Monday, 27 June 2011

What a week that was!!

It has been one hectic, productive & joyous week!!

I’m not sure if it’s a story I’ve shared here before, but a little over three years ago my Hubby was made redundant, after 30 years in the finance industry. He made the decision to take a complete change of direction & embarked on a three year, part time, teaching degree course.

38 LeeB&W This week he learned that not only has he achieved a 2:2 grade on his degree, but that he has also been offered a place on a one year Masters degree course…full time, this time…starting in September!

I am so proud of his achievements…not only has he been studying for three years, but also working as a part time teaching assistant & taking various freelance work at all hours of the day, to ensure that the bills get paid!!!

 

So, on July 11th, at age 53, he will don a cap & gown for his Graduation Ceremony!!  You can be sure there will plenty of photo’s to share of the event!!

We’ve also been working hard this week to get Alex’s ‘work experience’ two weeks organised!  It has been a real issue as there seemed to be no local employer willing to take him, even with a teaching assistant in attendance. I can understand why, but it has been stressful!

But…the SENCO at school has been marvellous & has arranged for Alex to work within the administration dept at school, with particular involvement from the IT guys, who have already put together a sequence of programmes for Alex to work on.  It is such a relief to know that he will be able to get a valuable taste of a working environment, albeit a very familiar one!

MOM...Nathan came home proudly bearing his latest DT project…a mirrored wall decoration…

…”that’s lovely” I said “but isn’t ‘MOM’ a little American?”

 

No...WOW!!! “Oh Mum” he said “it’s not MOM…it’s WOW…it stands for ‘World Of Warcraft!”…Silly Me!!  It’s obvious really isn’t it?!!  I guess I should have known!!!
Anyway…Whatever!!…I think he’s made a good job of it!!

Also this week I’ve been up & down the loft ladder more times than I can count! I’ve cleared a space (mainly by relegating to the tip a load of empty cardboard boxes that Hubby always thinks may just come in handy!!) large enough to work in, sorting through our accumulated ‘Stuff’…mainly with a view to listing on eBay or car-booting!  But now at least my scrap room isn’t piled high with said stuff!

Bin Screen Today's project was to complete the smartening up of our wheelie bin store!  A space we created to house two of our three bins, which, although totally necessary are a bit of an eyesore!! 

Some time ago, we laid some slabs & put up some posts & trellis & that was how it stayed…project incomplete!

Over time the trellis fell apart, so something had to be done!!

Yesterday, while I was at work,  Hubby attached a reed screen around the two open sides, & today I have removed a strip of turf (established turf & very stubborn!!) & laid gravel up to the slabs to make a standing for two very old but much loved terracotta troughs!  I’ve planted them up with Nicotina & Busy Lizzies & now the whole area is much easier on the eye!

I can tell you it was very warm work…but on the plus side I’ve topped my holiday tan up very nicely!  We are now waiting for the promised thunderstorm to commence! It is so hot & humid & it will be bliss to have some rainfall to take the temperature down a notch or two!

I’ll leave you with a new sign I have above my computer desk in my scrap room…it says it all really…..

Broken Computer! 
I’m working overtime for the next two days, & the boys are off school on Thursday, owing to teachers industrial action, so this week will be gone in a flash!  Can you believe it’s the 1st July on Friday?!!!!  I’ll be back then with some creativity to share!

Thanks for stopping by & I wish you all a great week! :)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Getting Back Into Routine!…

I must admit I almost feel like I’m still on holiday!! Apart from the housework that is!! But…once I regained control in that area & Lee headed off for his extended Golf weekend, I decided that some serious scrapping time was in order! So on Friday I opened my Dixie Pieces July kit…Yum!! Obviously I can’t share what I got up to with that just yet, but suffice to say I’ve had great fun with it so far!!

Then, yesterday I decided to take up the challenge thrown down by Karen Findlay over at Soul Scrappers. I was lucky enough to be one of the first 20 to respond & was sent a kit of scrappy embellishments with which to complete the challenge.

SSQ8 1

The theme for this Quest is ‘Nautical’ & the idea is to use all of the above in your project & add anything else you like! There are also chances to earn extra points along the way for added criteria.  So this is what I came up with…

SSQ8 2
Alex in June 2009 on the ferry between Dover & Calais…it was an extremely blustery day but he spent the entire crossing on deck, enjoying the motion of the ship & having his breath literally taken away at every turn!!

I managed to incorporate every last item sent in the kit…in fact I was amazed at how easily they were swallowed up in this LO!! I had a go at another ‘page burst’..a square one this time & pleated, rather than rolled my cut pieces. I embossed the metal star to add a bit of texture & used one of the DSPP scraps to cover my chip alpha’s. The only thing I’m not happy about is my handwriting on the stamped tag, but then I never am!!

Today has gone much in the same vein…house tidied…crock pot on with a casserole for this evening meal…cake baked for dessert (well it is Fathers Day after all!) & I’m having some more ‘ME’ time at my scrap desk & PC!! Lee will be home later this evening & I’ll be required to listen to a hole-by-hole account of the tournament, so I should sleep well tonight!!!! 

Can I just mention my good friend Karen…if you’ve not already read about it on her blog HERE…had the awful experience of being burgled last Friday!! Do pop over & leave her some love…she seems to be taking it all in her stride but you can never have too much moral support!!!

Thanks for stopping by & I hope all those Fathers out there are being thoroughly spoiled today!! :)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Ola!! I’m back & in one piece!!!

I’m happy to report that I’ve returned from my week away without incident, injury or ailment…a first for me in quite a while!!!

I actually arrived home on Tuesday afternoon, but as you can imagine, having left Lee & the boys at home, it has taken me two full days to de-crumb the kitchen & blitz the bathrooms!!! Not to mention unpack & clear the backlog of laundry as well as my own suitcase full!!  But it feels good to say that the house is straight, the fridge/freezer & cupboards restocked, all that washing dry & awaiting it’s appointment with the iron!!!  Lee headed off for his annual Golf tournament this lunchtime & will be away till Sunday night, so I’m planning some serious scrapping time this weekend…oh & of course that ironing….maybe!!!!

Majorca 01 Now…the holiday! We left Birmingham Airport in the early morning sunshine & enjoyed a turbulent free flight & easy landing, only to discover as we headed out of Palma Airport that while we had been collecting our luggage, the heavens had opened!!! All I can say is that I’m glad I always carry an umbrella!!

Majorca 06We had an hours drive to our resort & I took the opportunity to sleep….when we arrived the rain had stopped & the sky was blue!

We were pleased to find our Aparthotel  was set in a very salubrious residential area & was very well presented. The reception staff were very efficient & it took only a few minutes for us to be checked in & allocated our apartment.


Majorca 05 


We set off past the large swimming pool & it’s literal maze of sun loungers…I couldn’t help thinking how, if every bed was occupied, just how crowded & noisy it would be!!


Majorca 04 We soon found our apartment, on the first floor of the far corner block, with it’s balcony facing the right way to catch the early afternoon sun. Looking out of the bedroom window we saw another smaller pool, which we decided would be our choice!!

We also noticed a HUGE covered area, which turned out to be the ‘Show Tent’ & as we unpacked we heard the ‘In House Entertainment Team’ rehearsing their musical numbers for that nights show. On checking our welcome pack we learned that the programme was DAILY…& EVERY night from 7pm there was a Kids Disco, Bingo, Karaoke…& from 10pm till midnight a musical extravaganza!!! Oh Joy!!!…& our apartment not even 50 yards away from the stage!!!!

Majorca 02 Once unpacked, we set off to explore the local terrain! There was a complimentary land train running between the hotel & the Sa Coma seafront & we hopped onto that to get the lie of the land!

Rosemary & I holding on tight during the very bumpy ‘train’ ride!!

 

Majorca 03

Rosemary’s friend, Carol kept asking ‘Are we there yet?’…it did seem like quite a way! We later learned that it was actually one & a half Kilometres, & we ended up walking that, sometimes four times a day!!

Majorca  07

 

As I mentioned before, we were right at the top of a very respectable residential area, with lovely gated villas. Everywhere was landscaped beautifully with architectural plants & a riot of colour…


Majorca  08These home owners must have cringed the day they found out what was planned for their neighbourhood!!

There was constant traffic, both vehicular & pedestrian, not to mention the regular promoters of various clubs & bars standing at each corner handing out flyers!…& that was before we discovered just how loud that show was each night too!!

We were amazed at how many families with children were there, in term time. Mainly  UK northerners, judging by the variety of accents from Yorkshire, Newcastle & Manchester. I have never seen so many tattoos & piercings in one place…& if I had any qualms about my size in a swimsuit, I need not have worried…there were too many women of indeterminate dress sizes to count, in bikinis too… without a care in the world!!

But hey!! We were there to chill & enjoy ourselves, our apartment was really only a place to sleep & prepare breakfast…we weren’t going to be around to witness the great unwashed playing Bingo or singing Karaoke..were we?!!!

Majorca  11

After stopping off at the supermarket for supplies & at a restaurant for a light meal that first day, we walked back to the hotel…along this long road……

 

Majorca  10

 


…around the corner & along this long road…

…up as hill, across the road & up another long stretch of road & back into our hotel complex!!

We decided to catch the evening rays on the balcony, before getting an early night to be fresh for an early start the next morning…well, it had been over 36hours since we’d all last been to bed!!!

All I can say is that at 10pm when the show started, the windows in our apartment were vibrating & no earplugs in the world would have silenced the sounds of the Michael Jackson Tribute show that was happening right outside…& I love MJ’s music, but I was so glad when midnight came & there was relative quiet again!!

Majorca 12

The next morning, we set off to the beach, bright & early at 8am. The sun was shining & we walked briskly, looking forward to our first full day at the beach. The sand was clean, the water azure & we’d been told you could walk out for 100yards & still be only waist deep…I love the sea!!

 

Majorca 14

We walked along the seafront until we found a nice looking spot….an unusual landmark in the shape of this tree caught my eye…

Majorca  13

 

 

 

 

 

…& we made our way down the boardwalk to the waters edge, choosing a parasol & three sun beds at the edge of the ‘block’, so as not to be in the middle of things!!!! How little we knew!!!  While Carol stayed with the beds & our belongings, Rosemary & I ventured in to the sea for a glorious swim…it really was lovely!!

When we got back to the beds, Carol told us that the guy had been to collect payment for the bed/parasol hire…€18.50 for the day!!! That’s £6.00 each just to lie on a bed under a single shared parasol!!!! Daylight robbery!!…but, as we’d paid, we settled down to enjoy our investment!!

Me&SanM I dozed off as I dried in the sunshine….when I awoke, you could barely see a patch of sand between the bodies, tents, inflatable's & beach paraphernalia. Nor could a word of English be heard!! We had obviously chosen the ‘German’ end of the beach!!  By midday the weather had turned & we beat a hasty retreat into a nearby restaurant to shelter from the storm & ended up taking three hours over toasted sandwiches, pecan waffles & several bottles of San Miguel!!! Well, sometimes these things just have to be done!!!

With valuable lessons learned we soon established a routine that meant we sunbathed ‘rent free’ by the small pool at the hotel…visited the beach to swim/paddle without needing to hire sun beds…ate later in the evening so that by the time we returned to the apartment the evenings entertainment was winding up & we were able to avoid the drunken masses & get to sleep!!

Majorca  June 2011 024

 

The whole week went smoothly from there on in…the weather alternated between scorching sun accompanied by a cool breeze & humid sticky thunderstorms, but we all came home with respectable suntans & with all that walking I’m happy to report that in spite of eating some amazing dinners…all followed by lush desserts…I gained only 3lbs!! Add to that the fact that although we window-shopped each evening, I bought only a small gift each for Lee & the boys & for the first time ever, came home with a generous portion of my spending money intact!!!! Result!!


To wind up, I’d like to share some photo’s I took out of the window of the airplane on the return flight. Now I am not a good flyer…just climbing inside the metal tube of an aircraft makes me nervous & I will never argue with anyone who wants a window seat…quite frankly I’d prefer not to know how far off the ground I actually am. So when it was unavoidable that I sit by the window I thought I’d spend the entire flight with the blind drawn!!

Majorca  15 BUT…it was such a gorgeous morning that I soon became mesmerised as I watched Majorca growing smaller..

 

Majorca 16

 

 

Just look at the blue of that sea….sitting just behind the wings meant that there was heat haze from the engines but everything was just so visible!!!

Majorca 17



We were soon over the snow tipped Alps….just so beautiful!!

 

 

 

Majorca 18

 

 

 

Then over the south English coastline &  pleased to see that the sun was shining to welcome us home!!

 

Majorca 19


And finally, we were descending over the Warwickshire countryside for a very bumpy landing which made me so glad to be back on terra firma…but for the first time I can remember I actually enjoyed the view from my seat on a plane!!!

 

So that’s it…a non eventful holiday for a change!! Not a slip, trip or tumble to report, nothing lost or stolen & no confrontation with anyone at all!!  But as much as I’m chilled & rested, I don’t think I’ll be hurrying back to Sa Coma anytime soon!!

Thanks for stopping by…I’m hoping to get around to everyone over the next couple of days for a spot of catching up & commenting!  I hope you have a great weekend wherever you are!! :)

Friday, 3 June 2011

The Only Way Is Up!!!

But First…a blessing!! One that came my way earlier this week…

Shimelle had blogged about a Charity she feels strongly about…’Because I Am A Girl’ you can read all about it HERE. She asked for all our support in spreading the word & for 24 hours donated 100% of her class sales to said charity.

growup Mel of ‘I Speak Melsh’ fame decided to offer one of Shimelle’s classes as a giveaway on her blog & I was lucky enough to be selected by the random selector thingy & so have a brand spanking new ‘When I Grow Up’ class all ready & waiting for me when I get back from my holiday!!  Even better news is that in that 24 hour period Shimelle raised £1200 for ‘Because I Am A Girl’ & you can read all about that HERE!  Thank you Mel for that opportunity & for your generosity.

8 'Up' FS2S Challenge Now, back to ‘UP’…

…this is the movie poster which is the inspiration for the June Challenge over at ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’

…the added criteria are  a) to use clouds  b) to use balloons/hot air balloon(s) & c) to use/make a 3D embellishment.

I loved this film & as it was a Disney/Pixar movie I decided to keep the cartoon feel. I took further inspiration from a LO featured in the Pencil Lines Sketch book & this is how my LO ended ‘up’…
 

Riding High   
The photo is of Alex looking ‘up’ whilst riding the London Eye on St Valentines Day 2008…so long overdue for scrapping!! I had fun with paint & a piece of punched plastic…lots of pop-dots to create a 3D effect & so many bits & bobs that have been languishing in my stash for far too long!! It felt good to get them onto a page!!

So why not join in with us this month? There are already some awesome DT submissions up for your perusal & some gorgeous prizes up for grabs this month too! Go check it out now & tell Shazza I sent you!!!

Devils Food It’s now only three days till I head off to Majorca!! It looks as if you might be getting a heat wave here in the UK while I’m away, so I’m hoping it doesn’t rain over there!!! I’ve been steadily getting the house all in order, cupboards stocked etc…there’s an apple crumble in the freezer & I even baked a cake yesterday, thinking it would last through the weekend. But no!!! Nathan had a friend for a sleepover last night & by the time I got back from my trip to Tesco this afternoon every last crumb had been devoured!!! Not even a single white chocolate button left! So much for that idea!!

As well  as the house, I’ve been trying to keep up with what’s going on in the garden. The roses have gone mad, the Aquilegia have excelled themselves & don’t get me started on the Jasmines!!!

New DawnRampant Mix   

 

 

 
 

Rampant Rector

Aqualeagia

 

 

 

 


The sweet peas are showing promise & I’ve planted up pots with Busy Lizzies for a bit of colour. Now all I have to do is hope that the boys remember to water everything for me while I’m away or it could all just be brown & crispy when I get back!!

Cats Sleep Anywhere Finally…can anyone explain to me why… when there is a whole King sized bed at a cats disposal, does he see fit to curl up on my laptop cover?!!!

He’s obviously a Cath Kidston fan!!!

 

Thanks for dropping by & I hope the sun is shining where you are…have an awesome weekend! :)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

School’s Out!!

That’s the name of the latest monthly kit from Dixie Pieces & I have to say this has to be my favourite kit EVER!! As soon as I opened that pizza box I was itching to get scrapping…so many possibilities!

1 June Kit DP

As the title suggests, there are items in the kit that are school related, such as the sheet of alpha’s & quotes from the ‘Elementary’ range by Simple Stories & the ‘Time Cards’, but the selection of PP’s is stunning & all double sided!! I love the chipboard alpha’s & buttons especially…all in all a FABULOUS kit!!

Here is what I did with mine…

2 Lego Friend 
Another of those long overdue to be scrapped photo’s! Nathan, aged two at Legoland…he kept going back to this little fella…I think he liked that he was the same size!!!

3 Missing U 

Here are those alpha’s…an idea borrowed from someone in Shimelle’s ‘Something From Almost Nothing’ class, a while back, but the idea stuck with me!! Another overdue photo of Father-In-Law, Murray, who sadly passed away four years ago & is missed so much by all of us, especially the boys.

4 Sun In Our Eyes
My first attempt at a ‘Shadowbox’ LO…inspired by one created by the lovely Jocelyn! I used a photo that was less than perfect, with us all squinting into the sunshine…it’s been one I’ve always liked but wished we’d not had our eyes closed!!..&  that is one of my June challenges over at Dixie Pieces….to embrace those flaws & scrap the moment…picture perfect or not!!!

5 So Smart!
There had to be at least one on a school theme!!! Fist day back at school last September & the first day having both boys back in the same school. They always look so smart heading off in their uniforms…but how long does it last?!!!

6 Birthday Card

 

 

 

 

 


7 For My Friend
Finally, two cards! I had fun using the Kaiser Craft grid stamp & the glossy accents to create the flowers centres over a punched circle (used a normal paper paunch…perfect!!)

 

 

So that’s it for today…I highly recommend that you get on over to Dixie Pieces & visit the gallery to see all of the DT creations with this fabulous kit……& grab one for yourself before they sell out!!!  There are some great challenges to take part in this month too,  so check those out while you’re there!!

 
Thanks so much for stopping by & those of you with kids at home this week, I hope you’re surviving!! At least the sun has decided to shine for a few days!!

I’ll be back soon with some more scrappy stuff & news of a blessing I received yesterday!! :)