Saturday, 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011

The last few hours of 2011 are here.

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We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.  ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce

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Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.  ~Oprah Winfrey

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Happy New Year.

Or as my Scottish family would say

Lang may yer lum reek

SmileX

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas from our house to yours

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I hope you are all having a fantastic time. What ever you are doing. Where ever you are.

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Mr D and I are having Ham from the local butcher. Turkey is not for us. Christmas however. Christmas is for us. We love it.

Well. I think I love it enough for the both of us.

Enjoy! SmileX

Friday, 23 December 2011

Book Review No. 29!!


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Ever dreamed of starting over?Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that - Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own cafĂ©. It should be a piece of cake, right?Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?
First five sentences   (insert Drop scone recipe here ..which I didn't want….(read…couldn’t be arsed…) to type out!)
Issy Randall refolded the piece of paper and smiled,  ‘Are you absolutely sure about this?’ she said to the figure in the easy chair.  ‘This is the recipe?’  The old man nodded vehemently.  He held up one finger, which Issy recognised immediately as his cue for a lecture. ‘Well, the thing is,’ Grampa Joe began, ‘baking is…..’
‘Life’, filled in Issy patiently.
Where I got my hands on it   I had seen this book on the shelves of the book shops and had resisted the temptation to buy it, and it payed off as I ended up paying the bargain price of 50pence in a charity shop!!
The cover  oh my, well this is a cover that appeals to the girl in me. Pink cup cakes, tea cups, what's not to love?
Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?  This is going on my pile for swapping with a fellow book lover.
This is everything I love in a book.  you know I dream of having my own tea shop one day, and this book did nothing to put me off.
Issy creates the cafe of fairy tales, you can almost smell the coffee every time you open the pages, and the characters are people you will want to make friends with. (Except the ex. He’s bad.  Insert Booooooo Hissssssss here)
If you’re looking for a bit of escapism over the Christmas break, this book is the one to read.
Hope you’re all ready for the big day. I am going to spend the day baking and giving out goodies to friends.
SmileX

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tis the Season..

 

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For giving.

This year, instead of doing my bit to contribute to this…

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I have cut down on my Christmas card sending. Do I really need to send cards to people I see everyday? No I didn't think so either.

Or, worse to the couple that live in the same town, but can hardly be bothered to even say hello when I pass them on the street? Seriously, next time say hello, or don’t bother sending me a card, I'll live. I don’t even like you that much.

So instead, I gave a little donation to these furry friends..

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The Donkey Sanctuary

And yes. I feel good.

SmileX

Monday, 19 December 2011

Libertys of London

 

I love Libertys. And I love Christmas.

So. It;s a win win.

SmileX

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Book Review no.28!


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'I can imagine you at forty,' she said, a hint of malice in her voice. 'I can picture it right now.' He smiled without opening his eyes. 'Go on then.' 15th July 1988. Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY
Hands up anyone that hasn’t read this book.
Anyone?
Quite. Well I was a bit slow on the uptake with this, but then that’s actually quite normal for me with books that ‘everyone should read’ Actually the only reason I buckled and bought it was that everyone started raving about the movie and I knew I couldn’t watch the movie without having read the book first!
And no, I haven’t seen the movie yet.  But I will when it comes out on DVD.
First five sentences… ‘I suppose the important thing is to make some sort of difference’, she said.  ‘You know, actually change something’. 
‘What, like “change the world”, you mean?’
‘Not the whole entire world, just the little bit around you.’
They lay in silence for a moment, bodies curled around each other in the single bed, then both began to laugh in low, pre-dawn voices.
Where I got my hands on it..  This cost me a pound. Yes you read that right. It was on a buy one and get one for a pound deal. Don’t you just love those?!
The cover.. tbh the cover at first glance didn't cry out to me from the shelf, then when you look in the little squares, it’s a lovely romantic sight….sigh….
Made me want to…  This is a real ‘seize the moment’ kind of book. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today and all that..
Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?..  Actually I don’t think I know anyone that hasn’t read this!
Well, this book didn’t disappoint, even after all the hype surrounding it. What happened on page 385 floored me. Totally was not expecting it, which doesn't happen often in novels for me. I’m usually quite good at seeing what's coming. And all the reviews.. Facebook status’s and blog posts I read about this book didn’t even hint at anything which is a bit of an achievement!
Oh. And can I just share an absolute favourite sentence?
‘Sometimes, when it’s going badly, she wonders if what she believes to be a love of the written word is really just a fetish for stationary.
Hands up who this could be about!! Ha!
Hope your weekend was a good one. It was monumental for us as we (i) caved and put the heating on. So now we have the heating on and the log fire burning. Really all or nothing around here.
We camped out last night in our home on wheels. I slept with 5 layers of clothing on, 3 pairs of socks, and the wood burner lit inside the truck! Cold? Ummmmmm NO!!
SmileX

Friday, 16 December 2011

Rainy Rainy Rattle Stones

 

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Well the rain seems to have settled in for the day. After working at my sleep over last night, and another one tonight, I’m just up for a day in by the fire, looking at my new colourful fairy lights, wrapping more presents and eating mince pies.

I must show you the gift wrapping goodies I received through Gracie and Jasmine's swap.

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Loved. Loved these tags that my swap partner Natasha made.

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There were also these super cute cookie cutters that made me laugh

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And look, I’ve even used the wrapping!

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These parcels have been sent off to some of my lovely blog friends.

At this point I will share that on seeing all my parcels ready for the trip to the post office, Mr D made the comment…’You know they will just be returned to sender’ he always says that my bloggy friends aren’t ‘real’ like they are a figment of my imagination. I think he’s joking. Mostly.

So. Time for tea, and to throw another log on. NO expense spared here.

Hope you’re all warm & cosy.

SmileX

Friday, 9 December 2011

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

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I’ve been spending a lot of time with this view lately.

We haven’t yet broken and switched the central heating on. It’s becoming a challenge to see how long we can go without. The wood pile is certainly depleting.  Lucky I married a man with a chainsaw.

Now, I have some other pretty things to look at Smile

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I must have been fairy light shopping in the sales last year as they seem to have been breeding under my bed…

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I love unwrapping my tree ornaments from the tissue paper every year..027

Most of my ornaments have been bought for me, or made by my mum. The teddy below I’ve had the longest of all my decorations.

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Mum usually buys me angels & fairies which is fine by me.

Apart from decorating, I’ve been writing Christmas cards. Now I just need to write the letters to go with them.

Remember THIS POST  I wrote last year about the dreaded round robin letters?

Who’s guilty then?  Not me….

I hope you are all getting into the Christmas spirit.

SmileX

Monday, 5 December 2011

Book Review No. 27!

I can’t believe how quickly the end of the year is arriving, and I have a few books to review before Jan!

This book was a Christmas prezzie from Mr D last year. It’s such a big thick heavy book that I saved it for our sitting-in-a-field holiday in July. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get around to sharing it with you because it was without doubt one of my favourite reads of 2010.

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Alan Sugar was born in 1947 and brought up on a council estate in Clapton, in Hackney. As a kid he watched his dad struggle to support the family, never knowing from one week to the next if he'd have a job. It had a huge impact on him, fuelling a drive to succeed that was to earn him a sizeable personal fortune. Now he describes his amazing journey, from schoolboy enterprises like making and selling his own ginger beer to setting up his own company at nineteen; from Amstrad's ground breaking ventures in hi-fi and computers, which made him the darling of the stock exchange, to the dark days when he nearly lost it all; from his pioneering deal with Rupert Murdoch to his boardroom battles at Tottenham Hotspur FC. He takes us into the world of The Apprentice, and describes his appointment as advisor to the government and elevation to the peerage. Like the man himself, this autobiography is forthright, funny and sometimes controversial.

First five sentences… There are three reasons why you may never have got the opportunity to read this book.  The first is that maybe I wasn’t planned to be in this world, the second is that when I did arrive I was abandoned, the third is that when I did arrive, my mum –accidently- nearly killed me!  Being twelve years younger than my closest sibling twins, I often joke that I think (well, I’m sure) that I was a mistake,maybe the result of a good night out during the post war euphoria.  In the late forties it was normal for babies to be left outside shops in their plans while their mothers went inside shops. That in itself gives you an idea of what times were like back then, mothers were not worried about weirdo's abducting babies.

Where I got my hands on it..  As I mentioned above my very own Santa bought me this. Big. Heavy. Hardback. Of which I would never buy myself due to the very expensive price!

The cover.. It’s the man himself, of course. I love the line ‘What you see is what you get’  It totally sums up everything i love about Mr Sugar.

Made me want to…  If you have ever thought about starting up your own business, this book will inspire you. You’ll be bundling up sticks before you know it and selling them for kindling to your neighbours. Hell….I’ve got my eye on the wood pile next to our fire right now!!

Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?..  I’m just going to keep this. I think Mr D may be persuaded to read it!

Everyone who is a fan of the Apprentice TV shows should read this, it’s written in such a way that even if it wasn’t actually Mr Sugar (Sorry…Sir..) that wrote it, it’s totally his voice that comes through. It starts from his first money making schemes when he was just a school boy, and takes you through the Amstrad years, even names and shames people and companies that tried to take the ‘p’ out of him.

You get an insight into his family life, how he looked after his father, what his wife thinks of his career, and how he made his son start at the bottom like everybody else.

I had wanted to read this, and was chuffed to get it with my Christmas parcels, an I wasn't disappointed.

Hope you are all keeping warm! It’s turned very chilly here today….Dec weather has finally hit us on the coast!

SmileX

Friday, 2 December 2011

Hello December

 

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Cosy nights beside the Log fire.

Mulled Cider..

Thick Tights.

Hunters Wellies

Twinkling Fairy Lights.

Shopping for special presents.

Baking.

Another excuse to send some Happy Mail.

December. What’s not to love?

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SmileX

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Book Review No. 26!!

I’m seriously on a roll with the books at the moment, which is a good thing as my house is sometimes in danger of becoming televised ala ‘the secret hoarder’ or some such programme meant to embarrass you (i?) into having a book/teacup/whatever you’re guilty of hoarding cull.

So. I digress.

Here’s what I read lately. Actually..I read this a while ago I’m just a bit behind in the reviews…..

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When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

From New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty comes a strikingly original look at friendship, love, and sisterhood—in a future that is eerily believable.

First five sentences… I’m sixteen and pregnant, the most important person on the planet.  According to the Babies R Us ad, anyway.  ‘Your knocked up’ sings the girlie chorus.  ‘Ready to pop, due to drop.’  The sixty second jingle loops continuously in the dressing room. 

Where I got my hands on it..  This came with my stash from The Book People. But I actually first heard about it over on Krysten's Blog.  Krysten  has quite similar reading tastes to me and so I always like her reviews!

The cover.. I liked the cover of this book, it’s quite futuristic looking.

Made me want to…  I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen a second book to this. Am I right or did I dream it? Anyone seen it? Let me know what it’s called as I would love to read it!

Who’s the lucky duck that’s getting it next?.. Hmm haven’t really decided, probably my niece? Not sure if she will like it…

I read this book a while ago, it didn’t take me long, being the YA easy reading type…and at the time of reading I really enjoyed it. Now that I’m thinking back on it though, I’m not sure that it’s as good as I was thinking at the time? When I think back on it it comes across as very young, and I’m not sure why that is..and dare I say it….a lot of it dosn’t stick in my mind.. I reemeber the basic story but I don’t remember the characters in any depth.

I’d still like to read the next book if indeed it exists, the story is different and quite entertaining.

One to look out for if you would like a fast easy read.

Hope all my American readers are having a wonderful long weekend. I have work all weekend which is pretty pants..but there ya go life can’t be all Sloe Gin and fruit pastilles.  Although now I come to mention it..Mr D’s home made Sloe Gin is pretty darn drinkable this year!

SmileX

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thanks

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A perfect sister I am not, but thankful for the one I've got.”

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God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say "thank you?" 

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Gratitude is the best attitude

Happy Thanks giving to all my American friends & family

While you are all eating Turkey & Pumpkin Pie, and dashing out at midnight for the Black Friday Sales….(i really want someone to explain Black Friday…what is it all about? And why is it called Black Friday?!) I am stuck in the house all day waiting for a parcel collection.

This would be worse if I didn’t have a roaring log fire, blogs to entertain, and a box of fruit pastilles.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. 

SmileX

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A Vintage Giveaway

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You know how they say that nothing in life comes free?

Well I have come to realise that this is never truer than in Blog Land.

When I see those three words in the title of a blog post ‘It’s a Giveaway!’ I can pretty much tell what the format is going to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that people make money from their blogs, and in order to keep sponsors paying their way they need something in return.

I just like people to find a balance. Is that wrong?

So. Back to this post. I have never asked anyone to do this before. For past giveaways all I’ve asked for is for you to leave a comment.

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But, people. Now's payback time.

In order to win my November giveaway you have to go and show my Niece some love.

Kirstin has a couple of shows on a local radio station. Her Saturday show is a Vintage Mix, where she plays old songs, and covers of old songs by new artists.

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She would love for you to go and ‘like’ her face book page

Click here to show Kirstin some Love

When you have done that, leave a comment on this post telling me you have, and you will be entered into the giveaway.

If you fancy a bit of a Vintage mixture on a Saturday evening you can log on to

www.felixstoweradio.org.uk

and click on the Listen Live button. Saturdays from 5-6. (UK Time!)

Go on. You know you want to.

What is the prize? I hear you thinking. Well It’s a surprise. But surprises are always good. All I will tell you is that it will be of a Vintage Feel.

Oh, and if you go along to my Other Blog and leave a comment on there too, you will have two entries! I KNOW!! How cool is THAT!!

(Is there some kind of un written rule about posting of the same thing on both ones blogs? ) I never did care much for rules.

Here’s to a happy week for everyone!!

SmileX

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Church’s

You may or may not know this, but I was brought up a good Catholic girl.  I attended Catholic schools, where ever we lived (dad was in the Army) and I took my Holy Communion and made my Confession.

At high school age, we (sis & i) had moved to a new town where the nearest Catholic School was about 10 miles away, so we attended the local high school. I suddenly didn’t have to go to confession every week. Wow. Did that mean I could be bad?

I fell off the wagon and fell in love with Mr D.

Mr D is not religious in any way, & I can take it or leave it.

We had a civil ceremony for our wedding, in a hotel..not a church.

But. We both love Church buildings.

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These photos are of St Mary’s Church, near Chester. I went to Chester a couple of weeks ago with my mum, sister and a friend for a girlie trip.

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Mr D loves buildings in general, and Church’s are always so beautiful.

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It’s always nice to find a church open, to go in and look around, as some are closed up now due to vandals and thieves. (spit…go-and-get-a-job)

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The other thing we like is walking around the graveyard and reading the Grave stones, all the history of the village is there.

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The light is always nice too.

Do you visit the church when you find yourself in a new town?

SmileX