Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Traditions {Flashback Friday}

As a child our family Christmas's were always magical and I am fortunate to have very fond memories of them.

Christmas Eve would be spent delivering presents to family & friends, calling in on people, eating mince pies & listening to Christmas songs.

When we got home, Mum would lay the table and make it all pretty ready for Christmas lunch. She would make place name settings, fold the paper napkins into crowns and get out the best crystal & silver. My job was always chief cutlery polisher!

Christmas Eve dinner was always a treat as we were allowed it on our lap trays due to the table being laid for the next day - something that we weren't normally allowed to do!

My brother & I would go to bed early in the hope that it would mean Father Christmas would come sooner. (obviously not before we left a mince pie, carrot & sherry for dad  Father Christmas & Rudolph)

When we woke up on Christmas morning our stockings would be filled by our bed and every year my brother & I would either go in his bed or mine & open them with excitement. This was a condition our parents set us - we could get up when we liked as long as we opened our stockings together before waking them up!! Mum some how always managed to find the best things to put in stockings, definately one of my favourite parts to Christmas!

Once we had opened our stocking presents, we would go downstairs to find that Dad had switched on all of the Christmas lights and put on the cheesy Christmas CD and was in the process of pouring "Bucks Fizz" (or orange juice for us kids!).

We would then take it in turns to open our present sacks (these were the presents from Father Christmas). If we both had something that looked a very similar size & shape we would race to open it first so we could tell the other one what it was! haha..

After opening the presents from Father Christmas we would usually have breakfast before all sitting around the Christmas tree and opening the presents to & from each other, and also from our extended family.

When we had got dressed, Dad and us would go out to visit my Great Nan in her home whilst Mum prepared Christmas dinner. We all wore Santa hats and Dad would dress up as Father Christmas - something all the old people loved!

Another family tradition we had was a Frosty The Snowman that sat on the table on Christmas Day. Inside him were gifts that my Dad would go out & by for me, my brother & my mum.  I loved this.. Sadly though Frosty passed away a few years later so we had to change the tradition to making our own crackers or "table presents" instead.

Usually in the afternoon grandparents, Aunts, Uncles & cousins would come round to our house for a buffet tea after a lovely long wintery walk with our dog Sadie.

Just when we thought that the day was over and we were bathed and wearing our new pyjamas, we'd go to bed & find another little present on our pillows! Quite often this was a book, or a CD - perhaps a secret incentive to go to bed from our presents?!

Since my parents divorced & we have got older Christmas has differed - our first Christmas without Dad there we thought we'd do something different so instead we enjoyed Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day we had a big fry up!

Last year Matt & I had only lived in our first house for 6 days so we decided we wanted to spend Christmas there on our own - again very different. We spoiled ourselves and enjoyed lots of champagne & beef wellington!

This year we are spending the time split between my Mums & Matts Mums, but we are introducing something that will hopefully become a new tradition of going for a long walk wrapped up & calling into a pub on Christmas Eve afternoon.

I don't have many photos to hand, but below are a couple I do have. Look at the dodgy haircuts & decor!

My brother & I - no idea what year unfortunately!

My cousins, brother, Nan & Uncle (and me in the pink!)

My grandad, eldest cousin & me!


Thursday, 22 November 2012


In celebration of Thanksgiving Day 2012, I thought I would make a list of some of the many things I am thankful for:

- my truly incredible parents: of course without them, I wouldn't be here. I will be forever thankful to them for all of the love, support & encouragement they give me every day.

- my super fantastical husband: my soul mate & best friend. To him I am thankful for making me the happiest girl alive, particularly on 9th June 2012. I am thankful for all of things that he is and does. Without him, I would be nothing.

- my family and new (offical) inlaws: thankful to each and everyone of them for all of the things they do. Some of who travelled a few thousand miles to share our wedding day with us this year.

- my friends: "you win some, you lose some" 2012 has proved that those you thought were there through the good, the bad & the ugly simply aren't, and probably never were. It has also been a year of building solid friendships. I am thankful to my friends who all provide me with a fantastic network of support, love & fun. In particular, I am also thankful to have finally met a long standing friend Lauren recently

- my cousin: we may be millions (ok...thousands!) of miles apart geographically, but we find ways of being in contact practically 24/7 - I am so thankful of that bond we share.

- a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food on the table: through this recession, I am so thankful and proud to be able to live in such a lovely & cosy home that we can call our own... to have clothes on my back and food on the table.

- my job: ok, it's not my dream job (what's that?!) but I am an employee, and I am so very thankful to have been able to hold down a job through this financial mess we live in.

-  music Robbie Williams: I am thankful for Robbie Williams!! To put it simply.

- every new day: I am thankful for every day that I wake up

- my health: (touch wood) so far in my life I have had great health and have never had any procedures or been on any medication - long may this continue!

- the troops: I am thankful for the incredible job our troops do.

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Documenting Life..

A couple of weeks ago whilst at my Mums house I randomly decided to have a look through my Nans (Mums Mum) collection of  'Dairy Diaries'.
My lovely Nan passed away in January of 2005 and this was the first time since she died that I have looked through them. She had bought and used a 'dairy diary' for many many years, going as far back as when I was born... From memory, I think these diarys were bought from the milkman?!
It was so lovely to have a read through them and it brought back some amazing (and not-so-amazing) memories for me. Some of her entries were painful - in particular her final few months as at the time my parents were getting divorced and she often wrote about that, but a lot of them were reminders to me of all the little things that made her our special Nan. "baked chocolate brownies for Sarah today"... "had the family round for a Sunday roast" .... "went to pick up Sarah from the train station on her way home from University"
One thing that really stood out for me, was her penultimate entry (her final entry just so happened to be simply "had steak for dinner" which really makes me smile, as though she knew it would ber her 'last supper' so she quite rightly treated herself!!) but, the day previously had an entry "Sarah called on her way back to University" - although it may not sound like a big deal, to me it is. I like the fact that my Nan felt that conversation was worthy of being noted in her diary. I like the fact that we had that conversation, even though, unknowingly, that would be the last time we would speak. More than anything, I am so grateful that I ended that conversation with "I love you very much".
Some days my Nan would simply write "Walked Dudley" (her dog) or "baked cherry buns" - but reading through each year, day by day, is a very special reminder of my Nans life. I am thankful that my Nan wrote these diaries and gave us all something to look back on.
I hope that in time, my blog will become a similar tool for myself and my family to look back on too - a record of events, or days that could otherwise be lost in our memories.  

Friday, 9 November 2012

Memphis, TN {Flashback Friday}

One of the members of my family I am closest to lives on the other side of the big pond in Memphis, Tennessee. My cousin Milly.

This doesn't stop us emailing/whatsapp/facetiming/facebooking/tweeting each other almost every day though! The wonders of modern technology!

Our relationship grew to it's closest when Milly asked me to be her bridesmaid in November 2006. At the time I was at university and a very poor student! I was extremely fortunate in that my Dad paid for my flights & I was able to stay with the family while I was out there for the 10 days.

While we were over there it was Halloween (and boy do the Americans celebrate that!), Milly's husband-to-be Roberts Birthday, and there were also numerous 'Bridesmaid Luncheons' and 'Rehearsal Dinners' to attend, so it was a very full on & exciting trip. I had the best time 'hanging' out with my cousin and family, helping her prepare for her big day!

Being married myself now, it was interesting to see the differences between an English wedding & an American one.

It's hard to believe that was 6 years ago! So much has happened in those 6 years. Milly & Robert now have a 4 year old daughter Britton, who was my flower girl, and a 1 year old son Parker. We have also been lucky enough to see each other twice since their wedding - something we must keep this up despite the high flight costs.

There are usually tears when we have to say goodbye to each other!!
Happy 6th Wedding Anniversary Milly & Robert xox

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Advent Tradition..

I know it is still only the 8th November and I still have another 23 sleeps before I can start using these, but... it's all about being prepared at Christmas time!
As a family growing up we had lots of traditions that I look back on with very fond memories. One of which being the chocolate advent calendar. Although I am now 27, this is a tradition my Mum has insisted on keeping and still likes to buy them for us.
Whilst visiting her last weekend we popped to the supermarket to see what selection they had. Being truly spoilt I only really like the Cadburys/Thorntons/Galaxy/Lindt ones. Unfortunately the particular store we were in only had Peppa Pig, Thomas the Tank Engine or some other childrens cartoon character!
Insisting that she buys us *something* I suggested that Matt & I start a new tradition in our home, to have material re-useable advent calendars. Originally I was only going to buy one that we could share, but then I decided that I would buy two so that we could pass them on to our children in years to come.
So Mum bought us lots of goodies to fill the pockets with which included Lindt Bells & Bears, Cadburys Buttons and Chocolate Coins.
The calendars arrived whilst I have been off sick this week, so of course I just had to see what they will look like on the back of the kitchen door!
They are now safely packed away again & I am looking forward to filling them up on the 30th November ready for the countdown to Christmas!

NB: I have no idea why the number '4' is back to front...?!?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Halloween {Flashback Friday}

With no children, no family and not really knowing our neighbours yet (don't we sound like recluses!) we decided we'd go out for dinner this year on Halloween.

In previous years I have dressed up whilst I was at uni, and I have a vague recollection of going to someones birthday/halloween party when I was younger, other than that it has never really been a big thing for me.

I do like the idea of having a party at home for children, so perhaps that is something we may do with ours one day..

My flashback Friday photo is from Halloween 2008. At the time, my Dad ran a pub in Wales and I took a few of my uni friends over there for the weekend to dress up & have fun.

You can tell I was a student... my outfit involved ripping a pair of tights & shaping a black bin liner into a dress!