Les Mis Trailer

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


still watch this every year and never get tired of it! A beautiful animated musical treat for young and old alike.
Sue xx

Team day out

Yesterday I joined the rest of my colleagues for a 'surprise' day out in Amsterdam. We started off with a guided tour of the Jordaan followed by an entertaining afternoon learning/acting/singing in the local dialect. Was that difficult for me? Yes!! It was quite hard getting my tongue around some of the sounds and stresses on the pronunciation - give me some broad Yorkshire any day! - and once we had learnt it we had to perform it. Oh yes, dressed up as well. My kind of thing? - no! We topped it off with singing Smartlappen liedjes which roughly means the sort of songs people sing on pub crawls crossed with folk songs. Once we had completed this we walked to another part of the city for a really good meal at BAZAAR. There was so much food! It was all excellent though being an oldie, I would have preferred the music to have been more background than disco volume, but all in all it was a very pleasant day. I do feel that the next event ought to be on my home turf - see how they get on with a Barnsley accent!!!!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

a little early but....

I am idling away the next 45 minutes before leaving to catch the train to Amsterdam, so can't really settle to anything too time consuming like the ironing . . . well I could but I'm not!!! So wanted to start searching for a Christmas background for the blog. Found this one, liked it, cut and pasted it and voila; Christmas blog!!!!!

I made the first batch of Mince Pies last night as Tim felt it was time to start on them. They are ok but I think the homemade mincemeat is not as nice as I had expected, Delia! A jar or two from the super is called for I think....("and another one makes the list")!! The pastry I use is from a now ancient book by Jocelyn Dimbleby and I believe I bought it in 1984 or thereabouts! It is still my favourite as it is lovely and crumbly and tastes of oranges.
I'm busy  writing my list of things to bring back - and it grows daily which is a good and a bad thing. I decided on some books for presents this year - but why oh why did I choose large, heavy ones?!!! They are a delight but oh so HUGE!!! I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that it will need to be the cabin bag on wheels that I take with me since my poor shoulders never seem to quite recover from carrying heavy bags these days. Same as when I was eying up which handbag to cart around Amsterdam this afternoon. I have finally decided on a small one...turfed out all the unnecessary items I usually stuff into my larger one, as they are non-essential today, and am wondering which coat to wear now;..........all decisions that are seemingly more difficult than I imagined. What could be wrong with me???? .......

We went to do Tim's present buying yesterday and were amazed at how everywhere had suddenly sold out of precisely the gift we had decided upon for his sister and Ric!!! It was all down to the unexpected popularity of a certain item that obviously caught the attention of thousands of women at the Winter Fair last week! Can't name it, but I managed to buy one of them on Saturday and since then, all sold out! I can totally understand why...................sublime. Ineke, this would be something right up your street, m'dear!!!
So, my time to iron has been nicely halved so I suppose I ought to do some work t-shirts for the boy otherwise he won't have one for the morning. Been nice chatting!!
Sue xx

Monday, 28 November 2011

Can't put it off any longer...

time I tackled cleaning the oven!! Not a task that I am fond of, and one that I avoid for as long as possible, but! Before Christmas I had promised myself that I would clean it thoroughly and get it ready for our Turkey. So, with nothing else on this morning, today's the day!! Now, where's the screwdriver . . . . . .
Sue xx

Sunday, 27 November 2011

A pyjama day

I think!! The weather is atrocious and definitely uninviting to anyone thinking of venturing outdoors. The wind has not dropped here and it is raining; so, hot cappuccino (diet-style!) and my pj's are staying on!!
I've been busy this weekend/morning, getting the Christmas cake baked - wow, it smelt wonderful!! and making dinner last night with a dessert of Trifle ( Tim's request.) It was quite 'alchofrolic' if you know what I mean! The sherry and brandy in the cream and the cake was really great. Once a year I go into the off-licence in Enkhuizen and browse around until I find the bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream that I buy around this time. We only use it for the trifles and drinking as I bake the mince pies and prepare Christmas Dinner!! It wouldn't be the same without it...anyway, it's almost the end of November so about 28 or 9 sleeps til Christmas! I started making another bird garland on Saturday afternoon and finished and wrapped it this morning. Another present ticked off my list! Another 'creation' is in my head as I still have some leftover felt and I ought to make one more present with it.

We are proposing beginning a craft evening starting in the new year, Ann, Gebke and I. We all enjoy making things, have different hobbies, and love to get together and chat!! I suggested it when we were on our day out this week. I believe that having a regular time to get on with our hobbies increases the likelihood of actually doing them, and Gebke has already floated the idea of us doing a craft fair next year. So you never know, maybe we will!!! First though, we need to agree a day/evening/time/place etc before we can get started. I know there are 'stitch 'n bitch' groups for knitters so maybe we will call ourselves the 'laugh 'n craft girls' as it will be fun!!
Sue xx

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Choir: Military Wives

Even if you have not been following this series, but occasionally read bits and bobs on my blog you will know that I am a huge Gareth Malone fan. This was another terrific series from him, and this clip is the highlight from it - where else but from The Royal Albert Hall. One day I will get to go there!!! It really is a lovely heartfelt song, tipped as the Christmas no 1 and as Chris Evans is supporting it, then no doubt it will make it!! Enjoy.
Sue xx

Friday, 25 November 2011

The sands of time

are running out! Well, not literally, but there is a new gadget in the bathroom as of today, curtesy of the
housing corporation 'energy adviser', who paid me a visit this morning. He brought with him an energy box
which actually included some really great stuff. My two favourites have to be the little torch that is a penguin . . . and this sand timer for the shower!!!
I have   stuck it onto the tiles and it takes 5 minutes to run through, the idea being that we need to be in and out of the shower before that happens! Can't wait to see Tim's face this afternoon!!! I really don't think we take a long time but this is going to sharpen our timing up and hopefully add to our energy conscious household efforts! There was a book that we went through together trying to see where we could improve on our usage but have to say he complimented me on our efforts as he was unable to find anything we ought to be doing better!! He was also extremely impressed with the Slo Cooker never having heard of one before, so I think we got a 10/10 for our efforts. Now all we have to do is improve on them even more . . .
Sue xx

Monday, 21 November 2011

"Whether the weather

will hold or turn, that is the question.
Whether the fog and ice or snow
will prevent my flight taking flight" . . . . .

Reading the news this morning was not too encouraging. Airports shrouded in mist, delays, and impending frost and SNOW??????? What's that all about?! Just hold off until after December 6th pleeeeeeeze!!
It is certainly foggy here again, and it shows no sign of easing off. It does seem to be all in the south right now so I am hoping the more northerly airports will be spared. So looking forward to going!!

So, Russell has been 'fired' (ha,ha) from Strictly and the best of the rest are left to dance it out until the semi-finals. Did you enjoy Wembley? Our review was rather mixed as to be honest, watching on TV, we lost a lot of the atmosphere and dance that the thousands in the arena probably enjoyed more. I think it was too big. Give us Blackpool every time! We are liking Harry and Aliona and Chelsey and Pasha the most. See what happens....

It's a day of chores today as so much needs to be done here in the house. I've neglected it rather in my card-making mode, so it's catch-up this morning. Still got 6 more cards to create for my colleague but then I'm done I think. The hardest thing every year is deciding which card to send to which people!!

Today sees the start of the BLACK FRIDAY WEEK on Amazon, so if you are thinking of buying pressies on the net, check out their deals for the coming 5 days as they are great!!! Mine are all lined up..
As Tim commented yesterday, our Christmas tree is already out in the attic along with the other decorations and this coming weekend we will be doing the sorting out of the lights etc, and getting ready to decorate - yey!!!
Sue xx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

past & present

My Guide Camp Blanket for Becci.
 Becci is going to get my camp blanket in a couple of weeks time when I go to see her, so I spread it out on the bed yesterday to see what kind of state it was in. I think I found badges etc going as far back as age 7 - so  long time ago!! I started off as a Brownie in Ilkley, Yorkshire and then in Shoulden and Walmer, Kent. It is so great that now my daughter is going to continue adding her experiences to this old thing! She is going to be enrolled as a leader in Lichfield Cathedral which is pretty impressive!! I wish I was going to see that but at least I know she will be sleeping under my old treasures every time she goes camping. And who knows, maybe her little girl will eventually use it as well . . . .

Making 18 cards for my colleague...

Phew, it's coming along well I think but the blue ones are taking more time!  I am more of a traditional red and green sort of Christmas gal and have more papers in these colours than anything else. I suppose I could make it easier on myself and duplicate the designs but I like to challenge myself to do something
different on each and every one. So, I have 8 more to go . . . .

but right now it's time to get ready for Ann's birthday party!!!
Sue xx

There's Whiskey in the jar-o

I think that's a line from a Thin Lizzy song . . . which was in my head when I woke up this morning, having started our Whiskey Christmas Cake off yesterday! Traditionally today is known as Stir-up Sunday, because ( and I bet you didn't know this!) it is the last Sunday before Advent, and the day to stir up your Christmas Pudding! I have not made one this year but I am counting the cake as my stirring activity for this time around! It made the whole house smell of Christmas yesterday which I absolutely adore. Light the scented candles and stock up on the sherry, Christmas is a-coming!!! My favourite time of year, I admit it.

This morning the mist is back with a vengeance and the world outside is invisible right now. So it's lemon tea and warming up the radiator in my snug is taking a tad too long. No way am I taking a shower until my towels are hot! Luckily we don't need to venture out until the afternoon so my intention is to take it easy this morning and focus on creating the 15 Christmas cards for Astrid one of my colleagues at work. It's quite a challenge as she has provided me with red and blue cards of a smaller size than the square ones I prefer to use. I did three last night so the rest today and tomorrow I think.

I took advantage of the free winter check-up at the garage yesterday - and have got water in my brake system!! I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry and know it's there before there is a heavy frost and my brakes seize and I have a major expense on my hands. So no frost please until the end of the month!!! I am pleased I took the time to go there so next year I will be back for that cappuccino and apple cake!!!!
Sue xx

Saturday, 19 November 2011

What a result!!

Last nights total for Children in Need was 24 million pounds. Incredible!! Well done to the whole country for supporting this charity once again this year!!

The weekend has arrived and I have plenty to do! Mostly practical things today, including taking my car for its winter check-up at the garage. Since its free it would be foolish not to take up the chance to find out if everything is still hunky dory with Sooty. One would assume it is since I only bought her this year and if the mechanics did a good job then, there didn't ought to be something wrong now, just a few months later, right?! The good thing about the check is that it comes with a 3 month guarantee for all the stuff they check today, and that is what I want for over this winter!

Yesterday I made the Chocolate Rum Cake and got it in the freezer for Christmas and New Year. I am toying with the Whiskey Cake, on a small scale, as it feels so strange not baking a Creole Cake this year. Ineke has got hers on the go, and that set me off wanting to have that wonderful smell in our kitchen too!! But Tim is no fan of fruit cake and icing and it would be a waste really . . . so maybe one to gift to someone is the next best thing? Guess so!

I also need to get up into the attic today and search out my old Guide Camp Blanket. I know roughly which box its in, and I am going to give it to my daughter to use for her own guiding experiences. She has just got her first badge!!! I am really pleased I can pass it on to her as it has so many memories stitched onto it, and it is still in perfect condition after all these years. A bit heavy for the suitcase but hey ho, I am happy to carry it to her.  I'll need to explain a lot of stuff on that blanket if she is going to know its history!!
Sue xx

Friday, 18 November 2011


Today is our Children in Need annual fund-raiser in the UK. I'm a huge Snow Patrol fan, so have uploaded a song they performed at Rocks in Manchester last evening. It's hard donating money from outside the country so I decided I would buy a Christmas present this year that gives a donation to the charity so that I can at least feel I gave our support as well. Be sure to watch the event this evening on BBC1. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the video!!!!
Sue xx

Busy week

working so not much time to post. But it is all coming to an end next week when my planned work comes to an end. Always scary, and always a worry especially with Christmas just around the corner. One more week and we can break the decorations out and start turning the house into something pretty!  It is not that we overdo it; no, just the living and dining room spaces get a touch of Christmas, and there is the still the outstanding jobs to do in there as well. Think what I can do with the doorway shelf!!!!

At the moment we are shrouded in thick fog every day that has turned our world to grey and dampness. I'm feeling a little Fungus the Bogeyman right now!! Didn't you just love those books?!!! Seems a lifetime ago that I read them but the illustrations were fantastic. I've uploaded a treat from youtube - this takes me back!!! The film was amazing.
Sue xx

Monday, 14 November 2011

New turn of events

today as Tim came home with the news that he is going to Sweden in February for his 3 week international placement from college!! I am so glad he has decided to take up this offer. Apparently one girl has turned it down so there was a place free and Tim decided to take it. Another girl is still debating it, but he is determined to go it alone if necessary. Good for you, Timbo!! :-) I applaud him for wanting to go as last year he was equally determined that he would NOT go . . . I guess he's growing up.
Sue xx


Check out the blog candy giveaway over on Ribbon Girls - great for all your Christmas designs!!!
Sue xx

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Finka's blanket

So this is the finished thing!! I didn't really know how to edge it
so I just did one of the rows all the way around and it is fine.

So it's mine, then? Not his!

Seems to be nice and warm.....

This is how you wear it, girlie!!!

You wear it; I'll stand on it!!!!
Finka is happily snuggled under her blanket on the settee with Genghis cuddled up beside her. At least when I came upstairs that's where they were! She seems to have accepted it graciously, and since it is
keeping her very warm indeed, I think it was a good idea to make it  for her. Contented cats. Aahh..
Sue xx


I have sat and finished her blanket this morning so its wait and see time now; will she like it; will she use it; how long with it last? . . . I took some photos of us showing her it but the camera is still downstairs to see how well she accepts her gift (or not). A very particular cat!!
Sue xx

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Why Finka needs her own!!!!

What's hidden under the spare bed covers . . . .

Yes, a Finka!!!!!

Cat under the blanket on the settee...poor Genghis!!

Yes, I really have to hurry with your very own blanket, don't I?!!!

Finka's blanket has progressed to the stage of being completed as far as the squares are concerned but now I have to sew it all together! As you can see, her need is great! I was in a shop yesterday looking at the wonderful selection of goodies she always buys for her store, when we got talking to her dog..one thing lead to another and I was shown how to stitch the squares together is a way that is fine for this one.
Using a different colour wool and doing blanket stitch (what else?!). This I can do. Just need a large eyed needle. How to go around the edges is another matter but getting it all together is this weekend's task. It doesn't matter who sits on the settee with her, Finka always tries to bury under the red, so c'mon, get it done!
Sue xx

Well behaved children

Last night was St. Maarten here in Holland. Children go round the houses with lanterns and sing songs in exchange for sweeties!!! I have to compliment the children here - they all came between 6 and 7pm, sang their songs in various degrees of enthusiasm, and not one single child took more than their share of the goodies!! It was refreshing to see such good manners  - gosh, I'm sounding like a real oldie!! but even my son was impressed. He was happy that so many sweets were left over but I suspect not for long!! He is unlikely to be so polite . . . .on the other hand, having such temptation in the house is not good for my will power!!! Diet is going well still, and my trousers are looking decidedly baggier already. Just two more kilos and my nice jeans will do up again!!! I need to be in my winter trousers soon as poss. Buying new is not an option right now, and if I were to buy anything it would have to be slippers. Boy, are my feet cold!!! I have a pair of house socks that I bought in M&S one visit, but they are best for in bed . . in the absence of a hot water bottle that is. At the moment I trudge around in them indoors but by the time I get into bed I have ice blocks on the end of my legs!!! Takes the whole night to warm them up. So priority = slippers.

The weekend promises to be nice weather so it is time to plant my bulbs. I only have a few but they need  to go in now. I am thinking pots but there is space in the borders otherwise. And I really ought to tidy up the front too. In my head I am thinking ' when can I get the decorations down from the attic '..yes, my Christmas head is on!!! I went for a smooch around the garden centre the other day and was dismayed to find that they had nothing I wanted to add to our collection this year!! I found it disappointing to be truthful. Since we don't really need anything............probably a good thing, but I have seen some lights in M&S that I covert. They are BEAUTIFUL!! On the list!!!

The countdown has begun.
Sue xx

Friday, 11 November 2011


Armistice Day. We remember. Always. With gratitude in our hearts. Small thanks to the many who gave their lives for our country in so many conflicts across the centuries.
Wear the poppy with pride.
Sue xx

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Morning walk

This morning I walked to the post box and back through the park near our house.

It was still rather misty and a little chilly and the park was peaceful.

The deer were sheltering by the far hedge and stared back at me through my lens.

Almost there and a timely bench for a little sit.

I drive along the other side of this water to get home and out again.

Through the middle of the village lies this sloot.

And on the banks someone had left their bicycle once upon a time!!!!

It was a lovely walk, and on the way home I called by my neighbours for several cups of coffee and a two hour chat!! Oh, it was lovely and warm in their house!!! I am just back again and it's after twelve, so that was the whole morning gone by. And very pleasant too.
Yesterday afternoon I was very poorly - and so since then I have not been able to eat a thing. My tummy is rumbling like crazy right now  but I dare not risk eating something yet. Give it time to settle properly, eh? Good for my diet; 4,5 kilos off so I am going well!!! Still a way to go to reach the desired 10kilo mark . . . . and my walk was all in aid of this goal. Actually it did me good to get outside as tomorrow I am working and Friday too, so two days cooped up indoors again. 
I sat and watched the first DVD of Downton Abbey yesterday. I know, I am lagging behind everyone else, but I have made a start and will be beginning with number 2 soon. The series is being shown here on Saturday nights but it clashes with Strictly and Merlin so I have no choice!! Wish I had a recorder . . . Sue xx

Monday, 7 November 2011

Radio Two remembers

I always try to listen to Jeremy Vine when I am at home as he usually presents interesting current affairs stories  very well. This week he has a series dedicated to the stories of some service men who died in Afghanistan, told through their music and the voices of their mothers. The first one has just ended. It was incredibly moving. And very personal and terribly brave. 11 November is Remembrance Day in England and we remember all the people who have died in all the wars we have been through. The young man today was only 19 when he lost his life out there, but he had left a letter for his family which was so mature and kind and honest, that you would want to keep it with you forever. Just to remind you that he had been happy and well-adjusted and doing the job he loved most. I will be listening tomorrow, and making that 30 minutes space in my day to pay my respects to one and all.
Sue xx

A favourite film's best quote:

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

Sue xx

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Photo update

My take on a  banner in my lovely Scandinavian Felt Book.

Hanging under where the shelf is coming over the doorway -soon, hopefully!!!

The bargain Riverdale Lamp hanging over the coffee table - yes!!!

So I have been busy this weekend, finishing off the hanger and getting it up in the doorway. Possibly not its final resting place but it will be in the doorway for sure. We have two doors into the kitchen in an incredibly small space, so it is not practical to have them both in situ, so making it more of a feature is our answer. And then you can see how full the shelves are now...and how I need some more......
maybe the two sides ought to match more? (think you probably told me this in the beginning, right?!)
And finally the super lamp I found with Jackie when we were in Zwolle. Needs a proper ceiling rose to finish it off of course, but then it will be perfect. The list of DIY projects is growing I'm afraid, dear!!!
I have decided Finka's blanket requires more squares so they are winging their way towards us this coming week. Three extra colours ought to do it, as that gives me 9 more squares and enough wool for the joining in etc. Since I gave her the old cardie to sleep under last night I am even more determined to get this done for her as soon as possible - she lives for warmth!!
Well, I stayed in bed for an unusually long time this morning due to weeks of poor quality sleep, and even though I was resting, I still feel tired with prickly eyes and not much oomph right now! But it's Sunday and I am allowed to feel lazy aren't I?
Sue xx

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Blanket progress

has now ceased temporarily because I need more wool!! Each ball was enough for 3 squares with bits left over for the eventual joining together, but it was not large enough even for our tiny cat!! So this evening she is tucked in under the warmth of an old cardie of mine as compensation for having to wait a while longer for her very own blanky. Aah............
at least it will allow me some time to work out how I have to make the squares sit next to one another, either in single chain or sewn; not sure which is the best method? Advice gratefully received please.
On the other hand, delays in crochet benefitted my felt hanger's progress, and I am pleased with how that is looking already. It's tricky but  I am hoping to have made a very nice hanger for the finished bookcase-over-the-doorframe, and getting another celebrating winter project completed. My Christmas cards are going well, so that is not a concern, and I am wrapping presents as I buy them, because even though I won't be able to buy many this year, I do try my best to wrap them beautifully! So my friends will have to appreciate the time and effort that has gone into their tiny gifts this year; extra specially!!! Its going to be a very homemade Christmas!!!
Sue xx

Friday, 4 November 2011


It's been a long old week, with much tiredness and a longing for my bed!! There has been lots happening at work, in the background, and it gave me a lot to think about that's for sure. It also helped me to think and clarify what sort of counsellor/coach would suit me most. We have to determine our specialism in the second year and it always bothered me that I didn't have a particular leaning in any direction apart from the Mediation side of things. But I know now, and that gives me some peace of mind. It is really just a combination of all that I have ever learned and done, with this new approach thrown on top!! But I am not going to talk more about it here until we have discussed it in more depth at home, and I have got it sorted on paper as well as in my head.
Finka is desperate for her mini blanket and I have only three more squares to crochet before I need to learn how to stitch them together. I don't think there will be enough wool left over at this time, for any fancy border etc but I doubt she will worry too much! At the moment she is buried under the rug that we keep on the settee, for her nights sleep, so I know I have to finish it this weekend. I have also promised myself that next week is essay time, so my hobbies will have to take the back burner for a while. Emma has asked for more cards so that will be a priority, but mine can wait. I am loving the simple designs I am going with at the moment. Just ink, ribbon, text and the odd little embellishment tacked on. I put the sampler up the other day and have been surprised as to which cards turned out to be people's favourites.
Amazing how our tastes all differ from one person to another which is why I enjoy creating one-offs.

But it is almost bedtime for me, so enjoy your weekend what ever you may be doing; the sunshine of autumn is lovely for being out and about - and for me, making more soup!! (Diet going well but need to stick to it with easy recipes and short amounts of time in the kitchen!!!)
Sue xx

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

November 1st.

I have been busy with my crocheting today. It is absorbing now I have got the hang of it (I think!). Ann is coming round to give me advice tomorrow evening. I'm not making the squares that large because it is going to be (yes, I am now more confident!) a little throw for Finka to sleep under this winter. At the moment she dives under the quilt and sleeps there for as long as possible or until discovered. She is a cat that requires copious amounts of heat!!! Anyway, I am enjoying it. It makes a change from my card making although when my Washi Tape arrived this morning I did do a little dance of happiness!! Not quite sure how I am going to incorporate on with my cards but pretty parcels are a definite yes this year! I love the stitched effect roll. Still waiting more and more impatiently for the Royal Mail to hop over the water with my package from the Ribbongirl . . . seems to be going via China.

So I have decided to join in with the Winter bloghop over at Silverpebble. Since I am a winter lover and she is the opposite, I thought it might be fun to participate. Brings me a little closer to home seeing the beauty of the English landscape etc. I tried a new soup recipe today as well (bored, me?) but I am undecided as to whether I like the taste or not. It is Curried Apple and Carrot Soup, from a recipe by Lavender & Lovage on her foodie blog. Don't think it is one I will do again however. Still soup is great for my diet so I will be testing out others!

Suddenly it had turned dark and not even 6pm. Time for dinner and pyjamas!!
Sue xx