Yes the local school has had three inset days already, so soon after the summer break. Quite nice actually because the weather has been good enough to enjoy being out and about. So we took advantage and went to Conkers on Monday, took a picnic and set off with the sun smiling down on us. It's so different when we go out without Joshua (him and Chiara just fight all the time, it is so wearing all that bickering). I couldn't believe though that we went all that way and the first person we saw was a boy from Chiara's class. Doubly amazing because Conkers isn't that near (50 minutes away by car) and it isn't such a big school either so we are hardly likely to bump into people from a numbers point of view.

We found a little nook on our visit this time we hadn't spotted last year. It was a water feature and Chiara was fascinated with pumping the old fashioned pump to make the water mill go round and move the water through the little set up. Mia took the easier option of sitting on the metal chicken and simply pressing a button to make the water spurt out. They were both enthralled with this and must have spent close onto an hour just playing in this section.

And I've just put the finishing touches to a layout started an age ago at crop. I love this photo of Chiara, it was just a snap taken in the car whilst we were having our picnic on a day trip to Whitepost Farm in the Spring. Junkitz flowerful papers with lots of patterns and letters cut out and some crystals added for extra girly princess sparkle.

More decorating being done at home, we have painted the small spare room and moved Josh in there whilst we decorate his. Have stripped most of the wallpaper today and will go to buy wallpaper and paint tomorrow (two different DIY stores because the paint is on offer in one but that one typically doesn't have the wallpaper). Also spotted in B&Q that they have got their bedroom furniture at 25% off so may buy Josh new wardrobe and stuff. What he has at the moment is really old fashioned white stuff bought when we got married (oh yeah, forgot to mention, like DH forgot, it's our 20th anniversary today, well yesterday). And Josh in years gone by has written on it in permanent marker. We were going to paint it but to be honest it's not worth the hassle with the price the furniture is in the sale for. Plus we can get him a desk to match as his tv/x-box is currently on a manky little old desk bought second hand from the local playgroup for a fiver.


Well I have a fair few I've started over the past month or so, but, as ever, mojo deserted me halfway through them all. Scrapbooking is rather like cross stitching for me - I love the colours and designs and starting out with a blank canvas, then tend to lose interest half way through. So I simply put my pages to one side and mull about them in my mind for a while before coming back with the finishing touches. You see I can get the cardstock, patterned paper and photo down pretty nifty now. But the titling, journalling and embellishing is what takes much more thinking about.

This one is an old photo from when Josh was a lot younger, at the stage in his life where his Dad was his World. It's another one that meets two challenges, the Ali E Challenge #9 on Annie's blog (to use clear buttons) and also the colour challenge for September on Scrap That Moment (I just love those challenges and I am really going to go for getting them all done this month, need to get a move on mind!)

I finally got around to using these KI Memories papers I have had for an age, love all the quotes which I cut out from one of the sheets, Li'l Davis chipboard letters and 7 Gypsies clear buttons (I stamped a heart under the button and on the button for extra depth and sewed on with black thread to match). The wonderful circular text stamps are one of my latest purchases and are designed by Danelle Johnson for Limited Edition. I spied them at the Card Fairy on my last visit and my will power was, well, nil!


For me! Not often I get chance to toot but I want to say the BIGGEST THANK YOU to Mandy Anderson for giving me a great opportunity and inviting me onto the Design Team at Creative Scrapbooking! There is such a great pool of talent publishing in that mag and it is such a massive honour for me.

I am eagerly awaiting the latest edition to hit the shops to I can go out and get myself a copy. Chiara will be mega thrilled too as my project layout in this edition features the princess herself!

I hope that everyone will give the new magazine a go, from what I've seen of the sneak peeks of the projects in the first few issues there are some fab projects to get your creative juices flowing.

And just an apology to people, after the broadband debacle, my dial up connection is now playing silly beggars. Throwing me offline every few moments and giving me such fantastic connection speeds as 9kbps (I kid you not!) so I am not participating in blogs, galleries and forums or so on so much - also I can't seem to comment on any bloggers that have moved over to beta which is a pain in the bum too. So I'm not ignoring everyone deliberately. Honest!

Not firing on all cylinders

Been quiet lately, not doing much browsing, forums, blogs or galleries. The broadband user we had only signed up with last month (and prepaid two years, yes Len's idea, I really should be more strong willed and go with my gut instincts) has gone out of business. So we are £250 out of pocket and broadband-less too. So thankful I was too lazy to cancel our dial up connection. We have to wait until the marker has been taken off our phone line before even ordering from another broadband supplier. Tiscali has the best deal at the moment (or should I avoid them like the plague too?).

Anyhow, we have had to revert to one computer attached to the dial up modem (can't be bothered to shift all the tables and everything again to set up the others) and the speed is a total nightmare since I got used to faster (and we only had a 1mb download before at that) so I'm well cheesed off with all things internet related.

Plus don't know what it is, post summer blues, blues from all the kids being back at school and being stuck at home on my own or what it is, but I'm down in the dumps. Can't put my finger on it, just hope that I get out of it pretty pronto as I'm achieving nothing and not enjoying life at all at the moment.

On a good note, Josh is really settling into High School very well indeed, he is up and dressed before his alarm goes off at 7.30 (before me in fact) and sets off for the bus 10 minutes before he needs to, too! Let's hope this new found enthusiasm for school (which is never had for Primary) continues! I had a few tears as we waved him off at the top of the drive the first morning. And bless my little angel, Mia gave me a hug and said "don't worry Mummy, I'll look after you" (cue more tears!).

Fresh from the Garden

Been having a read of Annie's blog and all her talk of garden produce made me feel guilty. We have a huge garden here and really don't do anything with it much at all. Len drives his little sit on tractor mower over the lawn, we have a bean row and a courgette plant and tomatoes and cucumbers in the greenhouse. And a plum tree and apple trees. But that's it. In the spring we have daffodils and just the few flowers and plants that have resisted all our neglect over the years. Oh and LOTS of trees and (at this time of the year) funghi!

When we first moved here twenty years ago I was full of vim and vigour and we planted so many vegetables. Lots of salad stuff, potatoes, peas, beetroot, onion, carrot (which always failed miserably due to carrot fly regardless of where we planted them) and even some years chilli, pepper and sweetcorn. I also tried to grow artichokes one year. They fruit in the third year and after the second my very helpful father in law hacked the plants up thinking they were huge thistles!

Anyhow, this is the sum of what we grow in our garden now (plus cucumber). Not the greatest pic as I had inadvertently locked the camera on manual focus (not a good idea with my shaky hands).