Monday, 28 September 2009

Another Favourite.....

It's almost deadline time for the latest 'These Are A Few of My Favourite Things' challenge, this time 'My Favourite Room'. This was a total no brainer for me!! As my Darling Hubby will testify.....I spend waay too much time in this one!!! Of course this is just his opinion, but even I have the occasional pang of guilt when I realise I am behind in the housework because this little haven of mine has me captive!! It is a real sanctuary.... the place I escape to when my male dominated household is glued to some testosterone charged TV show!!
Thanks to Julie & the gang at 'Favourite Things' for another thoroughly enjoyable challenge - I love checking out the gallery of entries - there is always much inspiration to be had - so, why not pop on over & see for yourself ?!!

Having completed my LO, I am planning to spend a leisurely evening digesting my November issue of CK magazine, which arrived in the post today. Lee & the boys will be glued to the 'Gadget Show' on TV so I will be left in peace to peruse all the scrappy goodness & mark every bit of inspiration for future reference!!

I recently had an email from CK mag, suggesting uploading LO's to their gallery, but so far I've had no success in attempting to do so, probably my limited techie skills getting in the way!! I will keep trying!

Last night I joined my friend Amanda for our Sunday cinema night! This time we saw 'Dorian Gray'.....a classic horror story, written by Oscar Wilde. I read the book eons ago, so knew the story. Colin Firth was very charismatic & Ben Barnes is just beautiful, but the film moved so slowly. I'm glad to have seen it but it didn't really make much impact.
We rounded off our evening, as usual, at Prezzo's. Amanda had printed off some vouchers for a special deal - £10 only for a starter, main course & drink. Apparently these vouchers are easily available on line for a variety of offers at many different restaurants. It certainly makes the meal even tastier when it's a bargain!!! I had Penne Arrabiata, & even though I am a lover of chilli's, this one was particularly hot & my lips were numb for the whole drive home!!

Tomorrow morning is weigh in time!!! I have to say I am pleased to have kept things in balance this week, so am hoping for a decent loss - will let you know on Wednesday!!!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Yum! Sweet...& Ahhh! Sweet.....

The girls night out was outrageous!! The ABBA tribute duo were fabulous - the set Thai menu delicious & just enough people there to make a party atmosphere without being jostled on the dance floor! As designated driver & non drinker, I had the advantage of watching my friends become more & more squiffy & daring as the wine went down!! So entertaining!!We all danced from the moment the music started, between courses & after coffee until it was 'Chucking out' time!!

Since then I have been trying extra hard to keep strictly to my 'Slimming World' plan, as I really have no idea the calorie values of what was on the table - but it was all so nice it couldn't possibly be low fat or calorie!!

So, when I saw that Tesco had a 'buy one get one free' offer on fresh sweetcorn cobs, I stocked up & I have been enjoying them boiled, sprinkled with a little salt & loads of black
pepper - all syn free & sooo sweet & yummy!!

I will be having them again for a starter at dinner tonight & that will be the last of them - I may just have to stock up again next Tuesday!! You just can't have too much of a good thing!!

And now for some sweetness of a different kind! Yesterday morning, I opened Nathans bedroom door & turned on the light, to find him fast asleep & cuddling his soft toy elephant 'Mr Wiggles'. He just looked sooo sweet, it just shows that underneath all that attitude, he is still my baby boy....not that he'll thank me for sharing this with you!!!

And finally & bit of scrappyness! Another September challenge for Dixie Pieces - this time to keep it Quick & Easy! The recipe was: 1 sheet CS or PP as background, 2 rectangles of PP (any size), 1-3 photo's, Alpha's for title & 3 small embellishments. I found it so difficult to stick to just these things & did add a fair amount of doodling, edge inking & of course a few gems & cross stitches!!
This photo was taken in 2000, when Nathan was just 18 months old! He is holding hands with Alex on one side & my friend Amanda's son Kyle on the other. We were in a local shopping mall & they were real traffic stoppers walking ahead of us - they looked so sweet & drew "Ahhh's!" from many passers by - those were the days!!!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Dixie Pieces Blog Challenge.....

Kim at Dixie Pieces has set us a very tough challenge....all part of the challenges for entries in to the September prize draw!! She has asked us to list on our blogs the 'top ten things we love about ourselves'!!! Now being British & naturally reserved I am finding this sooooo difficult!! I know I do have some good qualities, but voicing them makes me feel so narcissistic!!

So here goes!
1. I have a positive outlook & attitude
2. I have a good sense of humour!
3. I find it easy to talk to most people
4. I don't suffer with nerves!!
5. I wear my heart on my sleeve (what you see is what you get!)
6. I am creative
7. I am very methodical & a good organiser
8. I am not afraid to show my emotions
9. I am not aggressive & dislike confrontation
but........10. I am able to stand up for myself!!

I can tell you, it would have been so much easier to make a list of things I don't like about myself!! What would be interesting would be to see what other people would list for my top ten & see how they compared to mine!!!

Anyway - that's it, done & dusted!!!!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Flowers & a surprise!......

Yesterday was a lovely day....the sun shone....I weighed in 1lb lighter & I collected my resized engagement ring, all clean & sparkly! My left hand feels dressed once again!!

After school Alex had a Music Therapy session & as we walked from the car park, Nathan darted off, only to return clutching a single Ox-eye daisy! Now, I may have mentioned before, daisies are my absolute favourite flower, so I am always touched when my boys bring me daisies of any size!

On the subject of flowers, although Autumn is well & truly with us, we still have some gorgeousness in the garden! I had potted up my geraniums for the winter & lined them up under the kitchen window, waiting to be put away in the garage once the frosts begin. Having flowered through the summer you'd think they'd be exhausted!!! But No!! This one is budding again!! I hope it gets chance to show of it's beautiful pink blooms before the weather turns!

My Jasmine is fully in bloom & smells wonderful!! The whole

thing needs pruning back before winter, but no way can I do that
until the very last spray of flowers is 'over'!! The perfume always takes me back to Tunisia, where you can smell it on every street. The men wear sprigs tucked behind there ears & it grows everywhere!


Even the climbing roses haven't given up & buds are still opening! Again, I really need to prune them, but refuse to cut off those tiny buds without giving them their chance to shine!! How daft am I ?!!!

And so, on to the surprise!! I had an email on Monday which came out of the blue & put a smile on my face which is still there!! Julie from A Few of My Favourite Things has asked me to be the Guest Designer for February!!! How amazing is that!! Coming on the heels of Sue at Crafty Stash asking me to design a Class Kit, I am feeling very honoured! I just hope I can do them both justice!! It's going to be an exciting New Year!!

It's Wednesday once again & time for WOYWW......here is how my work desk looks today
Still looking a bit cluttered after completing the last LO - I actually used this one to complete two challenges.....is that cheating?!! It was for the September Sketch challenge for Dixie Pieces AND Melina's September 'Show Him' LO challenge for Color{ME}Daisy.
The Title & journalling reads 'Never too old....for cake & candles! Lee....49 & holding! March 2007' Almost everything used was from the C{M}D August kit, with just a few blooms, gems, stitching & doodling added!

Tomorrow evening is our girls night out....this time we are at our favourite Thai restaurant for an ABBA tribute night!!!! It promises to be great fun.....I just need to watch what I eat as I'm sure all those sauces with coconut milk must conceal a zillion calories!!!!! I'll just have to get up & dance my socks off to compensate!!! LOL!!!

Monday, 21 September 2009

No Monday Morning Blues here!......

With the weekend over, I paused for breath after the school run this morning!

As I mentioned in my last post, I met my good friends Karen & Robbyne for coffee on Thursday morning & we talked for England!! - a.m. passed into p.m. & we drank coffee & caught up on all the gossip - completely forgetting about food (a rare thing indeed for me!!) Awash with coffee & buzzing with caffeine, I swung by a LSS on my way home & picked up a few bits I hadn't known I needed (!!) as well as one of the 12x12 frames to try out - great price, but not sure it has enough depth behind the glass, I'll let you know!!

Friday was a housework day - it has to be done!! I took some clutter up into the loft & brought down some bits I intend to list on ebay!! I also put my AMM crop tote & bag up for sale on the UKS Marketplace. The post went live on Saturday morning & I'd sold within 10 minutes!! They were so pretty & I loved them, but they sat under my desk, empty, between crops & to be honest I can manage without them!! So I'm now on a quest to move on as much saleable clutter as I can to raise funds for Christmas!! I've even discovered a Saturday Car Boot Fair that I have to try before winter sets in!!

Saturday was a lazy day - sort of!! I slept in till 9a.m. then had a very leisurely breakfast before setting up my ironing board & a couple of films on DVD!! By the evening my baskets were empty & my scrap room once again looked clear!! It's amazing how I get a spring in my step when my ironing baskets are empty! I stayed in my PJ's all day!! I had a long soak in the bath, while hubby & boys brought in fish & chips for their supper, & then put on a clean pair of PJ's!!!!!

Sunday was work as usual & then on to meet my good friend Amanda at the cinema. We really wanted to see Julie & Julia, but it started too early to allow us to eat first. So we decided to grab some Ben & Jerry's & eat supper afterwards!! Now I know that ice cream really wasn't on my days eating plan, but I cannot tell you how utterly gorgeous their Pistachio & Almond is! & it filled a gap so that my tummy didn't rumble all the way through the film!!
And what a fabulous film it was - I laughed & cried my way through it - go & see it - I can't recommend it enough!! Afterwards we went to Prezzo's for our supper & you will be pleased to hear I had an enormous salad, so hopefully the scales will be kind tomorrow morning!!


Today I have been enjoying a new album release fro Mika - this guy is just a bundle of talent! I have listened to his 'Life in cartoon motion' over & over, so his new offering 'The boy who knew too much' is most welcome.

I love the artwork on the CD cover too - so much colour & so much going on.........now how can I 'lift' that for a LO?!!!

Today was also Alex's quarterly Diabetes Clinic appointment - no surprises - but he has grown 4cm since his last check in June!! We'll have to stop feeding him or he'll outgrow his new uniform before Christmas!! Only joking!!!!

I did have a wonderful surprise by email today, but I'm not sure I can share the details just yet!! So I'll contain my excitement a little longer & turn my attentions to the LO's in progress on my desk for this months challenges!

I'll leave you with Mika & a message!!!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Is it really Wednesday already?!!...

Yes, another Wednesday is here in the blink of an eye!! Where do the days go?!!

To report on yesterday mornings weigh in........I was very disappointed to have stayed the same weight!! After a text book week with all that extra walking!!! Ah well, I am assured that my weight loss will catch up by next week.....so watch this space! I was looking forward to altering the total in my sidebar too!!

I did have lunch with an old friend yesterday & it would have been so easy to throw in the towel & indulge, but I am proud to say that I did stick to the plan!! It was so lovely to catch up with Suzi, we haven't seen each other for months so you can imagine how much talk & laughter there was!!


So, as it's Wednesday....here is my desk as it looks for WOYWW today!
As you can see it is beautifully sunny outside today - so not such a good photo!!
I have no work in progress at the moment, although my CMD kit is still sitting there expectantly! I also have a little pile of bits & bobs to be put away in the proper places & a list on my notepad of challenges to be completed before the end of the month!

Tomorrow will not be a scrappy day either as I am meeting up with two friends for coffee in the morning, but I may get to pop into a favourite LSS at some point - I have heard a rumour that they are stocking 12x12 box frames at a good price - perfect for displaying LO's & as my next decorating project is the hall/stairs/landing I may have to invest in a few!!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Close but no cigar!.....

Well, the Dixie Pieces contest results were posted on Friday....there were three prizes......The winner of the first prize scored 73points.......the second scored 72points........the third 70points.....and I scored.........69points!!! Sooo close!! But if ever the phrase 'It's not the winning but taking part that counts', this was it! It was terrific fun all the way through...I'm not saying I wouldn't have given a prize a good home though LOL!!


I have been to see the film 'The Time Travellers Wife' this week.....Twice!! My good friend Donna invited me along to the cinema last Wednesday evening & then on Sunday, my usual cinema night, I met my friend Amanda & she was so keen to see it I didn't have the heart to tell her that I already had, so I enjoyed it a second time!

I read the book over two years ago & it was unputdownable! I was a little unsure how the film would measure up, but I wasn't disappointed! I would recommend it as I would definitely recommend the book!



On Thursday, Nathan brought a friend home from school so I set about baking a batch of cupcakes - Nathan had requested white cake with chocolate topping, so that's what I did! I have to admit though that I love the appearance of cupcakes 'naked' - all golden with those raised peaks!

But they don't stay around long enough to lament covering all of that up with chocolate frosting & cherries!! All 18 were demolished before bedtime on Saturday!!


The boys had a fun time & are already planning a first sleepover - I've suggested during the half term break might be a good idea as I can't get my head around trying to get THREE boys up & out on time on a school day!!


Saturday saw me set off to the Crafty Stash monthly crop at Tempsford. I look forward to this as the class kits are always excellent, with enough stuff to complete at least two LO's & I enjoy trying out the new techniques that I may otherwise let pass me by! I did only complete one LO this week - not unusual for me, being a very unhurried scrapper! I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process - lots of fussy cutting & something I'd not used before - paper weaving to make a trellis feature.

I did make a few alterations to the original LO plan - I double layered the large bloom & added a brad & a few gems to the centre - I also added a tag for a few lines of journalling.
I took my latest album along with the LO's I completed for the DP contest & Sue (the crop organiser) particularly liked two of them, so she has asked me to put together a class LO for the future! I was in shock as I have never done anything like this, but it's quite exciting!! She will give me a kit to work with next month, so watch this space!!

One more LO to share - I realised this morning that today is the cut off for A Few of My Favourite Things latest challenge -'Favourite Food'. So instead of doing the laundry today I have sat & scrapped!! How decadent!! I've completed thisI love all sorts of food, but if I have to choose an outright winner it has to be Mexican! I always have a problem choosing from the menu when we eat Mexican!! I used supplies from one of the class LO kits from last months Crafty Stash crop as a starting point & those Mexican sticker embellies have been languishing in my stash for ages, so it felt very satisfying to put them to good use!!

It's weigh in tomorrow morning, so I am waiting with bated breath to see how I've done! I have eaten so much fruit & salad this week - & NO I did not eat any of those cupcakes!! I did have a visit to the hairdresser on Friday & had my hair bobbed back up to shoulder length, so that has to be worth at least half a pound...right?!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

All done bar the shouting!.....

Well, after all the hectic activity over the last five weeks, the Dixie Pieces contest is finally over! Tuesday night was the deadline for the final LO entries & all that remains is for the points for this week to be added & tallied - to be announced by Sunday night at the latest!! It really is such a close call - I managed to complete that frustrating PP match game - identifying 13 out of 16 correctly (!!) & was lucky enough to win 10 points on the Word Bingo, but who knows where the secret points will go?!!!! It may be all over but the suspense is now killing me!!!

I did learn a new skill during the contest - not scrappy related at all & for those techie types, will sound like no big deal - but I was very pleased to have worked something out for myself! Please don't laugh, but I found the 'Refresh' button on my PC screen!! It was essential during the Word Bingo & I worked it out all by myself!!

And now for something completely different.......those of you with keen eyes may have noticed that the 'weight loss' ticker I had in my sidebar mysteriously disappeared recently! The reason for this was my falling spectacularly off the wagon during the school summer holidays! The trip to Cadbury World really finished me off!!

So, come the 1st September, I returned to my Slimming World group! I was pleasantly surprised to find that my gain over the summer wasn't as bad as I'd thought, and newly motivated I have stuck totally to the plan this past week. I have eaten well, not been hungry & at times like this I wonder why I am not more able to maintain a healthy weight - it really isn't difficult?!! Anyway, yesterday at weigh in I was pleased to discover I had lost 3lbs, so I have added my adjusted weight loss total to my sidebar once again & will update it weekly - I am hoping for a significant loss before the years end - it would be so nice to choose a new Christmas party frock 1 or maybe 2 dress sizes smaller!!!

Another thing I have done this week is wear my pedometer each day to monitor the number of steps I am taking. With the boys school being across town I rely on the car too much, so this week, I have tried to add in some walking over and above!! The first day was 5800 steps - disappointing as the recommended minimum is 10,000, but by Friday I was getting close to 12000!! Result!! Yesterday I found myself with half an hour to spare between school run & SW group - did I call in for coffee at a friends? No, I parked up & did a circuit of a local park!! Now that's got to help in my weight loss quest hasn't it?!!!LOL!!

Which brings me nicely to our Anniversary lunch out on Sunday! We went to a favourite restaurant where the menu caters for all of us - I was able to choose food within my allowances with ease, even having a dessert!! We had such a fun time - lots of silliness & laughter - I do love times together like this!

For once, the boys stayed at the table with us for the entire time, instead of escaping once they'd eaten to play outside. It was nice to talk, undistracted by TV about anything & everything! Of course the conversation did keep veering back to very male orientated subjects, such as
X-Box games & sport, but I've learned to accept that as part of being in a male dominated household!!

The boys filled us in on tales from school - especially interesting as normally when we ask "how was your day" or "What did you do today" we normally get a shrug & "OK" or "y'know - stuff"!!

We talked about plans for Halloween, Bonfire night & Christmas, the boys taking the opportunity to drop hints like house bricks as to what they might like from Santa this year!!!

So another year celebrated & God willing, we'll get to do it again next September 6th!!

So that just leaves me to introduce my new 'toy' - the Vax Rapide upright carpet washer!! This was my impulse purchase a few weeks ago when I went to the DIY store to buy a paintbrush & found the last three of these at a fantastic price - just too good to miss!

Now the boys are back at school I am looking forward to putting it to good use - especially downstairs, where our lovely 'pale jade' carpet looks more like 'dirty & jaded' in several areas! With the house to myself for a good chunk of the day I will be able to move furniture, clean & have it as good as dry & all back in place before school pick up time!! One room at a time of course!!

I am looking forward to seeing the colour of the water when I empty it out as we have been in this house for over 5 years & I am ashamed to say that the carpets have only ever been vacuumed & I do have an old style carpet washer in my under-stair cupboard!! It was always such a
palaver to put together that I've never used it here!!

So that's my week so far - tomorrow & Friday I am having a blitz on the boys rooms & ironing the washing I did on Monday (some things never change!!) On Saturday I am at my monthly crop (yay!) so will need to make time to sort out my photo's etc for that!

I will leave you with this weeks WOYWW
- a bit of a muddle I'm afraid!! No work in progress & a bit of a dumping ground at the moment!!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

....and breathe!!!

I am happy to report that Alex completed his first two days at his new school without incident & seems a little less nervous about the whole transition. He even greeted me with a beaming smile & a book bag full of conkers when I collected him on Thursday!

To be fair, the amount of work put in by his old school, the SENCO & her staff at the new school, and of course us, should have everyone on the ball for potential 'hot spots' - & all that prep seems to have paid off! I guess the fact that the only consistent thing about Alex is his unpredictability does leave us all imagining the worst case scenario!! Anyhow, I'm hoping it continues on plan & that he's soon as comfortable in his new surroundings as he was at Middle School.

Nathan, as expected has hit the ground running - back with his mates & loving it!!!

Tomorrow I have a day off work, as it's our wedding anniversary. Twenty three years ago tomorrow we took our vows for better or worse, to love & to cherish & here we are, still facing all that life throws at us.........together!!

What, you may ask are we doing to mark the occasion? Well, we are all going out for a nice Sunday lunch - venue still to be decided as the weather tomorrow will dictate our choice!

We do normally buy each other a gift but have agreed this year that as our dishwasher recently bit the dust, that we would spend our money replacing it! Not very romantic I know, but in these financially tough times.......!


Now, as you will remember, I have been taking part in the DIxie Pieces SENSE-ational summer contest & this is the final week! For the past 4 days I have been tearing my hair out over the final game set for us by Scrapeekim - the idea of the game is to match 16 PP's up with 16 Manufacturers. So far I have FOUR!!! It has taken four days of research to get just FOUR!!! So I am going to share the torture with you now.....here are the PP's

How many do YOU recognise...or should I say how many can you match to a manufacturer? I have used at least 6 in the past but can only positively ID 4!!! If you would like to see the list of manufacturers too, please leave a comment & I will list them here!! I tell you - it will drive you mad!!

The game is worth a maximum of 4 points in the contest & I don't think I'll even manage the 1 point minimum!!!! Please let me know how you do!!!

OK to finish......I completed my final LO for the contest last night & here it is
Obviously, the theme was the 'Sound of Summer' & I took my inspiration from the sounds at the beach. The colour scheme was yellow, aqua & Navy blue & the LO had to include, stitching, doodling, hand cutting and painting. I managed to tick all the boxes & add a few more techniques & supplies in too - trying to pick up some extra points for those unknown 'secret' items!!

The journaling reads "Sea washing over the shore, seagulls calling overhead, feet scrunching through shingle, children laughing & splashing. These are all wonderful sounds of summer"

Here are
some close ups!







So with that done, & with it being such a close run race at the moment, it's all hanging on the word Bingo (of which I am waiting for only two!), 'secret' points & the blasted PP Manufacturers game!!

Wish me luck & watch this space!!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

A bag of mixed emotions.......

It's been a full week since I last posted & it's been a busy one! We have been fitting in all the Dr's appointments, shopping trips & errands possible before the boys going 'back to school' today!

I've cut both boys hair (although to look at Nathan, you'd ask "Where?!"), stitched, stuck & ironed name tags onto all the new uniforms, shoes, bags etc etc. I've stocked up on all their favourite lunch box & snack items & they've sorted & restocked their pencil
cases. Last night we got them to bed on time & I commented on how nice it would be to be back in our 'normal' routine once again!

This morning, both boys got up with the minimum of fuss, ate breakfast & we were actually out of the door five minutes early!!

Before we left I took the obligatory 1st day of term photo's! Alex likes his new blazer & said "I feel like James Bond!!"

He is so anxious about starting at Upper school & has been in denial all through the summer. Over the past week I have broached the subject several times only to have him avoid getting into any discussion! Last night he did come to me to tell me how nervous he was, & he did sit & listen while I tried my best to reassure him that we have done all we can to make it as easy as possible for him.


Nathan by contrast, was his usual 'thrown together' self - top shirt button undone, tie loose, shirt tails out & hair all over the place!!

He couldn't wait to get back & see his school chums! Living across town from school means that he only really gets to see them in term time, so he will have a lot to catch up on with them!!

So, when we arrived at Nathans drop off point he was out of the car with his bags & off!! I had to call him back for a hug, so eager was he to get to school!! I have no worries there - other than the fact that he is no longer my 'baby boy'!!!!

I had half an hour to wait with Alex before I could deliver him & he sat engrossed in his DS game - anything to distract him from the inevitable. When we arrived in the reception area his new 'designated adult' came to meet us & although Alex met her in July, he hid behind me & even with coaxing would not make eye contact or speak, he just mumbled. I knew that I had to leave or he just wouldn't get anywhere, so I made the arrangements for pick up & his medication, trying hard to include him in the discussion, and left him in Miss Ashworths capable care.

Driving home I felt awful - worse than I did on his very first day at pre-school!! I know you can't wrap kids in cotton wool but I'm not good at 'tough love'! I've not had a phone call so I'm assuming no news is good news & that he's settling in OK! I still have that dull feeling in the pit of my stomach which will be there till I pick him up at 3pm!!


So, now I'm at home & a complete bag of mixed emotion - trying to keep busy & distracted - I've washed up the breakfast dishes, made beds, freshened up all through & am now sitting here at my scrapdesk........

......which brings me neatly to WOYWW!
Here is how my workdesk looked yesterday.......no real work in progress at the moment - although my beautiful Color{me}Daisy August kit is sitting there ready to play!! It was held up in customs for over a week & cost another £4 VAT & £8 customs charge!! It's still worth every penny though!! I have the final weeks LO to do for the Dixie Pieces contest, Shimelles 'Learn Something New Every Day' online class & challenges for both 'A few of my Favourite Things' (this time it's food!!!) & 'Scrap the Boys', so I've plenty to inspire me!!