Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Roundup

2013 mosaic
The year that Little Bird discovered a love of paddling, started to talk and started to come out of his shell. Allotment lazyness but much work done at home, built a summerhouse, had a new bathroom and a wood burner fitted. A love for history developed and I became a Ricardian and made new friends along the way - now my life is filled with the Medieval. I joined the Clandestine Cake Club and a book group, with an idea to write my own. LB's love for animals increased with a year pass for the zoo and we had many a day trip here and there. I blogged a lot more this year and started to earn some pennies from it and won some fabulous competitions that gave us the treats we wouldn't have had on just one income. A tough year in parts, finding out that we can't rely on certain people but coming together as a small family to help Little Bird and his development as a boy with autism - yeah we got the diagnosis too! See you all next year. xx Happy

Monday, 30 December 2013

Lovely Presents

Christmas Day joy Christmas parcel presents with the dog Cow hopper cuddles bucket of toy animals sequinned presents lit Christmas tree hearts and lip glosses Happy Hopperz Cow
I like looking back each year to see what present we all received, how our interests have changed, our tastes matured and how Little Bird has moved on.

This year he received from Father Christmas:
Lots of toy animals from polar bears to peacocks. Tubs of them. A farm set. 
A big wolf puppet
A Happy Hopperz Cow
Lots of stocking fillers which are mostly fiddle toys
Matching games and puzzles
A gorgeous snow globe
An accordian
Pyjamas and slippers

We got onesies, books, slippers and perfume/aftershave. I received a wonderful Alice in Wonderland book and a Book Map - will show you when it is framed. 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Ludlow at Christmas - Part 2

Christmas wreaths pretty Christmas wreathFollowing on from Part 1, here is the rest of our Ludlow trip, looking around the cobbled streets and the old houses. Florists prettier than those back home with beautiful floral wreaths for the front door. I loved the ivy fruits used in this one.baubles Castle Lodge, a Tudor house where Catherine of Aragon lived with her first husband Prince Arthur (son of Henry IV and Elizabeth of York) who died 6 months after their marriage. The house is renowned for its Tudor panelling and perhaps next time I'll take a look in. Bet there's a couple of ghosts in this spooky place.....
Tudor House Ludlow knight in shining armour baubles in shop windowLots more greenery to buy from cyclamen and bulbs to holly wreaths. 
Christmas plants for sale holly wreaths Down side streets there are snippets of history like The Conduit, a water supply point dating back the the 16th Century. I love looking for these round, blue plaques wherever we go. We then stumbled upon a pop-up bistro where we had some warming 'King Arthur's' mulled wine in a pleasant courtyard with coloured fairy lights. I'm like a moth, drawn to these lights - don't they always make everything look so pretty!?
Ludlow old water supply Bistro pop-up bistro Medieval pop-up bistro mulled wine
I love snapping other people :)
I came home with a willow dragonfly, expertly weaved here in the square.  willow weaving The Buttercross was the town's buttermarket and is now a small gallery shop.
Butter Cross Ludlow florist window 
I saw at least two traditional butcher's shops, very difficult for me being the life long vegetarian but I do support the local small business. Pheasants all strung up - a bird I always feel so sorry for. A man always walked past me with lotsof dead rabbits tied to a pole and I did feel quite queasy. I'm much more at ease with the greengrocers :)Ludlow butchers shop window And so there ends the trip to Ludlow, until next year when I think I'd like to see the castle in the spring and explore more of the surrounding area. That seems a long time off right now, as I'm shivering at home preferring to read my books than go on day trips!coloured lights

Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Lull

Arctic Advent calendar
Santa's Workshop Sign
Christmas Biscuits
We are now in the Christmas/New Year lull. The Advent calendar all opened, presents nearly opened - Little Bird is very steady at this. On Christmas Day it all got a bit too much and he was handing the toys back to me to be re-wrapped. Bless him. So we pushed no more and there are still some under the tree, no rush.....except it's his birthday very soon! Eeek! I will share some Christmas day photos over the weekend as they need a bit of editing - my camera or rather me, the photographer is not very good in dim light conditions.....a New Year's resolution to learn more about my camera.
Silver gem bauble
White and silver tree decorations
Christmas dresser

Christmas chalkboard
We are all full of biscuits, cake and chocolates and today I've quit bread. Too much tummy ache leads me to believe I may have some sort of intolerance so I'm testing to see if bread (of which I was eating far too much of) is the main culprit. We are still enjoying our bedtime Christmas stories and I'm loving my Christmas crafting and interior books. Oh the time goes too quickly and I feel like I've just not crammed enough festivities in.Christmas Lots of films and programmes to watch. Little Bird's actually watching them now and commenting on what he sees which is a new development. Its so amazing to see him laughing at the antics of cartoon characters or to be engrossed in a programme. Today we watched The Fir Tree, a Danish short film about the life a fir tree in its own voice. He sat transfixed as the seed grew into a tree and encountered many an animal and a little boy. It's on BBC iPlayer if you want to catch it over the next few days.
Vienna Festival Nutcracker

Our old dog Billy

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Christmas Walk

Christmas Church
A little walk in the cold air past the old church with its pretty holly wreath on the door, lancet windows and a tree twinkling in the grounds. Past a nativity scene so special. Walking off a few calories. Far too many chocolates.Christmas church Nativity Christmas church A beautiful statue of St Wilfrid watching over us. St Wildrid was born in Northumberland in the 7th century. He died in 706, buried at Ripon Cathedral, which he founded, and there is a legend that a white rainbow appeared when it was his funeral.church The church here was built around 1846 due to the arrival of Irish immigrants to the area and hence an increase in the Catholic population. It's another hidden gem in my town.Christmas church This wonderful Grade II listed building that to me resembles a piece of Angel cake is the Plaza. It was once a cinema and they are planning to reopen it in order to preserve such a special place to the town. It was built in 1928 in a Neoclassical style with two putti (toddler figures often shown in Italian Renaissance & Baroque art) holding an old film camera in the arch above the door. Pastel coloured building From there we had a little drive out to Beeston Castle and although we couldn't get close, you could see it from a distance on its rocky crag. A visit is on the cards in the spring and I'm looking forward to learning more about the castle. It is rumoured that Richard II had treasure of gold coins and precious items buried under it although attempts to find it, if it is indeed there, have not discovered it as yet. There are rumoured to be many secret passages so who knows but it makes a good story.Beeston Castle