Thursday, 28 December 2017

Christmas Day

Opening their stockings

Lily is almost always the first one awake in this house and never more so than on Christmas morning. We have a 'not before seven' policy which means they are given short shrift if they show up before seven in the morning. I heard little feet trotting down the corridor several times from half past six (and Lily says they were awake much earlier than that!) as Emma kept coming to check the time on Mark's alarm clock! On the dot of seven, two excited girls and a sleepy little boy who had been woken by aforementioned girls appeared in my room with their stockings. It is hard to be quiet when Father Christmas has filled your stocking whilst you were sleeping! We always have the stocking opening in our room before going downstairs to open the presents from us.

Much excitement (and mess!) ensued downstairs with the present opening and the Podlings were all pleased with their gifts. As usual, I didn't take many photos later in the day, but we had a really nice, relaxed Christmas. Mark's parents came over in the afternoon to spend the day and enjoy Christmas dinner with us and we had a really nice day together. Another wonderful Christmas to add to the store of family memories.

Someone was pleased with his chocolate Santa!

Waiting for Daddy to come downstairs.

One very excited little boy!

When I told him they were all his!

Waiting to start!

Lily is Harry Potter mad and her favourite present was the complete Harry Potter wand collection.


We are not big fans of traditional Christmas cake, so I made a Christmas Victoria sponge instead.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Night Before Christmas

The Podlings on Christmas eve (Tom opted not to be photographed) 

Christmas Eve is so magical, far more so than Christmas Day. The excitement, the anticipation and the sense of magic in the air as the children go off to bed makes it one of the best days of the year for me. As usual, we went to church for the children's Nativity service and then we went back to Mark's parents house for tea and the Podlings got to play with their cousins Grace and Poppy. Then home and into new pyjamas. I am so in love with the nightdress I chose for Emma this year. She is unicorn-obsessed (she was raised by unicorns apparently), so was over the moon when I found this very special nightdress for her. We laid out a mince pie for Father Christmas and a carrot for the reindeer, read 'The Night Before Christmas' and then sent a group of very excited children off to bed.

Alex had a final reading of 'Lucy and Tom at Christmas' by Shirley Hughes before the day itself. It had been his favourite story book for all of December and I always have to read it as 'Emma and Alex at Christmas'. I love Shirley Hughes' books and it is a testament to her charm that although I had to read that book every day (often more than once) for an entire month, I still love it!

Image result for lucy and tom at christmas

It was many more hours before Mark and I got to bed. Thanks to a nasty stomach bug tearing through the family the week before Christmas, I was behind with my wrapping, so it was a late night for us. It is always worth the effort though when the children wake up on Christmas morning and see all the pretty parcels waiting for them. Magical!

That nightdress though! It has a smocked panel of unicorns and has dainty lace at the frilled collar and cuffs. It is so traditional and pretty.

Ready for Father Christmas. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017


Ah, Wallington! What a delightful place! A National Trust property in Northumberland, Wallington consists of a beautiful Grade 1 listed house set in 13,000 acres of land and we barely scratched the surface of the estate on our visit. The house was simply wonderful and I could have spent hours here. The dolls house collection alone would have occupied me for ages. I would dearly love to go back to the house again.

The weather was not great the day we visited, but that didn't stop us from taking a Thermos to the adventure play area. The Podlings are not bothered by rain showers! It was late in the afternoon and it kept raining, so we had the place to ourselves! The play area was fabulous, but we did eventually have to admit defeat with the weather!

I was utterly captivated by Wallington and it now ranks as one of my favourite National Trust properties, along with Cragside (also in Northumberland) and Lanhydrock House in Cornwall. We will definitely be returning here in the future.

The side of the house. I neglected to take a photo of the front

I loved the carpet in one of the bedrooms

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Beach fun!

Morning fun at Crimdon Dene beach. We were so lucky with the weather on our holiday.