Thursday, 25 October 2012

Not Sure Which Way Is Up!!!

This past week has passed in a bit of a blur!! On Saturday 13th October a letter arrived from my Area Manager, inviting me to attend a team meeting in store on Thursday 18th October! Short, sweet & to the point…no explanation or attached agenda!

To fill in a bit of background, I have worked in the prestige cosmetics industry since leaving college & since 1984 I’ve worked for Elizabeth Arden. I’ve held varied roles…as a counter manager in JLP, Fenwicks Bond Street & Harrods, promotions consultant, business manager Selfridges, area manager & even a stint in Consumer Relations in Head Office. After a five year break when the boys arrived, I have for the past eleven years worked as a Sunday only consultant at a (fairly) local branch of John Lewis.

The account I work in has a team of three & we’ve achieved some great results over the years, currently ranking #1 on our area & #6 in JLP’s division league table.

So imagine how we felt when we arrived at the meeting to be told that John Lewis, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to close our account at the end of January…apparently a decision made to reflect current economic trends!!! To say we were shocked is an understatement! I still cannot see the logic & I have a reasonably good grasp on business!

Anyhow, after the initial urge to burst into tears at the injustice of it all & with redundancy looming, we had to accept that not being able to change anything means we have to be positive & forward looking!  Elizabeth Arden are an amazing company to work for & are doing everything they can to relocate us! It has been a week spent driving up & down the A1M to attend ‘Redundancy Procedure Meetings’ along with a couple of days pre-booked overtime…I really do not know which way IS up right now!!

Today I have been for an interview for another position within the company, this time a Debenhams store…& just for a change it’s a Saturday position! It’s a similar distance/cost to travel to & a slightly longer day. The only down side is that if I am offered the position there will be a cut in salary Sad smile….BUT…it also means I will still be eligible for all the lovely products that we receive twice a year Open-mouthed smile & I would so miss those!!!

So please keep everything crossed for me…I hope the Department Manager approves me & doesn’t think I’m too long in the tooth!! I may not be a spring chicken but I’m too young to be put out to grass just yet….& I need the cash for scrapbooking supplies!!! LOL!!!

Thanks for stopping by…come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Monday, 15 October 2012

I Did Not See That Coming…

Downton-Abbey-cast-photo-611x489My Monday morning routine see’s me doing the school/college run, coming back home to make beds & clear away the boys breakfast dishes before getting myself some breakfast & settling down to watch the Sky+’d Sunday episode of Downton Abbey. I absolutely love it! I shed a tear in every episode…& Maggie Smith usually has the best lines which illicit a true laugh out loud moment…it is pure joy to watch!

BABY-BRANSON-downton-abbey-32163406-500-667This morning was no different, only I was left a total wreck by the end!

It was an emotional rollercoaster!

The sub-plots soon had me engrossed & Maggie’s usual caustic comments had me grinning…then we had the labour scene which was fraught but we were rewarded with the arrival of  baby girl Branson…tears of joy!!

Then….disaster…Lady Sybil DIED!!!…of Eclampsia…I was sobbing my eyes out by now…if anyone had called they’d have wondered what on earth was going on!! Well…I did NOT see that coming at all!!


So, we’re one sister down & there’s discord between Lord & Lady Grantham, not to mention tension between Lady Mary & the gorgeous Matthew!


Will Anna be able to free Mr Bates….will all be well ‘downstairs’ between Thomas & the hunky new footman?…will Branson want to take the baby away from Downton?…Where will it all go next I wonder?

KetteringSo, back to the real world!… I can report that we had a good trip out to Kettering for the ‘Big Stamp & Scrapbook Show East Midlands’ on Saturday. As expected, the venue was much smaller than Ally Pally, but there were quite a few exhibitors there…enough to fill the whole morning anyway!


I managed to pick up a few bargains, two items out of the four that were on my shopping list, so a good day in all!  I have to say that the main focus seemed to be on stamping & card making…& of course Christmas too! I’m not sure I’ll go along to the Kettering BSSS again…I think Ally Pally has much more to offer, even if does mean planning a whole day out!

So that’s me for today! Thank you for stopping by & come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Friday, 12 October 2012

Playing Catch Up….again!

I’m still playing along with Suzie & her daily prompts for ‘365+1 in 2012’ but I had allowed myself to fall behind so far that I’ve just uploaded TWELVE new collages to the flikr group & onto my ‘365+1 2012’ page right here & I still have two more collages to go to bring me up to date! I have every intention of keeping up between now & years end….I have a photo book planned to hold my years worth of photo’s!!

PA010055This week saw Lee & I heading off to register at Costco! As a teacher he received an invitation to join & who are we to refuse!

We grabbed a trolley & set off into the Aladdin's cave!
Just inside the door were these enormous plush dogs! So soft & snuggly but who has a house big enough to accommodate toys of this size?


   Lee once came back
   from a day out at Alton
   Towers with two huge
   dragons for the boys, not
   as big as these dogs but
   they were always in the
   way! They have resided
   in vacuum bags in the
   for the last year or so…I
   wasn’t allowed to  give them to the charity shop!!  So needless to say this cuddly canine went back on the pile!

We wandered along each aisle checking out the bargains, we dropped a few items into the trolley that were just too good a value to miss! Mostly foodstuffs, but I did buy a Brother label maker at £8.95 & a ‘super slim & reset-to zero-able’ electronic kitchen scale for £9.95!

IMG_8846Then we turned a corner & I could not believe my eyes! There in front of me were genuine Australian leather/sheepskin long boots (Ugg style) for £40!! AND they were wide enough in the leg to fit my more-than-ample calves! I had been planning on buying new Uggs with my store employee discount in the coming weeks, which would have still worked out at £120+ for the short version, so you can see why I was hyperventilating!!

So they were added to the trolley & have been worn daily since! Lee has suggested I go back for a second pair….who am I to argue?!! I will definitely be visiting Costco again to bulk buy those non-perishable items which we buy weekly anyway…& of course I’ll be there to stock up on Christmas goodies too! It’d be rude not to!!

bssbsmain2rightimageKETTI’m actually feeling pretty excited today! Tomorrow Karen & I are setting off to Kettering for the ‘Big Stamp & Scrapbook Show’ East Midlands! It’s organised by the same people who organise Ally Pally & a lot of the same exhibitors will be there. It’s on a slightly smaller scale, but it’s only half an hour up the road!! If any of you are going, keep an eye out for us!!

I’ll end on a slightly sad note…I have to report that our last remaining Guinea Pig, Jamie, is no longer with us!

RIP Jamie 
He went peacefully, overnight, after spending the last twelve months living indoors, being thoroughly spoiled! I have put my foot down & said ‘No’ to any more piggies…I do love them but it’s muggins here who ends up cleaning/feeding/grooming & paying vets bills, while the boys just get to cuddle & play with them!!

So that’s me for today, I do hope you all have a great weekend…it’s supposed to be cold & wet, so try to keep warm & dry if you can!

Thanks for stopping by & come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Scrap 365 October Sketch Challenge…

How could I resist a challenge using a sketch based on a LO by the lovely Sian?

Sian Fair

Sian’s example LO’s & those of the other members of the Scrap 365 Design Team where all so varied & there was much inspiration to be had!

I don’t usually use photo’s as small as 2 1/4” square & it stumped me for a while! Then I thought of using a landscape 9x13cm photo cut into sections to cover more than one block! Job done! I like this picture because Lee & the boys are oblivious to me taking it! I was sitting in the lakeside cafe playing with my then new zoom lens, waiting for them to return from their time out on the boating lake!! It’s not perfect…but the day was!!

A Walk In The Park 
Thanks for stopping by & come back soon! Open-mouthed smile


I know it’s Autumn….& I know these creatures want to get in out of the cold & wet….but why do they all seem to be making a bee-line for our house?!!!

BIG bug!This week the ‘spider’ glass has been put to use FOUR times & each evictee seemed larger than the last!  This BIG fella was so big he had to bunch his legs up & stand tall just to fit inside the PINT glass!!

My boys think it hilarious when I’m trying to take a photo of the captured beast while jumping & squealing every time it so much as flexes a leg! I guess it’s a morbid fascination…this one had knees…& hairy legs!! Ugh!!

Anyway with that out of the way I realised yesterday that I have omitted to update you on my cinema visits of late!! I missed several Sundays over the summer, but we’re back on track now if it is with mixed results!!


   ‘Hope Springs’ was delightful! With
    a cast dominated by Meryl Streep
    & Tommy Lee Jones I expected
    nothing less!

    Both funny AND moving, it deals
    with the issues faced by many
    ‘long time married’ couples who
    have given in to habit & become
    stuck in a rut! I won’t spoil it for
    if I tell you that it all comes good
    in the end!!


‘Looper’…I loved this one! Bruce Willis is fabulous as is Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a young Bruce! Not one to pop out to the loo during, or you’ll totally lose the plot!! Quite a bit of blood & guts, but all relevant & it certainly gets the old grey matter working!!


   ‘Anna Karenina’….what
   can I say?! I was so keen
   to see this film, expecting
   a lavish costume drama.
   With Keira Knightly in the
   title role & huge hype
   about the jewellery &
   make-up used in the film
   I wanted to be amazed!
   But I wasn’t! It was a very arty interpretation & all the scenes centred around a theatre…on-stage…backstage…front of house…most scenes started & ended here, drifting off into different rooms & bits of countryside in between! I suppose it was all very cleverly choreographed but it didn’t really ‘involve’ me & I do like to ‘get lost’ in a story like that!!

So that’s it from me for today! The window cleaner has just been, so that’s my cue to wash the insides! As the sun is shining I’ll rather enjoy that!!

Thanks for stopping by & come back soon! Open-mouthed smile

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Littlest Pirate

*Just popping in to add that for some reason the 'auto-post' failed yesterday, so I'm manually posting this a day late!! Sorry Sian!!

This short tale is brought to you as part of ‘Storytelling Sunday’ hosted by Sian at ‘From High In The Sky’.

I have loved Fancy Dress since I was very small & over the years I’ve worn costumes ranging from sublime to ridiculous! I have been a vampire, Cleopatra, a tampon (embarrassingly explained away as a snowman to my best friends Mum!!), the back end of a cow, a St Trinians schoolgirl to name a few & have joined in with gusto at numerous Toga, Come-as-you-are & Pyjama parties!

But they all have one thing in common…the costumes were all home made! I will admit to having shop bought a couple of hats…but generally I consider putting a costume together as big a part of the fun as enjoying the event it’s worn for! Sadly, very few printable decent photo’s of myself in fancy dress could be found, so I’m turning to the next generation!!

It’s December 2001 & Nathan’s playgroup are holding a fancy dress Christmas party. Nathan is two & this will be his first time in costume (I was never one for novelty Christmas baby-grows!!)  So what did he want to be? Why, a pirate of course!

WinnerWe pulled together a stripy shirt, worn with blue jeans & red wellies. Tied a red chiffon scarf around his waist to hold his scabbard & sword, Added Dads red spotty neckerchief & a couple of my pearl ropes & chains. He even allowed a clip on gold hoop earring & a drawn on moustache! I pinned a small blue felt parrot to his shoulder, placed an elasticated felt eye patch over one eye & topped him off with a pirates tri-corn hat!

Amazingly enough, everything but the scabbard & the eye patch stayed in place until the party was over! They seriously impinged on the taking part in tricycle racing around the hall, so that was OK!!

In this photo Nathan is clutching an envelope, which contained his prize for winning the Fancy Dress First Prize….but he carried it around with him unopened, until we got home, happy just to have his 15mins (or so) of fame!!

Thanks Sian for this opportunity to relive a very happy memory, which actually seems like just yesterday, in spite of Nathan now being a teenager!!

Thanks for stopping by…I’m off to check out some other Storytelling Sunday tales over at ‘From High In The Sky’…why don’t you follow along! Open-mouthed smile

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cards, Crops & A Challenge!

It’s October 2nd! How did that happen?!! This year seems to be just flying by! I can’t believe it’s just twelve weeks till Christmas & I’m already planning scrappy projects for 2013!!

So here’s a quick round up of my creative output during September…it’s a whole month since I shared anything scrappy!!

Firstly, some cards….I don’t make many, as you know!

3 Ro's card 2012The first was for my sisters birthday. She’s a serious cat-lover, so I was pleased to find these cat silhouettes for my Cameo. I’ve been experimenting with concertina folds & was pleased how this card turned out, having an interesting view whichever way you looked at it!

4 Kyles Birthday Card 2012



   Still continuing with the folding
   technique, I put together the
   second card for my friends son
   who was turning sixteen & has
   just passed the exam needed
   to qualify as a snowboarding
   instructor! I think he may be
   the youngest on record!
   Quite an achievement!


I’ve managed to attend two crops in September, firstly the ‘Merly Impressions’ crop. I don’t always take the class kit at this crop, but this time I loved the two pages designed by Chrissy & felt they suited some photo’s I had to scrap!

5 Merly LO #1Chrissy’s first example LO looked like this…


…I  followed the design almost to the letter, with just one or two minor adjustments…

6 Merly #1 Sept 2012

                                                 7 Merly LO #2   

   The second class LO
   looked like this…

   …this time I made a few
   more alterations, using
   different PP’s & grouping
   of embellies etc.…

8 Memory 
Then, this very weekend, I was at the ‘Cambridge Croppers’ crop with the lovely Ifa Zianon! Ifa had put together two LO’s for us using masking techniques & we got to play with Distress Stains!  Ifa lets us have just a  couple of sneak peeks prior to the crop, & these were they…

11 Ifa's photo soc sneak9 Ifa's 6th form sneak 




Isn’t Ifa’s style so neat?! It’s simplicity appeals to me! I enjoy the techniques she incorporates for us & the products she sources for us to create with!  I managed to complete both of the class LO’s & my first one looked like this…

10 Fabulous Tuesday

…I did alter the colour scheme slightly to fit with the Olympic themed photo. I tried to keep it as ‘Red, White & Blue’ as I could with the Amy Tangerine embellies, resorting to a bit of ‘felt tip assistance’ where needed!

The second LO turned out  like this…

12 Lunch Date

…again a few minor alterations, but the style is all Ifa!!!

Thanks to both Chrissy & Ifa for two wonderfully productive & enjoyable days with like-minded fellow scrappers!

13 Project Life 2013Looking forward….my Project Life core kit arrived last week & I’ve already set up my album with the title & journaling cards! I’m planning to start on January 1st 2013 & share my weekly entries right here!

Karen & Hilary very kindly brought along their albums for 2011 & 2012 to date, for me to peruse on Saturday, & inspired by their additional methods of memory keeping, it seems that one album is definitely not enough for a whole years entries!! Looks like I need to keep an eye out for another to match/compliment the one I have!

1 A Tree Grows...Finally, it’s Challenge time over at ‘From Screen 2 Scrap’ & this time the movie poster for inspiration is ‘A tree grows in Brooklyn’…I love old B&W movies & this one is a classic!

The added criteria is…

1. Use leaves
2. Use a tree or trees
3. Use a B&W photo

Here is my example LO…

2 Waiting For Dad

Why not play along with us this month…you have until October 31st to link your entry over at ‘From Screen To Scrap’…there are some great scrappy prizes up for grabs & we’d love to see you there!

So that’s me for today…thanks for stopping by & do come back soon! Open-mouthed smile