Sunday, 30 December 2007

And now, the end is near......

I can't believe that tomorrow is the last day of 2007. Where did the year go? Crazy.

I'm finally getting my bum in gear to blog about our festive season. We had a really good Christmas this year. Gracie was so excited she was fit to burst, and Ewan was just buzzing off all the Gracie energy :)

The kids got SOOO much stuff for Christmas its untrue (so I'm very glad we made a conscious decision not to go mental on our spending for them this year). Some of the highlights for Gracie included the infamous Peppa Pig Campervan, Scooby Doodle Doo (which, when she opened it, she asked where the washing machine was (because on the advert you see them putting him in the wash when he's been drawn on) and her Vtech Password Journal (well, it would be, if she could get it to open more than 30% of the time! LOL). Ewan's favourite is definitley the drum kit from Auntie Jaqs - but I suspect we might come to regret letting it into the house before long, he's also got a million "Little People" things including a Noah's Ark, garage and Pirate ship (which fires cannon balls - that's REALLY cool :)).
Father Christmas brought me a nice shiny new digi camera - not a DSLR (that will have to wait for next years Christmas list!) but a nice step up from a point and shoot with some easy to manage manual settings for me to play around with.
So, on with the photos. Here's the kids Christmas morning, and some snaps of our Christmas lunch (don't ask about all the things I forgot to buy, or bought and forgot to cook! I think I'm banned from cooking Christmas dinner forever, which all things considered, might not be a bad thing ;)).





After all the hustle and bustle of Christmas Day and Boxing Day was over the kids pretty much drove us insane for two days with being stuck in the house because of the crappy weather. So, we made an executive decision Friday night that we were having a family day out on Saturday (come hell or high (rain) water). After much debating, Chester Zoo won out as the venue of choice for our family outing (which was also the perfect excuse to test out my new camera (which just takes THE best photos. I couldn't be happier with it :)). The price for the zoo was really reasonable (as it's off season) and I think we actually got to see more than we did the last time we went in the Spring (mostly because it wasn't totally chockful of people). We still didn't manage to see everything though (I just don't think that's possible in one day!) and the rain did eventually call play to a halt at around 3.00pm. It was a great day though, and the kids had a fab time (and more importantly were almost whine-free for 5 hours! Woo hoo!!).
Here's a couple of the snaps I took with the new camera:








We haven't got any plans for New Year this year - well, unless you count a date with some movies, the sofa and a big-assed bowl of popcorn, so it'll just be a quite one for us. Here I go again with my Rock n Roll lifestyle! ;)
I have to confess that I haven't done ANY Christmas journal entries since the 22nd, which is a bit bad, but I'm not stressing about it. Enjoying Christmas with the kids was more important that writing about Christmas with the kids, and I've got all year to catch up :)

That's it for now, pretty photo intensive today, but I guess that's what happens when you don't blog over a big event.... you have to play super catch up with pics when you do.

Happy New Year to all.


Friday, 21 December 2007

Modern Art??? Maybe.


You're probably asking yourself WHY? I know I am!

This is what I discovered when I finally got to sit down on the sofa once the kids were in bed and the necessary craftiness was done with for the evening.

Is it Modern Art? The latest in Interior Design Chic? Or just what happens when you combine a bored almost 4 year old with some shoes and a sideboard with knobs on. We were half tempted to wake Gracie up just to ask her!

Who knows what goes on in the inner workings of that girls mind?!

I haven't completed a journal page for yesterday's Christmas journal prompt - which was about unexpected deliveries or post, because I haven't had any. Clearly I need to get more friends, or at least more friends who like to surprise me with mail. I have done one for today's prompt..... about TODAY, but I haven't gotten around to photographing it yet, and there's a cold beer and some knitting with my name on it, so I'm afraid that will have to wait until the morrow.

I've also finished the last of my handmade Christmas gifts, which I was going to post photos of, until it dawned on my that enquiring minds may well be snooping. So, they'll have to wait as well. You'll just have to make do with Gracie's entry for the Tate Modern to keep you entertained :)


Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Christmas Dinner abounds!

Both in life, and on paper today.

We went out for our Office Christmas dinner at lunchtime today (which was really yummy). It was also super embarrassing as I ended up sat at the same table as the Big Boss (aka our esteemed Principle at the college I work at (and used to attend)). That man has far too good a memory, for my good, if not for his own. He decided to regale my colleagues with the tale of how he remembered having to pour me back onto the coach after I got decidely drunk at the Upper Sixth leaving party (when I was in Lower Sixth, a group of us tagged along). Suffice to say that his recollection of events was unfortunately far more clear than mine. How totally mortifying was that!! For those of you that remember that, yes, it was the one at the Irish Centre in Liverpool where I spent 2 hours in the loos and had to be carried home. Oh my, the trials of a misspent youth! For everyone else - It really was a one off - HONESTLY!!!

So that was real life.

On paper we had yesterday's Christmas journal prompt which was about Christmas Dinner. Just a quick page for this one as I had two entries to do tonight. I've used the photo as the basis of a tag page (backed with cardstock with a tag insert for the journaling). The tag has details of the menu we've got lined up for this year, and the other side tells the tale of Kendo's £30.00 goose buying debarcle last year.


Today's prompt was to write a letter to Santa. Another quick one while I had two to do. This is made from a manilla envelope (which may or may not have been liberated from my office - you can't prove a thing!!!). I've added a tie with eyelets and some embroidery thread. The letter is inside, but I'm not sharing what's in it. That's a secret :)
I'm all finished with work now until 7th January. So two and a half lovely weeks of Christmassey freedom are spread before me - once I've finished the Christmas shopping, and wrapped the present, and shopped for the food, and visited all the relative/friends that need visiting, of course. Hmmmmm - maybe being in work would be less work?


Monday, 17 December 2007

There's something to be said...............

for speedy Christmas journaling, which is that it leaves time for baking, which is never a bad thing. Well, unless you should happen to drop a batch of Devil's food cupcakes, accidentally turn up the oven while bending over to retrieve them and as a result leave the second batch resembling charcoal balls (eh Lou?? ;)).

Here's my speedy journal page for today's prompt, which was about a perfect present. My page is slighty away from the original prompt and tells the tale of this year's frantic search for a Peppa Pig Campervan, which has been top of Gracie's Christmas list since about July - and was out of stock EVERYWHERE! When we did eventually find one, Jaqs called about 2 hours later to say she'd managed to get one online. Thus illustrating that campervan's are a bit like buses - you wait all month and then two come along at once. Not unlike cookie blog posts then, really :P


and so, onto the baking. While I was true to my promise and stuck with a quick and simple journal page for today, I had time to bake these:


The recipe is from Nigella Lawson's website. I haven't had the taste test yet - they're still a little too hot for eating, but they smell YUMMY :)

Hopefully tomorrow's journal entry will be just as quick and I can get to baking those Tollhouse cookies I've been thinking about (even more so since seeing the cookie filled table on Latharia's blog!).


Pop Up Christmas Tree - just in case you were wondering.


It's just occured to me (reading one of the comments on my post from earlier) that I should really point out where I got the instructions on how to make the groovy pop up Christmas tree on my Christmas journal page from Prompt 11.

You can find instruction on how to make this on Robert Sabuda's website. Apparently he's the pop up king. Who knew eh? Well, Google did, actually. :)


Sunday Scrapping Marathon.

I feel the need, the need for speed.

I had a bit of a Sunday-night-Christmas-journaling marathon last night in an attempt to get caught up with my journal class. I’d managed to get prompt 9 (Christmas Traditions) and Prompt 11 (The Tree) done earlier in the week (but not uploaded or blogged) but last night I needed to get through prompts 12 – 16.

Five pages in three hours must be an absolute record for me! Usually I could spend that amount of time just pondering over what I was going to do.

Knowing I needed to get cracking and get those 5 pages done was quite liberating actually. It necessitated a much simpler style with less going on on the pages, and turned out to give more emphasis on the journaling (which is obviously the point of the whole exercise!). It was a good way to illustrate to myself what I should be doing with these entries to get them done on a daily basis. Keeping it simple, focusing on the writing. This class has been a real journey for me in terms of my scrapping style and how I approach things. Online journal classes make for good self analysis is seems. With keeping that I mind I can hopefully start to keep up some (hah! Who am I kidding? You just know that pesky life is going to get in the way again somehow, don’t you?).

Here are the pages anyway. The first two entries done earlier in the week, the last 5 done in last night’s journaling marathon!

Prompt 9 – Traditions


Prompt 11 – Tree (inside)


Tree (outside)


Tree (close up)


Prompt 12 – Christmas Past


Prompt 13 – Christmas Presents


Prompt 14 – Christmas Music


Prompt 15 – Visiting


Prompt 16 – Grateful


I can’t wait to see what’s on the prompt agenda for today :)


Gracie's First Cinema Experience

On Saturday we took Gracie to the cinema for the first time – to see “The Bee Movie” (the choice of film being entirely for her, and absolutely nothing to do with me wanting to see it, obviously ;)). We learnt a few important lessons as part of our outing:

1) Next time I’M going for the pick ‘n’ mix and Kendo’s going for the tickets. £6.60 worth of sweets that Gracie wouldn’t eat because they were too hard/too squidgy/too fizzy/too yakky.

2) Small people and cinema seats do not mix. Apparently they’re far too “flippity flippity” to be comfortable, poor Grace spent the first half of the movie perched on the end of her seat and the second half sat on Kendo’s knee.

3) It’s physically impossibility for a 3 year old to be quiet for 91 consecutive minutes. Grace did quite well at keeping it to below a dull roar, which is more than some of the kids in there, but there was still a barrage of “What’s that for?” “Who’s he?” “Where’s that bee going?” “Is it time to go home yet?”.

From what I could get out of her afterwards she “mostly” enjoyed it, although I’m sure she would have enjoyed it even more if it had been preceded by a pizza (as the cinema is right near the Pizza Hut (Pizza Pub, as Gracie would call it) which is her fave place in the world to eat out.

I think next on the cinema going agenda will be “Alvin and the Chipmunks”…… I just need to arrange the second mortgage so I can buy the tickets!!


Friday, 14 December 2007

When life gets in the way (otherwise entitled "A Post with No Point")

I've been musing this morning. Not much else to do really when you have two sick kids and a yawning affliction from way too many "get ups" in the last few nights.

Now Egg is napping, and Gracie is taking the opportunity to play with her marbles while he's sleeping (because we know he'd only eat them if they made an appearance when he was around - surely they're supposed to have outgrown that by 14 months? I guess not in his case). Anyhow, the kids are finally quiet, so I'm going to waffle garbage on here for 10 minutes (just like the good old days when I found time to blog something other than scrapbook pages!).

...... and just to illustrate my point. I started typing this post at 11.50, it's now 13.48 and I'm only just getting back to it. NB: don't try typing blog posts with small people in the house, it's a futile exercise! (but never one to shy away from a challenge I shall try to continue in between getting juice and wiping snot and dispensing cuddles).

I think this time of year always makes me quite pensive (on the rare times I do get a moment for my brain to think beyond the instant that is). It's probably to do with the mad Christmas rush, thinking about presents and nights out and the New Year brings on thoughts of quieter times when life wasn't quite so hectic, and other year's celebrations (good and bad). When I think back to this time last year it feels a world away from now. Ewan was just 3 months old (where did THAT time go?), I was a SAHM, I had time for things like this (which I actually did again today, for old times sake, you can see it here) and time for blogging musing about tea in teapots, and the quality, or rather lack of, service in my local Subway (I should mention here, I feel, that last Friday when I went in they had TWO (count 'em) members of staff serving at peak time, one of whom was only half trained *SIGH* somethings don't change!). But, other things do change, as is the want of the world. Mortgages necessitate return to work, and it comes a point where there just aren't enough hours in the week to fit in work and housework, and bathtimes and stories, and TV watching and Crafting time (those aren't in any order of preference btw ;)). So the things I got to do for me last year have had to move over, their allocated time shrunk, to make way for the rest of the stuff that I used to do in the time that I'm now at work. Sad really, for me at least, but hey ho, a girl's gotta eat, and pay the bills, so needs must.

I should probably apologise for the rambliness that is me today. I'm not even sure what the point of this post is (She has no point. She often has no point. It's part of her charm (oops - movie quote snuck in there when I wasn't looking ;)). It's somewhat disjointed I know, which is kind of how I'm feeling today. "Doing" so many things yet actually accomplishing nothing.

Hmmmm. I think I should spend less time writing convoluted blog posts and more time actually doing stuff off my To-Do list. But hey, where would the fun be in that?

Maybe I need to bake something......... that's usually a sure fire way to straighten my brain out. I might have to go on a cupcake recipe web hunt. Mmmmmmmm.


Monday, 10 December 2007

Note to Self:


I've still been lagging behind on my Christmas journal. I realised I've been doing my usual trick of obsessing too much about my pages being just right - instead of just actually getting them done! Hence the new Note to Self. I've been reading the prompts and getting some great ideas for my entries - which we WAY too complicated and totally missing the point of a day-to-day kind of thing. Once I'd let that go, I've almost managed to catch up but not obsessing, just doing. See, it's working already :)

Here's the latest entries:

Prompt 5: Christmas Countdown


Prompt 6: Christmas Memories (front)


Christmas Memories (inside)


Prompt 7: Christmas Organisation (front)


Christmas Organisation (inside) - no comments about me NOT using the Christmas planner, please, I hate "I told you so's" ;)


Prompt 10: Christmas Wrapping


I know what you're thinking.... and whilst yes, I do still have a serious case of nappy brain, it hasn't hampered my ability to count so much that I've forgotten that inbetween 7 and 10 come 8 and 9! I said I was getting there, I'm just not quite caught up yet. Today's prompt (#10) was a nice easy one so I decided to get that one done while I it was pretty easy. I'll get to 8 and 9 this week, they're a little more journaling heavy so will take a little longer.

Now I'm off to chill on the sofa and nurse the mortal wound big scratch that I've managed to get on my arm this evening. I was going to say that for once it wasn't a crafting wound - but as it was inflicted by the piece of wood that used to be my crafting table, I suppose it could still constitute a craft injury. I think maybe it objects to the manner in which it was torn out in my mass craft room overhaul frenzy a couple of weeks back. I think it's getting it's revenge in blood!


Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Playing Christmas Journal Catch-Up

Wouldn’t you know, that I only managed to get to day 3 of the Journal your Christmas class and I was already behind! That’s SO typical of me. I was somewhat hindered by the 3am bedtime on Saturday night (well, technically, Sunday morning) but I was also struggling with the whole “Journal” process as a whole. I’ve never really been a “pour your heart out into a journal” kind of person (well, except for once, in my youth, but that ended badly – maybe that’s what’s put me off? ;)) and I was having a little trouble with the shift of mindset between “scrapbook” and “journal” because when it came down to it – whilst they might both involve sticky glue and yummy papers, they’re not quite the same thing.

Anyway, after some serious self-telling off, some great advice from Shimelle and the rest of the members on the JYC Forum (thank you all for your posts!), and a quick “get over yourself” pep talk about the state of my handwriting. I just decided that I need to get on with it. What was rule #1??? NO STRESSING!

So, here are my first three journal entries. Excuse the slightly dodgy photos, the battery on the digi camera died and I had to take them on my phone (and the lighting in my craft room at 10pm is not wonderful (strange that :P )).

December 1st:


December 2nd:


December 3rd:




I have an idea cooking for today’s prompt. So I’ll be getting cracking on that when the munchkins are in bed. Back with more later......


Pimp My Ride - Hotpot's Style

I know there’s been a lack of weekend blogging, but I spent most of Sunday recovering from only getting to bed a 3am after our trip out to the most happenin' gig of the year – The Lancashire Hotpots live at the St Helens Citadel.

Karen was there, Lou and Rob came over for the evening, and Denise came up from MK (for her first night out without the kids and Ste in….well, we didn’t have a calendar so we couldn’t say when the last one was ;)).

We had a blinding night, the gig was fantastic. After purchasing our “Emo” T-shirts we spent the evening dancing our little none-Chavvy socks off to such legendary tracks as “Chippy Tea”, “Got myself a My Space Page” and “Sat Nav”. There were a couple of new tracks, which were crackin’. I didn’t manage to pick up a new CD, but apparently I can get one in HMV now (hark at them!) although it will cost me twice the price.

Everyone else was very sensible and went home some time around Midnight. Me and Karen – we spent the evening hob-nobbing with the band in the Java Bar – “Do you like Elephants? Do you like Trains? Then you’ll love new Elephants and Trains Weekly” – drinking too much beer, smoking too much and shouting at each other to push the button on the patio heaters quicker when they turned off. All good fun.

Here’s some pics (from before the beer drinking got too far out of hand!).

All the girls (Lou, Karen, Denise, Me)

Lou, Karen, Denise, Marie

Lou’s Rob


Bernie’s Pimped up Shopmobility Scooter (where’s he gonna paaarrrkk?)

Pimped Scooter

If you haven’t checked out the Hotpots yet, then you really should do. You can find them on their My Space page, or even have a wee chat with them on their message forum, here.