Tuesday, 29 July 2008


Today’s blog prompt: 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?

I love to read, doesn't always mean I've got a book on the go but that's because when I do have I don't want to put it down and nothing else gets done. My mother was the chief librarian at our local library in South Africa and I used to love going in when she had a book exchange, so many new books to look through and choose from. In those days I used to read different types of books, whatever took my fancy. However, since having children, I have to admit that I'm a feel good chic lit lover! They're quick and easy to read and 9 times out of 10 I'll finish it with a smile on my face.
Favourite authors at the moment include : Cathy Kelly, Jill Mansell, Marian Keyes, Katie Fford,
Sheila O'Flannigan, Cecilia Ahern, Patricia Scanlan and Catherine Alliott. Colin Forbes is another author I enjoy - don't think I could include him in the chic lit category though :)
Other books I might want to have if I were cut off from the rest of the world would be my photography books - so long as I had my camera with me as well.
What books would you have?

Monday, 28 July 2008

Creative Influence

Today’s blog prompt: Tell your blog readers about someone who has been a creative influence in your life -- a crafty mum, aunt or grandparent, an influential school teacher or a friend who brought out your creative side, perhaps.

There have been a number of people over the years who have had some creative influence in my life.

My Mum - though she may not believe this. I remember her having to make my school uniforms when I started school - she sewed my dresses and knitted my cardigans.

My Dad - whose love of photography I'm sure I inherited. I started taking photos quite early on and have always loved keeping albums. Dad was also very talented at building scale model boats.

Perhaps one of the most influential people was my Mum's friend, Lois Edwards. My younger brother, Robin, and I used to go round to the Edwards house after school sometimes and Lois was the one who started me crocheting. By the time I was about 10 I was crocheting baby matinee jackets and selling them to the teachers at school. I think she was also the one who taught me to knit.
When I went to High School I took Housekeeping to matric and that was where I really learnt to sew. I had to make a three piece suit and blouse for my matric exam. I continued sewing, making clothes, when Hugh and Claire were little.
When we came to England making clothes didn't make as much sense because you could buy everything quite inexpensively and material was more expensive, so I stopped sewing. I took it up again a few years ago when I joined a patchwork class. Jennie Lewis was my teacher and had a huge influence on me. I still enjoy patchwork and quilting but haven't done any for a while. It's certainly something I will go back to.

Mum and I did a few card making classes at Sussex Crafts in Cuckfield and the teacher, Fiona, was inspiring. I made cards from time to time and was asked to teach a few classes at Creative Pastimes after giving one to Theresa for her birthday.
When on holiday in Chicago, my sister-in-law, Liz, told me about scrapbooking and I read the book by the founders of Creative Memories. I bought some supplies and brought them back with me and that's how I started scrapbooking. I love the Simple Scrapbook magazines as my style is very simple. I'm not a big one for adding embelishments and I've learnt that that's ok.
I love that we are surrounded by creative people and hope I can continue to learn from them.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Another day, another braai!

With the weather as beautiful as it has been, it only made sense that we had another braai today instead of a roast. It was just us and Claire's boyfriend, Graham. Nothing fancy, but certainly very yummy!! I haven't got lots to say, so instead, I'll just put a few photos from today.

Jon, waiting for the braai to be ready to cook on

Braai and food

A splash of colourGraham, Claire & Emily getting their food (please excuse all the washing waiting to be ironed, it's been too hot!!)My lunch (all pointed for Weight Watchers)

Pudding (also counted!)

I did my time on the Wii Fit again this morning and have to admit, much as I hate to, that I do feel better for having done the workout. I feel like I'm putting the effort in and it feels good! Long may it last.


Saturday, 26 July 2008

Just Saturday

Missed a day but I'm back again. Not a lot to report, Emily and I went into Crawley yesterday morning to go to Marks & Spencers. Ended up having a quick look in a couple of other shops before coming home again to blob for the rest of the day ;o)

The only reason I have photos taken in Crawley is because I was supposed to be taking photos for Scrap Your Day on the 25th (another Shimelle project) but I never seem to do very well. I'll see how I get on with what I did get.

Today, the weather man on the local radio said to expect heavy showers and possible thunder storms - I'm so glad he got it wrong! We had beautiful weather once again and even got to invite Mum and Dad round for a braai (South African for BBQ). I had to pop into the shops quickly to pick up a few bits (there always seems to be something to get - don't you agree!), then came home and prepared the salads and kebabs before Mum and Dad got here. I then sat outside and read my book for a little while. The food was delicious - thanks to my wonderfully talented, happy, cheerful husband (see picture below - hahaha!!!)

Seriously though, it was a lovely afternoon and we sat outside to eat and chat until Mum and Dad left again.

This evening Emily and I watched "The Princess Diaries" and last night we watched "Music and Lyrics". If we continue watching a movie a night we'll run out soon!

I have done half an hour of Wii Fit for the past three days now. I think it's beginning to feel a little bit easier and on some tasks I'm even getting fairly decent scores. It must be doing some good - by the end of a workout I'm sweating and I've noticed my legs ache a bit sometimes when I go upstairs. I reckon if I can carry on with this for the whole of the school holidays I should be a little bit fitter by the time Emily goes back to school and I walk up the dreaded hill!

I now need to go and read through the prompts from this week and see if I can do some damage limitation because I am waaaaaaayyyyyyyy behind!!!


Friday, 25 July 2008

Wow!! Gold Card

I have been sent a GOLD CARD by both dddeeebbbzzz and Eleni. I feel quite honoured as I haven't met either of these ladies other than through our blogs and Shimelle's My Freedom class. Dddeeebbbzzz and I seem to have a lot in common and some of our blog posts end up quite similar - spooky!! Eleni's blog is another one that I enjoy reading and was also found through Shimelle's class.

What a pity this gold card hasn't got a sum of money for me to spend as well - I could think of plenty of things I would like to get or do - especially with the girls on holiday ;o)

Now for the rules :
1. Only 5 people allowed.
2. 4 have to be dedicated followers of your blog
3. One has to be someone new or recently new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. You must link back to whoever gave you the award.

This is the difficult part as, quite honestly, I don't know that I have dedicated followers of my blog! I'm going put down MJ - I don't remember how I came across her blog but I've been reading it for over a year and I know she checks in on mine from time to time. Likewise Gretchen pops in from time to time and we started chatting after I took a couple of her classes at Big Picture Scrapbooking. I'm now going to put down the a couple of ladies who may continue to look at my blog after the My Freedom class is over (and here I would have put dddeeebbbzzz and Eleni but seeing as they sent it to me I guess I better not send it back again), so I choose Carrie and Cloclo.
For the person who is new to my blog and lives overseas, I add Tracy. I think I found Tracy through dddeeebbbzzz's blog and when I looked at her blog I realised she lived in Durban, South Africa - close to where I used to live.

Thanks again dddeeebbbzzz and Eleni.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Artistic techniques

Today’s blog prompt: What artistic technique do you love but not use often? What artistic technique intimidates you?

Well, are we talking only about scrapbooking or are we talking about any "art"? Can I include photography in this one? I have always loved taking photos and can sit for hours going through photos and the memories they bring back.

So, as to what technique I don't use often, I suppose that would have to be shooting in Manual mode. I have tried it and sometimes I get good results but sometimes I don't. White Balance in particular can cause me problems. I would love to know why things happen and what I'm doing wrong then perhaps I would use Manual mode more often. I recently took an online course on Photography but I still have an awful lot to learn. Up until recently I used a point and shoot camera and I have no problem with that. They did well for me and I have some lovely photos taken with them. However, Jon bought me a digital SLR a couple of years ago for my birthday and I love it. I enjoy playing with it and get such a sense of achievement when I get things right and get a good shot. I want that to happen more often.
As for what intimidates me, I would have to say it's all the extra functions in Photoshop Elements - especially the layers where I don't have a clue what I'm actually doing. I have bought a self help book and am trying to use it to work things out. However, this is one of the areas where I am impatient. I want to be able to do it and I want to be able to do it NOW - not have to learn all the ins and outs first!!

First day of the holidays has been very relaxed. I got up around 6.45am and came down and did 30 minutes on Wii Fit before getting ready for the day. Emily woke around 8 but decided to lie in bed for a while and read. I only popped out briefly to get cat food and a few items of grocery shopping but have spent the rest of the day pottering around the house. I love this weather and in the afternoon Emily and I both sat outside and read our books for a while. Claire spent the day at Groombridge Place for a friend's birthday and Hugh was working the closing shift today.

Looking forward to more of the same over the holidays. I have been thinking of doing the odd day trip seeing as we'll be staying at home this year. If anyone has any ideas for places to go that aren't too far from East Grinstead, West Sussex, please let me know.


Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Last Day

Today was Emily's last day at Junior School. She has really enjoyed her time at Estcots and it became her "second family". Needless to say she is sad to be leaving what is familiar and comfortable and apprehensive about the next step into Senior School.

Tonight I wanted to post a few pictures that I took today as well as a couple of photos of Emily's first day at Estcots.

Emily getting ready for her first day at school

Emily's first day in the Infants was also Claire's first day at Senior School. Hugh was cool and going in to Year 9.This morning I went back on to the playground to get a few photos of Emily and her friends on their last day at Estcots. The reason some of the children are wearing normal clothes is that their house won overall and they were allowed to dress in their own clothes. In a way I think Emily was sad not to be wearing her uniform for the last time.

Some fun messing around

Walking into school for the last time.

After school. L-R: Chris, Michael,Elliott, Jake and Emily. Michael, Elliott, Jake and Emily have been friends right from the beginning of their time at Estcots and hopefully they will keep in touch in Senior School as well.

In other news, I went back to Weight Watchers again last week. I'd been kidding myself that I could do the diet on my own, but it wasn't working. So back I went (for the I don't know how many-ith time) and tonight was my weigh in. I had been good all week and was hoping for a good loss but was thrilled to be 5lb down. I know it's just the first week back on the diet, but I'm happy. Now I've got to stick with it - which is why I've decided to put it on here. I'm hoping this will help to keep me motivated because I don't want to be posting how much I put on!!!

Finally, the blog prompt for today was what one thing would you pass on to the younger generation of today. I could think of a few but certainly one thing I would say is, don't be in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy your childhood and build memories for later years. Also, one of the things I've said to my children is - do to others as you would like them to do to you. In other words, don't be nasty, don't mock, be kind and thoughtful and if you wouldn't like someone doing to you what you're doing, just don't do it! I don't think children have it easy these days, there is pressure on them to grow up quickly which I find sad. Take each year as it comes, you'll be older soon enough.

Enough for now.


Tuesday, 22 July 2008

First Job / Sad news

Today's prompt was to tell what my first job was. After finishing my secretarial course, my first job was as a Dental Receptionist for two dentists in Musgrave Centre in Durban. It was a great starting job and I made friends with the girl who was the Dental Nurse. We ended up sharing a flat on Durban Beachfront - which led to lots of good times. Definitely a good time in my life. Before I end, this morning I was looking at fellow My Freedom members blogs and came across the sad news that Shelley Burkett's 17 year old stepdaughter, Katie, was killed in a car accident over the weekend. Please keep Shelley and her family in your thoughts and prayers at this devastating time. (http://www.shelleyburkett-whateverislovely.blogspot.com/) Thanks xx

Monday, 21 July 2008

Games / Leavers Assembly

Today's blog prompt was to tell what my favourite game is. Hmmm..... I have to admit that I'm not much of a game person. I don't particularly enjoy board games or charades or anything like that. However, if you want to include games on the computer ... that may be a different story.

When we first came back to the UK my favourite was Tetris, I then went on to Bubblets, next up was Bejewelled and I've recently found Mahjong. As for which is my favourite, I don't know. All I do know is that once I start playing one of these games I can be on the computer for ages as I keep trying to better my best score. I've found the best thing to do is .... not start playing any of them! ;oD

In other news, today was Emily's Leavers Assembly.
As she left for school this morning she warned me to take tissues with me. That in itself was enough to just about make me start crying!
Waiting to get started
Patricia, Rovie, Kirsty, Rebecca, Emily, Lucy and Fleur
Elliott and Jake have also been friendly with Emily from their early days at Estcots
Year 6 had organised the whole thing for the parents and took control of the assembly from the start. It was really well done and I was fine until it came to the final section. The children all got up to sing Photograph by Nickelback. They ran a slideshow on the screen behind showing their time at the school from Reception through to Year 6. I thought that I'd be safe watching it, but I wasn't. I sat there with a tear trickling down my face, trying to look cool and not show how much it was affecting me.
I didn't fool Emily though - the first thing she said when she came out afterwards was "I saw you crying!!" In my defence, I wasn't the only Mum wiping away the tears as we walked out.

I can't believe my baby is finishing Junior School on Wednesday and will be moving up to Senior School in September. A new challenge ahead for her and I know she'll do well once she's there.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Inspiration layout

I finally got round to doing my third Layout for Shimelle's "My Freedom" class. In this one we had to think about things that inspire us or make us feel good. I'm glad to have finally completed the layout and now I have to decide whether I do the layout about Aspirations or whether that will be the one I leave out.


Thursday, 17 July 2008


Today we're supposed to blog about quirks we have. I don't know what quirks I have! I've thought about it since I downloaded the prompt and the only things I come up with are :
1) I like glasses arranged together by type. When I unload the dishwasher I like things to go in certain places. If someone else has unloaded the dishwasher I'll often go and rearrange things so they're where I like them to be.

2) I don't like tearing papers for scrapbooking - it doesn't feel right for my layouts and I'm not comfortable doing it. I like things orderly and neat -as you can probably tell from the layouts I've posted so far ;o)

I just wish this quirk for neat edges and tidiness continued through my house but that's not the case and we have a very 'lived in' house!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Today's post is supposed to be about things we've achieved in our lives and things we still hope to achieve.

I would like to think that one of my achievements is that we have children who are well grounded and friendly with good manners. Doing my timeline of my life so far brought home to me once again how much we have moved around. Our children could have rebelled but, fortunately, this hasn't been the case. Instead they are children who enjoy being at home and who can talk to us about anything.

One of the things I would love to see in the future is how they continue to grow, to see them achieve their goals and dreams and to watch them become parents themselves one day.

I have been very fortunate in that I haven't had to work for the past 20+ years and have been able to be at home with them when they came home from school and be here for them during the holidays. I do realise how lucky I am and have my husband to thank for that. Right from when I was little the one thing I wanted was to be a Mum and this is a wish I have been, and am, lucky enough to fulfil.


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Blogs I read

Today's prompt was to post the names of blogs we read for inspiration. Most of the ones I read are scrapbooking or photography related. A number are women on Design Teams but others inspire me because they are ordinary women with jobs, families, etc who still find time to scrapbook on a regular basis. I'm not that good and can go ages without doing anything (which is why this class is so good for me!). The blogs that are photography related tend to be people whose photos I like and improving my photography is something I aspire to.
If any of you decide to look at the blogs I've listed, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I think that's probably enough for now.

In general news, it's been a busy day - running around EG this morning before taking Hugh to Crawley. Back home in time to get him to work, pop home and then back into town again to sign some papers at the bank! I was glad to get home and be able to take off my shoes!


We had a take away today to celebrate Emily's Yr 6 SATS results - she did very well and we're super proud of her. Now to go and sort out the uniform for Senior School!


And finally, a thank you to Claire for going to pick Emily up from school for me this afternoon.

Emily and Claire


Monday, 14 July 2008

Sharing photos

Today's blog prompt from Shimelle's class was to share an old photo of myself and a current photo of myself and explain what's stayed the same and what's changed. To be honest, I'm not a great fan of photos of myself and, at this stage in time I don't know where photos of me as a child are (we moved house a little while ago and I don't know where I've put them!) so I'll put on the one I do have from about 20 years ago.

This photo was taken, if I remember correctly, the Christmas before Jon and I got married which would make it 1986. It was taken at Jon's sister Penny's house (in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) where we had a traditional Christmas lunch before going for a swim in the pool!

This photo was taken in April this year (for the Scrap your Day class - which I haven't kept up with and am thinking of starting again this month).

What's stayed the same:

I'm still with Jon (21 years later);

We still enjoy getting together with family;

My love of creating things - photography, scrapbooking, sewing

What's changed: Lots !!

We now live in the UK and not SA;

I have three children;

I'm a stay at home mum;

I've got about 3 stone to lose ;o) ;

I no longer perm my hair;

I now use a computer rather than a typewriter;

Technology - I have an iPod, mobile phone, digital camera & computer;

Our families are spread around the world but we can keep in touch via the internet, blogs, etc.

Another prompt that's making me think and take stock.


Travel Layout

I finished my second layout - Travel - late last night. To be honest, by the time it was ready I was ready for bed so, photos were taken this morning and I'm happy to say I'm still caught up with Shimelle's My Freedom class.

Now I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for us this week!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Dad's blog

Claire has just created a blog account for Dad so for anyone who used to look at his page on our family website, he will soon be found on www.alastairsdailyblog.blogspot.com If you stop by to have a look, leave him a comment and say hi. xx

Time Layout

I have managed to finish my Time layout this morning. Not very good at taking photos of layouts and haven't got round to trying to scan them in so, I'll just post them as they came out.

Now to make a start on the Travel one!

Friday, 11 July 2008

I'm behind!

I have been editing photos today and haven't had a chance to finish my layout.

As for whether I have patience or not, I think so ..... apart from when I was waiting for part 2 of prompt 4! Lol. I don't tend to get stressed and am fairly laid back.

Hope to have the Time layout finished tomorrow and then I'll share.
I'll leave you with one of the photos from today.

Nothing like cuddling a baby to relax you - I had cuddles too :o). This little girl was the sweetest, happiest, smiley baby!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

A Poem

Shimelle's prompt today was to post a poem that has inspired us. I don't know many poems or read poems, so this post is quite a difficult one for me. When I sat thinking about it the one that sprang to my mind first was this one.

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints in the sand,
is when I carried you."

Mary Stevenson

This poem is moving and comforting. We all need someone to lean on in times of trouble and stress - be it The Lord or our friends. We have had prayers answered in difficult times and are so grateful. I also have family and good friends who are there for me when I need to talk and I hope they know that I am always there for them too.

As for a photo for today, I took this one last night when Emily had her first turn at cutting her Dad's hair. Jon wanted a haircut and because I was busy at the time, told Emily she could cut it for him. She did a good job and I just added the finishing touches.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

What's in my Suitcase

Day 3's prompt for blogging was "What's in your Suitcase". I suppose it depends on where I'm travelling to but I think I have got better over the years and I don't pack as much as I used to. I got tired of bringing home half a suitcase of clothes that I hadn't worn so I cut down on what I take. However, there still always seems to be plenty to remember.

Clothes (enough for about 4 or 5 days - when we're staying with family I wash and reuse)

Shoes - maximum 3 pairs; sandals, comfy and smart

Swimming costume if there's a chance we'll be swimming

A towel


Contact Lens stuff

My glasses - normal and sunglasses


My camera - a must have

A book

Notebook and Pen

A spare bag for my scrapbooking stash/magazines/etc. that I buy while we're there.

I don't have any photos of suitcases or things to go inside suitcases so I thought I'd post a few photos from my trip to New York in 2005. Louise, my SIL, and I went for a long weekend - I was totally exhausted by the end of it but I'm so glad I've been. We did the downtown open top bus ride but didn't get to do the uptown one so I still need to go back again so I can see Central Park etc. I guess I'll have to add it to my list ;o)

Yellow cabs

Statue of Liberty from the ferry to Staten Island (and Michaels Store)

Times Square