Friday, 26 February 2010

Birthday Memories…

Bcake1It was Nathans eleventh birthday yesterday… it seems a much shorter time since  I waddled down to theatre for my planned Caesarean Section. I was booked in as the first delivery of the day & had spent the night on the maternity ward at the QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City…BUT…unable to sleep I accepted the offer of a cup of tea & a digestive biscuit from a fellow Mum-in-waiting, at about 2am…SO…I wasn’t allowed to go down to theatre until the afternoon!!!
Funny how a birthday can bring these memories to the fore…as I lay in the recovery room, high on morphine, we discussed names. I had been reading a book with a character called Nathan & Lee, being a Trekkie, suggested Captain James T Kirk’s middle name…Tiberius!! In my befuddled state I agreed to the toss of a coin…luckily I won!!

Our plans for a trip to the cinema last evening were scuppered though…I received a phone call from school at noon, asking me to collect Alex. He was running a temperature & when I checked his blood sugar, it was 30.6! So, even though I suggested Lee took Nathan while I stayed with Alex, Nathan said no, he wanted us all to be together…aaaah!! So instead, Lee brought in a KFC & after eating, we settled down to watch a movie on TV…accompanied by birthday cake!!

PL1Alex has spent today tucked up on the sofa watching TV…I sat with him for a while (should have been cleaning bathrooms!!) & perused the fabulous new ‘Pencil Lines’ sketch book by Anna Bowkiss. There are some fab sketches & some amazing LO’s too…just what’s needed to give anyone’s scrappy mojo a kick start!!

Lee is planning a day at the university library tomorrow, to work on a current assignment, so I may get some scrap time in..if I’m lucky!!!

On the subject of scrappiness…I am so looking forward to Shimelles new class ‘Something From {Almost} Nothing’ which starts on March 10th…

I have sooo much stash…albeit wonderfully organised…but I need to be USING it & I am hoping that this new class will be the perfect catalyst! If you’ve not yet checked it out, get over there now…it’s only £10.00 ($15 US) & Shimelles classes are always such fabulous value for money! If you have already signed up, leave a comment & I’ll look out for you there!

Hope you all have a great weekend…there’s more heavy rain forecast, so hope everyone manages to keep their feet dry!  Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

A Wet Wednesday Out!…

Well…the boys went back to school on Monday…reluctantly I might add…after a week of extremes…from Breakfast to bedtime they couldn’t stand the sight of each other & then once they were upstairs Nathan insisted on camping down on Alex’s bedroom floor…there’s just no rhyme or reason!!! We actually woke up to a white world on Monday & it snowed all morning…both boys were hoping that school would be closed..but they were out of luck!!

I actually spent Monday on the sofa, between school runs, with a hot water bottle clamped to my left shoulder! It was feeling exactly like my right one did before it froze & needed surgery, so I decided to rest & not aggravate it!! It felt very decadent to watch back to back episodes of ‘Larkrise to Candleford’ through the middle of the day!!!

I did get to weigh in yesterday morning after missing group last Tuesday… I was expecting very bad news after what I can only describe as a ‘flexible week’!! I am still resisting chocolate (7 days & counting) but during half term, while making considered choices, had not been keeping a record of my intake…so…what was the outcome…well 1 1/2lb ON!! It could have been so much worse, but I have to get back in the zone!  More of that later!!!

Today has been a wonderful day…I met up with my good friends Karen & Hilary & we set off to a gorgeous Tea Room in Walkern, where we indulged in Elevenses…in style! 24Feb2010 003  
24Feb2010 00424Feb2010 002

   …Don’t think I’m quite back in the zone just yet!!!!

 24Feb2010 149

After that we set off to Benington to visit Lordship Gardens & see the snowdrops. 

The morning was damp & just as we arrived the heavens opened!!  Unperturbed we paid our admission fee & set off into the gardens with hats, brollies & camera’s at the ready!

All I can say is……

24Feb2010 083 Thank goodness for wellington boots!! 

The pathways which weren’t paved were like a quagmire!.. but in spite of that it was such a pleasant walk..after a while the sun broke through & immediately it felt warmer!

There were so many opportunities to snap & I could fill this post with dozens of shots but I’ve narrowed it down to my few favourites!! 

24Feb2010 014 24Feb2010 012


24Feb2010 007


24Feb2010 022





The current house is early twentieth century but is built around an eighteenth century core…there are still many Norman parts with amazing gargoyles & decoration.

24Feb2010 11524Feb2010 095 

24Feb2010 114

24Feb2010 036




The snowdrops are just beautiful & the formal gardens & landscaping are simply gorgeous…I can’t wait to make a return visit in finer weather!!

24Feb2010 062 24Feb2010 044





24Feb2010 029

24Feb2010 110





What a perfect day…despite the weather…good friends, a treat & time spent in uplifting surroundings! Blessings indeed!!

Tomorrow is Nathans eleventh birthday…my baby boy is growing up! He is excited about going to see ‘Avatar’…at last…& has asked for Kentucky Fried Chicken for tea…

…KFC AND cake!!!…is there no end to the temptation!!!!! Maybe if I do an extra hour at the gym tomorrow I won’t have to resist!!!! Oh! if it were only that simple!!

Anyhow…thanks for stopping by…catch you later!!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Window shopping on a wintery day!…

At the beginning of the half term break we set aside today  for a family day out…waiting to see what the weather would do before making plans as to where we would go. Alas, we woke this morning to a hard frost, soon washed away by heavy rain as we breakfasted & by the time we were ready to leave we were in a blizzard! Not to be outdone, we set off to Milton Keynes, at least we could spend a day under cover!!   18Feb2010 001

Our first call was Ikea…normally a place to spend money on things you didn’t even know you needed…not today…I bought only the planned two packs of serviettes!!

18Feb2010 009
I was allowed to nip into  Hobbycraft while Lee & the boys spent time playing with the display gadgetry in PC World! But again came out with only 1 box of glue dots!! I think I may be spending waaay too much time with my good friend Karen!!LOL!!

After that we headed off to
X-Scape for lunch at Nando’s…18Feb2010 043

We have never yet been there yet, where we’ve been able to just walk in & be seated, so we filled the waiting time by watching the skiers in the ‘Sno!Zone’.

Today I chose a Caesar salad with grilled chicken, generously drizzled with Extra Hot Peri Peri sauce!! Needless to say I also downed copious amounts of water!!

18Feb2010 040
I tried to get a decent shot of all the illuminated white paper lanterns that hang from the timber beamed ceiling,but to no avail!! So you’ll have to make do with this frieze…which tells the story of the Portuguese cockerel & how he came to be a good luck symbol in Portugal! 

18Feb2010 024
Once lunch was out of the way we had a mooch around the skate/snowboarding shops where Nathan is in seventh heaven!! We soon had a list of ‘must haves’ for his forthcoming birthday…to add to the list given while playing with the gadgets in PC World!!! He wishes!!!

18Feb2010 064

Then we braved the now torrential rain to get to the main shopping mall…& while my boys (All 3 !!) went off to the Lego shop & ‘GAME’…I perused the new spring collection in my favourite shop of all time…Hobbs. Gorgeous stuff indeed, but again…not a penny spent!!

18Feb2010 052

Now, Alex hates shopping…as you can probably tell by his body language…not to mention the look on his face!! So I had to work overtime on keeping him distracted to give us all a chance to see what we wanted to see!!

Nathan, on the other hand is his18Feb2010 062
mothers son & can easily match my enthusiasm for bargain hunting! I snapped him on this bronze book sculpture today…it’s been outside Waterstone’s book shop for as long as I can remember & the boys both love to try & move the heavy ball on its chain, but I’ve never taken a photo before!!

I’ve put together a collage of photo’s from today’s outing for this weeks ‘52 Walks 2010’ submission…the current added challenge is ‘Entrances & Exits’ but there were none that inspired me today!!
MK5210Anyone who knows Milton Keynes will appreciate how quiet the mall looks…considering that it’s half term I’d expected it to be heaving, but it was actually quite pleasant not to be pushed and shoved as we went about…I gave ‘Hotel Chocolat’ a VERY wide berth!!!

To finish up today….a couple of LO’s!! It’s the deadline for the Dixie Pieces ‘Beat the Blues’ crop challenges tonight…& here are my final two submissions…the first was a colour challenge..just light blue, dark blue & lime green…with a spring photo & theme…
I used a photo of Lee & the boys taken last year at Priory Park, feeding the ducks, swans, geese, seagulls……I do love it when I can use up bits of ‘vintage’ stash & scraps!!

The second challenge was a sketch & blue had to be used, so this is what I came up with…

This photo seems like a lifetime ago!!! My 29th birthday!!! Do you know…I still have those button fly, red label Levi 501’s…packed away in the loft! Size 14 & waiting patiently to be worn again!! It always amazes me that I used to think I was so fat then…Oh to be that fat again…soon…please!!!

If you’ve made it to here…thanks for trawling through & hanging in there!! I know I tend to ramble, but it may be a few days before I post again…I’ve been busy with scrapping so feel I really must knuckle down to some serious housework over the next few days…and it’s FREE insertion day on ebay tomorrow, so I must get some stuff (that I’ve been meaning to list since before Christmas) listed & sold!! Well if I’m not spending it I might as well be making it!!

Thanks again for dropping by & I wish you all a fabulous weekend…whatever you have planned! {{{Hugs}}}

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shrove Tuesday…

OK, so it’s pancake day…but what does ‘Shrove’ mean?  Well it’s all about penitence…Christians confessing & having their sins absolved before Lent. The tradition of ‘Shriving’ is over 1000 years old & was recorded in Anglo Saxon monastery records.

These days, Shrove Tuesday is a day of celebration as well as penitence, because it's the last day before Lent. Lent is a time of abstinence, of giving things up. So Shrove Tuesday is the last chance to indulge yourself, and to use up the foods that aren't allowed in Lent.

Giving up foods: but not wasting them. In the old days there were many foods that observant Christians would not eat during Lent & so that no food was wasted, families would have a feast on the shriving Tuesday, and eat up all the foods that wouldn't last the forty days of Lent without going off.

The need to eat up the fats gave rise to the French name Mardi Gras; meaning fat Tuesday. Pancakes became associated with Shrove Tuesday as they were a dish that could use up all the eggs, fats and milk in the house with just the addition of flour.

Now, I love pancakes…but by their very nature & what you add to them, they are not exactly a ‘slimming’ food……my solution for not missing out?…pancake!….have a tiny one!!! While Lee & the oiks tucked into two full sized pancakes each, I made myself a token mini one…added lemon juice & Candarel & made it last as long as possible!!!

I didn’t get to weigh in this morning….after a week on track, I blew it on Sunday evening with my Valentine gift from Lee…he bought me a box of ‘Tobelles’…basically thin slices of Toblerone…there were 20 of them in the box & he thought that that would be a safer bet than a whole Toblerone bar & that I could have one now & again!!  After almost 24 years of marriage you’d think he’d know better!! They lasted less time than it took my after dinner cup of coffee to cool!!!  So, I decided not to risk another gain at the scales & will be tight to plan this week to repair any damage before it can be recorded!!!!

And that brings me back to it being Shrove Tuesday….tomorrow is Ash Wednesday…the first day of Lent. It’s been many years since I gave up anything for Lent, so this year I’m committing to abstaining from chocolate for the entire six weeks up to Easter…40 days & nights, not including Sundays!! It won’t be easy, but then again what would be the point if it was?!! Wish me luck!

I have one more thing to share with you today…I received a parcel this morning, my first ever pair of UGG boots!! UggresizeI’m usually bringing up the rear when it comes to fashion trends…I’m a bit of an ‘I wear what I like’ kind of person & have ‘ummed & aaahed’ about UGGs for almost two years! A few weeks ago I saw a great deal on-line & went for it!        I put them on as soon as I unpacked them & they are still on my feet this evening!! You watch…now they’ll become ‘So Last Year Darling!!’…Ah well!!!

Anyhoo…I will leave you with a couple of funnies I received as part of an email, there was a whole list of genuine exam answers, but these two made me laugh out loud!!!







Thanks for dropping by!

Monday, 15 February 2010

One World One Heart Giveaway Winner…


I have posted this at the top of the original OWOH post but will put it here too! I used the random number generator thing & it came up with …

Number 99…

well Done Susan…I’ll be in touch soon for your Mailing details!

Enjoy your prize!

I have enjoyed visiting so many blogs through this event, but still have a whole list to work through! So…I hope to get round to yours soon!! Thanks to everyone who has dropped in & left a comment….I hope you’ll come back again soon!

Crop LO’s & a GD spot!….

I’m feeling very privileged! I mentioned back before Christmas that I had been asked to be guest designer for February on ‘These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things’…a favourite challenge site of mine! Well, today is the start of my design spot & here is the first of my two featured LO’s…My Favourite Memory…

favememoryresize  I love this photo of Alex, taken when he was just a few hours old…The journaling reads “I remember the day I met this little man for the very first time! On August 11th 1996, Alex Murray Robinson arrived, 9 days late & by emergency Caesarean…on my 36th birthday! After ten years of marriage & resignation that we were, maybe, destined never to become parents, I will always remember the surge of love that overwhelmed me on that day. His brother followed two & a half years later & the feeling of love & awe was no less, but the memory of that first realisation that we were, at last, a family has to be my favourite.”

Do pop over to TAAFOMFT & check out the awesome work of the Design team for this challenge & also the winners of the last ‘Favourite Outfit’ challenge.

The white flowers in my LO are two of the beautiful crocheted ones made for me by my good friend Val…I knew they’d be perfect!

I had a chance to show her how I’d used them at the Crafty Stash crop on Saturday. We all worked on three amazing class kits, designed by Tracey Hudson & unbelievably I managed to complete TWO!!! This is my take on the first…laughresize This is a photo I hadn’t even considered scrapping, but when I saw the sneak peek included the word ‘Laugh’ I decided to go for it!!! It was taken in Turkey last year, while I was in my wheelchair!!! Ro had bought me this ‘Magnum’ chocolate bar & it was a very phallic shape, which caused much hilarity when I came to eat it!!

The second class kit involved sooo much hand cutting…but I’m happy with how my take turned out…Nanny&MeresizeI got to have a play with a Martha Stewart corner/border punch & was very impressed!

I still have the third LO to finish…watch this space!

I will be back later this evening to announce the winner of my OWOH giveaway!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Gadgets & Goodies….

It occurred to me today that I had neglected to update you on my recent cinema visit!!  Last Sunday, Amanda & I went to see ‘Up in the Air’ with George Clooney…upintheair1_largeNow….to say that this film lacked a beginning, middle & end is the only way I can be positive about it!! It’s only saving grace was George himself…but even so, I struggled to keep my eyes open towards the final scenes & was left thinking…is that it?!!  This is maybe why I ‘forgot’ to comment on it earlier!!!!

Today I was supposed to have spent the morning with my good friend Karen…we were to have ventured out with our cameras on a walk near her home. But…we woke this morning to a generous covering of snow & below freezing temperatures, the roads were slippery  & I passed two car collisions on the school run, so I took a rain check!!!  Instead I blitzed my kitchen…washed down all the cupboard doors etc etc…& baked some cupcakes for the boys as Nathan had a friend from school home for tea tonight…cupcakesresize2Now, I have a glass dome that covers this cake stand & when Nathan saw them he asked who the teensy one in the middle was for?  Bemused I looked to see what he meant….cupcakesresize1 How funny is that!!!

We had an ‘Even better than that!!’ moment this week….Lee went out to fill the car up with diesel & came home with a new gadget! It was reduced to half price in Tesco…coolerresize  

We are trying to drink more water ourselves as well as wean the boys off fizzy water…as much as anything to keep costs down!!  We have had a filter jug in the fridge but that just took up too much shelf space, so when Lee saw this he had a light bulb moment!!  We have it on a timer & we now have 4 litres of chilled, filtered water available throughout the day!!

I must share with you  a photo of a boy in his natural habitat…taken moments after arriving home & still in school uniform…this is how Alex will probably spend much of his half term break…reclining in front of the TV with X-Box controller & TV remote within easy reach!!  That’s if he can get through one last school day!!!

boyinreposeresizeI guess at least I’ll know where he is…for the moment!!! 

This Saturday is the Crafty Stash crop at Tempsford  & I am looking forward to working on the class kit LO’s…the sneak peeks are very appealing & apparently there are THREE LO’s to complete…I usually only get one finished during the crop, so I’ll have to improve my game!! I’m off now to sort out my photo’s…colour or B&W??? Hmmmm?!!!


Finally…I have been inspired in my weight loss quest by a new friend in Blogland…Krissy…Do pop over to her blog & check out her story for yourself…I will be following her weekly ‘Weigh in Wednesdays’ & hoping to keep up!! 

Wishing everyone a fab Valentines weekend!! xxx  

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Life in balance…

Over the past week I have spent three solid hours working out at the gym….I had a full resistance training session with Nick, who pushed me well out of my comfort zone & left my thigh & deltoid muscles screaming….I had my usual swim & sauna session, completing 24 lengths in a record 32 strokes each & finally an hour of mixed Cardio using bike, treadmill & elliptical trainer!!  Add to that, that I have kept to plan, food wise, & you will maybe understand how I felt at weigh in yesterday, being told that I had GAINED 1lb this week!!!! Aaaargh!!!

On the plus side though…& keeping it all in balance…I have had a wonderful few days getting to grips with my new toy!!!….see I warned you about how unbearable I’d be!!  My walk for week 5 of ‘52 walks 2010’ took me along Embankment1Bedford Embankment. The afternoon was bright, if bitterly cold & there were just a few brave souls out strolling! So I had no trouble in getting a few good shots without having to avoid including strangers in my pictures!



While I walked along one bank, the sky was blue & the sun bright. The clouds were white & fluffy & I wondered how the weathermen had got the days forecast so wrong!! 

Embankment3Then, as I walked the other way, I notice the dark clouds moving in, in the distance!  I was glad that I had chosen the time that I had to take my walk as they were moving very quickly!! 



Within moments of the above shot, the blue sky was completely taken over by heavy grey clouds & there were hailstones like marbles raining down!

Thank goodness we British never go anywhere without an umbrella!!! LOL!! I took masses of shots to experiment but these few were my favourites…along with a few others I put together this mosaic to submit to the ‘52 walks 2010’ group gallery.


Bedford’s symbols is the swan & there are plenty about..they look so graceful! I loved the shadow cast by the iron bench… & the little red ‘Dog Waste’ depositories…very elegant!!  I am so enjoying my new toy!!

OK..too finish..another layout completed for the Dixie Pieces ‘Beat the Blues Crop’ This challenge was ‘Pick 5’…5 items were chosen by participants & the challenge was to use just those..of course, cardstock, glue & pen/pc could be used as basics, but the ‘5’ were Spring/summer photo(s), ribbon, ink, chipboard & brads. It was tough but here’s what I did…
HosefunresizeThis is Alex, aged about 2 years with ‘Pappa G’…the journaling reads “Summer 1998…Alex finds out how much fun you can have with a hose! Pappa G shows him how it’s done & gets soaked for his trouble”

I’m working my way through the rest of the challenges…the deadline is February 18th…so I’m hoping to get them all done…watch this space!!

Thanks for dropping by!