Tuesday 31 December 2013

2013 in Review

I was planning a post to reflect on the highs and lows of 2013 when the lovely Kate, who blogs at www.kateonthinice.com, tagged me in one of her posts and asked me to answer the following questions as a round up to 2013. Thank you Kate; here are my highs and lows of 2013.

1. What was your happiest event?

There hasn't been one event that massively sticks out in my head, as there have been so many, these include:

2. What was the saddest thing to happen?

This year has been filled with some really sad events and especially in the month of December when we lost my great uncle, a close family friend and just a few days ago, one of Ruby's classmates lost his mother who very sadly passed away following a battle with cancer.

3. What was the most unlikely thing to happen that actually went ahead and did?

I really can't think of anything!

4. Who let you down?

I am very fortunate that I have a very close family and some great friends, some newer than others, and very few people have let me down this year; yes people have said things that I have had to bite my tongue over, but I've learnt to let go and move on. I am not going to mention specifics as those few people that let me down do not deserve a place on my blog.

5. Who supported you?

As I said in my answer to question 4, I have an amazing family and in particular my husband who believes in me 100% and always helps me to strive to achieve my best. He does a great job although I don't acknowledge him anywhere near enough.

6. Tell us what you learned

I've learnt this year that its important for me to rediscover who I am and have some me time, as I feel I lost a part of me when I became a mother; I now have regular evenings out with my mum and quiet days every other month at the lovely Launde Abbey.

7. Tell us what made you laugh

My children always make me laugh with the little gems they speak.

8. Tell us the things that made you cry

Hmm where do I start, I can be quite an emotional person and many tears have been shed both happy and also sad. I cried when Ruby started school, when Lottie turned one and have had way too many tears for my liking when it comes to being in pain with my knees.

9. Tell us three things your child or children did to make you feel proud.

  • Lottie learned to walk, although much anticipated!
  • Ruby settled into school so well and playing the part of Mary in her school nativity.
  • I am proud of my girls for how they are both so loving, and how well they enjoy playing with one another - especially when it comes to tea parties!

10. Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.

Mmm, I am my own worst enemy and always incredibly hard on myself but I am proud of myself that I was able to be fully awake and even manage to watch my knee operation, it was by far an amazing experience and I shall have to go through it all again in the Summer although I am not looking forward to the recovery and pain.

11. Tell the challenges you overcame

Having my knee operation was a challenge; also, I am still breastfeeding Lottie when I never even thought I would last a day, let alone nearly 18 months!

12. Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2014

I would really love to gain some weight in 2014, whatever I do to put weight on, it doesn't seem to make any difference at all - any suggestions would be gratefully received.

I would also love to be pain free, but I realise this is unlikely; as long as its better managed and doesnt get worse I would be greatful.

I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year and hope that 2014 is a year that brings you much happiness in each and every area of your life.

Friday 27 December 2013

Christmas Round Up

It's hard to believe that just a few short days ago we were preparing to celebrate Christmas, and now the big day has come and gone. This year was a very different Christmas to years gone by; previously we would have Christmas dinner at my mums and then head off to visit my in-laws and then my father, but this year we visited Phil's family on Christmas Eve, spending the afternoon with them before coming home to bath the girls, get the snacks for Santa and Rudolph and heading off to bed.

Christmas Day was a lovely chilled out day; it started at around 7:30 in the morning with me having to wake up the girls as they were showing no signs of waking up! Ruby was so very excited to see that her stocking was full up of pressies; Lottie on the other hand was not really too interested apart from the wrapping paper and boxes. 

After all getting into our bed to open the presents in the stockings, we headed downstairs to see if Santa had left some presents under the Christmas tree. Ruby checked to see if Santa had eaten the mice pie and drank the milk that had been left out for him, which he had all bar a few crumbs of mince pie. Last year Santa had been left a biscuit but only managed to eat half, Upon noticing this, Ruby ate the remaining half of the biscuit!

This year was the first year I have ever cooked a Christmas dinner and it was also the first time I have ever cooked a joint of meat! Two years ago hubbie bought me a beautiful rangemaster cooker in the hope that I would cook more, but to be honest it does not get the use it should. I tend not to cook a lot of meat, as I prefer vegetarian food. Hubbie was adamant he wanted a traditional Christmas dinner, so I cooked a turkey! I was worried in case I under or over cooked the meat, or generally just burnt everything, but I wrote down when things needed to go into the oven and I am incredibly pleased to say that it all came out so much better than I thought it would.

Christmas afternoon was spent being very lazy and chilled out, playing and enjoying our new pressies. It's hard to pick out what our favourite pressies were, but for Ruby it was her princess Sofia dress, Lottie loved her tea set that Ruby had decided to wrap up (it used to be hers).

There isn't really one pressie that sticks out as being my favourite as I've had so many lovely and thoughtful gifts, including a DAB radio, books, clothes and many more things.  I think Phil's favourites would have to be his new book or bottle of whisky! 

I hope everyone has had a very blessed and enjoyable Christmas and I want to wish everyone a very happy new year. 

Monday 23 December 2013

School Nativity Play

Last week I once again found myself being an incredibly proud mummy. Out of the whole of Ruby's school, Ruby was asked to play the part of Mary in her school nativity. I can't tell you how proud I am, especially as I never expected Ruby to have a nativity at her age let alone for her to be selected out of the whole school. I really don't think Ruby knew how big an achievement this was and she took it all within her stride.

Ruby looked so angelic in her outfit and I very nearly cried as I got my first glance of her dressed up.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Pudding Evening

Sometimes a treat is needed, and recently my mum and I were treated like royalty as we attended a pudding evening at the wonderful Launde Abbey. I have previously written about Launde Abbey here, as I like to go regularly to escape the world and enjoy the quiet and beautiful grounds.

Neither my mum or I had ever attended a pudding evening before, so we were not too sure what to expect. We were served a light main course before we made a start on the puddings!

Each pudding was brought out one at a time, it was great to be able to take our time to eat through each one before we moved onto the next, in total we had 6 puddings!

We started off with:

Christmas Dinner with a Twist

Followed by:

Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Mulled Wine Syrup and Caramelised Oranges

Black Forrest Gateaux

Banana Creme Brulee

Refreshing Mango Sorbet

Profiterole with a Dark Chocolate and Bailey's Sauce

Christmas Pudding and Brandy Sauce

After eating every single pudding I think it's safe to say I would not have been able to eat a mouthful more! My favourite pudding had to be the Vanilla Panna Cotta with a Mulled Wine Syrup and Caramelised Oranges, it was delicious!

If you had to pick one, which do you think would be your favourite?

Pudding evening at Launde Abbey costs £20 which I think is an absolute bargain; they have a pudding evening most months and more details can be found on their website www.laundeabbey.org.uk.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

A Very Important Letter

This week a very important letter arrived addressed to Ruby; I can't recall the last time I received a letter through the post, but it certainly has been a really long time. I really do love to read a letter, it means so much more to me than an email; more thought goes into a letter, and people have to take the time to write it and take it to the postbox. I still remember the lovely feeling of receiving a postcard that I was not expecting from a dear friend back in the summer.
Click Image to Enlarge

A few weeks ago my mum gave me a leaflet for a personalised letter from Santa, I thought this was a great idea and the best bit about it all was that the money raised from sending letter went towards helping the NSPCC. You can donate as much or as little as you like for the letter, but the recommended donation is £5. To create the letter you enter several details onto their website and chose which letter you want your child to receive, as well changing certain bits to make it more personal.

When the letter arrived through the post Ruby was so incredibly excited; she isn't old enough to read all of the letter herself so I had to read it to her, but her face was a picture, she couldn't believe that Santa had taken the time to write her a letter and he even knew that she had recently learnt to write her name and that he had already wrapped her pressie and was moving onto Lotties!

We will definitely be looking at doing another one of this letters next year. You can find the details here.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Disney on Ice

I really don't know where the time has gone recently, we have just been so busy that I haven't even had a chance to tell you about going to see Disney on Ice a couple of weeks ago.

A few months ago I saw that Disney on Ice was touring, and thought it would be a great idea for an early Christmas present for Ruby. Ruby is absolutely mad about anything to do with Disney princesses, so I was sure she would like it.

Phil took a half days holiday from work and arrived home in time to pick ruby up from school. As soon as we got home from the school run, we quickly got changed and jumped into the car to head off to Sheffield for the show.

Ruby had dressed up in her favorite princess costume... Rapunzel from Tangled! Ruby was incredibly excited, and to be honest I was too, however I was a bit worried about how restless Lottie might become; I was assured by some friends that there would be so much to see and do, that there would be no way Lottie would be bored.

When we arrived at the arena, it was lovely to see that almost all of the young girls attending the show had dressed up as their favorite Disney princess. There were even some adults dressed up too.

Before the show we spent some time looking at the merchandise that was available to purchase; I was disappointed that there was not much choice, but we ended up buying an official program which came with a pink sparkly hat that Ruby loved, it was pricey though, at £10. I feel its important to buy a program as its nice for Ruby and I to look back on; it can also go into her memory box too.

The was opened by the classic Disney characters, including Mickey, Minnie and Pluto, who were joined by the rest of the cast to perform an intricate routine that concluded with a scene from the Princess and the Frog.

The rest of the first half of the show consisted of fairly short renditions of Snow White and Cinderella, which Ruby loved; it definitely warmed up the crowd for the main event. Even though she knows the stories inside and out, Ruby was a bit scared during Snow White, when the trees in the enchanted forest started to “get her”, but apart from that Ruby was enjoying every minute of it; it was lovely to see her getting involved by joining all of the other children in shouting at Snow White not to eat the apple, and various other crowd participation opportunities throughout the show.

Cinderella wrapped up shortly after the mid show interval, and Mickey and the gang came out once more to introduce the main event.... Disney's Tangled! I think it is fair to say that Tangled is Ruby's all time favourite film, and Ruby could not have been more excited when Rapunzel skated out onto the ice.

The rendition of Tangled was absolutely fantastic; I won't go into too much detail in case anyone is planning to see it soon, but there was one part of the performance in particular that had everyone on the edge of their seats; The skaters who were portraying Rapunzel and Flynn, performed an aerial routine (without harnesses), that had had them swinging through the air, at what must have been at least twenty feet from the floor, using Rapunzel's hair! It was amazing to see. The show was funny and enchanted, even Phil really enjoyed it.

Lottie behaved really well and was fascinated about everything that was taking place in front of her. I think it's fair to say that we all had a fantastic time at Disney on Ice, and I am sure we will be going to see them again on their next nationwide tour.

Silent Sunday!