Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year

Sorry - I've disappeared to the wilds of the highlands of Scotland to celebrate Hogmanay with O's family which is why I've not been in touch. Will return to tell all in the 2010.

Hope you all have a wonderful time...........

I can't wait for 2010 we're getting married eeeek!!!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas

(mistletoe from here)

Mwahhhhh mwah
(thats kisses not evil laughter)

Wishing you a very merry Christmas

lots of hugs and kisses
see you on the other side!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Wherever I lay my head that’s my home….

When I talk about going home for the holidays or the weekend I’m talking about going home to Leeds. For the last 20 odd years my parent’s house has been my home although I’ve not lived there for the last ten years and O and I have owned our own flat for the last 3 years. I think this may largely stem from the fact that they’ve been in the same house for the last 35 years and so I was essentially born and bred in that house. Where is home for you? And if it isn’t still your parent’s home then when did this change?

O is home with me for Christmas for the first time, this is our first Christmas together - I'm quite nervous/excited I hope he will enjoy himself.

*I hope you don't get this about 3 times it published before I was ready (like 4 days before I was ready)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Driving home for Christmas

(from here)

Tonight we are driving home for Christmas, top to toe in tail lights....

In our new car (new to us).

We were sad to let the old car go but not too sad as it has not been very reliable. Very grateful to have a new car considering the amount of driving we will be doing over the next week.

Weather permiting that is, doesn't look hopeful at the moment!
Please don't burgle our house there will be two scary (scared) cats there to look after the place.

When I'm at my parents I won't have easy access to the internet and they don't know about the blog so please excuse me if I don't respond to your comments or leave comments on your blogs I will catch up when I'm home.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas memories

So the lovely Rebecca at Daydreams in Lace has started a little tag for anyone and everyone who wants to join in. All you need to do is visit her blog read her great post about Christmas memories and write a post about your favourite Christmas memories on your own blog – be sure to let Rebecca know when you’ve posted so that we can all enjoy.

Here we go then…….

I’ve a feeling that Christmas is going to be a bit strange for me this year. It is the first year that O and I have spent Christmas together so we need to start some new traditions.

Singing – for the last 5/6 years we have been visiting York Minster for the 9 Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve. We might not be a religious family but we are respectful and it is nice to be reminded that this holiday means a lot more to many millions of people than just gifts and over indulgence. #2’s boyfriend came with us for the first year, last year and bless him he was quite nervous about it. “I can’t sing” he said, “excellent, you’ll fit right in” we can’t hold a tune, we are trying to figure out where my nephew has come from (he is head chorister at his school although that may all change when he hits puberty). Getting to the Minster is like a military operation. The service is, understandably, very popular you have to get there about 2-3 hours early to bagsy your seats. We take the Christmas crossword with us, wear lots and lots of layers and send members of the party out in shifts for the toilet and hot chocolate.

Christmas stocking – we always get a stocking, until I was about 17 it would miraculously appear at the end of my bed on Christmas morning, my Mum would wait up until everyone was asleep and sneak in like when we were tots (usually without waking us). She has stopped sneaking into the bedroom since we’ve either been working Christmas Eve (pulling pints in the local pub) or there are boys in our rooms. The stocking presents used to be really fun, but as we have gotten older and life and presents have gotten more expensive the presents haven’t been quite as successful and so they have now become a bit of a family joke. Ever since we got the ping pong ball gun we’ve not really taken them seriously, last year I got an electric eye lash curler – I’m terrified of it. Guaranteed though there will be a tangerine, chocolate money and a shiny 2009 pound coin in the toe.

Opening presents, before boyfriends/husbands came along, we would sneak into my parent’s room and clamber into the middle of their bed to open up our presents. This year we’ll open the presents downstairs in front of the fire.

Food preparation – it is my job to prepare the sprouts. Chop the end off, peel back some leaves and make a cross in the bottom. Not at all difficult, the only problem being that I hate sprouts! My parents work like Trojans preparing the Christmas dinner so it is all hands to the deck for the clear up while they go and put their feet up.

Christmas cake – my Dad is in charge of making the Christmas cake (and Christmas pud) and we usually indulge in a slice in the evening after the earlier meal has subsided. Now here is an interesting bit, we have a slice of cheese (cheddar or Red Leicester) with our Christmas cake. I think this is a North East tradition that my Mum has imposed on us. The only people I have ever found who eat cheese with their Christmas cake are members of my family…..anyone else? No? You should try it, ‘tis lurverly.

O and I went for a walk in the snow yesterday and we were talking about Christmas day.

What time do we eat? Around 2pm sometimes later, generally the plan is that you eat as much as possible so you don’t want any more food in the afternoon. O’s family start eating at about 5pm.

Apparently O likes to go for a run on Christmas morning. That caused me to pause and give him the am I really marrying you look? Weirdo! Run on Christmas morning, what before or after the champagne and croissants. Actually from me it is more of run at all? Ever?

image of york minster; image of Christmas stockings; image of Christmas cake;

Friday, 18 December 2009


(from here)

Happy weekend everyone - especially Rebecca who I hope (fingers crossed) is having the weekend off to get her "dress". If you don't already read Rebecca's blog Daydreams in Lace then please go and have a nosey.

This is my 100th post. Who'd have thought I would have so much stuff to share. Thank you to all you lovely people who are here reading and commenting.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Should you blog about love?

I was reading Glamour on the train this weekend and among their survey results I saw this:

Should you blog about love? 69% of Glamour readers say no

Hmmmm considering I'm blogging about my wedding, love tends to have a way of creeping in - or why the hell am I putting myself through this?

O knows about the blog and although I don't check what I post by him, if he didn't like what I wrote it would come down immediately. I'm pretty sure I know O's boundaries well enough to know what he would and wouldn't be happy about me making public.

Do you have any such concerns? Do your posts impact your relationship at all?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Suggestions please.....

O is vegetarian, I'm not and none of my family are. O is coming home to my parent's house for Christmas for the first time this year. The first time we went home to my parents, which was probably the first time my Mum had ever had to cook for a vegetarian she made him potatoes. 3 different types of potatoes, I think there was dauphinoise, boiled and stuffed potato skins but essentially just 3 lots of potatoes - thankfully O likes his potatoes. My Mum has got much better since then - she makes a mean veggie lasagne. However Christmas dinner is quite a big deal and I don't want him stuck with potatoes again!

So lovely readers I'm looking for suggestions for your favourite vegetable dish at Christmas time, one that we can all enjoy (to take some of the stress away from my parents).

Oh and if anyone has a suggestion for veggie gravy (other than a jar of dried powder) - I'm sure I read a mushroom gravy recipe somewhere but I can't find it and can't remember the instructions.

Many thanks in advance....

Monday, 14 December 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Our little Christmas tree, O got this tiny branch from nearby woods. He made a stand and decorated the tree (and the lamp behind) on Saturday while I was out "dress" shopping.

What I love the most about our little tree is that it is vanilla scented! In with the Christmas decorations there was some potpourri (no idea why). O didn't realise what the potpourri was and used it to decorate the tree! After I recovered from my fits of laughter I decided to go with it. O did say that he wondered why there were no strings to hang these scented baubles from the tree! Do you like our potpourri snowman which tops the tree?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Hands Up

(from here)

Hands Up everyone who loves the weekend.
I'm especially loving this weekend as I'm off work for two extra days.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Home decorating – don’t get too cocky you never know what is round the corner

O and I are good with our money (a whole other potential post topic), some might call us tight (I’m from Yorkshire it’s a term of endearment down there). We have a good amount of savings and we shop around and think through purchases before we buy. So early last year we got a bit cocky, we had quite a bit of money left over one month and it was our two months free from council tax (our council allow us to pay our council tax over 10 months so we get 2 months free every year – obviously not free free because we pay more for the 10 months but it feels like they are free months). So one Saturday we decided to go a bit crazy and buy a Nintendo WII, we’d played at friends' houses and really wanted one. We did very brief research and found the best deal at the shops near us. We excitedly walked to the shops, picked up our WII and took it home, unpacking it all and spending a pleasant evening playing.

The very next morning I was on my way to the loo minus glasses so the world was a bit blurry, I glanced into the living room and noticed a strange blurred patch on the wall that wasn’t usually there. I went and got my glasses and O and I went into the living room to discover black dirty patch on our wall. The rain had stopped, so the water wasn’t running at that moment but it clearly had been. O went into the loft to explore and found some very wet patches in our loft. So having been so smug in our cleverness with money we had to pay out roughly the cost of the Nintendo WII to a roofer to come and patch up the cracks in the chimney stack and replace the few loose slates that we’d lost in the wind. I believe this would be commonly referred to as sod’s law! Oh and to add insult to injury we don’t actually play the WII, we did for the first couple of weeks but we just aren’t computer console type people – we should have realised this as it is the first console either of us have owned.

Today's lesson - plan for emergencies and don't get smug because the world will kick you in the ass.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Give Blood

(from here)

O and I gave blood today, we aim to give every 3 months. There is no donation centre in our town so we need to wait for them to come to us. It gives me a good feeling to give. Not physically good as I'm usually tired afterwards but emotionally good like I've done something to help a stranger. It also makes me good to see the queue out of the door of people wanting to give. They come from all walks of life, students wait next to builders and people in business suits. We are all there for a common purpose and we wait in a friendly patient manner until it is our turn.

Oh and there are lots of free biscuits!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Home Decorating – Don’t let my Mum out the house

I love my Mum and her and my Dad have worked tirelessly to help us with our decorating. She does also have a penchant for embarrassing her daughters – I firmly believe that it is every mother’s right to embarrass their children and I intend to continue the family tradition to the fullest extent when/if our own children come along. So how do you combine decorating with my Mum’s skill at embarrassing me?

The decorating machine had moved on to thinking about the bathroom – O and I both love bubble baths and were desperate to have a bath in the tiny bathroom that we have. We knew it was possible as we were told when we bought the property that they had removed the bath and put in a shower cubicle to make it safer and easier for the little old lady that lived there. We had a vague idea of how it might all fit in but the maths wasn’t really stacking up. How do you fit a bath, toilet and sink into a room that is the length of a bath and the width of two baths? We had tried a couple of bathroom designers to see if they could come up with any creative ideas of how to fit all these things in – they all asked if we really wanted a bath, seriously why do they do that? We are the customer we are telling you what we want why are you questioning our sanity when we want to reduce the floor space of our bathroom to about a foot?

(we joked about trying to find something like this to maximise space
- I didn't realise it actually existed! From here)

My Mum then came up with the great idea that we should go and look at the neighbours’ bathrooms to see how they had fitted everything in. At this point we’d lived in the flat for over a year and we knew the neighbours to wave to, we’d say Hi but we’d never been in their homes, and I didn’t know the names of most of them. O at this point refused point blank to go anywhere with my mother (she has to become mother now to illustrate how mortified I was). Take note that we’d been decorating in another room for most of the day so were in old filthy clothes and looked like we’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. Seriously if some mad looking woman turned up at your door and asked to see your bathroom what would you do? Slam the door in her face would probably be my reaction! But no our neighbours are amazing and they all said yes, please come in (there were some very strange looks and quite a bit of hesitation), as I trailed red-faced after her.

There is unfortunately no denying that there has been huge benefit from this ordeal. We have completed the bathroom renovations (although it didn’t go smoothly) and are starting to look at the kitchen (probably after the wedding) but I now know what my neighbours’ kitchens look like (once she was in their houses there was no stopping my mother) which is helpful when planning our layout. I know all the neighbours’ names and although I’ve never been invited back into their homes (strange that) we are much friendlier in our waves.

So today’s lesson – my mother has no shame but she gets the job done.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Home Decorating – Don’t get comfortable

First of all some background for you, we live in a 1920’s four in a block ex-local authority 2 bedroom upstairs flat. Ex-local authority = big rooms (except the bathroom).

There was nothing “wrong” with our flat when we moved in, the walls were all structurally sound, the heating had been replaced 2-3 years previously and a new kitchen and bathroom had been installed around the same time. It just wasn’t to our taste. Which is apparently my taste, it is amazing what you learn when you start living with someone, we’d already lived together for a while before we bought our own place but it was a furnished flat that we couldn’t make changes to. So what I discovered when we moved into a place that was ours, where we could add our own stamp, was that O doesn’t understand decorating. He didn’t see much wrong with the nicotine stained wood-chip wallpaper and 4 different colour carpets we have over a relatively small square footage (can you tell I over-reacted in total dismay). He is not lazy at all he just didn’t understand why it needed changing, so I just told him what needed changing, how to change it and he got on with it. I’ve had to explain to him a few times the difference between living in a place and enjoying living in a place and making a place lovely to live in.

But still, we have been very slow with the decorating, partially because it was our first home and DIY was new and scary. My Mum and Dad have been the biggest instigators of the decorating activity and without their constant offers of help – and them actually just turning up at the door with dust sheets and a wallpaper stripper I don’t think we’d be as far along as we are. You see we just seem to make do. We have two huge rugs, one of which has covered the horrendous carpet in the kitchen since we moved in the other is a recent addition and covers the carpet in the living room. We have an extra dresser type cupboard (I’m trying to make this sound nicer than it is) in the kitchen to make up for the lack of storage space. And we have a map on the wall in the kitchen to cover the boiler shaped hole that was created when we moved the boiler – it wasn’t making a great feature in the middle of one wall.

Decorating is very expensive especially for the big things like carpets or kitchens and I would not recommend getting into debt to renovate a house that is perfectly liveable. I have a friend who is still paying off the cost of her decorating 4 years after it was completed – she is likely to have moved to a new house before she manages to pay off the work on the previous one. However don’t get comfortable and don’t make do. Or perhaps just be more motivated than O and I.

(Not our house, I wish our map made the room look as good as this - from here)

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Baby's perfect Christmas present

(from here)

Please buy these for any new baby that you know
They are foot finder socks, for when baby starts trying to get their feet into their mouths
And a rattle which can be attached to the wrist
I went to visit my new Mum friend recently and her baby boy loves them

Friday, 4 December 2009

Changing the Subject

(image from here via here)

So I think I might have overdosed on wedding posting for a while – I promise to update you if anything major happens but generally I’m just contacting suppliers, getting quotes and fiddling with our budget spreadsheet.

Trying to figure out how to make one day reflect us, our personalities and our relationship is quite a challenge – we’re very different. O and I have different hobbies (in that he has hobbies and I watch TV). We have different groups of friends, not sure when this happened probably not long after he left University. We used to be part of one huge group of friends (which is how we got together in the first place) but now these people have become Facebook friends – and even then Facebook is telling me I haven’t contacted them for a while and maybe I should write on their wall (none of your business Facebook back off, my relationship with my SISTER is just fine!).

I think I might just make the day represent a marriage ceremony and a party and if we attend then we’ll add our personality as the day goes along.

Sometimes I think about how different we are and wonder how we have kept this relationship going for so long, but then I just think maybe it is our differences that have kept us going.

Are you different from your partner? Do you do everything with your partner? Do you pursue your own hobbies or do you have joint hobbies?

Anyway what I wanted to say was that I’m going to change the topic for a while – hope that is ok?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Big Nana's Chocolate Cake

After Miss T's comment on this post about her Bikki Grandma and Grandpa I thought I'd share with you my big Nana's chocolate cake recipe. First of all please let me clarify my Nana was a baking legend. She used to make cakes for charity sales and people would queue up early to buy her cakes. I’m not sure I would have made as many friends at University had I not been sent up north with a food box from my Nana. Her cakes were so delicious I can’t describe them appropriately.

All of the women in my family have made this cake – none of us can make it as light and yummy as my Nana did.

(image from here via here)

7oz self raising flour
8oz castor sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1oz cocoa
4oz soft margarine
2 medium eggs
5 tablespoons of Evaporated milk
5 tablespoons of water
Few drops of vanilla essence

Sieve the flour, cocoa, salt and sugar and mix
Rub in the margarine
Stir in the egg, evaporated milk, water and vanilla essence
Beat well (the mixture is very runny but just go with it)

Grease and flour two tins and divide the mixture between them
Bake for 30-35 minutes at gas mark 4 (I think this depends on your oven, usually takes longer than that in our oven).

Sorry these are the only instructions we have, my Nana didn’t measure anything. I’m not sure who managed to get these details from her, but I can’t imagine it was easy.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Love Stories - My Parents

(image from here via weheartit)

When it comes to marriage my parents are a huge inspiration to me. They had a horrible start to their marriage but they made it work and they are a true partnership.

My parents met very young, my Mum was 18 and Dad 19, they hadn’t been together very long when my Mum fell pregnant. (It is one of my Mum’s biggest parental achievements that she got her three daughters past 19 without being pregnant, we had safe sex drilled into us). My Dad immediately stepped up to the mark and was willing to stand by his woman – they’d made a mistake but he wasn’t going to run away. My Mum however didn’t want to pressure him into the marriage. She refused to get married and dug her heels in. Unfortunately my grandparents were of the old fashioned variety and kicked her out of the house. What she went through in those few months make my heart ache every time I hear about it (horrendous bed-sits and a very strange land lady). She eventually was just too exhausted and talked things through with my Dad and they agreed to marry. They agreed that they would divorce after one year and my Dad would have as much access to the baby as he wanted.

So at 19 years old and 6 months pregnant my Mum met my Dad at the registry office and they made it official. There are very few pictures of their wedding because it was such a horrid time for them both – they have only just started celebrating their wedding anniversary (and as they don't know about the blog I can't really ask them for photos). The pictures that there are shows my Mum in a bottle green skirt suit – and when I say skirt, only just. This was the late ‘60s and my Mum at 6 months pregnant wore a mini skirt to her wedding (to be fair she barely had any bump and she looked fantastic). During their first year of marriage my Dad worked 3 jobs while studying for a degree. My Mum tried to cope with a new baby and study for her own degree. I guess they never got round to getting a divorce. They are still together 42 years later, I think as time went on they fell in love, and their love has continued to grow. They have had some really tough times, when I left for university, leaving them with an empty nest I thought they would split up.

However what actually happened was that they suddenly started to enjoy each other a lot more. They holiday a lot, they both work from home (although they are both allegedly retired) they just seem to have a great time together. (My sisters and I joke about them spending our inheritance but we are all just happy that they are happy).

I want to have a marriage like my parents although O and I have had a significantly better start. What I want is the partnership that they have, the belief that you can go through some tough times and still come out the other side with a happier and stronger marriage.