Friday, December 31, 2010
It's 2011 tomorrow? Seriously? Okay, so round up ........ breath in.......no head injuries; no trips to the police station (oh God, when they're out celebrating should I really have posted that?!) since April; 2 lots of lodgers have come and gone - family and friend; passed my teacher training; passed my Playwork Level 3 qualification; Joe passed his BTEC in business studies; Josh is loving his sports course; Josh is playing for local Allied County team; Joe kept his job for nearly 3 years; Ben is, um, Ben, loving drama; Ella started secondary school; Josh celebrated his 18th birthday; I had a couple of fab weekends away; managed to keep the roof over our head; both still working; spent 5 incredibly relaxing weeks in France; had a couple of day trips out; caught up with some of my favourite people; and have had overall a good year .......... breath out :)

Just checked my word for 2010 - BALANCE - I actually think I did quite well with that one. I had a few manic weeks with the studying, but on the whole feel I got to do a little of everything. And you know what they say..... a little of what you fancy does you good :)

Here's to a good 2011 to everyone I know and love xxxxx
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Ella is 12! When did that happen? That's all :)
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Ben's confirmation was lovely. Dad was his sponsor and Mum was a Eucharistic Minister so family affair :) Even managed to get the boys to go - one of those "I don't insist on too much...." guilt trips. whatever works;) But what is it with the Catholic Service? They had a full congregation of 55 families - predominantly teenagers, and the Mass was so uninviting, even the hymns! Although the Sermon was interesting as the Priest was talking about his chaplaincy role in the TA's and how he's off to Afghanistan. But you'd think they look at keeping the teenagers wanting to come back! Now this is a yummy drink :) Found it in a BBC Good Foods Magazine and thought we'd give it a go. Disaronno, sparkling white wine, orange juice, orange and ice. Only thing? You have to like almondy, marzipany (good use of the English language?) flavours!Decided I needed to craft a bit. Nothing exciting, but made some labels for these jars :) Like the jars? Complete mixture - charity shop. Tescos bargains, and one so old I can't even remember where I got it from! But realised just how many I had so decided to get them out on display and fill them, and have to say, saves so much time baking! The majority are from Jamie at Home and some were free as part of my hostess gift :) If you want a JAH party then just shout and I'll give you the name of my lovely party girl :)Finally, my beautiful girl on her last day of being 11 :) She insisted Jeff take her to Tesco's in the dress! Good girl ;)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Fostering. Part 2. Went to an Open Event with the local LA last night. Chatted after the presentation. Explained that I had contact them initially in May and not heard anything until I got a letter late October asking if I was still interested. They couldn't apologise enough. Fingers crossed they contact us next week and start the ball rolling. Still not heard anything from the private fostering agency that were going to get back to us 2 weeks ago. If we weren't so keen we'd have given up by now!

Madam doing one of the things she enjoys most - eating out :)


Tuesday, November 23, 2010
So having fun and games with football, dancing, partying and work. Of course, only the work is mine, the rest is the taxi service Mothers offer their delightful offspring. Oh, I have been baking which has been yummy, except for the sugar free chocolate cupcakes. Well, they would have been yummy if I had planned for them to be sugar-free, but I hadn't and they most definately weren't!

Went to Joy's Jamie at Home party and bought a few more lovely storage jars - want a Jamie at Home party? Angela's your girl :) Um, and that's about it. Oh my gosh, how depressing is that? I haven't had time to update for 2 weeks, and not because I've been painting the town red!

And I've not even got any current photos to upload. So here's a couple of casual ones I took in the summer of Jeff staining the decking - love those chicken legs ;)
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Last Friday one of my friends won an overnight stay in a hotel in London and a Masterchef class with Ainsley Harriott for herself and 5 friends. It was for this Tuesday and would you believe it was the only day this week I wasn't busy - a free day?! How often does that happen? So I said to Debbie if she wanted to put my name into the hat I wouldn't object LOL So I was sooo lucky to be one of the 5.

I arrived at 10pm Monday, after teaching, at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel. Doorman - yes a doorman - let me in. I looked around the bar and asked if there was another area. There wasn't. So I went back out courtesy of the doorman. Jeff says 'ask at reception'. Back in thanks to the doorman. No luck at reception. Back to Jeff then realised I had got Debbie's name slightly wrong. Back to reception. Doorman still smiling - wonder what he was really thinking ;) Yes they were there. So went out and promised doorman it would be the last time. Said night to Jeff and Ella. Sat in the bar with some paper and did some writing till everyone got back. Room was on 6th floor - so you know me, lot's of walking cos there was no way I was going in the lift! Room was lovely, although couldn't work out why there was a window through to the bathroom and blinds which could be opened from the bedroom! Claire reckoned it's so you could check on someone that was in there too long :) I'm not convinced, answers on a postcard ......

After breakfast on Tuesday went for a walk down Sloane Streetand got very wet. Then picked up by a driver and taken to Mossimans Cookery School. Spent the day with Ainsley Harriott who is just as nice IRL as he comes across on the telly. I made vegetarian versions of Smoked Duck with orange and pomegranates; carribean (fish) bouillabaisse; and coffee brioche.

I had the best day - Debbie thank you so much for letting me be part of it xoxo

Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Saturday during the day Ella went to the Saturday Club and they took them to Carters Steam Fair! Aside from what it does to my nerves wondering what she's getting up to - all kudos to Carters for the way they looked after the group. Allowed them to go to the front of the queues and didn't charge the kids for any of the rides :) Now that's customer service :)And as usual, worried for nothing, she had a blast, apparently loved the bumper cars and the train ride.

In the evening Ella and I went to Joy's Church for a barn dance, and of course it was perfect for madam - food, music and dancing, she was in heaven. Completely bailed at 9ish though, think the day caught up with her!
Sunday, November 07, 2010
Benjamin took this photograph through our bedroom window. And I thought it deserved a post all of its own :) As he took it he said "Maybe I'll be a photographer." Along with enjoying playing the bass guitar, he's obviously going to be artistic - which is absolutely fine, all the boys are different :)
Saturday, November 06, 2010
Guy Fawkes night and like a good Catholic I celebrated the naughty Catholic at a Fireworks night at a Catholic School :) The fireworks were - and always have been - fantastic. Bracknell Fireworks (now called Stars or something - the ones that do the X Factor displays) have always put them on and they are always spectacular - for English fireworks! Sorry, but once you've seen Italian fireworks nothing, but nothing compares. That aside it was a lovely evening, boys weren't bothered so just Ella, Jeff and me. Bit of a reality check though, watching the tiny kids in their all-in-one suits, reminded us of when our kids were that young and that we have been coming to this firework display for a lot of years!

Love this photo - has a 'Close Encounters of the First Kind' feeling :)And I love this just because I found out I can do it LMAO!


Friday, November 05, 2010
What a week.

Monday: Half-term over and school re-opens, so you'd think everything would settle down right? Wrong. Joe's been at hospital getting his wrist x-rayed following a fall at the weekend. They took the x-rays twice as they weren't sure whether there was any breaks or not. They think not, but it's really swollen and bruised, so he's got it strapped up. Ella point blank refused to get on the school bus this morning, so she's in her bedroom in disgrace. Joshua had the hump cos I wouldn't give him a lift to school - he's nearly 18, not a baby! At least Ben went off without any hassle. 1 out of 4 aint bad LOL

Tuesday I went for an interview as a Lead Care Assessor. I actually love working at the college, but there's so little opportunity for promotion. Anyhow they got back to me to say I came in second! And you know what second's worth..... well. they didn't say it quite like that, she was actually very nice and explained it was a very difficult decision but that the other person had more experience. Oh well, c'e sera sera.

Um, Wednesday I think was pretty uneventful, thankfully, but obviously just lulling me into relaxing so that when Thursday hit I was unprepared!

Thursday : Joe's car had a flat battery so he couldn't get Marley to college. Jeff had a play with the engine and got it going eventually. I had an appointment so Jeff was setting the GPS for me when he noticed a mother of a screw sticking out of one of the tyres. So he then had to deal with that. We then had a call from Ben's school to say he's poorly and could we pick him up. And then a call from Ella's school to say she was poorly and could we pick her up. Then I had to work out how to get Joshua to a football match over an hour away with 2 sick kids. Thank Heavens for other football mums LOL

And then today: Teaching for me. Whilst there had the 'pleasure' of catching 2 students getting to know each other a little too well - in full view of everyone! Now you know me, but seriously? In front of an audience?! Lunch with Jeff. Jeff's trying to fix Joe's car. Ben's still off sick. Joshua is struggling with a knee injury which has messed up his football so he really is not happy.

Do you like the cakes? Ella decorated them and insisted I take a picture :)Snickerdoodles - nice biscuits, but the name, really?
Citrus clouds - very popular judging by the speed in which they disappeared!
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Went to the Card Factory in town after Mass. Got
  • 5 bottle gift bags
  • 3 large gift bags
  • 24 tags
  • Pack of tissue paper
  • 3 angel bookmarks
  • 2011 diary
  • Pack 16 religious cards - well, they've got Churches on, was the closest I could find in the whole shop :(
  • BIG kitchen calendar that I always need with lots of writing space
  • 15 money envelopes (gave 5 to Mum)
  • Personal cards for husband - Mum - Dad and StepMum - special couple (Joe and Marley) - Goddaughter - Godson

All that for £15.20, now that's a result :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010
Where did half term go?! Monday Ella got a hair cut and Mum and Aunty Jean came round for a cup of tea; Tuesday went to Lingfield to see Emma and her fab new venture; Wednesday went to Pizza Express with Jeff courtesy of Tesco vouchers; then watched Joshua play football for his college team (won 5-3); Ella went to after-school club Halloween party (last post)and went to a Zumba class - I don't actually ache as much as I thought I would! Thursday solicitors and The Range and Jeff made our Christmas cake; Friday I got to scrap! So this weekend is catch up on all the boring stuff and sort out my application form for a job interview on Tuesday.

Photo is of a really old house in Lingfield I noticed and couldn't resist photographing.

Joshua's team talk after the match.Jeff baking the Christmas cake in readiness for feeding it lots of brandy!Journalling tags for the Christmas album. They took hours and hours but I'm really pleased with the results.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Ella had a halloween party at her after-school club today. She didn't even eat breakfast she was so excited - and as you know, that is really saying something LOL. So obviously a photo was essential. But she was shaking so wouldn't stand up on her own, hence Ben's arm on the edge of the photo! The first was just touched up, a bit of extra colour and soft edging. The second one I sort of went to town on - but I love it :)


Tuesday, October 26, 2010
My friend Suzelle pointed out Ali Edwards December Album and I have decided to go for it. I haven't really scrapped since before we went to Spain. Bit of lack of time and inspiration. Have been crafting, but not scrapping. Anyhow, started by deciding the layout, which will be similar to Ali's ideas. Pages are going to be 8" x 6" so that I can have a 6" x 4" photo on half the page and decoration/journal/date on the other half. So these are the dates. All 3" x 2". They are actually more 'grungy' than they look - thanks flash *rolling eyes*.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Oops! Not sure where the last 10 days have gone since the last post. I think it's one of those things. When you do something everyday it becomes so routine that you can't imagine not doing it. Then the routine breaks and getting back into it is so much harder. Of course, could also be that my life has been as dull as dishwater so I've nothing to say. Yeah, okay, stop laughing, like that could ever happen!

On routines. In France I would get out of the tent and swim at 10 every morning. It was lovely. I felt fitter. Invigorated. And I think it helped wake up my writing. Cos I would then write so easily for a couple of hours. And I was eating so healthily, even lost half-a-stone on holiday! How often does that happen? Well, except when you get a cake of Delhi Belly!

On eating. It was so much easier to eat healthily abroad. The fruit and veg looked appealing and time is made to sit and enjoy your food. Back home it's rushed between school, work, college, football. Cooking becomes rushed, not enjoyed.

On cooking. I have been baking for England. Well okay, not England, but by my standards pretty impressive! Getting a bit of a whizz at cakes and biscuits. So thought I would venture a bit out of my comfort zone. Actually any cooking is out of my comfort zone LOL Saw Jamies Half Hour Cooking and thought the spinach and feta cheese filo pie looked interesting.

Results:

Me: Yes, it can be done in half an hour, and is pretty easy, but the cost - :(
Jeff: It's okay, wouldn't want it too often.
Jeff: (bedtime with chronic indigestion) Never cook that again!
Joe: You seriously made that?
Josh: Looks like a flower.
Ben: Don't ever make me taste that again!
Ella: Ate it....of course :)

On Kids:
Ella - been a bit up and down. Seems to start the week aggressive and stressed, and mellows out as the week goes on. Bedtimes still a pain. She went to the schools Saturday Club for the first time. I was a nervous wreck as they were going to the cinema, Burger King and then the park. No-one except us, and a few people that I trust implicitly had ever taken her anywhere. But it turned out she had a 1:1, was a diamond and had a blast. Had to pay for the cinema and food herself. So as well as being respite for us it's helping her learn self-help and independence.
Joe - need to fill out an application form for Tesco's apprenticeship. He might as well get an extra qualification while he decides what he wants to do. But keeping him in one place long enough is like trying to put down clouds! Suggested he sign on. Not ideal, but we've just had to fork out £14 for his inhalers!
Josh - has just got back from a college trip. And still playing football for the college, Wokingham Allied Counties and Finch Reserves. Plus boxing training for fitness levels. That's one healthy son.
Ben - what can I say? Enjoying his bass, I just love to hear him playing it. Doing well in music and drama. And that's about it. He doesn't know what he wants to do so can't see the point of pushing himself. We told his tutor that at parents evening. As is typical of EP it's not followed up until we get a letter this week saying his grades are dropping. Well maybe if you bothered to listen to parents.......

On EP - had a stroppy letter saying that Ben had been spoken to on numerous occasions about his phone - his ipod - and incorrect uniform. I pointed out that his phone is broke, he doesn't own an ipod and his tutor knows about the uniform. Surprise, surprise, no apology as yet.

On fostering - so frustrating. I can understand why there is always a shortage! Will save that for another day when I'm less riled so less likely to say something I shouldn't!

Phew. No photos seeing as this was a catch up post.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Can you believe it's October and our hanging baskets are still in bloom. Okay, so everything else has died in there, but it's still looking good :)
These herb name sticks we got in The Range - one whole pound each - and they are going to look fab in their respective tubs next year. And the boys will have no opportunity to say "I can't pick some I don't know what it looks like!" Very good value methinks.So yesterday I got a lovely comment, from an equally lovely fella, about a photograph I had taken. And it made me feel good :) Everybody likes to hear something nice. You could pick just the moment when someone is so low and you don't even know what a positive effect you've had on them. When was the last time you just complimented someone out of the blue? Go on, do it today, make someone's day, you know you want to.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Today Jeff, Ella and I took Mum to Southend-on-Sea to see her friends Pat and Mike. As they've been friends for 40 plus years, I've always known them as Aunty Pat and Uncle Mike. And still do. Apparently makes them feel old, but it just seems wrong not giving them their proper title! I've done the same with the boys, it's just a personal thing, but I think it shows a mark of respect. I digress - there's a change I hear you sarcastically think :) We had a lovely day. Couldn't believe how lovely the weather was for October - shorts! I know, Jeff's got his chicken legs out, but a small price to pay to see the sun :) Have included a couple of photos. Played with Picnik to get the colours, I really like it.Walked along the promenade, then had lunch. Strolled around the shops, found a couple of ornaments that belong to the C word that I didn't mention yesterday in a charity shop. Also found a store we don't have locally - TJ Hughes, and got some C presents :) Ended up in an American style diner, Bobby-Jo's 50's Diner, and the milkshakes and desserts were to die for! Def worth a visit :) Then back to pick up Mum and met Chris and Glynis (son and DIL that I haven't seen for years), who were as lovely as they always were :) Only downer on the whole day was the journey home - M25? Say no more!
Saturday, October 09, 2010
There are days when Ella is, simply, hard work. Nothing I can do appeases her. Nothing is good enough. She won't walk anywhere without holding a hand. She screams for no reason. Etc. Etc. Etc. Simply hard work. So I've been with her all morning while Jeff had a lay in (not complaining about that, he was knackered!) and then he went and watched Ben's football match - which his team won 6-1. Obviously pleased that he won, more so that his old best mate, and fellow team mate, was in the other team. Back to Ella. Jeff has now taking over so I can shower; hair colour; bake some scones and cupcakes; mark a couple of students portfolios; do a photograph session for Joshua and his best mates; 3 more loads of washing; and sort out some scrapping stuff for a December album. See how I mentioned the C word without actually saying the C word lol!

We watched The Lovely Bones, which was, oh, okay and Remember Me which had me in tears at the end :(

So, one of the pluses of Ella's moods is the need to 'do' something. Does that make sense, I have plenty on my list, but sometimes it's the need to create, adapt, clean, tidy. And today was a tidy. So the list is still as long (and I sort of think that updating my blog wasn't on the list so still as long!) but I have a good feeling and a tidy cupboard :)

Before:After:
Friday, October 08, 2010
Spent a lovely morning yesterday with these 2 adorable children :) Oh, and Jeff was there too! I think he had as much fun as they did. Got a message from their Mum to say the younger girly had fallen asleep during lunch, completely wore her out lol!


Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Just back from the most lovely chilling weekend with some of my favourite people :) We went all out this year and rented a house with sauna, steam room and hot tub ...... OMGosh, I love, love, love the hot tub, they should come as an optional extra in all homes LOL. Photos are of a travel essentials kit I made everyone - you know, tissues, emery boards, incense, etc. No condoms, think we're all past needing them....what a depressing thought LMAO! Photos to follow - not too many, I know, I'm slipping.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Ab Fab evening with the DPP girls at Don Beni's, can't beat an Italian - meal that is - and good company :)
Monday, September 27, 2010
Just a quick post cos this photo deserves my undivided attention! Is this a cool photograph or what? Taken in Macro with my point and shoot £60 Fuji camera, so chuffed. What with this and the clouds the other day - go me! Oh, and the biscuits tasted bloody nice too :)
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Sitting here typing oh so slowly, typo's and spelling errors very likely! Last night was the first time this year I enjoyed a glass or 3, or more, of Pernod. And although I was only chilled, anybody that likes a glass of pernod will know that any fluids imbibed the next day reacts badly (or well, depending on your take ;) ) and you end up chilled all over again!The reason for the slight excess of alcohol? Well I totally blame my friends Jeanette and Sandra! We were all at Sandra's with our other halves enjoying a lovely meal and even lovelier company. Well, when I say lovely meal ....... we've all known each other 21 years - which in itself is a pretty scarey thought - so one has to wonder why Sandra put peppers in Jeff's chilli when she knows that he's allergic to them? I always thought she liked him, but maybe I was wrong, maybe she's been harbouring a deep seated hatred and it erupted last night! Nah, unlikely, now if I added it to Jeff's meal .........
So, can you tell which one of use was the designated driver lmao!These 2 are absolutely lovely ladies who been so supportive during the best and worst times and I am honoured that they count me as a friend :)

As usual a lot of alcohol, rude jokes and catching up took place. And if David and Nick would like to get in touch we also discussed how to solve all the country's problems ;)