Reflecting on my week #61

Since Friday I’ve had some flashes of brilliance with my Christmas shopping and while I’ll still have to go to some shops, I hit on the idea of getting some presents delivered to the shops, so all I need to do is collect them - genius hey? I’m not sure why I didn’t this before, and so now with a delivery or two I think I’m going to be all set for our family ‘fake’ Christmas this coming Sunday. There’s some wrapping to do, and some wrapping paper to buy, but that’s doable.

I’ve had a couple of nights out this week, so Christmas has started. I was rather proud of our gingerbread house from the Neff and Currys PC World blogger’s evening, and with the 3D tree too. The tree is made of three circles of gingerbread decreasing in size with a triangular piece standing upright for the top. It’s held together with dollops of icing and slathered with green icing around the outside, and dotted with jelly bean ‘decorations’ - and pretty effective, I think.

My 3D gingerbread christmas tree

My fingers were green from the icing at the end, but it’s something I’d do again. It was great to meet new bloggers and to catch up with some I already knew, and to meet people in real life that I’d not met before, including Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy who said she’d read that gingerbread houses were done and 3D trees were the thing this year.

So somehow I’ve managed to be ‘on trend’ without realising it, when actually I’d just worked out how to supercharge our creations with icing! I’ve some gingerbread in the freezer so I think I might give this another go at home, if I get time. I tried once before to make a 3D tree out of shortbread, and that was way harder as it just crumbled…

I woke up Saturday full of cold, and with no idea where it had come from, or a hint that it was on its way. It’s the sinus-affecting type of cold, which is generally the sort I get, but even so, there’s usually some build up. Our plans, which were quite flexible this weekend, were revised as there’s no point going out for dinner when breathing is problematic, and food is all but tasteless.

There were plenty of jobs to get done this weekend, including a wine shop, which also came with a free bottle of gin - don’t mind if I do. And finally we had enough time to put one of the bookcases into its new home. The bookcase has been lodging in our spare bedroom since the conservatory work earlier in the year, having moved from the conservatory temporarily. However when we reloaded the conservatory we made some changes to the furniture in there, which left it stranded.

A new home for one of our bookcases

With a bit of “to me, to you” the bookcase moved up a floor and into space cleared for it in the study. But clearing a space for it was like one of those space puzzles, as you’d imagine we didn’t just have this empty space hanging around. We had two smaller IKEA units in this space, which will now be moved into the other spare bedroom as bedside tables, which is their original purpose, and of course all of these units were full of stuff. In fact, don’t tell MOH, but generally there’s a lot of stuff in the study, sssh!

A lot of this weekend was spent rearranging the spaces, and at one point MOH pointed out that now instead of having one messy room, that was now three, and I’m not sure he was convinced when I said that tidying up and sorting things out always gets worse before it gets better. And it has started to get better, for one thing, we can see a lot more floor in the study-come-craft-room now.

Books in the bookcase and a chair close by

The bookcase is filled, my chair is back in place - it’s a great place to sit and ponder - and I’ve a plan to move my noticeboard to the space above the chair, which frees up a flat wall for a black and white picture we’re not sure will hang on a slopey wall, or more precisely, if it’ll stay there. It was quite cathartic to sort through some old paperwork, reminisce a bit and get rid of most of the unsentimental bits, and now I’ve a pile for shredding and an almost-full recycling bin.

Something else peculiar happened this weekend, I’d noticed that the towel rack above the bath had an unhealthy slant and so I asked MOH to fix it. And he did, almost immediately. Which was quite unexpected, but obviously very welcome and I’m sure unfair of me. But, as the saying goes, I’m not sure what’s happened, or who’s got my real husband, but it’s ok, as I’m happy to keep this one that actually listens!

There’s still some more sorting out to do - and some charity shop runs to do, as well as some other tasks to get the rooms straight, but I think we’re going to get it done, and I’m hopeful that I might finally get my craft storage sorted and usable, as I think it’ll make all the difference to be able to get to things without moving everything first.

Along with those Christmas presents I’ve ordered some new storage boxes for one of the to-be bedside tables, for MOH to use to store his ‘indoor’ tools. He tells me he won’t need many, but I suspect he’s underestimated his storage requirements and have two 20 x 30 x 40 cm rubberwood boxes on order. If he doesn’t need them both, then that’s some extra storage sorted, which is always welcome.

He still thinks I’ve got too much stuff, but actually being able to do some crafts will surely reduce my stash… All I need to do is find some time to put my plans into action - I’ve a lot pinned on the break I have at Christmas when my office shuts, although if I’m lucky, in reality will be three days, and I’m bound to have a list that’s way too long, but hopefully not so long that the only thing that happens is procrastinating - we’ll see.

I need to get that Christmas shopping done first though, how are you getting on with yours?

Post Comment Love & Blogger Showcase 7-9 December

Hello there and welcome to this week’s #PoCoLo a friendly linky where you can link any post published in the last week. If you were here last week, it was great to see you and if you’re new here this week, then you’re very welcome. Both Morgan and I know you’ll find some great posts to read, and encourage you to pop over to some of the posts linked and take the time to leave a comment or two so that everyone benefits from some extra love.

The only progress I’ve made since last week on Christmas is the start of Christmas nights out, more mince pies and munching my way through part of the gingerbread house I helped to make at a Neff and Currys PC World blog evening. And while the gingerbread house - and its 3D tree - was a success, it’s not going so well over here, and with that shorter deadline I may even have to go into some actual shops soon.

Wish me luck…

A gingerbread house

Blogger Showcase: Montana from The Moody Mum

1. Who am I?

I am a mama of two who comes from a small hometown, trying to make it as a parent in the city life. I am used to having a yard, and a large space to go outside and play, we are now living in a 1 bedroom apartment - which is surprisingly the norm around here for new families. I had my children very far apart - nine years, so trying to navigate parenting between two very different life stages is a challenge, but one I accept with arms open. I grew up dancing on the stage - ballet and tap, something I still enjoy to this day. I am a huge bookworm, and love to create in the kitchen.

2. How did I discover blogs/blogging?

I have a background in working with people who suffer with addiction problems. As much as I love my job, it really drains me. I was always interested in blogging and creating websites and doing something more for myself, but I never knew what I would write about. Who would want to read anything I created? I had always had this idea to start a blog - and had been following some of my favourites for awhile. It was more a courage thing for me, what if I fail? What if nobody reads it? I finally realised that none of that matters. What matters to me is how I feel when I am writing, and it makes me feel great about myself, a definite sense of accomplishment. 

3. Why did I start blogging? 

I started blogging after I had my daughter. Being at home on maternity leave I have a ton of free time and to be honest, I was getting bored. I finally realised that I have something that interests me, and something that I would enjoy writing about. Being a mama! 

4. What do I find most challenging?

When you are starting out as a blogger, or with any new website really, it takes up a lot of your time. It really is like my third baby these days. Whenever I am not parenting, I am on the computer writing, researching, jotting down ideas for future posts. I know my spouse thinks that I am spending too much time on the computer and maybe I am. Finding a balance is tricky.

5. What is my favourite topic to write about?

I have a lot of information on my site, some about teething, breastfeeding, what stay at home moms do in a day, and those are all great but my number one favourite thing to write about is my day to day life with my family. I am actually a recovering drug addict and have come so far in my life and I don't ever want to take that for granted. My life looked very different not so long ago, and there were times that I had no family around me because I was so deep in my addiction. I am so proud of where I am today, and the family that I have created. 

6. Are you blogging for fun, or do you have goals?

Both! There is a definite plan to create an income out of what I am doing, but I really do love the writing. As long as someone, just one person can take away something from my words than I am happy. 

7. What is your favourite thing about blogging?

That nothing is off limits! You can literally write about ANYTHING, and someone will most likely be interested in it. It kind of reminds me of being young and keeping a journal, it’s like a secret that you write down not knowing if your mom is going to read it. I love seeing the reactions to my posts, and reading all of the comments.

8. Have you ever attended a blogging conference?

No, I have not. It is something that I would love to experience at some point in my life though. 

9. What are your three best posts?

My favourite post so far is: My life as a mom, the things nobody talks about - it is literally the down and dirty nitty gritty details about childbirth and after that nobody ever wants to tell you! 

Happy Six months to our little lady - Marlow's birth story

Outdoor Yoga Benefits - A day with my gal pals

10. Describe yourself in three traits

  • Quirky

  • Particular

  • Sociable

11. Tea and biscuits or coffee and cake? 

Tea and cake, please! 

12. Your perfect night out?

Picnic blanket on the beach with take out watching fireworks or the stars. 

If I had time to plan it would be something out of the norm like a pottery or cooking class.

One thing I want to try is going on a double date where we each buy our spouses an outfit from the thrift store to wear to dinner. That one would be funny! 

13. Your perfect night in?

Bubble bath, candles, a good book, an excellent meal, and not having to clean up after! 

14. My best quality according to my mom?

Helpfulness.

Remember to stop by Montana’s social channels before you link up: Facebook - Google+ - Twitter - Pinterest - Instagram

If you’d like to be featured as a future Blogger Showcase, then please send either Morgan or I your answers to the questions and we can agree a date, we’d love to share more about you.

Wine tasting at Roccafiore

Well, when in Rome - or more accurately, Umbria…

Exactly, we just had to visit a vineyard on our trip to Italy this autumn, and MOH lost no time trying to find just the one. And that’s how we ended up at Roccafiore, a vineyard in Todi close to where we were staying. What interested me was what they call the “natural and sustainable viticulture” which we learnt means a more natural way of producing wine.

A view over the vineyard's gardens and terraced patios

It’s just a small vineyard set in the hills of Todi, the terraced gardens where we had our tasting were very pretty - usually the tastings take place inside, but as it was unexpectedly warm we were more than happy to sit in this pretty setting. When we arrived the workers were having their lunch, and they were a great advert for their company - I’ve said it before, but you can tell a lot by a company by their workers, and later when we saw them at work, they looked equally as happy.

A place to perch and enjoy the Italian Countryside

Having our tasting outside meant more work for our host as she fetched and carried everything we needed, including a pretty jam jar of flowers and a wine passport for us to make notes about the wines in, and some weird dog-like biscuits (in the basket) which I wasn’t much of a fan of.

The serious business of wine tasting was ready to begin
admiring the roccafiore merchandising

We’d chosen to have lunch alongside the wine, which is always a good move, and the lunch included some of the charcuterie from pigs kept on the land, which tasted as good as it looks. There’s also olive groves on the land and they also produce olive oil, which we tasted slathered over bread, and also very tasty. Tasty isn’t a word I thought I’d use about olive oil, and it’s here we realised that we don’t use olive oil in the same way at home, and it’s wasted how we do use it!

local charcuterie to accompany the wines
the best tasting olive oil

When it got to the part of the tasting that the price list came out we surprised ourselves by considering the olive oil. We didn’t buy any though as there were only 3l cans available, and this summer aside, we couldn’t think of when we could make use of so much olive oil to do it justice, which was a shame.

We also did the calculation on the optimum bottles of wine to ship home, which turned out to be three cases. Red, of course, although even I was tempted by a couple of the whites. And so a couple of weeks after we returned from Italy, some of their Il Roccafiore, a Sangiovese and Prova d’Autore (a blend of Sagrantino, Montepulciano and Sangiovese) followed us home.

A jam jar of flowers no doubt picked from the vineyard's gardens

As I said at the top of this post, when in Rome (or Umbria)…