Sunday, 17 December 2017

What a busy week!

Had to stop and take this photo on Tuesday morning, usually I'd have the kids with me and wouldn't be allowed to - so driving solo, I pulled over to take in this wonderful view. A breath of fresh cold air to start the week.

I've pretty much timetabled every free hour to get jobs ticked off the 'to do' list this week. 
Present wrapping has been the priority, grabbing moments when Jeff's been out, the kids have still been at school, although scuppered slightly by Sam having a sick day! Getting the family presents wrapped for swapping at our family lunch or dropping off en route to other things - such a busy time of the year.

  The thing is, I like to wrap presents at the kitchen table, Christmas music playing, with the tree up, so I can never start any earlier. I also like to lay everything out, particularly with Sophie and Sam's gifts just to make sure it's reasonably equal - anyone else do that?

I have all my ribbons, paper, tags and extra bits all laid out in front of me - a good couple of hours wrapping before it all has to get tidied away for a meal or something.

Now the children are older, the pressies go straight under the tree or in bags lined up for gifting. Sam is still a big kid at heart, he's only ever interested in the presents - betting he'll still wake early on the big day, even though he 'didn't want any presents' this year, just money!!!!

Jeff's pile of pressies goes by his chair, makes opening on Christmas morning easier.

Found these fab bottles this year - it's all in the detail. Wine in the striped bottles, a red and a white from Tesco's and the Belvoir Elderflower Presse was looking very festive too. Will wash out the bottles and try and keep them for future decoration.

I've been busy at work, Christmas Jumper is uniform all month if you wish and there's been a notable shift in busyness from Black Friday onwards. I'm in full time Mon to Thurs this week, doing a little overtime too, so will be very busy I'm guessing. I prefer it that way and the kids don't break up until Thursday, so won't be missing out on much. Have the Friday and Saturday off, then in again all day Christmas Eve - will have to leave Christmas lunch 'veg prep' instructions for the rest of them to get on with. It will be a bit different this year but I'm hoping work will be busy and have a good festive atmosphere and I will finish at 4.30, so still time for a festive evening with the family.

For actual Christmas, it will just be the four of us, so not to miss out on some festive family time together, my Mum, Dad and Granny came up from Cornwall yesterday for lunch and my sister and niece joined us. It was a lovely afternoon altogether and we all sat together around the table in the kitchen, with room to spare.

My sister and I then surprised my Granny by whisking her off to Sainsbury's to fill her trolley with whatever she wanted. At 94 she still lives independently and although she says she's become lazy, I think most sensible, she now eats more ready meals and said on the phone how she fancied a change. So as she doesn't have a Sainsbury's nearby, my sister and I thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift to take her shopping. My dad had checked there was space in her freezer and packed the cool bag, so all that was left was to fill her trolley. I think she was suitably surprised and I checked in with her this morning and she did get it all in the freezer - phew!

I hope all your festive plans are coming together. Although busy, I love this time of the year and the older I get, I appreciate more the people I get to spend time with, rather than everything else. Although saying that, the boys are off to watch Star Wars tonight, Sophie has an early night planned to beat off the cold bugs, so I have a night on the sofa on my own booked in, a Christmas movie, glass of Baileys and possibly a chocolate or two planned....... and relax x

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas ready

I think a very interesting insight that has come out of social media, is when people put up their Christmas trees. Now I know there is no right or wrong time but it is quite revealing how very different people are. Now I personally go for about two weeks before Christmas, depends slightly on where the weekend falls, as it's normally Sophie and I who put it up. A family friend  recently commented on Facebook that we were too early and there had to be a '2' in front, so the 20th onwards, far too late for me but it does illustrate how we all have our way of 'doing' Christmas and it differs greatly. Trees up in November is too early for me, even early December, I guess I would go for any time around the 10th...... 

....this weekend then!
Our tree is now up, the house cleaned from top to bottom in readiness.

We have the main tree up in the kitchen as it's the room we spend the most time in together, although you have to be careful not to put chocolaty gifts under this tree because of the under floor heating!

In the sitting room we have a smaller tree - we bought this one in Ikea last year - perfect size for in here. We have plenty of additional lights in here too, so it does feel Christmassy.

Perfect sofa spot - tree, lights, Bailey's, Christmas movie.....

Are you ready for Christmas yet?

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Scouting for girls!!!!

Had the best night last night, at the O2 in Bristol watching Scouting for Girls - they are so good live! We saw them 2 years ago in Cardiff and loved it but they were even better (if that's possible) last night. Surrounded by 18yr olds, my 47 years evaporated and I felt like I was 20 all over again! I just love live music and the older I get, it's definitely night's out like these that make life worth living.

Spending time with this one was a treat too, especially on a school night. It's probably the one band that we both love equally and enjoy, although I am slowly turning him into a secret Take That fan!!

Bristol was looking very festive - a great night out. Must plan a few more outings, life is there to be enjoyed, although I am verrrrry tired this morning!!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

It's beginning.... feel a lot like Christmas.

I had a day off yesterday and spent the morning food shopping and baking and in the afternoon, I started writing my Christmas cards, I'm halfway through at a guess. I must confess I'm trying to send less this year but there's still a good 70+ on the list!

Today Sophie and I were up early Frome bound, for the monthly Independent Market. It's held on the first Sunday of every month between March - December. Sadly I think it's become a victim of it's own success and was just far too busy this year. It sadly didn't have the same lovely Christmassy atmosphere of previous years (we've been going since 2013), trying too hard to be cool and poor Sophie, there were 100's of dogs 'everywhere' which wasn't great for someone with a genuine fear of them, particularly as it was so busy, so nowhere to hide.

The quieter, less busy bit, is the flea market area. I was very good and just looked, no buying! It was nice to see a few friendly faces in amongst the crowds and we bumped into Jeff's Uncle (waves! I know he reads this) for a catch up, which was lovely.

I love Frome and the market is great for bringing people and business into the town but it really was too busy this year to enjoy it and we were there super early too, in an attempt to beat the crowds. I did manage to capture this shot of Bramble and Wild, one of the lovely independent shops you can find in Frome, before the madness built up, I'll have to return on a normal week day when it'll be quieter.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend. 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Pinch and a punch......

....hello December.

Not gonna lie, so happy it's December - from December the 1st, I'm allowed to get christmassy. We won't put our tree up until next weekend, generally 2 weeks before Christmas but I start to 'drip out' the odd bit from now on.

The advent bits are ready - a paper calendar to share and Sophie and Sam have a Hotel Chocolat one this year to open in turns, plus the chocolate tin is out!!! It's basically a mix of Hero's, Celebrations, Quality Street and Roses, all mixed up and the tin gets refreshed 'once' when empty but then when they're gone, they're gone! Christmas tunes are officially now allowed to be played, Christmas films can be watched, Christmas candles can be lit.....

....and the coffee mugs can be filled!

Oh! And the wreath is up on the door!

Here's to a fabulous and festive December xx

Wednesday, 29 November 2017


....for my absence!

I was a little poorly last week when I usually write up a quick update - a touch of labyrinthitis which knocked me for six. Never had it before and never want it again! Was fine, went into the under eaves cupboard to hide some Christmas bits, stood up and my world started spinning, was horribly sick and spent two days sleeping and trying to recover!

Thankfully I feel fine now, enough to enjoy my planned couple of days off work. I had a great day yesterday over in Bath doing some Christmas shopping and mooching around the Christmas Markets.

It wasn't manically busy, which was nice and I ticked off most of my Christmas shopping list too - feeling a little more organised now!!

Instead of going straight home, I met up with my sister and we headed over to Bristol for a night out. Ages ago we got tickets to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, formally known as the Beautiful South/Housemartins. It was a great night, fab music and a great opportunity to ....

.....spend some quality time with my big sis!!
We must do it again soon Jo xx

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Another year older, time to reflect a little....

Facebook threw up this 'memory' in my time line yesterday morning... 

Every year I ran a discount code, to celebrate my birthday and I did smile to myself, because this year, the first birthday in a long time, I don't have to generate sales, I don't have to stress about orders - either too many or worry about too few! I don't have to race over to the unit, do the post run etc which was always particularly difficult at this time of year with the local Carnival season in full swing (it's a big deal here in Somerset!!), with roads closed and diversions in place. 

Instead, I enjoyed a full day off work, had a lovely breakfast date with a friend, then mooched around Wells, followed by a quiet afternoon at home, before a family tea, all stress free! The kids even made me a cake and bought me flowers the day before, whilst I was out of the way at work! 

Closing the business was a big decision but most definitely the right one - I don't miss it at all. A friend very rightly said that 'knowing when to close, would be the hardest decision to make' and I certainly had enough stock to have kept going for a lot longer but I no longer had any passion or enthusiasm for it all. So closing was hard because I didn't want to feel that I had failed or I guess I didn't want other people to think I had failed but in reality, it was most definitely the right time to go! 

I think not knowing what I was going to do next was a little risky but I was dipping my toe back into the school environment with supply teaching and exam invigilation. But it quickly became clear that the juggle was difficult, when you have to consider the needs of the kids, plus home life and Jeff's 'full on' job too in the mix, I quickly realised I couldn't commit to full on teaching again and do everything else too. So I applied for a job at my local Sainsbury's store...

I have just completed my 11 week review at Sainsbury's - happy to say I got a glowing report and will be staying on but I guess when I started, I was a little embarrassed to admit I'd gone from running my own business, teaching even, to working as a 'checkout girl' in Sainsbury's. But do you know what? I love it. The job is perfect. I get set hours and the staff are all lovely, helpful and flexible if something does crop up. I know exactly what I'm doing and when I'm doing it, so can plan family life/work etc I get paid to effectively 'people watch' - it really is the 'best' place to do this. I get to meet people, chat to people, help people, see new food ideas/products and I really enjoy it. I get a set wage in my bank account every 4 weeks, no hidden extras and no uncertainties and I can work overtime if I choose to. For now, for our family circumstances, it's working out just fine.

I think I'm a nicer person to be around. I'm not stressed, I'm not rushing around always trying to keep up, I don't need to constantly be answering emails, enquiries etc and placating people, who generally wanted something for nothing. I have a little spare money to treat us all with, rather than having to play safe with the cash, in case of any business financial uncertainties.

This Christmas I will be working Christmas Eve but I'm told it's fun and a great atmosphere and it'll only be until 4pm, as it's a Sunday! I won't be stressing about sale orders 'pinging' in all over Christmas, as NOTHS started their sale on the 23rd of December!!! and then subsequently worrying about when I'll get them picked and packed. Instead I can relax and enjoy my time with the family. If my birthday this year, is a good marker of the way things are going to be from now on, then I'm glad to have arrived at this point. Yes I will work set hours, yes it will not be the best timing sometimes but generally, we can enjoy more quality time together, knowing finances are secure and I'm one less stressed out individual! 

It's 3 years until the big 50! That same year, Sophie will turn 21, Sam 18 and Jeff and I will celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss!!! That's a lot to celebrate, so best start saving up xx