Wednesday, 28 July 2010

A plot & a Half…Two Prompts…a 5% Award…& My Favourite Website…

Well, I’m pleased to report that my ‘Hangover’ was done & dusted before I went to bed on Saturday!!!  Not having experienced one since my days as a student, when I did used to partake of the odd tipple, I was amazed at just how debilitating it was….& to think I used to willingly do that to myself…ah, the folly of youth!!!!

Inception-Leonardo-DiCaprio-official-movie-poster-movies-9446247-550-813 So, it was with high expectation that I settled down, on Sunday evening, with my cinema buddy Amanda, clutching my double scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Extra Low Fat Mango Sorbet (!!) to watch the latest Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘Inception’.  Well, what can I say…blink & you’ve lost the plot immediately!!!   As someone who had to watch the first ‘Matrix’ film three times before ‘getting it’ & has never been able to grasp the whole ‘Vanilla Skies’ concept, I found it exhausting!!!  Very clever special effects, but so violent & extremely fast moving…& most frustrating of all, just when you think you know how it’s ending, it cuts to black & you’re left not knowing at all!!!!  All  I can say is that the creator of such a convoluted plot is either a genius or just has too much time on his hands!!  I will have to see it again, just in the hope that the penny will drop!!

donut I’m still behind on my LYPLYP prompts! But decided that for prompts 19 & 20 I could manage to submit something to the forum! The first called for a photo that told a story,,,,so I chose one taken in 2007 on Nathans birthday….the photo tells the story of Nathans joy in his first experience of dunking a mini donut in chocolate sauce!!! His face just say’s it all!!

whatsinyourfridge The second was a ‘Home’ themed mission….I chose the ‘What’s in Your Fridge’ option & just went with a literal shot of the whole thing.

I did toy with choosing one item & doing something creative, but I found the sight of my well stocked fridge so pleasing, I just went with that!

The sad thing is, today it’s almost empty again!!! Having the boys at home makes it impossible to keep it full…not to mention the cupboards!!!! They are reminiscent of a plague of locusts!!

Today has been very enjoyable…I was up & at the gym bright & early, leaving my men folk contentedly snoring, & completed FORTY lengths of the pool with no stopping!!! I am aiming for fifty, but am just happy to be progressing! To think that in November, I could barely manage six lengths before needing a ten minute rest in the sauna!!! One good thing about the school holidays is that the gym is much quieter & today I had the pool to myself for almost my whole swim…perfect for de-stressing & a bit of contemplation!

After leaving the gym, it was time for weigh in at Weight Watchers & guess what?…another 2lb off!!! That earned me my 5% award!! The general consensus of opinion is that, for people of the more rounded persuasion, like myself, losing just 10% of your body weight has major health benefits. So I’m half way there & to prove it I have a shiny sticker on my membership card!!!! I’m easily pleased!! I must admit that, having quite a large amount of weight to lose, I do like having these shorter term goals to work towards…it all seems much more achievable somehow…Thank You Weight Watchers….I’ll get there yet!!!!!

Finally, tonight is the deadline for These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things latest challenge…’My Favourite Website’…so I was able to sneak some scrapping time this afternoon!  Now, I don’t think that ‘Jibby Jabby Julie’, creator of TAAFOMFT will be at all surprised to see which is my favourite…

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I do apologise for the poor quality of the photograph!  At the time, we were in the middle of a downpour, so I had little natural light to work with & the lamplight just makes the LO look so flat!!!

For those of you who have not yet visited TAAFOMFT…I highly recommend that you do…fabulous creations from Julie & her DT…Wonderful Challenges…loads of inspiration to be had in the gallery of participants creations & just a real ‘feel good’ factor all round!!

So, that’s it from me for today. Another week halfway through!! Thanks so much for dropping by & to my fellow LYPLYP participants….See you in the forum soon!!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Nostalgia & Gullibility!….

Today I am nursing a sore head & an ever-so-slightly queasy tummy! last night I joined a group of eight friends for a ‘Come Dine With Me’ style evening. The lovely Kali had created a fabulous menu of Greek delights, which we enjoyed with the ‘Mamma Mia’ soundtrack as a background!  Another of the guests, Helen, had made a delicious punch…in fact there were two bowls & we were told that the pink one was non-alcoholic!! Now, I could protest here at being lied to, but I really have to say it was my being gullible that was the issue!!!

I rarely drink alcohol…the odd glass of champagne at a celebration, a glass or two of Pimms in summer, but I never actually crave a drink…I’m much more of a foodie. It comes in handy as I’m always happy to be the designated driver & I find it highly entertaining to observe my chums antics as they get squiffy!!

Anyhow, back to last night…my glass was topped up frequently & it was delicious…pink & sparkling with raspberries floating prettily… then, as we relaxed with our dessert, Helen divulged the ingredients in her ‘non-alcoholic’ mix…Vodka, Malibu AND a 40% proof raspberry liquor topped off with lemonade!!!  It was only as we left the table that I realised that one of my legs must have grown shorter during the meal…how else can I account for not being able to cross the room in a straight line?!!

So, I’m supping water by the gallon today & hoping the ol’ tum will settle down without much more ado!!!

maltEaster I’ve fallen waaaaay behind with LYPLYP…an issue I hope to resolve in the coming week!

My last entry to the forum was for prompt 15 ‘A photo series’…I cheated a bit by not actually taking a fresh series of photo’s…I will do so when time permits…& instead used the  collage of my one & only chocolate Easter treat this year…a Malt-Easter bunny!

I had savoured each & every morsel & taken a photo after each bite…how sad was that?!!! I think I may just have to scrap these now too!!!


And finally….as the next ‘BIG 0’ looms ever nearer, I found myself feeling wistfully nostalgic in the detergent aisle at Tesco yesterday. There on the shelf was something else celebrating a half century….Fairy Liquid!!
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…hands up all of you who remember creating wonderful (?) craft projects using an empty Fairy Liquid bottle under the instruction of good old Valerie Singleton on Blue Peter?!!!

Well, to mark the occasion, the old bottle is back, just as I remember it from my childhood…so now I have one to grace my draining board & to remind me that I’m not alone in my milestone year!!

In fact Coronation Street is celebrating 50 years on air too…I think I may just have to research a bit more into 1960 & find out who/what else has a reason to celebrate this year!!! Watch this space!!

Thanks so much for dropping by…I’m off now for a slice of dry toast & another glass of water!!!! 

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

What’s your comfort zone?…

Today has been wonderful! As I mentioned yesterday, I have Nathan already off school for the summer, while Alex still has one more day to go. It’s not often I get one-on-one time with either of my boys, so I made the most of having that situation today!

After breakfast, Nathan & I set off for the Oasis Beach Pool. Not your standard type of pool, it is housed in a large pyramid & is a totally irregular shape with tubes & flumes & wave machines etc etc.  We spent a very pleasant time swimming inside & out, jumping the waves & braving the rapids, but neither of us were brave enough to try the ‘Flume of Doom’!!

After this we popped into Tesco, which is right next door, for the weekly food shop & a spot of lunch!! You would never believe how such a small boy could clean a plate of sausage, beans & chips in such a short space of time!!!

contemplation Then I suggested a trip to Jubilee Park, knowing full well that Nathan would be beside himself to spend even just half an hour in, what to him is, the best skate park around! He had his brand new ‘J D Bug’ scooter in the car & this suited my plans perfectly!! You see, prompt 13 for LYPLYP was all about finding your ‘Personal Comfort Zone’ for taking photographs & while I love snapping in close up & am keen to learn different techniques for lighting & special effects, my favourite kind of photography is being outside, capturing my boys doing whatever they like to do best!!

So, with frozen foodstuffs already sweltering in the boot of the car (!!) Nathan hit the ramps & I just wandered around trying to find the best vantage points & got some very strange looks from the other talented young skaters using the park, as I knelt & snapped, climbed & snapped & at one point lay under a ramp to catch a shot of Nathan as he came over the top!!

I love using the ‘sports mode’ for rapid shooting…the resulting sequential shots make for great scrapping!! 

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So, with another LYPLYP prompt ticked as done, we eventually took the grocery shopping home, hoping that the ‘cool-bag’ had done it’s job & kept the ‘Fab’ Lollies’ in frozen perfection!!  After which we ‘nipped’ to the local retail park to pick up some new skinny jeans & very cool slip on shoes for Nathan, courtesy of Matalan!! Very stylish for an image conscious eleven year old ‘skater dude’ & very gentle on the purse of his Mum!!!

All in all a very enjoyable day!! Poor old Alex survived his day at school & with just one more to go, has been promised that we will return the the Oasis Pool on Thursday to mark the first day of his summer holiday too…now, any ideas how I can photograph the inside of the pool without anyone noticing?!!!!

Thanks for dropping by!! :)

Monday, 19 July 2010

Messing About On The River!…..

This weekend saw Bedford overtaken with all sorts of festivities, mainly focussed around the Great River Ouse! With Parades, both on & off the water, funfairs & thrill rides, multiple stages for entertainment of all types, a bit of history in a Viking village, International food market, ‘New Age’ village etc etc etc, it is a magnificent two-yearly event that attracts thousands.

Dragon Boat Racing! On Saturday, Hubby was taking part, along with other members of the school staff, in the Dragon Boat racing. They first tried it in 2008 & whilst they didn’t win, enjoyed it so much they couldn’t wait to have another go this time around!

I will admit that these photo’s are from 2008…I didn’t actually get to the festival this year! We had intended to go on Saturday evening & stay for the fireworks, but when Lee returned home, he was so exhausted that he flaked out on the sofa & I didn't have the heart to drag him back out again!!riverfest 044

They took part in three heats of races & Lee says that they were doing quite well in the first two, but as there was a four hour wait between the second & the final race, they’d all had something to eat (read ‘Burger & chips’) & drink (read ‘Beer’) & so somehow, they’re performance took a nosedive & as they were soundly thrashed by the ‘Gold’s Gym’ team (no surprise there then!) things dissolved into a splashing match to the extent that they almost sank the boat!!

Just wish I’d been there this year to capture that with my trusty camera!! Ah well…you get the general idea!! 

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I’ve been at work for two days in a row…so I’m even further behind with the prompts over at LYPLYP, but I did have a play with the ‘texture’ menu in Photofiltre…I don’t have access to Photoshop & Saturdays prompt was a tutorial on adding texture to photo’s…so I improvised! 

I used this photo…22June2010 015






canvas& did this… 






Although I use Photofiltre for cropping, resizing & colour adjusting, I had never looked at the texture menu, so I had some fun trying out the different effects! This one was ‘Vintage Canvas’…I will definitely be revisiting this option!!

I have one son already off for the summer & the other finishing school on Wednesday, so I’ll be playing it by ear as to how much creativity is allowed to flow! Nathan & I are off to the swimming baths tomorrow, as I missed my gym visit this morning!! Gotta keep it going!!!!

Thanks for dropping by & Happy Monday to All!! :)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Multiple Choice…..

OK…so prompt #11 for LYPLYP was to create a LO with either a panoramic sized photo or multiple photo’s. It was suggested that we use the photo’s taken for prompt #9 but as I haven’t yet taken photo’s for that prompt, I went with using the sequence of photo’s taken of Alex, from which I had chosen my ‘Happy Photo’ for Challenge #1, instead!  I chose the sketch which used four small square photo’s & a lot of ‘white’ space & selected a PP for the background, which I thought gave a sense of moving water.

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The starfish have been in my stash forever, so it was good to get those onto a LO!  I had hoped to complete prompt #10’s LO today too, but as I may have mentioned before, I’m not the worlds speediest scrapper, so that will have to wait for another post!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Something Graphic & a bit of Exposure!…

I’m still playing catch-up with the prompts over at LYPLYP! Yesterdays prompt (#8) was to photograph the sky & experiment with different shutter speeds to give different exposures. Well, yesterday in the UK was dull & cloudy, so not conducive to good photographs of the sky, so instead I worked on prompt #6, which was a tutorial about applying Graphic titles directly to a photograph. I have to say that as I don’t have ‘Photoshop’ at my disposal, the tutorial instructions didn’t really mean a lot to me, so I set about as close a proximity to the result as I could with Picassa & a photo of Alex taken a little while ago…

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Then today it was dull  & cloudy again, & I was out & about for most of it, but just after we got in from the school run, we had the most fantastic thunderstorm! Once the rain stopped, the sun broke through the few remaining clouds, so I grabbed my camera & took position under the dripping Honeysuckle to try & get some interesting sky shots! I ran off about twenty or so shots, trying different shutter speeds to vary the exposure, but when I uploaded them, there was only a very subtle difference between any of them! Anyway, I chose the best four to share with you!
Love your photo's 
Tomorrow, we’re back to scrapping prompts, so I wonder what Shimelle has in store for us all?!!! I still have prompts #3, #7 & #9 to catch up with, all photography prompts, so I’d better pull my socks up & get on with it!!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A Happy Monday, a movie & My Favourite Store!!

We had visitors yesterday! A friend of my Husband, who now lives in Thailand, brought his wife & little boy to ‘meet the Robinsons’!

Simon & Lee have known each other for 25 years, since they both worked for the same company after leaving college. They actually only worked in the same office for a few months, but they obviously bonded, because in spite of never living in close proximity, they have always kept in touch & got together as often as possible. bennets
Simon married the lovely Joy three years ago & on this visit to the UK they brought along the new addition to the family, Sam…sam

…who is a gorgeous little boy & I spent a very happy evening being reminded of all those things that my boys used to do…how time flies & how important is it to document all those things through scrapbooking!

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Both of my boys, but Nathan in particular, enjoyed playing with Sam. He even commented how he would like to have a baby brother or sister!! Well…Nathan…all I can say is…Don’t hold your breath!!!!




On Sunday evening I went to see ‘Eclipse’ & it did not disappoint!

Personally I don’t know why Bella is finding it hard to choose between Edward & Jacob!! Jacob wins hands down in my humble opinion!!!  But then I guess i would be a very short story if it was that simple!!!

Finally, I’m just scraping in for the deadline of the current challenge over at ‘These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things’…My Favourite Store. I had to think about this…I love shopping & visit numerous stores, but I decided that the one store where I can buy a wide variety of items & always at a saving had to be the winner, so T.K.Maxx it is!!!

13july2010 049I have taken inspiration from Shimelle’s Prompt 5 for the LYPLYP class…all about ‘keeping it simple’. I did twitch a bit, wanting to throw some more embellishments at it, but resisted bravely!! I guess it says all that it needs to say!!

So, I’m off to play catch up with the forum & prompts over at LYPLYP ! I have declared today a housework free zone & apart from the school run, will be at my scrap desk till teatime!!!

Thanks for dropping by!!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

All Behind Like A Cows Bottom…

Well, here we are, six prompts in at Shimelles LYPLYP Class & I’m already behind!! The first three were photographic, of which I managed two!! The third is still a work-in-progress! The last three have been scrapping challenges, possibly using the photo’s from the first three!

With the weather being so glorious & weeds threatening a takeover bid, I needed to spend this morning in the front garden, as well as getting seemingly countless loads of laundry done!!  But by noon it was soooo hot, so after lunch I retreated to the relative cool of my scrap room & logged on!!  I put prompt three on hold & went straight to number four! There were four sketches included & I did use one of them, along with a selection of the flower photo’s taken for prompt two…

10July2010 008I tried almost every room in the house to find a good spot to photograph it, to no avail, it was either too bright or there was too much contrast, so excuse the slightly washed out appearance…it actually looks quite crisp IRL!!
10July2010 011Yesterday’s prompt was about ‘keeping it simple’ with ideas & another selection of sketches…I have yet to get started on that one! 

Today’s prompt included a tutorial on how to add a title graphic to a photo. Now, I’ve got the hang of adding text to photo’s using Picassa, but this looks like a whole different thing!! I don’t have Photoshop, so I need to see if what I do have will do the same thing?!!

All in all I think I may just be playing catch up all through next week!!

I hope everyone is enjoying the weather & Thanks for dropping by! :)

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Finding the light & losing!!…

So where was I? Oh yes!! Shimelle’s LYPLYP class assignment #1 ‘Finding your Lighting’…take photo’s of a single item in various locations & in different light conditions around your home…
WIP1 …I chose my favourite Starbucks mug…& was quite surprised at the different light situations in each of my downstairs rooms!…No flash was used in any of these shots.

Assignment #2 was to photograph flowers outside in the garden from different angles…I had intended to only shoot a particular hanging basket, but ended up capturing the rambling rose & sweet peas as well!! I took soooo many pictures but here are my favourite three…

WIP  …with the number of images I captured for these two assignments, I couldn’t help but reflect on what an expensive hobby photography must have been before the invention of digital camera’s!! Aren’t we lucky these days?!!! My only sin now is that I organise them all neatly into files & folders on my PC…but don’t print too many off!! Usually only when I’m planning to use them on a LO or in an album…methinks I’ll have to rethink this!! My good friend Karen has started printing off a quantity of photo’s each month to keep in a normal photo album & I think I will be following suit, otherwise all these images could just get lost in the ether….& that would be sad!

I have to get my head around assignment #3 this evening as the Scrappy prompts start tomorrow morning &I can’t wait to get stuck into those!!!

I’ll close on a happy note…well I was happy anyway!! At my Weight Watchers weekly weigh in this morning, I had lost another 2lbs!!! So in three weeks I have lost the same amount as it took me three months to lose at the beginning of the year!! I really hope I can keep this up!!!

Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Two Challenges, Two Prompts, Pass the Book & a ‘Sussie’!…

After my last few posts to chronicle the ‘OCD Chicago Tour’, this post will be refreshingly brief!! But that doesn’t mean it lacks content!! Oh No!!

First up…Shimelles ‘LYPLYP’ Class has got off to a good start! So far we have had two challenges…

1 : Share a photo that you have taken that always makes you smile…

caught out!

…I chose this one of Alex, taken on our first visit to Brighton at Easter ‘09. It is one of a sequence of about six, which show him being totally caught out by a massive wave! I love how he’s still smiling in spite of being soaked to the skin!!


2 : Grab your camera & take a photo of anything within 5 minutes of reading the challenge…

july strawbs!

As I was just about to go out & pick strawberries from the garden I took the camera with me…we have been so lucky with these few plants this year…they just keep on coming!!!


We have also had two prompts, involving lighting variants & angle of shot, which I am still working on & will share tomorrow!

pass the book button Secondly…I was directed to this blog today, from Val’s Blog…to check out the ‘Pass the Book’ idea…do pop over & check it out too…there is an opportunity to take part in what I think is a lovely idea of passing a book along to fellow bloggers & there is also some lovely silver work up for grabs too!!!


6July2010 003 …and finally, ‘Postie’ brought me a lovely surprise today!…a ‘Sussie’ from the lovely Amy, who has this gorgeous Etsy shop that you must visit!! She sent a little gift to all the entrants of the anniversary challenge over at TAAFOMFT…how generous was that?!!! I love my ‘Sussie’ & there is more vintage goodness to be had from Amy’s shop!!  I’m looking forward to putting these lovely pieces to good use!!

So, that’s it from me for today…short & sweet!  I’m off to spend some time with my Hubby…he’s just made us a coffee & there’s an episode of ‘Lie to Me’ all set to go…just gotta love Tim Roth!!!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Monday, 5 July 2010

…& that’s a wrap!

The time has come (the Walrus said…?!!!…sorry I digress!) to complete the saga of the ‘three old birds’ trip to Chicago!  I cannot believe it is now three weeks since we returned home, but there you go…time flies…& I wish I could say it was 1285because I was having fun, but no!!  Just getting back to the mundane business of keeping house, garden & family in order & of course, earning a living!! BUT…today some fun does indeed start, as Shimelles ‘Love Your Photo’s, Love Your Pages’ class kicks off!!!  YAY!!!

IMG_0304 So…back to Chicago (I wish!!)…Saturday morning dawned bright & sunny, so we dressed accordingly & set off to Panera for breakfast…& as much as I’d like you to believe that this was our mode of transport I have to admit that it wasn’t!


IMG_3083 Hilary & I had our ‘usual’…fresh strawberries with yoghurt & Granola, while Karen stuck to her cinnamon scone & a cocktail of pain relief pills! She really was a trooper!



We discussed our plans for the day, never looking out of the window….when it came time to leave we were met with this…





…torrential rain!!…so, once again, out came the pac-a-macs!!!

IMG_0312We set of in search of a couple of papercraft/scrapbook supply shops that Karen remembered, but had no luck with the first! We found the shop unit, but it was now another business entirely.  On we went & drove into a very nice area with beautiful homes lining the tree lined streets, so we parked , pulled up our hoods & went to explore!

IMG_3099IMG_3108This shop was packed to the hilt with scrummy things!

The ground floor was mostly gift items, books & stationery, while down in the basement there was a lovely collection of papers, cardstocks & other craft goodies.





I don’t think the staff were too impressed with my attempt at pole dancing!!! Well…if you leave a pole just standing there…what do you expect?!!

14June2010 241 Then it was time for lunch!! Back to L.Woods to eat in the ‘Oceans 12’ room! This room was used for a scene in said movie…hence the name!

Now, Karen's Hubby & son were flying in to Chicago, on business, today & we had arranged to meet them here at L. Woods…They arrived just as our

14June2010 252 dessert was delivered, & jetlagged, had to listen to three over excited females  chatter on about our week so far!! But they didn’t complain & even agreed to take some photo’s of us posing with some funky fabric letters Karen had bought to adorn the wall of her new scrap room!

We were booked onto a Mega Crop for that night at Archivers, 5pm-11pm, so after freshening up we packed our travel scrapping kits (as one does!) & set off. It wasn’t a large turnout, we had one of four occupied tables, but were a little disappointed that no-one really ‘mixed’! Each table kept to itself, although the staff were quite chatty!! IMG_3142
IMG_3140There were a couple of ‘Prize Draws’ during the evening…Hilary & I both won a kit each!!

Karen was gutted & left us for an hour or so to spend some time with Hubby & son!

We picked up some more bits…well quite a few more bits if I’m IMG_0347honest…from the shop! They’d added more items to the bargain corner since our first visit…and had had a delivery of lovely new bits we’d not seen before!! the time passed quite quickly…I managed to complete my ‘Favourite Shoes’ LO, in between trips to the till, before it was time to pack away & head ‘home’ again!

IMG_3192 We were up bright & early for our last day on Sunday! With packing done, cases weighed & our surplus items given to Karen’s Hubby to bring home the following week, a pile of lovely designer carrier bags left in the bin, we met with said Hubby for one last breakfast in Panera!

IMG_0351 We were very glad of his help in fitting our now full cases into the boot of the car…no mean feat…& making our farewells, we set off, through a dull & misty morning towards downtown.

IMG_3223 Now, I have commented several times on what a fabulous job Karen made of driving, but I think even she was happy to hand the car over to valet parking this time! Just look at the car park…..!!

We were booked onto a Gospel Brunch at ‘The House of Blues’ & as we had some time to kill, we captured a few last minute images in the relative quiet of a Sunday morning!
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The cloud cover was really low, so that we couldn’t see the top of the taller skyscrapers!14June2010 29614June2010 291 14June2010 287Then it was into the ‘House of Blues’ for an amazing show from a fantastic Gospel Choir whose energy & enthusiasm was quite infectious!!  Fuelled up with Jambalaya, grits, bacon,  pancakes, mimosa…more food than you’d believe!… we joined in with singing & clapping & praising the Lord!! Oh Happy Day indeed!

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And finally it was time to collect the car & head off into another downpour & make our way to O’Hare airport.

There were no delays, but Hilary & Karen were upgraded to Premium Economy & so we spent the flight home all sitting separately! I think I must have slept (& snored!!) for most of the journey, despite trying to focus on the movies playing! We were through baggage collect & customs at Heathrow in record time & Karen once more, very ably drove us home! This time on the right side of the road!!

So, there you have it…a complete account of our adventures!! & may I say what an amazing week it was in such a wonderful city & with such fabulous company! Thanks guys…from the third ‘Old Bird’!!

As usual, thanks to you for dropping by & ploughing through ANOTHER lengthy post!! They should resume to the norm from here on in, whatever that may be!!

Blessings! xx