a lot of time to enjoy being with each other.
We had our 'orange and clove' date so the house is full of christmas smells and I also got the wonderful breakfast Sam promised me. 

(photos: some of the things I've made this year!)

Here are the rest of our 'dates'. (I have a lot to catch up on!)

Day 11. A breakfast date at Rowheath Pavillion. This place is walking distance from where we live and makes the yummiest bacon sandwiches!

Day 12. We had one more German Market date knowing that we would become too busy to make anymore trips. We brought a box of different flavoured marshmallows and are still enjoying them!

Day 13. Sam chose a take-away date. Many of his dates seem to include food. Good job I LOVE eating! We shared a chinese meal (one of the best I've had actually) and watched a movie together, which was really nice, especially to have an evening in doing 'nothing'.

Day 14. I promised Sam I would 'bake a treat of his choice'.

Day 15. Another date, most likely now in the new year unless we can sneak this in before is to go to the New Inn for a few cocktails. It's such a cosy pub and their cocktails are pretty good. Looking forward to that one!

Day 16.A cinema date. We used to go to the cinema about once, sometimes even twice a week but since we got married and starting living in our own place, paying bills and rent we can't usually afford to go so often. It has become a treat for us to go out to see a movie now which is actually quite nice. We do use LoveFilm but sometimes you HAVE to go see something. So we went to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Uh-mazing! We did go with a crowd of people but that definitely added to the experience of seeing it at iSense/3D/48 frames a second! Seeing it again on new years day with the rest of my family!

Day 17. A walk around Winterbourne Gardens and cream tea date! How very English of us!

Day 18. I had the day off work and Sam surprised me by telling me the night before that he also got the day off! We worked out that it would be the only day/evening we would have to do our christmas food & drink shop so that's what we did.

Day 19. This evening we had a date night with our friends Josh & Natalia. Although Natalia wasn't feeling well so she stayed home. We still went out and had a great meal at Frankie & Bennys. That was great because we hadn't eaten there for a while and it was also great to catch up with Josh who was one of our best men at our wedding. He's is getting married in April so much excitement to come in the new year!

Day 20. We spent an evening making our annual food parcels for friends & family. Every christmas for the last five years we have made cute little edible presents for people. This year we did dark chocolate and pistachio fudge, cranberry flapjacks, fruit & seed chocolate slabs & cranberry & port sauce.

Day 21. Christmas movie night date. Of course we've had many of these this month already!

Day 22. This one might be cheating a little but I want to take Sam to Shogun Tepanyaki again. It's an amazing restaurant where they cook all your food in front of you on a huge hot plate. You get a lot of food and good entertainment as you eat! I think we will try and go for Sam's birthday at the beginning of January!

Day 23. Christmas present wrapping and stocking filling date! All done & done and I'M SOOO EXCITED!!!

Hope you all enjoy the next few days and if I don't blog again before have a really wonderful, restful, peaceful and joyful christmas!

Lots of LOVE! <3

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10

Ooops, got a little behind.
The beginning of the month always looks empty and then all the dates come flooding in at once. We have a few different calenders. I prefer paper; to be able to see everything written down in front of me, it's easier to plan and see all at once. So, yes, I have a filofax that I carry with me everywhere. I've had it for a few years now and I'm still very fond of it. We also have a calender that we hang in the house that we can both see everyday, that always looks messy. A clean calender with blank spaces at the beginning of the month and then full of black splodges, crossing out & overlapping. When we first got married and had our wall calender I didn't let Sam write on it (because he's not very neat), now I can't even make it neat the amount of things that get written on it! He's allowed to write on it now. Hah.
THEN Sam has now set up both our iPhones so our calenders are synced. With busy lives now and being in separate places more often it's just easier to see what each other are doing without needing to ring/text to find out. I'm getting used to the electronic version but I'm still not a fan. Sam functions much better seeing it all on his phone. Anyway, my point being I have not blogged as our evenings are so full and then it's bedtime!

Day 6 was me. It was a milk and cookie date night. I did a cookie night with a few friends on the fifth where eight of us got together. We had to make a batch of cookies for each person so eight batches altogether including one for yourself. We went to one person's home, drank mulled wine and nibbles then sat around and took it in turns to share about how our year has been. It is such a special time. We try to do it every year. It's just a wonderful way to reflect on the year and share everything with the people around us. Then we share cookies to take home!
So we were going to have a cookie night and cuddle with a hot milky drink but then we had a ton of friends over Thursday night and they all got inhaled! But now I have a great excuse to bake something and find a night for that date. (I'll share my recipe below).

Day 7 was Sam. His promise of a date was a breakfast of my choice in bed! He always gets me an orange juice and cup of tea in the morning before I've even woke up. I'm a lucky girl.
Again we both had the same idea because day 8 was a breakfast for him, a heart-shaped breakfast which I've always wanted to do for him at some point.

Day 9 was a tea date at the mac and a wander around to see whats going on whenever we decide to go. We want to try and go to a few more local places and this is one of them. It has beautiful grounds to walk around too. Hoping when the weather gets warmer to remember to picnic there a bit more often.

Finally, day 10. This was an 'orange & clove' date. To make our christmas pomanders to sit on the radiators to fill our home with christmassy scrumminess! I made them last year on one of my days off and Sam said he wants to do them together this year.

Wow! I think one of my longest blog posts. Thanks for lasting till the end! Here is the recipe for my 'cookies' although I cheated and made christmas flapjacks instead!

Preparation: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Serves 24

100g (4oz) butter, 75g (30z) golden syrup, 75g (3oz) soft brown sugar, 225g (8oz) rolled oats, few handfuls of pecan nuts and a few of dried cranberries, 2 big bars of dark chocolate and edible gold dust to finish.

Put butter, syrup and sugar into a saucepan and melt over a low heat.
Stir in oats, pecans & cranberries and mix well.
Spread into a greased square tin.
Bake at 180 oC (350 oF), gas mark 4 for 30 minutes.
When out of the oven melt dark chocolate, pour and spread all over the top.
Leave to cool & set then dust with edible gold dust which you can get from most supermarkets.

ENJOY! They were the best I've ever made.


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Day 4 & 5 and Pom Poms

I found the tutorial for these sweet pom poms on this video. They are super easy and really fun/satisfying to make and add something different to our christmas decorations this year. Just a few yarns of wool and a bit of thread makes this a really cheap DIY. Go for it!

For day four of our advent I gave Sam a little voucher promising him a game of Pandemic. He bought it a few months ago and I've always been 'too tired...too busy...too not-in-the-mood-never-want-to-play-it', but since he's always so sacrificial for me it was about time I did something for him, especially because he went to Ikea for me. So, when we get a free evening and he wants to play that's our evening sorted. Pandemic is a game where you play against the board and stop a virus from spreading around the world.....yeah.......

Hah. Moving on. Today, day five, our date for another day is to do 'up & down the aisle of the supermarkets for our christmas food and drink shop'. Sam wants to make a date out of our food shop. He's so funny. He loves going up and down the aisles, afraid he might miss out on a treat but just wants to see everything on offer. Sometimes treats get put into the trolley...
Really looking forward to that date anyway, I get a feeling this is going to be one very merry trip to the food market and maybe too long deciding what to get down the drinks aisle!

Hope you are enjoying your December so far!


Monday, 3 December 2012

Day 2 & 3

Well, I already realise that I may not be able to blog every evening. Last night I spent a lot of time making fabric pine cones to hang up for decoration (I'll share them soon!) Life just gets busy and crafty but we're making time for our date-vent calender!
Yesterday was mine. We spent the morning at church and then went into the town to finish off our christmas shopping (maybe not the best combination on a Sunday, but hey ho, we finished all our present shopping and the rest we just have to hand-make!) It's the first time I've done everything this early so it will be nice just to enjoy the season now and take time with my crafts.

Our date for the 2nd was a coffee date. Original huh?! Well, it was to us. We enjoyed a christmas drink together and moseyed along the German Market but then Sam wasn't feeling too good, he didn't feel good from the morning but the brave soul carried on with our date to honour my request. It wasn't long before we headed home, got straight into pj's and made a bed on the sofa....umm...maybe that was two in the afternoon but it was a Sunday after all. Sam dosed up on medication, new christmas socks on his feet and a sweet milky drink in hand we still had a lovely day.

Today, Sam's turn. I'd been harking on about going to Ikea for a mooch before christmas sometime. Sam does not like wandering around Ikea unless we have a purpose, I however, like a good look and swoon over all the things we can't have. My 'date' today was a trip to Ikea. What-a-guy! After I finished work this evening we headed straight over to Ikea for dinner. Meatballs of course! :o) then picked up a few things and some jars ready to make our own homemade cranberry and port sauce. Sam was such a sport and pretended to enjoy it the whole time! Hah.

Okay. My turn again tomorrow. This girl gotta think up something gooood.

N'night all. Xx

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Day 1: Date-vent Calender!

Okay so day one begins. The planning has been so exciting...and guess what?!...we thought of exactly the same thing! That has never happened with us. I feel so blessed that Sam got super creative with his ideas - so much so that they pretty much matched mine. We decided since they were so similar and the ideas need to fit around our already busy calender that we would take 12 days each instead.
The idea? A Date-vent Calender! We would come up with a 'date' everyday for each other or do something that will bless the other one. The one thing we don't know is what ideas we both have for each day. I bet some are the same! We are trying desperately not to talk about it so we don't spoil it for whoever's surprise it's going to be!

Sam said he would go first but I didn't get to open the envelope till later. (p.s. he printed templates of envelopes off the internet and cut and stuck them together! I am like OMG *squeal!* Really not his thing to do but he did it!)

So I started off at work today and it turned out to be a really quiet day at the shop so I was sent home at lunchtime. Sam picked me up and whisked me off for an unexpected pub lunch! What was in the envelope? "I want to take you out for a pub lunch today." He admitted it wasn't the original plan but it was one of them for his 12 days so he did a little swapping around.

We had a wonderful little lunchtime date at one of our favourite pubs and waddled back too full with food and did a little christmas internet shopping.
Now sitting in a warm house with twinkling christmas tree lights planning how to deck the rest of our place out!
Tomorrow it's my turn to do something for him! <3 Happy December guys! I think this one is going to be full of FUN!

*Gush over*


Friday, 30 November 2012

It was the last day of November

Hi all!
Here we are...December tomorrow. Where has this year gone?!
Since my last post, I finally finished the order for ten cakestands for the shop, we've been for a date at the German Market, I had a few red cups from Starbucks and I've put my christmas tree up! Yup! I've never done that before December but this year I have felt so christmassy a lot earlier and just couldn't resist! Looking forward to making for decorations to put up!

Last year we moved into our home the second week of December so we got a little behind with starting advent. We wanted to make it a tradition to create each other an advent calender rather than buy one so this year that's exactly what we are doing! I have no idea what Sam has planned but I know what I am doing for him. I'm going to try and document it on the blog, firstly because I like to document, secondly because it will make me do the things I plan to do and thirdly to share it with you because if you have a spouse or partner it will be nice to do something different for advent either this year or next for each other! I can't say much at the moment because the Mr will read this, all will be revealed tomorrow! Apologies in advance for the blog post spam!

P.s. we're going to see Mumford & Sons next week! I can't wait!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Baddesley Clinton & joyful hearts

Hello to you on this wintery afternoon! It's been raining leaves all day outside of my window. I'm enjoying a day off, drinking plenty of tea and snuggling in a chunky cable knit.

After a busy but fun week at work I had a couple of days off to go on my annual trip to the arts & crafts show at the NEC, Birmingham. It's kind of my disneyland. :o)
I've stocked up for the year and have lots of projects to get through and share with you on the way. Hoping to do some DIY sessions to inspire you to get into handmaking your own things too. Such fun!
With crafting in mind, this week the management at work asked me to design and make TEN cakestands for their two stores and we'll be collaborating on a few more things once they have been done. I couldn't be more excited and grateful for this opportunity and to grow my business. Things are ticking along very nicely indeed.

To celebrate but also because it was long overdue we had a date night last Friday and it was the first time I tried a french martini. Scrummy. (vanilla vodka, raspberry liqueur, pineapple juice & lemon). A scallop starter and venison main later (yea, we went a bit all out!) we went home.
Saturday was just as fun. We thought we'd flex a bit of plastic - ummm...ok just our National Trust membership cards!! and went to Baddesley Clinton for the day. They have beautiful grounds to walk in & we had a ton of fun taking photos! I love spending time with this guy!


Unfortunately, I have not enjoyed a red cup yet, we need an excuse to go into town in order to find the nearest Starbucks BUT the German Market arrives on Thursday so we're planning a few spontaneous evening trips to fill our tummies with treats galore! It's definitely feeling like christmas! I think I'm going to start decorating the house much sooner this year to get me fired up to do more christmassy projects and cooking!

Happy Tuesday, friends! Xo

katie: dress & coat - asos, faux fur neck snood - next
sam: shirt - asos, jumper - monsoon (they have a men's outlet in bicester), coat - rocha john rocha

Friday, 2 November 2012

'Don't let anyone ever dull your sparkle'

Here goes...
I wondered whether to talk about this on the blog as I don't want anything on here to become any kind of rant or be negative, I mean, who wants to hear that? but this blog for me is like an online journal. I hope to look back in years to come at the things I've done, achieved, fought through, cried and laughed over. Since I've occasionally blogged about my job over the last few months I see it only fit to share some of what's happened this last month.

You might know that I found my 'dream job' recently. I did say that and honestly I feel like a fool for feeling that. It might have been but it wasn't. I worked with someone who constantly criticised, made fun of my faith, stripped me of my self belief and quite frankly made it really difficult to wake up in the morning and go to work.
I felt it was an unsafe, unhealthy environment to work in and as I struggled and prayed about whether to stay and fight it or just leave, the decision was taken out of my hands and I was dismissed from work for unknown reasons. After the initial shock a rush of relief quickly flooded over me and I could not be happier to be set free from that place of work.

In my determination to find another job quickly so that it wasn't just my husband supporting us I applied for another job that had suddenly come up that a friend told me about; another bakery job in the village I wanted to work in and a job I had applied for two years previously but they weren't recruiting. To cut a long story short, within a week of being dismissed I landed a new position! I work front of house and am also on cupcake decorating duty at this place!

It truly has been a dream! I am totally doing what I love everyday and my management team are incredible. They are so supportive, encouraging and open to my ideas, designs and creativeness. I feel respected and valued and I feel that there is so much room to grow as a person and in my career. I couldn't be happier right now and with Sam absolutely loving his job too we are one pretty joyful household!
I know God has had his hand on us. Through all the heartache and questions I have always known He would provide for us and provide for us He did.

To top off my excitement for this new season the German Market arrives in 2 weeks, the red cups are available in Starbucks, we finished our marathon of James Bond and watched Skyfall (uh-mazing, by the way!) and we booked in a date night for next week! Yes, we have to book in date nights, busy busy schedules!

Right, I'm off to sleep with a smile on my face! Xo