I’m Dreaming Of a White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones I used to know.

Where tree tops glistened and children listened to hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I love snow. It rarely snows at Christmas time yet it’s something we associate with the holiday. Cards and decorations depict pictures of snow and snowmen. I just think it would be lovely to have a truly white Christmas where we can stay warm and cosy in our new home admiring the glistening white through the patio doors. Of course the littlies would want to go out and play.

There would be time for that, we could build a snowman too. Then afterwards we would come in and get dry and warm and snuggle up in front of Christmas movies. I can’t think of a more lovely way to spend Christmas day.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, with every Christmas card I write.
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white.

I love the whole build up to Christmas, writing cards, wrapping presents, decorating the tree, singing carols, every moment is special. Then there is seeing the littlies in their school nativity plays and carol concerts. It’s all so wonderful. On Christmas day itself I like to keep things special by playing carols and lighting candles to remember the loved ones that are no longer with us. If I could I’d bring them back for Christmas day, but that’s not possible so a little time remembering them is the best I can do.

It’s the whole run up to Christmas that makes it special. It’s not the gifts you receive on the day, although there is nothing that compares with your little ones faces as they rip the paper off revealing their favourite toy.
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas, with every Christmas cake I bake,
May your taste buds be treated with delight
And may all your Christmas cakes be white.

One last thing that makes a perfect Christmas is the food. I love Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, sitting down together, pulling crackers, telling the jokes and wearing the paper hats. I also love baking, I make my own Christmas cake at least eight weeks before Christmas and feed it with brandy every week. I make my own mince pies, gingerbread, shortbread, stollen as well as fudge and chocolate truffles which I give as gifts.
Here is a tasty little cake I made today, lovely soft sponge with an Italian style meringue frosting.

Merry Christmas! This post is my entry into the Tots100/Argos 12 Days of Christmas competition.

It’s Party Time!

I love kids parties, I’ve been doing them for years (I’ve two grown-up children as well as the littlies)
I’ve always started well in advance, picking out the theme first, then planning the food, the decorations, the games, every little detail. Here is a My Little Pony Party I had for my daughter’s seventh birthday.
I’m just the same with grown-up parties, everything has to be planned to the finest detail.

Christmas parties are my favourite, we have one every year. It’s great getting friends and family around for some seasonal party fun.

Here are some of my time saving party planning tips:

  • Pick a theme, it doesn’t have to be too specific but it makes it easier to plan your food and decorations around a theme.

  • Find Shortcuts, homemade delicacies are lovely, but why put so much strain on yourself. Don’t try to make everything your self.

  • Find help and delegate, it’s not fair for just one person to be responsible for everything, pass the jobs around, ask family or friends to take on the roll of table laying, or putting up decorations etc.

  • Start gathering items you need well in advance, party plates, table clothes, decorations, spread the cost and shopping stress.

  • If you are having a fancy dress party then try out the Party Planner App from Fancy Dress Ball. It’s an easy to use Facebook app. where you can plan your party, choose your theme and invite your quests. It’s quick and easy and will also help your guests to choose their party outfits. 

I’m loving the fancy dress costumes for Christmas at Fancy Dress Ball, from Elf onsies to Santa outfits, reindeers to snowmen, they have a huge choice, better than I’ve seen anywhere else and all in one place. . Definitely a time saver.

Images source Fancy Dress Ball

Collaborative post with Fancy Dress Ball, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I Miss You

I’ve not written much about my mum on this blog before but I believe the experience of five years ago changed me and made me look at life so differently. I’ve been pondering what to actually write, even considering extracts from the blog I was writing at the time, but to be honest it’s not easy reading and not easy for me to go over it all again.

So please let me share some facts about  my mum.
She was an older mum when she had me, already in her late 30s. When I came along I had two teenage brothers. I wasn’t the last child however, when I was eight she gave me a baby brother.
As a young child I remember her preferred birthday presents were chocolate and hair dye. She always died her hair a really dark brown colour, almost black which is what colour it was before she went grey. I believe my eldest son has inherited her dark thick hair, I know I didn’t!
She was always incredibly close to her mum and became her carer for many years when she got sick.
Both of her husbands died suddenly at early ages.
Mum was very musical, she could play the piano, accordion and sing. I have inherited none of her talents.

On November 30th 2008 mum was taken to hospital very ill. On 11th December she was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the liver and lungs. On Christmas day 2008 she passed away in a hospice. 25 days. Some people have less notice I know, but is it easier knowing that someone is going to die, or having someone die suddenly? I think I can speak from experience, neither is easier, both are so so hard.

As the years have passed the pain has eased slightly. At one point I held on tight to the pain because it felt like pain was all I had left. Time doesn’t heal, it just helps you deal with things better. I still miss my mum every day and always will.

In memory of mum, January 2nd 1931 – December 25th 2008

The German Market

Every year we have a fantastic German Market in our City Centre. Loads of wooden cabins selling lovely gifts and crafts and delicious food. I love the Bratwurst sausages and the crepes, but the very best are the schokokuss, gorgeous chocolate marshmallows in lots of different flavours.

schokokuss – chocolate kisses

I took the girls to the market for a browse. We all had a ride on the wonderful carousel and enjoyed some yummy doughnuts filled with chocolate. We also had a look at the skating rink, we couldn’t skate as it would have been unfair on Star. So we went up to the first balcony on the new library and watched the skaters and the big wheel in action. (One day I will get them to go all the way up to the rooftop, it’s amazing up there!)

I love the German market, it really gets you in the mood for Christmas. Although this was the girl’s first visit this year, I’ve already been twice before! Next time I’m aiming for a nice mug of hot chocolate with a little something naughty added 😉 Although the last time I went on the evening I ended up in the jacuzzi with the floozie as there was really no space left for standing! (for none Brummies this is a large statue in a fountain which we have lovingly nicknamed the floozie in the jacuzzi, and fortunately on that evening they had taken all the water out!)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Star’s Neck – The Next CT Scan

After much pushing I was pleased to hear that the hospital wanted to see Star for another CT scan. Not exactly the result I wanted, but an opportunity to get myself to the consultant and ask a few important questions. My plan was to attend the scan then make my way up to the consultants office and sit outside, all day if necessary, to get my questions answered.
So we arrived first thing this morning and were soon told that the consultant would be joining us for the scan. Whoo hoo, I had my opportunity to speak to him without making a nuisance of myself.
Of course he was very busy so we had to wait nearly an hour past our appointment time before…his assistant, turned up. The scan was detailed with Star having to go in twice in different positions. The second position was really uncomfortable for her and she ended up in tears.The consultants assistant then asked me if I was able to stay and join him up on the ward with the consultant so they could discuss with me what was going to happen next. Of course I wasn’t going to refuse.

It took another two hours but I eventually got my questions answered and a plan of action. Star is going back into hospital on Monday for a manipulation under a general anaesthetic. Now just in case you’ve not been following her story, the simplest way to put it is; the joint at the top of the spine has moved a little due to the top disc of her spine rotating and now Star’s neck is stuck in a ‘cock robin’ position.

excuse the tongue, she’s at that stage where every photo is accompanied by a tongue out or silly face.

Star normally wears a collar, day and night, to keep her neck up. It hasn’t really helped in keeping it straight although that was what it was intended for originally. However, keeping her neck up means she can eat, drink and breathe normally, things she was having problems with before she had the collar. The photo above shows her with the collar off for a short time. An hour or so later and her head would fall further and further towards her shoulder and that’s when the pain and problems occur.

Back to today – the consultant wants to manipulate the joint back to it’s proper position. This means her neck will be straight again and the pain will go away eventually, it’s bound to hurt for a while afterwards. Worst case scenarios are also there but I don’t want to think about them. Currently I’m stressing out about my little girl having a general anaesthetic, it’s not a good experience. 
All along I’ve been hoping we could get away with this but the none-invasive methods haven’t worked so I have to go with whatever will make my little girl well again. 
The consultant also said that she may need a halo collar. This is an over the shoulders collar that hold a ring, or halo, that is attached to the skull so that the neck does not move at all. I’m hoping that it doesn’t come to that, I’ve read all about them and I don’t think Star would be happy at all.
So for now I’m hoping and praying for the best possible outcome, that the manipulation works and my little girl is fixed at last. She could be well and ‘normal’ for Christmas.

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.