Monday, 26 September 2011

Better Late Than Never?

Whoops…I promised to tell you about our family day out to mark our anniversary, what seems like an AGE ago!! So, I thought I’d better get it sorted before September was over (Imminent!!).

Our original plans for celebrating had been a party, inviting family & friends who were at our wedding & those we have met since, for a knees-up! Then as budget restrictions became apparent, we considered a weekend trip to Amsterdam (where we spent our honeymoon!) but again, even though the rail & ferry was easily affordable, the hotel costs were very scary!  Bearing in mind that the boys would have to come too…no romantic getaways for us!…they’re still not old enough to leave home alone just yet!!!

So, we finally decided on a day out to somewhere we’d not been before, somewhere with something for everyone! Hmmmmm? We took advantage of good ol’ Tesco’s vouchers & headed off to Warwick Castle for a day submersed in medieval activities! I love history & am fascinated by how people lived in past times. Lee & the boys love weapons & anything interactive, so it ticked all the boxes!!!

The castle is awesome….& unlike theme parks, is a genuine relic of days gone by!  Of course it’s now a business & tourists are well catered for but fundamentally it’s a castle which has been lived in for centuries & it’s walls have been touched by hands of people who played a big part in early British history.

From the moment you arrive the staff, or players, are incredible! Totally in character, all the time…Walt Disney would be impressed!!!  The choreographed jousts & swordplay are amazing & being able to climb towers, walk ramparts & explore the dungeons kept us all entertained for the whole day!!

I took almost 600 photo’s during the day….& Lee another 200!! But don’t worry, I’m only going to share a selection of those here & now!!

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Such an impressive place!…  I’d like some of these stocks at home!!!

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550 spiral steps up….& back down again!!

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It was very blustery ‘up top’…I did a ‘Marilyn’ more than once!! Oh the shame!!!

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The arrival of the bad guys!! Boo! Hiss!!  Followed by Jousting & falconry!

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The views over Warwickshire from the castle ramparts were breathtaking!

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Nathan made friends with ‘The Dragon slayer’! I held onto my hem for dear life!!

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England's ‘True King’ to be revealed? Not this time!!   LOL at this sign…

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Inside the Great Hall..lots of armour, weaponry, lots of portraits & Elizabeth the First’s saddle on display!!  Nathan was convinced a Dwarf lived behind this door & yes!…he did buy that jesters hat!!!

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So, that’s it….it was a fabulous day out & I would recommend a visit to anyone! Just be prepared to be on the move all day & take a good head for heights with you!!!!

Thanks for stopping by! Normal updates will be resumed soon!!

For my UK visitors, enjoy the predicted heat wave midweek…but take a brolly…just in case!! :)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Let’s do the time warp….!!!

Well, that’s how it feels to me…’a step to the right’ & a whole week & a bit has flown by!!  I am waaaay behind in blogging, as well as a few other things!! But the good news is that I’ve had my first Cortisone injection into the offending shoulder & while it still aches & is still limited in its rotation, that awful intense pain has been tempered somewhat!! :)  Being forced to ‘take it easy’ for three days, too, was a blessing!  I pottered around the house, doing everything I could manage with one hand, so everything is relatively tidy & up to date….except the ironing (no change there then!) & the garden!!

On the subject of the garden, as well as the usual ‘end of Summer’ pruning, re-potting with winter bedding etc etc…there is indeed a whole mess needing repair out there!  The culprit? Hurricane Katia!!…or at least the tail end of her, as she swept across the UK last week!! 

2010Sept03 023The corner of my garden where I like to sit with my coffee & where, over the last seven years, I had trained an arch of rambling roses, that used to look like this…

Now looks like this…

14 damamge 2 



So, there’s some serious cutting back involved there!  Lee will have to get out his power tools & lend a hand with re-attaching the trellis!



I’ve not really done much in the way of scrapping since my last post! I’ve been checking out the daily prompts for Shimelle’s ‘Learn Something New Every Day’ class, with a view to picking up where I left off last year…on 16th September!! So hopefully I’ll be sharing something of that very soon!!

I did put together a LO for a lyric challenge, posted by Shazza over at Soul Scrappers. The song was ‘Who’s gonna drive you home?’ by Cars. I used the first two words & added..’always be there when you bite off more than you can chew?’ This one is for Nathan & the photo’s are of Lee rescuing him at ‘that tree’ in Hyde Park last month!!

15 Who's Gonna...


16 Thickers
I also bagged an absolute bargain via ‘Crafty Steals’…do check out this website for their daily deals…

They have some amazing bargains & they do ship to the UK, unlike many other scrap deal websites, & they only charge shipping by weight, so it’s very affordable!

My bargain was two packs of ten Thickers Alpha’s…TWENTY packs!!! (it would have been thirty but one bumper pack sold out before I got there!!)

Anyone who knows me knows that I go weak at the knees when faced with a new pack of Thickers & even with P&P they worked out at £1.75 per pack!!!  A steal indeed!!


17 Baseball Birthday Card I put them to immediate good use, as I needed a birthday card for my friends son & this is what I came up with…

…the boy in question recently started playing for the National Baseball youth team & spent his birthday week in Chicago at Baseball Training Camp, so it seemed appropriate!

18 free applesI spent  a very pleasant Monday morning with two friends…totally unplanned…I give a lift in the mornings to one friend who lives in our village & works near the boys school. When I dropped her off she suggested I came in for coffee & a catch-up with our other friend who is her business partner.

19 free BB's They run a very successful child minding service & I spent a happy time getting down & playing with some awesome toddlers!  Then while they napped, we had coffee & caught up on each others news!! I left loaded down with apples & blackberries…all grown in the garden & picked the day before!!

My freezer is now stuffed with stewed apple & blackberries, all ready to be ‘crumble topped’!!  Aren’t friends great?!!

21 Pink 50 reprise Then the Postie brought me a lovely surprise! Do you remember I told you about the ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’ Birthday Challenges in August?

Well, you may also remember that I entered three of the challenges…

… & my ‘In the Pink at 50’ LO won a prize!!


20 FS2S Birthday Prize!

An awesome kit…

Some really lovely double sided PP’s here & some gorgeous fabric elements…I’m looking forward to playing with this prize!!

Thanks Shazza!!


23 flowers close-up

I’ve just realised that I haven’t even mentioned our recent Silver Wedding Anniversary!!! It was all very low key…but we did have a fabulous day out to mark the occasion, more on that next time. Lee sent me some gorgeous flowers & excelled himself with the ribbon!


24 flowers ribbonHe always signs cards to me with ‘Love You Billions, Squillions…or Gazillions’

But this time he actually had the ribbon on the flowers printed with ‘Love You Googolplexions’ which apparently is the name given to the highest recognised number!!!

Does he know me or what? How perfect is that ribbon for scrapping?!!! 

We had some amazing cards in the post, as well as many emails, e-cards, texts & good wishes left on facebook & of course right here too!  Thanks so much!!

Finally, my term on the Dixie Pieces DT is coming to an end! :(   I’ve had a great eight months working with their awesome kits, setting challenges & taking part in all of the forum activity. So now there’s a DT call out for a new team…

Dixie Pieces  is a monthly kit club looking for design team members! This call is open to US and Canadian designers; deadline for submission in September 26th, 2011. This will be a six-month commitment, starting October 1st, 2011. Each designer is expected to:

* Submit two to three layouts from each monthly kit; 12x12 preferred
but 8-1/2x11 are acceptable
* Create a project or two cards each month
* Meet all assignment deadlines
* Be active online - facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.
* Promote yourself and Dixie Pieces by posting your work on blogs,
facebook, and manufacturers' facebook pages; identifying the Dixie Pieces kit whenever possible.
* Remain positive, excited and supportive to others in the Dixie
Pieces community
* Actively participate in the Dixie Pieces community by promptly
completing daily and weekly tasks assigned by the design team coordinator.
* Add the Dixie Pieces link to your blog and in your signature line for
other message boards or groups as allowed.

Your monthly kit is free and shipped free to you as a member of the design team. The kit and the designs you create with it are yours to keep; we only need crisp, clear and color-true photographs of your work for the gallery. By participating as a Dixie Pieces design team member, you are giving Dixie Pieces the right to publish and promote your work in the course of its business. Your photo and bio will appear on the Dixie Pieces site. You will receive a 30% discount on purchases you make from or through Dixie Pieces. If there is something you want that we do not have in our store, you are welcome to request it; if we can provide it, we will.

To apply, email before 5pm PDT, Monday, September 26 2011:
* Name, address, phone, and email.
* Short bio explaining your style and why you would like to be a part
of our team.
* Provide links to your blog, online galleries, and other sites where
we may view examples of your work. If your work is on facebook, please friend Dixie Pieces
* If you are currently on other design teams, please list those.

So, if you’re US or Canada based…what are you waiting for? Apply now!! I look forward to seeing some familiar names on the new DT next month!!

So I’ll leave you with that for today! I’ll be back to share photo’s of our Anniversary Family day out with you soon.

Thanks for dropping by & I hope you’re all having a great weekend! :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

It’s been confirmed!

I’m sorry friends….but I’m going to have a bit of a whinge!!! I guess I’ve been in denial for a while, but I cannot delude myself any more!!

OK..I know you’re now thinking ‘What the heck is she talking about?’ so I will explain!

Back in the days before I blogged, there was a period of time when I lived with pain on a day to day basis. It started at Easter 2007 with sharp pains in my neck & right shoulder & so began months of blood tests, physiotherapy, X-rays, Ultrasound Scans, an MRI scan…I even had my right ear syringed at one point…just to eliminate the chance of any blockage in that area!!!

The pain was centred in my shoulder joint but radiated out into my neck, jaw & down into my chest & bicep! I was referred by my GP to one consultant after another, was given steroid injections & FINALLY someone gave my condition a name…a Frozen Shoulder!!  By Easter 2008 I was signed off work, was sleeping upright on the sofa every night…& believe me, sleep deprivation is the worst!!…& relying on Morphine patches for my pain relief, such as it was!!

I was finally given a date for surgery in November 2009 & after 20 months of constant pain it could not come soon enough!  Although I have some amazing friends who stepped into the breach to taxi me around & one who even collected my clean washing every week & returned it the next day ironed, it was the most debilitating thing I have ever lived through!

Once the surgery was done I had more physiotherapy to do & as I failed to wean myself off the Morphine patches correctly, even had a phase of going‘cold turkey’. Then my hair started to fall out as a result of the long term Morphine…so you see, not the best time of my life!!!

This brings me to the denial bit…for a few months now I’ve had a niggly ache in my left shoulder & I’d convinced myself it was just Arthritic pain (the MRI scan I had showed Arthritis in both shoulders).

BUT in the last month I’ve had horrible pain when I stretch in the morning (something I do without thinking!!), or putting on a jacket…unfastening a bra is murder!!  So I took myself off to my GP yesterday & she has confirmed it IS the dreaded ‘Frozen Shoulder’ all over again!! So I start with a Steroid injection next Wednesday & a course of physio as soon as they can fit me in!  She has already requested an MRI date & we’re off!!  At the moment Ibuprofen is hitting the spot & I just hope it can all be sorted before I need to resort to the patches again!

On the bright side…I don’t need all those investigative procedures & hopefully, knowing what it is will mean it can be dealt with relatively quickly (well as quickly as anything can in the NHS!!) & as it’s my left side (I’m right handed) it shouldn’t be as restrictive as it was last time!

So, thanks for letting me get that off my chest!!  Sorry this post is totally photo free (I know you hate that Karen!!) but I’ll be back with another photo heavy (& whinge free!) post very soon!

Thanks for stopping by!  Come back soon x

Sunday, 4 September 2011

A Day Off Work & Another Challenge!!!

Sunday is usually my day to go out to work, but in honour of our forthcoming Silver Wedding Anniversary, I had booked it as a holiday! This was back in January, when I held out hope that we might even enjoy a long weekend away or plan a party to mark the occasion!!  As it’s transpired, with Hubby now being a full-time student until next summer, we are being extremely wise (!?!) & adhering to a tight budget, which meant that neither a long weekend away nor a party were going to be on the cards!!

We did however, have a fabulous family day out yesterday (more of that to follow in a later post!) & are planning a romantic dinner for two on Tuesday evening at a favourite restaurant. So while it may not be all bells & whistles, we are marking the occasion in our own way!!

Best Place in a storm As it turns out, we did the right thing, taking our day out yesterday, as today we have had torrential rain from early morning until about an hour ago!  The neighbours cat came in at 9am & after allowing me to towel him dry he settled on the guest bed!!  He’s still there now!! 

9 Rio-movie-Poster

I have another challenge to share with you today, from ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’

This months Poster Inspiration is ‘Rio’ & the added criteria are as follows…

1) Use Blue, Red & Yellow cardstock

2) Use a one word title 

3) Add a bird in somewhere!


Here is my LO for the ‘Rio’ movie poster challenge…

10 Winner!

…another photograph that I’ve been wanting to scrap forever!!  When I read the ‘include a bird’ criteria I knew this one was perfect!! This is Nathan, aged two, at his playgroup Christmas party. He loved being dressed up as a pirate & let me draw on a moustache, drape him in pearls, pin a felt parrot to his shoulder & tie a red sash around his middle to hold a scabbard & sword!!  He even started off wearing a clip-on earring & an eye patch!! 

The eye patch was soon lost, the earring removed because it pinched, the scabbard & sword abandoned because they got in the way of playing…but…the moustache & the pinned parrot were still in place right up to bath-time that night!!!  The icing on the cake was that he won first prize for his costume!!

Why not join in with us for this months challenge over at ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’? It would be so nice to see familiar names among the entrants!! There are some very desirable prizes up for grabs this month too!!

I’ll leave you with something that made me smile today!

Question: What do you get if you leave a fifteen year old boy alone to fix himself his idea of ‘The Perfect Lunch’?

11 The perfect lunchAnswer:      >>>>>

Can you believe it?! A mini pepperoni pizza surrounded by BBQ Pringles!!!  Not a vegetable in sight!!! Ah well, at least he cooked the pizza without setting fire to the house & he did arrange it quite artfully, don’t you think?!!!

Thanks for stopping by & I do hope you’re having a great weekend! :)

Friday, 2 September 2011

A New Kit & A Nice Surprise!!

It’s the beginning of a new month & time to share a fabulous new kit….but before I do, I’d like to tell you about a nice surprise I received on Monday.


I logged on to find an email from Jessica Acs,  author of “Outstanding Mini Albums” telling me that one of my mini albums had been featured on the ‘Outstanding Mini Albums’ website!!  It was actually the ‘Journey’ page of  my ‘Explore’ playbook that was featured with a link back to my blog! So Thank You Jessica for that honour & this will be just the thing I need to make sure I actually complete this project!!!

So, back to introducing the new kit for September from Dixie Pieces!! Called ‘A Birds Life’ this one is a real treat…when I opened it, Mum-In-Law was here & we ooohed & aaaahed together at all the goodies inside!  This is what Sherry Grove, co-owner of Dixie Pieces, has to say about the kit…

“The September Dixie Pieces kit, called "A Bird's Life" transitions us from summer into fall with bits of summer sky blues, oranges and yellows which flow into the greens and golds of fall. "A Bird's Life" flies away from the conventional and into the whimsical; it's perfect for capturing your summer or fall memories. You'll find your favorite manufacturers here – American Crafts, Bazzill, Basic Grey, Lily Bee, and Maya Road; plus a new one for Dixie Pieces, Harmonie from Montreal. We can't wait to see what you create with this kit!”

…and here is what it looks like…1 'A Birds Life' kit I had great fun working with everything in this kit…especially the alpha’s…the ‘Paper House’ white rub-ons are to die for & the Thickers puffy letters…well I think you know I never met a Thicker I didn’t love!!!

The papers are amazing & the mix of embellishments offer up all sorts of creative uses!! Just check out those gorgeous little felt tree’s too!! Full details on exactly what’s in this highly recommended kit can be found HERE….do pop over & check it out, as well as the DT gallery for some extra inspiration too!

So, what did I do with this awesome kit? Well, in spite of being pressed for time, I wanted to keep going until I’d squeezed everything out of it!! So first up….a layout…4 Outstanding See what I mean about those rub-on alpha’s? So effective & such a dream to use!!! This LO features Alex at a favourite pub of ours, the playground has an adjoining meadow which Alex loves when the grass is long & he can hide from his brother!!

Next…another layout…3 BullseyeThis time Lee, trying his hand at Field Archery! Love those puffy alpha’s & little felt trees!!

How about another layout?2 Beach BumAlex again..this time at Brighton, throwing pebbles into the sea!! Look how effective those mosaic tiles are & I covered the chipboard clouds & sun with CS & PP from the kit & inked the edges. That twine was so easy to manipulate & stick too!

One final layout to share…5 Too LoudThe boys & I at Santa Pod raceway back in 2005!! This was their first visit & in spite of the ear defenders we bought for them, they were still taken aback by just how loud those Drag Cars engines are!! Love it!!!  There are those mosaic tiles again…very versa-tile (see what I did there?!!) & just cutting strips of that corrugated white card makes a very effective & tactile border!

Now, you’d think that was enough, wouldn’t you?  But no!…I squeezed a couple of cards out of this kit too…

9 September

I still have plenty of alpha’s, ribbon & PP scraps to be going on with!! A great kit indeed!!

This month over at Dixie Pieces all the challenges will all earn you merit badges for ‘Dixie Camp’! Each merit gives you an entry into the final prize draw! 

The first challenge went up today, so why not pop over & check it out…you have until the end of the month to play along & you don’t need to use the kit for your entries…your own supplies will be fine! I do hope to see you in the forum over at Dixie Pieces very soon! 

I will just add in here that I’m having some issues with Blogger/Livewriter at present, so apologies if this post looks a bit ‘gappy’…it’s the best I can get at the mo!!!

Thanks for stopping by & I’ll be back soon with some more scrappiness to share!  

Have a great weekend & enjoy the last few days before school starts again!! :)