Monthly Archives: November 2023

Christmas Preparations Continuing!

The one benefit of having to be in all day and up very early is that I am getting a lot done for Christmas.

Here is the Christmas cake after baking for four hours.  It will be wrapped in grease proof paper and tin foil and “fed” some brandy over the next week or so and then it will have marzipan and Royal icing put on it ready for the big day.

I also got all our Christmas cards written today, all 100 of them!

I am in the process of making another sixty mince pies and tomorrow after home jobs I will be making the Christmas cookies.

The plumbers have fitted the bath today and toilet and the sink will be tomorrow and they just have to finish all the waste and water pipes and then make sure there are no leaks of course.  Then they will give it a good clean.  Cannot wait to have a bath!

Coco is coming home on Friday morning and then I will be getting on with some other jobs I need to do.

We woke up this morning to a hard frost on the garden and all the cars were frosted over.  It has been bright and sunny all day so once again it will be frosty tonight!  So if we don’t get any snow it will be white with frost!


“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is the time for home”

Edith Sitwell

I think the above quote embodies Winter and particularly Christmas.  When I am baking it reminds me so much of being with my Grandma and helping her with all the Christmas preparations during the School Winter holidays.  My Grandmother taught me to bake and I used to help her making the Christmas cake and pudding, the mince pies and she would pluck the goose, which we always had for Christmas dinner and I would pick up the feathers to stuff cushions with.  She also used to make marzipan fruits (below) but they are quite tricky to make and only Eldest likes them!!! 

Fortnum & Mason

She always used to make her own wreath for the front door and I would help my Grandfather collect the greenery and holly to make it and decorate the home.  We also used to make Christmas ornaments for the tree and to give as presents, as well as baked goods and the chutneys and jams that Grandma had made during the summer.  My Grandparents were of the era where you grew and made everything your self and only bought necessities.

This is my Grandmother in 1926 aged 22.

I am so glad that she taught me how to do all this and that I am able in a small way to do it now.

Happy Wednesday you lovely lot. 

Hugs & Love, Susie xx


As a lot of you who follow my Blog know I have been working from home now for thirty one years.  Which was a laugh during Covid because lots of people were working from home for the first time ever and it was a novelty, but for me it was business as usual!

We still have the Plumbers with us but they are cracking on and each night we get to see what they have finished.  So far we have a new floor and wall, new tiles on the floor and walls and the bath came in yesterday although it is not fixed yet.  The Plasterer was here yesterday so we do not now have a hole in the ceiling!  Although DH and I had to clean everything down because plaster dust goes everywhere!

The Christmas Cake all wrapped up and ready for its four hour cooking!

The Christmas Pudding in its basin.  It will be covered and “rest” overnight before being steamed tomorrow.

The reason I mentioned working from home is that you do have the luxury of taking a few hours off here or there or the whole morning or afternoon or the whole day to do other jobs!  Because I have been so far behind with things I have spent the day working and baking!  I have been getting up at 5.00am so have been able to get quite a few jobs done before the Plumbers arrive at 8.00am.  Tonight I have the presents to finish wrapping (I ran out of paper!) and tomorrow it is card writing and more baking (!).  Thursday morning will be home jobs and in the afternoon more baking if I don’t get it finished tomorrow! 

The Plumbers will be finished by Thursday, so Coco is coming home Friday morning, yeah.  I have missed her lovely furry face!   Friday afternoon I have one or two other jobs to get done and DH is out at another Christmas Light switch on, so I have quite a few hours to spare then.  Saturday morning we are getting our Christmas tree and when we have sorted and paid for it, we get to go for breakfast out.  Saturday is also Youngest’s Birthday so we are out in the evening for dinner.   Sunday we will get to decorate the tree and our home and Eldest and Girlfriend are coming round in the morning.  Sunday evening is our Village Light Switch on and DH is compering that too. 

(Edgar Degas)

I have told all our lot that they can have showers but I am the first to have a bath!!! Can’t wait.  I always read in the bath so I may be a few hours!!!!!  It won’t be entirely finished as we have decided to put new lighting in which DH needs to do (when he gets a sec!!!!) and I am waiting for a new mirror to be delivered and some other bits for it but we will be able to use it which is the main thing.

I am aiming to get pictures of everything Christmas this year and will show you here on the Blog! 

Our weather has turned really quite cold, apparently we have Scandinavia to thank for this cold front!  It is going below freezing every night this week and not much above it during the day, although it has been sunny today, which I love.  Cold frosty days with the sun shining.  I think we can say that Winter has arrived rather than coming (for all you Game of Thrones Fans!).

Happy Tuesday everyone. 

Hugs & Love, Susie xx

Christmas Has Arrived!

Yesterday DH, Eldest, Girlfriend, The Girls and I went to Great Central Railway in Loughborough to see Santa on the steam train.  Fortunately the day was clear and sunny when we arrived although it got misty as evening came on.

This is the Ticket Office and entrance to the Rails.

The Signal and Porters Lodge

We went and looked at the Museum

The four of them stood by The Station Master’s Office.

On the Train waiting to leave.

Eldest & Girlfriend.

Parcels waiting on the Station.

Eldest & Girlfriend’s Youngest.

Santa arrived and brought a gift for both Girls.

The Cafe at Rothley Station.

The decorations in the garage which had twinkling lights.

Santa and The Girls.

Picture Time.

On our way back to Loughborough and it was getting dark so the lights were all very bright.

Here are Eldest & Youngest with Santa from 2007. Eldest was 12 and Youngest Eight, on the very same steam train!

We all had a lovely day and came home and had Lasagna & Salad for dinner.

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and great week to come.  December at the end of this week and then the next few weeks to Christmas will fly by!!!! 

Hugs & Love, Susie xxx


Susie’s Friday Book Club.

Here is November’s Book Club!  I know it’s late!!!!!

DH bought this for me a few years ago and I love it.  It has lots of receipes and anecdotes of Christmases at The Ritz in London. I have used several of the recipes from it for various Christmas dinners especially the Cranberry sauce one to go with the turkey. 

The first Chapter tells you about how The Ritz prepare for Christmas from the week before to Boxing Day and the second Chapter tells you about the customs and traditions of Christmas and how they came to be.  Then there are the recipes and there is also a Chapter of gift ideas and things to make. 

If you love Christmas then this is a must for your Bookshelf.


I wanted to show you this, above.  It is the Christmas Tree in St. Pancras International Train Station in London.  A Bookshelf Tree!  Now how about that for an idea!  It has been sponsored by Hatchards, my favourite Book Store in London, and was built over the course of a few days on the main concourse.  This is the train station that we go into if we go by Train but sadly I have not seen it in person!  There are nooks around the bottom of the tree for people to sit and read in.  To be honest if I did go there I probably would not move and just read all day!!!!!

Hatchards, London.  The Oldest London Bookstore established in 1797.  It is also next door to Fortnum & Mason!

Happy Winter Reading. 

Hugs & Love, Susie xx


Susie’s Friday Book Club.

Completely behind with the Book Club, I really don’t know where the weeks go to!  Here is October’s Book Club!

This is the final book in the series by Matthew Reilly regarding Jack West and his journey through seven books.  I am glad that I did not have to wait for the final book as I had sort of forgotten about the series until I saw it advertised. 

Jack West has been fighting against a shaddow group of people who actually run the World and all the Governments answer to them.  Their aim is to bring about the downfall of all the countries so that they are able to rule in the open once and for all.  There are many twists and turns through the books and he is helped by a loyal band of friends with different skill sets, think Mission Impossible and James Bond rolled into one! 

This last book does not disappoint and do they save the world?  Well have a read it is really good!

It will be a few years but I will read all these again as they are so good!

Happy Reading! 

Hugs & Love, Susie xx


Happy Thanksgiving US.

Happy Thanksgiving to All My American Friends & Followers

Although this is not a Holiday in the UK, I am very Thankful for my family; DH, Eldest,  Girlfriend & Bump, Youngest & Girlfriend & Coco.  Our extended Family, Judy & Lars, Elaine, Jackie & Neil.  My very good friends Jayne and Family, Sue & Molly & Susan & Tara.  Our friends who have become our Family; Dave & Carol, Anne & Chris, Val & Dave, Chris & Pete, Pat & Alan, Tricia & Kevin.  Also Del & Tony and Helen & Ted, friends from work.

I hope those that do celebrate Thanksgiving have a lovely Day and long weekend and don’t get too tired shopping all the Black Friday deals!!!

Hugs & Love, Susie xx

Wednesday – Middle of the Week.

It is grey and horrible here today and it has been raining.  Good job the pumbers are indoors and not out!  They are getting on really well; the floor is done and the walls and all the new pipework so they are now going to be doing the tiles.  Can’t wait to get it all done and I will show you pictures.

Certainly not been hanging the washing out and in fact trying to get it done has been a challenge as the plumbers have the water turned off for most of the day.  It also means that the heating is not on and it has been quite cold and damp over the last few days, so I have taken to wearing a jumper and a thick cardigan to keep warm! 

I am busy getting the Christmas presents wrapped, labelled and put into piles as I have to get some posted off so need to sort those out first.  Next job will be the Christmas cards and then the rest of the Christmas baking.  I have quite a few To Do lists going at the moment but am ticking the jobs off slowly!  At least being at home for this week and next means I have lots of time to get jobs done.  With the weather being yuck it is quite nice to be doing Christmas things.  I will show you some pictures when I am done.

I forgot to show you this.  When it was our Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary DH bought me some lovely pearl earings from Coleman Douglas Pearls of London.  All of the designs are done by the wonderful Chrissie Douglas (below) founder of Coleman Douglas.  So for our Thirty Fifth he bought me this lovely gold and pearl braclet.  In the five years we have known Chrissie she has become a very good friend.

When we saw her in London she was telling us all about the new display which is about to open in Fortnum & Mason with all different styles of pearls created by Chrissie.

Chrissie likes to say these are not your Grandmother’s pearls and her designs are amazing.  I inherited pearls from my Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother and Chrissie re-strung them.  I have also received for various events a pearl necklace from DH and Chrissie redesigned a necklace that DH gave me for our Twentieth anniversary which never sat correctly.  There is going to be an event in February next year and we are going to go down and support her. 

Youngest is out tonight at Swimming Club coaching, DH & Eldest are out tonight for dinner together as they are giving blood later.  Me – dinner for one and ironing! Oh joy!

I hope you are all having a great week.

Hugs & Love, Susie xx



Coco’s Corner.

We had a postcard from Coco, whilst she is on her holidays!  She is having an amazing time but we are all missing her very much!  However the way the weeks are flying by she will soon be home, although I am sure the first few days will be a challenge as she will have been allowed to get away with things!!!!

See you soon Coco. 

Hugs & Love, Susie, DH, Eldest & Youngest xxxx



I blink and I miss a week!  I don’t know where last week went but I do know it was chaos (Warning Picture Heavy Post!)

DH and I had a lovely time in London.  We went down on Thursday November 9th and met a friend for lunch and then had dinner in Covent Garden, which was all decked out for Christmas.

An old bus transformed into a Gin Bar outside the Transport Museum at Covent Garden.  I am reliably informed by DH that this is the sort of bus he and his friends went to school on!

The decorations inside one of the halls in Covent Garden, they are different every year.

There were some musicians playing classical music when we arrived and we thought it would be great whilst we got a coffee, until the woman arrived to sing Opera, she was not very good!

This is a display window of an old fashioned toy store which actually covers up the fire fighting equipment!

This was above where we sat with our coffee, it reminded me of a Christmas Minion!  We sent it to the Boys!

Thursday evening we ate dinner in Covent Garden at Brown’s.

Which is next door to the Noel Coward Theatre.

This is one of hundred’s of pubs across London but just in Covent Garden.

Friday we had a nice relaxing day.  We did pop out to do a bit if Christmas shopping and went to my favourite store, Fortnum & Mason who were also ready for Christmas.

It was busy but not as busy as it will be nearer to the big day!  Sometimes you cannot move in the store for people!

Saturday was the day we were going to see the Harry Potter Play, which starts where the last film ended.  However there was going to be a huge demonstration in the capital on the Saturday, part of which was going pass the end of the road that our hotel is on. We decided to leave at 11.30am to get to the theatre for the performance at 2.00pm just in case.  Good job we did as we were not far from where we were going when three police vans pulled up along side the taxi and lots of Police came pouring out heading in the direction we were going!  It did not last long and the road opened again but well it always happens to DH and I. 

There as this little pub just across the road from the theatre so we had a drink and snack in there until it was time to queue to get in.

It was a typical London pub!

Because of the Stop Oil people invading the stage at one of the other theatres, we had to have our bags searched thoroughly, we were then wanded and our tickets checked before we even got in the theatre!  The Play is split into two parts so we went to the afternoon performance, went round the corner to a lovely Italian restaurant for dinner and then back to the theatre for the evening performance! 

Was it worth it?  Yes we liked the play although DH thought it was a bit long winded.  What was very good were the special effects to create the “magic”.  Very hard to do live but so easy to do on film with CGI.  It was a long day and we didn’t get back to the hotel until 10.00pm.

We had tea by the fire.

Sunday was of course Rememberance Sunday and we watched on TV but could here the Guns and band from the hotel which was great.  We left the hotel afterwards when the roads had re-opened. 

Eldest was on parade with the Fire Service in Ashbourne where he is an on-call fire fighter.  We said when we saw this that he looks about twelve with the hat on!!! 

It was back down to earth with a bump on Monday morning with work and everything else that needed doing.  It is always the same when you have a holiday!  Last week flew by work.  Jayne and I got to have lunch on Tuesday which was very nice but the rest of the week was busy with work.  The weekend DH was at Matlock swimming pool for a swimming open both days.  I got quite a bit done but still need to finish some jobs off.  As DH told everyone at the Open yesterday it is only five weeks to Christmas!  OMG!!!!

Have a wonderful week you lovely lot! 

Hugs & Love, Susie xx

PS Coco is not here for the next two weeks, she is on her holidays too, as the plumbers started today doing the new bathroom!  I cannot wait although I think it is going to be a long two weeks!!!