dear diary :: rest and restore

Oooops….how did so much time pass by since my last post – it has been more than busy here since our return from Scotland at the beginning of May, a bit of a roller coaster, and I am feeling rather fraught and fed up at the moment. Mum has been on another visit and they don’t get any easier. By the end of the last day, as lovely as it is to see her, she is such high maintenance now and has me in such a tizzy. I certainly needed my calming yoga class this morning. She is steadily going downhill, no major or serious illness more an accumulation of niggly complaints that are limiting her mobility and confidence; she is constantly anxious about her deteriorating condition which is making her frustrated and a bit demanding. She would like things to be as they were when she was young and fit and well – sadly her body and mind will never return to that….. but that is true for all of us as we age, and she is both in denial and expectant that the doctor is going to hand her some magic pill to restore her to her old self…….and that is not going to happen. In fact the more tablets she takes the more problems are occurring because of the side effects. It feels like we are fire fighting added to which her daily diet of sausage rolls, mini cheddar crackers and Magnum lollies in place of a good balanced meal is not helping but she wouldn’t agree! Still at 93 does it really matter if she is enjoying them.

Yesterday we took her back home to North Yorkshire and on the way we stopped in Thirsk for lunch. It was beyond busy with the bank holiday visitors and the outdoor market taking up most of the parking places near to the shops and cafes. With no disabled spots available mum had to hobble along the bumpy cobbles with her bad knee (it was actually her good knee until she managed to twist it badly on Wednesday and is now back to a pronounced limp). After lunch she insisted on walking to Boots as she had her mind fixed on getting some Ibuprofen to help with the inflammation on her knee. When the pharmacist knew she took blood pressure tablets she advised against taking the Ibuprofen tablets but suggested continuing with the Ibuprofen gel the doctor had prescribed as it is more localised (taking tablets can cause kidney failure in people with high blood pressure). Mum reluctantly put the tablets back. Later on though whilst shopping in Sainsbury’s in Northallerton I discovered she had sneaked a packet into her trolley! What can I do? She is determined to take them and ignore the advice. She is looking for a quick fix. Aren’t we all!

The Christening of Sweetie took place on the Sunday before last at the little church in Healey, North Yorkshire; a beautiful church in a beautiful village setting and at the moment one of the churches taking part in the Art Installations Trail around the Masham area – for anyone interested see the link here.

It was a gloriously sunny day and the vicar, who was on TV last week and married my daughter in 2008, delivered a very memorable address during the service reminding us that whatever shape, colour or creed we are all unique and handed ‘mum’ a picture of a Zebra as a reminder for Sweetie when she is older (each Zebra’s stripes are unique to them). We sang the hymn with gusto…….well the vicars wife did….’One more step along the way we go’ and then Sweetie was doused with the baptism water…..Sweetie did not take kindly to this.

Making the dress was a labour of love – a joy to make but I am not sure it was my best work – I found my eyes are not as sharp now for such intense sewing and wearing reading glasses all the time is a bit cumbersome and gave me eye strain. Added to which I spent so much time looking down that by the time the dress was finished my neck and shouders had become so tense I was quite dizzy moving my head.

We had a change of mind about the fabric and in the end we used some leftover ivory silk from my daughter’s bridesmaid dresses and Nottingham tulle lace left over from when I made wedding dresses.

If nothing else making this dress helped me to see that there is no way I could do this kind of intense sewing now – any ideas I have had recently about starting another business in this line are firmly quashed. As much as I love to sew and make things my life has moved on now, I am older and slower, and I must move on with it and accept that any sewing I do will be as a hobby….for pleasure only and something not time limited. Although I enjoyed making the dress nothing else got done and I feel like I am back to square one with the house. You should see it now (well no you shouldn’t it is an absolute tip). I have washing and ironing to catch up with, phone calls to make, general cleaning, gardening and it is now time for a visit to Scotland again.

During all the must do’s we have managed a few days out and about – this is the best time of year to look around other gardens. We spent a lovely day walking around the hidden gardens of Little Ouseburn, near York – some of the participants have been opening up their gardens for many years now and it is interesting to see how they have developed and changed over time.

Little Ouseburn Gardens

After my Yoga class last Tuesday we had a trip out to York Gate gardens in Leeds – one of my favourite small gardens now in the care of the charity Perennial and their many volunteers.

I am in need of rest and restoration at the moment – a few days relaxing and time to think about the days ahead and what I might plan to do during June. You may have noticed my lack of comments recently – I have been reading along with my favourite blogs as much as I can and I hope normal service will resume soon.

sEAsons ~ celebrating Easter

Hi there – just dropping by to say I am still around but for some reason still very busy – this is not what I expected when I gave up working, I feel I am working twice as hard now as then.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter enjoying the glorious weather we couldn’t have timed our party better and of course it ended up as a real garden party (I needn’t have cleaned the living room quite so thoroughly after all!).Many of the plants had started to grow quickly in the warm sunshine  – we are usually quite late in this area being high up and I was willing my pretty Aquilegia plants, which have self seeded all over the garden, to open in time for the party….. but sadly they didn’t.  But no matter there were plenty of the bulbs and Primula still blooming and the blossom….hasn’t it just been delightful?

The party took some preparing in the end – for new readers this was a party for my son-in-law’s 40th birthday combined with an Easter party as it fell on Easter Sunday, we held it at my house because my daughter’s house is so much smaller.

We had Easter eggs and decorations amongst the party decor.  I spent some time covering polystyrene eggs with tissue paper which I hung from twiggy branches supported in a pot of sand hidden with a topping of moss, then added a few fluttery butterflies with my glue gun. I also had fun making these Easter food ‘flags’ to help guests identify the different sandwiches, salads and quiches. And of course we planned an Easter hunt around the garden for the children though the eggs had to be hidden well in the shade so they did not melt in the heat.

We had a day or two in the garden beforehand – setting out all the pots that had been in winter hibernation and adding a few inexpensive pansies and primulas for a touch of colour.

We removed the covers from our garden tables and chairs and brought out the large parasol, then hung out the white solar lanterns from my daughter’s wedding a few years ago – they had been stored in the loft and I was quite surprised they still worked. We also bought some Festoon lighting and DH made a great job of stringing it across the garden using the clothes prop and an old piece of aluminium tubing he found in the garage.At night it looked so magical……Our guests were handed nibbles and cocktails on arrival….. I had spent four days making a mountain of ice cubes in readiness – and ice-cold drinks were very much in demand.

The table was laden with food – sandwiches, mini wraps and four different salads all ordered from M&S by my daughter.   For the true meat eaters her MIL bought a selection of pies, sausage rolls and scotch eggs from a local award-winning butchers and my contribution was some small quiches and of course the cake.

The cake was certainly one project too many – it nearly didn’t happen when twice the ready rolled icing stuck to the kitchen work top despite the oodles of icing sugar I had sifted beneath.  I am no cake decorator and it was very rushed so this is extremely wobbly and the icing a bit cracked in my desperation to get it onto the cake!   And exactly what is it you may ask……a circuit board of course – as son-in-law is an electrician come electrical engineer and is always playing about with circuit boards.  I had to have precise instruction for this from DH as I had no idea what I was doing.For desserts we kept it simple with profiteroles, a huge bowl of mixed berries with crushed meringue and double cream to make Eton mess and some tiny party cheesecakes and chocolate bites.

Although not everyone was very impressed!!!

….but all in all it was such a wonderful day.

And the best bit…..Libbie (Little L) had made me an Easter present from some DAS clay a beautiful little pink heart – of course I will treasure it.It has taken me a while to straighten the house up again after the party – putting dishes back and packing bits and pieces away – I am feeling quite exhausted now – I could barely drag myself to Yoga on Tuesday morning and somehow I need to gather up a little more energy to start on the Christening dress….we need to do a bit of fabric hunting in the next day or two and celebrate yet another birthday, but on a much smaller scale this time, before we can finally escape up to Scotland for a well earned rest.

dEAr diary ~ in preparation for the party

Yesterday we had a trip up to North Yorkshire to see my mum.  We took her out for lunch at a large garden centre near Northallerton, mainly to be undercover and avoid the biting cold weather.  The queue in the restaurant was long because of the school holidays and the staff had been taken unawares so there was a 30 minute delay for food orders.  Luckily we were not in any rush and didn’t mind the wait – it gave us a chance for a good chat.  Mum and DH had cheese and chutney sandwiches which were rather like doorstops and I chose a jacket potato – all came with coleslaw and salad but like many places these days the portions are very large – too large in my mind and not helping the obesity problem and we end up paying for a proportion of the food we cannot eat – I do wish these places would offer a smaller sized portion.

Afterwards we had a wander around the ‘shop’ part, they sell decorative homewares, gifts, clothes and crafts as well as gardening products – a bit of a mini shopping centre.  It was too cold to take mum outside and look at the plants so we  moved on to Northallerton town centre.  I love this market town – it has a good balance of independents and chains and you can find most things here.  We ended up as we always do in Boyes for a mooch around while mum stocked up on a few heavy items like washing powder.  We had to go and warm up again in a nearby Costa before taking her back home.  She was so grateful that we had taken the trouble to drive up and take her out for an hour or two as my sister is away at the moment – it is a costly hour or two though when you add both the fuel and eating out costs but well worth it to see the smile on her face.

Today I felt quite drained from the car journey and a little stiff so I decided to take it easy and sit and make a list of what I need to do this week for the 40th birthday party preparations.  There is a bit of cleaning to do, a bit more tidying in the garden and a bit of this and that to decorate the place.

Did I mention I am also going to attempt to make the celebration cake – if my oven doesn’t work then I will have to put the cake mixture in the car and drive round to my daughter’s house to use hers.   DH thinks the problem with the oven might be a faulty element that surrounds the fan at the back of the oven.  If we could fix this it would make meal planning and baking the birthday cake so much easier.  He managed to buy an element and tomorrow he will have a go at replacing it.

Fingers crossed.

After all the listing and planning we went to town this afternoon to do our weekly shop and had a go at the self scanning system, new to Sainsbury’s – it was slow especially as I kept forgetting to pass the items over to DH to scan before putting them into the trolley.  I think it will get quicker as we train ourselves to the new process.

On the way to town we had a detour down a country lane to some nearby woodland so I could get a small branch for my Easter display that will hold the eggs I have decorated.  I will post a picture once I have something assembled.

I thought some outdoor Festoon lighting might be nice for the party – a bit of an investment perhaps as it is not very cheap – we cannot decide between some from IKEA that we saw on display or the cheaper ones in Dunelm which are in a sealed package so I cannot see the quality but they are a little bit longer.

Decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow is Yoga again – maybe it will iron out some of my tight muscles.  If the oven is fixed I will bake the cakes – if not it will be the garden tasks as my daughter is out for the day.

A day of plentiful planning and skillful scanning. x

dEAr diary ~ a close run thing

When I said on my blog on Thursday that we had finished the decorating at my daughter’s house and the carpets had been fitted ‘just in time’ – I never realised how ‘just in time’ this was going to be.  Baby X arrived on the scene 9 days early this morning to surprise us all.  A beautiful baby boy as yet with no name.

So I am now a proud granny of 3 grandchildren and feeling a bit exhausted at the thought.  Mum, dad and baby doing well and all of them sleeping after an eventful night and soon I will be too as I have to be up and out tomorrow to take my car in for its first service at the garage and then we will be going on to Ikea in Sheffield to look at (and possibly buy) the units for the new pantry.

I am doubly excited tonight!

dEAr diary ~ the importance of friends

After a very late night again last night – 2.30am when we got to bed this time – I am struggling today to get my act together as it were.  It has been another busy few days preparing the house and food for our friends (some neighbours up the road) coming, but all worthwhile as we had a very pleasant and relaxed evening just chatting, eating and laughing round the table.  I decided on buffet type food instead of a formal meal but eaten at the table rather than balancing a plate on our knees  –  things to nibble at, a selection of Quiche and sausage rolls etc. a green salad, some pots of couscous and coleslaw,  a few tiny baked potatoes and a cheese board.

Isn’t this what life is all about – connecting with people, enjoying each other’s company and eating together.

When we bought the food and drink for last night I did try to be quite prudent and not over buy.  Had our friends been vegetarian or even had a liking for vegetarian food it would have made things simpler and cheaper but they are traditional meat eaters and one of them does not eat fruit and the other no nuts or salad and more recently pastry – we only found out about the pastry when they sat down to eat – a bit tricky as I had bought pork pies, sausage rolls and Quiche as they always seem to go down well.  Our friend ate the fillings and left the crusts which solved the problem!  The left over meat products have now gone up to my daughters for SIL’s lunch at work tomorrow.

Anyway my main point about the food and drink is to say that I find the state pension does not really stretch to entertaining or buying alcohol so in future I need to think ahead and buy the drink in a bit at a time.  Catering for all the varied tastes now is a bit of a headache when you ask guests ‘what would you like to drink’ we have requests for Prosecco, Gin, rosé wine, Peroni and craft beers in addition to the usual red and white wine and lager – to stock everything is going to prove too difficult with less income especially when a mixer is required like tonic or lemonade as we don’t drink them ourselves and they have often gone flat by the next event.

As well as a good evening it meant we had leftovers to eat today – bits of Quiche and spinach parcels, salads and leaves so we packaged them up added some bread and hey presto we had a picnic to take out with us accompanied by a flask of hot chocolate.

We headed for a local garden centre to choose a birthday gift for another friend.  Had I been well organised I would have bought this before Christmas and not at the last-minute.  But I was not on this occasion.

However, we did take advantage of the sale items and as well as a lovely mosaic outdoor table light for my friend I bought two half price items – a solar light for hanging on my outdoor cherry tree (so it doesn’t look too bare outside now the Christmas lights are over) and DH got some secateurs (you can never have too many when you have two gardens to upkeep!).

Our dining room and kitchen has been the hub of many  get togethers over the years with friends and family and for all our daughter’s parties as they grew up. I have so many happy memories connected with this room – it may be battered and old now but the joy and laughter still seems to linger in the atmosphere and in some ways I am loath to decorate in here in case I lose that but we do need to give it a fresh new look.

I have been holding a Burn’s night celebration with a group of friends over the years but this year we may have started on the kitchen renovations by then and I am not sure we can afford to host it; even though Haggis, turnip and spuds are fairly cheap foods my friends have hearty appetites.

During January I aim to review all those important things in life-like health, diet and finances to see what is working for us and what is not.   This week I will be reviewing the finances and will find out just how we have done over the past year spending wise and look at what areas need a bit more attention to cut down any wasteful and unnecessary spending.

Have a good week everyone and thank you to all those who took the time to make themselves known with a little comment on my blogday post – it is much appreciated. x

 

 

 

dEAr diary ~ ‘happy blogday to me’

It is 7 years today since I did my first blog post in 2012 on my previous blog ‘where the journey takes me’ – I have had a wonderful time, gained many new blog friends and read a lot of interesting ideas – it has been an exciting journey so far and long may it continue.

A big thank you to all those who have journeyed along with me – your company has been much appreciated as have your comments.  I would love to hear from anyone who reads but doesn’t normally comment – just a quick hello would be great.

Over the Christmas period I have thought long and hard about my focus for 2019 and one word I keep coming back to is that of

Transition

It fits well with my present circumstances since I am no longer in paid work, probably retired but maybe not just yet – everything in abeyance.

I looked it up on Google…

Transition – the process of changing, or a change from one form or condition to another:   from transire ‘go across’.

Synonyms – change, move, passage, transformation, conversion, adaptation, adjustment, alteration, changeover, metamorphosisshift, switch, jump, leap, progression, progress, gradation, development, evolution;

Lots of alterations and adjustments to make and with any luck a complete transformation by the end of 2019.

We have friends coming tomorrow evening so I need to make the house presentable – I have been working on it most of the week.  The Christmas decorations are down, the windows have been flung open to let the fresh air of the New Year in and even the duvet spent the morning outside on the line to freshen up before putting on clean bed linen.  My positivity at the moment is encouraging and I am ready to begin.

Presently I am still at the planning stage and January is the ideal month for this.  As we have plenty of major projects either on the go or on the master list that need to be co-ordinated it will be a question of fitting everything in.  Some of the top priorities are the decorating, installing a new kitchen and completing a few outside jobs once the weather is on the turn.   Added to which we need to sort the cottage out it has been a dormant project too long now.   And on the domestic front I need a new spending and saving plan, an exercise regime and of course lots of healthy eating wouldn’t go amiss…and when I have time a bit of crafting, reading and relaxing.

As my blog was always intended as a diary for myself to look back on my starting point for this year will be to review and reflect on last year and see what worked and what didn’t.

Did my focus word of the ‘Power of small’ work for me?….all will be revealed.

Back soon x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

dEAr diary ~ a happy new year

2019Hello everyone and a Happy New Year to all my followers and readers.

I just thought I would drop by for a few minutes whilst there is calm once more.  It is so quiet here today I feel the house is fast asleep – recovering from the busyness of the last few weeks.

We spent Christmas Eve delivering gifts to friends and then had an unexpected visit from my elder daughter and SIL in the evening.  Unintentionally, we were late to bed and then quite late up on Christmas morning – this did not matter though as DH and I spent Christmas day on our own, through choice, as we did not relish a further trek up to North Yorkshire after having been up there on the Sunday before for the family party, and both our daughters were spending Christmas with their respective in-laws.

It was the first time ever we have been completely alone on Christmas Day but I actually enjoyed it.  We had no deadlines to meet for meals, no one to entertain and it was a chance to take advantage of the quiet time after a busy month and a busy year.  In fact I will make sure we have a day like this every year – perhaps not on Christmas Day but maybe at some point over Christmas.  Of course it is much easier to plan a day of doing nothing when everyone else is occupied.Christmas Tree

I had some lovely gifts from my friends and vouchers for John Lewis from our family Not so Secret Santa.  Perfect.  Here are a few of my favourite.These delicate handmade wire snowdrops… a little felted bird… a stack of hand made soaps and some pot pourri… two printed mugs on a matching little tray.

Last night we spent the evening with some of our dearest friends, feasting, laughing and playing games  – a wonderful way to see the new year in.

So now we are in 2019 already looking back on 2018, which for me was quite a mixed year; we started the year in January with the sad loss of 3 family members and then a few months later celebrated the marriage of one and the birth of another.  So like many other families it is always in a continuous state of ebb and flow.

During the last few days I have been planning and plotting and also pondering on a new focus word… but at the point of writing this has not revealed itself to me yet; but I am not in any particular hurry.  My focus word last year was  The Power of Small and indeed I did make small adjustments to various aspects of my life which then produced some major and unexpected changes – the most notable being leaving my job and the security that brings.

I always love this month of January it never feels bleak to me – I am eager to set new goals, think about new challenges and looking forward to what the new year may bring, even those little unexpected surprises.  Of course I want it to be all good things but I know that will never be the case – I only hope that the inevitable problems when they come are not insurmountable or too traumatic that I will not be able to cope.

But for now all around me is good – my friends and family are all relatively well, we have a warm home plenty of food and I am feeling quite blessed.

A good start to the year so far.

 

 

 

dEAr diary ~ a bit of a ‘Crisis’

LemonsHonestyBird FeederA really pleasant day today, the sun was shining, which is always encouraging, and I was looking forward to the Crisis at Christmas coffee morning at our local church to see all those friends from the village that I don’t see often enough.

I arrived early to avoid the crush and have a good look at the stalls – plants, home baking, pots of jams and chutney, books, crafts, cards, bric a brac and the customary Tombola.  There was a good turnout; plenty of hustle and bustle so I would think that they will raise well over the £3000 they reached last year for Crisis (Crisis is a charitable organisation who help the homeless to rebuild their lives and also provide a dinner and shelter at Christmas).  My selection bags had nearly all been sold by the time I left and most of the stalls were looking quite empty.Sweet ShopThe Winter Children I came away with a pack of sweet shop jars for £2.50 for Little L (who has asked Santa for a shop this year) and selected two books for a donation of £2 – they look brand new; the murder mystery one I will pass on to my mum when she visits – and The Winter Children I was attracted to by the title and I live in hope that I will find some time to read at Christmas.

I had a cup of tea, a home-baked cake and a natter, made a few promises to have a catch up and get together over the festive period and then came home.After lunch I spooned more brandy into the fruit for the cake (I might even need to buy another bottle), the lemons are reserved to make lemon curd.  The aroma in the kitchen is just lovely at this time of year it is certainly the best place to be and through the kitchen window I could see the birds scurrying around in the undergrowth and checking the bird feeders for peanuts which to their dismay were empty…so armed with seed, peanuts and a half coconut shell of fat I went outside to refill all the feeders. Bird TableApart from the cold it was quite pleasant in the garden and I stopped to take a few photos as there are one or two little pockets of colour here and there – the silvery leaves of the Honesty and the glorious bright red berries of the Cotoneaster, they almost glow in this grey winter light.Yesterday we had to go to B&Q for a piece of wood for DH to finish the shelving in the shed.  We have reused as much as we can from the old melamine wardrobe but he was short of an upright.  B&Q have started a waste wood bin like Ikea and you can take what you like for a small donation (Ikea is for free).  We were out of luck though as the wood in the waste bin was not a suitable size this time.

Whilst on the retail park I went to look around Home Bargains, a huge shed of a place, I don’t go very often but you can often find a bargain.  Amongst all the stuff piled floor to ceiling I spotted this – a small wooden letter rack painted white, can be wall hung and being quite shallow a perfect size – and only £2.49.  I bought one for my notice board in the kitchen to keep my Care Cards in (see HERE for new readers), and one for the laundry room to keep my washing instructions in.  I think I might go back for a third for the office so I can put the outgoing mail and cards in.  I know it says letters on it but this could be painted out.During the afternoon I spent some more time on designing my Christmas card – mostly playing around with ideas and sketches.  I think I might have a design at last and hope to start cutting the lino tomorrow after I have made the cake and lemon curd.

Tonight DH went to another of his concerts – the one last week must have been a prominent composer as it was attended by the BBC for a live broadcast.  He had to leave around tea time so cooked himself some of the fresh ravioli from a packet that only takes 3-4 minutes, while he was out I made a vegetable lasagne with green lentils which takes more like 40 -50 minutes but will cover two nights meals.  I don’t know about you but I am enjoying cooking and eating some of the hot meals that we haven’t eaten for a while.

More Christmas makes and bakes tomorrow…

dEAr diary ~ home again, home again

We are back home again from our weekend away.  We had a lovely time at the family gathering it is so nice to be together for Sunday lunch and a catch up; and show off the new arrival.  A friend had made this cake to celebrate my daughter’s 10th wedding anniversary.  Little L wore her new sparkly party dress and everyone had a good time.

But it is good to be home again and hopefully at home now for a while.  The recent trips up and down to North Yorkshire (about a 2 hour journey) have taken their toll and I am feeling rather weary at the moment and have only just finished all the unpacking and putting away once more, but not the catching up with finances and washing.

It is bitterly cold here and wet with it… and gloomy – I have the lights on in the house and I have put the heating on this afternoon for an hour; it certainly looks wintry out there to me.I made Tomato soup yesterday and more soup today, a minted green soup with watercress, spinach, lettuce and pea.  We had some for lunch and I have put the rest in the freezer for another day.  Hot soup on a cold day is perfect for lunch.  It was too cold to be cleaning out the freezer today so I have postponed this job yet again for another day.

I did manage to cut out the paper for the eight selection bags – there was just enough – and I will make these into bags tomorrow morning when the light is better.

Yesterday we went to Sainsbury’s to do the grocery shopping.  I have planned a few easy meals for this week whilst I catch up with myself; Shepherds pie with lentils and Vegetable Lasagne which will do two nights each and then an omelette and salad for Sunday when the oven will be needed for the Christmas cake.   It wasn’t a big shop as we are coming to the end of this month’s pension allowance – our next payment will be this Friday though I am intending that the four weekly pension amount stretches to cover the whole of a calendar month and that way the 13th payment can go into savings.  As long as we keep within the £160 a week then we are doing OK and so far so good but it does take a lot of effort.

Starting in January I will be trying to save 10% of the pension  – £64 every 4 weeks amounts to a healthy £832.00 for the year plus the £200 fuel allowance  will give us £1000, so I will need to cut costs further to do this.  I always saved when we had a wage so I don’t really want to stop now but I have needed time to get used to living on a pension and to see how far it will stretch.  Unfortunately, it is not very elastic.

I am finding food expensive even though we make most of our own meals, waste very little and do not eat meat or fish.  As you know we eat organic foods were we can and especially fruit and veg as I like the fact they are not sprayed with pesticides and they have been farmed in a way that does not harm either me or the environment; I don’t compromise on this even if it costs me more…and generally it does!  It is a constant battle against rising prices or shrinking products.I keep getting vouchers at Sainsbury’s for bonus Nectar points but only if I spend over £100 – which I don’t.  Waitrose have sent me a coupon for £22 off a £110 shop.  This we might use nearer Christmas and buy one of their rooted trees again.

This month has been heavy on gifts and fuel costs too.  Travelling up and down to North Yorkshire is expensive and there is no easy way to reduce this when a third of our immediate family live a couple of hours away, other than not seeing them.  We always make sandwiches and a flask for the journey up there but are often forced to buy a Costa toastie and a drink on our return and motorway services prices are much inflated so as well as the fuel cost being high the snacks we bought when travelling was also an unavoidable expense. Luckily I am able to cut the costs of the gifts by recycling unwanted items and taking advantage of sales.   We also sold 3 unwanted items on eBay this week so have gained £38 in my PayPal account which has boosted the kitty. Another saving of £5.80 was the voucher for a free hot drink and scone at John Lewis when we went to buy my daughter’s gift and because we went to the Cheadle branch the parking was free.

We will wait to see what the weather is doing tomorrow before making any definite plans.  I have selection bags to make, a freezer to clean and some fresh mushrooms for soup.

 

plEAsurable ~ wedding celebrations

What a gorgeous day it has been today (Wednesday) – sunny, dry and with a chill in the air –  it was identical weather on this same date November 14th ten years ago in 2008 for my younger daughter’s wedding day.

She married at St Mary’s Church just off the main square in the small market town of Masham, North Yorkshire.

This is me on the left with my mum and sister – all of us lookng a bit younger!

The wedding bouquets were made by a florist in a tiny shop in Bedale and were absolutely beautiful – deep, rich Autumn colours.To save on costs we added in a few bunches of our own courtesy of the cheap bouquets sold at the local Co-op the day before, together with a bunch of Hypericum and eucalyptus from our local market stall!  These were used to fill the jars we hung on the railings and Shepherd’s hooks in the Church grounds.Luckily my daughter wanted a home-made country look for her wedding so we were able to work to quite a tight budget.

We made the confetti from a mix of honesty seed pods, hydrangea petals and pressed montbretia petals, this gave us the vibrant oranges and the honesty is so light it makes wonderful confetti.  The mixture was then put into cellophane bags (collected from those used to package birthday cards) and decorated with a natural raffia bow.We used a professional photographer that was both fun and willing to take a mix of formal and more informal shots.  He certainly kept all our guests entertained with his humour and he took us all for a wander around Masham capturing some very unusual scenes – these are two of my favourite – in the telephone box on the left and outside the Bah Humbugs shop.The reception was held in the local town hall and once the formal pictures had been taken outside the church we all walked round in procession to the venue led by the bride and groom – no need to hire any cars.  Local friends, neighbours and shopkeepers from Masham came out to cheer the happy couple.As the town hall is not considered a normal wedding venue these days we had to hire in tables and white linen cloths from a local caterers and we added the plain orange napkins.  The chairs were supplied with the room but were rather shabby so one of biggest expenses was the hire of the Lycra chair covers and organza bows but this made all the difference to the room and the locals said they had never seen the town hall looking so good!

We had to lay all this out ourselves the evening before the wedding – we had loads of helpers and whilst we were busy moving and laying and tying and draping the local amateur dramatics society were rehearsing their muder mystery play on the stage.  It was a bit bizarre!

The centre pieces we made ourselves too – we bought some inexpensive large hurricane vases from Ikea and filled them with tiny dried pumpkins and a pillar candle.  Around the base we placed a ring of twigs picked up on a few country walks then soaked and twisted into shape.The favours were in plain calico bags decorated with pine cones and dried ferns with hand written craft labels.For the pew ends we bought rustic twig hearts and added a natural raffia bow.We had a wonderful and fun day finishing with a rousing Ceilidh with music by The Applejacks.

This weekend the whole family will be gathering for a celebration to mark both their tenth wedding anniversary and the birth of their second daughter.  We are a family blessed.