Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

Here are some of the better pictures I've taken this Christmas! Always take 00's, most of them rubbish!

Anyway, this Christmas was supposed to be quiet, so Mum could spend some time 'sitting down'! What I really mean is some time when I don't have to talk to anyone, or get up again quite soon. In other words, I could go to sleep if I want, and I REALLY REALLY want to this Christmas!!! (I think it's all those early mornings!)

So Christmas eve started off stressful with having MIL over, who always puts us on edge! And I had a mammoth task to clear the dining room and cook roast lamb for dinner before she came. It went off OK really, and she did go home quite early, so we had a nice evening in front of the telly.

On Christmas day we got up at 8ish, haivng been woken by Nicholas! For the first time we hadn't put their stockings downstairs before we went to bed, so we sorted that, then all went down and opened pressies. Some lovely pressies this year. I am really pleased with Billy Piper book, Sense and Sensibilty DVD, salt and pepper mills, chocs etc. I was really pleased with the pic frame I got M and the book about Rossi.

M cooked us a brill breakfast, then N went to church, while me, M and L walked the dog along the beach. When we got back I realised I hadn't made a card for N's birthday (18 on 27th), so I managed to sneakily do that while everyone went on computers and looked at their pressies.

We had a quick lunch of pate on taost, I put the turkey in, and then we went to Mum and Dad's for the afternoon. Lots more pressies! We took Merlin, who refused to settle, but is quite funny to watch! When we got home we finished cooking the tea, and sat in the dining room which was lovely. Why would I want to go anywhere else?

After tea (we couldn't eat any pudding!) we watched Dr Who, which was great, and then Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special, Vicar of Dibley (very funny), and then I went to bed! A sort of quiet Christmas, but I still haven't 'sat down'. Maybe I'll go and do it right now!

Boxing Day swim

Here we are arriving at the beach. That's my Mum and Dad, DD Lucy in the white coat, me in the red coat and silly hat, and DS Nicholas in the even more silly hat. Goodness it was cold!

We had to line up behind a tape, and count down until 11am. Then we RAN as fast as we could into the sea. The tide was quite a long way out, so it was along run, so I dropped DD's hand pretty quickly! The water was really bone chillingly cold, but I kept on going! We were supposed to get our shoulders wet, so I really wanted to get out far enough just to bob down, but our beach is extrememly flat, and it's a very long way to get to deeper water when the tide is out. We ran back to the beach, although I didn't feel too bad then. Just lucky it wasn't too windy! We went back to Andrew's house for hot drinks, whiskey, brandy etc, and to exchange presents.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Highdown on a frosty morning

I went for a gorgeopus walk this morning up to Highdown. Yesterday I went earlier and it was foggy, sunny and frosty, but I forgot my camera!!! So here are some photos from this morning, just frosty and sunny, but with rolling fog in the river valley.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The lounge

Well, we've nearly finished, yipeee!! The fireplace came on Friday, and looks stunning, and we spent the weekend finishing off the wallpaper and painting. Yesterday, the carpet was fitted. It is a gorgeous quality carpet, really springy when you walk on it, and it has a little fleck in it, so hoping dog hairs won't show up too much iykwim!!!

It's been a bit of a struggle, decorating at this time of year. I thought it was a good idea, cos it gets it done for Christmas, which we have, except for the sofas, and curtains. But, we have taken a very long time over it (about 6 weeks!!), just doing bits at weekends. We haven't been stressed with the actual decorating (except for maybe the wallpaper hanging), but I have found it stressful to have a room empty for so long. The 2 setteees have been in the dining room for 2 weeks, which is NOT big enough!!! So we've been clambouring over them to get to the table which is where my scrapping stuff is! No, what has been the worst thing is that I haven't been able to enjoy the run-up to Christmas so much. Last year I really enjoyed my Christmas Journal, and I so wanted to do it again and better this year, but have only done days 1 &2. I think I might have to save it for next year now! (I've saved all the prompts) I also haven't really been able to savour making the Christmas cards, or the book for Nicholas. I have just fitted them around everything else. I also haven't made a Christmas pudding this year, decided to cut my losses and buy one (that's if there's any left!!)

We bought wall-lights yesterday, and a ceiling light, but the ceiling light won't be here until Wednesday. We saw a lamp as well in the shop, so might meet Mum and dad in town on Wed to see if they will buy it for us for Christmas. It's one of those lights where you touch the base and it comes on, and when you touch it again, it comes on brighter!

Monday, December 11, 2006

walking the dog.

I took Merlind down the beach this morning. I got very wet and cold, especially as he wouldn't come when called. He eats seaweed on the beach (and we often get to see it again later ifykwim!!) and wouldn't come, then wouldn't have his lead on. He wants to play instead!!! I was standing in the freezing cold wind, getting wetter and wetter! The wind was blowing the rain so hard it hurt on my face . I so hated that walk back from the beach this morning, and I had to wait for loads of traffic before we could cross Mill Road.

So as soon as I got home I had a really hot shower, and now I have a cup of coffee in front of the computer and feel 100x better!

I've caught up on ukscrappers forum. Christmas Traditions CJ has been sent early, so I'm on target with that. UKStampers 1st CJ is supposed to be posted today, but I haven't even received it yet. Guess I ought to chase that up.

AIFHS - only 1 new member to do today. Will do that in a min,

I wanted to make loads of Christmas cards this year. But I've only made about 5! I'm going to sit down this afternoon and see how many I can make, and then anyone left will have to have a bought one. I did choose some quite nice ones this year, I usually just buy the cheapest!!

Decorating is coming along well. We spent all day yesterday wallpapering, and have finished as far as we can until the fireplace is in. Loads to do next weekend, but I think we'll do it. Carpet is coming on Monday, so we should be fairly straight by Monday evening.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Lots to do!

Well, I have only doen pages 1 & 2 of my Christmas Journal!!! I'll take it on Sat to my Brighton crop and try to get up to date. I'm not stressing about it becasue I did do it last year, and I can't really think of anything different to write, just different ways of layout.

Christmas card making - I have now made 5! And I'm quite pleased with them. But I bought some more today so I don't have to feel stressed to make them all by the weekend!

Present shopping is coming along very nicely. I have bought most of N & L's stocking presents, but will leave some for the last minute for the fun! Bought DH a fabby book about Valentino Rossi, really pleased with that. Also subscription to the NT. This morning I ordered a frame with 3 old photos of Birmingham for Dad. Mum wants a handbag, so I'll get that on saturday.

DD's birthday is tomorrow and I have all her pressies ready to wrap, must go and do that in a min! DS has just gone out to buy her a present! I've been food shopping today and bought nibbles for tomorrow night. DB,SIL, 2 x DNs and grandparents are coming over for srinks and nibbles. Cake is also bought! Quite organised really.

DS album through the years is coming on. I probably won't finishe it now in time, but at least I have several LOs in there now so that I can give it to him, and add to it later.

Need to do still:
write and post cards
wrap presents
buy the rest of presents
order turkey
organise food, write list, decide when to go shopping
organise DS's party (27th Dec! EEEK!)
finish decorating lounge in time for fireplace being fitted on 15th and carpet on 19th. Then I can buy a Christmas tree!
Decorate the house for Christmas
Get sponsors for my boxing day swim.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Christmas journal

Manifesto: Noun. A declaration of one's intentions.

Starting December first, I will keep a Christmas journal. In it, I will write something every day to reflect on the holidays of my past, enjoy the holidays of the present and dream about the holidays of my future. To some, this will be a stack of papers and trivial scribbles, but not to me. I am taking back my Christmas, I am letting it be something I relish and, most importantly, I am giving at least fifteen minutes every day to myself no matter how crazy this season becomes. I hope you will share, encourage and understand as I make something with my own hands, my own words and my own memories.I may post some or all of my entries here.

Well, that's my intention anyway! I also want to make some cards, and make a 18th birthday album for DS, (he is 18 on 27th Dec, and all I've done is sort out about 200 photos!)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

christmas traditions cj

My entry in the first Christmas Traditions CJ. (www.ukscrappers.co.uk). I LOVE LOVE LOVE these BG Fruitcake papers. I MUST buy more! I think I'll use them for my Christmas Journal this year.

This entry was inspired by actually baking the cake last Saturday, amongst the decorating, cybercrop, buying new settees, carpet and paint! And we had lunch out at Shoreham Airport on Saturday!

I wanted a photo of the ckae iced, and this was the only one I could find! I'm not a cake decorator, so wasn't at all bothered by the kids having a go. I just love the concentration on their faces! They were taken in 1994!

Slooshing of red acrylic paint for ther journaling. I have used every little bit of my sheet of BG Fruitcake, I even used the reverse alphabet for the tag. (I used my new QK alphabet Eliza for the first time for the title, and it's Katie I've used for CAKE.

The only thing I don't like is the big space between the picture and CAKE on the 'icing the...' page. Proabably should have spaced the letters out better.

Here are my Los I completed this weekend for the cybercrop on www.ukscrappers.co.uk. I'm really pleased with some of them. This one of Maurice was a Shimelle class. I love her style! She has kept me on for the Christmas Journal class this year, so hoping to give that another go. Looking back on last year's journal, wow, my style has moved on enormously!!! I want to goive the journal some continuity this year, and maybe not stick so rigidly to the prompts.

Quite pleased with this one. The rather 'naff' paper comes from the ESB itself, bought on the 86th floor!!!

I just knew the colours and photos I needed for this class. Really pleased with it! One of the comments was that they loved how the colours and sequins bring out the lights.

Tryong to be a bit clever, and different here! I used green Stazon on the acetate (never stamped on acetate before). But I don't think it works. I don't have any swirly stamps either (my next purchase). But at least I had a go at something different!

These 2 are for my garden album. Really pleased to get these done, and realise that I should scrap these photos straight away because it is difficult to remember what the garden was actually like at the time for the journalling. Looking thru my garden album now, I think that the idea of using the calendar tags (from a UKscrappers swap) was proabably not such a good idea. It is difficult to incorporate them.

I've done loads of Hopes and Dreams CJ entries lately! So here is one for my BOM! Done with the doodling idea too. (oh no I've deleted the picture by mistake!)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

i'm in love with james bond/daniel craig!

we went to see the new JB film 'Casino Royale' last night. All 4 of us went, which was really great. The film was really great. OMG I am inlove with Daniel Craig, he is seriously gorgeous!!!! Highly recommend you to see the film, they have again successfully bought James Bond up to date.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I've been meaning to write about my music for a while now. Then a challenge came up on UKStampers to do something about music, and I thought I'd do a page for my book of me.

Well, here is a start:

I listen to music all day:

At work - on my MP3 player
At home - Radio 2 on my DAB radio in the kitchen
At bedtime - CD player in my bedroom (also a clock radio)

On my MP3 player I have:

David Gates
Frank Sinatra
Burt Bacharach
World's Greatest Hits
Robbie Williams (swing album)
Mamas and Papas
60s hits
Country Music Greats

I've had this combination for a while now, and will change it soon to :

Razorlight (latest acquisition)
RHCP (courtesy of flo!)
Johnny Cash (been listening to him since seeing the film 'Walk the line'

+ some other albums that I've not listened to much lately

This morning I was listening to David Gates, but it's bedtime music really, not get up and go early in the morning! The MP3 player kept stopping, and then restarting back at the same place, so I heard David's dulcet tones about 4 times!!

I wrote down the 'Tracks of MY Years' somewhere, must find them! Favourites over the years include:
Slade (my first love!)
Led Zeppelin
Chris Rea
Chris de Burgh
Police / Sting
Lots of classical
Opera (we have been to see several at Brighton, but I don't listen to them much at home)
Nora Jones

What I'd like to know more about:
Country Music

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Flo's CJ entry

I was (and still am!!) very nervous about this one. Flo is just soooo brilliant at stamping and ideas and stuff. I just get complete CJ fright, and then no matter what I try to do, it is not good enough!!! So rather than try to be clever and try to stamp something all singing and dancing, I decided on these doodled designs. I masked the backgrounds where the writing is, and swooshed with distress inks. I really love the effect. I then doodled away, and stmaped a few tiny butterflies and dragonflies on the dreams page. I don't have a snake or snail stamp (sorry!!!), so the greeny brown just looks a bit grungy! I then added some gems as a final touch. I hope you like it Flo!

For the sign in tag, Flo wanted us to show her our favourite stamps. Sorry this is a bit tongue in cheek, but I love Snoopy, and when I saw this stamp I just had to have it! I'm going to make a collection now of Snoopy stamps and already have 2!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Christmas Traditions CJ

Phew! Finally finished it! It has to be posted today! The theme is Christmas Traditions, and my sub-theme is 'Around the World'. Actually, I am sort of not very happy with it. I don't hate it, I just don't think it's good enough. I am always useless at making covers! The world is maybe too big? Maybe I shouldn't have added the shiny stickers, they are a bit naff!

The intro page. Gorgeous heart Christmas stamp stamped in versamark and chalked. The LHS stamp is not done properly! The writing is a bit too bold, maybe a thinner nib would have been better?

My DLO. Theme, where and when kids get presents! I am pleased with the backgrounds, painted with acrylics. The fireplace is OK, but the stamping and embossing around the window sill isn't very good.

Sign in page. Last year's Christmas tags used as for signing in! Very shiny bling bling!

I am going to add ribbons when it comes back, cos my last CJ lost loads on it's way.

Monday, November 13, 2006


I have finally persuaded a very reluctant DH that we should decorate our lounge. I can't tell you the number of times he has talked about painting over the wallpaper! That would be Ok if we were decorating to sell! We desperately need a new carpet, this one has been there for 14 years, and looks terrible. The decor is very 'tired', and old fashioned. They've been talking about 'chucking out your chintz' for about 10 years now haven't they?

We have ordered a new fireplace, it's a limestone classic style, about as wide as the existing one but a bit taller, which will go well with the high ceilings. It's being fitted on 15th Dec so we need to get most of it done by then. We have made a plan, and already emptied the cabinet (it's going!), the shelves, and most of the walls. I had loads of pictures in there, perhaps I should slim them down now. It looks and sounds very bare in there now. We like the darker coffee colour matchpot (on chimney breast wall) for the chimney breast wall, and a darker cream for the rest of the walls. We will probably keep the big green shelf unit, but take off the 'twiddly' bits on the ends (DH made it!). All the green paintwork will be white gloss. (We had a real pash on Farrow and Ball matt paints when we decorated before). We won't be having a border, which is why I don't want to paint over the wallpaper, the border will show through! The settees will go, so we need to choose a new one, dark brown? (that's back to the beginning, our first settee was dark brown dralon!)

This fireplace is dire, isn't it? The tiles are crazed now and very grubby. We're going to have a gas fire rather than open fire, cos we don't sit in the lounge long enough to bother lighting the real fire!

We think we will take these shelves down, but we're not completely sure yet.

We are going to put the stereo in this corner, so that I can have a coffee table next to the big settee, and a lamp, for a nice cosy corner.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday evening thoughts

I'm on my own again, and can't get around to doing anything! When everyone is here, I can't seem to get around to doing anything either! What I Should be doing is making a mini book for my friend Sarah, who I'm seeing for lunch on Friday. We went to her absolutely fabby 25th anniversary dinner back in August, and I've decided to try and make her a book becasue the card I made for her was so naff!

Just walked the dog, boy it's got cold suddenly over the last week! Very autummy all of a sudden. Just after I got in, the phone rang, and it's Lucy's maths teacher. She's on detention tomorrow after school for talking too much, and just not working. She's also on report for 2 weeks in the hope that she will work harder. She is capable of A* in Maths, but for some reason doen't seem to think it's cool to work hard. What are we going to do with her? She has been in trouble before - just before half term, and it ended up with a huge row between her and DH, and her confessing that she has been smoking!!! What a shocker, considering how sporty she is. I thought we had turned a corner, and I've really tried to keep the nice 'together' feeling I got when on holiday in NYC. I think it's time for some punishment, the softly softly approach (from me) and the huge full blown argument approach (from DH) have not worked. It's either no MSN for a week (I'm shuddering just thinking about what her reaction will be!) or no sleep-over at Emma's at the weekend (for Emma's birthday). I'm favouring the MSN atm.

Ordered some yummy stash from www.jillybeans.co.uk and www.stampgalaxy.co.uk, and I've been a naughty girl on eBay!! Mind you, I lost most of the auctions, but I did buy a second chance offer of a gorgeous heart Christmas stamp- must make my Christmas cards.

I really want a QK alphabet, so am planning on a visit to www.crafts-u-love.co.uk. It's not too far from here, and they have a wonderful selection of QK dies. Might even be tempted with something not alpha. Wonder if they stock the new BG papers?

Tomorrow I'm at the Family Centre for an open day. They want me to participate in a workshop on volunteering, and how they use volunteers. I'm really looking forward to it - makes me feel like I'm part of the big wide world, and that what I do there is valued. And they are giving me lunch!!

Off to print some photos for this mini book.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Here is my entry in Kym's 'Objects of Desire' CJ over on www.ukstampers.co.uk. As usual I've uploaded them round the wrong way! I painted the background with acrylics, and then stamped leaves and flowers with versamark. Some are embossed; gold, copper or distress embossing, some are chalked. (I made a mess with my first go because I embossed after chalking, and ended up with the chalked flowers half embossed!) I want a beautiful garden is stamped and inked round the edges, the 'beautiful' is stuck with foam dots to raise it. The three little stamps down the side (I love them!) have been smooshed with ink and coloured with pencils. The watering can has been raised. The cute lady, post, flowers and grass are all from a set from paper Artsy. I love them ,even though they are a bit cute for me! The background is smooshed with distress ink (old paper I think!) I stamped the lady and post first, and then masked them and stamped the grass and flowers. I used distress inks, spiced marmalade and fired brick. The green is peeled paint. I coloured the lady and post with pencils, and stamped the word bloom in scattered straw. I love the way the colours have turned out, just the sort of colours I'd love in my garden!

Other news:

Been feeling a bit under the weather this weekend. I had a long lie in on Saturday, and another sleep in the afternoon! Nasty tickly cough. We managed to go and look at fireplaces again, and have chosen what we want. I've just got to ring the shop and organise them to do a survey, but noone is answering atm!

M went on his bike to the bike show at the NEC yesterday. It was really nice to have a day to myself!!! (I find with M about, I can't get on with things so well!) I feel much more organised with house, washing and office type stuff now, even though I didn't actually do anything!

List to do:

Order scrapbook stash - I haven't spent any of my earnings yet! I've got a list going.
Money, check bank current account, check bldg socy account for %,
Make new CJ - Christmas Traditions
Do entry in Flo's CJ - Dreams and Nightmares
Scrapettes challenges
Order NYC photos
Make cards for jane, kim and Sarah (9th Dec)
Make mini book for sarah L (fri)

Not going to get it all done today!!! Last week just disappeared in a haze of jetlag, washing, ironing, and lack of sleep!

Job is going Ok. I quite enjoy it when I get there. The only problem I still find is that I can't sleep becasue I'm worried about getting up so early!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Here we are ice skating in Central Park! Yes, we really did it, I can't quite believe it now I'm back at home!

The view out of our hotel bedroom, right on Times Square. The advertising hoardings were massive, and most of them were like computer screens and showed really fast videos.

Me and Lucy had our makeup done at the Benefit counter. Lucy looked gorgeous with less eyeliner and mascara than she usually Uses. Of course, we had to buy some, especially as it si cheaper by quite a long way over there.

Top of the Empire State Building. It really does stand out amongst all the other skyscrapers. What a feeling to be up there! On top of the world! Can you tell how cold we were? It was freezing!

It's suddenly got cold here the last few days. Out have come mittens, silly hats, and fleeces. Must get round to getting the electric blanket out this weekend. There was frost on the cars this morning when I cycled to work at 6am.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Blogger won't let me upload any photos, so I'll tell you about my jetlag instead! WE flew back on the red-eye, the one that takes off at 8.30pm (New York time) and lands at 8am (UK time). So you miss a whole nights' sleep!!! Well, you might be lucky and be able to sleep on the plane for a couple of hours. Ourseats were the worst, Maurice and Nicholas had the extra leg room by the emergency exit. Lucy couldn't- too young, so I sat with her on the row in front. At least M &N had extra leg room, we couldn't recline becasue we were right in front of them, and had very little leg room. Why do we put up with such awful condtions on flights?

So Monday when we landed, I felt like it was 3 am. I didn't know whther I wanted to sleep or eat, or what meal to have! I had a little nap in the afternoon, but didn't fell awake until it was bedtime! Then I had to get up at 6am the next morning for work. My head felt empty but swimmy. I couldn't read, or concentrate on what anyone was saying. I couldn't talk properly either!!

But after a hot bath and an early night I feel much better today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


We had just the best time in NYC. The city is amazing, no wonder the American's created the word 'AWESOME'! We are absolutely knackered now, from walking absolutely all day every day, swimming a bit (at the hotel), and ice skating in Central park!!! We have hundreds of photos between us, and when I've sorted them out better, I'll show you some more. (These probably are not the best!)
Here are DH, DS and DD outside Ground Zero. There is not much to see, but the photos on the fence are very moving. It's just awesome to imagine how big the twin towers actually were.

This is the view from my bed! It's not a good photo cos it is through a very dirty window! But I could see the Empire State Building from my bed, and this is how it looks early in the morning with the sun shining on it.

A couple of photos from the top of the ESB, 86th floor. It is amazing how quick you get there. And I felt Ok with the height, I think becasue it is just so high, and you can't see straight down to the street below very easily.

Outside our hotel, which was right on Times square. Our room was on the 41st floor! We had a corner room, with windows looking south and east. The hotel was very comfortable, fairly roomy, great shower! The only problem was that we had a smoking room, which did smell a bit.

More photos tomorrow!