Saturday, December 31, 2016


So, okay, I cheated! The website that picks the Instagram pictures with the most likes, didn't actually pick my favourites of the year. Some of the IG photographs was popular with a particular group, but not ones that I felt encapsulated my year. Here we go:
1. Ella at a school show, being a bride, and singing 'Flash!Bang! Wallop what a picture!'
2. My 3 boys all together, and if I say so myself, looking good :)
3. A Skype call with Jeff, Ella and me when he was in USA visiting the boys
4. Me embracing my inner hippy pagan witch outside a henge in Ireland
5. An IG initiative to show something you love - for me it's hugs with family and friends
^. Another from Ireland. The boys look like they're modelling for a clothes catalogue LOL!
7. This sweatshirt 'Family Always Has Your Back' also has the Winchester boys and their car (from Supernatural). One of the actors suffers from depression and  'Always Keep Fighting' is a initiative that he has started. Obviously very close to my heart
8. Got to include fostering, and love this photo of 2 siblings we had and they're wearing the Oompa Loompa outfits I made from scratch
9. Why fostering is worth it :)
Thursday, December 29, 2016


Joshua and Benjamin are certainly experiencing life over in South Lake Tahoe.
Their first year they got used to the bears appearing from nowhere and walking way out of their way to avoid them!
Chasing chipmunks out of the house!
And this week feeling the ground shake from an earthquake! In the big scheme of things, they were about 30 miles away from the epicentre, but they still felt 2 shakes, each one lasting about 5 seconds! That's still experiencing earthquakes in my books :)
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Presents !

Jeff and I usually buy each other something we need and not expensive. I mean when you have been together 26 years you sort of have enough of what you need. But this year has been a tough year so we decided to spoil each other a bit. As well as a few small bits I bought him a model car kit (eternal kid lol!) and a limited edition Sekonda watch made for Sunderland Athletic Football Club. His face was a picture and I can now update the post about the Garden Inn hotel we stayed at in November for their help in buying this without Jeff realising!

These are mine from Jeff .......

I love fountain pens, but have always had ones for a couple of quid, and a few Parker pens. But this Cross ink pen makes handwriting fun! The ink just glides across the page. So sometimes it is worth paying more (or getting your husband to pay more lol!). I have been advised though to use Cross original ink cartridges as cheaper ones will clog up the nib - small price to pay :)

The Hunger Games DVD collection - just YAY!
The tooth brush was something I actually needed, but when monies tight, and it can double up as a Christmas present, then that is what's going to happen. Likewise the Spiralizer. I have a good manual one, but this was in the sale and has got to make life easier - yes back to healthy eating in the new year. See, I'm not ashamed that one of my pressies were in the sales! (Maybe all of them were ..... still not bothered).
And the books! Result :) A complete mixture (and one that wasn't actually a Christmas present but it's sitting nicely with the others).
Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Day

Christmas was a mixed bag this year.

It was the first year we didn't have any of the 3 boys home for Christmas. I always knew that this day would come. We have brought up strong, independent children, and I wouldn't want it any other way. But still, as a Mum, I'm allowed to be selfish one day a year and miss them :(

And I cannot shift this hacking cough following on from all the coughs and colds we've had in the house the past few weeks.

But they were the only negatives :)

My brother and his family were over from France for the first Christmas in, I think, 8 years, so it was lovely.

Daniel and Shona popped round in the evening.

Because of the young fosterlings this year we got to see Christmas and all the excitement through the eyes of children again. Santa's footprints, leaving out milk and mince pies for him; and having the stockings put by the fireplace (instead of by the boys beds!)

And Nanny Saps (Jeff's mum) rosebush at the crematorium has been replaced for one that actually has leaves! Maybe in 2017 we'll finally get roses after17 years.

We bought Robert and his family a board game called 'Best of British'. Jeff and I won. But think we would have been dead embarrassed if we hadn't seeing as Robert, Jane, and the kids have lived in France for about 16 years! Sean was actually born in France, so getting a question about English nursery rhymes did seem a bit unfair LOL!

We also played Cranium - love that game - not sure everyone else did though :)

Dad and Sandra came up Boxing Day and Robert and co. came back so that was a lovely bonus. Love having a full house :) I must admit I thought Dad would have turned back - the journey from theirs to ours on an average run takes 1.5 hours ...... took them 4 hours!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Willow Tree

Totally unexpected Christmas Eve pressie from my Fairy Goddaughter! We don't 'do' Christmas Eve presents any more. When the boys were young we used to let them open one Christmas present when we got back from midnight mass - just like I had done when I was young - but as they got older and we skipped midnight mass for Christmas morning the tradition stopped. So opening this today stirred up some good memories :)

 I love Willow Tree, very simple lines, but there's something appealing about them. I have about half a dozen, which shows how much I love them, when I've been de-cluttering with a vengeance this year!
Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Play Dough Fun !

All poorly :(

For the last 2 weeks the whole household has been struck down by this virulent cold/flu bug so apart from a lot of nose wiping and temperature taking, not a lot else has been going on.

So here's a moment between the poorlies! Thought we would get playdough out as the children love it - but this photograph shows Jeff enjoying it more than the kids and not wanting to share it LOL!
Friday, December 16, 2016

Poundland! (amd B&M)

Christmas - I love Christmas. Being brought up in the Italian Catholic tradition you can imagine we always did Christmas big, and it's something I've never grown out of.

Once of the traditions is a stocking that Father Christmas brings. We always felt uncomfortable that good old Santa could buy one family a colouring book and pens and yet another family a toy electric car! That's just us mind, each to his own.

In the early years it wasn't a big feat, 5 small boys, could always find plenty to go in them. However, as time goes on the stocking pile has grown - and grown - and grown! This year we have .........
Five sons aged between 31 and 21;
Five potential daughter in laws between 26 and under
Our Ella - 18 -  with her complex needs and limited likes!
And a 14 year old and 8 year old fosterlings!
13!! Jeff and me have agreed if and when grandchildren come along the older ones will have to forfeit their stockings - otherwise we'll have to start collecting for them December 26th each year LOL!
Thursday, December 08, 2016


One of the young fosterling has been pushing boundaries for a while but this morning he writes this ......... :) Such hard work, but worth it.
Sunday, December 04, 2016

Ella's 18th Birthday

Ella celebrated her 18th this week. We adopted her May 2002, where did that go? I'll have a proper post in the new year - have my first little bit of writing being published then in SEN Magazine and I wrote about her coming of age. Although that's debatable - some say 18, I always think 21 - just because legally they're an adult, well, there's some 21 year olds that I'm not sure should carry that title LOL!

Suffice to say she had a great time - party at school, followed by a party at respite. Then the next evening even more birthday cake. And her Godmother came round the day after that - so her birthday celebrations spread out over 3 days :)
Thursday, December 01, 2016


And the final part of our respite weekend! The whole reason we chose Sunderland was so Jeff could watch his beloved Sunderland Athletic Football Club. Which he did, as you can see :) I also got to find a couple more snow dogs so everyone's a winner! There was a complete power outage for about 10 minutes and the stands resembled a music concert with everyone lighting their phones. Coupled with a large number of fans singing "We're Sunderland, we'll play in the dark!" it made for a memorable match.
On the way home (well, 2 hours out of the way, but it was worth it!) we visited Lou and Mark and and had a lovely brunch :)
Pretty brilliant weekend - hoping we don't have to wait 15 years for the next one!