Thursday, 31 July 2008

Ten Years Ago Today…….

….. I was armed with a glass of Bucks Fizz and nervously awaiting the moment when it was time to get dressed up in this:


and trundle off to the register office in the white and blue Rolls Royce to become Mrs PTC.


How fast a decade has gone. I can hardly believe it. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, other times it seems like a world away.

I was fashionably late by about 10 minutes and a little best-man-shaped birdie informed me later in the day that Kendo was started to get a little hot under the collar. Bless him. It was a lovely service and then off to the wedding breakfast. That was somewhat hampered by the fact that the pub had inadvertantly booked a wake into the downstairs reception room! How nice was that?. We managed to keep our relatives from killing each other for the day though and a great time was had by all I think. I do seem to recall that I was completely unable to get drunk, nor even merry (which was not for lack of trying!). I suspect it was the adrenaline of the day. Kendo and I rounded the day off sat in the conservatory in our wedding undies drinking tea at 3am. Classy! ;)

Here's to another 10 years! :)

In dental expedition related news, the filling in my wisdom tooth snapped off when the dentist was trying to pull it out. There was much digging and wiggling and trying to get the big metal tongs round the bit of remaining tooth. It weren’t pretty. This morning I look like a chipmunk. Well, half a chipmunk anyway. Thank heavens for Ibuprofen!


Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Tooth, The Whole Tooth And Nothing But The Tooth.

Let’s just get this straight, right off the bat, so there aren’t any misunderstandings.


That’s not to say that I hate them in a social capacity. I’m sure they’re all lovely people off the clock. Well, except for the last guy we were registered under who was prosecuted for performing procedures whilst under the influence of recreational narcotics (needless to say we don’t go there anymore!), he might be an exception.

So, while having a dentist as a friend wouldn’t bother me, when they’re in their official capacity, then they’re well and truly off my Christmas Card list. What is it about them that bothers me? Well, first off there’s the scraping *shudder* especially that bit on your bottom teeth, inside, right on the gum line. Eek! Then there’s the big pointy needles (not that needles per se bother me, it’s needles-meet-gums I have issue with. Then there’s the drilling. DRILLING! Metal and tooth enamel are two substances that should never have to meet IMO! (alas in my mouth they have met regularly).

Do you know what’s worse though. The absolute WORST thing about dentists? Not only do they want to do the scraping and the needle jabbing and the drilling…. They want you to PAY them for the privilege! It’s wrong I tell you. Wrong!

This afternoon I’ll be paying for the privilege of being drilled, filled and yanked (although not necessarily in that order). Actually, I’ve already paid for the privilege, because they make you cough up in advance at our dentist. I’m scheduled for a filling and having one of my wisdom teeth taken out. Can you tell how happy I am about that?

In honour of my dental expedition this afternoon, here’s some bad dentist jokes (that would be bad jokes about dentists, not jokes about bad dentists – or maybe it’s actually both). Enjoy.

A woman and her husband interrupted their vacation to go to the dentist. "I want a tooth pulled, and I don't want Novacaine because I'm in a big hurry," the woman said. "Just extract the tooth as quickly as possible, and we'll be on our way." The dentist was quite impressed. "You're certainly a courageous woman," he said. "Which tooth is it?" The woman turned to her husband and said, "Show him your tooth, dear."

A man walks into the dentist's office and after the dentist examines him, he says, "that tooth has to come out. I'm going to give you a shot of Novocain and I'll be back in a few minutes."
The man grabs the dentist's arm, "no way. I hate needles I'm not having any shot!"
So the dentist says, "okay, we'll have to go with the gas."
The man replies, "absolutely not. It makes me very sick for a couple of days. I'm not having gas."
So the dentist steps out and comes back with a glass of water, "here," he says. "Take this pill."
The man asks "What is it?"
The doc replies, "Viagra."
The man looks surprised, "will that kill the pain?" he asks.
"No," replies the dentist, "but it will give you something to hang on to while I pull your tooth!"


A woman goes to the dentist. When he bows to begin to work, she grabs his balls. The dentist says,
"Madam, I believe you have taken my private zone."
The woman answers, "Yes. We're going to be careful not to hurt each other, aren't we."

"Open wider." requested the dentist, as he began his examination of the patient. "Good God !" he said startled. "You've got the biggest cavity I've ever seen - the biggest cavity I've ever seen." "OK Doc !" replied the patient. "I'm scared enough without you saying something like that twice." "I didn't !" said the dentist. "That was the echo."


Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Let’s Talk About The Weather.

How very British, to talk about the weather. I hadn’t planned that for my blog topic this morning, but when I thought about it, that’s mostly what it has to do with. Well, that and reading. So, two out of three is enough to qualify.

Last night I finished the layout for the “Work” prompt for the My Freedom class. It was a bit of a strange prompt for me. There was talk of superheroes and costumes, and suggestions that we might want to consider actual drawing *shudder* (I can’t draw for toffee!). Other people who are taking the class were more thrilled with the choice to get some drawing done (and rightly so!). You should definitely check out this amazing piece of comic book art by Chloe. I was super impressed (and not in the least bit jealous….. honest guv! ;)).

Anyway. Once I’d gotten past the superhero bit, the rest of the prompt appealed to me much more. Especially the journaling section, which was to produce journaling in the form of a script or conversation. I pondered for a while over whether to do my layout about my work-work or my home-work, then I decided I do far more work on the days I’m home than I ever do when I’m actually in work, so I went with that.

So. Where does the weather come into it? Well. The particular conversation I’ve journalled is all about rainbows, and my vast knowledge of why they exist (not!). It’s also about Gracie’s favourite question at the moment, which is WHY? Something I’m sure she shares with 4 year olds worldwide! Here’s the layout:




The Journaling reads:

Scene: Driving in the car with Grace.

Grace: Mummy, where do rainbows come from?

Me: When the sun comes out after it’s been raining the sunlight shines through the water droplets in the air and makes the rainbow.

Grace: Why?

Me: because the water drops act like a prism and split the light into all the colours.

Grace: Why?

Me: because light is made up of all the colours you see in a rainbow and the raindrops cause it to split into all it’s different parts.

Grace: Why?

Me: because that’s physics for you.

Grace: Why?

Me: because it just is.

Grace: Why?

Me: because I said so (thinking I swore I would never say that to my kids)

Grace: Why?

Me: Grace?

Grace: Yes mummy?

Me: Stop saying “why?” Okay?

Grace: Okay, mummy (pauses). WHY?

Me: ARRGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Who knew conversations with 4 year olds could be such hard WORK?!

The rainbow photograph was borrowed from here. I’ve used stuff on this layout that I’ve had in my stash for an eternity. I think the sticker sheet that the “wonder” sticker came from was one of the first things I ever bought (and this is the first one I’ve used!). I must try to use more of my stash more often. It’s very therapeutic.

The other weather related item? We had THE worst thunderstorms near us last night (well, actually on top of us, or so it sounded). I haven’t heard thunder that loud for years. I swear it rattled the windows it was that loud and the lightening? Wow! The whole living room was lit up by it (I know this because I was down there in search of painkillers for my toothache at 4.15am!). Miss Grace had been up and down for an hour and a half before the storm started (I think the heat was bothering her), keeping me awake, and then promptly feel asleep and slept through the whole storm while I listened to the thunder cracking whilst trying desperately to get back to sleep! Grrrrrr.

The none-weather-related thing? Well, that’s today’s “My Freedom” blog prompt, which is:

What’s your favourite reading material? Like the kind of favourite that you would take it to read if you had to cut off the rest of the world for years and years?

WOW. That’s a toughie. Not because I can’t think of anything, but rather because I can think of too many somethings! I just LOVE books. Always have. I would really struggle to cut it down to 20 things, never mind one thing. Can’t I just take my whole collection? Please?? I love new books, but I also have favourites that I revisit a lot. I don’t even have one particular genre that I love. I like fantasy, and sci-fi and horror, but I also like biographies and chick lit and forensic mysteries. Nope. I can’t choose. So I’m not going to. I’m taking them ALL!! Mwwaaahhhaaaahhhhhaaahhhhh!

Looking back at this post it’s a little disjointed today. In my defence, please see the earlier paragraph regarding middle of the night waking. I think I might have to have a cup of leaded coffee and a rolo cookie to keep me going – and maybe a nap in the car at lunch time? LOL. I wish!


Monday, 28 July 2008

Swap Goodies and Aspirations

So. After my total cheat of a post on Friday (sorry Auntie Lou ;)) I’ll try to make up for it with a proper post about what we’ve been up to.

My trip to the dentist on Wednesday was a bit of a bummer. No filling that day, but I have to go back on Wednesday this week to have the filling done, and to have one of my wisdom teeth take out. Ouch! Not looking forward to that AT ALL.

It’s seems this was the week for all things medical and I also had an opticians appointment on Thursday – and came away with new contact lenses (something I haven’t had for about 5 years). They’re taking a little getting used to (dry eyeballs anyone?) but it’s great to not have my glasses on for a chance (although I do keep trying to shove them up my nose even though I’m not wearing them. Hitting yourself in the face guarantees you some funny looks from people believe me!). I have to go back on Thursday next week to check I’m going okay with them. So, that should be fun with my big swollen tooth-taken-out face that I’m bound to have. Deep joy.

Obviously Friday was a trip to Leeds to see the Gillard tribe. On Friday night Miss Lou and I had all good intentions of a bit of cyber cropping…. And we failed miserably with both of us electing to just have a goss and some vinos instead.

On Saturday this lovely parcel arrived for me all the way from Belgium (via the Netherlands):


It was my Russian Doll Swap goodies from my swap buddy Margy, and contained this collection of loveliness:


A beautiful Russian Doll, some Russian Doll fabric, some lush ribbon and a little duckie pencil sharpener with a bag of sweeties attached. There was also a note from Margy to say that the sweeties are a traditional Belgian gift that’s give to friends and family who have shown interest in the new baby (as Margy has just given birth to the gorgeously squishy Ruben). Which I thought was a lovely gesture, and sweeties…bonus!!

The Russian Doll Margy has made is beautiful. I can’t believe just how neat the crocheting is on this doll, seriously. It puts my clumsy attempts to shame. It’s just gorgeous:


She will live on the shelf in my craft room (when I finally get round to sorting it out!).

I was a little late posting Margy’s parcel. I did email to let her know, but I think somehow she’s got other more important things on her mind at the moment ;). It is winging it’s way to Belgium as I type though, so hopefully it should be with her soon and I can share what I sent. I hope she likes it.

I think that will be my last swap for a while though. Those deadlines seem ages away but have a tendency to creep up quickly when life gets in the way.

In other crafty action, I’m still playing catch up with my “My Freedom” layouts (no big surprise there), but I managed to finish the “Aspiration” one late last week (although I didn’t get around to blogging it). It’s here anyway:




The journaling reads:

So far:

University: Check
Get married: Check
Buy our own home: Check
Have two amazing kids: Check
Get a job I love: Check
Have hobbies I enjoy: Check

That’s most of the things I wanted to accomplish in my life completed. As a kid I knew I wanted to get to university, to get married and have kids and buy my own home. Getting a job I love was a bonus, and having hobbies I enjoy a necessity (for my sanity!). Not the most ground breaking of lists. Simple, but complete. I have all I wanted in life. Now, to live it!

What now:

I like the simple life, so have simple aspirations. I’d like a clean and tidy house (working on that thanks to, I’d like to be the best I can be at my hobbies, so taking new classes and trying new things is important. I’d like to be more patient with the kids, spend more time enjoying their childhoods and less time stressing about the everyday stuff I’d like to be half the woman my Mum is! If I can do that, then I’d have lived a happy life. Plenty of time to do all those things though, I hope!

Right. Off to see about actually doing some work. I’m hoping to catch up with my “work” and “play” layouts tonight so should hopefully post them tomorrow. I might try to catch up with all the blog prompts I’ve missed too. Slacker!


Friday, 25 July 2008

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Stream of Consciousness

I was very good last night and managed to catch up on one of the layouts for Shimelle’s class. It was for last weeks prompt about Inspiration. I’ve stuck to one of the sketches that were provided in the prompt for this, mostly because I loved the idea of journaling directly onto the photo in a kind of “Stream of Consciousness” format (rather than being more structured). It’s a change from how I usually journal so it was refreshing to do something a little different. Here it is anyway:




Hopefully tonight I will get the second layout from last week done, and be all caught up.

Today’s blog prompt from the class is a toughie! The prompts for this week are to do with your serious side and your playful side. Today’s prompt is:

If there was just one thing from your youth that you could pass on to today’s younger generation what would it be?

Wow. That’s a biggie. I guess I’d have to go with a cliché and tell them to enjoy their childhood while they can. It really is the best time of your life. Kids want to grow up so fast these days, and I think they’re missing out on a lot of what being a kid is supposed to be about. I’d also tell them to play, like kids should play. We live in a world where we feel forced as parents to cosset our children. Fear of accidents, fear of traffic, fear of paedophiles. We feel that we must (in some sense) lock our children up to keep them safe, but at the same time I can’t help but think that we’re depriving them of the opportunity to learn important lessons in how to live, safely and sensible (whilst still having fun).

So. I would tell them to make mud pies (and maybe eat some), to play in the dirt, to ride their bikes all day (sometimes at breakneck speed over grassy embankments), to go pond dipping, to play hopscotch, and Kerby, and British bulldog. To read the Famous Five and the Secret Seven, to watch Fraggle Rock and Knight Rider and The A Team (and then pretend to build super machine’s in your Dad’s shed). All good fun!

Right, I suppose I’d better give some consideration to actually doing some work.


Tuesday, 22 July 2008

I Am A Rock Legend!!

…….. but only on the “Easy” setting!

Yes. We went and did it. As it was Kendo’s 40th birthday on Friday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mr K!) we (well, he) went and bought a copy of Guitar Heroes III for the Wii. Oh My Goodness. This just might be the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Seriously.

We spent all of Friday night, and Saturday night (till 1am!) playing the damn thing. I managed to get through and complete all the songs on the Easy setting (including a guitar battle with Slash, which was just COOL!). I think Kendo was secretly (or not so secretly) waiting for me to unlock all the songs so he could just get on and play them. Typical. Letting the woman do all the hard work while you reap the benefits!

I’ve only managed 2 songs on the Medium level, but I haven’t spent so much time on that, and it is WAY harder. Especially if you don’t really know the songs well (you can wing it on Easy, not so much on this level). Ah well, it’s not like I have a social life. Plenty more time for the rock legendness to continue.

I’ve been skirking a bit on my “My Freedom” blog prompts. I blame the Guitar Heroes. I’m also a little behind on my layouts (Slash’s fault, I tell you). I have half of the first layout for last weeks prompt done (one on Inspiration) and I have a good idea of what I’m doing for the second one (Aspirations). I didn’t manage to get to these last night because I had a mad dash finishing off some last minute projects that had deadlines. I’m going to be all scrapping, all the time tonight though. I promise.

I’m not going to go back and try to catch up with the blog prompts, but I thought I might just jump in with today’s, which is:

“Write about your first job and ask your blog readers to share their first job stories too.”

So. My first job. Blimey, that was a long time ago. I started with a Saturday job when I was 15 years old. I worked as a waitress in a café-come-deli in the town centre. Basically it was waiting tables, cleaning, making coffees, teas, hot chocolates etc. I worked there with a friend of mine from school, which was cool as we at least had company for the day, and boy, was it a long day. We used to work from 8.30 until 5 with a 30 minute lunch and two 15 minute breaks. All for the princely wage of £11.00 per day. Strangely though, we always had enough money to have a decent Saturday night out on that (usually involving having bought a new item of clothing too). I wonder why my money these days doesn’t stretch as far as that £11.00 did? Hmmmmm.

So, if you’d like to share your “first job tales” I’d love to read them. Because I have nothing else to do, only work, and that’s just dull ;)

I have actually accomplished something other than Guitar Heroes practice this weekend. We decided it was about time Egg’s room had a revamp from cutesy nursery into proper big boy room. Much painting, wallpaper, cussing and a bad back later and it’s been transformed from yellow with cute jungle animals into denim blue with white woodwork. It looks really good, if I do say so myself ;) and I think Egg likes it. Well, he pointed at the wall and said “Blue, blue, blue” so I think he gets it. We had a bit of a shopping expedition yesterday in search of a Bob The Builder duvet cover (you have no idea how hard that was to find!), some new sheets, curtains and new duvet cover and pillows. His brand new Big Boy Bed is arriving tomorrow so he’ll be all grown up and out of this cot by the end of the week *sniff*. I might get round to taking some pics to blog when it’s all set up and finished.


P.S. Just remembered. No salsa update from last week as Kendo didn’t make it back from work till late. I’m hoping to drag him back this week……… I suspect his heart’s not really in it though.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Those Were The Days, My Friend

If you’ve read the comments on my last post, you’ll have seen this one, left by Mrs Marmadaisy:

“I am woefully behind with my blogging. I thought this was a great post, and would have copied. But I realised that a mid-90s pic of me would also include much longer hair, smaller waist and deathly tight+high-waisted jeans/flat shoes combo. And then I wouldn't be able to take the piss, so I'll have to be excused :P :)”

I threatened that she’d better be careful taking the mick too much about the photo, because I happened to come across some of her in my stash sporting similar attire. Then she told me to post it. So here it is:


This was taken summer 1992. I can’t remember if it’s the last day of school, or if it was GCSE results day. Maybe Anna can shed more light on that. I don’t know what’s going on with the pensive pose on this photo. I’m sure I’d instructed her to look like she was deep in thought or something. There was probably some weird reasoning behind it, there usually was.

I suspect this photo might actually say more about me than it does about her. It was taken in my bedroom at my parents house. Who lives in a room like this? (you have to imagine your best Lloyd Grossman voice for that). Let’s look at the evidence:

1) The posters. Who do we have there? Donnie Wahlberg (I was a huge NKOTB fan, what can I say, there is no defense), Mark Wahlberg (keeping it in the family), Keanu Reeves (I think I can get away with that one. He was lush then and he’s lush now). The guy with the long hair peeking out on the left is Nuno Bettencourt from Extreme (I was a closet Rock Chick then), and I think the one you can’t quite see behind Anna is the late and lovely River Phoenix.

2) The wardrobe. That purple thing is a coat dress. This was take just post-Blossom era. There’s probably a floppy hat in there somewhere. An Aran cardigan (probably knitted by my Gran and rarely worn), that luminous pink thing – that’s a hideous, hideous shell suit top. The 90s have a lot to answer for!

3) The beers. If you look closely. Lurking in the bottom corner. Two cans of Heineken stash in the wardrobe. Memories of a misspent youth!

Along with this photo I also unearthed this one:


I have no defence for my expression on the pic, except that it was bloomin’ windy that day. But there, can you see them, on Mrs Marmadaisy’s feet? It’s the aforementioned and much coveted Red Adidas Trainers :)

This trip down memory lane business is good fun (even with humiliating yourself to your blog readers). I might implement a “Bad Photo Friday” meme for a laugh, if anyone would fancy playing along?

I’ve got the blog prompt for the My Freedom class for today, but it requires some photos scanning so I’ll have to post tomorrow instead.

{Note to Self} Must buy a flat bed scanner.


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Time, Travel and Dodgy Motors.

Catch up, catch up, catch up.

I’m reminded of a really bad joke.

One day there were three tomatoes walking down the street, a mummy tomato, a daddy tomato and a baby tomato. the baby tomato was walking too slow, so the daddy tomato went back, stepped on him and said ketchup!


Anyway, on with the point of the post. Don’t die from shock, but I’m actually up to date with the layouts for Shimelle’s “My Freedom” class. I know. Wonders will never cease!

The first two layouts were based on the themes of “Time” and “Travel”. Here’s my Time layout:


The journaling reads:

Time for Family: Trying to spend time having fun and not being grumpy and tired. This is the most precious time of all.

Time for Work: The challenge to manage my own time, to get to work on time. Watching the clock until home time.

Time for Balance: I need to remember to strike a balance between all the parts of my life that pull at me.

Time to Clean: I hate it! But I really must spend more time cleaning. I need a proper schedule!

Time to Live Every Day at its Best: I can’t get today back once it’s gone.

Time for Me: I try to make sure I have time for me. It’s important for me to find time to do crafty things.

Time for Watching my Watch: There aren’t enough hours in the day and these days it feels like I’m always watching the clock.

Here’s my Travel layout (I thought I would find this hard, but it was actually okay once I decided which direction to take with it (no pun intended!)):


The journaling reads:

Q: What place in the world has left an impression on your soul? How did that happen?

A: It has to be Amsterdam. An amazing, vibrant, colourful, unusual, friendly and fabulous city. I’ve seen things there that could make your eyes water! Grown men rollerstaking in a g-string and backpack (with a Yorkshire Terrier for company). A man in a sparkling green thong performing rope acrobatics above a square crowded with people enjoying a meal and a drink in the afternoon sun. Where else in the world would I find myself on a stage being elected president while an amazing group of comedians perform improvisation comedy, in the same theatre where my friend was declare the new messiah for an improve sketch not three years earlier?! I wish I could get back there again soon.

Q: Has there been a time in your travels that you wish you had stayed home?

A: Absolutely yes! On my Honeymoon, of all holidays. We’d decided to go for a few days in the Lake District, but didn’t book in advance. Big mistake! It was FULL. Not just one hotel. The whole place was full. Every hotel we tried, at every town, village and service station. After spending the night sleeping in the car at Carlisle services I really wished we hadn’t bothered. To add insult to injury some good friends of ours were curled up snug and warm in our bed. We decided to continue heading North, and that was the best decision we could have made. Once we arrived in Edinburgh we booked into the first hotel we came to (which happened to be the King James Thistle, with a fantastic weekend deal) and things started to look up from there. We ended up having a fabulous time in a place we never expected to be spending our honeymoon. So it all worked out right in the end, but it was tough going there for a while!

Q: Given no obligation, no cost, no need to pack sensibly or be responsible for anything other than your own happiness, where would you travel right now?

A: I want to have another answer to this. One with fantasies of far flung destinations and exotic locations, but the absolute truth of the matter is – I’d rather be at HOME. I’m not really a very good traveller. I love my home comforts and my own space. A quiet weekend at home is the best thing in the world for me. To travel occasionally is nice, but for me the best thing about travel is coming home.

There aren’t any embellishments on this layout (unusual for me). I couldn’t decide on something to fit with it, so I just left well enough alone. I think there’s enough going on to keep it looking okay though.

There’s also the daily blog prompts from this class. I didn’t do yesterday’s yesterday as I needed a old photo of me and I don’t have a scanner at home so had to wait until I got into work this morning.

Yesterday’s prompt is:
Share an old photo of yourself and a current photo of yourself with your blog readers. Tell them a little something that has changed and a little that has stayed the same

Scary prospect, sharing an old photo of yourself, but I thought I’d brave it! Here’s me, circa 1995/6. It was taken outside the first house we lived in in Staffordshire (my second year of Uni). That’s the first car I ever owned in the photo. A clapped out Metro called “Herbie” (not like the Love Bug… it was because he would never start in the mornings and made a Herrrr…herrrrr….herrrrr… noise when the engine was trying to turn over). Herbie was a deathtrap. Literally. When he went for his final MOT I was told that he wasn't fit to be driven and was a hazard. Only one of the brakes worked and the handbrake cable was pretty much the only thing holding the exhaust on! RIP Herbie.


So that’s past me. Here’s (almost) present me:


What’s changed since then? Well, a couple of stone added on for sure. A much shorter hair do. A degree, a husband and two kids added to the mix. I have more responsibilities now than I ever dreamed of then. Second year of Uni, lets face it, all you’re really worried about is whether the bank’s going to lend you enough money to go for a Wednesday afternoon booze up! Something’s haven’t changed though. I’m still a stubborn (tenacious?) so and so. I still can’t keep a clean house for love nor money. I still love to cook and do crafty things. I still love my DH as much as I did then (where’s the puke emoticon? ;)). Some times this feels like a million years ago, other times it feels like yesterday. Time really is a strange thing isn’t it?

Today’s prompt. Well, this one is a doddle for me! In fact, I might have to rein myself in a little.

Share a list of links with your blog readers, leading them to the websites that inspire you most.

Oh my! Where to start? Where to end? I think I’ll just throw some out there. Apologies if I miss any!

Little Cotton Rabbits
Kirsty Wiseman
Ali Edwards
Anna Bowkis
The Stash Basket
Lucy Locket Recycled Her Pocket
The Art Of Teabag Staining
That *Darn* Kat
Working Mum Knits
Monkee Maker
I'm A Ginger Monkey

These and all the other blogs I frequent live in my "My cyber hangouts" list in the sidebar too.

That’s it. I’m all caught up (or should that be ketchup?).

Wanna share what inspires you in blog land?? Please do. I love a good blog hop!


Friday, 11 July 2008

Rhyme Time.

This blog prompt business is really cool, its getting me back into the habit of blogging more regularly anyway. Today's blog prompt from the "My Freedom" class is:

Have you ever been inspired by the words of a poem? Share the poem with your blog readers and tell them how you came to value its words.

I'm not a massive poetry fan, it has to be said. So I found it quite strange that two things actually popped into me head for this straight away. The first is my very favourite poem (if I had to pick one), which I think was also voted the Nation's favourite poem, and it's Rudyard Kipling's "IF".


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,'
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

I'm not sure what it is that I like about this poem. It particularly reminds me of hearing tales about Wimbledom from my Great Uncle Alb when I was little. He was a grounds keeper at the tennis club and as well as keeping us in a supply of used tennis balls, he span a great yarn about all the goings on at the club. He always used to tell us about how there's a line from this poem across the entrance to centre court:

"If you can meet with trimuph and disaster,
and treat those two imposters just the same".

Which I always thought was a fantastic ethos for any sporting establishment! (probably because I was never very good at any of them ;)).

The other poem which came to mind is a completely random one from an old poetry book that Mrs Marmadaisy and I once memorised, for no other reason than we thought it would be a laugh. I think we fancied ourselves as the intellectual type back then ;) I'm sure she's reading this and cringing, but I'd also put money on the fact that she can recite what I'm about to type without reading it....

Fair, sweet and young, receive a prize
reserved for your victorious eyes
From crowds whom at your feet you see
Oh pity and distinguish me,
as I from thousand beauties more
distinguish you and only you adore

Your face for conquest was designed
your every motion charms my mind
Angels when you, your silence break
Forget their hymns to hear you speak
and when at once they hear and view
are loth to mount and long to be with you

No graces can your form improve
but all are lost unless you love
whilst that sweet passion you distain
your veil and beauty are in vain
In pity then, prevent my fate
For after dying, all reprieve's too late

Sorry. I have no idea who the author is. I should probably Google it!

I know the punctuation on that is terrible, and I've probably got a couple of words wrong (Anna?? Word check??) but I typed it from memory and it has been in my head for about 17 years, and I've had two lots of nappy brain since then so it's a miracle I can remember any of it!

So, from poetry, to dancing.... hey, we're all about the culture around here today.

Our first Salsa class was last night. Totally FAB! I loved it. Kendo wasn't quite so enthusiastic, but he did throw himself into it and said that 8.30 came round pretty quickly so he can't have been that bored or it would have dragged. It's easier for me because I'm quite musical, so finding the beat is less of a problem. Kendo has never professed to being anything less than tone deaf, so it's a little hard for him to catch the beat, but he's getting better. We got some practice in with the basic steps at home last night and I think if we keep it up we'll only get better for next week (and we are going back next week). The only slightly scary thing is that you have to dance with other people! Eek! I kind of didn't want to do that, because I'm going to learn to dance with my husband, but I can see their logic behind it. It's important to learn to be lead by other people (for me) and to lead other people (for Kendo) so you don't just fall into bad habits. Watch this space for more Salsa updates next Thursday.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Where's A Delorean When You Need One?

As part of Shimelle’s new scrapbooking class that I’m taking there are daily blog prompts. I’m on a bit of a catch up as I missed yesterday’s so you’ll be getting a 2 for 1 today (don’t tell Gordon Brown :P).

Yesterday’s prompt asked, “If you could travel back in time for just one day, where would you go and what would you do?”

This was a no-brainer question for me. There’s only once place I would go if I could go back in time, and that would be to spend the day with this lady.


This is my Nan. My Mum’s Mum. She passed away long before I was born and I never had the chance to meet her, which makes me really sad. I would love to spend a day getting to know her, finding out what she was like (I hear lots of stories about how she was, but it’s not the same really, is it?), finding out what she would make of my life (I know she’d be horrified by the state of my house! Eek), and showing her photos of the kids. I can’t think of a better way to while away a day.

Today’s blog prompt is about travel. Well, actually it’s about packing. It’s a prompt about “What’s in your suitcase?”

Well, if there was just me, then not much:

Toothbrush/toothpaste etc
A bottle of perfume
Antihistamines (can’t go anywhere without them or I’d be a big itchy blob. It’s not pretty, trust me)
Clean Undies
Clean Socks
Spare pair of Jeans
A couple of T-Shirts
A couple of good books

If I’m taking the kids….well. How long have you got? Seriously. What is it about packing for small people? They’re small. Their clothes should take up a third of the space that ours do, and yet I seem able to pack twice the volume. Maybe it’s to do with the spillage. There’s lots of spillage when the little people are involved and if you don’t want them to go round looking like they’ve been dragged through a wedding buffet backwards you have to take plenty of alternative clothing. Then there’s the toys. You have to pack toys. There aren’t many things in the world worse than BORED small people. Oh My Goodness. On the 290th round of “Muuuuuummmmmmmmm. I’m so Booooooorrrrreedddd!” You’d be wishing you’d packed a colouring book and pencils if you didn’t have the foresight to bring them.

So. How about you? What’s in your suitcase? Can you get away with clean undies and some alka seltzer or do you have to pack everything but (or including) the kitchen sink?

In totally un-scrapping related new. Salsa class is booked for tomorrow night! I can’t wait! Salsa baby, yeah!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Time Waits For No (wo)Man.

How quickly time passes. I always mean to blog regularly, then I realise it’s a week since my last post. Where does the time go?

Well… that’s a question to be answered by the first prompt in Shimelle’s new online class called “My Freedom”. The first prompt was actually yesterday but I was out all day (more on that in a moment) so I didn’t get to it until the evening. Basically the first prompt was about Time and how it affects us. I’ve decided to go with a theme of my time throughout the day rather than looking to the past for his. I was tempted to do photos of the kids when the born and now, but I’m thinking that I want this album to be more about me directly (which feels a bit weird, I’m not used to scrapping about myself like that). I didn’t get chance to take photos yesterday but I shall be running round the house this afternoon photographing my clocks and calendar and such like so I’m ready for making my first layout later in the week.

I did manage to finish making my album for this project last night. I decided I wanted to make a handmade hardcover album (a la Tricia Morris) that was about 9x9 for the pages. This is what I ended up with. It’s really quite posh looking and girlie and not very me-like at all. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.





The cover is made with mount board, K&Co patterned paper and bazzill cardstock. I found that beautiful ribbon at my local art store and just fell in love with it. I think it looks fab for the handle with the glass beads. This was another one of those projects where I’d have swapped my entire stash for a Crop-o-dile though. I must put that on my Christmas list!

So. On to why I was too busy yesterday to get to the first prompt promptly. The college I work at has a Staff Health Day every year at the end of term where all the staff do some sort of activity. This year there was a range of activities to choose from and as I wasn’t there for the sign up I ended up on the list for Salsa dancing with the rest of the ladies from my office. I was pretty much dreading it to be honest, but ended up having an absolute blast! The teacher was a guy called Phil Kaila who is just a fab teacher and all round seriously funky dude! He also happens to be the European Salsa Champion (which can only have help when dealing with 10 hapless office workers with 20 left feet ;)). We learnt the Rhumba, the Chachacha and the Mambo and a great time was had by all.

I am slighty concerned that aliens may have taken over my husband though. After coming home and raving about the day I’d had I suggested that he might like to come to salsa classes with me. And he agreed! After I’d picked myself up off the floor (the shock and all that) I said I would ring about classes (there’s a class in a club right next to my college) and we’re going on Thursday night for our first one! Yeah. Very exciting.

Right, now I’d better dash off and do some work, not that anyone is doing much around here today. It’s the last day of term for teaching staff so it’s basically a glorified booze up with a BBQ for everyone for lunch. Sometimes working in education is so hard!!!!


Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Weather Here, Wish You Were Beautiful.

Dear Cookie blog readers,

We interrupt this blog to bring you an important service announcement. The cookie blog would like to apologise for the lack of blog activity over the last week and a half. The reasons for the interruption to normal service were beyond our control (a girl needs a holiday!) and our attempts to restore service where hampered by third party service issues (that would be the total crapness of Haven Holiday Wi-Fi). We apologise for the break, normal service will be resumed shortly…..

Now, in fact ;)

Okay. So at least I have a valid reason (this time) for not blogging for a week. We’ve been away for our summer (hah!) holiday, to Haggerston Castle in Northumberland. It rained. A lot.

It was quite an eventfully week, not always for good reasons. Haven have not scored big on the “Tell us how your holiday went” score card for this year. The caravan we stayed in was a bit poor (the shower was completely hopeless), I spent the first night up and down into Egg’s room rescuing him from being wedged into the foot wide gap between the bed frame and the bed guard which was completely the wrong size for the bed (they did exchange it, but he had a bit of a squished night’s sleep). I could harp on for ages about the rest of the problems, but I won’t, because it wasn’t all bad. Despite the rain. Did I mention it rained? A lot?

We managed to find plenty to do around the local area. Berwick-Upon-Tweed and Alnwick are both lovely places and there are some fabulous seaside villages along the coast which are just beautiful. We also visited Lindisfarne (Holy Island) but our visit was hampered by the fact that they had royalty visiting the island on the day we went (HRH Prince Edward nonetheless) so pretty much everything was shut. Quite rude of him I thought ;)

There’s a fantastic place called Pot-A-Doodle-Doo just outside Berwick. They have their own wigwam village (you can rent a wigwam or a yurt to stay in… how cool is that?) and also a “paint your own pottery” place. Gracie decorated her own plate and it was properly glazed for her (we collected it later in the week). Well worth the £11 quid it cost us! Here’s Ms Grace concentrating on getting her butterfly painting just right:


We did make it to the seaside a couple of times (on the few occasions it wasn’t raining. I did mention it rained a lot, didn’t I?). We found a beautiful village called Seahouses with a lovely beach with sand dunes and rock pools (and even jelly fish along the tide line – I haven’t seen that since I was a kid!). Gracie got chance to make her obligatory holiday sandcastle so she was happy. Quite a masterpiece this year I thought:

sandcastles @ seahouses

Egg didn’t seem to see what all the fuss was about though:


I had a break through parenting moment while we were there and found the perfect solution as to what to do when the small people are driving you up the wall:

upside down Egg

upside down grace

I apologise for the quality of these two photos. Obviously I didn’t take them (on account of having my hands full) and Kendo had been pressing buttons on my camera. Which only ever leads to badness, well, bad photos anyway.

We got back to the beach a little later in the week and Egg realised where we’d been going wrong with the whole sand thing. Clearly sand isn’t for building with….. it’s for eating!!:

Egg eats sand

Or not.

Then there was this moment. Evolution? Hmmmmm. Maybe we haven’t come as far as we think?


Our second seaside trip was completed with a go on an impromptu driftwood see-saw. Which the kids found hilarious (I love that Grace has hold of Egg’s harness like he’s a horse!!)


One of the highlights of the trip was a day out to the wonderful Alnwick castle (where they filmed some of the Harry Potter movies, in case you’re interested). There was loads to do for the kids, including a fabulous “Knight’s Quest” where they got to dress up as knights and princesses and complete little tasks and riddles. Here’s princess Grace and the brave Sir Eggman:

King and queen

It also provide a great opportunity to get Kendo just where I want him:

take stock

A Haven holiday wouldn’t be a Haven holiday without a bit of Tiger club action and Gracie and Egg had a fab time running around on the dance floor. Grace is quite the boogiemeister when she gets going and Egg was just happy to have so much space to run round in I think. We were slightly disappointed with the entertainment as usually there’s a different show each evening but we ended up with the same one 4 times in the week (I’m assuming some technical difficulties on their part, but they didn’t announce anything, which was kind of annoying).

Here’s Egg after a marathon dance floor running session:

All tuckered out

And Gracie doing her dancing queen bit:

dancing queen

Of course, sometimes it was more dragging than dancing:

dragging not dancing

But fret not. The Eggman knows how to get his own back:


We got plenty of good fresh air and exercise throughout the week. Including some crazy golfing action:

Crazy golf girl

Go me!

crazy golf boy

Kendo even took his rollerblades (which have lived in the under stairs cupboard untouched for about 7 years!). Here he is pretending to be speedy:

sk8er boy

In reality, the furthest he got was about 3 feet until he retired from skating for fear he might do himself (or someone or something else) serious injury. I wonder how much rollerblades go for on Ebay?

The sporting action didn’t end there. The one thing I could not fault about the Haven/Haggerston Castle experience was the Learn2Swim classes that Grace went to. She’s been on the waiting list to start swimming lessons at home for about 7 months with no joy so it was great that we could get her started with some lessons. For three of the session there was another boy with her and for the final session just her so she got one-on-one tuition with the fantastic Donna who was just great with the kids and had them swimming off on their own (with their woggle floats) in no time. Grace made it through 3 swimming certificates and got badges to sew on her swimsuit. I’m so proud of her, she did great.

That’s it for now, but I’m sure there’ll be some holiday scrapbooking photos along shortly.

Apologies if I haven’t caught up on your blog yet. I came home to 268 items in my google reader account! It’s going to take forever to catch up. Stop posting all of you!!