Tag Archives: my family and other animals

Life in a northern town – July 2016

Today is the first day of the summer holidays.  We’ve had a slow start to the day. The kids are having a water fight in the garden.  We’re still alive at lunchtime.  It bodes well for the rest of the holidays.

Two weeks today, with a bit of luck and nobody playing silly buggers at the last minute, we will be moving house.  Even though we’re having the place professionally packed for us, there still seems so much to do.  I tidied away my sewing machine last night.  I’m not entirely sure if it will come out again in this house, and just how quickly I’ll get it unpacked in the new house.

Number 2 makes me ever so slightly anxious.

But I will have a lovely and spacious sewing room in the new house so it will be worth a little while without sewing.

Won’t it????

I will get some lovely photos of George soon and share them with you.  But till then, this little face will have to do!


We weren’t planning on getting a new puppy until after the school holidays.

Sometimes it’s good just to throw the plan out of the window!

We had a dance competition for The Boy at the weekend.  Note to self, when travelling over an hour from home to the competition venue at 7am in the morning…it really helps to pack his dance shoes!

Number 9 is Reason 876 why I love The Husband. He drove back home to collect the dance shoes.

The Boy won.  Again.  First place for quickstep and for jive in the 6-7 year old age group.

With his lovely dance partner

With his lovely dance partner for the day.

I may be ever-so-slightly ridiculously proud of him.

His success may have prompted his sister (who is equally talented as a dancer but decidedly more work shy) to up her game.

I’ll leave you with my current favourite pictures of my wee man.  I’ll be beating the girls away with a stick in a few years!




Tomorrow it will be 7 years since Pa passed and Button came into our lives.


So much has happened since then.  We now have Boy too. Hubby and I have been together for 10 years and married for 5. Both Button and Boy are succeeding against all the odds. They are doing well at school and with their dancing.  They are kind and joyful and healthy. We have wonderful family and friends. We have our own business. We will soon (hopefully) move to a beautiful new house.  I have a degree and am retraining for a new career.

We have so very much to be grateful for and proud of.

And I know Pa would be very proud of us too.


Today I’ve bunked off all the things I should be doing to escape, quite literally, to the hills. Pa always called Lancashire ‘God’s Country’. He had a point. I need to take a breath, reflect, regroup, make lists.

Tomorrow Ma and I will have lunch and remember.

And it turns out that I was right 7 years ago.  I still miss you, Pa.  We all do.

A little getaway

“I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Daffodils;
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”

William Wordsworth, 1804

Living just over an hour from Windermere in the South Lakes, you’d think we’d spend more time there.  But life gets in the way and we haven’t had a break here for too many years.  We rectified this over the weekend, when we escaped for two childfree nights to celebrate The Husband’s birthday.

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With daffodils fluttering and dancing on every verge we arrived at The Hideaway Hotel in time for tea and cakes and spent a blissful two days and nights relaxing with hot stone massages, gentle walks, excellent food and comfy beds.

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The Hideaway Hotel

Hooked Fish Restaurant

Wild & Co. Restaurant

This post was sponsored by Nana, Grandma and Grandad, without whose fabulous sleepover services this trip wouldn’t have been possible.

Thanks, you guys!  We love you. 

Mothering Sunday

It’s Mothering Sunday here in the UK, and I’m sitting here replete from a posh pub lunch with the family.


Today, of all days, it’s easy to remember just how blessed I am.

My children are fit and healthy.  They attend an amazing school with fantastic teachers and wonderful friends.


We are surrounded by family and friends and have time to spend with them.

Our home is warm and welcoming. We have good food and plenty of it.

They have a Daddy who loves them, is present in their lives, and works hard to provide for them.

We have books and toys and games and pens and paper.  We can walk in the park, ride our bikes and dance.


So today, as I’m surrounded by the people I love most in the world, I’m counting my blessings.

But I’m sparing a thought for those not as fortunate as I am.

And raising a glass to mothers everywhere, and wishing them the best of times this Mothering Sunday.


What?  WHAT?????


How could my baby have turned seven yesterday?  The years are flying by too quickly, sweet boy.

But the years are kind to us too.  You had the roughest of starts and the hardest of times. Yet today we’re at a place none of us thought we’d see.  You have overcome so very, very much, wee man, and we couldn’t be prouder of you.

Today you are a bundle of energy, fun and hilarity.  You have perfect comic timing and the manners of an Edwardian gentleman.  I know of no other 7 year old boys who hold the car door for their mummy and refuse to let her carry shopping bags.

But most of all….you are you.


And we love you.

To the moon and stars and back with jelly and sprinkles on top!

Happy birthday, my darling boy.


“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”

William Shakespeare ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Never a truer word spoken.

Our little girl turned 8 this week.  Each day I see more of the woman she will become and it takes my breath away.  I am overwhelmed with joy that this astonishing girl is my daughter.


I am blessed.

Happy birthday, my darling girl.


Shall we dance?

Life is gradually slowing down a little here, which is a blessing.  Although we did manage to squeeze in one more day of madness at the weekend.

If you’re a regular reader you’ll already know that in June the kids started taking latin and ballroom dancing lessons.  They’d done ballet and tap when they were teeny tiny but had become very bored with that and so I’d let them drop out of lessons in the hope that it wouldn’t put them off.

They are huge fans of Strictly Come Dancing, and for the past couple of years have been pestering me for ballroom dancing lessons, but I’d been unable to find a class locally that catered for such small folk.

Serendipitously Ma SIL changed hairdressers, and the owner also runs a small local dance studio, Will Foran Dance.

Yeah…we signed them up pretty darn quickly, I can tell you.  And it turns out they love it, and they are pretty good too.  So much so that after only 3 months of lessons they attended their first competition on Sunday.


Boy was hugely worried about dancing in front of the crowd

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but thanks to the wonderful Will he soon started to relax and enjoy the whole thing.

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Button was in her element, of course!

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And managed to dance her way to a recall for the quarter finals, which we’d not even thought could happen and finished me off completely.  I was the most ridiculous and proud mummy…and very teary eyed the whole way through.  Oh, and there may have been shrieking!  Ooops!

So it seems I’m going to have to learn to sew dance costumes and dress hair.  And I don’t mind one bit.  Because not only are they having the most amount of fun, it’s also giving them a huge boost of self confidence…and, oddly, their concentration and performance at school has improved significantly too.

For all those reasons I’m happy to get up at 5am on a Sunday morning to drive to a venue.

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And for this….

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I do apologise for the crappy photos…but, honestly…I was a mess.  I was so proud and so nervous for them.  This was one of the occasions in life where I just wanted to experience it rather than worry about pictures.  Grandad was at work with the video camera.  Fingers crossed for good footage!


….and the living is busy!

So much going on here.  The kids are on holiday from school now for 7 weeks. Already we have a playdate with friends and sleepovers at grandparents planned. A week at playscheme will be a good break for all of us, as will spending the last week with friends in Bedford.  It’s hard to believe but when they go back in September Button will be in juniors.

Needless to say everyone is tired.  Boy threw the mother of all tantrums this morning and after 3 hours (I kid ye not) of yelling and stamping and tears and throwing toys around the place he’s finally asleep.  Button is enjoying the respite as much as I. Things will settle soon after a few days of chillin’.

Husband and I are shattered as, despite not completing the reno on this house, we’re thinking the best option might actually be to move!

I know….it was totally outta the blue for us too.  But our current home is teeny tiny with a garden the size of a postage stamp.  After a recent visit to our friends in Bedford and their half acre garden, Button would stand at our bedroom window wistfully wishing that we could knock the fence down between us and our neighbours.  Add in that we have need of a home office  and a dedicated sewing room and only one small room that could eventually be argued over and we decided it’s time.  Trying to sew, eat and run a business from the kitchen table is getting old! We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at everything on the market that remotely fitted the bill.  We think we may have found the ideal candidate. There’s another interested buyer so we may lose out…time will tell.  I’ll let you know as things develop.

So, as you’d expect, there’s not much creativity happening here.

A little knitting…..


This is Brooklyn Tweed’s Longfellow by Michele Wang which I’m knitting in Drops Alpaca in Navy (colour 5575) for Hubby.


There’s also a quilt to be layered ready for hand quilting:


And a new bag kit that I received as a birthday gift from my in-laws:


Mine will be red leather.

That should keep me occupied over the holidays.  I’m hoping to get a little time at the machine too.  I’ve two lots of fabric for shirts for Boy and the yellow blouse is going to be remade for Button.


I’m planning a version of her Liberty blouse, this time with a pleated front as per her request.

I think it will suit her more than me!

I also have a couple of makes that need photographing.  Perhaps we’ll have a day of nice weather soon and we can get out and about with the camera.

Priority for the next 7 weeks, though, is picnics and playing in the park.  Reading and drawing.  Visits to the zoo and museums.  Playdates and pyjama days.  Pretty much taking the days as they come.  Hopefully without too many meltdowns!  Either theirs or mine!

So posting will sporadic…I’m sure you’ll understand.  In the meantime I’m off to do some colouring with a small girl.  I’ll see you soon.


Fledgling Featherweight in Rowan Fine Lace

Who in their right mind knits a cardigan for a 7 year old in Rowan Lace Weight?


Well, I’ve never claimed to be in my right mind!

And to give credit where it’s due, I took Button yarn shopping at John Lewis and this was the only yarn she would give the time of day to.


I love a girl who knows her mind.  Expect, of course, when her mind is telling her that 7.30pm is too soon to go to bed.  Then we’ll beg to differ!

But back to the knitting.  Fledgling is the small person’s version of Hannah Fettig’s much loved Featherweight cardigan. I loathed knitting every single stitch of it! It’s laceweight knit on 4mm needles and is a slippery, pesky, tiresome knit.

But look at it!  It’s worth every hateful stitch.


It’s the perfect throw on topper for cooler spring days.

It goes with most of her wardrobe (if we ignore the One Direction and girly superhero stuff…which I usually do (sorry Nana!) but Button beelines to, and who am I to argue?).


And it passes the Button wearability test.  Which is always the most important one.


I must, at this point, insert the caveat that this hatefulness is purely subjective because I loathe and detest knitting laceweight on (relatively) big needles.  The pattern itself is delightful.  So much so that this is my second time out with this pattern.  The first incarnation, in white, was a foolish project born of hope triumphing over experience. And common sense. It didn’t last long enough to be photographed before being destroyed by a large and immoveable stain of unknown origin.


This kid cracks me up! She was freezing and boogying to keep warm!

This version is holding up to the trials of small peeps.  It’s been worn several times and is still intact. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll won’t have to knit this again until she grows out of it!

Zoolander has nothing on this girl!  Nothing at all!

Zoolander has nothing on this girl! Nothing at all!

A girl can hope.  Right?

Goodbye old friend


For quite some time now Alice-who-is-a-cat has been getting more frail and raggedy.  She’s been looking somewhat like the cat in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

But last week she went downhill fast and on Tuesday evening it became very apparent (I’ll spare you the details) that it was time to Make The Right Decision.

I thought I was ready.

Turns out I wasn’t.

Alice and I have been together for the best part of 20 years.  We took on the world and won.  We faced good times and bad, shoddy boyfriends (her’s and mine) and too many house moves to count.


She was cantankerous and bolshy.  She could meow for hours on end until you gave up and did whatever it was she wanted.

She held a grudge better than anyone I’ve ever known and was inventive in her revenge.   The Husband will testify to this.  She wasn’t thrilled at moving north and let her ire be known in a most unpleasant fashion.

She was mostly grumpy with me but stood beside me through thick and thin.  She did, however adore Pa, and when Button came along, Alice loved her dearly.  Button loved her right back.


So, when her health deteriorated fast last week, I knew I had to make the right decision. The vet agreed.  It was time.

Alice, who had spent most of her life giving me the evil eye, snuggled up close and said goodbye.  She let me know she was ready to go and that it would all be ok.

And she was right.  She passed quickly and peacefully, and broke my heart whilst doing it.

See…I wasn’t ready at all.

But my one of my amazing friends, when I asked her why we love our furry friends so much, summed it all up perfectly :

“They worm their way into your life and heart and become part of the pattern of your day and your history. So when they die they take more than themselves (which would be enough) they take some of the you that you were with them. And, I think our relationship with pets is more honest and straightforward than with people so it’s a big chunk of you.”

And that, I think, is the most fitting tribute to my oldest friend.


Goodbye, dear old lady…you’re missed so very much.