Sweetbriar Dreams

So where shall we go on our journey today?

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Review of 2014 at Sweetbriar Dreams


Winter has just blown through with an icy blast and the dark nights are tinged with a whitish glow from the snow settling to give an untouched carpet of glistening threads.  The cosy evenings have been spent curled up in my favourite chair looking back at 2014 and the smiles that it gave me. The photographic bounty that myself and Mumsy have collected over the year is worth more to me than any piece of jewelry.  Those memories that can instantly take you back to the places that have filled you with emotion and joy, the excitement of showing my two teens places that I have known and loved all my life, the discovery of going to places with them for the first time and then sharing these with you.  Yes, 2014 has been a good year, and in a way, one where I have learned much more about myself than previous years.
 Twelve months ago I chose 'Change' as my word for 2014, but what word could I choose for 2015?  Words have floated around my head for days now but three came to me and they filled my heart, 'Inspiration', 'Time' and 'Patience'.  I love to write but noticed in my recent blog writing that this wasn't coming through as I wanted it to.  Maybe because I am in such a rush so often with a full time job and the trials and tribulations of guiding two teenagers into adult life.  Sometimes as I write a blog post or thoughts in general, I am interrupted to the point of distraction, I need time and inspiration to create and my patience is tested.  At the end of a trying day, it is nice to have those moments to yourself where you can be, well, you.  How I would love to sit in a book lined study at a circular table filled with papers, notepads and pens, overlooking the garden and letting my creativity run onto pages, but sadly this is not my reality.  So, one of my goals for 2015 will be to create a little area just for me where I can shut myself away for just an hour per day to gather my thoughts, and plan our days out.
My main aim for 2014 was to keep teaching Miss Teen about the delights of London, letting her get the feel of the place.  My heart has obviously always belonged to Greenwich and the Isle of Dogs, however Miss Teen certainly felt more at home in Camden Town and the South Bank.  Mr Teen only came on one trip due to his start at College but with his visit to St Pauls he certainly made me climb further than I had before - to the very top!

There have been four outstanding moments though for me in 2014, things that will not be repeated and were real memory makers.

 Lunch and attending an installation into the House of Lords.  How I would have loved to have taken photo after photo in there, but there were security restrictions.  Memories of that day will always remain with me and my thoughts of my Grandad walking those very same corridors during the War, but not as a Lord of course! (memories of the day can be read here)
♥ Visiting the Archbishop of York's Palace, Bishopsthorpe, back in July (my post on this day is here).
♥ Visiting the Tower's poppy installation, hearing my ancestor's name being read at sunset and then receiving a poppy. (My posts were here and here on this truly once in a lifetime event)
And then of course one of my happy days in work where I climbed the scaffolding on Peterborough Cathedral! (my dizzy heights were written about here)
This year I took many many photos!!  However my favourite photo of the year?  Well it had to be these two sharing a joke outside Buckingham Palace!
Crafting has taken a back seat this year unfortunately, I really must make more time for this!
 However the writing continues for my Grandad's book, there is a lot more to do and maybe to spur me along, I need to include this more in my blog writing.

So, to my lovely Readers, a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all.  Thank you so much for following me along my journey this year and joining me on my days out.  Your support and comments have been so special to me along with the friendships built up as we follow each other along the way.  Here's to a fantastic 2015!

Oh, and my word for 2015, encompassing 'Inspiration, Time and Patience'... "BALANCE"... 2015 will be my see saw year where I try to balance those three words.

Take care.

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Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Late White Christmas

With the mildness of the winter so far, the last thing I expected was to see snow on Boxing Day!  It would have been amazing to have seen this 24 hours earlier, but I can live with it being a little late.  Mr Teen was acting like a toddler once again and shouting out that it was settling but I just let him believe that... until I went out in my pyjamas to put the rubbish out and was met by the crisp, white, untouched snow!
The flakes were huge as they fell from the night sky, reminding me of little angels fluttering down to earth.  Just a couple of minutes outside and we were soaked through!
I couldn't wait to get in the garden first thing in the morning and kept hoping that there wasn't going to be a thaw (for once I was not working and having to drive out of the village with ungritted roads!!).  A certain little Cavalier wanted to be first to make her mark!
For a little dog that absolutely hates rain, Coco certainly loves sniffing around.  Her medication was kicking in, so I suppose she didn't mind too much this morning.
With the camera settings on macro (I couldn't torture you with photos of the whole garden - it's depressing at this time of year!), I set about capturing the cold icy structures that had formed on the everyday objects.  I love how the individual flakes group together to form such a solid mass.
The garden broom wore jewels of ice with fluffy undertones of snow.
The garden gate had shielded the drive from the drifts of snow being blown by a strong cold wind.
The little pile of sticks and logs for the insect hotel are hopefully keeping the guests warm and dry from the elements.
There will be no washing on the line today!
The tiles on the roof were showing signs of good insulation!  Phew!!
On the floor a little Robin Red Breast was searching for some seed that had been scattered on the garden for its lunch.  A certain Cavalier's heavy footprints did not make the seed easy to find!
Also a certain Mr Teen was rather eager to throw the first snowball - apparently the snow was just the right texture and consistency according to the expert!
The winter pansies have taken their own battering.
The ice hanging from the rotary washing line was my favourite though, looking like the surface of the moon.
The thaw was beginning though and the branches of the trees were gladly letting the extra weight from their limbs fall like sap around them.
But now it was time to dry out and warm up a certain Coco who had worn herself out!
As I looked at the heart shaped snow on one of the branches, I realised just how much I love this type of weather, especially when I don't have to go out!
And so, the candle is about to be blown out on 2014 and my last blog post of the year.  It has been a year of learning more about myself as I put my blog posts together  and I am so very grateful that you have come along and supported me along the way. 
I do hope that your celebrations go well, no matter what you are doing and I wish you all a very...


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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Night Before Christmas

Last week was a whirlwind of frenzied madness.  With work being particularly busy at this time of year, the tiredness and sore feet were coupled with the sudden panic that I was no where near ready for my own Christmas.  Hence no blog post last weekend - panic knocked at my door and stirred up all sorts with my mind and body and I just couldn't put fingers to keys, let alone eye to lens.  However, time to think positive now the day has come - Christmas Eve!!  All the weeks of planning are finished and now it is time to put those plans into action.  Decorations adorn the home, cards have been posted, food is filling the shelves of the fridge and cupboards and the parcels are waiting patiently to be opened tomorrow morning.  Yes, the mind became focussed and the body was determined.  All the little boxes in my mind started to light up and shine their way.
Nigella's book has come off the shelf and her gammon and chipolata recipes are now being cooked in the kitchen and giving a wonderful Christmas smell (I can't recommend these enough).  These two recipes are now favourites for my home and other family members and as soon as they are being cooked everyone flocks to the kitchen just hoping for a taste before they are wrapped up to be eaten on Boxing Day, especially the Teens!
Now, on the subject of Teenagers I have found that there is absolutely no hiding place for presents and so they have been placed under the tree.  BIG MISTAKE, HUGE as the wonderful Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman!  My two teens are very curious, as most are, and I found out the other day that Mr Teen has an app that can work out if there is an electrical item beneath the neat wrapping of a present.  Yes, he worked out he has a new phone just by hovering his old phone over it.  He couldn't tell which one, so my harsh words to him were "don't get your hopes up as I can guarantee you will be disappointed!"  (He doesn't read my blog so I can safely say he will be delighted!!), but this surprise has been discovered.  Kids hey!
With work now finished for a couple of weeks, my last hour in Peterborough before I set off home was to take a couple of photos for you.  Of course the front of the Cathedral had to be captured, with its Christmas Tree by the newly designed path to the entrance.
And the view from the Norman Arch towards Cathedral Square and the small temporary market.
Only a couple of photos out and about as I just didn't have any time, but you know me by now and I will take you out and about again soon.  

So, now for a brief sit down and a cup of coffee as I look around to see what else needs to be done.  The chestnuts are not on an open fire but in the oven getting ready to be peeled and married with the brussels sprouts and bacon tomorrow...
... the fragrant pot pourri bought from Sandringham a few weeks ago is now dotted around the house...
... the timeless Jester is smiling on the tree...
... the Christmas corner is looking very festive both in the mornings and afternoons...
... and the glasses are now all ready for tomorrow's feast!
Time now to wish you all a very Merry Christmas/Hannukah and a Happy New Year.  I hope all your well laid out plans come to fruition, and hopefully some of you will have a wonderful white Christmas!!
Thank you so much for reading and following my little corner of Blogland this year.  You have all made it so special.

Take care.

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