Monday, 31 August 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend

With a three day weekend stretching before me, why is there always so much to do? Edward had a four hour football training sessions, so he was out between 10am and 2pm. Emily was going to her friend Nicole's house and we shared lifts with Ghislaine. They came to pick Emily up at 10.30. As soon as the children had gone, Mark and I went over to Ware to sort out buying Edward a saxophone. Whilst I did the business there, Mark played with the electric guitars. Hopefully Edward's new sax should be available to pick up next Sat and we can return the hired one. Fingers crossed.

Once we got back home, it was all the fun of planning a shopping list! Mark was dispatched to Tesco whilst I got on with a special card for a friend who is going to be 50 in a matter or a week or so. The card took me hours, cos I had to keep waiting for elements to dry. It looks fab and I will post a picture soon I promise.

Then it was collection time for the children. Edward had a great training session and scored a couple of goals so he was chuffed. Emily enjoyed herself at Nicole's, particularly because the boys had been invited as well!

Mark made a very nice curry for tea and then we spent the evening catching up on TV programmes (oh and I crocheted too - it's coming on a treat - round 8. Will post a picture of that as soon as I have finished the round. It's getting very heavy.

On Sunday we had an early start, because we decided to make the most of the long weekend and have a day out at Chessington. We had a really good day, and went on Dragon's Fury twice (even Edward) and the Vampire ride - it broke down before we could go on it for a second time (typical). We enjoyed the water ride - Dragon's Fall and I didn't get wet cos I wore my Alton Towers poncho. We bumped into the Lewis's and the Miles's - talk about a small world. We got home about 7pm and we were all pretty pooped. We both managed to fall asleep in front of the TV.

Today has been a surprisingly busy day, even though no one is really in the mood. Emily has gone to Ware with her friends - Alice is back from Italy - so she is happy. Sharing lifts with Alice's Mum, she took, we are bringing back (including Will who is coming for dinner). Edward finally got his homework done - I am so relieved - I was getting quite stressed about it, so he was able to play out all afternoon. I have been typing up recipes for our meal planner which has gone very well. I also made a chilli for the freezer and emptied out the crap already in the freezer that has been there for a year or more. Quite productive.

Now we just await a summons from Emily to pick them up!

M x

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Week 6 of the Summer Holidays

Well, the final full week of the summer holidays is over and I am starting to feel sad and and full of trepidation for going back to work next week. I can't believe where the time has gone, I wish it would start all over again. I've had such a good holiday and have really enjoyed being at home. I wish I was able to be a stay-at-home Mum again.

On Monday, Tracey and Frank came to visit, which was lovely. I haven't seen them since my 40th birthday party last June. What's great about our friendship is that we just pick up from where we left off. I can't believe how grown up Frank looks, he's really tall - makes me feel SO old!

After they left, Emily went off for a sleepover with her friend Ghislaine. Five were going all together and they went to the cinema to see Aliens in the Attic.

On Tuesday, I went to London with Halina, a colleague and friend from work. We went to the National Gallery for a spot of culture. Our interest was sparked when we went on a school trip with Year 5 at the beginning of the year. Of course we started off the visit with coffee and yummy cake in the gallery's cafe. After the gallery we walked along to Covent Garden and had some lunch there. After a quick visit to Lush to buy some soap, we caught the tube to Finsbury Park to get the train home.

Emily arranged to see her friends in Ware on Wednesday and I dropped her at the station before taking Edward to Harlow to the cinema. We went to see G-Force 3D - which included wearing the funny glasses. It was quite a good film and the 3D effect was very good. Edward really enjoyed himself. Emily ended up going to Harlow with her friends to see G I Joe but it was all very short notice (nothing new there!).

Thursday was our 15th Wedding Anniversary. It seems hard to believe I have been married for so long - it sounds very grown up, which I don't always feel! Mark bought me some lovely cream and red flowers - our wedding colour scheme, and we exchanged cards. Mum and Dad came over to babysit (the second time this week - the other being Tuesday whilst I was in London) and Mark and I went for a lovely meal at Sala Thai in Ware. It was delicious and very reasonable. We should go there more often.

My plan for Friday was card making all day - like that was going to happen!! Unfortunately the ironing was calling to me and I knew I wouldn't be able to relax with my card making until I had done some. Then whilst the ironing board was out, I thought I ought to turn up Edward's new school trousers. I was relieved to get those done. Then I just fiddled about with jobs, chivvying up Emily who drifts along without a care in the world! Eventually when Edward had gone out to play, I made a couple of cards. I haven't photographed them yet, but I will post them in the next couple of days.

And then it was Saturday! Where has the week gone? I do not want to go back to work next week.

M x

Friday, 28 August 2009

Mini Break in Durham - Final Day

Well, after three jam packed days up north, it was time to pack up and come home. We have all had such a fab time, and our appetite has certainly been whetted for a return visit. I like the fact that everything is pretty close together and it doesn't take too long to get anywhere. I would love to come back and have a cottage or caravan near the beautiful coast and spend more time exploring this lovely part of the world.

Anyway, back to the final day. We packed up the car after breakfast and headed off. Our first stop was at a scrapbook shop on the outskirts of Durham. We had a bit of trouble finding it, and I was all set to give up, but Mark was determined (silly man - he must have known I would spend money on more craft stuff!!), and we eventually located it. It's called The Scrapbook Shop, and is a lovely shop packed full of paper crafting goodies - why can't I have shops like this on my doorstep?! The lady was lovely and we chatted whilst I made a couple of purchases. I even signed up for the loyalty card!

Our main destination before home was Leeds, well Horsforth to be more precise. Mark hasn't had the opportunity to show the children where he grew up. We stopped there for about an hour, had a look at his parents' old house and the ones that both his grandparents lived in. We had a bit of a stroll into the town to get some provisions for the journey home.

Traffic-wise, we had no hold ups until we got to Stevenage and then had to go all round the houses due to a road closure - heigh ho and c'est la vie!

It was nice to get home and find that Mum had done all the washing and ironing - what a star! (I hope you are reading this Mum!!).

There are no photos to add to this posting today (cos I didn't take any - ha ha!!).

We planned to have a relaxing Sunday to give Mark a chance to recover from all the driving, but no. Lucky us, Emily and some of her friends descended upon us in the afternoon, so it was rather chaotic. Will stayed for dinner again - it's getting to be a habit!

That's enough for now. Toodle pip!

M x

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Mini Break in Durham - Day 3

We decided that we would head straight off after breakfast to see the Angel of the North. I've always wanted to see this sculpture, I know a lot of people don't like it, but I think there is something fascinating about it. I was really surprised when we got there, because it wasn't as big as I thought it would be, still very imposing, but smaller.

We drove on to Corbridge to see the remains of a Roman settlement near Hadrian's Wall. The weather at this point was vile - bitter cold and raining - marvellous summer weather! We didn't see much of the children while we were at Corbridge as they were too busy playing their own game amongst the ruins. There isn't any of the Wall at Corbridge, so we drove on further, eventually stopping at Steel Rigg to satisfy Mark's need to see it.

It was well past lunch time at this point, so we drove up to Alnwick where we had fish and chips (well Mark did - we had other things!) and I got to visit Barter Books. What a great bookshop, shame it's not more local cos I would be in there all the time!

Finally, with much nagging on Edward's part, and only because the weather had brightened up, we went to the beach. Mark had discovered a lovely beach called Druridge with 6 miles of sand and backed by sand dunes - fantastic! Edward was the first one down on the sand and digging. He was the only one who braved swimming in the sea - very cold. We spent a very pleasant hour and a half there.
After the beach, and still full from lunch, we popped in to Tesco on the way back to the hotel to grab some sandwiches and snacks. We weren't in the mood for Pizza Express as we had originally planned. Mark had a pint in the bar whilst the children and I watched television in the room. Edward was thrilled to stay up late and watch programmes he would generally not be able to watch at home!
M x

Monday, 24 August 2009

Mini Break to Durham - Day 2

On our second day, we decided to visit Beamish, which is a folk museum spread over a couple of acres. There are four main areas, the Home Farm, the Colliery Village, the Town and Railway Station, and the Manor House. Whilst you can walk between them, it's quite a distance, so you can get either a tram or a bus.

Typically it was raining pretty hard when we got there, so yet again it was on with the raincoats. It did ease up whilst we were in the old school in the Colliery Village thank heavens, otherwise it might have been quite a difficult day.

Emily and Edward had a go at some maths in the old school, working out pounds, shilling and pence. Emily got the hang of it straight away, but Edward found it a bit confusing.

We went down a mine, which was a bit freaky. It had a very low ceiling, so you had to bend practically in half. Just as well I was wearing a hard hat, because I would have concussed myself with the amount of times I hit my head on the ceiling!

Edward had a go at a few crafts, including making a prodded rug and a peg doll. Emily is obviously far too mature for such pursuits!!

This is the Town where we visited the sweet shop (spent a little bit of money!), had lunch in the tea room and had a good look around all the shops, as well as the railway station.

We then caught the tram to the Manor House. No photos I'm afraid because the battery died. It was a lovely old house, even allowing for the dead animals hanging up in the smoke house. We didn't have time to go to the Home Farm, so we have decided to visit another time. Edward was a bit disappointed because he wanted to see the forge, but there just wasn't enough time for everything. We had been there since 10am and it shut at 5pm.
We decided to have a cheap meal and ended up in the KFC near the Premier Inn.
Next installment tomorrow, or maybe Wednesday, as I am in London tomorrow.
M x

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Mini Break to Durham - Day 1

We've just got back from the lovely North East and have had a fantastic time. Again, I am going to blog this trip in stages, as uploading the photos frazzles me at the best of times, so day by day may save the nerves!

We left bright and early on Wednesday (7.00am on the dot!), and had a good journey up to Middleton-in-Teesdale, just stopping for breakfast en-route. We stopped to visit High Force waterfall, which is pretty spectacular. Emily decided to wear her joke spectacles for pretty much the whole trip to see how many funny looks she got - I suggested she stop counting because pretty much everyone stared at her! We took two photos of her every time - one with, one without!

We got to Durham in good time and headed straight for the city centre. We decided to grab a quick bite to eat, then head off to the cathedral. Durham is a beautiful city, quite small in the centre, but very nice. We found the Cafe Rouge on our way to the cathedral - our meal for later that evening.

This tower has 325 steps to the stop, I know because I climbed every single one of them, even though I nearly keeled over as a result! Emily persuaded me to do it and said I would be really proud of myself (which I was - eventually!). OMG it was hard work and we had to pay for the privilege! I was so dizzy by the time I got to the top that I couldn't really take in the views - hopefully Mark has got some good photos. Going down was also not such a pleasant experience for me because of my fear of falling down stairs - why do I put myself through these things?!
After a further mooch round the city centre, we went to our hotel, where we freshened up for our Cafe Rouge meal (nice food, nice people - terribly slow service), courtesy of Tesco vouchers. We were all pretty shattered by then after a really long day so it was off to bed.
Further installments tomorrow!
M x
Mark is chuffed - England has just won the Ashes!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Stowe Landscape Garden

Yesterday we had our annual picnic at Stowe. We've been doing this every summer for quite a few years now, I think Edward was in the buggy for some of them.

We all met up at 1.30pm. It would have been earlier, but Edward had his first football training session of the season which didn't finish until 11.30. Tracy arrived just before us, then Katie and Clive came after we got there. It made a change that we weren't the last!

We had a really lovely time, great food and company. Edward, Emily, Mark and Clive played cricket (Edward won!), whilst us ladies watched on!

A little bit of hill rolling.

Very dignified for a fourteen year old!

It's such a lovely place that we never get tired of going there. Edward loves the freedom to run around and Emily isn't quite the bored teenager yet.

A happy day.

M x

Saturday, 15 August 2009


I had a really quiet day on Thursday as both children were out with their friends. Emily went into Hertford and Ware with Will and their group of friends, and Edward went to Sam's house with Matt. I spent the day watching Brideshead Revisted - the film not the series. Much preferred the series. I also finished the last of the three True Blood books that I have - Club Dead. It was really good and I and well and truly hooked. In fact I have ordered 4 - 6 from Amazon and can't wait til they get here! I made two cards aswell from some of the things I bought at Stamperama on Sunday. I seem to be making cards little and often at the moment - I haven't had a real card-fest for a while.

Yesterday Emily had her hair cut. It's not totally radical, but it is more of a style and looks really nice. Hopefully she will keep it like this.



She's very happy with it.

I am signing off now as I am getting fed up with Blogger fighting me - it won't let me do what I want it to - argh!

Off to make a picnic as we are off to Stowe with friends. See ya!

M x

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Orange Wednesday!

We have been having a quiet few days this week and Edward is feeling much better after his bike incident on Monday, thank goodness.

For the first time ever, I left Emily in charge of both of them yesterday so that I could out for a drink with a friend. I was out for about three hours, back in time for a late lunch. They were fine in my absence, just watched some television. I wasn't as anxious as I thought I would be, which is great as it means I can and will do it again.

Today Emily met up with her boyfriend, the first time she has seen him in over three weeks. Unfortunately the weather was so appalling that they soon turned up here and played on the Wii together with Edward.

Mark came home early because we had planned to go and see the new Harry Potter film. All five of went, even though Emily and Will had already seen it. We enjoyed it a lot, although I did prefer the book. Like most films, they have had to cut great chunks of the story out of it, which is understandable, but a shame.

Tomorrow Emily is out with her group of friends and Edward is going to Sam's with Matthew, so I'll have a quiet day - catching up on my programmes, crocheting and making cards. Bliss!!

M x

PS - am loving the Charlaine Harris books, a vampire love story again!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Back to normal!

Well, the children returned on Saturday evening, and it was lovely to have them back. We really missed each other. They have had a great time with their Grandparents, especially their time down at the coast on Wednesday and Thursday.

Mark and I had quite a productive day on Saturday. Mark cut back the bay tree which had grown very tall. It took some time,and involved going next door to attack it from that side too (I held the ladder!).

I made some more cards - these were for specific people whose birthdays are this coming week.

My cousin's 40th birthday card

A birthday card for a 17 year old

Mum and Dad stayed over because Mum and I were going to Stamperama (card making show) in Stevenage the next day.

We left about 9.15am and got to Stevenage and parked by 9.45. We went straight into the show even though it didn't officially open until 10am (we had special tickets). As usual, we went immediately to Craftwork Cards where I proceeded to spend ALL my birthday money!! Julie Hickey had made some wonderful cards with their new range of rubber stamps. I took loads of photos for inspiration. I bought some lovely things, which hopefully I will be able to use and show you in the fullness of time. It was also nice to chat to Julie, she is so friendly and treats everyone like an old friend.

We moved on to LB Crafts so that I could buy my Glimmer Mists - I bought six colours with lovely names such as Sapphire, Pink Taffy, Purple Pansy, Black Cherry, Honey Dew Mist and Meadow Green. I now have 15 colours in my collection. Watched Linda do yet another great demo -she's a very clever lady - would love to go to one of her workshops.

We didn't stay too long after that. We stopped and had coffee and cake and then browsed all the stalls, but as we had really got what we came for, we headed for home.

We had a lazy afternoon as everyone was really tired. Had a few glasses of Pimms (may need to buy a new bottle soon!). Mark cooked a nice dinner on the barbecue and then Mum and Dad went home.

This morning, yet again, woke up stupidly early and went downstairs to do my ironing. By 8.45am I had watched another episode of The Thornbirds and completely cleared the ironing. There is something quite satisfying about piles of ironed clothes and an empty basket.

Edward woke up not feeling terribly well, and was a bit poorly later on.

Had to get Emily round to her friends for noon, by which point Edward had perked up. I spent the afternoon making some more cards - used Julie's cards for inspiration,and am really pleased with the results. See for yourselves.

In the meantime, Edward fell off his bike and has sustained an injury in an unfortunate place and has spent the afternoon laying on the settee, watching the television and feeling very sorry for himself.
As I sign off for today, I wonder what time I will get the text to fetch Emily from her friend's house, and hope that we have a peaceful evening and that I can get a good night's sleep.
M x

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Final Day (no children)!

Greetings! There hasn't been much to write about recently hence the silence.

We had a really pleasant meal on Wednesday at The Sword in Hand for Joan's birthday. The food was delicious, really good pub food (not cheap though!). The company was OK too.

Thursday was a pretty tedious day. Started with a Doctor's appointment which was a thrill a minute. Blood pressure OK, but sent for blood tests. Typically the Doctor's ran on time! I know that sounds mad, but my manicure appointment was for 12 o'clock, so I had loads of time to kill! I just mooched around the shops, sorted something out for dinner in Waitrose and then had a coffee at Cafe Nero.

I went for my manicure, I was a bit nervous because I hadn't been to this place before (I was using the voucher from Emily). They were quite nice, my manicurist was a bit of a dizzy blonde, but OK. I decided to go for a dark blue to match my toe nails - it's called "You've gotta get this blue!". When I left, my nails looked really nice, unfortunately by the time I had got to the car, keys, sunglasses, seat belt etc - I'd wrecked them! They still look alright, but don't stand up to close scrutiny!

The only plus point for the day was that I found a cheap copy of Breaking Dawn in the Oxfam bookshop, which I bought to tide me over until the paperback is released next year.

Mark decided I needed cheering up so we went to Lam's and had a Chinese buffet - it was delicious and made me feel better.

Friday was a better day. Got up early to go have my blood tests (still a queue even at that time of day). Then watched one episode of The Thornbirds - it was as bad as I remembered, but I will watch it all - a sucker for punishment!

I spent the rest of the day making cards and here are the fruits of my labour. They are all from the Craftwork Cards kit - Sorbet Souffle.

I'm really pleased with them, they look lovely and fresh.
After that we had a trip to Asda in Stevenage to get Edward some new polo shirts for school. I also picked up some new pillows for the children, as theirs have seen better days.
Today I am planning on making a 40th birthday card and a teenager birthday card, so better get cracking before the children come home later. Am very excited because tomorrow it is Stamperama - I have my shopping list all ready!
M x