Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Photo a Day : 30 May 2012

30 May 2012

As I type this post, Hugh is out having a drink with his friends to celebrate becoming a qualified Personal Trainer.  He's had an interest in fitness for a little while now and had gradually been researching stuff on the internet and building a training programme for himself.  The more he got in to it, the more he realised this was something he would like to do professionally.

Over the past 6 weeks he has studied like I have never seen him study before.  It has been intense and, I think at times exhausting, but he has loved it and  he has learnt so much. Today he had his final assessment and passed. He is now keen to get started, keen to build up a client base and keen to do and teach something that he really enjoys.  We're really pleased for him and super proud!

Well done, Hugh!

 I also need to say thank you to him for letting me take his photo this evening. He was tired  and felt he wasn't looking his best but he humoured me :)


Photo a Day : 29 May 2012

29 May 2012
I took Claire to the Princess Royal hospital for blood tests yesterday. Alice fell asleep on the way there so I sat in the car with her while Claire went in.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Photo a Day : 27 & 28 May 2012

 27 May 2012
A self portrait (unfortunately not in focus!) Another day where it got up to 28C and I was able to sit outside to eat my lunch.

28 May 2012
 My niece, Theresa, brought Alyssa and a little girl she looks after round to play with Alice in the morning.  Alice was so excited when I told her Alyssa was coming and apparently Alyssa felt the same about coming to see Alice :).  I can see that these two little girls could become good friends as they get older.  One of the few things I sometimes think we missed out on by growing up in South Africa was the fact that we never got to know our cousins very well.  I'm really hoping that Alice will enjoy having family around her as she grows up.


Sunday, 27 May 2012

Photo a Day : 26 May 2012 & a few birthday photos

As I mentioned earlier in the week, this weekend saw me celebrating a significant birthday ;o)  As you can see, it was the big 5-0!  I'd like to say thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes, both here and on Facebook, I really appreciated them and felt quite special :)

 We started bright and early with Claire and Alice arriving at 7.30am - with a birthday balloon and big badge  just to make sure I remembered how old I was (not really - Claire loves birthdays and wanted to add some fun!)
 We had a great morning, having breakfast together and playing with Alice.  Jon went off to get the last minute shopping for the birthday tea in the afternoon while we stayed home and "relaxed".
 I was so pleased I got to spend time with my beautiful granddaughter before she went off to have some fun with her Daddy.
 In the afternoon we had the family round for afternoon tea. Most of us live within a short drive from each other but  Michelle, Matthew, Josh and Lily have an hour and a half + journey to make so I was really pleased they were able to come.
 Emily and Claire with my sister, Kay and her granddaughter, Alyssa.
 Isn't she growing up so fast and she's so cute!
 Emily took a break from revising to spend some time with everyone.
 Emily, Claire and Alyssa
 My Mum
 Lily (who was 6 months old on Friday!)
 Michelle, Matthew and Lily
And finally, I mentioned before on the blog that my nephew, Kyle and his fiance, Emma had got engaged.  Emma had been waiting for her ring to be ready and finally got to go and get it on Saturday morning. It is absolutely beautiful and she can finally get to show it off.

Unfortunately I didn't get photos of everyone who was there because I was busy enjoying the afternoon and not concentrating on taking photos so much. So, to those who aren't featured in this post, I apologise but thank you for being there to help me celebrate, I had a lovely day.


Photo a Day : 25 May 2012

We've been having some wonderful weather recently, with temperatures up to 26C.  It's felt really warm and we've been conscious of making sure Alice has enough to drink. Whenever Emily gets home from school, the first thing Alice asks for is her water bottle with juice in it, which is in her school bag. On Friday I had an empty water bottle in the kitchen so I rinsed it out and put some juice in it for Alice - she was more than happy to drink from it and I didn't have to worry about her not getting enough fluids.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Photo a Day : 23 & 24 May 2012

This week has been a bit higgildy piggildy because Claire didn't work her normal days.  She normally works Monday, Wednesday and Friday but this week was asked if she could change and work Tuesday instead of Wednesday.  This means I haven't had Alice for the last couple of days. The weather has been wonderful and I have made the most of it by sitting outside and having my lunch. However, I haven't been that good at taking photos so I'm going to have to make do with what I have.

23 May 2012
Yesterday I made another trip to Sainsbury's for a top up shop - fruit, veg and baking supplies. These roses on special caught my eye as I walked through the door and I decided to treat myself. 

24 May 2012
This photo was taken this evening when Jon got home from work. Whenever we have decent weather he likes to head outside to check for any last emails.

I spent most of the day in the kitchen baking today. I haven't mentioned, up until now, that I have a rather significant birthday coming up this weekend ;o) and, seeing as I have Alice tomorrow, I thought I'd better make a start on some baking.  It probably wasn't the best day to do it as the temperature was up to about 26C. Add to that the oven being on in the kitchen and it was quite warm!  However, I'm glad to have made a start and there are just a couple more bakes to make either tomorrow night or Saturday morning.  We have the family coming round on Saturday afternoon for a birthday tea and I'm hoping the weather will hold so we can sit outside.

Do you have anything nice planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Thank you, Deb!

Deb at Deb's World has very kindly given my blog an award :) Thank you so much, Deb!

From what I understand, this award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers and I need to pass it on to five more bloggers.  

It also comes with a to do list :)
  1. You have to link back to the person who gave it to you. 
  2. Post the award on your blog.
  3. Give the award to 5 of your favourite bloggers (with 200 followers or less).  
  4. Then leave a comment for each of the bloggers you have chosen so that they know they have received it.
And so, on to the bloggers I would like to pass the award on to :
  1. Amy at Over at our Place.  I love stopping in at Amy's place to see what she and the family have been up to.  Her photography is stunning and her scrapbooking is my style of scrapbooking and has been known to inspire me to make a layout (which is quite something in itself).
  2. Jacky over at Scrappy Jacky is next.  Jacky is a prolific card maker and scrapbooker and I love seeing what she's made.  Jacky and I also both became grandparents around the same time so I love getting a glimpse of little Miss A.
  3. The next award is for Karen at Random Reflections. Karen's cards are beautiful, as are her scrapbook pages, and I love her photography.  Karen is also a fairly new grandmother and I'm enjoying seeing her grandchildren grow.  
  4. Karen blog, Tales from the Scrapheap, is another favourite. Again, I enjoy seeing the projects Karen makes. When I read about Karen's daughter, Gracia, it makes me think of Emily - they seem to be similar in many ways.
  5. And finally, although Mel at I Speak Melsh, isn't posting as often as she used to at the moment, I love when her blog pops up to the top of my reading list and I can go and see what she's been up to.  
I'm happy to say, all the things on the to do list are about to be ticked off.


Photo a Day 22 May 2012

22 May 2012
 Claire had agreed to swap shifts with one of her colleagues yesterday so I had Alice for the day.  Yesterday afternoon got really warm and my Dad thought he'd come and put a few plants in the garden for me.  Alice wanted to know where (Great) Grandpa had gone so we went out in to the garden as well.  She was absolutely delighted when Grandpa filled her little watering can for her so she could play in the water.
 She splashed her hands around in it saying "splash, splash" 
 I think in this one she was marvelling at the fact that Great Grandpa had by now filled the watering can a number of times for her ;o)   Isn't it wonderful how a little bit of water can make a child's day!
I have to add that by the time she'd finished playing with the water she was absolutely soaked and I was glad I'd stripped her down to her vest before she started - at least she had a dry t-shirt to put on afterwards :o)
And you may have noticed her little nose was looking quite red in the above photos.  While playing outside a bit earlier Alice had tripped over on the patio and, unfortunately, her nose took the brunt of it :o(   Luckily it doesn't seem to bother her and it certainly didn't put her off going out again.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Photo of the day 21 May 2012

21 May 2012

Michelle sent me a photo today showing Josh dressed for the Jubilee celebrations at his school :).

I've had to crop it to get it to a size I can use but I love it!  Thanks Michelle :)

Chocolate Cake Recipe

I showed this photo of the cake Emily and I made last Sunday in a previous blog post and said I'd post the recipe once I'd got it from Emily (who found it on the internet).  This evening we looked it up again and here it is.

Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas 4

6 oz (175g) castor sugar
3 oz (75g) margarine or butter
2 large eggs, beaten
5 oz (140g) self raising flour
1/2 oz (15g) cocoa
2 tbsps milk
2 tbsps boiling water
(Note:  We increased the cocoa powder to 25g and decreased the self raising flour to 130g)

Grease 2 x 8" cake tins.

In a large bowl, cream the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy.
Add the beaten egg and beat well.
Sieve the cocoa and flour and gently fold into the butter and egg mixture.
Add the milk and boiling water and stir well.
Divide the mixture between the two tins and gently spread to create a smooth surface.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
Leave in the tin for a few minutes.
Remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, decorate as desired.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I melted a slab of Bournville chocolate and a little butter (sorry, didn't measure how much - maybe about 30 - 50g) in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Once it had melted it was still a little bit thicker than I wanted to I added a little milk to thin to the consistency I wanted.  I used this to put between the cakes and over the top.

Next, make a cup of tea/coffee, cut yourself a slice and enjoy :)


Sunday, 20 May 2012

17 - 19 May 2012

17 May 2012
I had a run around day on Thursday.  Claire had to have a blood test done first thing in the morning to see if she's anaemic. We then went to Starbucks (attached to Sainsbury's) so she could have something to eat before doing her weekly shop.  Alice and I went for a wander round Sainsbury's and left Claire too it :)  
I then popped round to help my Dad fill in some paperwork for a policy which has just matured in South Africa. Once we'd completed it we had to go to a Solicitors to get it certified and then go back to the house to scan and email it all over to SA.  
I went home for a quick lunch before taking Claire back up to the Dr's for an appointment where we found out that she's not anaemic but does have quite low blood pressure - which could be why she's been feeling faint at work when she's on her feet for too long.
And finally, back to Dad's to resend all the paperwork as the files had been too big to be accepted at the other end and then home to make dinner. 
I'm just really glad I remembered to take a photo in amongst it all!

18 May 2012 
 We're all trying to eat more healthily in our house at the moment.  Fruit has become the go to food if we fancy a snack and I'm certainly noticing how much we go through now.  This solitary grapefruit was all that was left in the fruit bowl on Friday night - lucky I go shopping on Saturday morning :).  This week we went through 5 bags of oranges, 4 bags of fruit, 3 bunches of bananas, 2 punnets of grapes, 3 grapefruit and 2 lemons.

19 May 2012
I don't feel like my weekends have really started until after Mum and I have done our weekly grocery shop and had our Starbucks. After lunch Norma called me on Skype and we got to have a long chat, which was really nice.  In the evening, while watching a couple of programme's I'd recorded on Sky+, I carried on with the latest little jumper I'm knitting.

I haven't taken a photo for today yet and I'm not sure what I'm going to take it of. I had been going to take one of my desk but I don't think I want to remember the state it's in ;o)   I've spent this afternoon bringing my Project Life album up to date.  I know I don't show it on here but it's going well and I'm glad I'm hanging in there!

Have you been up to anything nice this weekend?


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Photo a Day

12 May 2012
 Claire and I had a trip out to the South African shop in Redhill because we were running low on a couple of things that I consider "essential".  Claire always enjoys a trip to the South African shop and it brings back memories just with the smells and all the products :)

13 May 2012
 Emily and I both fancied some cake but didn't have any in the house so we decided to make one.  Emily found a recipe on the internet that had had good reviews and we decided to try it.  I have to say, it was one of the nicest chocolate cakes I've made - light and moist.  We didn't fancy buttercream icing so melted a bar of Bournville chocolate and added a little bit of butter and milk to thin it a bit. The end result was delicious and once I've copied the recipe from Emily I'll post it on here.

14 May 2012
 Be still my heart!   Love this photo - look at that little face :) xx   Alice was happy pottering around and playing with her babies while I was making lunch in the kitchen.  She's realised she can get both her babies in this little pram so it solves the problem of which one gets to have a ride.

15 May 2012
Lunch this day, I had an orange and a tuna mayo (with some pepper and spring onion chopped in) sandwich and a cup of coffee.  Since Hugh's been doing his Personal Trainer course he's been giving me some advice on my "diet" (not actually dieting but rather trying to be more healthy in my choices). One of the things he's told me is that I should try to have protein and carbohydrate at each meal and, I have to say, I've been feeling better for it.

16 May 2012
I went to my friend Mary last night to have my highlights topped up.  I really like the colours she's used this time.


Sunday, 13 May 2012

Photo a Day catch up

04 May 2012
Theresa went into hospital for keyhole surgery last Friday and my sister, Kay, was looking afterTyler and Alyssa. Alyssa was missing her Mummy in the morning (Tyler was at school) so Kay phoned and asked if they could come round and Alyssa could play with Alice. Alice loved having Alyssa here and they played so well together.  There were lots of cuddles and kisses when it was time for Alyssa to leave.  Unfortunately,  Theresa was still in a lot of pain this week and on Friday was readmitted to hospital as they think she may have an infection. She's on antibiotics and we're really hoping that's all she'll need. She's due to have a scan tomorrow and they'll reassess things then and hopefully we'll get a better idea of how long she's likely to be in for.  

05 May 2012 

 Saturday morning Sainsbury's shop and a photo of my trolley at Starbucks where we go for a well needed coffee ;o)

06 May 2012
 Lazy Sunday morning.  Hugh was playing a selection of his music for us and was making us laugh with stories of his night out the night before. I don't talk much about Hugh on my blog (and that's the way he prefers it) but he really has a wonderful sense of humour and often has us in stitches.  We have been so lucky to have three wonderful children (and a super cute, adorable granddaughter :o) ) and I'm able to say I'm so proud of all of them and the young adults they have become. I couldn't ask for more!

07 May 2012
 Monday was a bank holiday in the UK and we didn't have any plans. It felt so good to finally get a chance to work my way through Kerri Bradford's first Silhouette class on  My Silhouette Cameo is still very new to me and I haven't had much chance to play around so I really enjoyed working my way through the class. I haven't made the mini album yet, because I need to decide on the papers I want to use, but hope to make it in the next few weeks.

08 May 2012
 Things were back to normal - Emily was back at school, Jon back at work, Hugh on his Personal Trainer course and Max (my nephew who is staying with us) working an early shift.  I spent some time in the morning round at Claire's flat with her and Alice and in the afternoon made another Playlist on my iPad. It's something I've wanted to do for a while but never got round to it - I made my first playlist the night before and then the second one this afternoon.

09 May 2012
 My day to have Alice here and the first day we'd had together since the previous Friday. At lunch time I dropped down the height of her booster seat and took off her tray so she could actually be pushed in to the table to eat.  I then sat opposite her to have my lunch.  Another sign of how much she's growing up but I just love seeing her develop and learn new things. She's a real little chatter box now and is such a pleasure to have around.  I love the days she's here and realise how lucky I am to get to spend so much one on one time with her.  I'm afraid I am a totally besotted Grandma!

10 May 2012

A busy day - dropped Tyler and Alyssa at school/playschool, a quick coffee with friends, took Max to the Dr, picked Alyssa up from playschool and took her home, home for a quick lunch before going back up to school to pick up Tyler and take him home. Once home again it was time to start making cottage pie for dinner. I also finished sewing up this little cardigan for Alice.

11 May 2012
 Alice and I had a fun filled day and I got to take a number of photos. We spent the day at home and as the weather improved in the afternoon, were able to spend time outside too. She started the day wearing this little t shirt and a denim pinafore dress with cream tights. The shoes and tights came off soon after we got to the house. Once outside it wasn't long before the dress had to come off because she'd poured the water from her watering can over herself so she was down to a t-shirt, vest and wellie boots. By the end of the afternoon I had to take the t-shirt off as well as it had got wet and then she'd been playing in the sand and the sand was sticking to it.  She ended up going home in her vest and the little cardigan I'd just finished :o). I have lots more photos from this day which I'll be able to put in as an extra page in my Project Life album. For those who are friends with me on Facebook, I'll also be posting them there.

Hope you've all had a good week

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Photo a Day 03 May 2012

I made my third shopping trip this week for more fruit.  Our fruit bowl at the moment has bananas, oranges, grapefruit, apples, lemons and there are grapes in the fridge.  So far this week I have bought 6 bags of oranges, 3 bunches of bananas, 3 bags of apples, 4 grapefruit and 2 punnet of grapes. Hopefully this will now last till Saturday ;o)


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

01 May 2012

After the amount of rain we've been having the last few weeks, it was great to be able to get the washing on the line to dry.

02 May 2012

Alice likes to point out where her Mummy is in the photo :)