Flyby January 

Well hello! Where did January go? I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s zipped by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been so busy but I’ve actually loved every minute of it. I started January with some big changes ahead of me, some of which were out of my control, like my baby starting pre-school. We’re a couple of weeks in now and it seems to be going well. The first week was surprisingly easy, then the novelty kinda wore off and the reality of going to school every day set in and he started to cry when it was time for him to go in. Which in turn made me cry, watching him through the school gates, being carried across the playground with his arms reaching out for me and calling for me. That was hard. But thankfully, he seems to have gotten over that and goes in fine. At home time, seeing his little face beaming and calling mama, while he runs over to me, well that just makes my heart burst! He’s obviously very happy when he’s there which is fantastic. My little boy is growing up!

One of the other big events for me was launching my little crafty empire, Florrie & Rene. I’ve tried to put as much time into it as possible, promoting the page, spreading the word etc. It’s going well so far, I’ve had a few orders which I’m almost done with. Here’s a couple of the finished ones..

These have been very well received by their new owners which makes the days of hooking my fingers to the bone all worth it. I’m very much looking forward to what the future holds for my one woman show.

The third big thing happening in my life this year has been my Slimming World journey. The first week had my head in a spin just trying to understand it all but now I’ve got used to it a bit it’s so much better. The first week I managed to lose 2 1/2 lbs which I was very happy with. It was just what I needed to hear to give me the motivation to keep going. By the end of the second week , I actually started to feel better in myself and could see I’d lost some weight around my tummy. That week I lost 3 1/2 lbs! The third week, I was doing everything I should have been doing but just felt really bloated and quite sluggish. I was convinced that I’d either gained weight or at best maintained. I was quite nervous to step onto the scales on Monday, but I needn’t have worried, I lost another 2lbs. Phew! And look what I picked up…

My first award! It feels good knowing my hard work and dedication is already paying off. Although I’m not yet properly organised with my meal plans, I have enjoyed trying new recipes, new foods, and knowing that I’m eating healthier. I’ve actually surprised myself at how good my willpower has been (thus far  anyway)! I’ve been able to buy chocolate and treats for the kids without being tempted to nibble. I’m going to have a go at baking some SW treats this week as I do miss getting my pinny on and there’s some yummy looking recipes in the latest SW magazine.

With all that’s happened in January, it’s left me in a very positive mood. Not that it’s like me to be down or anything, I’ve always been, ‘ever the optimist’ and a glass half full kind of girl. But I feel a sudden surge of energy and positivity and am happy to ride this wave for as long as it lasts. And spring is not too far away now and I CANNOT wait for some warmth, fresh air and the signs of new life that comes with possibly the best season of all.

Sending positive vibes out to you all…. x

Happy campers – part two

There was lots to do where we stayed in Gatehouse of Fleet, near Castle Douglas. Although it was tricky finding things that we could take the dog to as well. Everywhere we went there were signs for castles, but we didn’t visit any as to certain members of our family, that would be a fate worse than death! We did find a perfect place for the older kids though and it was just a twenty minute drive.

This place was brilliant. You could book the kids in to a workshop where they learn how to make their own chocolate. I thought it was great value. For £14.00 each they got their own apron and hairnet, they made a big slab of chocolate, a chocolate animal in a reusable mould and a marvellous creation with marshmallows. All to take home with them. 

There was also a huge indoor soft play area and a massive outdoor play area with a dinosaur that was about 30ft high. Sadly, Jude had fallen asleep in the car so he missed out. We waited in the car while the kids were in chocolate heaven, but luckily I’d brought my yarn along.

It looks like an advertisement for Cath Kidston doesn’t it? This project is very mobile so it’s really easy to just do a little bit as and when I can. On the way back to the site, we stopped to say hello to some cows. 

I’ve never seen so many cows than in Scotland. Every field was full of them, and sheep. There were animals everywhere. The campsite was surrounded by rabbits. It was like a scene straight out of Watership Down. It was lovely but the poor things were so scared that they ran off if you got within 20 metres. So no photographs, although I did try my hardest.

The next day we took the kids to a local activity centre. There were some very brave souls there trying some very scary things. Ours stuck to grass sledging, lots safer!

While they were busy I took Jude to the huge sandpit to play. He thought this was the best thing ever and didn’t want to leave.

The following day we planned a lovely day  in the Scottish mountains. Otters Pool had been recommended to us by a friend. On the drive up there my hubby kept pulling over for me to take photos. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking.

We passed Loch Dee just further on from here.

After a bit of an unplanned detour down a never ending dirt track through the wilderness, we found Otters Pool. We sat and ate our picnic lunch with the water to one side of us and woodland to the other. It was such a beautiful place, so peaceful.

Flip flops on and towels at the ready, we headed into the water for a paddle with the best view ever.

The scenery was just stunning. It’s like you’re in a whole other world just for a short while. Everyone had such a nice time. Real good, honest, wholesome family time. 

Pepper loved it too, she’s always enjoyed a paddle. I spotted these toadstools in amongst the trees and just had to take a picture. They looked so magical, like they’re from an enchanted forest or fairy glen.

We were nearing the end of our holiday and I’d say it was a very successful one. Many happy memories made. Although we all love going abroad on holiday and living in a bit of luxury, there’s something really special about holidaying closer to home and closer to nature. We have some absolutely beautiful places in the UK that we often overlook. Especially on our doorstep. Perhaps we all need to pretend we’re tourists in our own towns occasionally and go see all the lovely places around us.  

As for my holiday crochet, I’m pretty pleased with what I achieved.

I wasn’t expecting to get this far. I’m looking forward to showing you the finished product cos I haven’t been able to put this down since we got home.

Vicki xx

My first and last amigurumi 

Hello! I finally bring to you a post completely dedicated to crafting. Now I always said to myself from the start of my crochet journey that I’d never attempt amigurumi. It just looked too fiddly and complicated and well, just way beyond my capabilities. Well, with the little fellas latest obsession being Bing Bunny from CBeebies and discussions with some hooky friends, they convinced me to have a go. Even downloaded and printed out a pattern for me. I couldn’t really worm my way out of that could I? Besides, I secretly wanted to challenge myself and just see if I could do it. 

If I was a fantastic mummy I’d have tried to make the Bing (the bunny & main character) but I chickened out and went for Flop (Bings carer/responsible creature) He looked far easier, plus I already had some leftover yarn in the perfect colour.

Flop started to take shape round about here. I was so relieved.

And stuffing now, go me!

When the instructions finished for the body, I had a massive gaping hole at the top still, you could have operated on his brain quite easily. I just kept going round and round, decreasing and decreasing until it finally met at the top. Where did I go wrong?

There’s his body. Well, not quite the body he was meant to have but honestly, who does?

Making his limbs wasn’t straight forward either, I very much winged it here. The ones the pattern produced looked nothing like the ones on the tv. So I made my own up.

The sewing on part which I’d been dreading actually turned out to be the fun bit. I loved watching him come to life.

Now for a freehand face.

Not too bad for a newbie. I think it just about resembles him.

Jude couldn’t wait to get his hands on him.

He came out with us too..

And got to play in the park.

I think he likes him, and he seems to be standing up ok so far to being thrown around and carried by his ears.

I don’t think I’ll be rushing to do it again though, there was a bit too much concentration required for my liking. I’m very glad I managed this one though 😊

Outdoorsy things

This week has been full of outdoorsy stuff with the warm weather. The weather has kind of annoyed me actually. Not because it’s been nice, but because it said it was going to be rubbish, then wasn’t, so I didn’t plan accordingly. So frustrating when you miss out on a few precious laundry drying hours. Anyway, we’ve been pottering in the garden quite a bit. I had a good weed and sweep underneath our table, it always gets forgotten about.

I also tended to this area.

The bamboos are stunning but they do make a mess, shedding all year round it feels like. It is quite a therapeutic task though.  Lovely when the sun is shining especially. I tend to find the little tucked away spaces in the garden my favourite, like my hidden bench.

We’ve done lots of dining outdoors, morning and night.

There’s lots of lovely colour and growth still going on, even though many have finished now. It’s amazing how quickly the garden evolves in just a few weeks.

I love the different stages of growth here in the hydrangea, those creamy green shades with the pinky tips, full of promise to bloom into the most beautiful, vibrant pink flowers.

One of my favourite stages of a flower blooming is when they’re still practically a bud with a teensy bit of colour showing. Just popping their pretty heads out to say hello.

This little corner here always looks like autumn no matter what season it is.

The muted colours are gorgeous, very calming and gentle. It’s like a teeny tiny woodland corner. There used to be a little fairy door at the bottom of the tree but it’s magically vanished. The hubster was never a big fan, hmmm. There is evidence of fairies at the bottom of the garden though, look, fairy wings! Well, according to my step daughter they are anyway.

Yesterday we took a little trip out for our annual strawberry picking, something I’m keen to keep up every summer. Make it one our family traditions that Jude will remember about his childhood. It’s such a wholesome, feel good activity.

We got to ride on the tractor which made Jude’s day.

The sky looked very dark indeed but it was so warm still.

My little helper was good carrying the punnet. He only dropped the lot once. And he only ate one strawberry on the way round.

And our little bounty. The smell is so sweet and the taste even sweeter. Our very own blueberries in our garden will be ready for picking soon too.

In the afternoon we went across the border into the lush, green land of Wales. We’re members of the National Trust so took the opportunity, while the weather was good to visit Chirk castle.

I kind of feel it deserves its own post though so will leave that for another day. 
I did say I was going to bring you a crafty post but with all this outdoorsy stuff happening I haven’t had much chance. Next one, I promise xx

Six, sand and sunshine 

We’re having a mini heatwave here in the UK at the moment. I’m not expecting it to last long but it is ridiculously hot right now. I had the heating on and ugg boots last week, why can’t Great Britain sort it’s weather out? Anyway, we’ve been getting out and following the herds to our gorgeous beaches. We are so very lucky to have a huge choice of lovely places to visit.

On Sunday afternoon the sun just surprised us so we didn’t want to waste it sitting indoors. We grabbed our beach bag and headed to Hoylake. If you’re not from these parts then you may still have heard of it as they sometimes hold the golf open there. It becomes a hive of excitement, the schools close early and people even rent their homes out for a small fortune to accommodate the thousands of fans.

They must have known I was coming as they’d hung yards and yards of bunting up! I was expecting it to be really busy but there was hardly anyone. I left the lads playing football in one of the pitches you can see above. The rest of us headed along the prom.

It looks like a desert here. I love the fact that there’s still lush greenery growing in the sand.

We found ourselves a lovely little spot on the golden, soft sand. A bucket and spade and Jude was in his element. Which meant I could snap a few photos of the beautiful surroundings.

We were only here for about an hour but it’s all you need to feel like you’ve been at one with nature.

Jude had a great time, he didn’t want to leave.

That evening the hubster and I went out to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. We had a lovely meal at our new favourite tapas restaurant, Lunya. The food was amazing along with the service and surroundings. We finished the evening off with a drink in The Cavern Club. It’s a brilliant atmosphere in there, especially when there’s a Beatles band playing.

More date nights are definitely in order, it’s the only time we get to spend together alone as a couple. It’s nice to escape the house and kids occasionally, reminds me I’m not just a mother and housewife.

Back soon with some hooky happenings. Stay cool xx

Rose garden 

We don’t have roses in our garden and I’ve just this year begun to take a liking to them. It’s okay though, as just a short walk from our house is The Arno. 

It has, as you can see from the sign, been around for quite some time. Here’s a really old picture of it.

But this is it today..

It’s really pretty, especially in the warm sunshine that surprised us today. I’ve probably come a little late as some of the flowers are just finishing. But I did manage to get a few photos of some rosy loveliness.

The smell is just beautiful, so delicate. 

These aren’t roses but they take me back to my childhood. I always remember seeing these and I seem to recall they were Victoria Plums favourite flower. Maybe I’m making that bit up, but that’s what they remind me of anyway!

The Arno has a Green Flag Award too. Although it’s a council maintained area, it still needs a lot of looking after and regularly needs volunteers to come along and help out. They formed a group called The Friends of The Arno who do a fantastic job. We’re very lucky to have people who care about where we live.

So, what else has been happening this week? Not much really. Quite a few trips with the little man to the park.

We spent a lovely hour by the sea the other morning. 

And as for crafting, well I’ve been working on a new project, completely unplanned. Sometimes I think those work out the best.

And it’s almost finished too so I’ll show you properly very soon.

Have a crafty weekend all xx

My week in pictures 

My first harvest of delicious sweet peas. They smell divine. I’m looking forward to having a constant supply of these beauties for a good while.

A tired toddler after lots of jumping in muddy puddles.

A spot of baking….. Oreo cake. Find the recipe here.

I got my colouring books out for the first time in yonks, anything’s better than watching the boxing.

Trying to vacuum with this lazy pooch. She was budging for nothing or no-one.

Birthday celebrations for our littlest of the bigger kids. Lovely teppanyaki restaurant near China town in Liverpool.

The youngest is becoming a teenager way before his time. He’s pinched my spot in the dining room with my cushions and my phone. So many videos of Thomas the tank engine on YouTube to watch!

I’ve re-covered the chair in the bathroom. No more wet towels on here kids, please??

Now this coaster was made about a month ago. I fully intended to make a whole set of them in different colours. They were to be gifted to a very lovely lady. Unfortunately, I ran out of time so instead she received just the one coaster, along with a couple of eggs from our girls wearing my Egg Cosies and one of my Lavender bags too. I hope she likes them 😊

The weather has been awful here. Rain, rain go away….

There’s been more pretty bunting being made. Not for me this time, for an order. Yes you heard that right, a paying customer 😊 !!

Some more baking, it’s hungry work sewing you know. Although these are quite healthy cookies, full of oats, seeds and fruit. The idea is that when I’m peckish I can grab one of these instead of chocolate.

And finally this…

I couldn’t resist lighting a fire last night while sewing. It was so cold, it felt like winter. Where’s our summer gone?

Vicki xx

A West Kirby walk

The weather was unexpectedly bootiful this morning, so quick on my feet, I decided a visit to the coast was in order. Just me and my little man. I got sorted, did the school run, and headed towards the sea. The drive was enjoyable too, through some lush countryside, with the sun shining, birds singing, windows down and a nice breeze keeping us cool. It seemed like everyone was out and about walking their dogs or going for a jog.

I got to West Kirby and parked up right by the marina. As soon as I stepped out of the car and looked across the lake, I was just amazed. The water looked like a pane of glass. It was so still.

The pictures don’t really do it justice, it was very sunny and warm.

West Kirby marine lake is the perfect length for a walk. It takes around 40 minutes to get round it at a slowish pace. Just enough exercise before you get too tired!

There’s a really nice atmosphere here, whenever you go. Everyone smiles and says hello.

Can you see the hills in the background in the picture above? That’s Wales. It looks close enough to walk to but I bet it’s a lot further than you think.

Last time me and my hubby came here together, I sneaked through the chains to get a close up photo of this…

I’m a sucker for anything that says the word ‘love’. Such a bizarre place to see it though, I’d love to know the story behind it.

I get such a feel-good feeling from being by the sea. I think it’s all that fresh, sea air. I love it in any weather but summertime is the best.

We saw this lonely seagull paddling along all by himself.

Almost round to the beginning.

These jetties look so inviting. It’d be heaven on a hot day like today to sit on the very end and dangle your feet in the cool water.

We finished our little jolly with a sit down in the park just opposite the lake. We had a drink and a snack with the whole park to ourselves, and Jude picked me these pretty daisies. Bless him.

I should start the day this way more often, it puts a real spring in my step.

Half way

Morning lovelies, are you having a good weekend? It’s half way through and the weather has been strange. We were expecting a heatwave, hotter than Ibiza, apparently. Well that never happened but  let’s see what today brings. Yesterday morning, Jude was so keen to get into the garden, it was wellies and pj’s and straight out there. With his furry friends too.

We managed our first breakfast in the garden the other day too, it was just lovely. 

It always feels a bit like being on holiday when we eat outdoors. I’m looking forward to doing it lots this summer. And lots of garden hooky is in order too.

I’m about halfway through my two blankets for the kids. I’m alternating between the two to stop the boredom setting in. Here’s the c2c (corner to corner) for my step daughter. I had it with me the other day when I was in the bluebell woods incase I got the opportunity to do a spot of hooky. Sadly I didn’t but I did decide to give it a little photo shoot while I was there. I felt a bit silly, kept looking around to make sure no one was coming! It’s not as easy as you’d think actually. I was looking for the perfectly placed branch to drape it over but could I find any? Nope. So this was the best I could do.

It’s a perfect triangle at the moment, and I’ve now finished the purple side so will start on the pink and it will decrease down the other side.

This is the other blanket, the cosy Kermit stripe for my son.

It’s just over half way done. It’s very nice to come back to working on this one after the purple. You can really tell the difference in the yarn. The purple has a glitter running through it which makes it a bit rougher but this one is made with stylecraft special dk which is so much nicer. Super soft in comparison.

While we’re talking crochet, I did a couple more of the egg cosies I started a few months ago. It’s one of those where I need complete concentration so I can count out loud. Hopefully this week I’ll finish them off and show you the finished product.

Our very own cherry blossom has finally come into its own this week. It’s never been so beautiful, it must be very happy. I wanted to enjoy it indoors too so cut a few sprigs to pop in a vase. It’s looking so pretty in our pantry.

Well, that’s it from me for now. Have a great Sunday, see you all soon xxx

Blossom time

Hello! Happy May Day to you. I’d love to be able to say that it’s a beautiful sunny day here but unfortunately it’s cold, wet and dreary. So I have the heating on, a mug of hot tea and am curled up on the sofa writing this post and filling it with pretty Spring pictures.

I have a real love of blossoms of all types. There so incredibly pretty, from a distance they almost look like twigs topped with candy floss or marshmallows. 

Here’s some beautiful blossom I pictured the other day when the sun was shining in our very own Oxton Village.

Yesterday we popped to Chester zoo for a couple of hours. We were very lucky with the weather and I snapped these..

Stunning against that blue sky aren’t they?

A couple of weeks ago I took our eldest and our youngest over to Sefton Park to see the blossoms and to fulfill a dream of the eldest. 

She too loves blossoms, and would love to live in Japan where they are famous. At this time of year they celebrate the beauty of spring flowers by picnicking under the blossom trees. So that’s what we did, we had our own little Haname under the blossoms, by the lake in the middle of Sefton park. It was really lovely. We sat opposite this pretty bandstand.

And this was above our blanket..

Gorgeous hey? It’s a shame they don’t last longer. After our picnic, we explored the rest of the park.

There was still an abundance of daffs on display. I love how the cloud is kind of heart shaped and just resting on the top of the hill.

Further round, we came to the fairy glen where there’s these stepping stones across the water. It felt like we were in a faraway place, somewhere completely magical. We made a little friend, he took a monkey nut right from my hand.

He was so tame and let us get really close.

The magnolias were in full bloom, so beautiful.

On our way back to the car, we stopped off in the palm house. It’s amazing in there, so tropical. You can even get married in here.

The colours were so vibrant. This one looks like a bottle brush. Right in the centre of the house is this spiral staircase. I just wanted to climb it, of course I couldn’t.

Well that’s all for today from me, I’m off to do a bit of housework, a little bit of hooky and prepare a fabulous roast for my lot. Happy bank holiday weekend xx