Friday, 30 April 2010

Last day of April

I realise I've been neglecting my blog a bit the last couple of days. Sometimes life takes over and that's the way it goes - it's been one of those times for me :) I've been enjoying being outside in the warmer weather (though it's now changing and becoming cooler again), meeting up with friends for coffee and just doing everyday things.
After visiting a friend this morning, I popped into the butchers on the way home to get some meat for Jon's pepper stew (way too hot for any of the rest of us to eat it!) and picked up a sausage and onion puff for my lunch. I made a salad to have with it and it was delicious! It's also made me realise, ready prepared salad greens that you just take out of the bag are so much easier and quicker ;o) - just added some cherry tomatoes, red pepper, feta, spring onion and avocado -with a drizzle of ranch dressing over the top - yum!!
It's bank holiday weekend this weekend and Jon's looking forward to three days off (though he's been working from home today which saved him another journey). We don't have set plans, had been hoping for a braai but maybe not :o( - we also need to do some tidying in preparation for our next guests arriving next weekend. Busy, busy!! Have a great weekend

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

An outing

I decided last night that I was going to take a trip to The Craft Barn in Lingfield today. I called Mum to see if she wanted a trip out - I knew she'd say yes ;o) - and arranged to pick her up in the morning. We're lucky because The Craft Barn is only 10 - 15 minutes from us but not so lucky in that they don't always have the things we would like. I really wanted to get some more white textured Bazzil cardstock but was out of luck. I did, however, pick up the Martha Stewart butterfly punch that I've been wanting for a while - now I'll have to think of what to use it on! After an hour or so wandering around looking at everything, we headed off to Best Wishes for coffee and a tea cake. This little shop is a treasure trove with lots of odds and ends as well as a good selection of cards.
I've never actually seen anyone sitting at the table outside, but it certainly looks very pretty.
Mum and I always have a good laugh when we go out and today was no exception :o). I decided to try the "stick you arm out and take a photo of yourselves" shot - it didn't work out too badly for a first attempt ;o)
It was such a beautiful day and the trees around the pond were looking really pretty.
This evening it was Claire's turn to have her hair cut - much to her relief as her fringe has been driving her crazy. I took this photo by focusing on Mary and Claire in the mirror.
Jennifer is a little sweetheart and we've known her since she was born. She was quite chatty this evening and I managed to get a few photos of her. Unfortunately, she doesn't stay still for long and most of them were slightly blurred because of movement. I thought this one was quite sweet though and played around with some of the Pioneer Women actions for PSE on it. I'm still very new to playing with actions but enjoying them all the same.
I'm now ready for a slightly earlier night. I haven't had a chance to look at all the blogs I usually look at but hope to catch up tomorrow. Have a great evening.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Updated layout

After posting the layout I decided I wasn't quite happy with it (and not the journaling this time). It didn't seem to feel complete to me. I've now added a pink mat to the photos and journaling and feel much happier. The green is more lime green IRL but it isn't showing it properly in the photo :o(. PS> I have stuck the corners down a bit better now too ;o) xx

Spring Layout

As I lay in bed last night thinking about how much I have been enjoying Spring this year, I thought I should make a layout about it. So, after work this morning I made a start and I've just finished it (in between doing the washing and making lunch ;o) ) With hindsight I would have done the journaling a little differently - so that the brads lined up with the gap between the photos - but I'm not going to redo it now. I'm quite happy with the end result and like the "spring" colours used in it.
We've been waiting and wondering when our Cherry tree would start flowering - no more waiting, this weekend the flowers have started opening :o) Aren't they beautiful!
I hope you're enjoying the weekend too!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Enjoying the weather

Can't believe the weather we've been having and making the most of it :) Love that the leaves have started to come on our Acer
Enjoying a braai (barbecue) with Mum and Dad this afternoon. Yummy!
Have a wonderful weekend wherever you may be :)

Thursday, 22 April 2010

I've had a fairly productive day today :o). The ironing is done, the house has been tidied and vacuumed and I've even managed to do a scrapbook page. We've still got sunshine (woop!!) and I've been enjoying the flowers in the garden as well as my orchids in the kitchen. This orchid has just started blooming again and I like the way you can see the garden behind it in the photo.
The layout I did is super simple. I used one of Cathy Zielske's designs, from her Design Your Life class, which helped it come together really quickly. (I know a lot of Cathy's templates are available over at Designer Digitals if anyone is interested.) It felt good to get some of the photos from Richard and Henry's time with us on to a layout. More to be done and hopefully sooner rather than later!
I really thought after moving my photos to the external hard drive that my computer would be much quicker - unfortunately that hasn't been the case so far. I think I need to get Jon to have a look at it later to see if there's anything else I should be doing. I know there are some updates to go on but Jon normally checks to see which ones I need and which ones I should ignore. Hopefully it'll be a happier computer soon.
Tonight I should get a chance to watch last week's episode of Grey's Anatomy so it's time for me to move away from the computer now ;o) . Hope you have a good evening too :o)
PS> Just looking at the layout on the blog, the background card is more red in real life - not sure why it's showing up quite brown :o(

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

I've been tagged

Karen at Random Reflections tagged me on her blog last week. I've been a bit slow getting round to writing this post but here goes :) Ten things that make me happy:
  • Family Jon and I both have large families (Jon was one of 10 children and I was one of 5) and we enjoy getting together with them. Unfortunately some of the family live overseas and we don't get to see them as often as we would like but when we do, we make the most of it.
  • Friends I've never been one to have lots of friends, I tend to have a smaller group of friends that I enjoy getting together with. Growing up I had one or two close friends, the number grew as I got older but I can still count good friends on my hands.
  • Photography My Dad has always been a keen photographer and I think I picked up my love of photography from him. I certainly remember having a camera from a young age and taking loads of photographs. Nothing has changed, apart from the cameras ;o), I still love to take photos and consider them one of my most treasured possessions. One of my worst nightmares would be to lose my photos.
  • The Seasons Growing up just outside Durban in South Africa, we had warm weather virtually all year round. I didn't own a coat until I came to live in the UK. Now, I love the changing seasons - Spring and Autumn for the colour they bring and Summer for the warmth (hopefully). Winter I enjoy until we get to about February and then I'm ready for Spring to start ;o)
  • Warmth My circulation is not very good (hence the chilblains) so I love warmth. Not central heating but warm sunshine. I love walking barefoot on warm grass and by February that is what I long for. Once the sun starts shining and warming up, the socks and shoes come off and sandals/flip flops take their place (again, hence the chilblains ;o) )
  • A good book While we were growing up, Mum was the chief librarian in New Germany. We spent a number of hours in the library - after school, during the holidays, etc. We got to read the new books first and loved when there was a book exchange. I find it strange that I don't use the library here more often - perhaps it's because I forget to return the books on time and end up with fines!
  • Crafting Again, for almost as long as I can remember I've enjoyed different crafts. My main ones at the moment are sewing, knitting and scrapbooking. Quilting and patchwork and Scrapbooking are the ones I've picked up in the past few years and I'm so glad I did!
  • Travel My first overseas trip was when I was 22. I flew from SA to the UK on my own, I met relatives I hadn't seen since I was 3 and did a Kontiki tour around Europe for two weeks. I saw so many places and it was such a wonderful experience. Since moving to the UK we've still managed to do some travelling but not for the last few years :o(
  • A job well done This may seem a strange thing to put down but doing or making something that turns out well makes me very happy. I get great satisfaction from I job I consider to be well done.
  • Being outside Back to the weather ;o). Having grown up in South Africa, most of my childhood was spent outside. I don't remember having lots of toys because we didn't need them. We had our bicycles and would ride around the neighbourhood and went on "adventures" with our friends. As I grew up time was still spent outside, at the pool, on the beach, out and about with friends. To this day, when the weather is warm enough, we spend a lot of time outside having braai's with family and friends or just sitting in the garden. I love it!

Five Random Facts

  • I was born in Scotland and moved to South Africa with my parents and siblings when I was three years old. I lived in South Africa for 26 years before moving back to England.
  • I used to be a very organised person before I had children. Somehow it all went downhill but I would love to be organised again ;o)
  • I enjoy my own company. I can spend hours on my own without ever being bored. I enjoy the times when I have the house to myself and will happily switch off all tvs/radios/music to have peace and quiet.
  • As a child/young adult, I used to blush terribly. Needless to say this used to be a great source of amusement for some of my friends/work colleagues who would say things just to make me blush. I'm glad I've outgrown that phase (most of the time).
  • I started crocheting when I was about 8 or 9 and used to crochet baby matinee jackets and sell them to the teachers in my Primary School.

I'm supposed to tag 5 people but seeing as Karen and I read a lot of the same blogs, I'm going to leave this one open to anyone who would like to give it a go. If you take part please leave me a comment so that I can come and read your post :o). Thank you Karen, I thought it was going to be more difficult but it was fun!


Tuesday, 20 April 2010


This morning Claire had her first midwife appointment. Her midwife, Jenny, seems really nice and confirmed Claire is now 10 weeks pregnant. She went through all the paperwork and chats and rearranged the scan date for 06 May (as 24 May would make her nearly 16 weeks, not 12). It brought back lots of memories, doesn't seem that long ago that I was going through my pregnancy with Emily - amazing how 13 years seems like yesterday! Nowadays you have to go to the hospital for blood tests so, once we'd finished the midwife appointment, we headed down to Haywards Heath for Claire to get the blood tests out the way seeing as she had the day off work. We thought seeing as 10 weeks is quarter of the way through the pregnancy we'd take a bump photo ;o)
Can we really call this a bump??? ;o)
Unfortunately, the ironing hadn't disappeared while I was out so I made a start on it when we got home. The basket on the right has been emptied and put away and the one on the left is about half done but I've since brought in the washing that was on the line today so it's crept up a bit again. It never ends!
I think Emily was glad to get home after her first day back at school. She thought it was extremely unfair that they started athletics in PE today and she had to do a lot of running! I'm afraid Emily is very like her mother and not terribly sporty - sorry Emily!
They're predicting more nice weather for tomorrow so I think I'll be taking Mum and Dad out to a garden centre. I know Dad wants to get some compost and Jon's asked me to pick some up for him too. I imagine a stop at the coffee shop will be in order too ;o)

Monday, 19 April 2010

Our weekend

The weekend seemed to fly by; the weather was great, we got to sit outside a lot as well as getting things done around the house. One of my jobs was to move my photos on to my new hard drive. I ordered a 1TB External Hard Drive which arrived on Saturday morning. It took about an hour and a half to copy my photos over from my computer (over 25 000 photos) and even though I checked, and double checked, that they'd transferred over properly, I still put off deleting them from my computer - until Jon said he would do it ;o). I now want to back up everything on to discs to be on the safe side. My biggest nightmare is losing all my photos!
As I said, we spent a lot of time outside over the weekend. We had Jon's sister, Deb, and her husband Dave round for a braai (barbecue). I forgot to take photos until it was time for pudding (meringue nests with strawberries and cream). I haven't been doing so well at documenting my week so I think I'll have to adapt it to suit me.
My guilty pleasure on Saturday evening was Haribo Mini Jelly Babies - my favourite!
Sunday morning I woke up with a thumping headache. Fortunately the tablets starting helping quite quickly and I sat outside to have my breakfast and flip through one of my photography books.
Our azalea has started flowering and the flowers are bigger than I remember them being last year. It looks like we're going to have a bush full of flowers again this year. I'm really enjoying seeing all the plants turning green again, watching the hostas and the lillies pushing through the ground and the garden slowly come to life again. I love this time of year - especially when we've got sunshine as well!
I was out and about this morning but when I finally got home after lunch it was still warm enough for me to hang the clothes on the line - and for them to dry. I'm loving these sunny days and hoping they last for a while yet!
Emily goes back to school tomorrow so I really need to have an earlier night tonight so that I'm up at 6am. I've got used to having an extra hour in bed in the morning and going to bed later but I need to switch back to school mode now. It's been a lovely break and I know it won't be too long before they're on half term again.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Thank you, Amy

A big Thank You to Amy (and her lovely little assistant) for the template I was lucky enough to win. I liked it when Amy first showed it and when I got my email telling me I'd won I couldn't wait to use it myself. After the scan this morning I knew what my first layout would be and this afternoon I completed it. The template was easy to use and I'm so pleased with the way the layout came together. I hope I've done your template justice Amy - I know I'm going to get lots of use out of it! Thanks once again and enjoy your weekend. xx


Claire and I spent most of this morning sitting at the hospital waiting for her to have a scan. She's had a couple of hiccups during the past week and the Doctor wanted to see that everything was ok. I'm glad to say that it's all fine, they measured the baby at 26mm which makes her about 9 weeks and 3 days and the baby should be due around the 17 November. It was a huge relief to see the little heart beating and know that all is well. First scan photo and for those of you who are as good as me at making out these photos, the head is on the left hand side.
I don't think Claire and I stopped smiling all the way back! We picked up Emily and took Claire out to get some lunch before she headed back to work.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Ali's "Week in the Life" project

As a number of you will know, next week Ali Edwards is running her "Week in the Life" project (for those who don't know about it you can see what it's about here). I had been thinking about playing along but next week isn't looking terribly exciting at the moment so I decided I'd start my week a bit earlier - like today! I've just downloaded about 70+ photos taken today - random everyday things. I haven't edited them yet and I've still to weed out which ones I won't be using. I have a couple of ideas about what I might want to do to document it but won't concentrate on that until I've completed the week.
This is a glimpse of what my day has entailed:
Took Claire to work and then carried on to Wetherspoons to meet the coffee ladies for breakfast. Emily came with me.
Home to hang out the washing and pick up Claire's coat and straighteners.
Lunch at Starburger with Hugh, Claire and Emily.
Took Hugh to the station to go up to Sarah's (in London).
Picked up Emily from Waterstones.
Phoned the Vets about Cloud.
Phoned Specsavers to make an appointment for Hugh.
Text Mary back about haircuts.
Caught up on some blog reading.
Look on Genes Reunited to find out date and place of Aunt Mavis's marriage.
Ordered External Hard Drive and photography book from Amazon.
Sorted out My Favourites on my computer, deleted any I no longer read.
Went to Vets to pick up more antibiotics for Cloud.
Made dinner for Jon.
Downloaded my PDFs from Ella Publishing.
Emily has Davina over for a sleepover.
Downloaded my photos for the day.
Edited a couple but lots more to go through.
Wrote this blog post.
I'm looking forward to trying to keep this up all week. Anyone else fancy giving it a go??

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

We didn't get there

It reverted back to being quite cold this morning, the heating went back on and after some discussion Emily decided she would rather stay at home than go to movies. I caught up on some reading (though there were plenty of other things I could have been doing!) and Emily brought her laptop downstairs. We sat with our feet under the fleece to keep warm. My chilblains are back with a vengence - possibly because I've been wearing flip flops for the last week :oS As soon as the sun comes out I don't want to wear socks and shoes anymore, I want it to be warm enough for me to wear sandals or flip flops. I guess it might not have been quite as warm as I was hoping because my toes are really sore now. I was going to post a photo of them but then thought better of it -I do still want you to come back and read my blog after all ;o)
Although we didn't get to movies we did get to go and visit friends this afternoon, great to catch up as we hadn't seen each other for a while :o)

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

99 Flake

Today, although there was a cool breeze, we had "99 Flake" ice creams from the ice cream van this afternoon. Emily and I sat outside to eat them but it's now getting cooler so I've come inside. Quiet day today, spent the morning catching up on ironing from the last week. It took a while but it's finally done and I can forget about it again. Still trying to decide what we're going to have for dinner tonight, we're down to just Jon, Emily and I as Hugh is working and Claire's going to Craig's. I guess this is what happens as your children grow up ;o).
Emily and I are hoping to see either The Blind Side (which Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for) or Dear John tomorrow. Have any of you seen either? Are they any good? We tend to wait for movies to come out on DVD but seeing as Emily is still on holiday this week we thought it might be good to actually go to movies for a change! Will let you know if we get there ;o)

Monday, 12 April 2010

Gift card envelope and kittens

Life is busy at the moment, lots going on but I am back to having little room on my computer so I haven't been editing all my photos. I hope to order an external hard drive this week and then I should be back in business :o). In the meantime, I'll continue using photos I've already edited and hope they don't run out too soon.
I meant to show this little gift card envelope I made for Claire's birthday and then missed it out somehow! I had kept the paper template I made when I made Sarah's envelope which made making this one so much easier. I kept it simple but stuck with the polka dots ( see wrapping paper underneath the envelope) and used some thickers letters I had already. The flower was made using my favourite punches and both sides of the patterned paper. Claire loved it, which was the main thing, and has decided she's going to frame it ;o)
Our weekend has been fairly busy. We had beautiful weather and managed to get a braai (barbeque) in on Saturday. Unfortunately I didn't think to take any photos at the time! Too busy organising food etc. It was so good to be able to sit outside and eat, lots more of that to come I hope!
More kitten photos now. In the top one we think Bellatrix had been stung by a bumble bee. She thinks it's great fun to pounce on them and play with them but this time I think the bumble bee got the upper paw! She came limping inside, jumped on the sofa and tucked her sore paw under her chin and went to sleep :o(
Maybe it'll teach her not to play with bumble bees in future!
We can see now why the Cats Protection people didn't want these two seperated when they homed them. We often find them lying curled up together - sometimes in the weirdest positions - but they are so cute. In the top one they were enjoying the sunshine lying in the flower bed.
And here curled up on the sofa! We do have another one where it looks like Bellatrix is about to bit Mac's neck - it would fit in well with Mel's recent posts which included mention of dracula ;o)
Hope to have some of the more recent photos up soon.
Happy Birthday once again to my nephew, Max, who turned 19 today.

Friday, 9 April 2010

20 Today

Today is Claire's 20th birthday - no longer a teenager! We now only have one teenager left in the house ;o). Birthdays here always start with present opening first thing in the morning but Claire kindly let Emily sleep in a little later than she would normally because it's still school holidays. Jon had arranged to work from home so he was also here to see Claire open her presents.
The cupcake balloon was a big hit! Claire likes to open the cards first and then starts on the presents.
She had really enjoyed Doctor Parnassus when she saw it at movies and was glad she got the DVD.
Showing the mobile phone charm she got for her charm bracelet.
We normally go out for dinner as a family when it's someones birthday but as Claire is going out with friends for dinner tonight, the family went to Prezzo for lunch. As always the food was delicious (but I forgot to take any photos!)
Jon toasts Claire with his coke.
Sarah and Hugh
We hadn't been home long before it was time for extended family to come round for coffee and cake.
Jon brings in the birthday cake
Tyler was on hand to help blow out all the candles ;o)
We've had lovely weather for the last couple of days and are making the most of it, so we sat outside to have our cake.
Tyler has such an active imagination and spent the afternoon happily amusing himself (and anyone else who was prepared to listen)
Alyssa was looking very cute (as always) and happily sat on her great grandmothers lap, chewing her hands ;o)
Look at that smile - she's such a happy little girl!
In this photo Tyler was showing me his potion to make it warmer. One of his imaginary games - as well as working on a building site, dusting a sattelite, swimming in the sea and I'm sure there a few more this afternoon. Love a child with an imagination!
Claire is now getting ready to go out for her Cowboy themed dinner - I believe she'll be wearing a stetson, checked shirt, jeans and boots! Enjoy the rest of your birthday Claire. We love you lots xxxxx