Archives For family

Traveling Home for Christmas

December 23, 2018 — 72 Comments

My Friend Victoria Thomasch and Me

Recently I met up with my friend Victoria Thomasch who was over from New York to audition in London.  We had a great time afterward as I showed her some of the sites around London.  Of course, we had to call in at the Opera House and as she is a keen Harry Potter fan we managed to get a few pictures for her scrapbook at Platform 9 ¾, Kings Cross station.  I finished the week with a  performance for Surrey Opera in their Gala Christmas Fund Raiser which I believe was a great success for them.




Tonight, I will be sat in the living room of my family home, the winter fire dancing, and flickering whilst I’m snuggled under my blanket ready for some cosy restful days ahead over the Christmas break. We have always loved to celebrate Christmas as a time for family in our home, my parents go to such a lot of trouble to dress the house and plan fun activities for the whole family to enjoy. I love this time of year, as I get to see my family and friends, play games, and create crafty designs with my Mum.


My older brother Matt has brought home some of his favourite board games to play. A family favourite is Telestrations, a drawing game that is similar to Chinese whispers, each player has a booklet, you have to draw a miscellaneous object from a mystery card, then pass it on around the other players, the next player has to say what they think the object is from your image. This pattern continues around the group and you have to hope that by the end of the game, the object is the same as the beginning. It’s always funny to see how a word can evolve into something entirely different, and in our family, the drawings can be quite hilarious! I really recommend it!

This afternoon my Mum and I played some Christmas songs to set a festive atmosphere. Then we created some Christmas cards ready to send to our friends next year. I love this activity as you can always use glitter and sparkle this time of year!

How do you spend your Christmas holiday?

I want to wish everyone a fabulous festive break where ever you are in the world and I hope that you have a fantastic time, filled with love, relaxation, and delicious food.

Relaxing With Family

December 28, 2014 — 65 Comments

Just After Christmas Dinner With My Nana And Granddad


I love spending time with my family at Christmas, when we are all together it is a fabulous time to relax and chill out.  My eldest brother Matt loves board games and when we are all home he gets out his favourites games and we all sit and play them together.


On Christmas day my Nana and Grandad came over for lunch and after we had eaten we all had a game of “Balderdash”. It was hilarious, in the game a question is asked from a category either: Events, Words, Laws, Initials or People and you have to write down your own explanation of the answer, for example if the category was a “person” you would write down what you believe they were famous for.  The person whose turn it is to read the question writes down the correct answer from the back of the card on their own slip of paper and then gathers in everyone else’s answers, the aim is to write something that the others will think is correct because you get points for that.  You gain points if you guess correctly and a point for every person who incorrectly chooses the answer that you wrote down.  This can lead to some really interesting answers with plenty of bluffing and game play.


Another favourite of ours is “Articulate”, we play this in teams of two and each turn one couple has to act out or explain a word given on a card.  For each correctly guessed answer the team moves forward place.  It helps if you are each other’s wavelength for this game as then the answer can come quite quickly and you play with a timer.  Although there are some tricky ones in the pack.


Matt really enjoys strategy games and last year he got us playing “Catan” after I bought it for his birthday.  Thomas bought him an expansion pack for the game this Christmas and we have been trying to get our heads around the new rules so we have a better chance of beating him.  The game involves trying to outwit the other players to build up your assets expand your settlements and cities.  The winner is the one who is the first to acquire 15 assets.


Setting Up The Board For a Game Of Catan

Last night Matt’s friend Ali came over to join us and as she knows what he is like with games she brought with her a game called “Categorically Speaking”.   Each round of the game you select four subject cards e.g. Football players, things that are square, tennis players, movie stars and four letter cards e.g. A, Y, N, B.  Then in the time it takes for an egg timer to empty you have to write down an item/object/person for each letter and each category. So you have a possible 16 points every go and you can play as many rounds as you have time for.  Sometimes your mind just goes blank and you kick yourself when the answers are read out.  You score a point for each correct answer, but nothing if two or more of you get the same answer.  I would definitely recommend access to an iPad or Tablet to check some of the answers as they can sometimes be very questionable.

I could go on for hours as we do play so many but one we always come back to is “Scrabble” it is just a shame that it is only for four players as it usually means one of us sits out a round.


The First Snow Of Christmas ( Boxing Day )

I hope that this has given you a taste of what we get up to whilst relaxing, especially as our weather can be very unpredictable.  I would love to know what you do over the holiday season, any board games you could recommend and if you have any family traditions that are important to you?


Happy New Year From All Of The Hoather Family


Ready Or Not Here I Come.

September 17, 2014 — 59 Comments

Tom outside the main Glasgow University building

Well we dropped Tom off at Glasgow University he’s studying Geography and the university was in the top 5 in the UK for Geography in the 2014 guide he used, he is also taking archaeology and philosophy as extra modules in his first year. Then we dusted and vacuumed my flat ready for me to move back in next week. The weekend was a little emotional for me as this was my little brother venturing out into the world and as his big sister I felt just a little protective of him 🙂


Inside the quadrangle which house the Geography department.


Glasgow University As Night Draws In

“Did you pack every item of clothing in your wardrobe!” Mum said on the Friday evening as Tom’s student wardrobe was bulging. “Nearly” said Tom “then I don’t have to wash and iron clothes for a couple of weeks!” he added. The student village houses about 1000 students and we’d just done the car parking dance where there are about five spaces per block of flats and twelve cars vying for each of them, with abandoned cars blocking the roads. “Why on earth do they give everyone a 5pm start time!” Mum cried, she thought that was just his slot, but it seemed it was everyone’s. But once we managed to get the car unloaded it all seemed a little more relaxed and the number of people frantically running around started to dwindle.


The Murano Street student village in Glasgow

I thought my older brother Matt and I had given Tom all of our six years of collective University advice but we still forgot to tell him to take a padlock for the kitchen cupboard and a mat for the floor near his sink in the bedroom. We’d remembered plasters, headache tablets, Andrews Salts in case he gave himself an upset tummy, an extension cable and all of his clothes hangers (all essential 🙂 ) along with a long list of items you just cant live without as a student.

We lined his new Stabilo colour markers, pens, pencils, lever arch files, refill pads and notebooks on his desk shelves, I don’t know why but I love new stationery. Everything else was found a place to live for the next year and in the end it looked a lot more homely. The one thing we had to do once we had his new address was buy his TV licence £145 so that he could watch his football on his iPad (sadly no actual TV ). I think he’d want to come home if he couldn’t watch his beloved Manchester City.


Tom stood with the Capital One Cup and the Premiership Trophy on his last visit to watch Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.

I’m proud of my little brother today; he text us to say he’d walked to Tesco and checked the prices, OK he was buying unhealthy Pepsi Max but six cans for £3.49 and eight cans for £2.00 really was a no brainer but at least he noticed! He added three pasta meals for £6.00, bread and a bag of apples all for under a £10 so he was happy.


He just had to share his great find with us 🙂


The best thing is that I am only 30 minutes away if he wants to visit and chill out or pop around for his Sunday dinner.  We are also invited to some of the Freshers’ activities and I’ve been invited to a fancy dress party with friends as a character I just love, all will be revealed next week he he.

I will let you know what next year has in store for me at College after I am all settled in on Sunday.

Finally, if you missed it I added my end of Second Year Rusalka’s Song to the Moon onto my Soundcloud page if you’d like to take a listen.

Sometimes on my lunch break from work, I enjoy getting crafty with my Mum and my friend Gill.  So when Gill offered to show me a new technique to colour cards and paper I jumped at the chance.  It was going to be fun as it involved shaving foam, card dyes and possibly getting messy. 🙂

To start, I sprayed an even layer of (bargain priced) shaving foam onto a plastic tray.


After adding the shaving foam to the messy tray I sprayed the dye on to the surface of one side.


I then added a second colour to the surface.


Then to add a little texture to the surface I used a wooden stick to create straight lines up and down the shaving foam mixing the colour on the surface of the foam.


Then take the piece of card or paper that you want to transfer the pattern to and place it gently on the surface of the shaving foam.


Once the paper is resting on the surface of the shaving foam press it gently to get an even coating of colour.


Peel back the paper or card gently and evenly lift it out of the tray.


Place the paper or card flat on your work surface.


Then gently scrape off any shaving foam that has stuck to surface with a  ruler or other straight edge.


The ink dries quickly to the paper or card and you can wipe away any foam that might be left.


The swirls and patterns can make lovely backgrounds for cards or other craft projects.

It is really quick to do and the only other thing that I would recommend to you is using latex gloves to keep the dye off your fingers. You can use the shaving foam in your messy tray more than once just add a little extra dye.

If you give it go I would love to hear from you, Oh and don’t tell my Dad it was me that took his shaving foam 😉

Give Me Your Word

March 23, 2014 — 87 Comments

I have been thinking recently about what binds a couple together and the love that they share for each other as both my grandparents are celebrating their anniversaries in the coming weeks.

Next year as it will be both their diamond and golden anniversaries I am going to try and compose a song for them and write the lyrics to celebrate what will be a wonderful occasion for them both.


On the 26th March 2014 my father’s parents will have been married for 59 years.  My Grandpa said that he met my Grandma when she was just twelve and then spent the eight years that followed persuading her that they should get married,

They married in a Methodist church in Manchester when Grandpa was 22 and Grandma was 20 and she walked down the aisle carrying a bouquet of cream roses.  Following the ceremony many of those in the church wanted to know how Manchester City were doing as they were playing in the FA cup semi final and there were many keen supporters in congregation.  Luckily they beat Sunderland 1 – 0. 🙂

The number one record in the UK charts on the day they married was “Give Me Your Word” by Tennesse Ernie Ford

When I asked my Pepa why they chose the spring time to marry I expected him to give a beautiful romantic reason, however he said that it was to make the most of the tax allowances LOL.

They have been very happy together and I wish them many more years in each others company.



Coincidentally on the 10th April my mother’s parents will be have been married for 49 years also  They met 14 months before they married, my Nana was 18 and my Grandad was 21.  They married in Staffordshire and they had a beautiful wedding with my Nana carrying a bouquet full of pink carnations.

The number one record in the UK charts on their wedding day was “Concrete and the Clay” by unit 4 plus 2.

However when I was searching on the internet I found this video of the record that was number one in the United States at the time and I wanted to share it, check out the dancing 🙂

To help celebrate their lives together I have written my first Haiku, I am still not sure that I should have used the word love twice 🙂

The sweet sound of love
Is the Charming songs of birds
That whisper “my love”


Today I was invited by one of my best friends, Ellie King, to join her and her family for a New Year’s party in North Wales. The evening was to start with a meal and be followed up by a some dancing, which I was looking forward to.

I thought the arrangement was to meet at my house at 3:30 pm and then I was to travel with Ellie’s family to the hotel. Unfortunately I got the times mixed up and when Ellie arrived at my house it was 2:15 pm and I was still travelling back from the hairdressers 🙁 Luckily they said they would wait and so my Mum finished packing my overnight bag with Ellie’s help and found the dresses I had left out to take with me as I could not decide which to wear.

It was a fast turnaround once I arrived and after saying my farewells to my parents I dashed off. Shortly after I had left, my Mum sent me a text to say that I had left without recording today’s verse. I had completed the drawing in the morning and had intended to record my verse just before leaving for the party.

When I arrived at the hotel Ellie agreed to film me on my phone but then the next problem was getting the recording to my Dad to upload for me. It took ages to sort out a WiFi connection and luckily it seems to have worked, so I hope it turns out okay 🙂 If not I will record it again tomorrow.

I also managed to take a couple of pictures when we arrived at the hotel, here is one of the rooms for the party tonight 🙂



I normally take the train, which is so much easier, but following last week’s concerts I found myself in Glasgow with my little car and it gave me a great opportunity to go home for the weekend 🙂  so on Friday the 15th of November, I drove home from Glasgow for a little “me time” with my family.

It took me four and half hours, which began fabulously, my attention was focused and the excitement built as I felt like an explorer on a great adventure! Following the road as it meandered through  the beautiful mountains it made me wonder about people who must have travelled this route before the motorways and trains had ploughed their way through the landscape.

But after my first rest break the scenery changed and with the motorway growing more monotonous  I just wanted to get home. Boredom kicked in and I had to keep pinching myself to stop me from attempting doing to silly dances to my music playlist in the car.

After successfully reaching my Mum and Dad’s offices, I ran in to give them hugs and kisses before immediately dashing off for a long overdue hair cut. It was fabulous to relax after the long journey and I caught up with Christian and told him all about what I had been up to over the last few months.  I decided I needed a change of hair style and talked myself into having a fringe cut in 🙂

I was then treated to a surprise late birthday meal by my Mum and Dad, which was truly delicious but to be honest the best part was spending some time with my family. I am such a family girl at heart and my parents provide me with support and help me to talk through my plans and aspirations.  We chatted and discussed my coming concerts and repertoire and when we finished I felt tons better and ready to begin my term with renewed fire in my belly.

On the Saturday I was taken back to my childhood with the beautiful 😉 singing of our family friend Lee.  When I was tiny we often duetted to the “Back Street Boys” and “Five” including all the dance moves 🙂  I felt compelled to join in and we both had a really good laugh.  Then the door bell rang and my Nana and Granddad greeted me with big grins and even bigger hugs and before I knew it the whole family was almost back together.


We had a great afternoon my Nan, my Mum and me all together making Christmas and Birthday cards, it was brilliant fun.  Thinking about it we left my Mum with all the clearing up to do 🙂 sorry Mum, but hey at least leaving home hasn’t changed me at all LOL !!


Lastly just before I set off to return home I received this lovely letter from the Kathleen Ferrier Society along with a certificate for the Audience Prize and I would love to thank them 🙂