Friday, 26 March 2010


There's a fair bit going on here at the moment and blog posts may be a bit sporadic for a while but hopefully I'll get back to regular posting soon.
Today has been a bit of a run around day, mainly down to Cloud. I mentioned a while ago that she had been on antibiotics to try and clear up where she had chewed/scratched her side. Well, she started scratching again a little while ago and then we noticed other lesions coming up on her body. We decided she needed to go back to the vets and I managed to get an appointment this morning. It seems that she has a bacterial skin infection which is what's causing the lesions and itchiness. The vet shaved around the affected areas
On the photo above this is the site that started it all.
Poor Cloud is getting fed up wearing her cone and her face has been getting really dirty because she hasn't been able to go to the dog parlour until we sorted out what was going on. She is now on a 20 day course of antibiotics and we have to shampoo her 2 to 3 times a week with the anti-bacterial shampoo the vet has given us. Fortunately, when I phoned the dog parlour after getting home from the vets, they said if I could take her up staight away they would do the first shampoo for me and groom her. A couple of hours later and I got the call to say I could go and pick her up. She looks like a totally different dog!
The groomers have clipped her really short so that we can shampoo her easily and so that the infected areas can be treated properly. She looks so little now ;o) but seemed a happier dog when I picked her up. I've also trimmed down her cone (because her head looks so little now) which makes it easier for her to drink and sniff around outside.
In this photo you can see some of the red patches where the sores have come up.
However, despite everything that's going on, I have managed to do a little bit of craftiness. My knitting needles are out again and I'm trying a new pattern. This one is slightly more complicated than the previous one but it's not that difficult - I just have to concentrate on what I'm doing while I'm knitting. I enjoy having a pattern to knit as it makes it less boring than plain knitting. I've done a little bit more tonight and the back of the cardigan is nearly finished now.
We have Michelle, Matthew and Josh coming to stay tomorrow night - looking forward to seeing them again as it's been a while. Somehow I think there may be some wedding talk going on ;o). We have a few overseas visitors arriving over the next couple of months which will also be exciting but I'll tell more as the time gets nearer.
Have a wonderful weekend

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

It arrived

Well so much for my quiet day ;o), I've kept busy all morning. I knew I had to stay in because the dishwasher was being delivered so I got stuck in and did some housework while I waited. Our bedding is washed and back on the bed, the other washing is hanging up to dry, the downstairs is vacuumed, the kitchen is tidied and all that before the dishwasher arrived at around 10.30. Feels good! Here's the new addition and the saver of my dry, rough hands! My own fault, I know, because I hate wearing rubber gloves. Even thinking about them is like thinking of chalk scraping down a blackboard for me. I'm looking forward to just stacking the dishwasher and letting it do the dirty work ;o) xx

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Back to Weight Watchers

For one reason and another (read - scared to see what the scales said), I didn't go to Weight Watchers last week :o(. This week, my niece Theresa asked if I was going because she wanted to go back to ww after having Alyssa and felt the time was right. I offered to pick her up and take her but wasn't looking forward to seeing what the scales had to say. I was pleasantly surprised, I'd only put on half a pound in the two weeks - I was expecting at least two pounds! I'm glad I went back now and this week I'm going to get back to tracking what I eat. I bought some weight watchers goodies to keep me going ;o) and they had a new bar out this week, cranberry, raspberry and orange - sounds yummy! Earlier this afternoon I had been going to do this blog post but Mac decided he needed some attention so he lay on my computer ;o). He's so funny and does like a bit of a fuss - when he's in the mood!
Quieter day tomorrow as I'll be waiting for the dishwasher to arrive. Maybe I'll manage to do another layout????

Monday, 22 March 2010

Quick recap of today

What an eventful day! It started with Jon leaving for work as normal, around 5.50am; I got up at 6 and had my shower and then at 6.30 I heard Jon arriving home again. Turns out there had been an accident and they'd closed the M25 off. As Jon needs to go on the M25 to get to work he had to turn round and come home again. Fortunately he is able to work from home as he has a work computer he can use and connect to his data. I left him to it while I went to pick up Mum.
Next stop was Sainsburys for our shopping and coffee at Starbucks. The coffee was just what I needed this morning and was delicious! We had our weekly catch up before heading home again. Shopping unpacked and it was time to make lunch. I had bought some fresh bread and had that with left over curried mince. Yum!
After lunch there was a large basket of ironing waiting to be done. I switched on the TV in the kitchen (which is now working thanks to aerial man coming to sort it out last week) and watched 30 Minute Makeover. I always find watching something helps the ironing to disappear quicker ;o).
Emily got home shortly after that and before we knew it, it was time for her to go to the dentist. The orthodontist wanted her last baby tooth taken out and she was so brave. I was a total ninny but she just had gel to numb the area and then the dentist pulled the tooth out. I couldn't look, held her hand and looked the opposite way (or rather faced the opposite way with my eyes closed!).
Emily's "my poor mouth" pose ;o)
And in this one you can see where the tooth came out (sorry to anyone who may be a bit squeamish!)
We had some rather unexpected news today but nothing that we can't handle and I'm sure everything will be fine in the end. More about this at a later stage.
My eyes are starting to droop and I'm ready to head off and read my book (Take a chance on me by Jill Mansell - which Claire gave me for Mother's Day) before heading off to bed.
Have a good evening

Saturday, 20 March 2010

First layout in ages

I've been reading the blogs and seeing all the layouts that are being made (though not always commenting - sorry!) and have been wanting to do some scrapbooking myself. I've wanted to do a layout about Wallace for a while but couldn't decide where to start. Today I was downloading some of the templates from the Design Your Life class on BPS and it got me thinking. I chose one I thought might work, used it digitally to see what I thought and then got my papers out to scrapbook. Yippee! It didn't take long to come together and now I feel I'm ready to do a few more layouts. The journalling on this reads: "We got you just before Emily's 4th birthday. She had wanted a dog for some time and we decided she was old enough to enjoy you. You became her little confidant; any time she was feeling sad or needed to talk to someone, it was you that she went to see. Unfortunately as the years went on you had a few problems. On 25 January 2010 things came to a head and the vet told us it was time to let you go. We didn't want you to be in pain any longer but it was one of the hardest decisions to make. You were such a big part of the family and we miss you."
I'm glad this layout's been made, Wallace was such a big part of us and we still miss him. We wouldn't have forgotten him but it's nice to have it down on paper. Now to decide what layouts to do next :o).
The last couple of days have been quiet. I've been making a start on spring cleaning. While Jon was off work there were a few things that broke down or needed repairing but we put off doing anything about them until he was back in work. We are now getting things sorted slowly but surely and it feels good. This weekend Jon has been very busy with jobs around the house, including installing a new shower in our en-suite bathroom (the old one was one of the things that broke!), a new light in the entrance way (again, the old one broke), disconnecting the old (broken) dishwasher ready for the new one to arrive next week. Progress! Thank you Jon for getting through everything on your "to do" list for this weekend :o).
Whatever you may be doing, I hope your weekend is a good one.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Sport Relief

Emily and I have been watching Sport Relief on BBC1 tonight. To the British people who read my blog, if you can afford to donate, it's such a worthwhile cause. xx

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Dog walk

Today, when I took Cloud out for her walk, we went a different route. I turned up this path to see where it led to.
We eventually came out just down from the main road. Where we live there is a hill which ever way you go and the one near our house is a killer. This route we took today seemed much easier to me and is one I will certainly use again ;o)
When we get to the top of the hill and turn left, Emily's school is just across the road. It takes her about 5 minutes to walk to school and home again.
The Forest Way path goes down to Forest Row on an old railway track.
Heading up the hill in to town we see the Church clock tower
and pass Sackville College.
The start of the High Street. The Rose and Crown pub, which is the Tudor style building you can see in this photo, is where Dad had his 80th birthday lunch last September.
Cloud and I take the road to the left of the cook shop in Middle Row,
it's certainly a lot easier going down this hill than walking up it :o).
We took a round about route today which led us past our old house. We lived in this house for nearly 5 years before moving to the next one. Seven years after that we moved to the house we currently live in. I think seven years in one house is the record in our marriage, I wonder how long we'll live in this one ;o)
Finally, a thank you to Mel for talking about Turkish Delight hot chocolate on her blog. I was in Waitrose today and saw some, bought it and tried it tonight for the first time. It is yummy! (if you like Turkish Delight that is ;o) ) and best of all, I can still have it on Weight Watchers! Thanks Mel!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Kitty capers and daffodils

I'd been speaking to Michelle on the phone while sitting outside in the sun and as I got up to go indoors again, I saw these daffodils! Great excitement!! I had to grab my camera to take photos ;o)
They still look a bit straggly but they are daffodils none the less. Spring is coming :o)
The kittens came out to see what I was doing and kept me entertained for ages. WARNING: If you're fed up looking at photos of our kittens I'd stop reading now and come back another day ;o). (These are just some of the 60+ photos I took today!)
I had been lying on the grass taking the photo of the daffodils and turned round to get these shots of the kittens playing
They are so funny together, still chasing each other and play fighting.
I think Bellatrix is just showing Mac who's boss ;o)
Animal camouflage (would have been an ideal shot for Emily's art homework!)
She reminds me of a little doll (cat one - obviously!) ;o)
Mac enjoyed lying in Charlie's favourite spot and soaking up the sun.
Now, on the next two, I was experimenting with taking photos in mid day sun. I've read so often that you should use your flash as a fill flash to get better results. I realise on cats you can't eliminate the shadows under the eyes ;o) but it was interesting anyway. The one above is the photo taken without using the flash (straight out of the camera).
And for this one I popped the flash up (also straight out of the camera). I can see a difference - especially on the white of Mac's chest. Now I'll need to find a willing model to see what a difference it makes on the eyes and whether it helps as much as it's supposed to. I just need a person and a sunny day to experiment with.
Bellatrix makes the weirdest clicking noises when she sees something she'd like to catch. I don't know what she'd spotted but I caught her just as she was making the noise.
Cloud was getting fed up with me taking photos of the kittens lol! She badly needs to go to the dog parlour but each time I think her side is healing she scratches it again and opens the wound. :o(
Bellatrix decided to get my attention again by climbing up the tree
Then Mac decided to join her - and neither of them are very good at getting down again.
Bellatrix ended up hanging on by her paw (she wouldn't let me help her - each time I went close she climbed up again) while her foot tried to find the fence. So funny!!
Mac on the bottom branch - shall I jump or not?
And then very casually climbed over the fence into next doors garden.
I was talking to Amy, next door, yesterday and asked if she'd seen the kittens yet. She laughed and told me there have been a few evenings when they've come home and both kittens are in their lounge with their cat, Charlie (yes, we both have cats called Charlie). How embarrassing! They've made themselves at home and go in and out of their cat flap as well as ours - I'm just glad we have neighbours who like cats! I've told her to send them on their way but she says they don't cause a problem. It'll be a different story when Amy's baby is born in May but she says she'll just keep the kitchen door closed. :o)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Should be back soon

I don't have much to say today. Apart from our Monday shop and coffee my day has basically been spent doing tidying and cleaning and I won't bore you with the details ;o). It was lovely to see the sun out and I look forward to more tomorrow when, hopefully, I'll do something more interesting and have something to write about.
And, because I like to have a photo in each post, the one above was taken yesterday - Emily was so excited when she opened the Bovril and this smiley face was inside the lid :o) - we had to take a photo and it may just make one of you smile!

Saturday, 13 March 2010


I sat down with this book, a mug of Spiced Chai Latte and some Bournville chocolate and started reading. I haven't wanted to put the book down. I'm finding it so informative and the style of writing is easy to read. Really enjoying it and looking forward to going and reading some more before bed time.
A couple of you asked about the Moving into Manual class that I mentioned in my last post. I have enjoyed working through it, a lot of the information given I already had a fairly good understanding of but it was putting it all together that seemed to be stumping me. This week, however, it's making more sense and I'm enjoying playing with the different settings and working out the best way of getting the photos I want. I've still got a way to go but I'm feeling a bit more confident now. I have noticed a difference shooting in manual, rather than programme or Av and I think I'm getting a bit more detail in my photos. I may be talking a load of rubbish and it's all wishful thinking ;o) but hopefully progress is being made!
My next step now is to see how I can improve my editing in Photoshop Elements 8 so that my images have the sharpness and crispness that I would like them to have. Anyone know of any good tutorials/classes that it might be worth me looking at?
Now I'm off to read a little bit more before bed.
Have a good evening

Friday, 12 March 2010

Playing with Camera Raw

I've been playing with my camera today and have set it on to RAW to see whether I see much difference. I've also been shooting in manual (after doing the Moving into Manual class on BPS) and just generally playing around. Do I see much difference? At times I think I do. I've felt that some of the photos are sharper but whether that's just because I'm taking more time while I'm taking them and concentrating on my focus points etc., I don't know.
All these photos are taken using natural light (no flash) and just playing with the settings.
I love his colouring, markings and facial expressions ;o)
This afternoon I downloaded the Camera Raw 5.6 upgrade for Photoshop Elements 8 and installed it. I don't know how much difference there is between 5.5 (which is what Elements 8 came with) and 5.6 but I'll be playing around over the weekend to try and find out.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

10 000 Steps and a card

I started wearing my pedometer yesterday so that I could get an idea of how many steps I take in a day. I know that the recommended daily is 10 000 but had no idea how many I might take. So, I took Cloud for her walk, I walked home from town after meeting my friend Sarah for a coffee and I was on my feet around the house and up and down the stairs. I was really shocked when I checked to see how many steps I'd taken just before I went to bed. Only 5 384!! Wow!
Today I've worn it all day again and as I sat down to type this, I took a photo to show how many steps I've taken today.
It's better than yesterday but still nearly 3000 short of the recommended daily. Today I took Cloud for her walk, went into town and walked around town and I've been on my feet most of the day. I'm going to have to look at going for a longer walk or a couple of walks a day just to try and get my step total up more. Do any of you wear a pedometer, do you hit 10 000 steps a day? I'd be interested to know how you reach your target.
To end tonight, a photo of the card I made for a friend's birthday. I think if you click on it you should be able to see it more clearly.
Have a good evening.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Our morning dog walk

On our dog walk this morning I remembered to take my camera. We don't do a terribly long walk but we are lucky that we live in quite pretty surroundings. This field can be seen just down the road from us and a lot of people walk their dogs there. It also stretches up behind the houses just behind us and we can access it from there too.
A little bit further on and you can see the old Manor House through the trees.
This garden is on our route and is well looked after. At the moment the snowdrops are all coming out and there's a mass of white snowdrops just waiting to open.
On the homeward stretch. The red postbox on the right is just behind Mum and Dad's house (their's is the one with the hedge) and this morning Dad was in his bedroom and waved as we walked past. :o)
This was taken once we got home. My face looks quite red but I have to admit that it wasn't particularly from exertion, it was because it was bitterly cold this morning. My nose and chin felt quite numb by the time we got back. This is also why there aren't any more photos, my hands were freezing and I wanted to keep them in my pockets as much as possible. I guess next time I'll have to remember to take my gloves and hat!
I think even Cloud was quite happy to get home - though she knows that she gets a doggy treat once we get inside.