Friday, 30 April 2010

Dolly Love

Just had to share these pics that my MIL just emailed me. She went along with Rob last week to see Emily horseriding and, as it was the first time she'd seen her ride, she took her camera along.

Em's doing so well with her riding and definately has a knack for all things equestrian:

This is the horse that she rides, Dolly:

Emily LOVES Dolly! Absolutely worships her! It's kind of a good thing as we've been sat nervously waiting for the 'I want a pony' moment, but as she loves Dolly so much and knows she's not for sale, we think we're safe for now! I mean, have you seen how much ponies cost? It ain't like buying a goldfish let me tell you!

But we're so glad she loves horseriding and Dolly is a lovely pony. I even go up and pet her and I've never been a horse lover, but I must admit there's something very charming about Dolly. Just glad that I'm not covering those feeding and vets bills!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

All Cropped Out!

Can't type much as I've scrapped so much this weekend I actually have repetitive strain injury and have my right arm bandaged up! Who knew scrapbooking was such an extreme sport!

Anyway, was my second ever cybercrop this weekend and have loved it. Was even better as I went to my local crop yesterday so we did some of the classes together. All in all I've done 8 single layouts, 1 double and an exploding box. Here's a slideshow, I'm now off for a lie down!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Pre-Scrapping Scrapping Update!

Big big scrapbooking weekend this weekend. UKS are hosting a cybercrop which I am very very excited about. I did my first ever cybercrop back in November and I just loved the classes and really liked what I produced from them (here and here).

Anyhoo, I thought I should maybe post recent LOs before I get bogged down with LOs to post from this weekend's crop. I've been mainly doing the weekly challenges at UKS lately. First of all the final page for my Antigua album:

Then the first LO for my new project, a holiday album. This sketch was part of the challenge:

And then I adapted it to make a double LO:

This one was for the UKS monthly challenge, entitled 'Silly'. Face it, there could only be one subject!

And finally this week's challenge which I did of Emily's trip to Brownie camp:

So scrappers watch this space. If scrapping bores you rigid, I'd avoid the blog for the next few days! :P

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


A bit late with this post but wanted to wait for some pics before I blogged the story. Some more pics to come but my lovely cousin-in-law Kim has furnished me with a couple to tell the tale.

So, I've blogged about Rob's Grandad before. You may remember him from posts like this, about all he did for us in World War 2. He is truely an amazing man and I love him like he was my own grandfather. I'm not the only one that thinks he's great, he's respected and loved by everyone that knows him, especially his family.

So, when we knew he had a big birthday coming up, we all got our heads together and started plotting! He deserved something to show him how grateful we all are for everything he does and to show how much we appreciate him. So, we decided on a surprise party.

Originally, it was going to be a 'get him out of the house and then leap out from behind the sofa shouting "Surprise!"' affair, but, as Grandad was hitting the wonderful age of 90, we thought he may appreciate something that wasn't such a shock to the system! So, we decided on a series of mini surprises whilst still doing the party.

Now, Grandad lives 200 miles from us, and the rest of the family are dotted all over the country, so a bit of a plan was called for. It went like this:

Rob's mum Clare went down a few days before as she normally does in the Easter holidays, as a regular visit to see her Dad. Then, Rob's Uncle Neil and sister Zoe phone up and say 'seeing as it's your birthday, could we pop over for lunch on Saturday?' (they're only about 50 miles away each so that was perfectly feasible). So, off they all trot and are sat having a nice cup of tea and planning where to go for lunch.

Enter the noisy stage of the plan! Meanwhile, we'd been travelling down the motorway. We pull up outside Grandad's and send the kids to the door. Oh the look on his face! 2 little munchkins stood on his doorstep shouting 'Happy Birthday Grandad!'. I do have it on video but can't get it up here for now, will work on that! 'Hello Grandad' says Rob, 'just thought we'd pop in to say Happy Birthday'. Hmmm, says the look on Grandad's face, but you live 200 miles away!

So, in we go to a very shocked Grandad and then it all starts happening. In the kitchen there's a hive of activity: we've all been cooking, baking, booze buying and stocking up on glasses. By now Grandad's starting to think he ain't getting to the pub for a sandwich and half a bitter! Then, in come his other grandchildren plus his new great-grandaughter who he's not seen in the flesh yet, and the penny well and truely drops!

So, we all get some food and a drink and I think Grandad thinks that's it, a nice family gathering. Oh no, we've gone further than that! Clare and Zoe have been canvassing the neighbours, writing to long lost relatives and all of a sudden the doorbell rings and Grandad gets more and more surprises.

So, we have everyone there, we have the food, the drink, the guests and a very happy if not shocked Grandad! Yay, I love it when a plan comes together!

Next up is the cake/toasts. Emily did the honours with the cake (which was a brave decision as the girl can trip up over air):

But it got to him in one piece and we had a few words from Zoe and raised a glass to him:

And then lots of fun, chatting, drinking and some family photos out in the garden (on a rare occassion we're all together!). They haven't all surfaced yet but here's one to be going on with:

So, that was it, a truely wonderful day! It was so lovely to celebrate such a remarkable man. Happy birthday again Grandad, and as you said, here's to the next 90! Love you! x

Sunday, 18 April 2010

A Space Of His (& Our) Own

There comes a time, after over 8 years of parenting, where you do feel the need to scream if you see another toy! Now, although we'll have a housefull of toys for a good few years yet, it would be nice to sit down once the kids are in bed with a nice glass of wine and not be faced with carparks, lego and bits of train track while you're trying to watch Jack Bauer stop the terrorists blowing up the world!

Also, Xander's started showing a keen interest in playing upstairs but, as he's cursed with the 'youngest child/box room' curse, he tends to venture into Emily's room and wreck that, which causes no end in arguments!

So, we came up with a plan and made a little investment in a new bed for Xander. He loves the fact that Emily has to climb a ladder to bed, so thought we'd get him one of his own:

He loves it up there (and it's a super comfy mattress, am a tad jealous!). Although I'm not sure about his constant need to rearrange his pictures on his wall:

But what's better than a super comfy bed and sleeping up in the sky? A little hidey hole under it for you to play:

Where mummy can stow the carpark that disturbs so many of Jack's world-saving attempts:

Oooh, and cool little storage units for all those bits and bobs that were cluttering up the living room floor:

So, next time you're round try sitting on my sofa and not spying a toy. If you twist your head and squint a bit it's now almost possible! :P

Friday, 16 April 2010

Sniff, Blub!

Big day for Little Miss Emily today: she's gone off on her first weekend away wihout us. Well, I say without us, she's been away with grandparents before, but never off on her own thing with her friends. But the day had to come and at tea-time, we packed her off to Brownie Camp. There was a lot of kicking, screaming, crying, stamping of feet; but in the end she said "Mum, I've got to go, will you get a grip?!".

Like I say, she's got her friends there. Anna's mum took them so she had a friend to travel up there with:

I'm sure she'll have great fun, especially as the packing list that Brown Owl sent home included cake and sweets as necessary items!
Tomorrow night, they're having a party night with a Cops & Robbers theme. Now, what do you think my daughter picked, goody or baddie? Yup, you guessed it:

So, another what's seeming like all too frequent chapter in 'oh how fast they grow'. Hope she's having fun and this mummy here can make it through the next 48 hours!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Watch The Birdie!

You know when you get that first day of the year when, not only is the sun out, but your face starts to feel a tad toasty in it? Love that! Well, we've had a couple of those days in recently. The first one was Saturday but will blog that later (just waiting for the pics to surface), the second was yesterday.

We went up to Harewood House with my friend Susan and her daughter Predine. I've never actually been to Harewood before even though I live so close so was lovely to go up there. The day started off chilly, but by the time the kids had had a play and it was time for our picnic, the sun had begun to break through and was feeling rather warm! Hurray!

So, what do you need the second the sun makes an appearance? Icecream!!!

After the kids were full of picnic food and the swirly white stuff, we went for a wander round the bird garden. What fabulous birds they had in there too! From big grumpy raven-type birds:

To beautifully coloured birds:

They even had a baby flamingo (which are apparently quite rare, it's the first one born there in 20 years), just love his little fluffy head!

Of course, being good parents that we are, we made sure the girls learnt some facts too!

But I think this guy was all our favourites. There was no sign to say what he was but he kept us amused for a long time!

I kind of liked this fella, look at the attitude!

Oh and, one of the best parts of Spring: cute little fluffy baby ducklings!

Emily had such a fabulous time with Predine!

And Xander got to see his favourite friends, the penguins!

Thanks Susan and Predine (and the birdies!) for a wonderful day!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

More Charity - Can You Help?

Seem to be posting a lot about charity lately; must be the year for giving!

Some of you may remember this post from a couple of years ago (didn't realise how long ago it was actually til I went searching for it!). I'm involved with a charity called Action Aid who help children in underdeveloped countries. I've sponsored Venald over in Haiti through them for about 5 or 6 years now and every now and then, they call me up and ask if I can help them find more sponsors. Last time mum very kindly sponsored Zintle. This time, they've asked me to help find a sponsor for Maxwel from Ghana:

As you can imagine, things are a huge struggle in Ghana, especially with the HIV/AIDS epidemic over there and Action Aid try and help children like this by providing an education so that they can work towards improving their prospects in the future. They also help with basic needs like clean water (if not, the nearest water supply is 18 miles away!).
A bit more about Maxwel: he is 9 years old and is an only child. They live in a mud hut in Piina which is in the North West of Ghana. They have a small plot of land but are finding it difficult to feed themselves from it so the chances of earning money from what they grow is zero.
If you would like to sponsor Maxwel, then please either post in the comments or email me. I can highly recommend it; twice a year the child writes to you and sends you pictures and it all makes it very satifying to see them developing!
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A Very Woolly Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

As with most occassions lately, Easter can only mean one thing - the excuse to knit! For a few weeks now I've been knitting these little guys courtesy of a Jean Greenhowe pattern I saw on

Aren't they cute? They all have a Cadbury's Creme Egg up their bum!
I put some of them in these:

They're little cardboard nests that came in Nestle Easter eggs last year and so I saved them as they just screamed 'craft project' at me!
For others, I put my Craft Robo to use and made some little gift bags out of spring paper:

My kids didn't get these, they went to friends' kids etc, as mine got super-dooper big knitting projects instead of Easter eggs (more on that below). For Em, I knitted her a horse to resemble the one she rides every Saturday, Dolly. To make her more personalised for Em, Dolly has a mongrammed saddle with Emily's initials:

And for Xander, I went back to the fabulous Zoe Halstead book I bought last year and thought I'd give this cowboy a go. Was a new challenge as I'd never knit fair isle before (for the checks on his shirt) but I loved doing it!

Cowboy hasn't been named yet, he's just cowboy...just like pirate's called pirate, puppy's called puppy, hedgehog's called hedgehog...the boy's nothing if he ain't logical!
So, why no traditional Easter eggs from us to our munchkins? Well, my kids are very fortunate in that a lot of people buy them Easter eggs, so for us to add to the chocolate mountain seems a bit silly, so we always do an alternative pressie. Fortunately the chocolate has a good shelflife but the packaging was starting to take over the mantelpiece! So, we've placed all our eggs in one basket and we now have a lovely Easter decoration (OK, so it won't look that pretty for long once, I mean the kids, have started tucking in, but it's nice for Easter Sunday!):

I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend. I am now going to fly as there's a lovely smell of roast lamb wafting up the stairs and a bottle of Bank Holiday wine just begging to be opened!