Thursday, 8 December 2011

Happy 90th Birthday... my wonderful Grandad! Still looks a good 20 years younger. Love you Handsome!

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Remember Us?

Bad, bad, bad, bad blogger! 3 months since I last posted?! Things have been hectic round here now I'm back working full-time but I really must make an effort over the Christmas period to update more often. For now, a few pics of the last few months:

Xan's first ever reading books from school:

 Emily and Chloe, one of her ever expanding circle of girls she socialises with!


Back soon...promise! ;)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Big Day!

Huge day here today, my little tiny baby boy had his first day at school!

He was very excited:

 And was pleased to finally get to wear uniform like big sister Em:

 Who incidently looked way too grown up in her uniform:

 I wonder if every morning he'll have his coat and shoes on and be ready to go so quickly:

 And what does every boy need at school? A couple of mother hens to take care of him:

He's had such a great day but is wiped out now but big sighs of relief here that he loves school!

Sunday, 4 September 2011


The thing I love about crochet is how tactile it is, you just need to stroke every project you do. So when one of my Leeds Paper Dolls friends posted this I had a bad case of NEED TO DO IT! And do you know what? I did! Just look at the cosy cuddly strokability of this one:

 And it sits lovely in my craft room with the applique cushions I did not so long ago:

It's definately all about the crochet here at the moment, next project was another ripple, this time for my cousin's brand new baby Harry. There was also a bit of wool left so Harry has a matching caterpillar!

And did we stop there? No! I then had a bit of a crochet for my friend Rebecca for her birthday. Rebecca's not only one of those people who really appreciates the fact you've spent time making something for her, but also one of those friends who's just so lovely she deserves me spending time making her something! Here's a rather lush brooch for winter for her:

 There is another crochet project already on the go for those chilly nights sat infront of the telly. However, I may have to abandon my usual sofa crochet position for a seat in my craft room. For, after 3 years, my craft room is now winter-proofed, hurray! Bless Rob, he's a dab hand at DIY but he also was in the front of the queue when they handed out the procrastination gene and so jobs do tend to take a while to get done round here! However, he'd taken the last week of the school holidays off work and instead of going off in a windy soggy tent, we decided to spend the week getting the house sorted. So, garage has been cleared, we now actually have a tv signal for the first time since we moved in 9 years ago, the fridge has light for the first time in 2 years, and he spent a good day and a half making sure my craft room was all ready for winter crafting (ie, so I shut myself in there for the next few months so he can watch Top Gear!).

First of all I have light:

 I have storage hung (OK, not winter proofing but I made that months ago and needed to stop just moving it from surface to surface and get it up on a wall!)

The big problem in there is heat, I've been using an old electric heater which was OK but I daren't leave it on low to stop the room freezing over, and the dial on the electricity meter did tend to go a bit bonkers when it was switched on! So I invested in a nice oil-free oil heater (no, I'm not sure how that works either) which should be more economical, heat the room better and has a defrost function so the room won't ever get too cold.

The other problem I found last year was how much cold radiated from the door windows, so we also invested in a nice vertical blind for the door so hopefully it'll be a bit more toasty in there now:

So we're all nice and cosy over here at the Garlics, which will no doubt lead to a late Indian summer (you know, when we're all back at work!) but hopefully the Garlics craft production line will be able to provide a full winter service this year!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

6 Weeks, 6 Reads

So, surprise surprise, I'm a tad behind on the old 6 weeks, 6 reads challenge! It's not too bad: I've nearly finished book 4 and we're in week 5, but I do need to speed up a bit. The problem was this little baby:

I finished the Horse Whisperer a bit early actually (very good book, not really much romance, hurray!) and so started this brick a day before I planned. OK, so it was 750 pages long, but I had a 10 day holiday planned with hours sat in the car, relaxing on the beach, no housework once the kids were in bed etc to fit plenty of reading in so 750 pages shouldn't really be a problem...famous last words!

The hours in the car were spent either listening to the dialogue from Alvin and the f***ing Chipmunks playing on constant loop on the kids' dvd players in the back, or directing Rob as the sat nav had a meltdown when we were only 60 miles down the road. So, not much reading in the car (ever tried to read a political thriller with a cartoon chipmunk squealing in your ear?!). The beach was OK for reading but I seemed to spend most of my time desanding things (some because of the coastal breeze blowing the sand everywhere but most from my son deliberately dumping it where he knew he shouldn't!) And as for once the kids were in bed, well I thought I could just take myself off to bed and get through a good chapter a night, completely forgetting how much I hate 'public' beds and so therefore not wanting to venture in there any more than I had to. So, I got home with only half the book read. However, I have had a good run at it and got it finished it on Saturday.


I picked this one up straight away:
which had to be my next choice as apparently the library want it back and so I'm rattling through it and hopefully will get it finished tomorrow (and back to you asap Mr Librarian I promise!). Kind of liking the concept of this one: a guy goes to a dinner party as a guest of a guest (ie doesn't know the hosts) and halfway through dinner gets up, goes upstairs and barricades himself in the spare room, not coming out for months! Not quite sure where it's going, there seems to be lots of random people popping up in it but I'm hoping for a nice surprise as to why the main character did it (so far I've no idea!).

So that leaves 2 books in about 11 days. Hmmmm, do Xander's books count? ;)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

We Love Cornwall!

We've just been away for a week in Cornwall and had the best time. We've never been down there before and are now kicking ourselves that we've left it this long and will definately be going again.

The whole place is just so beautiful, especially the coastline:

 We spent so much time on the beaches, the kids especially loved playing in the sand:

 And, as we were staying in Newquay, of course that surf just had to be experienced. Emily turned out to be quite the natural body boarder:

 And there was so much fun to be had, with this probably being the highlight, a nice bit of Beach Sumo:

 I think these purchases summed it up, it's been years since I've had the urge to buy clothing with the name of the place I'm visiting emblazoned on it:

 As you can see, the Gillards had a great time on Cornwall!

Right, better get booked for next year!

Friday, 29 July 2011

6 Weeks, 6 Reads

So the summer holidays are well and truely underway, we're a good week in now and it has been hectic so far but good to have a break from working.

I decided to challenge myself this holiday but in a good way to keep those brain cells going (6 weeks of CBeebies was soon going to kill them off!). As many of you know, I'm a bit of a book worm - I ALWAYS have a book on the go. The trouble is I'm quite a slow reader; not sure why, maybe it's my complete inability to concentrate, but I have always been a bit on the laid back side when it comes to reading. So, this summer I've challenged myself to speed up a bit. A book takes me between 2 and 4 weeks to read so this summer I want to read an average of one a week - 6 in 6 weeks. I know this may not seem too speedy to others (yes I'm talking to you Mrs Readthewholetwilightsagainaweekend and you Mrs OhI'mjustpopping outsidetoreadawholebookwithmybrew (you both know who you are, seriously, how do you do it?!)), but to me it's quite the challenge.

So, a week into the holidays and I'm onto the 2nd book, go me! OK so the first one was only 200 pages long but I decided to ease myself in gently and actually did it in 48 hours. It's this book leant to me by Mrs OhI'mjustpoppingoutsidetoreadawholebookwithmybrew (think she'd read it in the ad break on Corrie or something!):

Now the whole wave of books about children getting hurt just isn't my cup of tea, but I trust Mrs I'mjustpoppingout...'s judgement so gave it a go, and I loved it! Quite harrowing but there was just something about it where you had to keep reading to check she was OK (true story about a girl kidnapped by a paeodophile (sp?) in Belgium).

Currently I'm reading this book that I got for Christmas (yup, I'm that slow a reader!):

Now, on the front of this it says it's full of romance...oh dear, I don't do romance. I do however LOVE Jojo Moyes so I feel like I have to give her a chance and so far I'm quite liking it (maybe because the romance hasn't surfaced yet?!). The target is to finish this by Wednesday when I will start on a BIG read to take away on holiday (Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest - 3,000,000 pages!) but we are driving to Cornwall so will have an hour or 20 to kill.

So there you go, I've blogged it so I now have to do it so you don't all think I'm a big fat liar and stop reading my blog forever! Will keep you posted...

Sunday, 24 July 2011


I'm afraid we've had a complaint here at the Garlics. Lady Tate of Tate Towers writes "why don't you try updating your blog once in a while?". Well obviously here at the Garlics we take complaints very seriously so I met with Lady Tate yesterday to address her complaints; she elaborated that she was '"sick of looking at that bloody bag!" (please see last post readers). Of course I owed Lady Tate an explanation and so she was told that "I've got 2 bloody jobs and 2 bloody kids you know!". Ever the professional editor!

So, what has been happening over here? Well, I've been a busy little bee that's what's been happening! Aside from the doubled up job situation and the doubled up kids going through end of school year stuff, I've been jet-setting around the country. First of all I had a date with this young man:

Courtesy of these 2 ladies:

 Yes after 60 years my mother fianlly decided to get some musical taste and booked some Bon Jovi tickets (really, it's been Barry Manilow and Cliff Richard up til now, I was starting to think I was adopted!). So weekend in London with no kids and wine and Jon Bon Jovi for company? I was there!

Then the weekend after I abandoned my children yet again (:o) for a weekend with these lovely ladies in Whitby:

 It was the annual Leeds Paper Dolls retreat and the weather was glorious and I got tonnes of scrapbooking done. Unfortunately it meant I missed the laying of Rob's Grandad's ashes that Sunday, but Rob and the kids went along and at the time of the service I took myself into Whitby and sat here to remember the lovely man:

Then since that I've been working at my new job, finishing my old one, making and buying presents for the multitude of teachers my kids seem to have, getting a little man ready for big school by meeting his teachers etc. Oh and I threw my back out in the middle of all that so seem to have lived at the doctors and the chemist!

However, it is now the school holidays (help me!) so I will hopefully be able to satisfy Lady Tate's internet time and update more often!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Bag Lady!

Love, love, loving the sewing machine at the moment (and yes I have promised my mum that once I start working full-time in September I will actually go out and buy my own!). Latest project to hit the machine...bags!

Never made bags before but I'm kinda liking it. So, my first ever bag was this little heart number for Em (we decided that, at 9, she was now too old for the Disney Princess bag thing and should get a bit more sophisticated!):

 Took me blooming ages but she loves it so it was worth it!

 Next up was this strippy stripey bag that I'd coveted for a while. Just loved doing this, lots of different fabrics, ribbons etc and I loved how it turned out:

 And this bag's function? Well I needed a bag to keep all those bits of materials in that I'm going to use to make bags with! You see, a self functioning bag, practical as well as lush!

So, I've just commandered some floral curtains from the loft, I feel a shopper coming on!

Monday, 6 June 2011


I came to a very sad realisation this morning.

Undoubtedly the Garlic's number 1 fan was Rob's Grandad. I'd often get emails from him thanking me for the blog. I think, as he lived 200 miles away, it was a good way for him to keep up-to-date with what was happening up here, especially with his much cherished great-grandchildren. Consequently there's been a few posts that I've posted with a 'Grandad would like that' tone about them. This morning I was out in the garden hanging out the washing and just thinking about how much I liked our house and where we lived. I had a quick thought 'oooh I keep meaning to blog about that, Grandad would love that'...and then the realisation hit. :( Grandad (and indeed Nana when she was alive) would say how much they loved the home we built. I thought a couple of weeks ago how nice it would be to blog about our house and how pleased Grandad would be that we agreed with his and Nana's thoughts.

End of an era.

However, in memory of our beloved Grandad/Great-Grandad we shall be carrying on with the posts today and one I think he might like as it features just how fab Emily is!

There seems to have been a lot of crafting round here lately. I was going to do this post about everything I'd been up to but I must start with how fabulous my darling daughter is getting at scrapbooking. She's scrapbooked for a good 2 or 3 years now but recently she has been producing some very grown up layouts. She's been coming up with these all on her own, matching her colours, balancing her LO etc etc and I think she's doing a great job!

Definately the makings of a professional scrapbooker in that girl!

I've done a couple of LOs lately too as my MIL bought me a scrapbooking book for my birthday so have taken inspiration from that. Firstly my Royal Wedding LO:

And a LO about the lily the kids planted for Grandad:

 Speaking of MIL, I've still got a big hankering for the sewing machine and spied a project I wanted to do. MIL is getting a much longed for new kitchen and as said project was for an oven glove (nope, no idea why I desperately had the need to make oven gloves either!) then I thought she'd be the perfect recipient. The original pattern was for a cupcake oven glove but it didn't seem MIL's type of thing but on another page of the same book I found some fab chickens, so a bit of pattern combining and voila!

 Er yes, did get carried away and had a 'need' to make a teapot cozy and apron aswell!

Oooh but I still needed to sew more and those chickens were calling to me. Hang on, chickens? Who do chickens remind me of? Maybe this woman who we just happened to be visiting last week. I feel a chook-related pressie coming on....

Chicken egg cozies! Love 'em!

And I did have every intention of putting the sewing machine away but it's still there with a new project sat on it, watch this space!

Hope the WiFi works up there Grandad! ;)

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Creating Ways To Remember

One of the hard things when you lose someone close is how to break the news to your children. Their pain can be worse to witness than what you're feeling yourself. However, we're open and honest with our children and so we've sat them down and explained about Great Grandad.

Emily's old enough to be devastated and was very upset on Friday. We also made the decision to let her decide if she'd like to go to the funeral. We've explained exactly what a funeral involves and she's been so grown up in making her decision to go. In fact, I couldn't be more proud of how Emily's handled this whole situation, she's shown a level of maturity and compassion way beyond her years. What a girl she is!

Xander's been fairly good. We weren't going to tell him, an autistic 4-year-old doesn't necessarily have the right thought processes to understand death. However, we decided to be honest with him as not being could cause more confusion for him. Do you know, he's done great with it. His fish died a couple of weeks ago so we've told him Grandad's up in the sky taking care of Ferb, and that seems to be working for him!

Anyway, I decided that as well as us looking through pictures of Grandad, it'd be good to get the kids involved in something to remember him by. With it coming up to summer we'll (hopefully) be spending a lot of time in the garden, and Grandad always loved sitting looking out at his garden, so that was the route we took. We went out and bought a lily plant. When we came home I enlisted Xander to collect stones to provide drainage for our pot:

Which he did in his wheelbarrow then placed them carefully in the pot:

Then both kids got to filling the pot with compost:

 I put the lily in the pot and the kids patted soil around to make sure it was safely tucked up in there:

And voila, a beautiful lily plant for us to remember Grandad this summer while we're out in the garden:

Hope you like it Grandad! x

Sunday, 29 May 2011

When Words Fail...

It's a very sad time here at the moment.

On Friday, we lost Rob's beloved Grandad. Although he was 91, it happened very suddenly and we were left in a deep state of shock.

I've spent 2 days thinking how to sum up Grandad in a blog post and have come to the conclusion that I just can't. For a man that led an amazing life and that loved me like I'd been born his grandaughter, not to mention how much he worshiped my children, I just don't think I can find adequate words. Maybe I will later and hopefully I can share some of his fascinating stories in future posts, but for now I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Goodnight Grandad, thank you for being in our lives, we are very honoured to have known you. x