The end of 2014 was tiring to say the least. Not only is it one of the busiest times in terms of the day job, it is also super busy printing and making wise, on top of this there is of course Christmas to contend with and this is especially stressful when you (I) insist on still making your own cards, crackers, fancy wrapping and general over-the-topness fuss and palaver! This is all well and good, but add a Noah into the mix and all of a sudden it all gets much trickier! My priorities these days have to rest with him, so the everything else has to squeeze in around - I expect that Ivan (Mr Bicknell) will disagree and say that I spent far too many hours doing the Christmas markets this year, husbands are really good at voicing their neglect aren't they?!
So the last couple of months were the same old thing really, folios, folios and folios, last minute UCAS applications, tears and tantrums, marking, marking and more marking, shopping, racking my brains for fab present ideas, furiously trying to make cards and get them in the post, wrapping like it's going out of fashion, getting cold after cold after cold, having early Christmases and panicking about getting ready even earlier, doing my best to entice people into buying my stuff, meeting them in car parks, outside their houses and in the street to deliver their orders, praying that lampshade frames arrive in time to fulfil said orders, but also having lovely dinners out, building upon new traditions like our (mental) advent calendar, watching Frozen with Ivan (Mr Bicknell) and Noah for the first time all together, having a lovely spa day, at last having Christmas in our own home with my Family (yeah, been there, done that now - you can do it all next year Mum!), spending whole days with friends and family, long winter (sort of - where's the snow?) walks, consuming TOO MUCH GOOD FOOD & FIZZ, opening our stockings in bed in warmth and light (unlike last year), enjoying Downton with a glass of wine and no one about (!), sale shopping ( a TINY bit) with my best friend, the annual Ikea trip with the other one (!), big family get together's and sharing New Year's eve with really lovely people - even if most of whom could barely keep their eyes open to consciously step into 2015!
I don't know what 2015 will bring for us. There is always a risk sadly nowadays in education that ours jobs will disappear, you never know about your health and anything could be lurking around the corner. I lost a much beloved friend just before Christmas, I cannot even begin to describe how devastated I have felt by this, but something her lovely husband said at her funeral 2 sad days before Christmas reinforced to me that life really is far too short to worry and allow yourself to wallow, it truly is about making the most of every opportunity and every situation and if you do get smacked in the face then the best thing you can do is pick yourself up and get on with things, even if they do force you to take new routes and embark upon new adventures, so perhaps this time next year I might be in wales.....!!
For now, I rest in Hampshire with my lovely, lovely, boys, our great house, brilliant if not knackering job, head full of ideas and the desperate wish for snow so that we can "build a snowman....." It only ever rains in Wales anyway......
Here are the pictures.
In his bid to be a musical superstar Noah took up the trumpet.
Rhys in the first year "wrecked" his sculpture.
The second year graphic and illustrator girls had a fright!
Annie tried to save the day!
The printing continued
The latest addition to the range - groovy little tea-light holders - the battery operated variety of course!
The Christmas shopping began - it is amazing how amenable a carousel ride or two can make Noah to the idea - huh, that and the prospect of some new clobber!
The advent calendar reappeared - I had been in half a mind to abandon the madness but someone (you know who you are husband) had to go out and get a load of contents!
If you aren't allowed a real one you get creative! They seemed to enjoy the process!
In a bid to be the ultimate entertainer, Noah tried out a couple of different looks - we have since discovered that he can also do a good range of "story voices"!!
Christmas got closer and there was a visit to meet the reindeer at Alice Holt
The man himself was hanging out at Selborne! It's safe to say that Noah wasn't overly in awe!
Tanya Williamsons awesome cushions - if only my stuff could be so lovely and palette neutral!
Folio time - will get some nice page images up soon - but this lot were a little reluctant to be in the limelight!
The tree went up - the cat couldn't have cared less....
Noah became our Christmas card king!
Shopping, shopping, shopping! The Gilded Cabinet is a relatively new addition to Alton and it is a dangerous place for the likes of me - too many lovely things and too tempting for the odd little pressie for my loved ones, and errr maybe me?!
Mmmmmmm lovely glass beads
Mmmmmm yummy hot chilli things
just what my fireplace needed
I didn't, but I wanted too....!!
Just so you know - Caracoli make the best hot chocolate (needed for sustenance whilst shopping) and THE best Turkish delight (just needed).
My Mummy Makes purchases went down well.....
RE is a particular favourite of mine and they never let me down in terms of cool and unusual gifts - the rusted angel candle wings are brilliant as are the fill them yourself baubles - very reasonable too!
Cousins Christmas day at Oma's - a great success and check out the VERY cool Owl T-shirt being so beautifully modelled!
Lovely Christmas heart at Lynda's - had plenty of opportunity to photograph it since her good-for-nothing husband was soooo late coming home and releasing her from childcare duties on Ikea day!
This is what happens when you let your friend buy the cake treats - how big???????
OH. MY. GOD. We. OWN. A. COPY. OF. FROZEN - the child is addicted I have now seen this film 30 times since Christmas eve - "oh (big excited eyes), do you think this has been made into a musical yet?" Ivan (Mr Bicknell), not Noah......
Treats for Mr Christmas - all clearly explained by Daddy - Bownies and Whisky, errr, really, moved on from milk and cookies then!!
Awaiting his arrival.....
Meanwhile crackers were made and presents were wrapped......
And just as we were going to bed......... he arrived..... he even had time to make a card.
Stockings in bed with milk and cups of tea - just as it should be! Peppa Pig.......yay........
Oh the excitement - he came, he came, he came!
Too many presents arrived - in fact it took days to open them - next year it's a satsuma and a walnut.....
Alternative table - like I say - your turn next year Mum!
Sparkly cake - happy birthday Dad! Seventy what?
Christmas jumper and tights - perfect unwrapping attire!
Special Christmas stories - thank you Oma xx
Daddy, for goodness sake let the boy have a go!!
I didn't do too badly!
Here I was thinking this would be a cool surprise - turns out he checked my history on the Mac...... I will never let him go again, even if it is a cool T-shirt!
walking and singing!
Staggering through into 2015 - stop checking your watch, people will go home when they are ready!!
Caroline, I loved you and I miss you. XX