Monday, 27 December 2010

Turkey sandwiches, anyone?

Hello! I hope you've had a wonderful Christmas, however you choose to celebrate it, and that you're not too full from turkey and pudding!

CJ and I are, quite literally, well catered for at this time of year - we spend Christmas Day at my parents' house, and then Boxing Day at his parents'! How lucky are we, enjoying two lovely meals over two days? We certainly don't need to do any cooking, because when we get home we're much too full for an evening meal. Unfortunately there's always room for snacking though. We agreed not to buy each other chocolates this year, which was just as well, because we've had loads bought for us, plus a couple of tins of biscuits too. Yum! We're going to eat some of them, but I think we might split them and take some to our respective places of work to share out too. And then from Jan 1st - diet time! (Not tomorrow, like the title of this blog...)

So I hope Santa brought you what you hoped for! I received lots of lovely presents; I do every year, but this year was exceptionally good - I was so happy with everything.

I got a bit of bling! Only joking, there's nothing of value really, except sentimental. A new watch, a silver necklace with a heart-shaped pendant and amethyst stone, and a silver Medic Alert bracelet (with heart-shaped chains).

I've been thinking about getting one of these for a while, and finally got around to it this year. On the back of the pendant it lists your main health problems/conditions, medication, allergies etc, and you also get a card to keep in your purse/wallet. I have a dicky ticker (have had open-heart surgery twice, plus a pacemaker) so I thought it would be a good idea to have one. And that's why I like heart-shaped things!

I also got lots of books, but they were all ones that I asked for, so I was very happy with them.

Let's see, there are the latest ones from Bill Bryson and Dan Brown. I spotted the Bill Bryson one in a bookshop in Oban, the last time we were in Scotland. I'm not usually a fan of hardbacks, I'd rather wait for them to come out in paperback, but I'm such a fan of his writing that I decided I'd cope with it! I know Dan Brown is a bit of a 'marmite' author to a lot of people, but I read his other books and enjoyed them for what they are, exciting page-turners. I'm not overly worried if they're not historically accurate or whatever, they're just a good read.

There are a couple by Anita Shreve, who is a favourite author, and also books by Dorothy Koomson, Alice Hoffman, Susan Hill and Anne Tyler. Andrew Greig is, I believe, a Scottish novelist - I haven't read anything by him before, but the two books by him seemed to get good reviews, so I'm looking forwards to getting stuck into them. There's also a book called The Turn Of The Screw, which contains that story and four or five others. I think these are kind of Victorian ghost stories, which I enjoy. I don't think it's possible to get a really scary ghost story, because at the end of the day, it's all down to your own imagination, but I do think these Victorian / Gothic ones are some of the best. In fact, I think Susan Hill has written one or two ghost stories which I've enjoyed. Did she do The Woman In White, or The Woman In Black? I get them confused! I think Wilkie Collins is another one. And last year I got a book called The Haunting Of Hill House (I think it's by Shirley Jackson) which was a good 'ghost' story. I later watched the film (the original black and white version) which was also good, and being an old film, didn't rely on any special effects - it was all down to your imagination, as I say, and good acting. Anyway, I'm going to wait for a dark evening when I'm alone in the house, curl up in an armchair with just a lamp on, and read The Turn Of The Screw and try and scare myself witless! Can't wait!

I also got a few books about Scotland and it's history. I briefly mentioned before that I'm kind of obsessed with the Scottish Highlands - almost all of our holidays have been up there (thanks to CJ letting me choose all the time) and my dream is to live there permanently one day. However, during our last holiday (back in October) we visited a little museum in Mallaig which, amongst other things, had some displays about the Highland Clearances. I'd heard of them, and was vaguely aware that it was something of a troubled time in Scotland's history, to put it mildly, but that was about all I knew. So I decided that, if I'm going to claim to be such a devotee of the area, it's only right that I should know something about it's past, and how it came to be the place that I love now. I've obviously thought about reading up on Scotland before though, because I already had these few:

and I've already decided to start reading the one in the top right, called The Sea Kingdoms, which is about the history of Celtic Britain and Ireland. The one underneath that is called Night Falls On Ardnamurchan; it was the Ardnamurchan Peninsula where we were on holiday in October, and where we've been twice before. I'd fully recommend a visit if gorgeous wildlife, stunning views and breathtaking scenery is your thing.

As well as the above, a couple of other presents which I love are:

my new dressing gown (again, with the hearts!) - it's a lovely soft brushed fleece material and I have to touch it every time I walk past it, because it's gorgeous!

My mum bought me this lip balm:

and I can hardly bring myself to throw away the box because it's so lovely (never mind the little tins themselves), and just not something I'd usually buy myself (I'm more of a plain lip-balm-in-a-stick kind of person). The flavours are rose petal and fig and cherry, but I've only tried the rose petal so far (very nice).

My mum also bought me a red-with-white-spots knitting bag, plus a matching ball of wool holder, although I forgot to take photos of them. I will get around to it and upload them later. Mischief has already tried the knitting bag for size, he just about fit in it.

One of the other presents that I was most excited about wasn't even for me, it was for the cats! In fact, I was definitely more impressed than they were! I've treated them to a water fountain. They're both obsessed with drinking from the bath taps, which from what I've read, is quite a common thing amongst most cats. Ours always have a bowl of water down, because they have a dry food diet, but I was aware that they weren't always too keen on drinking from the bowl. When I saw how much they liked drinking from the taps, I wondered if there was something similar that I could buy for them, and after a bit of googling, found that there's actually a huge market for pet fountains. They're suitable for both dogs and cats, although I think cats are a bit more finicky about what they drink and from where, and are therefore more likely to not drink enough, and suffer from kidney problems as a result. So I read all the reviews and made a purchase, and I couldn't wait to see what they made of it on Christmas morning! Mischief was the first to investigate it - he was quite interested, and it didn't take him long to have a drink out of it, but then he wandered off - it's only water, after all. I didn't have my camera handy for him, but later on I managed to entice Millie downstairs and introduce her to it, and get a few photos:

(Excuse the messy floor, they get biscuits everywhere!). (And sorry about the colour, I think I was trying it with and without the flash). As you can see, there are three different levels to drink from, and she was quite interested in the little 'waterfall' part of it. I don't mind if they 'play' with the water, as long as it encourages them to drink from it too. Now that they've got this, I'm going to try and keep them out of the bathroom so that hopefully they'll just drink from here, and leave the taps alone!

So that's just a few of my lovely pressies. The problem I've got now is trying to find the time to read my books, as well as fit in my crochet and knitting! When I'm doing one, I'll be thinking about the other!

Speaking of crochet, I'm up to about 13 squares now, so not far to go till they're finished, then I'll have to make a start on the other side. I'm pretty pleased with how it's coming along, but I'm already thinking about what I want to do next. I've seen a pattern for a knitted cardigan which is supposedly suitable for beginners (that's me!) so I wouldn't mind having a go at that. I'm also thinking that I'd like to make some presents for next Christmas(!), like scarves, hats, gloves etc, so I probably should start on them asap! And it's occurred to me that, because I've only done 'granny squares' so far, I really only know how to do treble crochets, chains and slip stitches, so I really ought to learn some new crochet stitches. Basically, lots of ideas and thoughts in my head, but just not enough time in each day to make them a reality!! I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking like that though!!

Anyway, I've waffled on a lot in this post, so I think I'm going to call it a day for now. Don't forget, however you've stumbled across my blog, if you've read this far I'd love for you to leave a comment, even if it's just to say hello!

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