Tuesday, 29 December 2009

In Limbo….

Well, it’s that time of year again!  All those weeks of furtive shopping, planning & preparation…and here we are with Christmas behind us but New Year still to come.  We’re back to work but still not into a normal routine…there are still festive foods taking up space in the fridge & on the sideboard but they don’t illicit the same eager response as they did this time last week!  I always find these few days difficult…I love Christmas & I love to see in the new year…I just wish the gap between had more going for it…it really feels like limbo!!

So, how was everyone’s Christmas…I’ve already checked out a few of your blogs & it would seem a good time was had by most!  I must admit to feeling under the weather from Christmas morning & slept for most of Boxing day, but that did not detract from our festivities at all!

On Christmas eve we hung up our stockings on the landing, we don’t have a fireplace in this house….a point of contention!! But Santa seems to find them OK & we have the tradition of everyone piling into our bedroom to open our stocking gifts before even setting foot downstairs! This year I was woken in the early hours..I thought one of the boys was up so I opened our bedroom door & imagine my surprise to see the big man himself…I grabbed my camera & managed to get quite a good a good shot29fed0422d7d44ee8b932228cb018815 to show the boys…and their response?

No questioning the validity of the photo…no wondering how he gets in…just how slim he’s looking & how does he stay healthy if everyone leaves him cookies, milk, mince pies, alcohol etc etc…I’d like to know that too?!!!!!

Ah the days of innocence! Long may it continue!!!

Our Christmas day routine is to have a full English brunch once we’re all showered & dressed & then we swap family gifts…so this was what we did (although I settled for my usual bowl of porridge as by now I was feeling quite queasy!) Once that was all demolished & cleared away we settled in the lounge & sorted which parcels belonged to who & set about opening them. We take turns, so we all get to see who has what & enjoy the looks of surprise & joy on faces around the room…I guess, as a small family, it prolongs the whole process too!!

Now, I have always felt very privileged to have a husband who knows me well enough to buy gifts that are just right….sometimes tongue-in-cheek, sometimes a bit cheeky, but always spot on. FFresize This year, as I have already mentioned, he has paid for a years gym membership for me & that started from November 1st , so I knew I would have only a small gift under the tree.

Imagine the intrigue then when, along with small packages handed to me from each of the boys, there was a label that read ‘because I know it’s what you really, reeaally want!’…I kept this to one side with thoughts of what it could be going through my head.  What could Lee have bought me that I really wanted?  Most things I would like are out of our price range at the moment…BUT….had he found an exceptional deal on a pair of Ugg boots? The box was certainly weighty enough…Had he decided to go waaaay over budget & get me the Panasonic Lumix-G camera that I really DO want. I was already feeling a mix of excitement & a little concern that he may have spent too much!!!

So…the boys opened their gifts & were sooo excited, we got it so right this year!  Lee loved his gifts from me, & Pat was thrilled with her selection of clothing & slippers!  I opened some from friends & the boys, saving that larger box till last…I waited until everyone had finished unwrapping & gently started to tear at the wrapping paper……(It is at this point that I must apologise in advance for sounding like a spoiled brat, but honestly, the anticipation was so great & the disappointment such that I could not conceal how I felt!)…..I did not even get to remove the paper fully…this is what my surprise was…

snuggieresizeA ‘Snuggie’ A fleece blanket…WITH SLEEVES! This is what my Darling Hubby thought I really, reeaally wanted!! There was no point feigning amusement..I was GUTTED!!! I think I made some remark about just needing a ‘Big Slipper’ & a beanbag tray & never needing to move from the sofa again! I think he got the message & it will be a long time before he lives it down! I’m just glad he kept the receipt!!

Xmascake09resizeOn the subject of gifts,My good friend Kali gave me a wonderful Christmas gift…she is a wizard cake  maker & she presented each of our little band with a personalised mini Christmas cake, it was so moist & had so much alcohol in it! I think she may have been trying to sabotage my weight loss, as she is my Slimming World ‘partner’ & we are always trying to beat each other at the scales! I have to report that it didn’t work out for her this time though…we weighed in this very morning & she & I both GAINED the same amount over the week!!  My Mum-in-Law helped me polish off half of the cake & the remainder will go down well with my New Year visitors, then the temptation will be gone!!

So…what did you get for Christmas?!!

Tomorrow morning I have an hour booked with Nick at the gym…just what I need to kick start my motivation & I’ll follow that with a sauna to try & shake off the last of this cold…I’d like to feel 100% for our New Year celebrations!!

So, in case I don’t get logged on again before 2010…HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone, thanks for sharing your day-to-day on your blogs, & leaving some wonderful & entertaining comments on mine…..here’s to a blog-full year ahead!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Five days in a flash!!…

It seems that since my last post the days have gone by so quickly & yet they have been quite full & busy days!

On Saturday, we did indeed get to the pantomime…iSnowdayresizet was touch & go for a while as we had a real blizzard….but we did go & took it easy on the roads. The panto was Aladdin,  at the Gordon Craig theatre in Stevenage. This is a small intimate theatre & perfect for panto, as it makes it really interactive. There was all the usual “behind you”…”Oh no it isn’t”… & very corny jokes, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Paul Laidlaw, who plays the Dame, has the most amazing figure & legs most women would give their eye teeth for!!

On Sunday I went to work…the roads were horrible, it was –2.5 degrees all the way & I went round more than one roundabout sideways on…horrible! But I was glad I went in as it was a very successful sales day & a great atmosphere!

Monday was a housework day…getting everything ready fro the arrival of Mum-in-Law for Christmas. Although cold it was bright out & I set off to the hairdressers quite happily….it started to rain as I drove the short distance to Kempston & while I was inside the salon, that turned into snow…an hour later I came out to a white-out & another horrible drive home!!

Yesterday dawned bright & sunny & Lee set off to pick up his Mum from Hereford. I was so nervous about his journey..I didn’t relax until they were both inside the door! Luckily it stayed above freezing all day & the route he took was all motorway & the roads were clear. He did have to make a detour to avoid a couple of accident holdups but at least they were safe! While he was out I wrapped the last few bits, & then chilled in front of the TV with the boys!Nan&Alexresize 

We haven’t seen Pat (M-I-L) since August & both boys were so pleased to see her …on her part, she could not get over how Alex has grown since then. His voice is also much deeper & they were laughing over how her slippers now fit him!  However, he still snuggled up to her on the sofa, just as he’s always done, he just had to tuck those long legs away!!



Last time Pat saw Nathan his hair was long, so she had a shock when he took his hat off…!

They both brought her up to speed on their school news & showed her all the Christmas decorations…as if she hasn’t seen them every year for as long as they’ve been around!!  Aaaaahhh!!


So, that brings me up to today….we were supposed to be driving down to a friends in St Albans this evening, but after Lee made a trip to Harpenden this morning & found that the roads were a bit hairy, we decided to cancel. Such a shame, but I think it’s common sense not to take risks!

We decided to have a nice meal in instead…we fancied Chinese, so popped to Tesco to pick up some supplies…two hours later we were still in the queue at the checkout!! But we do indeed have a lovely meal to look forward to later! Crispy duck & pancakes, sweet & sour pork, chicken & cashew nuts, chicken & black bean sauce, egg fried rice, vegetable spring rolls & prawn crackers!

I’m not sure when I will be posting next, so can I say MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone…may you all enjoy a happy, stress free time in good health. Thank you  for continuing to drop by & all the fabulous, kind & highly entertaining comments you’ve left me since I started this venture in March.

Stay safe & warm!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Yay! A snow day!…& day 17…

Popping in briefly as I have both boys at home today…One school was closed due to the snow/icy roads & there was no way I was trekking across town for just one of them! So, they are out building snowmen, I have cancelled my dentist appointment (how disappointing!!) & I’m trying to do some serious tidying!!

I had a night out with the girls last night…we ate too much…they drank too much…we laughed till we cried & as designated driver I  drove us all home in the horizontal snow!! I HATE driving in icy conditions…I’m a bit of a wimp, but we all got home safely!!

We have tickets for the pantomime in Stevenage tomorrow afternoon…I’m just hoping that the weather will be kind & allow us to get there & back…if not, not only will the boys be disappointed, but it will be quite a large sum wasted!! Fingers crossed!

So, to finish…JYC! I still have 4 days prompts to catch up on, but I did turn my attention to prompt 17 ‘I saw this & thought of you!’, because I had the perfect photo of the most perfect gift I’ve had! It was from Alex on his first Christmas (I think he had a bit of help!). Anyone who knows me, knows I am something of a chocolate addict & my absolute favourite is Toblerone. So imagine a Toblerone weighing 10lbs!!! JYCday17resizeWhen I saw it I imagined it to be a box full of smaller bars, but no…it was one solid bar…each triangular chunk weighed 1lb! In true chocoholic style it only took me six weeks to devour..with a (very) little help from family & friends!!

I should add that at the end of February ‘97 I was rushed into hospital with severe abdominal pain & diagnosed with gallstones…later that year I had surgery to remove my gallbladder…was there a connection do you think?!!! 

I hope anyone affected by the weather isn’t too inconvenienced…stay safe & enjoy the snow..if you have it! Maybe we will have a white Christmas this year!

Thanks for dropping by….7 sleeps to go…!!

Thursday, 17 December 2009

SNOW!…and at last…day 12!!…

After braving the sub-zero temperatures to do the school run, I came home to wrap the last few bits & bobs I bought yesterday! I had heard that snow was due so went into town with my final condensed shopping list, just in case we were snowed in this morning! 

We did have a flurry first thing, which didn’t settle, & it is now falling more thickly & the sky looks heavy…we will have to see what happens! I am out with the girls for supper tonight, so hope we will be OK to get home afterwards!! Nathan has gone on a school trip to the ‘Cinderella’ pantomime in Dunstable today, so I hope the roads will be clear long enough for them to get back on time!

Last night I wrote the last of the cards, which have now been posted & then turned my attention to catching up on the JYC backlog! So…let me take you back in time to December 12!!! The prompt was for Christmas Past & I interpreted that as the nostalgia I feel for the Christmases of my childhood & teens…. JYCday12resize….each tag holds a memory & they are 1: Singing Carols in the school choir 2:The Morecombe & Wise Christmas Special on TV 3: Using Nutcrackers on un-crackable Brazil nuts!! 4: Playing games of Monopoly that went on forever!
5: Unpacking the Christmas food Hamper…all those goodies! 6: Making paper chains to hang everywhere! 7: The school Christmas Disco…going prepared with Mistletoe in hand!! 8: Hanging up a pillowcase instead of a stocking…now that’s optimism! 9: Being allowed a ‘Snowball’…without the Brandy! 10: Watching the ‘Sound of Music’…again!!!   thumbnail


Now, as I scrapped last night the ITV movie was ‘Sixth Sense’ with Bruce Willis. It’s a long time since I watched this & although I knew what was coming I still thoroughly enjoyed seeing it again…I suppose Christmas is traditionally a time for Ghost stories !!



This afternoon I’ve made a start on day 13….so watch this space…only five days to catch up on!! Of course, my good friend Karen is all up to date with her JYC! Her earnest preparations are really paying off…do drop in on her blog to see her  pages for yourself…they are truly fabulous!

I’m off to scrap some more…Lee volunteered to do the school pick-up & who was I to argue!! He has to go back again to collect Nathan at 5.30pm & has offered to bring in a take-away for himself & the boys so I won’t need to cook tonight!! Yay!!

Tomorrow is the last day of term & I have a dental check-up appointment first thing…snow permitting!!  Apart from school runs I will have a nice lot of scrappy time available, so hope to have more JYC to share with you in my next post!

Thanks for dropping by & only 8 more sleeps to go!!!  

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Uh Oh!!!!…I’m behind already!…

I am happy to report that the bulk of my wrapping is done…I have a condensed list of a dozen or so incidental items still to buy…cards almost done ready to post & only the fresh foods to pick up last minute…BUT….my JYC has ground to a halt since day 11!

The house is clean…but…the boys bedrooms still need a pre-Christmas blitz & my scrap room tidying to serve it’s second function as a guest bedroom for Mum-in-Law when she arrives on the 22nd. But, other than that, pretty much everything is under control, so I am hoping that those few pages will be caught up & then some very soon!!

After work on Sunday, Amanda & I headed off to see ‘Nativity….. Nativityresize 
This is an absolute must see…it is FABULOUS!!! It is just so natural & it could have been my boys Lower school! The children are adorable, the whole cast is inspired..OK..there are things that happen that just wouldn’t, but…it is laugh out loud funny & very moving! I had to make a quick exit at the end though, as the credits role to a choir boy singing ‘Silent Night’.  This was my Mums favourite carol & EVERY time I hear it I cry!  Christmas can be a very tearful time for me!!!

You may remember that I had Alex off school last week with a cold & ulcerated throat….well, by the time I got to bed on Friday I had a hot throat & I woke on Saturday morning to a streaming cold!!! Oh joy!!! I haven’t felt unwell, but my nose has been running non-stop ever since & this morning my voice was gone completely! But, in spite of  the amount of lozenges & Lemsips I’ve had, all of which are sugar laden, I weighed in with a 2lb loss this week at Slimming World!
So I’m still on track to hit my stone mark before 2010…had hoped for Christmas, but I think a 3 1/2lb loss this week might be optimistic!!

So…anyone else out there falling behind? I hope to be able to bring things back up to date very soon….meanwhile…10 more sleeps to go!!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Is he ‘Saint’ Nick?!!….Day Eleven

Today got off to a rocky start when I discovered that Alex had taken the scissors to the top of his hair to cut out a knot! All I can say is it must have been one hell of a knot to require the amount of hair that’s in my bin to be removed!! When he got out of bed this morning he resembled the stereotypical ‘village idiot’…an effect I managed to dilute in the short term with a wash & clever blow dry!! It now means that the rest of his hair will need cutting over the weekend to even out the layers!!….Boys!!!!!

After the school run I went off to the gym for my session with Nick & as if by magic all the stresses of the day evaporated! he had put together a new programme for me & had me doing chest presses at 15kg & tricep pushes at 35kg!! If he keeps this up my bingo wings will have gone in no time!!

I came home to sort the laundry & load up the machine, whizz round with the vacuum cleaner & duster, grab a bite of late lunch, & then it was time to pick the boys up & drop Lee & Nathan at the railway station. Tonight they are going to Brighton to see Status Quo in concert. They went last year & Nathan loved the fact that his ears were ringing for a week!! They are staying overnight & coming home tomorrow afternoon So Alex & I are enjoying a very calm evening without the inevitable sibling arguments & reprimands from Dad!!

And so to JYC…..today’s prompt was the tree! I loved the way one example LO had used a photo as the whole page & added the journaling to the photo, so I lifted that idea & just added a bit of bling in the title alpha’s & some stickles along the bead ropes on the tree!


Now, I know I won’t be able to settle to sleep with Lee away tonight, so I’m off to do some serious wrapping & checking of lists…I may even make a start on writing some cards…..I only have 7 days till last posting for second class!! I may even put on my DVD of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ & really feel the Christmas spirit!

Only 14 sleeps till Santa!   Catch you all later!! xx

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Twenty Four lengths!!….day ten…

As I mentioned yesterday, my car was booked in for a brake test this morning. Lee booked it in as back in the summer, when my car was last serviced, we were advised that the front brake pads were at 70% & would need replacing before the years end. I dropped it off at 9am & just before midday I get a call to tell me that all the brake pads were fine & all that needed replacing was the rear wiper & a brake light bulb! Apparently we were wrongly advised about the wear on the brakes! We are hoping they will adjust the bill for the ‘unnecessary’ test accordingly!!

While the car was in the garage I spent a very pleasant two hours at the gym, trying to make up for my missed sessions earlier this week. I did a half hour cardiovascular workout & then swam TWENTY FOUR lengths of the pool…..I didn’t manage to better my 34 strokes per length though!! I finished off with a good long sauna & left the gym glowing!!

The rest of the day seems to have concertinaed so that apart from feeding the troops I haven’t got much else done!!

I have managed to complete day 10 of JYC though!! Today’s prompt was ‘wrapping’….Now I love to wrap gifts….good quality paper, lots of curling ribbon, satin ribbon, bows & bells…and not one piece of visible sticky tape!! Over the years I must have invested a small fortune in gift wrap..each year being a co-ordination of designs & colours.JYCday10resize This year I have not bought any new gift wrap & will be using up all of the end-rolls from the past few years in an effort to keep outgoings down….as someone so rightly pointed out…it all ends up in the recycling bag anyway!!

That’s it from me for today…I have an hour with Nick first thing in the morning so am off to have an early night!!

15 sleeps to go…..Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

To finish up…. Day 9….

So, Alex survived the day at school, but was very grumpy when I picked him up as he had been told that the Geography homework he thought he’d completed needed more work! Isn’t life tough?!!

The engineer fitted the new sensor panel to the tumble drier…& guess what?….it still isn’t working!!! The timer works but if I set it at a ‘ready to iron’ or ‘ready to wear’ programme it doesn’t move through the stages of that programme & just keeps on going till the articles are almost crispy!!! This is the third time he’s been out to replace this part, so I think we may just have to demand a replacement machine!

My e-ticket arrived from Virgin Atlantic today! YAY! I’ve been on-line & reserved my seat to be sure that I can sit close to Karen & Hilary!! I couldn’t believe how booked up the flight is already & it’s six months away….at least two thirds of the seats were already reserved! It is all sooo exciting!!

Finally for today…JYC….today’s prompt was about traditions. I wanted to use something that isn’t commonplace, so opted for our ‘Christmas Day After Dinner Treasure Hunt’. JYCday9resize My Mum used to do this for us when I was small..easy peasy clues which led us to a treat…usually of the chocolate variety! So I have been doing the same for years & love trying to make the clues more & more of a challenge for everyone. The boys get so excited trying to solve the riddles & then run around to search for the next clue & ultimately the treats! 

For the last five years I’ve had to come up with a second set of clues & hiding places for New Years Eve too…our friends Tim & Ellie bring their two boys & it’s mayhem with three adults & four boys running riot trying to find the stash of goodies!! Last year Tim even prepared a clue & a gift to hide for me…now that made a change!

So….tomorrow I’m dropping my car to the garage & heading into the gym for an extended visit! Then I need to clean the bathrooms so I can maintain the scrapping/housework balance…..LOL!!

Have a good day everyone!  Just 16 sleeps to go…!!!

This little piggy….& day 8…

i am publishing yesterday’s post a little late! It was a testing day yesterday, when I went down to feed the Guinea Pigs I found that one had passed away overnight. Taz was the eldest of the four & had lost an eye to infection earlier this year, he was one of two we adopted from friends & was such a friendly little thing, always the first up at the mesh when it was feeding time! So, we had an impromptu piggy funeral & both boys were very subdued.

Alex had another day home from school as his blood sugar readings were still high & his appetite poor.  By evening though he was quite ‘bouncy’ & ate a good meal, so I packed him off to school today!!  He is still coughing & a bit snuffly, but his colour is restored & the old ‘attitude’ resumed!! He has a later start on Wednesday so I’m sure he’ll last the day!!

I had to forego my belated visit to the gym yesterday too….I was twitching by lunchtime & then  today I had to stay in for the engineer to come & fit a new sensor to the tumble drier, so haven’t got there again!!  My car has to go in for a brake check tomorrow & fortuitously the garage is right next door to the gym!!!  So I will be swimming & sauna-ing  in the morning & then I have an hour booked with Nick for Friday…that should get me back on track!!

So…to day 8 of JYC…& my first page completed this year!! The prompt was about observation…what’s different around you?  As I didn’t venture far yesterday, I kept my focus within the house & how different it all looks & feels with the decorations in place…..JYCday8resizeI included a hidden journaling tag which reads…”This first weekend in December the decorations come out…the fairy lights & candles give the house a cosy, festive feel…..lovely!”   

I’m just off to finish my bit of housework & put some empty boxes away in the loft so that I can justify working on day 9’s page a little later!! Got to keep a balance…or at least make it look that way!!LOL

So until later…thanks for dropping by!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Baubles, an invalid & day 7…..

My plan today was to decorate the tree & the rest of the house, & then get to the gym before picking up the boys from school. Well, as the saying goes…the best laid plans of mice & men….& all that! I woke up this morning to find that Alex’s temperature & blood sugar level were waaay high!! He said his throat hurt & it was hard to swallow, so my plans were scuppered!

I did manage to get all the Christmas decorations in place, but there was no way I could leave him alone for the length of time needed for a visit to the gym. So I found other jobs to do around the house in between ‘nursing’ Alex & depending on how he is tomorrow, I may or may not be able to do a double session at the gym!!

But as I said, the Robinson household is all decked out for Christmas….we now enter what my hubby refers to as the dark ages, as I love to live by  fairy lights & candles…there are numerous scented Yankee candles & night light holders dotted around downstairs & it just feels so cosy!!

Decs09resize When I was growing up my Mum would go out for a walk & come back with armfuls of fresh cut greenery & decorate the hallway…it always smelled so good…. I will admit that I have resorted to plastic holly & silk variegated ivy to adorn my picture frames & it doesn’t smell the same!!..hence the scented candles!

Having Alex home today meant that he did get to help put the baubles on the tree..when his Grandad died three years ago, he had the idea of making a bauble with Grandads photo on it so we would feel like he was still with us at Christmas, so that takes centre stage on the tree!

7Dec2009 009This year I found some tiny
gingerbread  men & they are now sitting in amongst
all the lights, baubles &
candy canes!! I will have to keep an eye out or the boys will eat them all before Christmas is even here!!

7Dec2009 011

I also enjoyed hanging the six ‘cat’ baubles that were a gift from my friend Amanda last year…each one is a different colour with a hand painted face….my favourite is this ginger tom! I just love his expression, as if he’s really affronted at having to wear a bow on his head!…well it is Christmas!

She bought these from the ‘Christmas Dove’ shop in New York..a shop I spent literally hours (& a small fortune!) in, when we visited in 2001.

Lee had spent yesterday working between rain showers to put up the outside lights & the two lit trees we have each side of the front door…it’s a standing joke how short a time he would leave them on for if left to his own devices, but I’ve checked the timer & am happy with the ‘On & Off’ times set!!

And so…it’s day 7 of JYC & the last of my pre-done pages!! I do hope that I will be able to keep up through the rest of the prompts from tomorrow!! So today’s prompt was to think about organising Christmas & the things still left to do…..

JYCday7resizeNot much is different this year….my next priority is getting our cards written & into the post. My gift shopping is mostly done & wrapping well under way…my lists are looking well ‘ticked’ so it’s all good so far!! Just one thing is proving a challenge & that’s tracking down some mistletoe to hang in the hallway…I’ll have to pop into the Farmers market on Friday!

So it’s 18 sleeps & counting!!!…hope you are all on schedule with your preparations too!! Until tomorrow…Nite Nite!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Busy Day at work….& day 6…..

So with today being Sunday, it’s been my day to put on my uniform, slap on the war paint & head off into the world of cosmetics retail! As you can imagine, this is a very busy time in the Beauty department, with everyone Christmas shopping. Today had the added bonus of an extended 10% Discount event…so people were really in spending mode & there were some amazing offers to be had!

From the moment I arrived on the shop floor it was mayhem, but so satisfying to achieve nearly double my retail target & it is so enjoyable when customers are in good spirits & there is a bit of ‘banter’!!

After work a few of us set off to ‘Ask’ to ‘send off’ one of the girls who will soon be starting maternity leave for baby number 5….she actually fell pregnant while on maternity leave for baby number 4, but I don’t think she’ll be doing that again!!
As I mentioned, it was the Crafty Stash monthly crop yesterday & I noticed on the lovely Valerie’s blog today, a photo she took of Karen & I in our silly Christmas headgear!!  My Santa hat was perched so far back on my head that you can barely see it…but next to Karen’s sparkly ‘beedly-boppers’ you wouldn’t have noticed it anyway!!

Do be sure to pop over to these two ladies blogs (just click on their names) as there is some fabulous inspiration, much hilarity & some gorgeous photo’s (other than this one of Karen & I!!) to be seen.

And finally… JYC…today’s link was about good & bad Christmas memories. I chose two years that stick in my mind …1979 & 1985!
I won’t write out all the journaling but one involves skidding in my car on black ice & ending up in a ditch & the other a very happy memory of a Christmas with Lee when we made the decision to get married! 

So…until tomorrow…Nite Nite!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

We are actually going!!…& day five…

I am sooooo excited!! Tonight we booked our flights to Chicago!!! WE ARE REALLY GOING!! OK, so it’s not until June but I still cannot believe that in the space of 24 hours we have agreed a date, arranged time off work & booked the flights! We all got good deals with the help of Airmiles & all that remains is to save for our accommodation & spending money!! YIPEEEE!!!

Look out Chicago…the three amigo’s are coming to town!! 

So, onto today’s JYC….the prompt was for the countdown to Christmas & I think you will already know the two things I featured on this page…
JYC page 5 resizeYep! That’s right…you’ve seen ‘em before!!

Today was also the Crafty Stash monthly crop & I will share what I did with the class LO kit when I have completed them…I still need to finish the journaling!! Well I did tell you that I’m a slow scrapper!! 

Wishing you all the rest of a great weekend!

Friday, 4 December 2009

A bit of ‘Bingo’ anyone?…& Day Four…

Today has gone by in a flash & I’m not sure where!! It started off well, we were out of the house on time, the boys deposited at school without fuss, I drove home to have my breakfast & then made my way to the gym. This is where it all becomes a blur!!

After my hour workout & shower, I met, as planned, my good friends Donna & Valerie for a lunchtime session of bingo….as an excuse to catch up on the gossip, eat an inexpensive lunch & maybe win a few quid into the bargain!! As our forays into the world of bingo are usually restricted to an occasional Wednesday evening, we were surprised at how few people there were but thought that a good thing…fewer people, better odds on winning!

BUT…and it is a big BUT!!! Once the games got under way we realised that maybe there was a reason for the poor attendance….the lines were worth £4.00 & the full house £10.00! The BIG game, that on an evening would have a house prize of perhaps £1000, was worth £9.60!!!!  I was in tears of laughter to think that we, & all the others there were so diligently marking our cards for a chance to win less than our entrance fee!!!

Anyhow, we did win two lines & shared £20.00 between us…my jacket potato was done to perfection….and we caught up on each others news while having a laugh! But then, before I knew it, it was time to collect the boys once more, tea has been prepared & eaten & here I am wondering where the day went!!!

So, to JYC…today’s prompt is about perfection….what makes a perfect Christmas? Here is the page I did in ‘08JYC page 4 resizeI hand wrote the journaling in silver, so in this photo it’s not easy to read…it say’s “…..and what is it that makes a perfect Christmas? Knowing that all will be ready on time…the house clean, the fridge full, presents wrapped, cards sent, the tree & decorations up & being able to enjoy the company of family & friends in a warm, comfortable & stress free environment!”

I’m off now to get my things together for tomorrows ‘Crafty Stash’ crop at Tempsford. The sneak peeks look fab & I just hope I’ve printed off the right photo’s for the job!!

So, until tomorrow..nite nite!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

A very wet day three!…..

Do you know anyone who scuppers your plans for the perfect Christmas gift by buying said item for themselves just three weeks before the big day?!!!…I do!!

My darling Hubby is such a person! He is an avid Science Fiction buff & collects memorabilia for Star Wars, Star Trek & more recently Halo (an X-Box game!) So, in October the boys & I were delighted to find, in a shop in Milton Keynes, a new range of Halo vehicles & chose one of the aircraft as Hubby’s Christmas gift from the boys. They have both done so well in keeping it secret ….not a word has been said…not a hint has been dropped!

On Monday, a parcel arrived from Amazon for Hubby…once opened he brought it’s contents to show me…imagine my dismay when I saw it was the very same aircraft that has been hidden in my scrap room for six weeks!! Aaaargh!! Lee did ask me to keep it aside & he would have it at Christmas…so….

… what to do? Well, what I did do was to drive over to Milton Keynes today…in pouring rain & through all the road works on the A421…it took three times as long as usual, but I did manage to exchange the vehicle for another in the range & hopefully the boys won’t notice!!

While I was there I took a few minutes 3Dec09 009
to look at the Christmas decorations in the main mall & they were lovely, so
colourful! The theme is a circus & the children take a train ride around the
main hall to visit Santa in his ‘Big Top’…I used to love taking my boys to see
Santa when they were small.

3Dec09 004
There was a full sized Carousel complete with galloping horses, & a full sized Helter-Skelter which made me think of childhood trips to the funfair!

As I was there just after opening time this morning, it wasn’t busy, but I can imagine the whole place would have been abuzz by lunchtime!

I was very pleased to see that in 3Dec09 008
amongst all this colour & sparkle was a reminder of what Christmas is really all about. This beautiful Nativity scene stopped me in my tracks & while I love the whole Santa thing, I do think children definitely need the balance of understanding why it is that we give gifts at Christmas.

So after a quick visit to Ikea….I picked up candles, ribbons, bows & gingerbread hearts for the tree…I came home to re-conceal the exchanged gift & tidy up a bit before heading off to pick up the boys from school!

So…it’s day three of JYC & today’s prompt was about Christmas cards! So here is the page I put together for 2008…JYC page 3 resize

Funnily enough the card design I have chosen for this year is very similar & is again sold in aid of the ‘Breast Cancer Care’ charity.

I am off now to fix high tea for three hungry boys (Nathan has a friend home tonight!) & prepare a meal for Lee & I to have a little later, & then I think I may just sink into a hot bath & have an early night…I feel as if I’ve had a very busy day!!!

As always…thanks again for dropping by!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

TWENTY lengths !….& day two…..

Well…today has panned out so much better than yesterday started!

So after getting my friend, Sue & both boys to work & respective schools well on time I returned home for an energetic couple of hours housework! The lounge is now as clean as a new pin & the relevant furniture moved about to make room for the Christmas tree…I even hung my voile fairy light curtains across the French windows, so that the creases will drop by the weekend!!

After lunch I headed off the the gym…..You may remember that Wednesday is swim & sauna day….& today I completed no less than TWENTY lengths of the pool!  Now, this is where my OCD tendencies rear their head…..while I swim, I keep my breathing even by counting my strokes & breathe in on the odd numbers & out on the even!!!!  So, I can report that at the start of session one, two weeks ago, I swam 6 lengths & it took 40 strokes to complete a length. Today…session three, I swam 20 lengths & it took only 34 strokes each length….so I must be getting fitter or stronger……anyway it’s progress!!

And now to JYC…Day two…today’s prompt was to think about the weather, what would be the perfect weather for your Christmas?

JYC page 2 resize

I know I’m predictable, but it would have to be snow! I would love a proper Hollywood movie type White Christmas! I used photo’s on this page from February 2007, my boys building a snowman & making snow angels! So, if we are already experiencing hard white frosts, does that mean we’re in with a chance of a white Christmas this year?!! I’m keeping everything crossed!!

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Aaaaargh!….and it’s day one….

Well…I am going to start the new month off with something rare for me…a whinge...a full blown moan & grouch!

Last evening, at the tea table, Alex announced that he needed ingredients for his Food Tech class today..a winter salad…a Jamie Oliver recipe which is a favourite of mine, but that said, I do not keep in a supply of Radiccio or flat leaf parsley and did not want a late night trip to Tesco. So..it was agreed that I would do my grocery shop as usual this morning & drop the necessary food stuffs into school in time for the FT class.

So I planned my day & got up at 6am to shower & blow dry my hair….only I got as far as towel drying when Alex announced that his school uniform, blazer included, was still screwed up in his PE bag as he had worn his kit home from school yesterday & forgotten to take it out!!!

So Lee sorted out breakfast while I ironed said uniform & dried my hair. By the time I got downstairs to pack up lunchboxes both boys were in the lounge watching TV…something I don’t normally allow until they are all but ready to leave. So I chivvied them to brush teeth, hair, tie ties, put on shoes, jackets etc etc while I cut sandwiches & washed grapes!!

We were actually ready to leave at 8:05…just 5 minutes behind schedule, so that was OK…until I opened the door!! To find everything white & my car solidly frozen! This was our first real hard frost & I had no de-icer & had to rummage for a scraper! By the time we actually left the driveway it was 8:20!!! So my friend Sue, who I give a lift to, was late for work, Nathan was late for school & Alex….well, it soon became apparent that Lee had omitted to give him his ‘Happy Pill’ at breakfast & he was soooo hyper!! Aaaaaargh indeed!!

Once I had deposited Alex at school & organised a pill for him from schools supply I set off to Tesco! Once the ingredients were duly delivered I set off to Slimming World & this is where my day turned around!!!!!!

I am pleased to report that this week I LOST 2 1/2lb!! I am so thrilled!!

Anyhow…with my griping out of the way I can share my JYC news. I mentioned before that last year I started this project & lasted 7 days….so I will share those 7 pages with you & then pick up from day 8 with new creativity!!
1Dec09 004

Firstly this is the cover
of my journal…. I opted for an 8”x8” fabric window album & those ribbons & bells came off two Lindt chocolate reindeer that the boys were given last year!

Day one’s prompt is to write your manifesto & this I did last year…reading through, it is still relevant today, so I am leaving it as is…
JYC page 1 resize

Now, I am off to make sure that all is ready for tomorrow morning…I cannot be having another morning like today!!!!!

Thanks for dropping by…& if you have a sweet tooth why not follow the cookie trail from Beverly’s blog…I just printed off a fab recipe for Baklava…YUM!!

Monday, 30 November 2009

And So It Begins……….

Tomorrow is the first of December & in the Robinson household the countdown to Christmas begins!  While our tree & lights don’t go up until next week, tonight I have put out the Advent Calendar…

…which I stitched for Alex’s first Christmas in 1996, it’s pockets suitably stuffed with chocolate treats…this year I bought exactly 48 (1 per boy per day!) so that I couldn’t be tempted to eat the extra’s myself!!

…and our countdown Santa, with his chalkboard!


He sits in the hallway & the boys take turns each morning to change the number & I’m glad to say that with each passing year the numbers are becoming more & more legible!!

I always feel the excitement of Christmas afresh…& this week will be industrious, giving the house a deep clean before the tree & decorations go up, as well as wrapping gifts already bought to place beneath the tree next week!

Out comes the CD of carols which will play while I write the cards to send greetings worldwide & we are looking forward to singing along to the ‘Sleeps till Santa’ song on Heart FM as we drive to school each day from tomorrow!! 

Tomorrow is also the first day of Shimelle’s ‘Journal Your Christmas’ on-line class…I did this last year & only managed to get to day 7!!  So… I am hoping to get a bit further along this year! I’ll keep you posted as to how I get on!! 

Apart from my good friend Karen, who is so well prepared, it’s scary!! Is anyone else taking part this year? If so, please leave me a link to your blog so that I can pop over & check out your journal entries…

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Oh! How I loved the 80’s……

The latest challenge for TAAFOMFT was a LO to record my favourite decade. Without doubt my favourite has to be the 1980’s! I loved everything…..the music…..the movies…..the fashion! I loved Big hair…Big earrings…..Big shoulder pads!! I loved the glamour of the new romantics…Spandeau Ballet…Boy George….Madonna!

We sweated it out to ‘feel the burn’ with Jane Fonda & I tasted my first McDonalds!! Sony Walkmans meant we could listen to mobile music & we didn’t even go out until the latest episode of Dallas or Dynasty was finished & then we danced in the clubs till 2am!

In the 80’s I turned 21….left home at 23…..got married at 26! I joined Elizabeth Arden in ‘84 & spent several fabulous years working in Harrods, Selfridges & in Bond Street. I loved the whole dressing up thing….even in jeans we looked glam!!

So, I thoroughly enjoyed putting this LO together & reliving ‘My Era’…….

80'sresize The photo’s of me are from the years stated alongside……

Thanks for dropping by….why not pop over to TAAFOMFT & check out all the other entries in the gallery….such a great source of inspiration!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

About a boy!…..

Yesterday we attended a meeting at Alex’s school to review how he is settling in! For ourselves we have been pleasantly surprised that the transition from middle to upper school has gone relatively smoothly….given Alex’s ADHD/Aspergers Syndrome issues, not forgetting his Diabetes management!


After four very successful years at middle school, where the teaching staff were so supportive, we worried that in a school of six times the size he might get lost in the system & would regress before moving forward again.

BUT…….the SENCO at school reported that they too have been so pleased with how he has adapted & while he still has full time 1:1 support & still has issues entering certain classes, he is making progress.

Today he has gone into school with a mini-laptop to use for his work as we all agreed that actually putting pen to paper is a real stumbling block for him! he is such an intelligent boy, but needs constant motivation!! It is so scary that in a few months time he will be having to choose the subjects that will affect his future so much!! But hey!…..at least we are reassured that for now he is doing better than we all expected & we can all continue working towards increasing his levels of independence!

Last night I set off to my good friend Karen’s house……she was hosting a gold party with the same dealer as we saw at another friends house a little while back…..I had dug out a few more pieces that I just don’t wear & would not pass on. These ‘parties’ are such fun…..finding out what everyone is selling & then how much money they get!! So….my Chicago fund is due another boost this month…Yay!!!!

To finish today……I forgot to share my thoughts on the ‘end of the world’ disaster movie that is 2012!!!  I went along prepared to be terrified…….and it was hilarious!! OK, I will admit that the special effects are great, but it is just soooo unbelievable, which wasn’t what I expected! I did enjoy it though & laughed out loud so many times at the corny one liners & especially at the cameo appearance of Her Majesty, complete with corgi’s…..or maybe that was just a lookalike?!!

So, wishing you all a good weekend…..I’m off into the attic now, to sort out the Christmas decorations & some toddler Toys to list on ebay!!  I may be some time!! 


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Mission accomplished…..

FFresize Today I headed off to the gym…..with a goal in mind! Wednesday is my swim & sauna day & you may remember that  last week I managed six lengths of the pool……you may also remember that I planned to do eight this week. Well I am pleased to report that I did in fact complete those eight lengths & then spent ten minutes in the sauna, before getting back in the pool to complete another four!! So, having doubled last weeks achievement I am feeling really smug!!
If I may take a step back in time, I would like to share the highlights of my  weekend with you……On Friday evening, Nathan & I queued for what seemed an age to get in to see the new ‘Twilight’ series movie ‘New Moon’. I stumbled upon the first one by accident & enjoyed it thoroughly…I have never read any of the books so was surprised at how popular the whole thing is. Nathan at age 10 loved every minute of it…so did I, but maybe for different reasons!….Please see below!!!!


Now that’s what I call eye-candy!!!!  The transformation from pretty boy to this gorgeous hunk certainly grabbed my attention…werewolf or no werewolf!!

I don’t remember many eighteen year olds looking like that when I was a teenager, they were mainly spotty oiks with  greasy hair & no style….well it was the seventies so style was a scarce commodity!!


On Saturday I spent a wonderful few hours with my friend Amanda, mooching around Camden Lock. 

I had not visited Camden since before the boys were born, so there were many changes…the Stables is a fabulous development which has been beautifully adapted to house an indoor/outdoor market with gorgeous life size bronze horses randomly placed around the original stalls, which themselves house stalls of a different kind!

I could have spent a fortune in the craft market & the retro stores where I found many vintage pieces that I remember using daily in my childhood home!!…how old did that make me feel!

We ate lunch ‘al fresco’ & prayed that the pigeons were tired of target practice…but no….I was hit fair & square!! Ah well….it is supposed to bring good luck!! I made one purchase only…a pair of Vans skateboard shoes for Nathan, I am hoping he will be pleasantly surprised for Christmas!!


Love_Ya_Award1Finally……..I had a lovely award passed onto me by Jocelyn………so a big ‘Thank You’ to her & do pop over to her blog…it has a real feel good factor! I would like to pass this award onto Karen, Anna, Valerie, Mary & Lisa.

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

OK…Let’s see how this works!…..

So, here I am, trying out ‘Live Writer’ for the first time….just to see how it works!  I will keep this post short & simple & if all goes well, will try again in more detail with my next post!

I had my weekly weigh in this morning & AT LAST have reached my first milestone & earned my first ‘Half Stone’ lost award!!


So….I’m on track for my 1st Stone lost award by Christmas…I just need to stay focussed & avoid ANYTHING coated in chocolate!!

Well, that wasn’t too difficult!  I just need to get to grips with Picassa & this ol’ Blog could have a whole new look!!!!!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Bad Hair Day?.....

Do you, like me, have the occasional (?!?!) 'Bad Hair Day'?...Those days when you look in the mirror & think "Why do I bother?".....When all you see are those gorgeous celebrities looking 100% every time they appear!! I have a fridge magnet that sums up those days perfectly....it Say's 'Some days are just a waste of good make-up!'

But....if you do, then take heart....here are some photo's I recently received in an e-mail which give me reassurance that the benchmark isn't as high as we may think!!!!

So you see....even the immortals have an 'Off' day!! Enjoy!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Done & Dusted.....

This week has found me sweating & breathless in the company of a young man half my age....at one point I was flat on the floor while he knelt between my knees & bent my legs at angles I would not have thought possible!...of course I am referring to Nick, my personal trainer at the gym.....& the leg bending?...that was advanced ham string stretching!!

I am sooo enjoying my thrice weekly trips into that temple to fitness....sadly my introductory sessions with Nick are now over & I can now only afford to book him for a half hour every other Friday (or dip into the Chicago fund...no...I think not!!) so am having to rely on my own motivation between times!! Yesterday I swam & sauna'd...absolute bliss...I am not a strong swimmer but achieved six lengths of the pool & plan to increase that by two each week.

Saturday was spent with like minded company at the Crafty Stash crop......the kit was for two LO's designed by Heidi Kelley. I only completed the first as the second was just too 'busy' for my taste.....but hey...you can't please all of the people all of the time!! I did make a start on a second LO using the leftover bits but it's not yet finished! Anyway here's my take on the first LO

At last I can share with you the results of my DIY efforts!! Although these took three times as long as planned to complete, I am very happy with my achievements! On Sunday I finally put everything from the hall back in it's place.......it feels good to have completed the job & here are a few 'before & after' photo's

I am pleased with the final colour on the walls & it was well worth all the extra effort or painting over my original too-yellow choice!

My 'Parasol' plant is happy to be back in it's usual place, but I'm amazed that even with a short stay in the lounge it's leaves have already 'turned' to a different position & there is now a gap where there wasn't one before!

Most of the artwork on our walls has been created by family & friends........while putting it all back up I thought about how I don't really 'see' it anymore! Do you do that?...become so familiar with things that you don't notice them? So, as I cleaned them all I tried to see them afresh & appreciate the work that went into them. This piece of calligraphy was from my Mum-in-Law shortly after I became a Mum for the first time...her way of telling me not to stress about the housework & miss out on enjoying Alex....how right she was!

On Tuesday evening I went with friends Karen, Hilary & Linda to see 'Bright Star'....Linda's son Ben had the lead role of John Keates, the poet. I love historical drama's, especially true stories, they always bring home just how tough things were in history & how much we take for granted today.
After the movie, we went to Prezzo's & spent a thoroughly enjoyable time putting the world to rights! I know I've said it before but how valuable is quality time spent with good friends?

Finally, just to share Alex's culinary creation with you...this time an apple strudel! Even though I haven't fallen from the 'Slimming World' wagon once. in over two weeks now, I did allow myself a weeny slice & it was delicious!! He really does have a talent...not sure where he gets that from though!!!

I'm off now to check out Picassa...I've had it from two sources that it's the place to go to get creative with my photo editing!!

Hope you are all having a good week ......Thanks for dropping by!