Monday 31 December 2012

happy new year

may you always be blessed ...
with walls for the wind ...
a roof for the rain ...
a warm cup of tea by the fire ...
laughter to cheer you ...
those you love near you ...
and all that your heart may desire ...

an irish blessing

Wishing you all a truly Happy New Year.  I hope it brings much happiness and joy. x

52 weeks of happy (13/52)

Timely.  My week 13 happies on the eve of 2013.

Four simple, happy things for my 52 weeks of happy.

Our surprise visitors on Chrismas Eve. Just magical.

A wonderful Christmas full of family, fun, food and love.

Beautiful blue skys on winter walks.  So lovely to get some fresh air.

A great day out to W5 in Belfast, an interactive discovery centre for the kids. They had an absolute ball playing and discovering and to top off a great experience we got to travel on the Winter Express train and meet Jack Frost.

Another week full of happy.

Wishing you all happiness for the coming week.

Friday 28 December 2012

christmas magic

On Christmas Eve we had two surprise visitors.  No, not Santa and Rudolph. We, like many homes were anticipating their arrival but our visitors were a genuine surprise.  In fact, they nearly gave Mr F a heart attack.

After laying out some hay and carrots on our patio table for the reindeer, and a mince pie and beer for Santa, donning new pyjamas and reading favourite Christmas stories, the little ones were tucked up for the night.

I was elbow deep in ingredients for our Christmas dinner when I realised I needed some parsley for the stuffing so Mr F kindly offered in sous chef capacity to get some from our vegetable patch.

He returned, a few minutes later, visibly shocked and exclaiming "you've got to see this".  Well, what could I do but have a look.  And there they were.  Our surprise guests enjoying a meal of reindeer food from our patio table.

Mr F thought they were reindeer at first, hence the initial shock.  He had just heard the munching and popped round the side of the house to have a look and was met with two hairy behinds.  Little wonder he was a bit shaken.

The little donkeys have taken up residence in our neighbour's field right next to our house.  He has kindly taken them in, for now at least.  We can only presume they have been dropped off.  A sad sign of the times. Once loved pets that have proven too expensive.

But they have been lucky to find their way here.  I will keep you posted on what happens.


I posted today on modflowers about some pretty things I love.  Gorgeous screen printed ceramics which are definitely on my wishlist.  Take a peep if you get a chance.


Thursday 27 December 2012


Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  We had good times here.  Santa visited and was very kind.  We have ate, drank and made merry.  So today we are chilling.

I am guest posting today at modflowers.  I've shared a recipe for a lovely festive dessert.  Pop over and take a look if you can bring yourself to think about more food. 

Monday 24 December 2012

merry christmas : 52 weeks of happy (12/52)

Wishing all of you lovelies a very Merry Christmas and a stocking full of Christmas joy.  Have a good one.

My 52 weeks of happy.  I have had many happies this week but sadly limited photo opportunities, so for the record, week 12.  My four simple happy things.

Going to see our two boys perform in their school nativity play.
Seeing the look of delight in my little man's eyes when he won a prize in the school raffle.
Receiving lovely gifts in the post and finishing up school on Friday. A two week break from routine. Lovely.

I am guest posting today at modflowers.  I have been making paper stars.  It would be lovely if you could visit.

Sunday 23 December 2012

a little excursion

Just a quickie to let you know I am delighted to be guest posting over at modflowers today and during next week.  Pop over and visit.  I would love to see you there.

Thursday 20 December 2012

for the birds

Winter is here with its cold and frost so we've been making seed cakes for the wild birds in our garden.  I couldn't forget my feathered friends.

We used solid vegetable fat and an autumn and winter bird seed mix.  The process is simple so little ones can get involved and help.

With an adult's help melt the fat over a gentle heat until it becomes liquid and pour carefully into the seed mix. Stir well.  The seed mix should be well coated and appear shiny and wet.  This ensures it sticks together in the mould.

For fun we used christmas cookie cutters to make the seed cakes but you could use any container to hold them together.  Empty yoghurt pots would work well. The fat solidifies as it cools and holds the seed cake together.

We made a hole by inserting a bamboo skewer into the seed cake as it set.  Once solidified press out of the cookie cutters.  They are best left overnight to harden completely.  Test them gently.  They should not be crumbly. Finally thread some string through the hole for hanging.

Hang out in the garden, sit back with a cuppa and watch the birds enjoying a winter feast.


My second little boy has a serious nut allergy so I sought out a seed mix which didn't contain nuts. Just something you should consider if any of you are in the same situation and want to make seed cakes with your little ones.

Monday 17 December 2012

a winner

Two posts in one day.  Must be some kind of record,  Anyway on to the business at hand.

With the able assistance of my eldest we popped all the names in the hat or stocking in this case . I thought we should keep it festive.  He dipped in and drew out a winner.

The lucky lady is Jo from Binds you to me.

So if you could let me know your address Jo I will pop your parcel in the post. Thanks to everyone who took part.  I will no doubt do another in the new year.

I'm off out later to the school nativity play.  Cue manic maternal pride.

52 weeks of happy (11/52)

My four simple happy things this week.  It's feeling festive now.  Joining in with Jen at little birdie.

Jen is guest posting at modflowers today and during the week, pop over and visit.

Taking the wee ones to visit Santa Claus at Castle Coole.  He was staying there while training the reindeer.

My granny and grandad's nativity, now mine.  I love it for the memories.

A beautiful gift in the post from the very lovely Caroline. Thank you.

Making with the little ones.  More on that later.

Hope you are all enjoying much happiness of your own.


I'll be back later with the giveaway winner.  I just have to organise the mystery hand.

Friday 14 December 2012


Things have gone a little quiet here lately.  I've been busy.  I'm sure you are all in the same boat. Time is rolling on and my little ones are counting sleeps until Christmas Eve.

source: pinterest -

I've been elving. Wrapping presents ready to deliver, writing Christmas cards and fashioning shepherds costumes out of teatowels and old shirts for the school nativity play.

Enjoying Aladdin, a school trip to a pantomine with my two little boys. Placing the order for our turkey and writing a list for the grocery shop.  And of course some baking and crafting.

I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas, whatever that means in your home.

Pop by and enter my giveaway if you haven't already.  It will end this Sunday.


In the absence of any light to take photos I added this one found on pinterest.  I love the simplicity of the tree but I can't see the little ones going for it though.

Monday 10 December 2012

52 weeks of happy (10/52)

52 weeks of happy, my four simple happy things taken from a lovely relaxed weekend.

A lake view near where I live on a still winter afternoon. On days like this the water is like a sheet of glass.

An ivy leaf found by my eldest while out walking.  He thought it looked like an alien.  I love the bright yellow colour.

Crafting these little linen stars.

And the beginnings of one of my favourite meals, beetroot and goats cheese risotto.

What's making you happy at the moment?

Sunday 9 December 2012

o christmas tree

I'm feeling properly festive now.  Christmas had definitely arrived here.  The whole house had been cleaned from top to bottom, a little problem of mine.  I couldn't contemplate putting the decorations up until I have annihilated every little dust bunny which dares to bounce along the floorboards.  Do any of you suffer from this affliction.  It's the same when I'm going on holiday, I can't bear to leave a messy house behind.  But enough about my obsessions.

Our Christmas decorations have been gathered year by year since Mr F and I first moved in together. They are a happy mish mash of gifts from family, some belonged to my granny, some we bought on honeymoon. Each with a special memory attached.

On honeymoon, we met a lovely lady who told us she had bought or made a new decoration each Christmas for her son as he grew up, so when he left home he had a ready made collection to take with him and build upon.

I thought it was a great tradition so each year I like to choose an ornament or decoration for each of our little ones.  The fun is finding something a bit different.  Last years were these lovely little china snowmen.

And finally, our Christmas tree.

Don't you think the tree doesn't look nearly as pretty in the daylight as it does at night when it's all lit up and sparkling. Maybe that's the magpie in me. I will try and get a decent night time picture but for now I am too impatient to wait.

If you're interested and haven't already, don't forget to pop over and enter my giveaway.  You never know you might just be lucky.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

lovely things: sanna annukka and a giveaway

Another lovely thing.  One of my favourite artists is Sanna Annukka. I adore her beautiful screenprints and have been a fan for a long time now.

The colours, patterns and style of her work really appeal to me and her new prints feature birds.  Be still my heart.


I had mentioned a little while ago that I would host a little giveaway.

I would like to send one of you a copy of the lovely new book illlustrated by Sanna Annukka which tells the story of The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Andersen. Some of you may already know it.  It is very beautiful and a joy to own.

So to take part all I ask are two things.  Please leave a comment on this post and follow the linen cloud if you don't already.

The closing date for the giveaway is 16th December when I will choose a winner at random.  I will let you know who got lucky in a blog post on Monday 17th.

So good luck lovely people.

Monday 3 December 2012

52 weeks of happy (9/52)

My simple happy things for this week.  I never imagined when I started this how quickly the weeks would fly by but I love the process of choosing four things which represent the happiness of the past week.

Thank you Jen for inspiring me.

My four happies.

Brotherly love.  A really sensible man to man chat about superheroes.

Daffodil and narcissi bulbs which we planted this week.  I'm looking forward to a burst of sunshine yellow in the spring.

A beautiful, structural seed head.

A little bird found at a local market for peanuts.  With my love for birds, I couldn't pass it by.

Hope you all have a happy week.
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