Sunday, 21 December 2014

Christmas Club (The Revival) Week 3

Sian has resurrected her Christmas Club for the three Sunday's leading up to Christmas this year. Hope on over to this post to see the details.

And so...
    at Christmas we ...
used to put the children's presents into sacks which were left on the sofa in the lounge for them. Father Christmas would also leave a small stocking in their rooms with a few smaller presents in. These could be opened as soon as they woke and would keep them occupied until after breakfast. Once dressed and breakfasted they would finally be let into the lounge to open their presents.
You can see the sacks here on the sofa behind Ben - this was the only photo I could find! I didn't scrap then!
They may now be 23 and 25, but they still have their stockings and have to wait until we have got dressed and had breakfast before they can open their presents.
The empty stockings waiting for Christmas Eve!
The stockings? I made them out of some material left over from making Penny a dress when she was about 3!

And in 2012 Father Christmas actually delivered a stocking each for me and Hugh! We were very surprised to wake up on Christmas morning and find these outside our bedroom door.
There was a letter to us both too, from Father Christmas. I have it somewhere and must find it to scrap it! Penny tells me that if we are good he may visit us again this year (as he did last year too).

Nowadays, the main presents are all under the tree and we take it in turns to open a present with everyone else watching.
Hugh and I spent yesterday afternoon wrapping all our presents and here they are, all ready for Christmas.

So that is the end of the Christmas Club. It has been wonderful to join in again and read everyone's festive stories. I am looking forward to visiting all the other blogs over the next few days and if you go to Sian's post here you will find the links to these other festive stories.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas Club (The Revival) - week 2

Sian has resurrected her Christmas Club for the three Sunday's leading up to Christmas this year. Hope on over to this post to see the details.

And so...
    at Christmas we ...
like to try and go to the Scout Carol concert. We started when Ben was a Beaver and have only missed a couple of years since. Although he is no longer in the 1st Runwell Scout Group we still like to go along and will be doing so this evening.

Ben (Cub) is front row, first on the right. They quite often had a performance from the Cubs
The music is played by one of the leaders on a keyboard, we all join in the carols with gusto and then finish the evening being served sausage rolls, mince pies and mulled wine by the cubs and scouts. An integral part of our Christmas and once we have been we feel Christmas has really begun.
And here he is first on the left as a Scout!
 I hope you have enjoyed reading about one of our Christmas traditions. Please hop on over to Sian's blog today to find her magical story (her writing is always magical!) and the links to other Christmas stories.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Fun in Florence

Gosh, where is the time going?! So much has been happening around here that I don’t seem to have had time to take a breath, let alone blog! I did manage the Christmas Club post on Sunday, but I arranged that to post whilst I was away!

Yes, Hugh and I had a wonderful trip to Florence last weekend. I booked up through and we got a brilliant deal with flights from London City Airport and a hotel with bed and breakfast literally 30 seconds from the Ponte Vecchio.


We left Friday morning, getting the train from Wickford to London City – apart from there being no seats on the train (well it was rush hour!) the train journey was really easy. We checked in and then got ourselves a cup of tea/coffee and did a bit of reading whilst we waited to board our plane.

Hugh getting us a drink and a pastry!
The flight over was uneventful – just what you need really! I did have my phone with me for once – I nearly always leave some sort of camera in the overhead locker and so can’t get at it – and so I was able to take a couple of snaps as we were flying.

The Alps from the plane
Upon arrival in Florence we got the shuttle bus into the centre of the City and then our hotel was only a 10 minute walk. We dumped our cases in our room and headed off to explore.

The first thing we did was stop at a little cafe and have a slice of delicious pizza each and a drink. When we left I took Hugh’s photo out the front – not a very Italian named cafe!

The sun had set and all the lights were coming on – it was magical and so wonderful to see all the historic sites lit up. We strolled around for a couple of hours, soaking up the atmosphere and getting our bearings for the rest of the weekend.

We had our evening meal at the Hard Rock Cafe as I had never been to one before! I know it is not very Italian, but it was fun and we had amazing food.

We returned to our hotel at about 9.30pm – completely shattered! We both slept well that night!

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, a few clouds, but quite warm. After a lovely buffet breakfast we set off to ‘do’ the sites.

Our first stop was the Bargello Museum. Wow! The statues there were fantastic and we saw all the old masters – Michaelangelo, Donatello, etc.

 From there we went on a stroll towards the Duomo and stopped for a gelato.
Once we had finished our gelatos we went into the Duomo. It is such an impressive structure, but in fact I think more so from the outside than the inside! The museum is not open at the moment and so we didn't get a chance to go in there and the Baptistry, although open, was included in a group ticket including the museum and I was a little cross about that and so we decided not to go into the Baptistry! However, we did get to see the doors, which were impressive.
 We haggled with a street vendor and bought a selfie stick!
We then went for a mooch around Florence. We had time to kill as we had a guided tour booked at the Uffizi for 4.30pm. So we took in the sights in the daylight!
The Ponte Vecchio

Me outside the hotel

The foyer of the hotel (and Hugh in the mirror)

Sante Croce Church and the Christmas Market
We met the tour guide outside the Uffizi and after a 25 minute queue got into the museum! The tour guide was excellent and we spent a very pleasant 1 1/2 hours in the museum. My favourite piece was the Botticelli - Birth of Venus, but we also saw works by Caravaggio, Titian and Michelangelo to name but a few.

This is a view of the Palazzo Vecchio from the viewing terrace of the Uffizi
Having had a very enjoyable tour we then found a restaurant with a view of the Palazzo Vecchio and ate outside - there were patio heaters however!

On our return to the hotel, over the Ponte Vecchio we had a wonderful view of the Duomo all lit up.
We got back to the hotel and collapsed! 

I'll do another post for Sunday as I should think you are exhausted if you have managed to read this far! But as you can tell, we had a wonderful time and I am still excited about all the things we saw whilst we were there.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas Club (The Revival)

Sian has resurrected her Christmas Club for the three Sunday's leading up to Christmas this year. Hope on over to this post to see the details.

And so ....
    at Christmas we ...
             have fun cooking the Christmas dinner! Yes, we do! I love it! I have a snowball to drink (advocat and lemonade, my Christmas drink), have Christmas music playing loudly and I dance around the kitchen as I'm cooking.

This always ends up with Hugh dancing with me (usually to 'Rocking around the Christmas Tree' by Mel and Kim) and then Ben or Penny takes a photo of us in a compromising position!!
My Dad not looking impressed lol!
Getting the giggles
Laughing again
Showing off the new slippers and Hugh's rubber gloves whilst dancing!
This is really HAPPY part of my Christmas Day and I love looking back at these photos and how happy Hugh and I are.

Do hop on over to Sian's blog post today where you will find links to all the other lovely people who are joining her today.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A walk in the woods

As I mentioned in a previous post, whilst we had our week off, one of the things we did was go for a walk in Norsey Woods. One of the reasons for the walk was just because we love going for a walk in the woods when the weather is nice. The other reason?

And here is the full layout I did.
Although it doesn't look it, the sun was actually out for some of the time we were walking. However,  it was VERY muddy underfoot as it had been raining a lot, and Penny and I were really pleased that we were wearing our wellies!
I did this double page layout with some of the photos. I liked the idea I saw on a Paperclipping Video of enlarging a photo and then putting the title onto it. I really liked the 'photo' gold rub on and am pleased with how it looks on the photo.
I had picked up a gold Sharpie pen at Lakeland and used that for the journalling.
And I literally spent hours cutting out the leaves from a sheet of paper to make the flurry that runs across the second page.
Have you done any autumn scrapbooking this year?