Wednesday 31 December 2008


today's prompt was to list our weaknesses - hmmm, where to start?! General weaknesses or those particularly appropriate to the holiday season? Well some things fall into both categories so this was quite an easy page to do. In fact, quite difficult to narrow it down to just a few things! Some are long standing weaknesses ie chocolate, some are relatively newcomers ie gin, and some are favourite things from long ago revisited ie fruit salad chews.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

25 26 and 27

I've been a busy little bunny today! It was another spooky coincidence for the 27th prompt though. Sleepy days. This on the day that I succumbed to the cough that everyone else has had. I have had more restless nights than ever I did when the children were babies! Why is it that a little tickly cough can work it's way up to such a frenzy when it is 2am and you are desperately trying to get back to sleep and not wake the whole household up?

More to the point, how did Shimelle know it was going to start disturbing my sleep on the 27th ...

23 and 24

Forgot to post these even though I did them the day before yesterday! They look a bit bare, think it is because I am trying to catch up and not taking as much time as I should. I think I will be revisiting these ones and adding a few bits and bobs to jazz them up! I was determined to use the download that Shimelle gave us for the 24th, then got a bit lost in how to journal it ...

Sunday 28 December 2008

Post -Christmas

You would think that once Christmas was over and 'normal' life returned, it would have been the perfect opportunity to get on with my JYC. Not a chance. Having managed to stay well over the important 2 days I seem to have succumbed to the dreaded cold and cough virus that is affecting everyone. I'm hoping that I will be able to get myself together and do a couple of pages tomorrow. Meanwhile, it must be time to take the next batch of painkillers .....

Tuesday 23 December 2008

playing catch up

I did get two pages done yesterday, in between many mince pies, sausage rolls, whisky cake etc etc. It was kind of nice to do something totally different - away from the kitchen! I also got to put up the christmas cards that have been lying in various piles around the house. As my husband's birthday is mid December, I don't put cards up until his birthday cards have been taken down so by the time that has happened there are literally dozens to display. Takes a long time, but looks nice and festive now. Had a nice lunch out with my son too, can't remember the last time we went out, just the two of us, so it was really lovely to chill with a nice lunch someone else had cooked and a glass of wine and chat.

Sunday 21 December 2008

weekend work

I've got another 2 pages done!

In an effort to catch up a little I decided to just make a menu card showing what we normally have for dinner on Christmas day. Over the years I have become very adept at managing to pass on the serving dish containing sprouts without actually putting one on my plate , I've even tried convincing people that I have a strange sprout allergy. They're a bit of a 'marmite' food aren't they? You either love 'em or hate 'em!But you know one of the best bits of Christmas dinner? Doing the dishing up in the kitchen - having one of the first slices of the turkey with a little bit of the crispy skin, a spoonful of the little crispy bits of the roast potatoes that has stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan, a parmesan coated parsnip that 'accidentally' won't fit in the dish, and the chipolata sausage that you eat while you are plating up. Oh and did I mention the glass of compulsory champagne that all kitchen helpers are given?! Mmmm, not long to wait now!

As for the letter to Santa, well I think the most important things to wish for and the things that money simply can't buy are health and happiness, so that is what I have asked for.

Saturday 20 December 2008

Perfect presents ...

Once again, I feel that there is something a little spooky going on here Shimelle! Let me explain:My perfect present was one that was given to my by my daughter in 2006. She booked tickets for us to go and see George Michael in concert at Wembley. I have loved GMs music since the early days of Wham and as he had stopped touring some years ago, never thought I would get the opportunity to see him sing live. She had to give me it early as the concert was before Christmas and she was so excited to see my face as she handed over the present as she just knew how thrilled I would be. I think she had almost as much pleasure knowing how happy it would make me as I did when I realised what the present was! This story is written on the hidden journalling on the tag behind the ticket.
But now the spooky part - this prompt came to us on 17th December and the date that my ticket was for was ...... 17 December 2006.Come on Shimelle, how did you know????

Wednesday 17 December 2008


I sometimes wonder if it is just pure coincidence that Shimelle's prompts arrive on a particularly appropriate day. Like the day we were supposed to be looking at the weather and the whole country woke to either snow or a heavy frost ..... How did she do that???
Well as I am a day behind, today I was working on yesterday's prompt for a page reflecting on what we have to be thankful for. I was feeling a bit 'down' today as it was 11 years ago tonight that I saw my mum for the last time. I always go and lay flowers and a Christmas wreath at the graveside so that it all looks nice for the actual anniversary of her passing and it was such a lovely sunny morning there today. Sometimes it is easy to dwell on the sad things that have happened but I am so thankful for all the happy memories that I have of my parents, and they live on in me and my children. I have much to be thankful for so, a big thank you to Shimelle for giving me a nudge to remind me of that.

Tuesday 16 December 2008

14th and 15th

Not quite so far behind any more!
Had a very busy day today at work which is good as it means the time flew by, but I am back again tonight for Senior Presentation Evening so this is just a quick blog before I get ready to go!
My son is home from uni now, came home by train then drove up to Manchester yesterday to collect his girlfriend. Managed to do those hundreds of miles without mishap, then today was driving through a little village about 3 miles from us in the heart of the countryside and managed to get 2 punctures! Grrrrr ........ more expense, and just before xmas. Still, at least he is fine and the car was fixed quite promptly (Thank you Green Flag)
So, here are my next 2 pages

Monday 15 December 2008

12 and 13

How did I suddenly get 4 days behind??? The weekend went by in a flash. Our son came home from Uni on Saturday - it's so good to have him back again. Then out in the evening for more 'pre-xmas' socialising which is always a good excuse for a glass of bubbly and lots of delicious food. As we are seeing my in-laws on Boxing Day this year instead of Christmas Day we went to visit them on Sunday and had a pre-xmas Christmas dinner (more food, more wine ...) and so the weekend went (also Strictly Come Dancing semi-finals and X factor finals - much recorded tv to watch!)
Anyway, day off today so here are 2 pages that I have done this morning ....

Saturday 13 December 2008

11 Dec

I have fallen behind with JYC but as the prompt for the 11th was the Christmas tree, it didn't hurt to be late as we didn't put our tree up until today! So it's not quite finished but here is the first picture of the family tree 2008 ...

Wednesday 10 December 2008

9th and 10th

Another day off, another two pages done!
Am feeling kind of festive today, we had a 'Secretaries Lunch' and exchanged Secret Santa gifts (I got a Brad Pitt mug - I shan't use it, just look at it lovingly!) Plus also got some gifts wrapped this morning. Off for a meal tonight with a couple of friends to a scrummy Indian restaurant. Diet? What diet?! But - back to JYC
It was hard to condense the family traditions into a page but I put the ones that first sprang to mind on the journaling. No doubt when my daughter sees it she will reel of a list of a dozen I could have put! I enjoyed doing the page re wrapping as I did it in between wrapping presents for real! The background paper to that page brings back happy childhood memories. It is the story of ''Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, no creature was stirring, not even a mouse" When I was little someone sent me a card designed like a booklet with the whole story on it and I loved it so much, I made mum keep it and bring it out the next year - and the next .... so it was lovely to find a sheet of paper with the whole thing on.

Monday 8 December 2008

7th & 8th December

Didn't quite get round to putting yesterday's layout on the blog so here it is with today's. The weekend kind of flew by and the Christmas celebrations have now started in earnest. 2 dinners out on 2 consecutive days is no good for the waistline! And this week there are another three to go ....! But it's nice to catch up with friends and be sociable, and I've decided that if I don't order dessert but share someone elses, then it is their calories I am consuming not mine so that is ok isn't it? ;-)
Back to JMC - here's the next two pages ...
In hindsight I kind of wish that I had chosen bigger pages as I could have put more on, but at the time 8 x 8 seemed a good way of doing a quick page every day. Probably by 25th I will be pleased I don't have much space to fill!

Sunday 7 December 2008

6 December

This was an emotional prompt to do. I have hidden the journalling inside the little pockets but the tags read as follows:

By far the worst Christmas I had was in 1997. My mum had been diagnosed with cancer in November and died on Dec 18th. It was so hard to put on a brave face for my children when my heart was breaking but I knew she would not want us to not celebrate Christmas for them. She had bought her gifts for us all and to read the gift tags that she had written on them still makes me cry. She knew that she would not see another Christmas and her messages were all the more poignant for that.
She loved Christmas and made all our Christmases with her special and it was so sad to lose her at the time of year she loved so much.
I will never know where I got the strength to get through that time.
It is hard to find one Christmas that stands out above the rest and so I shall think about the things that make me smile.
The time we decorated the tree, went to have dinner, heard a crash and found that the dog had pulled too hard on a decoration and brought the whole tree down on top of her

My dad dressing up as Father Christmas. Watching the children’s faces as they opened the door to him
Family traditions: R & J still sleep in the same room on Christmas Eve night even though they are now 22 and 18

I love waking to the sound of wrapping paper being ripped off presents

Eating hot chipolata sausages mid morning while the turkey is cooking

Playing silly games after lunch – not that we are competitive ;-)

Saturday 6 December 2008

5th December

I ended up doing this whole page on the computer and feel like I cheated a bit so will try harder with the page for today (6th)! I made my own advent calendar by inserting a picture of Father Christmas and then making my own daily boxes with the details of what we have planned for the next few weeks. This seems to be the season of eating and drinking ;-)

Friday 5 December 2008

4 December layout

My daughter (and therefore the whole household) had to be up early for a flight to Amsterdam this morning so by the time the taxi had left at 5.15am I was wide awake! Perfect time to do the page I should have done yesterday. So here is my recipe for a happy Christmas :

Wednesday 3 December 2008

3 December

The theme for today was 'cards' so here is my layout. Why does Christmas card writing start as a pleasure and end as a chore?! The poor people at the end of the alphabet in my address book are subjected to my scruffiest writing and minimal message. Maybe this year I should start at the end and work my way towards A ....
This will be my first year as a 'scrapbooker' and so I am still very new at cardmaking too, but I have started to make some and intend to send handmade cards to my closest friends as it is always lovely to receive something that you know someone has spent time creating.
And maybe this year I will also get them sent out before the last posting date!

Tuesday 2 December 2008

2 December

The topic for today was Winter Weather and whilst I am the first one to admit that I love hot weather and that I was never meant to live in a cold climate, I do love snow! So if I could design my perfect Christmas, I guess it would have to include waking up on Christmas morning to a covering of snow.

Monday 1 December 2008

JYC Day One!

Well Journal Your Christmas has finally started! The first prompt was for us to actually take time out to say why we are doing this project and how we intend to do it. A kind of manifesto! So I have kept my first page kind of plain, and just in case it is hard to read on the image, this is the journalling I have written:

When I look back on years gone by, Christmas has always been special, not just the actual day of the 25th, but the days leading up to it and I intend to take this opportunity to record some of those events along with those that are happening in 2008 on a daily basis.

The Past – What happy Christmas memories my sister and I have to look back on. Our parents made Christmas magical. So many traditions started by them, pre-Christmas routines and the excitement of Christmas Day. I want to record some of those memories to remind myself, and anyone who reads this, of happy days gone by.

The Present – Only now, as a parent myself, do I fully appreciate the hard work and effort that went into those Christmases! The cooking, the shopping, the decorating; and when the children are young, maintaining the magical secret of Father Christmas! We have kept our family traditions, added a few more of our own and done our best to make sure that Christmas remains special. As the pages unfold, I will share some of these aspects that make our Christmas.

The Future – I intend to find a few minutes each day to record my thoughts, memories and hopes. I will be making a Journal which can be looked back on, one that someone may pick up in years to come and see how Christmas 2008 unfolded.

Sunday 23 November 2008


I have finally got round to making the scrapbook page for our daughter's graduation. I wanted to get a page done while it was still all fresh in our memories. Once we get the official pictures back I am sure I will do another! It was such a happy day, truly a day to cherish. I tried to choose a mix of photos, one of her on her own, one with my husband and one with me, then a family group (although our son wasn't able to come to the actual ceremony, he met up with us - briefly - outside City Hall afterwards. The other photo is of Lord Robert Winston who is the University Chancellor as well as being famous for his scientific and medical expertise.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Proud Mummy

Today was our daughter's graduation ceremony up in Sheffield. It was such a lovely day, and we felt so proud as we heard her name called out and saw her walk across the stage. It was such a magnificent achievement for her, and it was a day of happy memories. She stayed up there for one final night out in Sheffield with her uni friends, I'm guessing there may be a few tears when time comes to say goodbye tomorrow!
It's been a tiring day, there will be a proper scrap page to follow, but I just wanted to share a photo on the actual day.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

productive days

Don't you just love days where you manage to tie up loads of loose ends, finish off things that have been almost finished for so long and generally have an empty inbox on your desk? Doesn't happen often, but today at work I've got so much finished. Even to the extent of offering my services to my colleague as she was snowed under with work in her 'to do' pile! I guess the other side of the coin is that I have had a lot of half finished things on the go for a while and maybe I should have concentrated on them in an orderly fashion! Also, I'm now not in the office for a week so if people now know I am up to date, I'm probably going to return on Tuesday to an overflowing tray of things no one else wants to do. I didn't think this through do I?

The reason I have a long time off is that I don't work Wednesdays anyway, then it is my daughter's graduation on Thursday, inset day Friday, weekend, then I don't work Mondays. Lovely! I could get used to this! So I will be a very proud mum over the next couple of days and will have lots of pictures to do a graduation scrapbook page very soon. Watch this space .....

Monday 17 November 2008

making a start

I went to a craft morning in Ware on Saturday where the theme was 'Quick Christmas' and it certainly lived up to its name - 5 cards in two hours! I learnt quite a few techniques I hadn't tried before like the waterfall cards and also some decoupage and the two hours flew by in a blur. Even though some of the things we did really weren't my style, it's good to experiment and I really enjoyed it. So, I'm now inspired to do a few more of my own.

With the prospect of the JYC class starting in just over a week, I've tidied up my craft supplies and got all the bits I intend to use in a box so in theory my pages should take no time at all. We shall see!

Friday 14 November 2008


... oh dear, how long did that daily blog intention last?! I know things will be better come Dec 1st when JYC starts and I have something more to show, but in the meantime it's hard to find something creative to write about normal day to day routines.
At the moment I am preparing myself to take my son to the station to head back to uni and as the saying goes I'm 'missing him already'. It's been lovely to have him home, although we haven't seen much of him as he caught up with old friends. It's just been nice to know he was back. Now it's goodbye time all over again.
My daughter gave me a little book of 'Mum' sayings a couple of years ago and one page she marked says 'Nothing looks as lonely as your mum before she sees you coming up the platform' and it's very true. When she came home from uni by train I used to arrive at the station way too early just so I would definitely be there when the train pulled in. Then I would hold my breath as the doors opened and scour the platform looking for the first sight of her. Then that little leap of joy as you see each other. But tonight, it will be the other way round, getting to the station and saying goodbye. I know he won't want me to come with him to the platform, and I know that 'lonely' is how I will feel as I turn the key in the ignition and start the journey back home without him.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Readers and Writers

As I browsed through my favourite blogs today, I realised that there are two types of bloggers: Blog Readers and Blog Writers. I seem to be turning into the latter although after I read other people's I always have good intentions to keep mine more up to date. With Journal Your Christmas starting in a few weeks time, I will have no excuse not to do a daily page!
It's been a busy week or so and at the moment I am enjoying having my son home from uni for a week supposedly getting some work done for 3 deadlines that are looming.
But I will get back to keeping this up to date, there is no excuse - less reading and more writing!

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Scrapped My Day

Sunday 25th October, 'Scrap your day' day, was a Saturday and it kind of followed a normal Saturday routine. Get up, cup of tea, have breakfast, go to supermarket, have lunch, do some baking, go for a walk, have a cup of tea, spend two hours with Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Well, let's be honest, it's not every Saturday night I get to spend time with them, and ok, it was at the cinema and there were dozens of other people there too! But that is how I spent my Scrap Your Day in October and here are the photos to prove it ...

Up North

It was the first day of the school half term yesterday and the ideal opportunity to head up the A1 and visit our son at university in Sheffield. It's a long way to go in a day - 300 miles round trip - but well worth it to see him after a month away from home.
He seems to have settled into uni life so well and is enjoying exploring the area and visiting other friends who have gone to uni in the Manchester, Nottingham, Sheffield kind of area. He's also loving the music scene up there, and going to so many gigs and expanding his musical tastes.
It's only a month since he moved up there but he seems to have grown up and grown so independent in those few weeks. Student life suits him!
It seemed a very long journey home, leaving him behind again but reassuring to see that he is coping so well with living away from home and making new friends.
Nevertheless, I am counting the days to him coming home for reading week, it will be good to have the family all together again.

Wednesday 22 October 2008


I love Lemon Meringue Pie. It's possibly my favourite dessert but you don't often find it on restaurant menus. I would choose it over anything chocolatey and anyone who knows me will know how much I love chocolate. In the Sunday supplement of the newspaper this week, there was a recipe for LMP and it sounded lovely so I decided to spend some time this afternoon trying out this new version.

I've tried bits of it at every stage and have left a lemony, sticky mess as evidence around the cooker. For me the ultimate LMP will have a sharp but not bitter lemony custardy bottom and the meringue has to be crisp on top and gooey inside. Can't be soft all through or chewy in the middle - not that I'm fussy or anything! I'm not convinced this one will be nicer (or maybe even as nice) as my tried and tested, family recipe but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Monday 20 October 2008

New outfits

Now I don't think that my daughter ever reads this blog, but if she does I want to say this - "Look away now!"

OK, has she gone?

Today I went shopping with a friend to Cambridge and it was really nice to have a leisurely look round the shops with nothing in particular to buy. Shops are all getting their Christmas goodies in and it was lovely to start to get the Christmas atmosphere without all the crowds. We were in the Grand Arcade and I noticed that a Build a Bear Workshop had opened. I had bought Rachel a Build a Bear for her 21st birthday and every now and again I buy her a new outfit. It's coming up for Rachel's graduation in mid November and I saw that you could get a Graduation outfit for the bears. So here is Princess, ready for the ceremony:

Ah, doesn't she look cute? So now the bear has a new outfit, and of course Rachel will have her cap and gown, so I'm guessing that as Mother of the Graduate, I will need something new too ;-)

Sunday 19 October 2008

Breaking the rules

I normally refuse to buy anything relating to Christmas before November starts and have already found myself almost buying advent calendars over the last couple of weeks before I mentally shook myself and said 'NO - it's too early'. But this weekend I saw this young man:

I don't know why, but he just appealed with me so much that I had to buy him. And then having broken the 'Not before November' rule, I bought a festive tin of Toblerone Tinies too.

There are two dangers here. I now need to put Robbie the Reindeer somewhere safe so that he doesn't get lost or damaged before we decorate the house for Christmas. This relies heavily on me remembering where that safe place is when mid-December comes. The second danger is that bearing in mind what has happened to my Trick or Treat sweets 2 weeks before the event, I need to restrain myself from opening that tin of Tinies ..........

Thursday 16 October 2008

Feeling ashamed

Whilst in the supermarket at the weekend, I noticed that they had a huge display of Halloween goodies and right beside them was a special '2 for 1' offer on sweets. Seemed a good idea to stock up on some for the inevitable tide of 'Trick or Treat' visitors that we will have in a couple of weeks time. But those packs of sweets have been calling to me, they've been enticing me into opening up their colourful little packets and I thought, "well, I'll just have one" but as is often the case, once you get the taste of their fruity, juicyness, one is never enough ...
I have had to go out and buy another couple of packs as the first one is already empty.

I wonder how long the 2 for 1 offer is on for!

Wednesday 15 October 2008


Look at these gorgeous little darlings! Aren't they fabulous? My friend Mandy is a brilliant cook and recently made almost a hundred cupcakes for her daughter's wedding. (sorry Mandy for the awful picture below. It was taken after a few glasses of champagne and I forgot to use the flash!) After baking all those, she must have been sick of the sight of cupcakes but knowing how much I enjoyed sampling the various flavours, icings etc while she was developing the ultimate wedding cupcake she very kindly made more and brought round a box last night. I'm not telling how many there were to start with or, more to the point, after a day at home how many are left ...

Autumn weekends

I feel a bit guilty. Having told my friend Denise off for not keeping her blog posts up to date, I see that I have not written anything since finishing LSNED.

Last weekend was really lovely and it seemed a shame to spend time indoors so my husband and I went for a walk out in the countryside near where we live. It takes about 10 minutes from leaving our front door to being out in the country and it was so nice to be out in the autumn sunshine. The leaves on the trees are all changing colour and it was beautiful around the lake and going up to the church via the farm. Was a bit sad to see that some of the conker trees seemed to have died though. I have happy memories of conker trees. When the children were younger, we used to collect conkers by the dozen, it was a family competition to see who could find the most!
On Shimelle's website, she has a page where she talks about colours associating with certain things, so here are a couple of pictures of around where I live which show all the colours that I associate with autumn.

Monday 6 October 2008

last pages

Well I have had a happy day today finishing off the Learn something new every day project. Although I was anxious to finish it within a decent amount of time, now it is done I feel 'what will I do now?'! I do need to go back and number the pages and sort out any embellishment malfunctions but on the whole it is finished and I have really enjoyed doing it. Sometimes it was easier than others to find a lesson learnt, especially on days that consisted of the more mundane aspects of life but 30 days down the line, I managed to find something for every single day- success! So here are the final 3 pages -

and not to mention the title page:

Saturday 4 October 2008


This time last week I was walking along a beach and last Sunday I ate my Sunday lunch in the garden of a pub. How can two weekends be so different?

I know which weekend I preferred!

Thursday 2 October 2008

27 September

On 27th Paul and I went to Southwold on the Suffolk coast for a long weekend. The weather was superb and we had a lovely time. Southwold has 3 landmarks - the lighthouse, the pier and the beach huts. I took so many photos of the beach huts, they are so lovely and colourful and it wasn't until I went into a craft shop and bought a mug with pictures of beach huts all over it that Paul started to worry that perhaps I was becoming a little obsessed!

Wednesday 1 October 2008

26 page

The continuing story of a husband on crutches! One advantage of emails and laptops means that even if you can't get into the office, the office can get to you. So despite Paul being unable to drive into London to get to work, or brave the trains and tubes, he was able to catch up on a lot of office work from his temporary office set up in the kitchen at home.

24th and 25th September

Oh dear, going away for the weekend has meant that I have fallen a bit behind with this! But here is my page for 24th. Inspired by the thought that you can tell Christmas is coming when the catalogues start arriving on your door step.

The next page was prompted by having to work on the evening of the 25th as it was Open Evening at school for prospective students. I may only work 3 days a week, but I do various jobs while I am there, and this week I have taken on new work helping the admissions officer. When we arrived for Open Eve, we were given labels to wear so prospective parents would know what role we held at the school, and my boss had printed one saying 'Wonderwoman' following a rather hectic day in the office preparing for the evening ahead. I did have to relinquish it for a 'proper' one, but for a few minutes, I felt really appreciated!

Friday 26 September 2008

OK, on the 21st I booked a lovely weekend away for this coming weekend. On the evening of the 23rd I had planned an enjoyable scrapping evening to get up to date with my pages for the 20th and 21st because Paul goes out to play badminton on a Tues evening and I had the house to myself. At 8pm I heard his key in the door ... "I'm home, but it's not good news", I went into the hallway to see his friend carrying him into the house. He had torn his calf muscle! He's done this before, 2 years ago, and ended up on crutches for almost a month so I could see that our lovely plans for long walks etc along the Suffolk coastline were not going to happen. So my lesson for the day is that I kind of regret not suggesting that he gave badminton a miss on the days leading up to a weekend away! Pic seems out of focus - think maybe it needed flash - ooops!