Monday, 29 December 2008


New Year's Resolutions. I love them, I really do.

Like Katy Carr, I make bushels of good resolutions all the time, (and never stick to them), so I love the idea of a clean slate a new year brings.

Here are my NYRs for 2009

There are two main ones. Very important. And I must stick to these:

1) Make a little time for myself for crafts and reading
This is pretty important. I feel like I've lurched through 2008 from house cleaning to work deadlines to toddler tantrums with rush hour traffic taking me from one to the next. It's been making me a bit crazy. I really need a little space and quiet in my head, and I really must make time for this next year

2) Tackle the Clutter
I guess I have to address this, especially as it's contributing to the stuff in no.1. I've had to think about how to sort it so I have a realistic chance of sticking to it. Am I going to stop thrifting and looking for treasures at jumble sales? No. I'm really not. Can I fit all of this stuff in my house? No. I really can't. What can I do? Keep seeking out treasures and bringing them home, but REGULARLY swap and change what I have on display and pass on those items which I no longer have space for. Look for a vintage treasures etsy store coming in the New Year!

Then there's a couple for icing on the cake.

1) Learn to use my digital camera.
I've already got some books from the library to demystify aperture and shutter speed. S says he thinks there's a tripod in the attic!
2)Learn to make balloon animals.
Erm, at our work Christmas do we all chose something we wanted to learn in 2009. C and I chose making balloon animals, so I guess I'll have to add this here too.

Happy New Year!

Christmas in Review

Firstly, please go enter my giveaway, you have until 2nd Jan to enter!

So, Christmas is over and went too fast. Mum was sick, then E was sick, then Dad got it. E opened 3 presents on Christmas morning, then went to sleep. Dad opened 4, then was sick, then went to bed. I managed 1 story from Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales, and one and a half squares of my Christmas blanket. Then S got sick. Then we drove back on Saturday to traffic jams on the M6 and M1. It wasn't as calm as it could have been.

So, we're back home, and Santa was very good to me. Here's some of my goodies:

A watch with interchangeable ribbon straps

A great assortment of stationery, always one of my favourite things to receive

S got me these vintage Georgette Heyer. I'd been wanting to read some since I heard Mr Stephen Fry wax lyrical about his guilty pleasures. And I LOVE those covers

Amy Butler patterns from my sister, via Nerybeth Fabric and Crafts

On the craft front, I also got Sew Pretty Homestyle and Sew and Stow

S also found me a tin of vintage sewing bits: ribbons, threads, zips and binding, and a vintage green apron. He always does well finding me pre-loved treasures
Lastly, but by no means leastly... the textile section. Socks and pyjamas, always welcomed by me. Cupcake apron from the dear-departed Woolworths, and these fantastic fingerless mittens from Joules, which I am totally loving!
Hope Christmas has been good to you! See you in the New Year! With Resolutions!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A giveaway!

My first giveaway!

This morning I bought some of the fine things Arran businesses have to offer. Many do mail order, so that fact that you might not currently be on this fine island shouldn't stop you from partaking.
We bought chocolates from James of Arran, a selection of cheeses from The Island Cheese Co, and goodies from Arran Aromatics, including a bottle of their Soft Cinnamon perfume from their Parfumeur range.

I also bought these travel size bottles of Waterbabe Shampoo and Body Wash, Waterbabe Hydrating Body Cream and Earthwise Grapefruit and Cardamom Body Toner, and these are up for giveaway. I'm happy to post to anywhere on earth that Royal Mail will allow, all you need to do is leave a comment below and I'll pick one name on the 2nd Jan.

Merry Christmas!
PS, Arran also makes beer, whisky, mustard and preserves. All sorts of good stuff. You really should visit.


Seals resting on the rocks. How do they get up there?

and this guy practicising his yoga positions

Corrie harbour

More photos in my Flickr set here

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

On Brodick Beach

As is often the case when you've been working very hard and then you stop, a couple of members of the household came down with something icky this morning, so much of the day was spent in pyjamas.
But we needed to get out before dark because the dog wanted a run. Which he got. Can you spot him in this next picture?

Once that burst of greyhound energy is spent, there's time for a sniff...

And there's lots for the toddler to see too, when equipped with these winter-time beach necessities..

I think if you dropped me blindfolded on to Arran, I'd know where I was the instant I took that first lungful of air

Good to be back

When we got in from our walk, we sat on the sofa for a cuppa. E fell asleep in six seconds. Not kidding.

Which gave her a renewed energy for decorating some Christmas biscuits.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Good Morning Arran!

Nice to wake up and inhale that air and have nothing to do all week.
Nothing except make the house festive

and cosy...

and make some progress on Christmas knitting.....

(and yes! we have internet access!)

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Leaving...very soon!

CalMac Arran ferry, originally uploaded by ninethreeo.

In a couple of hours, we're starting our journey (via one stopover) up the country to the Isle of Arran. I haven't started packing yet, but as soon as this cup of tea is finished I'm going to start gathering presents, clothes (including something nice for a cocktail party), favourite toys, knitting and books from various parts of the house and trying to squash them into as few bags as possible.

With books in mind, I was forward thinking enough to ask Sarah for some Christmas reading suggestions , but not forward thinking enough to leave myself time to source them.
E and I went to the library late yesterday afternoon, when I was sure the bout of poorly had passed. They had a performance of a finger puppet pantomime, which E was bemused by for the most part, although she liked the songs and the shouting. Afterwards the librarian let the children choose wrapped presents from a sack which turned out to be Christmas themed books. E got "Reindeer Games", a book all about Reindeer's favourite things at Christmas, most of which are my favourite things at Christmas too.

After THAT, I had to quickly look for something Christmassy for me to read, Tricky. None of Sarah's recommendations were there. The computers were down so I couldn't do any keyword searches. I ended up at the Classics section and the only thing remotely appropriate was Elizabeth Gaskell's "Gothic Tales", and that's if you're going for the tradition of telling spooky stories on Christmas Eve.

This morning I remembered that I have a fantastic example of the spooky stories on Christmas Eve genre. A beautiful, old first edition of Jerome K Jerome's "Told After Supper".

I shall pack it very carefully and not squash it in with the knitting or the toys.

So, my tea is finished. Have to get moving. I'm not sure whether I have the time or ability to post from Arran (google "wireless hot spot Arran" gets you the 'Internet Cafe and Wireless Hot Spot' section of Arran's online paper and the message "
Unfortunately, there are currently no entries in this section") so, until next time:

Merry Christmas
Hope you have a peaceful and festive time

Friday, 19 December 2008

Shirley's Winter Wonderland

Shirley's Winter Wonderland, originally uploaded by ninethreeo.

I finished work yesterday until the 6th January, and I woke up at 6am this
morning being sick.

Toddler E and I have been taking it easy this morning on the sofa under a
duvet. After watching The Muppets Christmas Carol, we got out some books for
a read, mostly Shirley Hughes today.

I LOVE Shirley Hughes. There's something so cosy and real about her words
and images. With the family theatre of bathtimes and bedtimes, trips to the
park and the shops, set against the backdrop of nature so evocatively
painted through the seasons, they remind me to appreciate the new things E
is learning everyday. And not just her numbers and letters, but the myriad
of things which occupy her mind.
As Shirley says of children in this article at The Times Online:
"They are learning more at this stage than at any other, grappling with
these big things: are my boots on the right feet? Can I safely put my
security blanket down? You have to tap into the way they feel about these

There are the things E experiences everyday, the things she notices and
hasn't yet learned to take for granted, and through Shirley Hughes's books
they are captured in such beautiful detail: the cat on the wall on the way
to the park, the difference between day and night, the sound of falling
They remind me what it's like for E to be a small child, and they also remind me to appreciate these things too.

Over at the Penguin website she says this:
"I want children, however tiny they are, and wherever they live, to use their eyes, to look out and see that it's ravishingly beautiful out there."

I really knew nothing of what Ms Hughes looks like or about her personal life before reading these articles though, but I liked this, also from The Times:
"Appointed OBE in 1999 for services to children's literature, Shirley Hughes
at 78, tall and upright in elegant, home-sewn clothes, shows no sign of
slowing down"


The Times

The pic is of E reading Colours, from Shirley's nursery collection which also includes Noisy, Bathwater's Hot, All Shapes and Sizes, and When We Went to the Park. We have these as
individual books and also as a collection. The individual books are better because the illustrations are bigger and given the right amount of space. In the collection some are cropped.

E is nearly three and still really enjoys these books. She is getting Rhymes for Annie Rose for

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Thrifty Christmas Find

Thrifty Christmas Find, originally uploaded by ninethreeo.

Happy happy with this batch of 40 vintage glass baubles found at the charity shop. There are two Santas and the bell really tinkles. £4 for the lot

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Thankyou Mr Postgate

Knitted Clanger, originally uploaded by ninethreeo.

For my own childhood memories of Ivor and Bagpuss.

From my daughter, nearly three, who loves the Bagpuss mice and is besotted with the Clangers ("more soup!"), and who is getting the Bagpuss/Clangers/Ivor box set for Christmas

From my husband, over 40, who shed a tear when he found out.

Thank you.

Winter at Rufford and a Lantern Walk at Sherwood Forest

We headed back to the woods on Sunday for another festive day out. This time we reversed our destinations and went to Rufford in the daylight.

E got quickly into the swing of things by testing out the muddy puddles with her boots....

and hands when she thought I wasn't watching.
The woods were pretty...

The ducks were out enjoying the day

Then it was time to go! We had a lantern walk through Sherwood Forest at 4.30...

People had brought torches, and fairy lights of different colours.

The trees looked dramatic in full torch glare against the dark woods

And it really was pitch black in Sherwood Forest, away from roads and street lights and houses

Then to the restaurant to get warm again with a mince pie and a hot chocolate with loads of cream

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Bugs, Berries and Pink Doggies

Just a quick post, I'm coming down with some pre-Christmassy bug: I have that feeling behind my nose like my sinuses are insane. Do you know it? Like something is fizzing in your head?

I've been catching up on blog posts (other people's!) while sipping a warm mug of Bottle Green Spiced Berry. I have Olbas Oil on my tshirt. Anyway, I've just seen this lovely giveaway at Kitschen Pink, get on over there and leave a comment for entry, or link to it from your blog for two entries. Just like I just did!

Hopefully, we're off for another full day of woodland adventure tomorrow, though it 's been cold and raining all day today. I'm really hoping for better weather tomorrow, we're going on a lantern walk in the evening! Rain would not be welcome.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Tree Dressing at Sherwood Forest and Aurora at Rufford Park

As E is currently fond of saying "I'm back!"

We took E to the Tree Dressing at Sherwood Forest. She made a spider-on-a-stick in the nature workshop. She met St Nicholas. She ran and ran in the woods. At 4 o'clock a man called Gordon ("but everyone calls me Toad") told us a very theatrical story about a storm in the woods. It got dark very quickly. E made wind noises and waved her spider vigorously on demand. Everything was going fine until we all had to shout for Santa to come and switch on the lights. Her lip trembled. She full-on bawled. She hates shouting.

She calmed down quickly for the switch on of the lights. The tree looked amazing covered in ribbons and flags made by children to celebrate nature. S took her back to the car for a picnic of warm pasta, while I got hot drinks from the cafe for us. Everyone had left. It was cold and very very dark and quiet.

After getting warm in the car with our coffee, hot chocolate and warm fusilli, we headed over to Rufford Park, to see their Aurora exhibition.
Around every corner was a stunning, dramatic light display set to atmospheric sounds.

E LOVED it, running through tunnels of light, and between trees.

S and I agreed it was the BEST £2 we've spent this month so far. Superb.

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