As is customary in the Puddle household, last week we took ourselves off to Centerparcs. It’s always a good way for us to have a low maintenance wind down holiday after the busy Xmas period and one of those holidays which, being a large-ish family, has not too much effort attached. In fact, it’s easy, get up, lounge, swim, lounge, eat, lounge, play badminton, swim, eat, lounge. This year was even easier as the kidlets are largely self-sufficient, can go shopping, pack their swimming stuff reliably*, go swimming ahead of us, help to tidy, pack, organise, entertain themselves etc.

I was worried I’d have horrible flashbacky ‘last year we were pregnant moments but actually most of the last few years of CPing have had baby sadness in them and I was immune; we went to a different one last year anyway and I pro-actively booked a different style lodge to try and minimise the feeling. But we’ve been so often that last year was not really my most coherent memory anyway. So in point of fact, to get it out of the way and pat myself firmly on the back, I had a really good week, the closest thing to a break from grief that I’ve had yet. I made myself do it and succeeded, which is an achievement I think. Max fretted a bit but I wanted them to have a good week, so I made sure I did and apart from a slightly*shriek* moment when I gave myself a birthpool flashback and the inevitable pain of a little cerebral palsy boy who was so beautiful and happy, I did really well.

Another milestone.

(New style villa; very different, but we liked it. Might even redo our floor downstairs having lived with boards for a week.)
The kids had a lot of fun; Fran did get her nose out of Inkheart occasionally, but was mostly immersed and we played a great game of Ticket to Ride Europe one night, but mostly we just swam endlessly and flumped in between times.

Knitting & Reading
I discovered that Kindle (love it, love it!) means I can knit and read!

Babmington ;)
Maddy was the unexpected badminton demon and wants us to find a club to play at.

The blackboard on the wall in the villa was a big hit, particularly as we’d decreed a no ds holiday thanks to last years crime outbreak at that particular resort. That meant a lot of reading, drawing, card playing etc went on, which was great. This is Maddy’s version of a Gogo, something which is inexplicably popular in this house :roll:

We also had friends there; we didn’t see much of them as we felt a bit of a need to hunker (as we often do :/ ) but meeting up at swimming was great. At least this year I could go on the slides anyway. I will find positives.

On the last day I got to go to the spa, which was great. I thought, made some plans, didn’t cry and got to stick my hand in a tank of the fish that eat your feet. They felt very, very weird, but I might have a go another time.

Good holiday. It felt like I might never have another one, but I did. We all did.

*apart from Amelie who arrived without a costume on one occasion.

Money can’t buy you love

I know they say that – and it’s true – but nothing beats a birthday where the people who love you go out of their way (and some way out of their pocket) to give you gifts that will bring masses of joy and pleasure.


Look at that; 1000’s of hours of reading, knitting, lovely smelly baths, candlelight relaxing and peace. I’m a very lucky girl.


Josie made me a family of fairies, Maddy a candle holder I have yet to photograph and all of them took great care in planning nice meals and lovely things today.

Fran made me a cake – yummy :)

It’s been one of my best ever birthdays (I didn’t even get older, we moved my birthday from later in the week to today for convenience!) and that is saying something. It might have been different, but since it wasn’t, they made it lovely.

I ADORE my Kindle; it’s definitely going to be a massive hit :)

Thank you all, my darlings. I’ve been well and truly spoiled.

Christmas Crafting & Ideas

Last December we called time on ‘home educating normals’ for December as I felt that after years of me being immersed in business during the festive season, the girls deserved my full attention and some old fashioned fun. As it happened, we ended up, through a variety of add on conversations and the sheer joy of spending time together, learning a huge amount and having the most wonderful time together.

This year, I’m hoping to do better; it won’t be so last minute and I won’t be pregnant so I won’t need to keep hauling myself off for a sleep. We’ve yet to see if we’ll be snowbound of course, which was a lovely added touch last year, but hopefully we can get something of the magic back. Goodness knows I could live without Christmas this year (perhaps not commercially, but certainly personally) so I think anything we can do to make it easier on all of us will be a good thing.

Last year we bought lots of items from BakerRoss. I think we will still do some of their things this year, but less. The younger two are still young enough to enjoy them and some bits look incredibly pretty but suddenly and without warning, my girls are too big and sophisticated to be enamoured with too much glitter and foamy craft. I love their glass and porcelain though and their suncatchers are very pretty indeed.

We sell some Christmas crafty things too. I didn’t indulge in them last year (as I had over-provided from Baker Ross!) but I might crack open a couple this time.

One of the biggest hits on this site is a variety of searches for Christmas Hama Bead Designs which I discovered have fallen off BeadMerrily since it was redesigned. So I have started to put them back now and hopefully will get that set finished and a few new ones done too.

Hama is easy, but surprisingly effective as a craft for all ages of kid and adult. Mine are still not bored of  it even after all these years but I need to make sure we do something else this year too. This is difficult when it tends to be your own sites which come up in the google search :lol: but I’m hoping to try the threading version of Hama with them as I think they would all be patient enough now

I thought we could maybe have a go at some of these beaded ornaments, which look lovely.

Then of course last year we had a lot of fun with felting. I bought my supplies from Sara’s Texture Crafts and she, and her products, were really great.

I also bought, but didn’t do, some Pin Craft which we’ve saved for this year.

We made a gorgeous Christmas Pudding (use that recipe, it was perfect!)

We made Christmas Cards cheaply and quickly with stickers but this year I’d like to do something slower and more adventurous. There art has come on so much, I think they’d do very well this year.

We printed wrapping paper with sponges on brown paper and almost all our presents were wrapped in them.

We crushed extra strong mints and mixed it in chocolate to make quick sweets.

We used a kit to make crackers and paper snowflakes for the windows.

Making a holly wreath was a huge amount of fun and very satisfying. Fran did most of it and she was so pleased with herself.

I think we ought to get round to doing Borax snowflakes this year.

Zoe has done some beautiful sewn felt craft (Zoe, if you are reading, would you make that pic public, or could I nick it and put it here?) which I’d like to try out.

Our final craft was the orange pomanders which I wish could have stayed forever – they looked, and smelled, so wonderful.

I rather love these gingerbread houses, although I’d love to have a go at something bigger too. (Maybe small in biscuit and large in Fimo!)

There is, of course, the endless Fimo opportunities. We really must try something Nativity-ish this year, but I’m deeply tempted by also having a go at something more Pagan/Festival of Light style.

I do love this but it has managed to stay in our lounge all this year and actually I’m a) bored of it and b) thinking the baby is a bit raw for me now. My eyes glide past it but they might not on Christmas Day.

Mind you, if you look though Flickr, the Fimo ideas could keep you busy for a good while.

There is a great page of ideas over at Petits Haricots which has plenty to get your teeth into.

I would really love some suggestions of some traditional, harder to make/more likely to keep things to make this December. We’ve all got much better at our arty side this year and I think a challenge would be good. I tend to get quite frustrated by the endless advert overloaded ‘’ pages that come up when I’m searching, so if you know of some winter/Christmas/solstice pages or websites or ideas, please let me know and I’ll add them to this post.


Finish last weeks list.

Finished knitting this weeks square.

Start next weeks square.

Get to 28,000 words.

Set up Etsy shop.

Do two more tree pictures.

Frame two tree pictures. Did 3 – go me.

Buy wool.

Get Fran to guest blog.

Get up to date blogging.

Plan next weeks work.

Make 4 pieces of jewellery.

Apply to various give-away ring secret swap thingys.

Sort out Josie and Amelie’s room.

List some books on Amazon.

Deal with work list (!)

This list is brought to you courtesy of an attempt not to accidentally sink into Pocket Frog obscurity, for which tworedboots is entirely to blame ;)


Dammit, I’m so far behind and I’ve got photos of things to take as well. In fact, I’m so far behind that I might need my friends to remind me where I’ve been or I’ll forget what I’ve forgotten.

Amelie & Fran’s comp.

Fran’s comp.

Maddy’s TKD successes.

Josie’s wobble

Josie’s birthday and party.

Art day. (Done, except one photo)

History day.

Car making.

Halloween & party.

Dammit – other art day (fish)

Art from Latin etc day.

I’ll try and catch up between now and a few days time but I’m NaNo-ing and knitting like a mad thing so blogging is a bit down my list of things to do – argh!