Friday, 30 December 2011

Post Christmas

We had a brilliant Christmas.

The kids raced down on Christmas morning to see if Santa had delivered their pressies but I had to make them wait a little bit as Mr Bucket had worked Christmas Eve and needed some sleep (although they didn't agree with me on this). I didn't make them wait too long.

I love it when the unwrapping frenzy starts - I don't think they even look at the gifts. It seems like a race to see who can get the wrapping paper off all the presents the quickest. Then when it's all done, they finally sit and look to see what they have been given.

We had Christmas dinner at the in-laws, which is good in one way as it gives me a break from cooking but then again, I don't have any leftover turkey to snack on.

Last year Bucket jnr was given some Thomas the Tank Engine pants as a present from Granny and the look on his face as he launched them across the room with 'they're not presents' was priceless. So this year I was on the lookout and sure enough he was given some jumpers. As his face started to morph into 'that look' I quietly whispered 'say thank you' and grabbed them and replaced the gift with something else to unwrap. Disaster averted (it was funny though).

I've been keeping up with some of the blogs I follow and found a nice site, Ravelry, which gives loads of knitting and crochet patterns. I'm probably the last person to find this site but it's brilliant and I've already marked things I'd like to make.

After a lot of thinking, I'm going to try and concentrate on crochet this year. I'm only a beginner but hoping to get a LOT better. Also the usual New Year Resolution.... get fit and lose weight.  It's not small in error, I just thought that if it was that size it wouldn't seem such a big problem.

As I get older I like trying to find the best present for someone, it doesn't have to cost the earth and sometimes is something that I've put together. I find that I like giving presents more than receiving nowadays and it's always me who is last to open any gifts as I get more joy out of watching other peoples faces.

But I did get a couple of good ones....

Oooh, last night I made a Hairy Biker fish pie and I can thoroughly recommend it. I would tweak it slightly next time I make it but it's the first time I've ever attempted fish pie (I know, I can't quite believe it either) and I wanted to follow it to the letter. Definitely a winner though!

The kids weren't that bothered but then it didn't include chicken nuggets or chips - I'm going to keep trying.

Kirstie I just love. I like watching her on the telly as they are just feelgood shows. I know that she's not everyones cup of tea, but then who is????!!!!

And the Hairy Bikers are excellent - they are just mad and funny and make everything seem really easy. Although it's amazing how they manage to keep those beards clean.

Mr Bucket also got me my Michael Buble Christmas cd which I've been playing quite a lot. I might have to buy another just in case I wear this one out. How long can you play a Christmas cd for without someone mentioning that it's the wrong time of year?? I'll probably stop playing it around mid March.

All in all, not too many arguments; I only threatened to cancel Christmas twice and, amazingly, most of the toys have already been put away (still a few left to find places for). I would say that we've done quite well and I hope that everyone else had a good time too. Sam xx

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Right that's it, the shopping is finally done. I was one of the mad ones doing an early morning trek (5 a.m.) round the shops. Amazingly it was only really for 'normal' everyday food.

The amount of yawning, muttering and head shaking was hilarious.....I was doing it too. Everyone should have had warning lights on their trolleys as an extra precaution.

I got back home just in time to put the stuff away before the kids woke up and I've had one coffee, so far. Nevermind bucketful of everything, as long as my bucket if filled to the brim with caffeine, I should get through the day ok.

I've got a last round of baking to do and a quick hoover up just to tidy the place up. Just about all my wrapping was finished last night so I haven't too much to do tonight except relax but I don't think today is going to be that relaxing as the kids are already hyped up and wishing it was Christmas day already.

So, a big Merry Christmas to everyone and hoping for a great New Year. Best wishes to you all for 2012.

Sam xx

Friday, 23 December 2011

Just chilling...for the moment

Hi, I'm still here just as the title says.

The kids broke up for the Christmas holidays and as you expect are really excited and counting the sleeps until the big day (2 more mummy).

We haven't really done anything too exciting over the past few days, just chilling out. But I do have a few jobs that I need to do and SOON. When we were off sick, the housework was shoved put aside and I really need to go around with a damp cloth as it's in that stage where you really don't want to move the ornaments out of place.

Also, all of a sudden, my kitchen floor has become an ice rink. Beware if you're just wearing socks because one foot on the floor and you are sliding past - nice pirouhette, 10/10, shame about the landing. I've got the mop out ready to give it a good scrub today. Can you imagine carrying the turkey and then 'WHOOPS'.

I've just made a load of cakes which will be iced today (although Bucket jnr has just said they are ALL FOR HIM as they are not iced) and then I'm making the mince pies and also our holiday chocolate cake. This is like a refrigerator cake, very rich and tastes really nice. I'll try and put a picture on before the mob descends on it and nothing is left.

I also need to start wrapping the presents tonight when the little'uns are in bed. I had to brave the shoppers yesterday and buy some more paper as I just knew that I didn't have enough and come Christmas Eve I'd be banging on the neighbours' doors asking 'please can I have some more'. We trudged out early and I'm glad we did because it was BUSY - I was glad to get back home.

So quite a busy cooking day for me but with a little help from the Christmas playlist on Radio 2 and a nice glass of sherry, it should go ok. Sam xx

Sunday, 18 December 2011


Following on from my previous post (I'm on a roll now that I'm feeling a bit better), I was just thinking about turkeys.

Yep, that's right, turkeys.

My mum died when I was 20 and she was a good cook. In fact, she was probably more fabulous than I knew. But, unfortunately, I never knew how little time we would have together so I didn't show any attention to how she cooked/baked/made things. Silly, silly me.

I'm not getting into the ins and outs today but because of this and a few other factors, I was the one that was going to be cooking Christmas dinner.

I remember looking in countless cookery books and I can proudly say that the only thing that was a bit iffy was the roast potatoes which eventually were made into mash. But noone complained and the food was completely finished off.

But I'm wandering a bit. I was thinking of some 'small' errors that made some Christmases memorable for all the wrong reasons. I've had a couple of interesting turkey moments:

One year I was defrosting the turkey on the counter. I came downstairs Christmas Eve morning to find a half-gnawed turkey - bite marks on the breast and legs. I should mention that I had a cat at this time, who had decided to help himself although the turkey must have still been rock-hard and I can just imagine him trying to chew on the frozen leg and getting nowhere.

The funniest one though was early on in my cooking experience. I'd let the bird defrost and I went down nice and early Christmas morning to wash my turkey.

Now being quite a novice I still knew that the neck should be removed and the giblet bag taken out. So I pulled the neck out and very pleased with myself, turned the turkey over looking for its bottom end.


I looked and looked again and I started to panic as I was really worried about the giblets that I knew had to come out. Eventually I figured it out - the skin was just stuck to the turkey. But this took me about an hour to find this out.

I did laugh later.....much, much later. Sam xx

Nearly there....

We are nearly healthy again - thank goodness! But I think I have succumbed to cabin fever. I quickly popped to the shops, well I said quickly......I was gone over an hour. Totally made the most of being kid free.

This year, like other years, we'll be going to the in-laws for Christmas dinner. When I first got married I wanted to cook Christmas dinner, so we had turkey on Christmas day which my mother-in-law cooked and then I cooked another turkey for our little group on Boxing day. It was a bit tiring.

Source: Google Images

I gave up a couple of years ago and now just cook a big meal on New Years day. This year it's beef.

But as I was going round a well known supermarket (no advertising here, hehehe) I caught a glimpse of some turkeys and thought 'they've quite a good family size - not too big or small'. Then I happened to notice the price, around £25, and I looked at how many people the turkeys were meant to feed - about 11 people.


I'm not kidding, these turkeys weren't overly big - they were about normal size. So either they are shrinking or we eat way too much. Now I like turkey (and we do have good appetites) but I could not justify the price this time.

So definitely NO turkey for us this year. Nevermind, I'm sure we'll still be well fed.

Onto another topic (or the same one if you've been reading this blog), I've finally finished the teachers gifts. YAY!!!! Mexican Wave. I've just got to wrap them up ready for the school parties tomorrow.

One thing down, a few more to go. Sam xx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Still unwell...

I'm still at home with Bucket jnr but the doctor confirmed that it isn't a chest infection, just another cough/cold straight after the first one.

And my children are sooooo kind and generous - he has lovingly shared his germs with myself and Mr Bucket.

We love him soooo much (we do really, but definitely heavy on the sarcasm here).

I've now stocked up on the vitamins and flu tablets just so I can keep going. I'm a mum - WE DO NOT GET SICK  (we just don't have the time).

So I haven't yet made the mince pies or the little cute snowmen BUT did manage to pick up some white wool to make them (the snowmen not the mince pies).

I noticed I had loads of other colours just not white. I did think of using cream but I'm sure that I would have had loads of jokes about 'yellow snow'.

I've managed to complete one project which had been hanging around and it doesn't look too bad. I've been seeing lots of pictures on the web of personal printed words (and I would have posted a picture on here but the minute I want to find one, I can't - typical).

They are really nice but I couldn't justify the cost (approx £40), so I decided to do one myself and here it is:

Not quite the same and a lot more simple than one I could have bought but I love it and now I've just go to find somewhere to hang it. Sam xx

Monday, 12 December 2011

Sick day...

I have a sick little Bucket jnr at home today.

He tends to get coughs every year which are aggravated by the cold weather. He's already had one and I thought we'd beaten this year's one but yesterday it came back and sounded much worse.

Picture the scene.... walking round Ikea with a little'un who every now and then explodes into a coughing fit; goes red in the face and splutters everywhere.

It didn't seem as busy as normal in the shop, well not round us anyway. I think the other shoppers took one look and scarpered and I don't blame them.

Usually with his coughs he is generally well but not this time, he's feeling a bit under the weather. So I decided to keep him at home today and he is, at this moment, lying under a blanket watching Tom and Jerry.

On a cheerier note, I just now received my giveaway items from Anne.

Thank you Anne, they are lovely.

The heart is really soft (must find out your supplier of felt), I love the little heart hanging decoration and the snowman is gorgeous. I'm off to find a good place for them. Sam xx

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Something new to make...

I've found something that I want to make this weekend.

I know, I know, I've still got to finish the teachers gifts and get on with making MORE mince pies and eventually finishing my crochet blanket squares. But these are sooooo cute......and I want one!

Jill at Dapper Toad has posted the tutorial and I think that even I can make one, so I'm gonna give it a go.

I'll keep you posted. Sam xx

Friday, 9 December 2011

Blog giveaway...

If you haven't already done so, pop over to see Anne at Marmalade and Catmint. She is doing a lovely Christmas giveaway which ends today at 10pm.

There are three chances of winning one of three giveaways - become a follower; leave a comment and/or post on your blog linking to the giveaway.

Give it a go, she has a really nice blog and you never know, you might win (but I'm hoping I win something too). Sam xx

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Oh yes I did .......

I am feeling totally shattered. I feel worn out and all I want to do is veg out in front of the boggle box and do absolutely nothing.

I have just spent the day with a load of school kids at the panto.

Don't get me wrong I loved it but even though it was a great day out I still had to be responsible for some of the children and help out with controlling some of the other terrors children as well.

My brain feels completely wrung out.

I must admit I shouted and laughed along with the rest of them although had to shush some of mine as they are at that age when they want to take away some of the magic by pointing out the wires and the actors that may have more than one part.

It all went fairly well but it was hard afterwards when they had finished lunch and their energy came flooding back by which time mine (and probably the teachers) was flagging. I have nothing but respect for teachers who have to do this day in and day out. I'm not too sure I have as much patience to be able to do this all the time.

I asked Miss Bucket if I was too strict but she thought I was easier than the teachers as I laughed at their jokes. 

I'm going to give myself a well-earned pat on the back but never again........well, probably until next time. Sam xx

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Christmas play...

Mr Bucket and I went to Bucket jnr's Christmas asembly this morning, his FIRST one.

It was brilliant!!

I had hopes of it being hilarious as earlier in the year he did a Harvest Festival assembly and about halfway through started an elbow fight with the boy next to him (defending himself, of course) and then during a singing bit he decided he didn't want to sing - he wanted to dance....and so he did. It was soooo funny.

So we sat and waited to see what would happen this time. I'm afraid I put him off to start with as I stood to the side, like any pushy proud parent to take pictures. He just sat and looked at me instead of singing, so I sat back down again.

Cue lots of hand waving and smiling and bobbing up and down as he tried to see us. He also wasn't too comfortable in his shephard garb, by the end I thought he was going to strip off.

It wasn't just him though, we saw lots of yawning; waving; nearly falling off the stage; nudging; face pulling - in fact, just about everything that you'd expect from 3-5 year olds.

As I said, BRILLIANT!!! Sam xx

Monday, 5 December 2011

Quiet time...

I'm sitting all by myself tonight.

The kids are in bed, Mr Bucket is in bed too with the start of flu and I'm sitting here looking at the computer with just the Christmas tree decorations for company. It's actually quite nice.

I let the kids decorate the tree this year which was kind of hard for me as I've decorated the family tree since I was a kid (not even my brother or sister got a look-in). It's something I like to do as I like to get all the baubles and little treasures in just the right place (I know, control freak again).

It was hard for me not to interfere and move some of the baubles into better positions but I stopped myself and let them get on with it. The only thing I was really worried about is that a lot of the decorations are really old and from when I was a child (yes, really old!!!) and they might have broke them, accidentally of course.

But they didn't and they were really proud of themselves and the job they did.

And so am I.

Some of the blogs I follow have been showing Christmas songs that they love (yes Anne, I love Michael Buble too) so I thought I'd share one of my favourites.

I love this man's singing and this song always gives me that warm, fuzzy Christmassy feeling. Sam xx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

School fete...

Yesterday I went to a brilliant school Christmas Fete. Our local Infant and Junior school are on the same site but split in two so the school held the fete in both the school halls - infant hall for infant children and junior hall having older children's items.

Usually I spend way too much on tat that someone else has thrown given away to add to the ever-growing number of toys that my children will never play with more than once.

But this time they had some really good stalls at the fete, some of the parents were showing off some of their skills - card making, jewellery, sewing, honey. And yes, I did contribute some cakes to the cake stall. I didn't see them so I'm hoping that they were eaten very quickly because they did look really good (even if I do say so myself and Miss Bucket told me they were really tasty).

The plain ones are for Bucket jnr who doesn't like icing - finicky little so and so

The kids bought some great items, lovely books and there were even some magnets that featured Moshi Monsters (Miss Bucket's new obsession). I even bought something for me, a lovely tape measure made from felt which I'm going to treasure.

Only had one sticky moment when Bucket jnr saw a little dinosaur jumping toy. We were just sorting out the money when another lady reached across and picked it up - I wasn't having that....
"Excuse me.....".

Apparently she had gone away and came back to get it but, in my eyes, she'd had her chance and it was now ours and I wasn't going to let her take it away from Bucket jnr who had his heart set on it.

It wasn't handbags at dawn, more like I've got a shopping bag and I'm not afraid to use it.

We got it.

Everything went smoothly and then Mr Bucket was persuaded to buy me some mulled wine (well, it is nearly Christmas you know) - it was VERY strong but tasted lovely and it went down really well. I paid for it though, I don't generally drink too much and even that small glass gave me a fuzzy head.

I'm trying to think if I became louder after drinking it and did I become one of those annoyingly loud parents that you can hear across the playground (well, louder than normal anyway). Hopefully not, Mr Bucket didn't say anything and he's usually the first to let me know.  Sam xx

Thursday, 1 December 2011

One of those days...

Do you ever have those days when everything seems to go wrong.

I don't have them too often but every now and then they creep up on me and bite me on the bottom. Not a big bite all of the time, sometimes it's just little things that happen just to annoy you.

Today seems to be one of those days:-

I have a serious case of 'dropsy', everything I handle amazingly ends up on the floor;
I walk into doors, even automatic ones at shops;
I spill things;
I lose things (hopefully will turn up somewhere strange in a few days time);

And today, the biggie for me - my washing machine was full of water and even though I shouldn't be able to open the door (it has a lock which is meant to stop this), I CAN. I have no idea where this water has appeared from as I have been quite slow with my washing for the past couple of days. It is just there.

The day has yet to end so I know that something else is waiting for me.

I'm having chilli for tea.....WHY????? Why did I cook chilli today???!!!

Does anyone have a big bib that I can borrow. Sam xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Why is it....?

....No matter how sick your children are - they could be laid low; coughing non-stop; green stuff really flowing - as soon as you step one foot inside your doctor's office they are the healthiest looking and most active children in the world.

I felt a complete fraud today.

Then we got home again and guess what.... yep, coughing and spluttering suddenly appears again. 


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Must watch...

Saw a brilliant tv programme last night - it had really scary bits that had me biting my nails; sitting on the edge of my seat and covering my eyes in some places. But I just couldn't look away.

No, it wasn't a Law and Order or CSI or some gripping BBC detective drama, it was Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads on Channel 5. They were driving in the Himalayas and I can tell you they were right on the edge of some scary roads. I've missed a couple of episodes but, I tell you, I won't miss anymore.

Source Google Images

I think the reason that it was scary for me is that it brought back memories of a family trip we went on in 2006. Me, Mr Bucket and Miss Bucket went on a 'once in a lifetime trip' to New Zealand - absolutely stunning place and thoroughly recommend it to everyone.

Part of our trip was in the North Island where we hired a campervan (motorhome) and travelled around. This would have been really good except for the fact that we couldn't have Miss Bucket's car seat in the back, she would have to be sitting in the front (she was three at the time). So I sat in the back. So far, so good.

Unfortunately, the North Island has a lot of steep hills and some of them had very BIG drops at the side of the road. When you are sitting in a vehicle like this and it goes round corners, the back end looks like it swings out and at times, to me, it seemed like Mr Bucket had underestimated things and I was hanging over the precipice.

Whenever I saw that a hill was due up I closed my eyes, clasped my hands and prayed that I wouldn't be sick. As I said, SCARY!!!  Except for this, I loved the place.

But anyway, try to catch the programme as it's really good. Next time they are on even SCARIER roads, I'd better have a cushion ready to hide behind. Sam xx

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Day off

No, I haven't gone anywhere today. Today is officially my day off and I'm trying to think calm, lovely thoughts to clear my head.

Like most mums, every day of the week is taken up with doing something i.e. washing, cooking, tidying up, sorting out bills, ferrying to school, organising, breaking up fights, dealing with problems etc.

Some of the time we even manage to do some crafting or baking (if we can squeeze a few extra minutes out of the day).

So I declared that I would have Thursday as my day when I can just read the paper or watch a really crappy film, just because I want to.

Although, to be exact, it is only Thursday morning that I get as Bucket jnr does half days at Nursery but beggars can't be choosers. And it's enough time to get into that rested place that so often eludes me. Sam xx

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Why is it....?

Why is it that you can be a thoughtful, good, reliable and safe driver until that certain moment when you offer someone, out of the goodness of your heart, a lift.

Then all manner of crazies happen - near misses; mad drivers; cars jumping out on you; learner drivers going 10 miles per hour ALL the time; lorries scaring the life out of you by driving really close.

Luckily it was only one of the above and nothing was dented (still got good reflexes) but my passenger must have thought I'd only just passed my test yesterday instead of driving for nearly 20 years.

And I'm sure that she'll probably NEVER accept a lift from me again. Sam xx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Christmas kids message

Cass at The Diary of a Frugal Family has given a post about sending letters to Santa via Royal Mail and asked what anyone else does.  So I let her know how I bring the magic to my kids. Then I thought I would share it on here in case anyone would like to give it a go.

For the past couple of years I have used Portable North Pole.

All you have to do is enter a few details about what your child would like for Christmas, favourite things etc and you will then have a video email from a very authentic looking Santa.

The look on the kids faces is magical, I can't tell you how much they love this. He talks to them personally and 'seems' to know all about them and what they would like.

You can't enter the details online just yet as the site only comes on fully nearer Christmas time but I can tell you that it is absolutely wonderful and all past times it has been free. Obviously I can't comment for this year but I will definitely be checking again. Sam xx

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Mince Pies

Before I start this post I just want to say a big SORRY if I'm boring anyone about my obsession with Christmas. I can't help it - it's a sparkly, tinsly (is that spelled right?) and cinnamon smelling addiction .... I LOVE CHRISTMAS.

There, it's out and I feel much better but unfortunately it won't go away until the big day gets here. So once again, I'm sorry.

Now lets get on.

I've started making mince pies, although I don't know why I bother so early as they never last for Christmas. I made quite a few yesterday, as you can see:

And now they're gone!

So I'm making some more. It's not too complicated (it can't be, for me) and doesn't take too long -thank goodness. The only hard part is keeping everyone away to give the pies enough time to cool down.

I'm sure most people have their own way of making them but I wanted to add my tuppence as well.

Mince Pies

You'll need:

8oz plain flour
4 oz butter (softened)
2oz caster sugar
pinch salt
1-2 tablespoons water
Jar of Mincemeat (I cheat)

Heat your oven to Gas Mark 8 / 230C / 450F.

Grease a bun tray. I use a shallow tray to make smaller pies so if your tray is more muffin size, you might want to double the recipe.

Put the plain flour, butter, caster sugar and salt into a bowl and, using your fingertips, rub everything together to mix the butter with the dry ingredients. It should after a few minutes look like soft breadcrumbs.

Add your water a tablespoon at a time and mix together. This will bind it but you don't want it too wet as the butter in the mixture will make it greasier the more you handle it.

Divide your mixture in two and roll out the first half quite thinly. Cut into larger rounds using a cookie cutter. If you don't have one then a cup or round lid would do.

Place the rounds into your baking tin and gently press down. Fill with a teaspoon of mincemeat. Try not to overfill as will leak out when cooking.

Lightly wet the edges of the pastry. You don't need a pastry brush, dipping your finger into water will be fine.

Roll out the second half of pastry and cut into smaller rounds for the lids. Place onto the larger halves and press gently down.

Using a sharp knife put a small hole in the top of each of your pies to let the steam escape when cooking.

Put the pies into the top half of your oven and cook for 20 minutes. I have a look at 15 minutes and because my oven can be a bit temperamental, I then turn the tray around and continue cooking for the last 5 minutes so the mince pies are evenly lightly golden.

When they have cooked leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before putting onto a wire rack or plate.

I like to dust them with icing sugar but you could also use any other sugar on top or eat them plain - I have.

I apologise to anyone reading this who thinks that this is just a little bit basic but I do not assume that everyone makes cakes/mince pies etc. And if you don't want to do it, then you don't have to do it.

But to anyone who decides to make these I can tell you that they taste great and won't last long.  
Sam xx

Friday, 18 November 2011

And a little sewing

Finally decided to get myself over my sewing hump and I started with some Christmas bunting to go across my fireplace. Nothing too fancy but hopefully this will get me sewing again, making the time to make things.

Thoroughly enjoyed putting this together and an hour passed really quickly whilst hunched over the sewing machine.

I'd forgotten how much I love to make things and even though the N wasn't quite as perfect as I would have liked, I LOVE IT!

I've also been making some Christmas teacher gifts.

Snowflake a bit wonky - oh well, might keep that one

I like the teachers at my kids schools but whatever happened to one teacher per class? Or am I having a 'not like that in my day' moment????  Sam x

Monday, 14 November 2011

A little crochet

A little while back I thought I'd give crocheting a go and I quite enjoy it (when I get the time to sit still without someone screaming for my help).

I searched the internet for a pattern and came across one (from Pip at Meet me at Mikes) showing how to do crochet squares.

"I'll make a blanket" I said, probably like so many others have done before me.

So I started my squares and slowly got used to making them. I've made a few now but it has been pointed out to me that they are rather small, and they are but there's not much I can really do about it now. So I just keep crocheting and hopefully I will finally make enough to give me a blanket.

Although I'm not too sure how long this is going to take me. Sam x

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Well done

Bucket jnr was an absolute star today.

Just mooching around a well known supermarket when it announced over the tannoy that they were going to do a 2 minute silence for Remembrance Sunday.

You could almost taste the fear from all the parents who had thoughtfully brought with them their little'uns (including me).

So the moment came closer, we were at the tills and typically, for me, I mis-heard the message and thought that the appointed hour had arrived and stood there quietly. So did Bucket jnr.

Unfortunately all they had done was announce that the moment was NEARLY here. And all of a sudden "It's 11 o'clock, please could we have a 2 minute silence".

OH NO!!! Bucket jnr had already tried his best to be quiet already - a look of  panic was on my face. So I waited for the dreaded moment when he would shout say something inappropriate.

But he didn't! He stood there really quietly and just kept grinning and giving me the thumbs-up sign.

A very proud mummy today!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Made some cakes

I made some cakes for us. I like to make cupcakes for the kids and also try to make some for the school fetes but whenever I've made them they always look too small. I use the cupcake cases but when they are lined up with other cakes on the stall they seem absolutely TINY! So this time I used muffin cases and they actually came out quite big (although I'll need to double up on the recipe next time to get a decent amount of cakes).

I started to ice the cakes but I'd run out of piping bags. So I tried the trick most cookbooks/cooking sites say - use a plastic bag. So I did......and the icing exploded out of the sides by the tip.

After a few tries I gave up and just plopped the icing onto the cakes, smoothed it with a knife and covered them in sprinkles. Gotta love the sprinkles.

Didn't turn out too bad afterall and they tasted rather nice too. Sam x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Slow day

Today I've got a migraine coming, it's not fully arrived yet but I know it's coming. So I've my cup of sweet tea at the ready, craft magazines set up close by and I'm going to take it a little easy.

Nevermind, it will give me a chance to figure out what I'm going to sew next. I've been itching to sew something - it's almost like I have a little sewing fairy sitting on my shoulder, tapping non-stop, saying "sew, sew, sew".

I like to sew toys for the kids - they are a really appreciative audience. I've found a couple of good etsy shops that have some great toy patterns.

I've also seen a sew-along with Andrea at The Train To Crazy on her 7th November post and the messenger bag looks really sweet so I'm considering that.

Anna at Noodlehead is doing a really lovely skirt tutorial. She's only on day 2 so I wouldn't have missed much.

And, I hate to say it, Christmas is nearly here so I've been thinking about making some Christmas decorations. Maybe a nice bunting of some kind.....

So much to think about with a sore head, oh well. Sam x

Monday, 7 November 2011

A big bowl of nostalgia

Feeling a bit nostalgic again, don't know why....maybe it's the early nights closing in or the colder weather making me want to snuggle into all things comfortable, including things from the past. Right, where's my cardigan and slippers.

So Sunday I decided to make something that I remember my mum making, although I didn't realise that it took so long to cook - 2 hours. It had better be good!!!

I took the recipe from my Tana Ramsey's Family Kitchen book. It's one of those cookbooks that I could sit and just look at (also like Hairy Bikers).

I was almost tempted just to drink the evaporated milk - I used to love this poured over tinned fruit. And the nutmeg that I need to grate over it gives off gorgeous Christmassy smells.

And it was... Rice Pudding.

My mum used to make hers with sultanas but I've been told by Mr Bucket 'no'. He's a bit of a puritan when it comes to food, I think, and hates to meddle with traditional recipes too much. Maybe I'll make a big bowl of it (with sultanas) for myself next time although, if I eat the WHOLE bowl, I won't be able to eat anything else for the rest of the day.

And here it is...

And the verdict? Welllllll, not great actually.

The first problem was probably my fault as I tried to be a bit frugal and used some pudding rice that was a long way beyond its best before date. But I thought that as it's rice, it would keep fairly well. Obviously not.

I cooked the pudding for the 2 (long) hours and when I went to check there was still loads of liquid sloshing around. Not to be put off, I drained some off and put it back into the oven for a further hour.

The second problem was that it was brown, well a caramel colour actually, due to the nutmeg. Now I didn't mind this too much but unfortunately the kids weren't that impressed and even though Miss Bucket tried some, she still wouldn't budge. I think they have been influenced by the creamy whiteness of Ambrosia creamed rice pots.

So there you are, after all my joking earlier in the post about eating the whole bowl - I may just have to do that. Sam x

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Blog giveaway

Sorry, it's not me giving something away as I haven't made anything for you yet.

But Jooles at Sew Sweet Violet is giving you the chance to give a home to one of two very sweet robins.  

All you have to do, to be in with a chance to win, is leave a comment on her blog. The winners names will be drawn on Friday 11th November.

Also, her blog seems lovely so you can sit with a cuppa and have a read which is what I'm going to do in a moment. Sam x

Firework night

Had a really good time last night but, once again, got a soaking wet bottom. I just don't know how I manage that every time!

We went to the local school; it was dark and a little drizzly so we dressed accordingly - coats, hats and wellies (I had a lot of moaning from Miss Bucket as I think she's finally getting into her fashion conscious phase).

The bonfire was lovely and warm as the rain dripped down our backs and then the fireworks started - they were BRILLIANT! Loads of colours, bangs, showers - the rain temporarily forgotten.

We were prepared by bringing ear defenders for Bucket jnr but there were a few unhappy campers when some of the larger fireworks went off. Then all too soon it was over and everyone quickly deserted the place to get back to their homes.

All in all a really good evening, if you could ignore the torrential rain. I apologise for no pictures but I think a good decision not to take the camera as it would have gotten waterlogged. Sam x

Thursday, 3 November 2011


I love nature; I love the changing seasons; I love the warm woolly clothes that you get to wear when the weather changes and I love nature's animals (well most of them).  At this time of year, as the weather gets colder, the animals are looking for somewhere to bed down to survive the winter.

But WHY do they all seem to want to do this in MY house?????

Picture the scene, pt 1

I wake up and, still very sleepy, open the door to get the milk and......a huge, hairy spider makes a run at my feet to get inside AAARRRRGGGHHH! 

Picture the scene, pt 2

I wake up and, still very sleepy, go to walk down the stairs and......a loud buzzing hits my ears followed by a divebombing wasp AAARRRRGGGHHH! I'd only opened  the windows for 2 seconds earlier in the day for a bit of fresh air.

Picture the scene, pt 3

I wake up and, still very sleepy, go into my kitchen barefooted. As I'm pottering around my toes suddenly touch something soft and slimy and when I look down there is a slug sitting there AAARRRRGGGHHH! I don't know where they are coming from but I wish they would stop.

And, I seem to have gained a slug phobia as I'm reaching my 40's. As my husband puts it 'you scream like a little girl'. Well ha-ha to you, they can be quite frightening when you're not expecting to touch them with bare flesh - EEEUURGH!

Once again, I love nature but it definitely belongs outside and not when I've only just woke up.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A little bucket love

Son, if you want to tell me approximately 20 times a day 'I love you mummy', then you go right ahead.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Days gone by

I heard a song on the radio and sang along to it, remembering it from when I was younger. Then it hit me - the song was nearly 30 years old!!!! The funny thing is, it sounds better now than it did then for me.

And the song was..... Karma Chameleon by Culture Club

Brilliant song and after the initial shock, I continued to sing along to it merrily.

Then I started to think about other things I remembered from my 'youth':

Silver Jubilee 1977 (yes, I'm the one in the hat eating)

Wagon Wheels

Remember these? Wagon Wheels were absolutely HUGE but like most things have shrunk with age.

And not forgetting...

the haircuts (luckily not too many pictures),
brown clothes (70's) / fluorescent and power dressing (80's) / goth and
Doc Martens (90's)
raleigh chopper (I had a red one, inherited from my brother),
roller boots (rainbow ones),
leg warmers...

Lots of good memories.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Things I've made - money cuff

I like sewing; I like reading blogs with sewing tutorials in them; I like to bake...... but I can't make things up from scratch. So I'm sorry but there will be NO TUTORIALS on here.

What I will be doing is making things, using other peoples recipes and tutorials and seeing how they turn out.

I'm not the best at sewing or baking or making things but I'll give it my best and even if it turns out really bad or weird (yes I mean you Christmas Bird) I'll still show you. Because I know that I'm probably not the only person who makes mistakes with projects.

What I have learned through all the blogs I've read is that, with crafts (any crafts), you have to let go that feeling of having it perfect - CRAFTS ARE NOT ALWAYS PERFECT - it is the mistakes/changes that make it unique for you. So if you're a control freak, this could be kinda hard - you have been warned!!!

One of my favourite tutorials is from Christie at a Lemon Squeezy Home  - A Money Cuff

I've made a couple of these for Miss Bucket so that she doesn't lose her money on school trips or drop her purse at the disco and they have proved brilliant. All you do is wrap it around the wrist and secure it using the velcro.

This is the second cuff I've made for her.  She wasn't around to measure it so it was a bit wide and a bit long but I doubled the velcro closure and she loves it just the same. You can see the double cross stitching to the right of the picture below.

The only change I really made to the cuff was to sew a purse section as we found the small change would roll around into the corners and she would still have to search for it.

These cuffs do not take very long to make and if you are handy with zips there is another design that you can do but I recommend trying the velcro one first. I would agree with Christie that you really need to make sure all fabric pieces are the same size; I found, for me, that this is easiest right at the start - when you have cut your pieces put them all together and check, check and check again.

Thank you Christie for a brilliant tutorial.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A fun family day out

Yesterday we decided to go somewhere fun for a day out during the half term holidays. We tried to keep money low but knew that wherever we went it would cost us a lot.  Can you guess what we did?

 How about now?

Or do these help...

Yep, we went to Chessington World of Adventures and had a brilliant day out. We arrived quite early but still not early enough to be first (what time do these people get there to be first??).

Luckily we had taken most of our cold/wet weather clothes just in case and guess what, it was cold and wet. Of course, good old England - nevermind, we were prepared and we had a great time.

The park had enough different rides to keep a 4 and 8 year old happy and although some of the queues were a bit long, they kept moving enough so noone was bored. The only gripe that I have is that I spent most of the day with a wet bottom from the constant rain but that couldn't be helped.

Spot the mad woman who is cold, wet but happy!!!

We were there until about 6pm when the skies had gotten darker and with the smoke from the Vampire ride and the coloured lights and halloween decorations, it looked quite spooky but cool.

I must say that at times I felt a little old as most of the staff all looked still in their teens/early twenties but every one of them that we spoke to were polite, friendly and asked how our day was going - even seeming interested in our answer. I have nothing but praise for them all.

All in all a great day out but I was soooooo glad when we got home, could change out of the wet clothes and put on something ugly and comfy and veg out in front of Midsummer Murders. Sam xx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Random thought...

 Why is it that I'm always wearing black clothes when dusting (speaks for itself) or sewing things (the loose threads get EVERYWHERE)???!!!!

Monday, 24 October 2011

Days out

It's the start of the half term holidays and after checking the money situation we decided to take the kids to the cinema. We went to see Tin Tin and can I just say that it was absolutely BRILLIANT!! Even Mr Bucket didn't moan about it when we came out afterwards - a miracle some would say.

The film had enough of a storyline, explosions, action and adventure to keep everyone interested. The popcorn was hot and there were enough deals so we didn't feel like we had been totally robbed. There were only a couple of negatives; there was a flashing ceiling light in front of the screen that kept going off at odd moments and just when you wanted to tell someone it suddenly stopped. And the other problem was the adverts - 20 minutes of them. I know that everyone must make some money somewhere, but 20 MINUTES??? Bucket jnr was asking if the film had finished before it had even begun.

Afterwards a trip to McDonalds was 'requested' and they were doing the Tin Tin toys with the Happy Meals which the kids thought was great. Although everyone agreed that the restaurant was noisier than the film.

A nice day out but glad to get back home to my cup of tea and the sound of my kids annoying each other again.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A new day

I would like to welcome anyone who accidentally finds my blog, I've thought about doing one for a while and although it's still in construction at the moment ..... WELCOME!!!

Just to recap I'm a married mum of two, my daughter is 8 and is known as Nelson on her worst days (yes as in the Simpson's character - it's a difficult age) and my youngest has just turned 4. For want of a name let's just call him happy (he is this and more plus really cute).  My husband works very hard so that I can stay at home and look after the kids, the house and anything else that crops up.

I try my hand at most things; I love some crafts but not all; I bake and love the cake mixture - this does not normally get shared that much and I love, love, love to read. I'm going through a teenage angst/vampire/otherworldly thing at the moment - must be reliving my teenage years. I will clean but sometimes the dust gets the best of me and I hate ironing (that pile never gets any lower).

Today is Sunday and for once I have NOTHING planned - I might just stay in my pyjamas ALLLLLL day..... euwwww.... or maybe not.

The blog might change a little bit until I'm happier with it so if you're coming along for the ride hang in there, it will get sorted soon. Sam x