Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year - Thanks 2015!

It's been a good year for us and we've been listing our achievements this year on the house project. It's great to be able to list what you've done, when life gets in the way it's easy to see all the things still to do. So today we're celebrating how far we've come.

So here's what we can remember that happened this year:-

  • Pointing the house was finished
  • Finished painting baby girl's room
  • Renovated my chair
  • Serviced the mower
  • We got planning permission to build an extension (thank God)
  • We put up the chicken pen to keep the fox out
  • We built the children a play area and the play house
  • The vegetable beds and greenhouse were built
  • The boiler was moved
  • The services were dug for the cabin
  • Little man's room was gutted, then insulated, boarded, plastered, painted and wallpapered.
  • The fireplace was stripped and repainted
  • We removed the old kitchen and put in a new (to us) kitchen.
  • Tiled the new kitchen
  • Laid the concrete pad for the cabin
  • Built cabin
  • Painted cabin again and again and again... then again
  • Hatched baby chicks
  • Grew mountains of fruit and veg and preserved loads of it

We also managed to cook, clean, go to work, live life, go on holiday and kept both kids alive all year!

Go team Udall.

Let's be clear all our results came as a result of hard work and so much support and help from our friends and family, so thanks guys.

Wishing you all a fantastic 2016

A few photos of our year follow

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas presents and Insulating the cabin roof

I thought I'd show you guys my Christmas presents as I'm proud as punch of them. I'm very thankful for the internet for lot of reasons and eBay is no exception. I chose a pressure canner as my present from mum and we managed to find one that a lady had imported from the States and then realised it doesn't work on her induction hob! Well I have an induction hob but unfortunately I couldn't find a pressure canner that isn't aluminium so I'll have to use a inductor adapter plate or use the gas hob in my barbecue. Either way we got a canner that cost less than market rate that's brand new and we didn't have to pay P&P from the US. 

James got me a second hand Kmix mixer that I've coveted for years. He told me it cost a quarter of the new price and it didn't have a scratch on it. In fact I had to open all of the attachments from their original packaging, the lady must have baked one cake and put it in the cupboard. So I am one lucky lady to have received two lovely gifts and it always makes my day when they're a bargain to boot.

In the last few days I have ordered a few bits to fit out the cabin in the boxing day sales. The irony of the sales is that they're the best time to buy things but the time of year when you have least money. The cabin has really stalled over the few weeks before Christmas and today we started to work on the frame that we're building to place on the roof. The plan is to build a frame, place the insulation within it and then cover and felt the roof. We can then put the bargeboards up, paint them and the structure is complete at last!

When you insulate a cabin you can either place the insulation internally between the rafters and then board it or insulate externally and then cover with felt. We opted for external as we really like the look of the wood internally and we figured a second layer of felt on the roof could only help to protect the structure more. You may recall that when we built the cabin we had a ridiculous amount of excess wood logs. Today we started to cut them down to the same depth as the insulation so that we could make a frame up. It's left us with plenty of kindling for the fire too so there's no waste. We managed to get quite a few cut to size while baby girl was having her nap and we're going to try to get the majority of the insulation finished up this week.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas

We have had a wonderful day with the children and my mum, sister and her boyfriend celebrating Christmas. The excitement in the house has been overwhelming and the joy immense. Today is a day to be thankful for all of the people in our lives that share our happiness. To my beautiful children and husband you have made me very happy today, this year and since you all came into my life. To all my friends here and in the real world I have thought of you all today and wished you a magical day.

We have opened endless presents, eaten a rather large lunch, watched a few films and ended the day with me sobbing to the Downton finale. Don't get me wrong there have been a few meltdowns due to excitement but overall another Christmas to be remembered with fondness.

Merry Christmas to you all xxx

Friday, 18 December 2015

Changes are a coming...

This week has been testing my patience severely. In our pharmacy the dispensary is closed for two additional days over Christmas and as such everyone has ordered an extra month of prescriptions, doubling our workload. Now as I work for a large multiple there are no extra staff or overtime so it's like hell. Now if people could be pleasant and wait patiently for the 5 - 15 minutes it may take to complete their prescription everything would be fine, but no they all get irate at me that they can't have it instantly. It's like the other 5 people waiting are invisible to them! My tolerance for rudeness has been worn down in the 10 years I've been doing this job and it's time for a change.

Some of you may remember I went for a job interview at least 6 months ago. The company had a few issues but have now offered me a job as a clinical pharmacist going round GP's surgeries and carrying out reviews on different patient groups. It's very nerve wrecking to leave a stable job but I feel I've got to take a chance at a job I may love. It's a lot more travelling and I've got to work 4 days so I'll have one day less with the kids. I'm finding the thought of leaving them more very, very hard. I just can't let the opportunity pass without giving it a go, or I feel I'll always regret it. So I'm going for it and in February I'll be starting a new job, eeek!

This week I saw Kev on Thursday and we had a preserving session; we made Caramelised red onion chutney, gooseberry jam, Blackcurrant and apple jam and redcurrant jam. We are getting like pros, we did all four in no time. The kids were fantastic and played together beautifully, leaving us adults to the kitchen. Kev's going back to work soon though so his wife is in for a lot more time with our group of mums, it'll be great to have her!

I've made the red onion chutney loads of times and I know we all love it. It matures really well too so a big batch can be eaten straight away and a few pots can sit in the back of the cupboard. This is the original link that I got the recipe from. 

I hope everyone's Christmas preparations are going well, the suspense in our house is palpable. When I get home from work I realise that it's not as important as it seems when I'm there, my family is where my joy lives.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Buddy the elf is down from the North Pole, how exciting!

Would you believe it? Buddy the Elf has come to visit the kids all the way from the North Pole. He's been visiting for the past three years, but it is only this year that the little man has finally understood and really gotten into the spirit and excitement of the season. 

I'm sure by now most of you have heard about Elf on the shelf and how he visits at the start of advent with a book explaining him and every night flies to the North Pole to tell Santa if the children have been naughty or nice. It is very important not to touch him or his magic might go and on Christmas eve he goes back to the pole with Father Christmas until the following year. 

He gets up to all sorts of mischief and this year he brought a new surprise, his very own elf door to come and go through!

We have had one or two occasions where baby girl has touched him and the wee man has gone absolutely spare, distraught that his magic will go. We have explained that as baby girl doesn't understand, Buddy's magic won't be affected.

The Christmas decorations are also up and the magic is building, it's brought James and I no end of joy to witness the magic through wee man's eyes.

Our tree isn't themed, we have bought decorations from all the places we have been on holiday since we got together, as well as a few every Christmas that we like. It makes every year special when we decorate the tree as we spend hours reminiscing  saying 'Do you remember when we got this?' It's a tradition that I hope the kids will keep up. I'll post a few pictures of my favourite ones soon.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Bruges Christmas Markets

We're back and I thought I'd share some of our snaps from Bruges. Sorry it's a bit picture heavy but I hope the kids will look in a few years and remember some of it! To start a few collages for those that just want a quick peek!

The start of the adventure, getting on the ferry in Hull.

The buildings are all lit up by night and so pretty!

The architecture is also very beautiful.

We stayed in The Grand Hotel Casselbergh, a step up from our usual Premier Inn. The hotel was immaculate, the rooms large and expensively decorated. The communal areas were stunning.

The shop window displays were so well thought out, they need to come and arrange my house!

We visited the Half moon brewery, every trip away we try and visit a winery, brewery, distillery or cider making place (can't think of the term right now)

And the last few, us as a family

I've got hundreds more, but I won't subject you to any more.