Saturday 31 December 2022

The Final Betwixtmas of 2022


The final day of Betwixtmas and I am using it to take down some of the decorations.

The seed Advent calendar is down and I have found a use for the little bag that was in my recycled from last year decorations calendar ... I knew I saved it for a reason!!  It now contains all those tiny little pegs in case I want to do something with all the envelopes next year.

I like taking the Christmas decorations down bit by bit over the course of a couple of days as it means I can have a good clean up and wipe down of all surfaces before I go back to 'normal'.  Having this new hamper means that I can pack everything away and have Christmas once again stored decoratively on top of my wardrobe.

I really don't like it when people say you should take decorations down on this day or that day.  You should take your decorations down when you want to and when it suits your family traditions or circumstances.  Me, I like to start the New Year with some clean surfaces and a home that looks less cluttered and be well on the way to packing away Christmas until next December.

Two final books managed to sneak in before my book buying stops for next year.  They had been in my Amazon shopping basket for a couple of weeks and I thought, sod it, why not ... so I did.

I have a book I bought a while ago but saved for the New Year on my now freshly cleaned bedside table.  

It's ready for reading a poem a night before I go to sleep, and I need to get the book I started a few weeks ago and then gave up on for Christmas lighter reading off the shelves ... once I have moved all the Christmas cards and twinkly lights from the bookcase.

It's beginning to look a lot less like Christmas here in the Lodge.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers, commenters, blogging buddies, friends and family all the very best for the coming New Year.  

And if you are able to stay up until midnight tonight have a drink for me.  I've turned into a real lightweight and will most likely be tucked up well before the magic hour.

Here's to a new brighter and hopefully better New Year for us all.

Sue xx

Friday 30 December 2022

Betwixtmas Day Five - One of My Special Treasures


On Christmas Eve reader Debby asked me in the comments section about the little pitcher/jug/creamer in my current header photograph and I said I would talk about it for her.

This lovely little ... and yes, it is little ... jug was a present from long-time blogging buddy John Gray of Going Gently fame.  He gave it to me on one of our many visits to each other, I think on that particular day he brought this for me, and then when he went home he left clutching jam, marmalade and half a dozen just laid eggs.

We've swapped other gifts over the course of the years that we lived in Wales, homemade Scotch Eggs hung on his door knob when he was sleeping after a bad nightshift spring to mind.  Which I seem to remember he ate sat on his tiny lawn wearing just his boxers ... nice to think that I gave him such good content for a blog post as well as something tasty to eat!!

Anyway the jug, it is vintage, approximately four inches high and made from pressed glass.  It's held tiny flowers, candy canes, a candle and once tiny sticks of celery on a buffet table, where it glistened in the fairy lights along the back of the table in just the same way that it has helped bring sparkle to my festive shelf and my blog header for the month of December this year.

And it's one of my treasures.

As is John's now long-distance friendship.

Sue xx

Thursday 29 December 2022

Betwixtmas Day Four - Finding Space for Christmas Presents ... and Dogs with Passengers


I brought my Christmas presents over from Alan's last night when I returned home after falling asleep watching television.  Today bit by bit I am emptying the shopping bag that I used to carry them over in.  It's hard to find room for 'extra' things when you live in a small space and your food cupboards are already fit to bursting and everything you have already fills the space that you have.

Luckily a lot of my presents were edibles, or in the case of this lovely Dandelion and Burdock cordial ... drinkable.  It's very tasty.

A few of the things Alan bought me, a couple of books ... I can always squeeze a couple more books on my bookcase ... a lovely little cabbage leaf dish.  And the apple that along with two satsumas was at the bottom of my stocking.

My sons and their partners had bought us, as requested, alcohol and edibles with some lovely toiletries as an additional surprise.  We now have enough gift bags to repurpose for next year and avoid the need for buying any additional wrappings.

I'd forgotten to download these images from Christmas Day off my phone.

Better late than never though eh!!

We bought these to make my Mum smile on Christmas Day, and watching the dogs trotting up her path and arriving in her bungalow with their passengers really did that.  The only hard part was trying to get photos of them, it's hard to get them to pose when one dog is full of energy after a long car ride and one dog is deaf.

But I have the proof that they wore them, and they didn't mind wearing their little passengers at all and were happy to leave them on for ages ... a lot longer than the socks we bought them a few years back. 😄

Sue xx

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Betwixtmas Day Three - Guilty, Too Much and Who Knew


There's stuff everywhere and I don't know what day it is.

Well to tell the truth I figured out what day it was when the dustbin men came and emptied the black wheelie bin.  I had thought it was one day, but it turned out it was actually the one before!!  I felt guilty that they were back at work on their normal day while I was still engrossed in the tinsel-y fug that is the Christmas holidays.  Still eating candy canes and sausage rolls whilst watching old re-runs of  Christmas episodes of Midsomer Murders.

I do need to pull myself together and start to think of things for the very quickly approaching New Year.  I need to plan to eat my way through cupboards, drawers and freezer shelves of the mass/mess of foods that as usual I overbought in the run up to the big day.  I doubt the shops will see me in January or February except for a quick flit inside to buy bread or a pair of bananas.

I always buy them in pairs now, then if I forget to eat them before they turn the black that makes them too sweet for me to find appealing, I know they can be banana bread ... and I have developed a real taste for banana bread spread thickly with butter.

I knew my cupboards were getting too overly full when I needed to find a jar of silver-skin pickled onions to take to Mum's on Christmas Day.  I'm pretty sure they are in there, but it was easier to say 'Yes' to Alan when he asked if I wanted to accompany him to Aldi on his last shopping expedition and buy a new jar, than it was to buckle down and empty the bottom cupboard where I think they lurk at the back.

If I do eventually find them I'll let you know ... if I don't the journey was necessary and not just lazy, we'll see!!

The sweetie drawer is full of chocolate, and when I have a lot in I don't eat as much ... now if there was just one bar it would be gone in a flash.

I have so much food in that I really cannot for the life of me think of meals to have, and I find myself standing at the fridge staring at the shelves for far too long.  I should menu plan ... but that is for the New Year, for now I'll stand and stare and maybe have some garlic bread followed by a couple more candy canes for my lunch.

After all it is Christmas!!

Sue xx

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Betwixtmas Day Two - Cartoons = Happy Dogs ... and Christmas Dinner


The dogs, and sometimes Ginger too, love cartoons.  Especially the ones that are about animals or strange humans.  This morning Mavis has been glued to The Gruffalo's Child and now she is watching something about a big white puffy robot type thing.  I don't know what it's called but it's loud, musical, has lots of voices and sudden action ... just her sort of film.

Suky has been dipping in and out of it, with the sound of her snores in-between the bouts of action drifting along the hallway as I sit typing this out.

Ginger, being King of the Furries, has claimed the best seat in the house, and the dogs are cuddled up in the weak December sun directly opposite the television.  Mavis is going to be exhausted by the end of the film as she usually sleeps away the morning after their canal-side walk.

Luckily for her we are no doubt going to be sitting still watching something not too actiony after we have our Christmas Dinner at one o'clock ... the one that Alan is doing single-handedly for the first time ever.  She should be able to catch up on her sleep then, if I can find a film with no loud action, no animals and no unusual humans to catch her attention.

Did anyone watch Call the Midwife Christmas Special last night, I thought it was a lovely episode.

Sue xx

Monday 26 December 2022

Betwixtmas Day One - Dairy Free Cheese and Garlic Jam


Last year I coined a new word, well I think I coined it, who knows maybe it's real.  

When I tried a Google search I just got Twixmas, which sounds like a poor relative of my previous favourite chocolate bar.  A later search gave me an entry in the Urban Dictionary that yes, does describe it as the week in-between Christmas and New Year.

There was one more delivery that arrived on Christmas Eve, just in the nick of time for Christmas nibbling.

A wonderful selection of dairy-free cheeses along with some crackers, some dairy-free handmade butter and a jar of the most delicious looking garlic jam.

All this was a treat I bought for myself at the start of December from I AM NUT OKAY not really realising that the cheese etc would be sent out in Christmas week.  The poor company had a headache and a half getting their deliveries sorted out with all the postal strikes and heavy use of alternative couriers.  But they did it and I got my lovely cheeses.

They are now all safely filed in the fridge drawer in date order, so that all this deliciousness gets eaten and not wasted.

I hate small talk, but I love a few words that really make you think.

Sue xx

Sunday 25 December 2022

Blogmas Day Twenty Five - Wishing You A Very Happy Christmas


Today I am simply going to say that I would like to wish all my readers, blogging buddies, friends and family the happiest of Christmases.  Whatever you have planned I hope it goes well and that you have the sort of Christmas or alternative day that you wish for.

Ringleader of the animals Ginger sends you many meows and much pussycat love.

Mavis says simply 'Thank you for loving me, whenever Mum talks about me'.

And Suky says ... 'Now can you get these weird things off my head please, I'm a Pug not a reindeer.'

Old photos of our furry family but good ones.

Sending you much love and many happy thoughts on this most special of days.

Sue and Alan xx

Saturday 24 December 2022

Blogmas Day Twenty Four - Completed Tree, Almost Emptied Advents, a Belly Bulging Cupboard and ...

My little tree is complete.

All the ornaments that I saved from last year have been emptied from the old Advent calendar drawers and hung on the tree or dotted around the lodge.  I love seeing all my little china mugs out and looking so festive.  I must keep looking for some more from charity shops.

The drawers of the decorations calendar are all empty, and the jams are all out of the Bonne Maman one.  Instead of a jar of jam, today it was this lovely little candle jar, what a pleasant surprise.  The packet of seeds was a pack of Cumin, what gorgeous little flowers it has, I have never knowingly seen them before.

But there is one more envelope on the seeds calendar so I have another day of that ... and it doesn't feel like seeds!!

The jams are packed away in this enamel pot ready for use over the course of the next few months.  I'm glad that two of the calendars are done as I need the space they were in for food.  Once again I have gotten myself caught up in the shop-athon that is Christmas ... and I blame Alan.

He keeps going to the supermarkets and asking me if I want to go with him, so I say 'yes, but I don't need much'.  Somehow I always come back with at least one bag full of food.  My little brain is telling me as I peruse the shelves the prices are going up soon, you might as well buy the things on offer, that's a good Christmas bargain, or just plain mmm, that looks good.

I need to tell my brain to shut up ... my Welsh cupboard larder is full to bursting.

I'm surprised you can't see the bulge of it's poor little tummy in this photo!!

Edited to add in:

And then this arrived!!

Alan felt so sorry that I couldn't eat any of the food in the hamper we received as a company that he ordered me a vegan version of my own.

So unexpected and what a lovely thing to do.

And now I have some more food ... but at least I have a basket to put it in.  😄

It's been a very hamper-y Christmas this year.

Sue xx

Friday 23 December 2022

Blogmas Day Twenty Three - China, Hampers and George

Day twenty three already, today I got another jam and a packet of Dwarf French Beans.  They are an unusual pinkish-colour heirloom seed, so they should look really pretty if I can get them to grow up the fence on some netting.  In a garden as small as mine, vertical growing is always a good idea.

From the decorations calendar I got the little china bell that my Aunt Barbara painted many years ago.  She also painted the Robin plaque that you can see in this photo, she did this for my Mum but for some reason my Mum was throwing it out a long time ago so I claimed it for myself.  Barbara used to do a mixture of transfer work and hand-painted and sometimes gilded china.  Over the years her work got better and better but it was an expensive hobby so she started to sell her wares through my shop, with me making a small commission on each piece sold and her getting enough to cover the cost of all her materials to keep her hobby going.

Talking of selling, our hamper from the agency that Alan works through came last week, we used to get a large Fortnum & Mason one, but over the years they downgraded to other not quite so posh hampers.  As usual virtually all of the items in the hamper contained dairy so no good for me to eat, although of course the alcohol will not be a problem 😉

Because of this Alan said that once again I could have the basket.  So I immediately listed last years basket the one you can see in the photo on Facebook marketplace and within twenty four hours it was gone and some more money was added to my sales for 2022 stash.

This years basket is slightly different as it has rope handles.  Once Christmas is over all my decorations will be going into it and it will take it's place on top of my wardrobe in place of the now sold one.

Here's George wishing you a Merry Christmas.

Officially his name is Edward, it says so on his tag, but I always think of him as George for some reason.  Maybe it's because Alan bought him for me many years ago and Alan's middle name is George ... or maybe it's just because he looks like a George. 🧸

Sue xx

Thursday 22 December 2022

Blogmas Day Twenty Two - Cosy Evenings and Garlic Chives


I'm loving the long dark evenings with the twinkly Christmas lights.

 I have four sets of lights in my living room, including this tiny set off last years mini living Christmas tree, and I could put up more as there is a box still unused but enough is enough in such a small space.  I have also bought a pack of those little strings of lights with a 'cork' on top that you can poke into empty wine bottles to turn them into lamps.  There were ten or twelve in the set I bought ... I need to do a lot of drinking.

Somehow I think I'll manage.  😄😉🍷

Todays goodies are some more berry scented candles, a tiny jam and a packet of Garlic Chives seeds.  Now garlic chives are something that I have never had success with, normal chives no problem, garlic chives nope!  I really don't know why ... but I'll give them another go.

Sue xx

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Blogmas Day Twenty One - Sunshine, Seeds and a Gingerbread House


Day twenty one of the Advent calendar openings and I just had to get a photo in that glorious beam of sunshine.  

Todays goodies were some sunny Tomato seeds ... phew I thought I was going to have to buy some ... a little jar of sunny marmalade, and from my Christmas decorations from last year recycled calendar my lovely little 'Joy' Emma Bridgewater mug.

Twinkling lights, and all things my style ... oh and another glimpse of Llama Lad.

Would you like a recipe for a Gingerbread House?

Sue xx

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Blogmas Day Twenty - Musical House, Neeps and Tatties and Old Cards


Today's acquisitions from the Advent calendars are a little wooden Christmas tree bought during our last Christmas in Wales, a little jar of orange marmalade and a packet of Turnip seeds.  

Photo of Neeps, Tatties and Haggis from Google Images - BBC Good Food

Now I don't like turnips at all and rarely use them even in soups, but being married to a Scottish man who loves his Neeps and Tatties means that perhaps I will sow a few of these seeds.

Also on that shelf of Christmas sparkle alongside my little M&S musical house ... which is full of biscuits and just could not be resisted ... is this card, saved from last year and displayed again this year.  I just had to save it as it was from the stars of yesterdays blog post Mavis and Ginger.

Do you ever save really nice cards and re-display them?

Sue xx

Monday 19 December 2022

Blogmas Day Nineteen - Cabbage, Caravans, Jam and Liberties


Day nineteen sees me with Spring Cabbage seeds, yummy ... and a little jar of marmalade, from the Christmas decorations reused calendar there is my little caravan Christmas tree ornament.  Modelled here so expertly by little Miss Mince Pie Ballerina.

Meanwhile in the living room the fake fire flickers ...

... and Ginger and Mavis stretch out in it's imaginary warmth.

It's a good job the heating is on so that they actually feel warm!!

I think the look on Ginger's face is him trying to let me know that he thinks Mavis is taking liberties.  😄

Sue xx