Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A day off

always means a lot. I have not been feeling great for the last couple of weeks and am looking forward to some solitude.

Having said that, solitude and being busy can go hand in hand. There are ebay parcels to send out, a puppy to go to the vet. (Fingers crossed we do not have a repeat performance of the last visit, what a horror!), a waitress uniform to be sorted out for Han who starts work this weekend and then there are the chores and planning for that ominous lurking cloud that is Christmas.

I plan to get my modest gifts for my incredibly fortunate immediate family (they have SO MUCH) on line, with cashback. Mother in law will be here at New Year and I will take her shopping. This is a far more challenging activity than it sounds. Nancy WILL NOT try anything on. We end up tussling over garments. I tend to win, but the fight is fantastic fun, so is she.

Christmas cards for loved ones overseas have to be sent off soon. My family is so far away and we do not do gifts. Only cards.

At work everyone gives everyone else a card. Last year I did not reciprocate beyond the confines of my team. I see them daily. We work hard, have lots of laughs, the occasional tear, and the even more rare moan (LOL).

So lots to do on my day the peace and quiet of an empty house.


Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Giving up for now

After 9 attempts, from scratch, I give up. Time spent on Ravelry revealed some other ideas that are less ambitious. Ho hum. Time to rest my lovely new needles - for now. Chill time and a very big fat book by Ken Follet to start on for Book Club. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

No Knitter

It was frogged last night and again tonight. Seven times now. Not sure why, but once more I cast on and will have a go. If it is just not going to work there is always good old RAVELRY to fall back on. And in the frustrating times, the last wonderful rows of Han's blanket.....


Sunday, 25 November 2012

Home again, home again

I left home for Harrogate a crochet fanatic and have come back with one ball of wool and a pair of knitting needles!!!! At this point (no pun intended) crochet is my first love, but it was imperative that I crochet a scarf in the stitch that CB taught me. It is not going well. The last thing I knitted was when I was expecting Hannah. She will be 18 in January......but having unpicked it no less than 6 times, I cannot go back on the plan.

Anyway, we spent two days in away. Harrogate is a genteel town. Very pretty and home of Betty's where we had breakfast on Friday morning. (Luckily I had done a big rowing workout before hand....)

I enjoyed the show more for the exhibitions and displays than the shopping. There was a slight feeling of having seen it all before when it came to the items for sale.

But here are some of my favs.

Bones and juju dolls for the Queen from Alice in Wonderland

An adorable rhino with beaded ears and chin

and a lovely little mouse from Beatrix Potters The Tailor of Gloucestor.....

There was a distinct lack of crochet, it was odd. But it was lovely to be away. To be in a comfy bed, to walk around and look at the town and yesterday morning I took a long icy walk around the park in front of our hotel just to have some me time and to relish the sunshine, the frost, the happy dogs and rugged up runners.

I am home now, to a tiny bit of chaos, but it is home. It is lovely to have a day off - to get some things done.

Hope you are all enjoying your Sunday.


Thursday, 22 November 2012


Off to Harrogate today to see the show with CB. It is a real treat. Two days away, but I do not want to leave puppy.  The kids are pulling out their hair over her and Big J is away until late tonight.

What is the chance that the minute I am off the scene - they all get along swimmingly.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

New mothers

It is always more scary with baby number one. Will I be ok? Will THEY be ok? Will I be a good mum? Will I know what they want? It takes a while for mum and baby to bond, to find their stride so to of the WORST things is the 'baby expert' who tells you all about how to do it the 'right' way (their way). Old wives tales, horrific methods of control, discipline and rules. (Sounds like how I was raised ---LOL)!

Let me tell you folks, it is the same with puppies. We brought our bundle home thrilled to have her and in the last 10 days I have been beside myself on more than one occasion. She is very young and bouncy and jumpy and mouthy. She is also happy to nip and sometimes growl. I have had people tell me all about their methods, their great dogs, as well as dogs they knew who were not up to scratch because they were not looked after or raised properly.

And there is more and it is even worse. Those who come to the house, pick her up and shake her and poke at her and get her so excited that she wants to bite. Then to be told when I try to calm her down and give her a breathing space in the kithen that she is still a baby and only playing.

All I want for this little dog is for her to have a good, happy life with a family who loves her. I asked a local expert for advice and came off the phone feeling worse. She said she was 'probably one of those puppy farm dogs' and that I should have gone to see the mother. Well we did, twice, and we saw granny and siblings and other dogs in family. She then told me that if she was reared for ratting then she might not make a good family pet. WATCH THIS SPACE!

She is very jumpy and needy, but she is almost toilet trained, can go to bed when asked....comes to her name and is perfectly happy to be interrupted while eating - she never growls then. And she is still only a baby and she needs lots of love.

So as a new puppy mum I am feeling bewildered while wanting to get it right. But I have to say this, nothing is nicer than a happy puppy face greeting me first thing in the morning.
Here she is in Bosley's bed this morning, with Bosley's mouse.......

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Other blogs

are sometimes the best thing to read if you are feeling a bit low!

Love the blogs I follow. They inspire, they make me think and they very often make me laugh.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

DofE Crochet

Em and her friend are doing crochet for the skills component of the DofE Bronze Award....they are here now in the conservatory practising chain stitch. Both are lefties so they are struggling with which way to hold the hook. All of this work has to be documented, photographed and the end result presented for assessment. Sounds like more biscuits are being eaten than crochet done...but boy is it nice to be on call to answer questions.......and help.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

So over it?

Shoot me for saying this, but our little four legged friend is SUCH a handful. She is willful, funny, very cuddly, naughty, inquisitive, active and really sweet. But nothing gets done. She has taken over the kitchen. It is strewn with toys - including such exciting ones as an empty kitchen roll holder! She is so fiesty and we are very aware that the biting has to stop. Tonight I really thought (after four nights being 'around' all the time) that maybe this was not such a brilliant idea....She was wriggling and biting and snarling and just being horrid in her own little puppy way. We are all clued up on the training and sometimes she responds and sometimes she doesn't......she is not even 8 weeks old, so she is doing fine! But it is a bit like the terrible twos. All noise and palava for very little reason.......
The loo training is going well though. She gets the potty thing most of the time and loves going out onto the patio to sniff around.
Tomorrow we see the vet and she will have her first needles. It is a chance to book her onto training classes and get some info.
I love her to bits, but it takes me back to baby days when baby needed something NOW and then got all whiney when they were tired and wanted a cuddle before going to bed.
She is on my lap now, where she loves to be at the end of a good tussle.
I am ready for bed too! x
I miss my crochet time at night....

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lest we forget

Big J and I went to the Rememberance Day ceremony this morning - our 7th in England. I love it that people take the time to remember. In Japan, the war is a dark history and kids are not taught about it in school. Whatever one thinks about the country and its past, it strikes me as incredibly sad that there is no day to remember those who died. In fact the remembering of the war dead is in some quarters, considered shameful and provocative, but it remains a truth that people everywhere lost loved ones.

Friends popped in the afternoon, not to see us really, to see the puppy, and she put on a good show....

At one point I actually started unpicking the edge of a knitted bag which has become frayed, that belongs to a friend. The idea is to crochet a new edge and a strap. About 5 stitches got done. It is just full on here.

For the first time in a while we were all home to eat together. This I love.


Saturday, 10 November 2012

Peckish pooch

Here she is - momentarily distracted by a bowl of warm puppy food. Boy have we been on our toes today. She loved Hannah's old slippers SO much that H donated one to the Juno toy box. It has been thrashed around, growled at, chewed and slept on.

Bosley did NOT like the intrusion, but very grandly held his ground, snarled and spat and now little miss is less enthused about running at him. I am sure this is just the first of many skirmishes, but she seems to recognise that the mewling noise he makes is not friendly.

For such a little thing she make a huge amount of noise. A cross between a loud porcine squeal with some grunts thrown in and high pitched howl. This happens when she is put in the cage for her nap, the first time it was so bad I rushed to the internet to get some pup of ours before has ever sounded so terrible. Fortunately as she went back in after her various play sessions - she tires easily, she is only 7 weeks old - the length of squealing time shortened. She is now on her hot water bottle, fast asleep and soon John and I will be leaving her in the capable hands of the girls while we go off partying.....

She has made it to the puppy toilet once so far, and got loads of praise for that so she is doing well.

Sleepless - and GIVEAWAY DAY

Up in the dark this morning because sleep was impossible. Not sure why, and no, it is not because we are going to collect JUNO a bit later on.

It is giveaway day and there is only one comment - so the skein of wool goes to the lovely J at crunchnrustle.  In the post on Monday J. xxx

Tonight we party at a friend's 50th and will leave the girls to puppy sit. Much preparation has been done, the cage is set up in the kitchen, old towels have been found, some chewy toys and for now, one fluffy one to snuggle up to. She has two new bowls as well as a blanket to cover her with.

I had plans to use my MAC make-over voucher (Christmas pressie last year and soon to expire) before the party today, to get lovely, but have decided to postpone the appointment so that I can spend time with the newest family member and help her settle in and to be honest - just enjoy the cuddles and playtime. Babies before beauty!

Pics to follow, not of the beauty - just the baby....... x


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Touching base

Life seems a bit mad at present so Wednesday mornings are such a treat. The boys are erecting our new shed in the garden today. It is icy cold, but sunny. The old shed came down earlier this week and has opened out a great space in the garden. I love it. No plans for what to plant yet - Big J and I have to do our walking around and talking about it thing! Maybe veg? Maybe plants?

I have caught up with the news from other bloggers and so enjoy doing it. Especially when they add in links for what inspires them or where they have been. It does mean a lot longer in front of the computer though.....

I am trying really hard to be careful with our food and the use of it to avoid waste and to save money. I had to do a run to Aldi this morning for eggs and milk, but that is not bad. There is enough meat/veg and other staples to get us into next week so when I top-up shop this weekend, we won't need so much.

I am an avid fan of Moneysavingexpert and have been for years, long before we moved to England. I read the emails weekly and have had some brilliant advice. Big J and I are overpaying our mortgage as fast as we can - and I am saving hard.  The kids laugh at me and occasionally think I am 'weird' but when things go well on ebay and my cashback sites payout, they are pretty impressed. They are now well used to the fact that most of my clothes and shoes are from the OP-SHOP!! I so want to instill in them the habit of reflecting before they reach for their wallets. Do I NEED it? Will I USE it? and CAN I AFFORD IT? I also tell them to save at least 10% of everything they earn or are lucky enough to receive as gifts. 20% would be better - they still get to spend 80%!

Even little Juno will be a frugal puppy! Her first puppy training pads were left overs from a local litter - I got tons of them for £10.00. This afternoon I am going to collect her cage, again used by a local pup who at six months has graduated from it. It will need to be disinfected, but it is perfectly sensible to re-use a nearly new cage.

I think while I am working and am fit and well I owe it to myself, my kids, husband and society at large to put away money that will keep me in old age, so that someone else does not have to!!!

Okay you lovely people, I am off to town - on foot - to do some errands.

Thanks for popping in.



Monday, 5 November 2012

This is not a blog about a dog

But she is a sweetie. I am over the moon and can't wait until she moves in with us.
Off now to do some crochet -

Sunday, 4 November 2012

And her name is.......

meaning -protector of women and marriages -
but we like it because it is a lovely name for our little girl.

Bulk cooking and a bit of baking

This weekend we went to visit our little girl, who was out of the kennel, with all her siblings, tumbling around. She is a lot bigger than some of her litter - rather chunky in fact. Han met her for the first time and it was love at first sight!  She is on solids now twice a day and has less time on her mother. Mum, Millie is being rested for longer each day. Having 7 pups has tired her out.

We start the task of naming her when all of us get together later on. I have some favourites.

Bindi - Aboriginal for ' little girl' and because she looks like she has a bindi on her forehead.
Dorrit (from Little Dorrit)

Mmmmm the others have ideas and it will go to a vote.

We also did a mammoth shop - after planning the menu - and I had a huge cooking session when we got in. I have made a meat base for a number of meals. One being  Bolognaise sauce, another mince with butternut pumpkin bake, and one more for chilli.

I bought 2 kg of chicken breast and cut the big ones in two, wrapped them all in batches of two and wrapped the 10 chicken thighs we bought in batches of two as well. For some meals I think we use too much meat in proportion to veg/rise/pasta - especially stir fries and other light meals. This way the chicken has been stretched out to almost double.

It was a solid couple of hours in the kitchen after dinner, but when it was all done, the surfaces, hob and sink wiped down, it felt GOOD.

Tonight is roast chicken and veg. Leftovers for lunch. Roast veg with a sprinkle of goats cheese and black pepper is delicious and it warms up well in the microwave at work.

We went to the Japanese school near Guildford today to drop off the girls and a Japanese friend of Hannah's that she met at college, for the annual Open Day. The girls usually call us to collect them some time after lunch and in the meantime, Big J and go to Guildford to potter. We got less pottering done this time as they called early, a bit disappointed about the turnout. (The weather was foul.)  We came home - and they are watching a particularly gory Japanese film on the laptop in the kitchen, while I write this. I did make us all a lemon and poppy seed cake for afternoon tea.....yum!

Tonight I crochet. It is so near the end now. I want Hannah's blanket done and on her bed so that I can start something new.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Feel good factor

Morale is low at work of late. Lots of criticism, tidings of woe, threat of fines and for some poor souls what seems a bit like bullying.....So sad, as we have such a great job. I love it when the patients ask for me because 'she knows all about me'.  I love knowing that in a very small way we can help smooth their journey through their treatment by keeping them up to date, responding quickly, getting questions answered and even booking cars to bring them in.

By mid afternoon today I had hit a slump. Really quite a low. The plan was to go to the gym after work but it seemed wiser to stay on a bit later and plod through some of the work.

Big J phoned me and heard it in my voice and suggested we go and see SKYFALL tonight. And my lovely, lovely gym buddy and friend Gill encouraged me to go to the gym first.

So we did. Third time this week. We did a hard warm up then some weights and I managed to get on the rowing machine - I do love it - and give it a bit of welly. The difference it makes, just working ones body, not ones mind is phenomenal. I felt quite lively when I left.

Big J is mid cooking and has selected a very nice giner pork stir fry meal and I am having a little vodka and tonic apperitif. And I am feeling good.

I love this version of the song. Check it out. x