Saturday 31 December 2022

Farewell 2022

Farewell 2022, a fabulous year!!

 It didn't start off brilliantly, I started it off poorly with a bug, then we all got Covid in February. Although Jeff insists he hasn't had it but he was poorly first!!!! 
We got the hall floor tiled, made a start on the painting!! 

Saw lots of live music - Sophie Ellis Bextor, Corinne Bailey Rae, the Killers, Jeff and Sam enjoyed Glastonbury festival, Coldplay at Wembley, Ricky Ross, Will Young, G4, Scouting for Girls, the recent Festive Fiesta in Bristol

Sophie and I enjoyed trips to the theatre - Waitress, Chicago, Singing in the Rain, Frozen, Mamma Mia, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady.

 Lots of fabulous adventures abroad with Jeff - Naples, Kefalonia, Dubrovnik and Malaga, where Jeff could speak his Spanish. With Sophie - C'an Picafort, Milan/Verona/Bergamo and with my sister - Pisa/Florence/Cinque Terre and Sam enjoyed trips with friends, to Biarritz and Morocco. We have a family holiday booked and am already looking forward to it, to Majorca in 2023. 

Jeff's brother got married, we celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary. Sophie graduated with a First Class Honours Degree from Reading University and moved up to Cardiff to start work at the ONS. Sam changed courses to History& Economics and moved into his house share, all 7 of them!! I clocked up 5 years working at Sainsbury's and won a Regional award! Jeff continues to work hard but we enjoy the daily Wordle challenge, kept it up all year!! 

I've walked lots, taken 1000's of photographs capturing the changing seasons and made the most of any good weather, getting outside enjoying my Thursday walks with my friend Lynn, plus the long hot summer was a bonus, for Jeff especially during his 9 week summer break. 

The Queen died and Charles became King. I now share my birthday with the King!!! 













So all in all, a great year, lots to be thankful for and 
lots more fun and adventures to come in 2023 x

Buon Natale

Buon Natale - a taste of Italy family lunch. 
To celebrate Jeff and I and our trip to Naples and Procida at Easter, my sister and I and our visit to Pisa, Florence and the Cinque Terre in June, for our delayed 50th birthday celebrations and my recent trip with Sophie to Milan, Verona and Bergamo, her delayed 21st birthday trip, I decided to do an Italian inspired lunch for our family gathering.

I bought everyone an individual panettone and wrapped then in a red fabric napkin, 
tied up with green ribbon, with a mini Italian flay as place settings.

I used Jeff's Italian flag Christmas present....

The Christmas tree colours were themed perfectly.....

....and hung up Italian bunting.

I'd been saving up the red and green mini Ritter chocolates and the amaretti biscuits in the red and green paper and found Italian flag napkins. I LOVE a theme!!!

Place settings

Fresh basil in red pots!

Italian flags


On brand kitchen window sill!!

The morning of the lunch, the table is set!

Italian Peroni beer

Crositini with red pepper spread

Platters of dates, figs, grapes, walnuts, cucumber, cheese, meats, olives.

A large tomato and mozzarella salad with fresh basil

Arancini balls, breaded garlic mushrooms and warm focaccia.

And the pudding!?!

A Pandoro cake, layered up with fresh cream and berries.

The leaning tower of Pandoro!!!!

Mum, dad, Jo, Mike and Ella. 
Possibly the first time we've all been together 'here' since last Christmas!?!

Mum and Dad x

Me and Jo (my sister)

The cousins!

My mum and dad and me!

Me and my boy!

Poor Jeff and Mike. 
Both with their mouths full but the only picture I had of them both!!

The detail!!

All in all, a lovely few hours spent together, eating, drinking, catching up, exchanging gifts!! 
All that effort for a few hours but I enjoy doing it, so it was worth it.

I did however pack everything away the following day!! 
I like to clear Christmas away before the New Year begins. I'm working New Years Day and the Bank Holiday Monday. Jeff goes back to school on Tuesday. Sophie headed off this morning with a friend, to celebrate the New Year in Cardiff and I take Sam back possibly next Saturday, so Christmas feels like it is done x

The lights, all 3000 and 75 meters of them, have been packed away for another year!

Jeff spent yesterday mending an outside tap, cleaning the windows, 
power hosing down the deck, washing the cars......

.....and eating his pineapple!!!!

We are ready to say farewell to 2022 and welcome in the New Year. I will be spending my afternoon looking back over the past year, writing my various reviews and giving some thought to what the new year might bring, exciting times xx

Breakfast Bags!

Breakfast bags!! 
(I bought new bags this year from Rex)
Instead of buying gifts for each other, which often cost a lot, can also be something for the sake of it, we decided to do things a little different a few years ago. We draw a category out of a hat and each person spends no more than £10 a person, including a gift for themselves, so in our household £40 a round spend! Wrap the gifts in the same paper, open together, starting at 'breakfast time' hence the name. 

This year's categories were -
Jeff - food & chocolate
Me- socks & accessories
Sophie - puzzles & games
Sam - drink & alcohol

Jeff - food & chocolate
Jeff went all out on his food round, you can tell he doesn't do the food shopping on a regular basis, so much enthusiasm. Some of his gifts were from Malaga, some from Aldi and some from the local market!! More than £10 a head but who's counting!!

Me - socks and accessories
 I got socks, treated myself to some new walking socks.

Sophie - puzzles and games
 Sophie choose well, drinking game for Sam, puzzles for her and myself and 
Jeff a drawing game, he can't draw!!  

Sam - drink and alcohol
 Sam got drinks, which was perfect for him, as he could buy everything after work on Christmas Eve.

These were the main rounds, Jeff and I do a few extra. The kids get money as their main present but still get to open a few things, without waste and unnecessary spending xx 
It's a win in our family - fourth year for us doing this x

And it all kicks off around the table at 'Breakfast' time !

 Jeff's main round was 'food' I didn't realise how excited he'd get buying himself a pineapple. He then did a plant round - pots of bulbs for everyone ready for Spring. A European flag round - a Morocco flag for Sam after his recent trip there, Italian flag for me and Spanish and Italian keyrings for him and Sophie. A book round and he did a gadget round but I forgot to take a pic of that!!

My extra rounds.....  

A European round, I basically wrapped up Jeff and my Malaga purchases 
but gifted the kids €100 each for future travels.


Some bits from Rex - fold up shopping bags for Sophie and I, some twine for Jeff as he keeps pinching mine and an emergency rain/bike poncho for Sam!

 A toiletries round, although I just wrapped up perfume for me that I already had 
and Sam did get some expensive aftershave as he'd run out!! 

A candle round

Spotty lunch bags


More socks!

 Everyone also got a mini tub of Pringles! 

So nothing wasteful, the kids didn't have to spend a fortune, just £40 all in. 
They got money and had a few useful things to open on the day xx