Friday 30 January 2009

Still waiting ...

Hmmm I'm sure that there was supposed to be more information on this project by now, is someone hiding it from me? I have book. I have pretty papers. I have new pens. I have photos. All I need now is to be told how to put it all together!

This has not been a good week for my family and we have had some sad days but I am sure that whatever life throws at you happens for a reason although it certainly seems hard to understand at the time. But there have to be 'downs' as well as 'ups' in our lives and I just hope that the new month will bring new hope and happiness for my niece. We are a very close family and I hope our love will help her get over this tough time.

Friday 23 January 2009

I'm ready ...

OK Shimelle, I'm ready and raring to go! As you can see, I even tracked down the exact Chipboard book mentioned in the prompt. It was slightly smaller than I was expecting, but I am determined to follow this to the letter! I spent a happy hour last night watching 'Hustle' and covering the right hand side pages with pretty paper (more fiddly than I thought it might be) and I thought I would do the spine right at the end so I don't get it all creased and messy while I am working on it. I haven't put any pictures in it yet as I wasn't sure what way this was going to go, so I have taken a few and will print and stick them in as and when it is appropriate.
Had a busy week at work, OFSTED were in on Wed and Thur so everyone was on their best behaviour, and we were rewarded with cakes in the staff room at break today. Being an exceptionally healthy and virtuous person (yeah right!) I chose carrot cake and will count that as going towards one of my five a day ;-)

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Not a good start to the day

I really think that my window cleaner should ring the doorbell to let me know he is there before he just suddenly appears at a window. Imagine my embarrassment this morning at being in the ensuite shower room and hearing the ladders of the window cleaner suddenly hitting against the bedroom window frame. Please bear in mind that the last person in the shower room had taken the last towel and left it somewhere else so I had nothing to hide behind. Also that my clothes were laying on the bed. I couldn't walk from shower room to the bed to collect my clothes without scaring the poor man to death, but equally, we have a large 6 window framed bay window in the bedroom. It has leaded lights so takes some time to clean and I didn't have that time to hide in the shower room, I needed to get to work.
So I had to crawl along the floor from the ensuite to the bed, in the hope that the bed would hide me. I grabbed my clothes - and as he bent down to rinse out his cloth I rushed across to the landing to get dressed. (I hope you aren't laughing) I got to the landing, started to get dressed - and realised that I hadn't collected everything and that my undies were still in the bedroom.
Now I know why other people have net curtains!

Monday 19 January 2009

La Dolce Vita

I'm going to Italy! Yay!
Not for a while, in fact not until the end of August but it's never too soon to get excited. I haven't been to Italy for about 26 years and I've never been to this part before. We're going to Lake Maggiore, to a town called Stresa and it looks beautiful. I like having something to look forward to.
And we have something else to look forward to this summer. Remember the news I couldn't share at Christmas? Well, my niece is having her first baby in July. She is now 12 weeks and had a scan today which showed a healthy baby so we can now spread the news. She's so excited, and we are too! I'm already a Great-Aunt to my nephew's two children so I have plenty of Great-Aunt experience.
I've also downloaded the 'taking notes' page ready for the new project, ordered the chipboard mini book and I'm ready to go.
It's been a busy day ...

Sunday 18 January 2009

Return from up north

Well the return trip to Sheffield went well and our son is now safely back at uni, he really seems to enjoy life up there and has settled into student life well. However he does have to knuckle down to some work over the next week or so as his first exams are looming.

So to take my mind off the fact that the 'nest' has one 'chick' missing, I've decided to go for the next Shimelle class and have just ordered the minibook ready to start.

Saturday 17 January 2009

New class

I'm only supposed to be on the computer to check the traffic news for the journey from Hertfordshire to Sheffield, but got sidetracked into checking Shimelle's website and guess what! there is a new class . Yay!!! Have just signed up and you know what? There isn't just a new class starting, there is the chance to win goodies too!
That's it for now, I need to go and load up the car.

Thursday 15 January 2009


When our son came back from uni for the Christmas break, four weeks at home seemed such a long time. However, it's now only 2 days before he goes back and now it seems like he hasn't been home for any time at all. Although in fairness, we haven't seen much of him!
I've been quite busy stocking up the freezer with his favourite home made meals like lasagne and beef casserole so at least I can know he will have a few nourishing meals in amongst the takeaways and pot-noodles that he probably lives on up there.
Last time we went up there to drop him off I didn't get round to taking photos as it was an emotional day and we were all trying to keep busy and cheerful but this time I am hoping to take some photos to turn into a page layout. Whilst Sheffield City isn't that photogenic, the surrounding countryside is lovely and where he lives is at the top of a hill and has some good views.
So instead of resting and recovering from my injuries from yesterday, today has been a day of getting up to date with washing and drying and ironing (all of my least favourite jobs) and making sure everything is ready to pack to take back. I'm not looking forward to the long journey home after we've dropped him off, it always seems twice as long coming home on our own. Tough being a parent eh?

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Skating on ice

You would think that after waking to frosted windscreens and freezing fog I would have been more careful. Might have thought that the shiny paving slabs in amongst the gravel in the front garden path could possibly be icy rather than wet. But no. Oblivious to the potential hazard and keen to get on my Wednesday Power Walk with Lynda, I strode out from the front porch, made it across 3 slabs and then felt the wobble. The slide of my foot slipping precariously away from me, the gravel coming up to meet me as I felt inelegantly to the ground. Fortunately due to the cold weather I had several layers of clothing to cushion my fall, but I am now bruised and grazed and a strange ache is setting in around my shoulder and the top of my spine.
I suspect I may have to rest this evening with a gin and tonic and be fed chocolates while watching the tv from the comfort of my armchair ;-)

Monday 12 January 2009

And now, the end is near ...

and so I face, my final page now (to be sung in the manner of Frank Sinatra in 'my way'!)

Can you believe it? JYC is officially finished. I've learnt such a lot and have been inspired so much from the other people on the forum. I've also now lost my excuse to disappear up into the study for half an hour when the dishwasher needs loading/unloading as 'I can't fall behind with my pages, I NEED to go and do a layout or I will be in trouble with Shimelle' ;-)

Sunday 11 January 2009


The theme behind the prompt for the 5th was packing every thing away after Christmas. There comes a point after the new year when I am fed up with picking up cards that have got knocked off the mantlepiece, and dusting round the poinsetta and kind of want to put the lamp back in the corner where the Christmas tree is. It's that feeling of wanting to put the house back to normal. No matter how much you want to put the decorations up at the beginning of December, there is definitely a point at which you realise it is time for them to be packed away.

I never manage to get to 12th night before the decorations come down, they are always done on the weekend before. And every year, good intentions to pack carefully, label nicely and put them back in the loft in a place that will be easy to find next Christmas. It never happens!

Thursday 8 January 2009

Embarrassing Chickens

I've just had a traumatic evening involving a chicken. Not just any chicken, a lovely chicken that apparently spent many a happy day roaming freely around a farm in Suffolk. I put the chicken into the oven at 5.15, anticipating a lovely roast dinner at about 7pm. The veggies were cooking, and I took the beast out of the oven. Yuk. What was that oozing out of the end of it? Something brown and icky. Something lumpy. Lumps which when squished, showed a chalky inside. Clearly something that should have been cleared out of said chicken before it was sent onto the supermarket.
I was going to write it off as a bad experience, then thought 'no, this wasn't a cheap 'value' bird, I paid extra for a good quality chicken and I haven't got what I paid for' So I took it back to Waitrose. The lady at customer service agreed it was yucky and no it certainly shouldn't have had that inside it. She apologised profusely and assured me it was not to the standard that Waitrose expect. She took the label off me to scan through the till for a refund. Which is when the embarrassment started. The chicken had been bought in Tesco. We both agreed that I should probably buy my chickens from Waitrose in future!
This is what happens when you live in a town which has too many supermarkets, how's a girl supposed to remember where she did her shopping this week?!

Wednesday 7 January 2009


It wasn't until I took the photo of the page that I realised I hadn't put the numbering on it, but I've done it now.

I'm sure I have the same 'next Christmas I must remember to ...' list every year. I really hope I manage to stick to the 'wrap as you buy' one as I usually end up with bags and bags of shopping still unwrapped a couple of days before the big day so it becomes a chore rather than a pleasure. I love presents that come beautifully presented with ribbons and feathers and bows and I know I would have more time and inclination to do that.
Most of all I must try and remember to be organised, and if that means making lists, and more lists, then so be it! This Christmas I really did leave everything until the last minute and it just meant a more stressful time when I should have been relaxing and winding down. Someone please remind me of this in about October before it is too late ....!


This is fast reaching the end now. I shall miss that first early morning email from Shimelle, telling me to question something, or look at something a new way, or just to write something down, plain and simple. JYC has been/still is a fun project!

Our Christmas Day this year was really lovely, no squabbles or fights, lots of laughter, good food and fun company. I think it rates up there with some of the best. There was one happy memory that stands out and will have to remain secret for a little while longer so I have had to do hidden journalling for this page. But I kind of like the idea of hidden notes and little secrets so that is fine by me!

Tuesday 6 January 2009

Back to work

Today was my first day back at work after the Christmas holidays and anyone who works in a school will know that the first week and the last week of terms seem to be the worst! One good thing about working in a school office is that you have different jobs for different terms so the jobs that drove you mad at the end of last term don't have to be done the next :-) But with January comes the Winter exam series and so it is a busy busy time and we just have to hope that there are no arctic blizzards on days when exams are timetabled as I'm not quite sure what will happen if the school has to close and our students can't take the exam on that day although schools elsewhere in the country can... how would you stop them finding out what the questions were? Hmmm, let's hope it doesn't happen.
What this is leading up to is the excuse that I was shattered by the time I got home this afternoon so no JYC has been done today. But it's my day off tomorrow so no excuse not to do at least one then. I'm up to the memories prompt and I have a magnificent wonderful memory of something from Christmas Day but it's top secret so will have to be a bit of hidden journalling I'm afraid! All will be revealed later ......

Monday 5 January 2009

2nd Jan

At the time of typing this, it is snowing really hard outside. So beautiful in the sunshine!

The prompt today said we had to have some white on the page so naturally with snow outside, I thought of snowmen! I downloaded a font which was snowmen and that seemed very appropriate so here is my page, not much journalling, just a quote, but a variety of happy snowmen!

Sunday 4 January 2009


Easy to make - sometimes difficult to keep! I guess we all start a new year with the intention to get round to doing all those things we meant to do - but didn't - the year before. Sometimes something specific happens that makes us realise we must seize the day, and make the most of every opportunity, that life is too short to not do all the things we would like to.

The 2 resolutions that seem to come up each year are to conquer my need for chocolate on a daily basis and to get more exercise. I do a class once a week and go for a Power Walk on my day off but that doesn't equate to the 3 bursts of exercise we are told to aim for. I need to get that Wii fit out more often!

One resolution that isn't on my page is that I intend to see more of my old friends this year. Friends flit in and out of our lives as our circumstances change - from school to work to starting families - and it is too easy to lose touch with those who have been friends from years before. It's always great to catch up with old friends and we always leave with the sentence 'We really ought to do this more often' - so this year my friends - WE WILL!

Saturday 3 January 2009


I will definitely be going back to this page when the project is finished as it is far too plain for New Year's Eve! It needs glitz, glamour and glitter - all of which I seem to be lacking at the moment. But I am determined to stay sort of up to date with the prompts before I forget what happened on which day.

We had a fab NYE, good food, champagne, dancing at the disco, lots of laughs. And so the old year ended. It had been a real mixed up year with a real combination of good and bad, highs and lows but we came through it all and I am starting 2009 in an optimistic manner!

Friday 2 January 2009

29 and 30

Well, didn't I say I would get a couple more pages done today? When I make a promise I always try my hardest to keep it so despite having been busy (see below!) here are days 29 and 30.
It was good to go through the diary and pick out the highlights of each month to reflect on, and this has been a busy year. 2 'big' birthdays, 3 holidays, one chick leaving the nest to go to uni and one returning. Degrees and A levels, graduation ceremonies, friend's weddings. Lots of good things. A fair sprinkling of bad bits too but they serve to make me appreciate the good times even more.

The Portuguese Pastry Quest

No, I haven't done the layout I promised I would do today - Yet! But I have been busy baking.
My sister owns a house in Portugal and about 3 doors down is an old fashioned typical Portuguese bakery. The kind where the local people congregate for a coffee at the counter while their bread and pastries are wrapped. The kind of place where the cakes are sublime and there is nothing better than the taste of their chocolate croissants, warm from the oven, eaten with freshly brewed coffee, sitting on the terrace in the early morning sun. I digress. In this bakery - and countless others up and down the Algarve - they sell Pasteis de Nata. The Portuguese version on an egg custard tart I guess. But these just taste amazing, and the pastry is quite unlike any that I have made from any recipe book. The search is on for an authentic recipe and today I tried a new one. This one from a book of Portuguese recipes so I was optimistic! Here is a photo of my finished vanilla pastries - but sadly, whilst they tasted lovely and the vanilla custard is absolutely spot on - I still haven't managed to get the delicious flakiness of the authentic pastry. The search continues ...

Thursday 1 January 2009

New Year

Feeling a tiny bit fragile today following a great night last night! We didn't get home until 3am so 2009 was well underway by the time my head hit the pillow. Needless to say I haven't got round to doing any pages today but I fully intend to do at least one tomorrow.


Happy New Year!