Saturday, 30 April 2011

Easter Holidays…part deux!

Following on from my previous post…the second half of the school holiday was just as enjoyable as the first! The weather was glorious & much time was spent outdoors! One little blip was when Nathan discovered on the Wednesday morning that one of our three Guinea Pigs (inappropriately named ‘Lucky’) had died during the night. He had been fine on the Tuesday, scampering around the run with the other two, so it was a bit of a mystery! Anyway, a small funeral was held, with Lee acting as gravedigger & undertaker, & I planted a dwarf fuchsia to mark his grave.

23 April 2011 006On the Thursday I boarded a National Express coach to Birmingham!  No, I wasn’t running away!  I’d arranged to meet my sister & hubby at the ‘Rag Market’ to shop for dress fabric. I’m reluctant to pay £50+ for summer dresses that aren’t even properly finished off, when I’m perfectly able to sew myself!!

The day wasn’t without incident though!! I had chosen to go by coach as at £13.50 return, it was cheaper than the cost of diesel & Car Parking & without the hassle of driving on the M1, M6 & into a major suburban sprawl!! Lee dropped me at the coach station & I popped to the loo before boarding the coach for the two hour trip.

When I got to Birmingham, Sister & Hubby met me from the coach & after exchanging hugs we set off out of the coach station. As we approached the automatic doors a lady tapped me on the shoulder & said “excuse me love, you have a tissue on the back of your dress!” I reached behind & hanging below the hem of my tunic was indeed a piece of tissue….I pulled it & another three sheets followed, having been caught in the waistband of my leggings!!!! 

OMG!! How embarrassing!! At least it was CLEAN tissue…I can only think that when I was pulling up my leggings that I somehow caught the end of the roll in the waistband & had obliviously walked out…Karen thinks that maybe I left a trail of toilet tissue up to the door, which then severed my tissue umbilical!!! How cringe worthy is that?!!! And to think I travelled all the way from MK to Brum in that state!!!!

23 April 2011 007 So…back to the day…for anyone who doesn’t know the ‘World Famous Rag Market’, it’s adjacent to the new Selfridges store in the completely revamped ‘Bull Ring’ shopping area of Birmingham. It’s both an indoor & outdoor market selling fabrics, both furnishing & dressmaking, haberdashery & trimmings, shoes, fashion accessories etc…all at ridiculously low prices!!

We were very spoiled for choice & did a ‘perusal round’ before breaking for lunch in the nearby Chinese Quarter, then a buying round after!!

22 April 2011 005With 60” wide fabric at £1.50 a metre, I bought fabric for three dresses at just £13.50!!! Add to that the cost of two new patterns, thread & two zips & it works out at £10.00 per dress!! Result!! I also picked up some irresistible trimmings for scrapping!!

Now all I need is to make time to fire up the old Singer & get stitching!!!

23 April 2011 023 On Good Friday we took a drive out to a favourite pub of ours, which the boys call ‘The Secret Pub’ because it’s not one you’d discover by accident!! Tucked away behind an old church, it has an extensive play area, & although my boys are not so little any more they still enjoy the equipment there! As it was early evening, there weren’t many families there, so they practically had the place to themselves & while we sat & nursed our drinks in the sunshine, they had fun doing what boys do best…being silly!

23 April 2011 040

23 April 2011 039It constantly amazes me how quickly children grow up…it seems like only a blink ago when I was worried to leave them to play on equipment like this without supervision!!


28 April 2011 007 Easter Sunday & I was up with the lark to help the Easter Bunny hide the eggs! How lovely that for the first time in a few years we were able to ‘Hunt’ in the garden…incredible to remember that in 2008 we had heavy snow!!

28 April 2011 008 
The morning sun was so warm that by the time my boys headed out to hunt, all the chocolate goodies were soft inside their foil wrappings!! A few minutes in the fridge rectified this & they still tasted just as good!!!

28 April 2011 009 
Apart from preparing meals, I spent the entire day in the sunshine! I just lay there on my sun lounger, with my music & my book! Absolute bliss!… made even more perfect by it being a day I would normally be at work!!!

The Bank Holiday Monday was another hot one! Lee & I got up early & went along to a local car boot sale that I’m planning to sell at later this month. Then after a sneaky breakfast at Sainsbury’s on the way home, I set to some serious weeding & pruning…the garden is just coming into it’s own!

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28 April 2011 033




28 April 2011 024

I cannot tell you how therapeutic I find this sunny weather, better than any tonic or pill!! I find it easy to get out of bed, easy to get to work, even on those chores I hate!! I eat less & am generally more agreeable all round!!!…& I defy anyone to look closely at all the beauty in a garden & not feel blessed!

Back to Monday…at 2pm we had a power cut!! Fine by me, out in the garden, but Alex was in the middle of a game on the X-Box & was not happy!!! So what do you do in that situation?

28 April 2011 012
Well…you pinch your Mums sun lounger, take your laptop into the shade & watch DVD’s until the power runs out!!!

The power was off until 9.35pm so we sent ‘Man the Hunter’ out for our evening meal…

28 April 2011 041 



…which was thoroughly enjoyed by candlelight…

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So that’s almost it for the school holiday…Tuesday was spent getting uniform & kit together, food shopping & generally getting my head around having to reset the alarm for Wednesday morning!

Just to mention here that I did also sign up for Shimelle’s latest class ‘Beyond Blogging for Scrapbookers’ but to date have only glanced at each prompt as they’ve come through…I’m seeing what’s going on in each of your blogs though, so am not missing out entirely! I will get around to catching up at some point!!!

Thanks for taking time to drop by!  I hope you all enjoyed the pomp & ceremony of the Royal Wedding yesterday…not to mention the sunshine!!  I had a glorious day & will fill you in on all of that next time! I’m off now to peg out more washing & make lunch! TTFN :)

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

….& BREATHE!!!

The boys went back to school today…as it is, only for two days before yet another loooooong weekend is upon us!! But it has given me a welcome bit of breathing space! The house needs a good clean but I’m not going to waste my time with a fine tooth comb as it’ll all be turned upside down again in 48hours time!

So, what’s been going on since I last posted…which, apart from Mel’s Alphanumeric Blog Hop on the 17th & my giveaway winner notification on the 22nd, has been a whole TWO WEEKS!!!

Well the weather has been glorious, so we’ve been out & about in various combinations of family!! My boys are of an age now where they can opt out of certain activities & be safely left for a couple of hours (Alex’s taking ownership of his insulin injections has helped enormously!) so Lee & I have even had a couple of wonderful, hassle free, lunch dates!

15 April 2011 013 But on Thursday 14th we set off ‘en famille’ to the NEC in Birmingham for the ‘Gadget Show Live’. This is a TV programme that we can all sit down to watch together & enjoy equally!!

Lee managed to secure premier tickets for the live stage show, meaning our seats were central & just seven rows from the stage!

15 April 2011 021 We arrived at the NEC as the doors opened, hoping that Alex would cope better if it started quiet & the hubbub built up around him! We had a contingency plan that if it all got too much for him, that he & I would head off to the relative quiet of the food court & leave Lee & Nathan to carry on!!

We were soon doing the rounds of the hundreds of stands & displays! Alex’s favourite was the ‘Hex Bug’ stand, being a fan of all things robotic!!

15 April 2011 025

While he was at this stand I turned around to see all four presenters coming in through a side door, on their way to an autograph session!

Talk about being in the right place at the right time!! I got to shake hands with Jon Bentley…he is such a perfect gent!!!

15 April 2011 027Then it was time for the live show…

The ‘Super Theatre’ was enormous & every seat was filled. While we waited for the show to start we were entertained by seven foot tall Titan Robots who mingled with the audience (as much as a robot can mingle!!) & then it was time…

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…there they were! Jon Bently, Suzi Perry, Jason Bradbury & Ortis Deley arriving on stage by overhead zip wire & on various motorised gadgets including Jon on a supercharged mobility scooter, which raised a chuckle!  Pollyanna Woodward was brought on as the newest member of the team & the fun & games began!!

15 April 2011 062 There was much audience participation with interactive text voting & on stage games to win fabulous prizes, we were treated to two musical performances by Polly & Ortis using state of the art tech (there are those robots again as Polly’s backing singers!!) & even an amazing magician who’s name escapes me!!

15 April 2011 074Much too soon, & in a blaze of pyrotechnics which almost removed my eyebrows, it was all over! Phew!!

Then we were back into the throng to make some purchases!! I bought a ‘Mojo’ wristband, which was featured on the show a few months back. Featuring  two holographic discs, these bands ‘marry together traditional Chinese Acupuncture with a holographic communication system. The discs communicate through your body’s meridian for a more harmonic, healthy & balanced body’…I have been experiencing pain in my left shoulder, & after the pain, drugs & surgery I went though with my right shoulder I felt anything is worth a try. I’ll keep you posted!!

15 April 2011 081 Alex returned to the ‘Hex Bug’ stand & chose what to spend his hard earned (!) pocket money on!!

We stopped to watch a couple of demo’s & then as it was really busy, Alex & I headed off to a quiet corner for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (him) & coffee (me), while Lee & Nathan settled into the gaming zone for what turned out to be quite a lengthy session!!  All in all a successful day out!!!

The following weekend was filled with gardening, work, oh & of course the cinema!!

source_code_ver2_xlg We saw ‘Source Code’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal…Wow!!

Even if your not a Sci-Fi fan (& I am) this is an amazing film! The special effects are fantastic…the whole concept is amazing & the slow reveal of the plot & its conclusion is masterful!

Add to that that Jake Gyllenhaal is just gorgeous & it’s definitely worth a see!!

So, those are the highlights of the first week of the school holidays! There has been some crafting in there, but nothing I can share with you just yet!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by, I’ll be back soon to bring things up to date & share some of that creativity with you!  I’m off now to collect my brood from school & pick up some fresh berries for a Pavlova I will be preparing tomorrow for a very special event on Friday…no, not THAT special event, but something related…more on that next time!!! :)

Friday, 22 April 2011

Come In Number Seven…..

…you’ve won a prize!!!

Firstly though….apologies for the delay in this announcement!  Everything was in place to make it on Wednesday evening, not long after the 6pm deadline, when we lost internet connection!! It seems that one of our neighbours has installed a new home hub with a different Broadband provider to us & it completely obliterated our signal!!!! Lee has since adjusted our wavelength (like I actually know what that means!!) & we’re up & running again!!

37 entries So without further ado…There were thirty-SEVEN (how apt!) comments left on my Alphanumeric Blog Hop post, so all of those names were written down & placed into a bowl!!

picking seven


Then, Nathan dutifully  shook the bowl well & carefully picked out SEVEN pieces of folded paper (taking his responsibility very seriously!!) & placed them next to their allotted number!

seven drawn

Can you make out who was the seventh name?

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It was you…CARRIE ROSALIND!!  I will be in touch to get your postal details & the pack of 7gypsies fabric label stickers will be winging their way to you asap!!

It’s been a very busy school holiday so far, so I’ll be back with much to share soon!!

Thanks for dropping by! I do hope everyone is having a good start to the Easter weekend & that the sun is shining for you, wherever you are! :)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Magic Mel’s Alphanumeric Blog Hop…

13alphanumeric hop badge
WELCOME Fellow Blog Hoppers!!

7 Hand When Mel allocated me my ‘muse’ for this blog hop, I thought I knew exactly what I was going to do with it!  But as it turned out, it sort of took on a direction of it’s own!!

Do you have any idea how many times the number 7 shows up in a Google search? 

Like the Fibonacci Sequence, which is everywhere & without definite explanation…
…7 just is!!!

7 continents  
There are 7 Continents…

Original 7 Sins




…7 Original Deadly Sins…

New 7 Sins


…which have been updated to suit a more modern world!

7 virtues





…& by contrast, 7 Virtues for us all to aspire to!

If you are born the 7th son of a 7th son, you are said to have magical powers!

 7 Wonders

…& of course we have 7 Wonders Of The Ancient World…

The Colossus of Rhodes
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia
The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus


These have been updated over the years & now there are lists for the 7 wonders of the Modern world….

windows 7
Channel Tunnel
CN Tower
Empire State Building
Golden Gate Bridge
Itaipu Dam
Netherlands North Sea Protection Works
Panama Canal

or…The 7 wonders of the Natural World…

7 sisters Grand Canyon
The Great Barrier Reef
The Harbour at Rio de Janeiro
Mt. Everest
Northern Lights
Paricutin Volcano
Victoria Falls


Dr SeussI even discovered a book by a favourite children’s author, Dr Seuss, which had eluded me until now…’The Seven Lady Godivas’!

That sounds a bit racier than ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ or ‘The Cat In The Hat’!!  I’m just going to have to find a copy of that one!!

7 dwarves




Then of course there are the 7 dwarves in ‘Snow White’…why seven?

film 7 year itch

And as we’re on the subject of entertainment media…what about the film industry? As a life long Marilyn Monroe fan, of course ‘The Seven Year Itch’ was the first I thought of…


film SEVEN 

…followed by the darkly disturbing ‘Seven’ (although Brad Pitt was still gorgeous for all his character was sinister!!)

 film 7 brides 7 brothers



Remember the jollity of ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’?

film magnificent 7

…or all that raging Testosterone & the battling ego’s in ‘The Magnificent Seven’…& yes… you’ll be humming that tune all day!!!

film 7 pounds



Then, more recently we’ve had ‘Seven Pounds’ starring Will Smith…an amazing film!

 film 7yearsintibet



…’Seven Years in Tibet’…the gorgeous Brad Pitt again!!




…& ‘The Last Seven’ a scary tale of post-apocalyptic London, starring that loveable rough diamond, Danny Dyer!!

So, the film industry obviously sets some store by the number 7, as these…well…seven (!) examples show!!

7pmThis is really just a small sample, but as you have so many blogs to get around I think I’ll call time here…which of course, has to be 7 o’clock…wherever you are in the world!!!

all the 7's

…& I feel a little bit of a ‘Sesame Street’ moment coming on when I say that “…today’s post has been brought to you by none other than the number 7…!!”


7gypsiesI think that after all that, you need the chance of a little reward!!!  What would be a suitable giveaway?  There was only one answer….something from ‘7gypsies’ of course!!  

So, up for grabs is a pack of ‘7gypsies ‘Firenze’ Fabric Label Stickers’ for your delectation! (Apologies for the very poor quality photo!!) 

Just leave a comment by 6pm (BST) on Wednesday 20th April, & no…it won’t be the seventh commenter that wins!  

All names will go into the pot & the seventh name drawn out will be the winner!! Be sure to leave a link to your blog or email details, so I can let you know if it’s you!!  Good Luck!! : )

Thanks so much for stopping by & your next stop on this epic Blog Hop is over to Mary….have fun!!

Alphanumeric Blog Hop Participants…(just click to link!)

I Speak Melsh (Organiser & **STAR**) 
BE Glorious
Captured On Film
Chatty Crafty Arty Pig
Creating Room
Curiouser and Curiouser
Daily Life - Bits and Pieces
Deb's World
Den's Crafty Diary
From High In The Sky
Gallo Organico
Ginger's Life Of Spice
Handmade By Kirsty
Havoc and Mayhem
Heather's Scraps
Helena's Creative Maven
Holaday's Happy Hearts
Just Jimjams
K's Crafty Corner
Life...As I See It
{Life Behind The Purple Door}
Lisa E Design Blog
Living Life One Blessing At A Time
Mary's Musings
Michelle Loves...
Obstinate Pursuit
Over At Our Place
Paper Turtle
Peonies and Pennies
Random Reflections
Rosalind Revival
Scrap Dreams
Scrapworthy Lives
Staring At The Sea
Surefiredaisy Says
This Kalil Life
This Little Life Of Mine
Xnomads' Blog

Note: If any of the posts aren't up yet, please bear with us - the different time zones and the peculiarity of blogging platforms when it comes to autoposts may mean that one or two posts don't appear on time! If that's the case, come back to this list to pick up from the next blog, but do please pop back and try the other link later, when the post should be there for your enjoyment.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time…

…the day we went to Bicester!  ‘Bicester Outlet Village’ to be precise!

We were long overdue for a day out to mark my 50th birthday (which was last August!!), every time we had made plans, something had got in the way! So a date was set…first day of the school Easter holidays…& off I went to meet Amanda in Bicester!!

Considering it’s only an hours drive away & virtually in a straight line across country, I am amazed that I have not been before! Free parking & over 900 shops & restaurants, names like YSL, Dior, Gianni Versace, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen….alongside Monsoon, Cath Kidston, Burberry, Fat Face, Jigsaw…to name a few!!! All offering up to 70% discounts!!!

I have to admit that even at 70% off, most of these stores were out of my price range, but I had a wonderful time browsing & getting all ‘touchy feely’ with their stock!!!!

b'fast at bicester I met Amanda at Carluccio’s just ahead of opening time & we had a leisurely breakfast in the sunshine…our waiter, Mario, was kind enough to take a photo once we’d polished off our scrambled eggs, mushrooms & the most delicious ciabbatta toast I have ever tasted!!

Then it was into the fray!  Sidestepping throngs of Japanese bargain hunters & little groups of wealthy Arab women, swathed in their black robes, we spent time in every shop that took our fancy…& there were plenty of those!!

1st buy It took about an hour for us to make our first purchases!  Mine was a pair of gold ‘thong’ sandals & Amanda’s a straw hat!…both from Monsoon & at ridiculously low prices!!

The place was heaving, even at 11am, as everyone vied for the best bargains…in contrast to the more expensive shops where everyone behaved with a bit more decorum!!!

After another couple of hours we came to a shop selling prestige cosmetics & toiletries….& they stocked my favourite hair care range…Ojon!!!

My second purchase of the day was a set of four Ojon products…all favourites…in Jumbo sizes at ONLY £34.00!!!! My day was made!!!!

We stopped for some lunch at ‘Pret-a-Manger’ & soaked up some sunshine while enjoying Thai Chicken soup…washed down with something sparkling…no, not champagne!!…Grape & Elderflower Presse!!!

Then it was back to the shops & I outdid myself in Cath Kidston!…buying an ironing board cover & two tea-towels!!!!  But they are lovely!!!!  We spent time in the Ugg store & marvelled at the audacity of the ‘Jimmy Choo’ designed Ugg boots…just the same as normal Uggs but with a fringe, a few added studs & an extra £395 on the price!!

We finished off our day with afternoon tea, back at Carluccio’s & Amanda made a trip to her car to fetch my  birthday gift (she refused to give it to me until we had a girls day out to mark the occasion!) She is a talented artist & creates the most amazing multi medium prints, & more recently ‘slumped’ glass sculptures!  My gift was a piece of said glass art, mounted & framed….it is stunning! I already have three pieces of Amanda’s artwork adorning my walls, not to mention the odd piece of glasswork dotted around the house…& this piece will be found its own space very soon!!!

As we got back to our cars it started to rain! How perfect that we had the whole day in sunshine & the clouds only came over as we were drinking our tea! Somebody ‘up there’ was watching out for us!!

09 April 2011 004 Just to mention that the mystery of the ‘Good Year’ blimp (airship!) has been solved! Apparently Good Year are sponsors of Sky Sports & the blimp was seen in a TV advert during half time in the ‘England vs Wales’ match a couple of weekends ago! In the ad you could clearly see the hangars as the blimp pulled out & then our village as it circled!!! It has been circling overhead again this week, so keep an eye on Sky Sports & you might see our house!!!!

That’s it from me for now…remember that Dixie Pieces have an online crop this weekend…’More Stash Than Cash’…starting on Friday 15th at approx 9.00am PST & continuing through till Sunday night! There will be games, tutorials & challenges, with a whole week to complete your entries (deadline midnight PST, Sunday 24th April). So come on over & join in the fun!!!

Thanks for stopping by & come back soon!  : )