Sunday, 4 December 2016

Advent Day 4


A relaxing day was in order after our busy night yesterday, so after a quick swimming lesson for Master Madaboutbags, followed by a scrumptious sausage sandwich made by Mr Madaboutbags it was time to tackle the job of putting up the Christmas tree. Well that was the plan but I think we were all feeling a little lazy today so after several cups of tea (me) and several games of Minecraft (Master Madaboutbags) we started delving into the numerous boxes that house all our Christmas decorations for the other 11 months of the year! 
I'd forgotten how many super handmade decorations I've acquired over the years, and it was a little like Christmas morning when you realise you bought some new decorations last year in the sales. So after much oohing and ahhing we got down to business and put out some of the room decorations. 
The tree is always my job, we have a lovely artificial one that we bought about 15 years ago and every year I forget how long it takes to fan out all the branches and add the lights. 
Master Madaboutbags got a little bored at this stage and went off to watch more Minecraft videos and build a fire station! 
I was also losing the will to live as the orangery looked like an explosion in a Christmas factory with boxes and decorations everywhere, including the table, which we needed to clear so that we could eat the delicious roast dinner that Mr Madaboutbags had cooked. Sufficiently sated, Tomas was keen to get back to finishing off the tree, and as I was busy sorting through boxes and faffing with my twig tree, I let him have free reign with the tree. In retrospect I'm not sure this was a wholly wise idea as I feel that there may be just a little bit of rearranging to be done!! 
Master Madaboutbags then found the box of Christmas puzzles and felt that right now would be a good time to start one of them, calling me in to help. Needless to say the orangery still looks like an explosion in a Christmas Factory and I'm not sure what Mr Madaboutbags is going to think when he comes down in the morning but this was not quite the photo I thought I would be posting today. 


So joining in with Julie's Scrapbook advent calendar is my #reallifehome Day 4 not quite finished tree, with my too many boxes of decorations, and oh my! what a mess, just close the door and worry about it tomorrow photo. 

Advent Day 3

Tonight I spent a wonderful evening getting festive at not one, but two, Christmassy events. 
First it was the lighting up of the Christmas tree at our local church. A few days ago I joined other members of my WI and decorated the tree outside the church, overlooking the village green and then tonight we joined lots of other people from the village to sing (out of time and definitely out of tune) a few Christmas carols and to switch on the tree lights. 

Then we all went inside the church to enjoy a warming cup of tea and some delicious cake as well as buy some gifts from some of the stall holders.
There were some beautiful wooden figures on sale carved from olive wood from Bethlehem. Master Madaboutbags took a liking to a nativity bell decoration and a camel. 
We also bought a Christmas gift Miss Madaboutbags and Master Madaboutbags had a go at cake decorating. 

We also saw Father Christmas himself, so this is my Advent Day 3 photo, joining in with Julie's Scrapbook Advent Calendar. 
 

He was very jolly and handed out candy canes to all the children. 
Then is was time to head off to the next village and watch a Christmas show at the church that Miss Madaboutbags goes to. 
The play was called Twas The Night Before Christmas and was by The Saltmine Theatre group.

 All the parts were played by just four people and it was funny, moving, poignant and with just the right amount of religiousness. The underlying story was to be thankful for what you have and not to catch stuffishness, and it does make you realise that there is more to Christmas than stuff, stuff, and more stuff. 
It was a wonderful way to spend an evening especially as it was shared with good friends too so I'm feeling all warm, nostalgic and thankful. 



Friday, 2 December 2016

Advent - Day 2

Joining in with Julie's Advent Calendar over at Julie's Scrapbook by posting a photo every day throughout Advent.

Day 2


 For the past few years I've been collecting Christmas and Winter themed books and during Advent I wrap 24 of them and Master Madaboutbags gets to choose one each day which we share at bedtime. Some are old favourites and some are new charity shop buys, I even picked up four more this afternoon so we have some new ones for next year. 
I'm not sure how much longer Master Madaboutbags will want to do this (I'm hoping that I have at least another year) but I think this will be a family tradition to pass down, so after Christmas the books will be carefully stored away until next year. 
Do you have any Christmas family traditions?
If you would like to join in with Julie's Advent Calendar then pop over to her blog for more details.  

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Advent - Day 1

I'm joining in with Julie over at


and posting a photo a day during advent. 

My first photo is of Master Madaboutbags' advent calendar, not only does it contain chocolate but it lights up too.


I miss the simplicity of the calendars from the 70's with their pretty Christmas pictures, does anyone know if you can still get them? 

If you would like to join in then pop over to Julie's blog for more information. 

Friday, 18 November 2016

Puddings and pies and little white lies......

Hopefully you are all in touch with your swap partners for the cracker swap, if you are having any problems getting in touch let me know but remember we are getting into a busy time of the year so you may not get a reply straight away. 

it's been a busy few weeks and I can't believe it's Friday again already!

Master Madaboutbags was back at school last, last week after a 2 week half term holiday, and my first week was a busy one full of fun things and a few blunders. 

Monday I enjoyed a day of sewing, playing catch up on my projects for some of the swaps I'm taking part in and attempting free motion embroidery on a mini quilt for the first time. It was a lot harder than it looked and I don't think I have concentrated that much in a while. Initially I wasn't that happy with the finish and I hope my swap partner will realise that I did try my very best. The mini quilt is now pressed and the binding has been added and I'm feeling much happier with the finished project. 



I've now also made some extras from the left over fabric and my parcel is in the post on it's way to my swap partner. 


On Tuesday I spent a lovely afternoon at a friends for lunch and a crafternoon. Lunch was delicious and I was amazed at how much sewing/crafting was actually achieved. I was too busy chatting, crafting and eating to take any photos! 

In the evening I went along to my daughter's church to make my Christmas pudding. 
There were over a hundred of us, just look at all those eggs!


it was a wonderful evening, of great company and conversation 


and we even had a roaring fire too. 


This year I had my own special pudding stirring spoon made by Lauren at Rockery Cottage. I'm hoping this year's pudding is as tasty as last years.


The finished puddings looked fabulous all lined up on the table.


My pudding is now steamed and hiding in the back of the cupboard until Christmas Day, 


and it's funny because I'm the only one who really likes Christmas pudding and I used to buy and individual one just for me but since I've started making my own Christmas pudding everyone wants some so I'm having to share.

Wednesday was another sewing today, one of my daughter's friends came over with her gorgeous baby daughter to make a draft excluder whilst I enjoyed a few cuddles. 

Thursday was WI day and my job was to pop into town and collect 27 pie and mash lunches, with the help of Mr Madaboutbags too as he was doing the driving. They were made for us by the wonderful family that run The Little Cafe in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, so if you are ever over this way and fancy pie and mash (amongst other delicious meals) pop in and enjoy. 

This was from the slide show and shows one of the original pie and mash shops in the East End
With the lunches safely delivered and served onto plates it was time to sit down and enjoy our food, with many of the ladies trying liquor (parsley sauce) and chilli vinegar for the first time. There were lots of worries that the parsley sauce was made from eel juices but our speaker for the afternoon, Sharon Gould, explained that that myth came about because they sometimes used the water from the boiled eels to make the parsley sauce and it had  natural gelatine in it.  After lunch Sharon shared with us her experiences of growing up in the East End of London, she had many of us nodding and laughing away as she told us her childhood memories, of school, shared houses, outside toilets, cockle picking and what seemed like weapons of torture which masqueraded as beauty products. 


Sharon also bought along jellied eels and pickled herrings for us to try, now I do remember going to weddings and parties as a child in the East End and there was always jellied eels and cockles but I don't remember ever trying the jellied eels as I don't like the jelly, but I did have a try on Thursday and they weren't as bad as I thought they would be, I did only eat the eel not the jelly though.


 Now we have covered the puddings and the pies and I bet you are wondering where the little white lies comes into my week, well.......


as I explained Mr Madaboutbags helped me to collect the pies from the cafe and dropped me off at the village hall for my WI lunch and meeting. So that I could collect our eldest son from school when the meeting was finished I drove my car to the village hall and Mr Madaboutbagscollected me from there and we drove into town to collect the pies. Once they were collected we drove back to the village hall where Mr Madaboutbags dropped my and the pies off and then went home. I had a wonderful afternoon and then it was time to go home, so i helped clear away and then just as I was about to leave I couldn't find my cars keys, I searched my pockets, bags and even the car but they weren't anywhere and then it dawned on me........I'd left the in the passenger door of Mr Madaboutbags car!!! Oh NO!!! Now my memory has been getting pretty bad of late and Mr Madaboutbags has been ribbing me a little lot about it so I couldn't possibly phone him up and get him to bring me the keys could I, so knowing that the car was on the drive and then he wouldn't see me from the house I asked one of the WI ladies to take me home and I snuck in the gates and grabbed the keys from the door of the car and then she very kindly dropped me back at the village hall. Mr Madaboutbags was none the wiser, safely tucked up on the sofa watching TV and I picked up our song and drove home. The WI ladies and I had a chat in the car about whether it was really lying if I didn't tell Mr Madaboutbags about the keys but as we tell each other everything I couldn't keep it a secret and blurted it out as soon as I got home!!! He just rolled his eyes and seems resigned to the fact that this is how it is going to be from now on!!!! I would like to say this was a one off but that would be telling even more lies as this week there were even more blunders!!! I am now being referred to as Brenda the blunder woman and my head is so woolly I could knit my own jumper!!!! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Cracker Swap 2016

A last minute request, we have an odd number in the swap would anyone like to sign up for the cracker swap, you could have to be happy to post overseas. 
Please leave a comment below if you are interested 
Thank you  

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Cracker Swap 2016 swap partners

Thank you to everyone that signed up for the cracker swap this year I'm looking forward to seeing all the wonderful things that you managed to fit into your tubes!


I've already posted the partners for those taking part on Instagram 
and here are the partners for those in Blogland.


Claire and Debbi

Ellie and Glenda

Montse and Melanie

Leah and  Lynn

Kim and Andrea

Kimberley and Suzanne

I'll be sending out email address for those who don't have blogs

For a reminder of what the swap is all about pop over to this blog post


Get in touch with each other, read each others blogs and any questions just ask. 

If you are on Instagram then you can use the hashtag crackerswap2016.

Happy Swapping

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