Sunday, 31 October 2010

Skinny Mini classes

I signed up for Kim Klassen's free Skinny Mini class a little while ago and although I've been getting the emails, I haven't had a chance to look into them - until today!  I've been playing with the layers menu to get different effects and this is one I quite like.
 Before photo
After a few layers & adjustments

I like the way that just by adding a few layers and adjustments, it can make the photo pop more.  I should have learnt all this sort of thing a long time ago but once I was happy with what I was doing I didn't really delve too much deeper in Photoshop Elements. Now I'm glad that I've signed up for this class because I'm learning little bits here and there along the way which are sure to help me down the line.

Off to view another of her video tutorials :o)

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Update for the week

It's been a fairly busy week with Emily being on half term, Claire on maternity leave, Jon's birthday, some ebay selling and an exciting purchase for me ;)
 Let's start at the beginning though. As I mentioned in a previous post, it was Alyssa's 1st birthday on Monday and then it was Jon's ?? birthday on Tuesday. Claire and I went to the South African shop in Redhill and got Jon some Castle beers, biltong, peri peri spice and a couple of other bits as part of his present. (As usual when we go to the South African shop, we also bought some curry powder, chocolate, crisps, etc., etc. ;o)  It's fatal!!  )  Jon had arranged to work from home that day, so didn't have his usual commute to work, which made it a more relaxing day for him. In the evening Jon, Emily and I went to our favourite Indian restaurant for dinner but by the time we got home we were all so full, Jon decided against doing his birthday cake. We made up for it on Wednesday though and he blew out his candles when he got home from work.
 Wednesday was also the day we had to wait in for the delivery of the pram, car seat and cot mattress. It was due anytime between 8am and 6pm but fortunately got to us just after lunch.  Claire unpacked everything and set up the pram - she says she needs the practice so she knows what she's doing once Alice is here ;o)
 We did wonder if the neighbours curtains were twitching when we went out to try fitting the car seat in my car - again to make sure we know what we're doing for bringing Alice home from the hospital. Luckily it's fairly straight forward so I don't think we'll have any trouble.  I can't believe it's only 16 days till due date - eek!! ;o)
 As I mentioned at the top of the post, Emily has been on half term this week. We've enjoyed not having to get up at 6am (or earlier in her case) and having a chance to relax a bit. She was finishing off some homework this afternoon but I think she's about done now.
 She's also been playing her guitar a bit and on Tuesday went to a band practice with some of her friends. By the sounds of it they didn't do a lot of practicing that day but they had a great time hanging out together.
 This is my exciting purchase :o)  :o)      I put my 400D and 40D on ebay as well as one of my zoom lenses, in the hope that I would raise enough money to be able to go and buy this one. I got nearly enough to cover it and Jon said to go ahead. Why did I need this camera when the others were doing a good job?? This one has video as well as a better spec for photos. I'm thinking that the video is going to come in very handy once Alice is here and I'll be able to post little bits here on the blog too :o)  I'm still working my way around the camera but, so far, it seems pretty straight forward. I'm waiting for a better spec SDHC card to arrive so I can shoot the video and after that I'll have to get Emily to come and give me some lessons in video editing and posting. So glad she knows what to do :o)
And this little man is just the cuddliest, most affectionate cat! He comes and curls up next to me on the sofa in the evenings and is happiest being stroked and cuddled (but don't pick him up!). He was curled up right against me in this photo but when I called his name he looked up and I got this shot. Sweet boy!

I'm now off to watch X Factor. Hopefully I'll get to post more regularly but we've got a lot of little bits to do before baby arrives so please bear with me.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Loving this song at the moment.

Friday, 29 October 2010


Sorry it's later than promised, but the next recipient of "Where Women Create" is Amy! Amy, please send me your address and I'll get it on it's way to you as soon as possible.

Sorry I don't have a good story of how the name was chosen, no clever hamsters or cute little children ;o), the names were put in a bowl, held above Claire's head and she had to put her hand in and pick one out. Worked just as well :o)

I do have some more photos to post and hope to get them up later today.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

37 weeks

Being Monday (yesterday) it had to mean it was time for the weekly pregnancy photo update ;o)
 Claire is now 37 weeks pregnant and her due date is only 20 days from today. Claire has such a compact "little" bump but it is certainly solid and getting heavy and a bit uncomfortable now.
 On Sunday night she was very restless, popping up to unstack and restack the dishwasher while we were watching X Factor, and just didn't seem to be settling properly. I wondered if it was a sign that something was about to happen but she's still here ;o).  Yesterday was a hormonal day emotionally and in the afternoon Claire took herself off to bed for a nap while Emily and I went to Alyssa's little birthday tea. She felt much better when she woke up so obviously needed the rest.
And because Craig was laughing at Claire having to go outside in the cold for me to take photos, I  made him come out and have his photo taken with her :o)   He'll learn ;o)

PS> Don't forget, there's still time to leave a comment on this post if you'd like your name to go in the draw for the Book Pass. I'll be drawing a name on Thursday and hope to post the lucky recipient's name on Thursday afternoon/evening.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Alyssa's first steps

Video courtesy of Emily =)

Look who turned 1!!

Alyssa turned ONE today!!
I can't believe how quickly this last year has gone, it doesn't seem that long ago that we were driving down to the hospital to meet the latest addition to the family. And now, it won't be long before we're going to the hospital again but this time we'll go going to meet our grandchild :)  So excited!! Back to Alyssa's big day though!
 She was interested in her presents and even tried to help open them (with a little bit of help from Mummy)
 (And a bit more help from big brother, Tyler!)
 For a while she took herself off for some time out, to survey the scene and take in how many people were there.
 Great Grandma's present was a hit as she's starting to enjoy putting shapes into holes.
 Her little friend, Peter, was on hand to help with the birthday celebrations.
 And she was more than happy to go to Daddy when he got home.
Though Mummy is always a favourite :)

What made the day even more special is that she started to walk. Theresa said she had taken a couple of steps on her own before but wouldn't just go. Today she started walking between her Daddy and me and then a bit later between her Mummy and me. Now that she's started I'm sure it won't be long before she's walking all over the place! 

Emily (who also started walking on her 1st birthday) managed to capture some of her first steps on her little video camera. Once she's edited it I'll put it up on the blog because it's too cute!!

Book Pass

As any of you who read my blog will know, last month I was the lucky one chosen to receive this book in the Book Pass started by Sian at From High in the Sky. Sandi at Living Life One Blessing at a Time was the first to get the book and she then passed it on to me. I've had a great time looking through it but it's now time for me to pass it on to the next person. 
If you would like a chance to get some inspiration from this book, leave me a comment and I'll choose the next recipient on the 28th.  Good luck :)

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Let's Eat Blog Hop - Curried Sausages

If you've come to my blog for the first time by following the Let's Eat Blog Hop, welcome!  You're likely to have come here from Cate's blog and I hope you'll enjoy the recipe I've got to share. When Amy suggested a blog hop where we all get to share a favourite recipe, I was more than ready to join in. If you haven't come here from Cate's blog but would like to carry on with the blog hop, you can either follow on to Deb's blog and keep going until you get back here or a full list of participating bloggers can be found on Amy's site. Enjoy!

The recipe I'm sharing today is one that I've developed over time but came about because I remember my Mum making Curried Sausages when we lived in South Africa. However, when I asked her for a recipe she couldn't remember how she'd made them and hence, my own version.
 You don't need many ingredients: Sausages, chopped onion, Oxo beef stock cubes, curry powder and tomato and herb sauce.  Quantities vary depending on how many sausages you're cooking so I'll give the amounts I use for 12 sausages and you can vary it to your taste.
 Firstly, fry 1 chopped onion in a little olive oil until onion begins to brown.
 Add in 2 tsp of Medium curry powder (I use Rajah Medium Curry Powder which I buy from the South Africa shop) and 3 Oxo beef stock cubes, crumbled.
 Stir it all together
 Then add the Tomato and Herb sauce ( I use 290g jar of Sainsbury's Tomato and Herb Pasta Sauce) and I normally half fill the jar with water and add that too.
 Let it cook for approx. 5 minutes
 In our household I then blend the sauce mixture (I have fussy children) and return it to the pot.
 Add the sausages to the mix, cover and leave to simmer for 20 - 30 minutes
 Until the sausages are cooked through.
Serve on a bed of rice and enjoy!

I look forward to hearing from anyone who may try the recipe out :)

Now it's time for you to move on to Deb at Paper Turtle for the next link in the blog hop. I'm sure she'll have another delicious recipe waiting for you.


Thursday, 21 October 2010


Today was spent shopping for last bits and pieces for Claire's hospital bag. 
We went into Crawley and started our day with breakfast at Debenhams before hitting the shops. Claire made a start on some Christmas shopping for Baby :o) and, needless to say, I got a couple of things as well ;o).  The morning flew past and it was nearly 2pm by the time we got home. Just a couple of things to pick up locally tomorrow morning and she'll be set to go at a moment's notice.

This evening was Emily's parents evening at school and I'm so glad I'd asked her to book appointments for as early as possible. We started at 4.35pm and finished at 6.15pm. We got to see a few extra teachers (that Emily hadn't got appointments with) and all the ones she had booked me in to see. The report back from each and every one was excellent. I'm so proud of her and the way she applies herself to her school work. She enjoys learning (and has done since she was little) and enjoys doing well in her subjects. After half term we'll have an evening at the school to look at all the options she has for her GCSEs. She's in a position where all the teachers would like her to choose their subject as a GCSE and she's battling as she would like to do more GCSEs than she has options. She's going to have to give it careful consideration before handing in her final selection just before Christmas. Well done Emily and keep up the good work :o)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Happy Birthday, Craig!

 Today is Craig's birthday and it's the first time he's had to deal me taking photos while presents are being opened ;o)
 He doesn't particularly enjoy having his photo taken - and probably enjoys it even less so early in the morning  - but he was a good sport about it.
 I think he liked the presents he got - especially chocolate ones as he has a big sweet tooth ;o)
And once he'd finished opening everything he agreed to let me take a photo with him looking at the camera (probably so I'd leave him alone lol!)
Happy Birthday Craig, hope you enjoy your day!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

36 weeks and counting

Claire was 36 weeks yesterday and we've decided to take a photo a week up till her due date or till Alice is born - whichever comes first :)

Claire saw the midwife this afternoon, baby's head is down, heartbeat is strong and she's not back to back which is good. I asked the midwife if she had any idea what size baby she might be and she said if she goes to term and baby continues to put on weight as expected, she could be at the top end of 8 lbs. She did say it's just her estimation but seeing as all my babies were 8lb-ers, she could well be right. Hugh was 8 1/2 pounds, Claire was 8 lbs and Emily was 8 13 1/2.  Guess we won't have to wait too long to find out :)
However, we did say in the car home that it might be a good idea to get all the 0 - 3 month clothes out and washed just to be on the safe side.
And I'll leave you with this photo, taken this evening. The weather has been quite changeable today and after some heavy rain this rainbow appeared in the sky.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Any idea ...

what I'm hoping to get started on today? ;o)  I haven't planned to do anything else and hope to make a good start on it.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Thursday evening

I think these are likely to be the last roses we have for this year. The yellow rose has flowered three times and the peach one is on it's second round. 

 The scent from these roses is wonderful and as the bush is right outside our back door, I like nothing better than to walk outside and smell them :o)
 This little peach rose was bought after Jon's mother passed away. It's flowered each year but this year it hasn't looked as healthy as in previous years. I think it may need a good trim next year so we can get it back in good "health".
And finally, this arrived in the post the other day. I'm so looking foward to getting some time so I can sit down and watch it - not sure when that will happen though!

Finally, we heard tonight that Jon's brother Nick had a heart attack today. He's in hospital and they've put a stent in to open the arteries. We've been told he's likely to be in hospital for at least the next four days. Please keep him in your thoughts/prayers.  Thank you x

Getting ready

Claire's started packing her hospital bag :o)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Sunday afternoon walk

On Sunday Emily said she'd like to come with me when I took Cloud for a walk - which to me = I can take my camera and get a few photos :o)  The weather was beautiful and it was such a pleasure to be out walking - unlike today when it feels rather chilly and I've been putting off going out!

These red leaves looked stunning against the blue sky.
 We walked down the road where my brother lives and the sun was just catching these houses as it started to set.
 Emily noticed the light in these trees - so pretty.
 And some hints of red as we start on our way home again.
 St Swithun's church tower can be seen all around East Grinstead.
This photo makes me laugh!  Cloud is normally quite fussy and likes me to hold her lead when we go out for a walk and she walks right next to me most of the time. However, because I was taking photos, Emily was holding the lead. For this shot I told Emily to wait down the hill while I ran up to take the photo but Cloud wasn't having it and came running after me until her lead ran out and she couldn't go any further lol! Emily just stood laughing as I tried to get the photo ;o)
 You can see our house as you walk into our road.
And we go down the side path and in the gate behind the house.  
Now I need to brace myself and go out for a walk with Cloud, who has been waiting patiently all morning while I've been taking photos for the Food Blog Hop - coming up soon.