Saturday 30 April 2011

My Royal Wedding Top Ten

  1. Drinking Champagne with the girls , the cheaper the better

2. Eating cake , homemade of course and piled high with red , white and blue sprinkles.

3. Making paper chains with the boys - you can never have enough.

4. Making bunting - ditto.

5. Watching telly in bed with a mug of tea in my brand new Union Jack mug, of course if I'd known our own little Jack had tasted it first .....

6. Getting dressed up in my wedding dress.

7. The look on my eldest son's face at the the sight of me in my wedding dress with a jauntily placed plastic tiara on my head and a glass of champagne in my hand - priceless.

8. Caviar for tea ( gift from very generous friend).

9. The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Flypast. My father was a Lancaster pilot during WW11 and it never fails to bring a tear to me eye.

10. Watching it all over again in the evening.

You can't beat a good wedding, especially when you haven't had to shell out for an outfit or a toaster . How was your day ?

Friday 22 April 2011


I've discovered a whole new shopping hell on earth . It's a place called Hollisters . The designers and architects had a field day on their drawing boards. The branch at our local shopping centre can only be described as a Hawaiian / mock Tudor fusion with colonial overtones. If you're ever trying to find it a your local shopping centre just look for the hoards of pre-pubescent texting tweenies hanging around outside .

Once over the threshold, past the leather wing chairs and Victorian candelabra ... oh and you sometimes you have to queue up outside ( crowd control ) as if entering a hallowed nightclub,  the light levels dip to about the strength of a 20 watt bulb. You don't need to actually see the merchandise as it's all identical - sherbert coloured T shirts sporting Californian slogans like 'Surfs Up' or 'Beach Bum' or maybe even ' I'm only buying this to show that I can afford £25 quid for a T shirt and all my mates have exactly the same one ' .

I stumbled my way past the throngs of twelve year olds fingering the merchandise, looking for something with an affordable price tag . Fat Chance. The sales staff are on permanent T shirt folding duties as everyone seemed to be doing the same thing - pulling out a T shirt from an immaculate pile , looking at the price tag , mouthing the words " How Much ?!"  then replacing it in a crumpled pile for the folders to do their magic.

Deeper inside this hell-hole , your eyes begin to acclimatise to the dingy lighting but not quite enough to avoid serious injury to your ankles as you trip over the 5" high plinths clearly designed to catch you unawares. The teens presumably have memorised the floor layout in their sleep and can navigate their way around blindfold. Bruised but  not defeated I rounded the corner and entered the preppy area where the clothing was emblazoned with fictional college emblems 'Californian Surf School Alumini 1963 ' and the like. Oh dear. It was all getting much worse than I'd dared imagine. The cotton felt nice though until you realised that it had probably been harvested at the expense of a 9 year old child labourer for the cost a bowl of rice a day.

Eventually I found a 'bargain' garment for  £12 and made my way to the till where I found a snaking queue of at least 30 people clutching their  prospective purchases . You could just about make out the whites of their eyes - difficult to determine whether this was due to a heightened pitch of shopping fever or a nervousness at the prospect of parting with a day's wages.

Gasping with disbelief I plonked my T shirt back on a random shelf in a crumpled pile - well , you have to give the brigade of T Shirt folders something to do , and groped my way to the exit, past the bamboo plantation, round the next bend , hang a right at the Georgian mahogany library shelves, emerging , blinking, into the sunlight.

I don't think my 11 year old will be too upset that I failed in my conquest to bag him an uber trendy T . Bless him - our local Oxfam is his favourite shop.

Next time you're in town , take a look at the passing shoppers. You'll be able to spot the Hollisters customers a mile away . They will usually be a 40 something Mum with bruised ankles and an empty wallet with a texting teen tagging along with a big grin on their face.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Poor old Martha Stewart

She must be exhausted . So far this month she's planted a forest, made all her own soap , appliqued a squillion eggs, hand carved her own herb labels and by page 120 she's held an Easter egg hunt for a bunch of kids dressed in linen suits. It's called a " casual Easter brunch ' , so casual in fact that all of the grown-ups have clearly been instructed to wear yellow whilst sipping champagne ( presumably from her own hand planted vineyard ) before helping the kids decorate their goose eggs at the craft table ( don't think little Johnny's felt penned mess is going to cut the mustard with Martha ) . I'm exhausted already and I haven't even ventured on to page 158 where she tackles cleaning her oven , which includes a step by step tutorial on how to unblock your fuel ports with a paper clip. And how come her duck egg blue apron is spotless ?
Just out of shot are the crew of 100 who doubtless actually do the unblocking for her.

It's easy to have a pop at Martha but it's such fun and that may account for why I shell out £3.90 for her monthly mag , it's the best laugh I've had since watching Michael Mackintyre judge Britain's Got Talent last night on telly.

Flipping through to end of the mag I found a section on how to look bloody marvellous too. Not content with laying your own eggs and crafting your own rugs, she's now telling us how we should dress. Strange though , everyone's upside down , maybe its for the Australian market ? No you have to turn it the other way round apparently and start from the other end to make it look like a whole new mag. What will those clever marketing chappies think of next ?

Incidentally my Easter egg hunts normally get rained off and involve an indoor version with a  handful of the lurid foil wrapped cream egg variety squished behind sofas and hard to find places which , unfound, turn up months later -  a real bonus when you're clean out of chocolate sometime in July and have a desperate urge to stuff your face with something from Cadburys.

I'm currently also reading , as if a glutton for punishment, a book about simplifying your life. I usually have at least one of these on the go on my Kindle at any one time. They're usually another source of guffaws. This one tells me I need to eliminate and simplify . So that's how you do it ? And here's me been cluttering and complicating my life for years with unnecessary burdens. So this morning I'm going to simplify my life by eliminating the ironing and I plan to go out for breakfast and let someone else do the washing up. Actually there are a few gems in the book which I plan to put to the test so if some of you don't hear from me in the next few months it may be because I've eliminated you from my email list. Apparently email and the internet is the scourge of 21st century living ( an element of truth) and we spend 30% of our lives attending to it . So , switching off now so that I don't get lured into the den of the internet iniquity known as the shopping cart. but not before I've checked out Martha's online clip art page which will show me how to print my own rhubarb compote labels.. trouble is I was supposed to plant the ruddy rhubarb plants last year and I clean forgot. Too busy scrubbing down my garden statue collection with baking soda no doubt ( p132 ) .

Friday 15 April 2011

Bunny Humour

Seeing as it's nearly Easter ...


Oh , I've just checked my blog and seen that the picture above has disappeared to be replaced by a menacing little blue square containing a question remark. Anyone techies know why that is ?


I have one problem with this design company. I want one of everything . Feast your eyes on this scene of loveliness.

Oh ... just tried to post a picture but it won't let me ... hey ho , you'll have to look here instead .

Oh , so now it's letting me copy a picture ... ah well , have a look at this little lot.

Trouble is , I can't find anywhere in the UK that stocks their products and as much as I'd love a visit to Bangkok , that would be one shopping trip too far. Incidentally , the white bunny's ears are a pair of scissors and his carrot holds paper clips.

Thursday 14 April 2011


What a ghastly place it is really ... serves me right for going but the promise of a Swiss themed store event and a confectionary department fit to burst with Easter chocolate was too tempting.

As we sat in the stupidly named Ca'ppucino coffee bar ( and yes that is where they put the apostrophe ) my 11 year old son dared to open a cellophane bag containing fudge which we'd just purchased , at which point the snotty waitress appeared and humiliated him by informing us that it was against store policy to consume any food other than purchased in the coffee bar. For crying out loud. He is a child and it was a sweet. What next ? No farting on the premises ? I only wished he had. That would have given her something to justify the 'smell under her nose' look she gave us.

Anyway , undeterred I had the audacity to ask for a glass of water to drink with our ice cream. well that nearly finished her off. What a horrid experience and one I'm happy not to repeat any time soon.

Harrods ... you scored 2 out of 10 and the 2 was only for the chocolate . Incidentally the crimeful piece of fudge that my son consumed scored even lower - truly disgusting.

The lure of London during school holidays never lives up to expectations. I always go with the boys with high hopes of experiencing our capital city in all its glorious loveliness but I always return on the sweaty train at the end of the day feeling distinctly disappointed , penniless and as if I need to have a damn good wash of my hands as soon as I get home.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Been a long time

.. since I posted any layouts. Sadly they're sitting in a pile above where I keep my albums awaiting their final resting place . So I' thought I'd take the opportunity to photograph a few . A mixed bag . I'm really enjoying scrapping all my photos of the boys from their early childhood. I carry them around in my scrap tote and they're my first 'go to ' photos when I start a layout.

Thank you Sandra for setting the 'red theme' challenge in aid of Comic Relief at our crop for which I produced this.

Thank you 7 Gypsies for producing this sumptuous collage tissue which I used for this.

Thank you Emma for putting together this kit for me for our Ally Pally £3 page kit challenge.

Thank you Kate , likewise,  for putting together this kit for me for our Ally Pally £3 page kit challenge.

Thank you Max for loving me all the way to the moon .. and back.

Thank you Fowey Hall for being our favourite child friendly holiday when the boys were little.

And finally one of the old man !

I quite like posting these on my blog - it gives me the chance to look at them objectively and spot what looks wonky and needs fiddling with ... ( the layouts that is ... not the old man ... although maybe .....)