Monday 27 September 2010

12 years of wedded bliss.....

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful weekend we've just had.  It was our 12th wedding anniversary and my mum offered to look after the children overnight which was incredibly generous and a total out of blue surprise.  I had my hair cut Saturday morning and then my mum came over so we could start our weekend away.  We popped into Winchester for lunch and it was so lovely and sunny but cold, a perfect autumn day.  I went into a shop I thought sold paper-crafting stuff but it was mostly painting and drawing products.. until I went downstairs.  However I didn't see anything that I couldn't get cheaper elsewhere, or anything that I felt I just had to have, so for once in my life, I came away empty handed!  We went to a fusion place for lunch and had Thai green curry and a Malaysian prawn dish - both very nice.  Then I treated myself to some new slippers in M&S with suitably hard soles for the bashing I will give them.  We also treated ourselves to some chocs from Thorntons - oh yes I was blowing my diet big style this weekend!

We headed out to our lovely hotel, Lainston House, just outside Winchester centre.

It has lovely grounds which would have been nice to wander in but we were in the mood for sitting about, drinking tea, and reading..nothing more.

 Our room was fabulous....

It was an attic room so the light and therefore photos, were a bit dark, but you get the idea.  

 There was a buzzy bee Do Not Disturb sign (it tells people to buzz off!) - how cute is that?!

The food was expensive and wasn't of the level we expected.  It was still wonderful but we've had tasting menus in the past which were stunning and obviously very filling but without the delicious rolls I probably wouldnt have felt that I had eaten such a huge meal.

But of course, these things never last and we were soon back at home.  The children had been totally fine without us which was such a relief and only Isabella had her tights on back to front!  We were so pleased to see them and spent the rest of the day catching up on cuddles and having a lovely walk in the cold sunshine.  A wonderful time that we will cherish forever.

Bye for now.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Some layouts to share.

When I get behind on things I easily start to feel overwhelmed so I am my own worst enemy in signing up for something that ideally needs to be every day!  I'm enjoying LSNED but I'm finding that I'm struggling for photos a fair bit, sometimes because I couldnt take a pic due to circumstances (i.e. like today in an exercise class) and sometimes because the lesson isnt one that calls for a photo at the time, if that makes sense.  I've therefore ended up with a few layouts now that dont have a photo.  This feels very very weird and a bit frivolous - imagine, a whole page dedicated to a minor memory that doesnt show something real for future generations to discover!  

The lesson for 8th September (sshhh I'm pretending its not 23rd already...) was about how much I loved swimming again and in particular the freedom and "me-time" and I actually did more lengths than I thought I'd manage.  Obviously a pool isnt a great place to take a camera - the water is one problem but the issues surrounding public photography are quite another!  This day though I did see a man jump out and realise his mobile was in his pocket!!

For 9th I cheated a bit and scrapped a photo I took on Louis' first day (7th).  He is so confident that he pottered into school and then his classroom by himself and yet here we are 2 weeks later and most of the other children are still being taken in, often right into the classroom still.  I dont know where he gets it from but I am really pleased that my boy is so confident and takes so many of the big things in his stride.

10th September was also a bit of a cheat.  Its a slow realisation rather than a lesson really and I was saving it for a "slow" day.  I guess its a lesson that every parent learns or perhaps even every adult with an ounce of creativity.  There is just not enough time in the day to do the things I need to do, let alone the things I want to do.  I used to wonder what people meant by "running a house" - its not a business or some grand production after all, but in many ways it is!  The perils that befall the disorganised housewife or mother dont bear thinking about.  And time for all the study I want to do?  Well having just asked to defer my Writing course, that'll be a no.  And as for all the creative things I want to erm.. create?  Well you can see for yourself how successful (or not!) that is!

And now here it gets confusing!  I was waiting on a couple of photos and I wanted to get on and create (as it was my Tuesday Crop with J) so I've gotten out of order a bit.  The layout for 15th was not a very positive one.  I feel like I have been getting back on an even keel in the last couple of weeks but on this day, completely out of the blue, I lost it again, big time.  Isabella was supposed to be having a sleep and as Louis has been so tired, he was having an afternoon nap too.  I was shattered and thought I'd get some chilling time even if I couldnt sleep myself.  But my daughter had other ideas and wouldnt sleep, I tried to cuddle her to sleep on the sofa as I had done months ago every day, but she kicked and screamed instead.  I saw my precious gap in the day drifting away and before I knew it, I was a sobbing wreck.  Strangely it kept Isabella quiet for a while though while my whole body shook beneath her.  But an hour later and it was as if it had never happened.  I hate PND and what it does to me and my family.  This day I learned that I still have a long way to go.

But to finish on a positive, this is the layout I did for Kirsty Wiseman's Wednesday Challenge.  I won the "out of the hat" (or bra in her case!) prize draw so I am looking forward to receiving some lovely lickable ribbons very soon.  And I've been feeling really great with all the extra exercise, so things are definitely on the up!

Bye for now xx

Saturday 18 September 2010

Well how far behind am I now?! Hey ho, I never did think I would keep up, even with Louis starting school. Yes, that's right, my little boy, my baby, is all growed up and a real school boy now. At the moment he is just doing mornings and as he is one of the younger ones it means he is one of the last to go for lunches and then full days. Some of the parents have opted to send their young children full time earlier than scheduled but I have no great desire to do this and he is so tired anyway, despite his full day experiences at pre-school. So of course I had to scrap a photo of him in his uniform. I dont know who was more proud, him or us. I did this layout as part of LSNED as I was helping him to hang up his uniform for the first time at the end of the day. I thought it was fitting to remember such an event and to focus on the learning for him.
As expected, he loved his first day and took it all in his stride without seeming to notice this momentous occasion. He went in as if he had been there for years and in fact he went into school by himself from the Thursday morning after starting on the Tuesday. He has now done 2 weeks and is still one of only a very small handful of children going in by themselves. We dont know where he gets his confidence from.

I also wanted to do a "proper" layout and by that I mean a more standard size and with more freedom than the parameters I had set myself (isnt hindsight a wonderful thing...) I got the chance to do a bigger layout this week using a sketch and product list set by Kirsty Wiseman on her, what now seems to be regular, Wednesday night challenge. At 8pm she sets the challenge and sometimes does a live Ustream so we can watch her scrap too and chat on-line with other people doing the challenge. At 10pm the challenge ends and we post up photos of what we have done. We can replace the photos the next day once we have taken a better version in daylight.
Its so fab on a number of levels - I found it inspiring and challenging as is made me fit parameters but meant that some of the "I could use this or this, here or here" was removed which made it much less overwhelming. The feedback from the other participants was fantastic too - everyone was very positive and encouraging and there was a great sense of belonging. It was lovely to scrap with others in what can be a very singular activity.

So, once I have tidied up the resultant mess in the craft room, I will try and catch up a bit more on the LSNED!

Bye for now.

Thursday 9 September 2010

2 layouts in one day!!

Well I managed to get a bit of crafting done today and it was quick and dirty as they say. I veered from my chosen stash a bit because the AC papers, stickers and badge were just perfect to go with the robot toy.
On Monday we went to my mum's for the day for the last time for a while. We had gotten used to going once a week for a few hours so they could play with someone else for a while and give me a break. With DS going to school only in the morning for a few weeks, we wont have time to get there and back. It will be strange for all of us not to see each other so regularly. I never used to be close to my mum and I cant say that I like all of her traits but we have definitely gotten closer since I had the children. I think it happens to many girls who suddenly realise how much their own mum's went through but for me it was more that I started spending more time with my mum once I got hit with the PND. We're scarily similar and that's not always great as some of the things I dont like about my mum, I can see in myself! I thought I knew my mum inside and out but she blew me away on Monday. She offered to babysit for our anniversary in a couple of weeks which was a surprise in itself as her childcare offers are few and far between. But what really knocked me off my feet was that she wants to stay at our house for the night so we can stay in a hotel! This is seriously such a surprise as all 6 of our parents / step-parents are getting on or are not "child-friendly" etc so we thought any chance of a night away was a LOOOOONG way off yet. We're still deciding if its a good idea or not as both children are not brilliant sleepers but then neither is my mum so it's probably okay. We think we might also have inlisted the help of my neice to take over some of the effort in the afternoon so we can stay out for lunch too. DH is excitedly looking at hotels and restaurants and I'm biting my fingers about the kids not being looked after properly!

So with that in mind, my lesson for Monday 6th was that people can surprise you even when you think you know them well. Thanks Mum!

Bye for now xx

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Ear Ear!

So, Sunday, and what a funny day that turned out to be.... We had decided to get up early-ish and head off to a huge car boot sale as the weather was fine. I was on the lookout for aged sheet music and some paper draws to split up my scraps but we ended up with a pile of Enid Blyton books and a Maisy jigsaw. DS learnt the value of money when he handed over his 20p without asking how much they wanted for something he had just grabbed out of a box of toys. He then wanted a load of other stuff and of course had no money (we wernt being stingy, 20p was all he had left after getting other stuff already). Luckily for all of us, his grabbed find was actually quite cool and he spent ages disconnecting and reconnecting the little robot parts.

I wasnt feeling that great though as I had had a silly accident earlier in the day involving a cotton bud and a rampaging 4 year old. I ended up having to go to A&E at Winchester and then onto ENT in Southampton General as it was originally thought that I had perforated my ear drum. Thankfully it wasnt but we had wasted much of the day and it was very late and we ended up having to eat sausages in the hospital canteen. After my Thai meal the night before, there wasnt much hope of a loss at Slimming World on Monday. I'd never really realised how massive Southampton General is. DS thought he was in a shopping mall rather than a hospital and it is a bit like that with a jewellers and a Burger King (in a hospital?! I ask you!)
So my lessons for today (other than not using cotton buds...) are that some places can feel huge even when you are grown up, and a box of rubbish can sometimes contain great treasure if you are 4 years old.

I also learnt something about myself the night before too. Saturday evening I was feeling fractious and anxious as I have done for a while now. I suddenly looked in the fridge and saw lots of stuff that needed throwing out as I hadnt used things in time and forgotten things were there. We had little food in the house that you could make a meal with and yet we'd been shopping every couple of days over the summer. I suddenly realised how out of routine I had become over the holidays and how much that had unsettled me. We had gotten into such a great routine during the summer term and it had all gone out of the window as certain things were just not possible for one reason or another and those changes impacted on others etc etc etc. I ended up spending a fortune at the supermarket to restock the cupboards and organise a plan of meals for the week and to try and stop running out of key things. The lack of exercise had gotten under my skin too (the class schedule kept changing, I couldnt get a creche place etc) and all in all I had been waiting for September to come so that I could get back into a routine. I always knew routine was important for me but I never realised how much that impacted on my fragile head space and how it affected everything else. It made me realise how much I have to do to try and keep to a routine no matter what. So here's to routine and getting back into the swing of things and not feeling so out of control next time the holidays come around!

Bye for now.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

A Beaulieu-ful lesson.

Goodness me is it really Tuesday already?! Its been a rather bizzare few days (involving a hospital visit and a first day at school no less), hence no daily blogging but I've been keeping a note of my lessons for LSNED.

On Friday I was toying with the idea of going to a charity music festival and was having a bad day, feeling anxious etc but by the end of the day I had talked myself into going (partly with the courage gained from another LSNED-er, Laura) and found someone to come and hold my hand etc. However Saturday we discovered that it was an afternoon and evening thing rather than the daytime thing we had planned. Then DH called from work to say he had left his phone at home and could I drop it in (its hard to be Duty Officer when nobody can contact you although it may have made for a quieter day for him!) So as we were going to Beaulieu anyway, we decided to stay. It worked better all round for us, and my niece having to get back for her dog, and it was a lovely day there. K hasnt been to Beaulieu since she was little so all the Top Gear stuff was new for her. A lot of it was new for me too as it had been improved a fair bit since I went in when it first opened. Of course there are more vehicles there too as there have been 2 more series since then. I was just thinking how lovely it was that no matter how many times we come, there is always something new to see or to speak to DS about as he becomes more interested and understands more about everything. We decided to do the Millpond Walk and part way around we came across the 2 Jack Frost sculptures from the recent exhibition.
Apparently, the future Lord Montagu, Ralph (pronounced Raif), had been really taken with them and decided to keep them. Out of the many many sculptures on display, I had really loved these two as well, so I was delighted to see them nestled among the trees, hiding from the hoardes and seen only by those who take the time to walk by the river. A little later on, I was amazed again at something new when I took a different path through the domas area. I had always assumed it went round and met up with the path we normally took and it sort of did but it also led to a dead end that contained the areas of the old abbey infirmary. 6 years I have bimbled about these beautiful grounds and yet I still come across bits I've never seen before. It was a bit like the accidental detour we took a few months ago and ended up having a ride on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!!
So my lesson for Saturday is that treading a slightly different path can reveal unexpected pleasures - so try and do it more often.
Right, I'll stop there as Photoshop is playing silly buggers and I cant find the pics of Chitty that I wanted..
Bye for now xx

Friday 3 September 2010

Trying to learn to be different...

I had some company in the form of my best scrapping buddy while I thinkered with this but she missed the disasters of me trying to mix the right paint colour with old dried up paint and then having to heat emboss over the top to "calm" the colour down.... Lesson 1 - Keep the main thing, the main thing. Concentrate and things wont go so wrong, I know this, but I find it so hard to focus on one thing at a time.

I was also reminded today of how personally I take things and how I just need to let them go, especially when they are innacurate. Lesson 2 - holding on to negative thoughts can really ruin your day, ONLY if you let it!

So in order to capture this significant moment, I thought I'd go out and take snaps of my son with his bubble sword, letting things float away so to speak. Except that I go to turn my camera on and there is nothing. No battery. No battery, no camera, no photos of my lessons *sigh* Lesson 3 - remember not to leave the camera switched on or it wont be ready to use when you next need it.

I thought I could take a picture of my camera when it was charged though, then I thought it through.... taking a picture of my camera using my camera? Yeah, good luck with that!

So all in all not a great day. Although DD slepth through again (YAY!) and we had a busy day so not much idle time, I felt awful all day. Once all our visitors had left (my old Homestart volunteer came in the afternoon) I became so anxious at being on my own with the children. I really wanted to go to a charity music festival tomorrow with them but its a totally new thing and I'm terrified. I cant even decide what I'm terrified about so I cant deal with it. Oh well, we shall see how we feel in the morning. I may take heart from my some of my fellow Shimelle classmates and "Be Brave" and see what happens.

I think I'll treat myself to a Curly Wurly now :-)

Bye for now.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Welcome to the first day of September and the first day of SOFA (September Operation Fat Arse) and the first day of LSNED (Learn Something New Everyday). I was so excited to get my parcel of goodies from Shimelle this morning after the computer hiccup!  And this meant that I could finally attach the front cover I had been working on. I decided to cut up the jeans I've just slimmed out of and use the denim to cover the chipboard part of the AC album. I wanted to put a pocket on but because of the lack of space I intend to put it on the back and sadly my pockets are too big so I'm using one from DS's jeans that he's just gone through the leg of. We seem to have gone through a few pairs of jeans this month!
I messed about with flocking and rub-ons but it just wasnt looking right. I spent ages making a tag but again, something wasnt right. Finally I realised it was the shade of pink and I made an unprecidented decision to scrap those bits. I'm much happier with the replacement parts and I love the finished look. I was a bit annoyed with myself though that I hadnt used the planned Tim Holtz hinge, lock and key die cuts that I found once I had finished! Ooops!
So, other than learning what was in my goody box, on a brief visit to the local park, I learned that my DD can now open the gates and escape into the main park out of the play area. Hhhmmm..... guess I'm going to have to keep a more watchful eye on her there as well as everywhere else!
Events elsewhere have been rather up and down as usual. On the very very plus side, DD slept through, in her own bed, without being fed, till 6.20am!!!! This is a miracle and has never happened before. It looks like my sleeping on her floor for a few nights and the work we did over the weekend has really helped but we dont expect it to be all plain sailing now. She grumbled a fair bit during the night so I was still disturbed but this is a great start. She was no more tired than usual although we had had a busy day at the zoo with friends. We'd only planned to stay half the day because I was supposed to be helping a friend in need but the logistics of getting 5 children in one car proved too much. My friend is my very best scrapping buddy and has been having an awful time recently and it looks set to continue so I'm sending her lots of positive vibes. I wish I could do more to help but sometimes it is actually difficult to marry up the assistance you are able to provide, with the needs of the recipient. But we will continue to try!
So now I am off to scrap that not-so-great photo of DD escaping from the playground and hope for a better night's sleep!
TFL! xx