Sunday, May 25, 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy.........

So here we are very nearly at the end of the month and on the brink of summer (well I hope we are !!) We have had some lovely weather and a whole lot of rain and thunder!! the garden has gone mad and for the first time ever we have not got any annuals just a load of come again plants which will repeat flower from now on!

Just look at those Foxgloves!!! I didn't plant them, I had one very dark pink one last year but this year I have a dozen or more pale pink ones, they are so beautiful. I think feeding the birds has resulted in them naturally depositing seeds for me!!

I was given some Iris plants and they are going mad as well, a beautiful purple.

This rose called Pearl Wedding was bought by my friends Sue and Sandra for our 'pearl anniversary' last year. Its a patio rose so we planted in a pot and looked after it, its now going great guns and has loads of flowers!.

Last week we celebrated my number two God daughters 30th Birthday. Both Emma and her twin brother, Stuart invited us around for Sunday afternoon tea. The weather was rather too beautiful, I ended up with a very rosy glow.

Sitting in the sun

Stuart having his sun cream applied!!!

Thumbs up from Emma.

Tina made the cakes and they were lovely chocolate confections!! Before she presented them for the candle blowing session 'someone' leaned on the number three!!! I wonder which Bobbie that was ????

We also managed to get some free tickets for a visit to the cinema, so we went to see 'The love punch' The screening was in aid of the newly opened food bank. I can't believe that we are having to help people who do not have enough money to feed themselves, its an absolute disgrace that some people have had to rely on this in what is rather an affluent area of Hertfordshire. We took a bag of tins with us it was still cheaper 
than paying for two adult priced tickets!

The absolute high light of the whole week was attending my number one God daughters Wedding. I had known about it for a while and had plenty of time to prepare, in fact rather too much time, I was still uncertain what to wear right up until the night before the big day!! I have borrowed various accessories, searched out the shops for the perfect finishing touch. In the end I settled for 'classic' (well in my head) Black and White polka dots!!! The day started off well, despite leaving in torrential  rain we arrived in Bury St Edmund's in bright sunshine. We were a little early for our hotel room so we popped into town and had lunch. We checked into the hotel at 1.30 and chilled a bit before we got ready.

The  Hotel was very nice, with valet parking, although I expect the chap was expecting far more than the ancient Renault Megane with a very dodgy alarm that we arrived in!!
So we prepared ourselves for the big event, I had checked the location on my computer and printed it out so that we could walk there. Everyone we asked said '10 minutes' an easy walk. So I doubled the time and we set off in the direction of where we thought the Farmers Club was. We walked 20 minutes as per the map, no luck. We asked several locals, none had heard of it. I was starting to get a little panicky, when eventually a little old lady knew where it was. She sent us back the way we had come and we found it about five minutes from the hotel, in fact it was within sight of the UNISON building, a place I go every six weeks or so!!! So in future ignore the fantastic directions as supplied by Mr Google!!
We arrived with a few minutes to spare.
The Wedding was fantastic, a small intimate affair, just family and close friends. Rebecca looked gorgeous.

The Bride and Groom! Becca and Andy.

The brand new Mrs!!!!

We were very honoured to attend as her God parents!!

Becca takes after me, she is crafty, she can only have got it from me as her Mum isn't!!!! (sorry Fran)
The reception was a vintage afternoon tea affair, with hand made elements and gorgeous flowery mismatched crockery. 

In the evening there was dancing under bright coloured pom poms and fairy lights. The evening was finished off with a huge amount of cheese, crackers and wedding cake.

I really enjoyed myself, and I really appreciated trying out the local brew Aspinals cider!! It was very nice, just like drinking apple juice!!
So that is number one God daughter all married and happy, this fairy God mother just has to work her magic on the other two!! (I mean you Emma and Gracie!!!) And who knows perhaps one day one or two of my own children might get married, you never know!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wild Flowers

I am very pleased with my garden this year, its been quite hard work but its been fruitful. We have tried out some seed collections. I bought a big plastic shaker of miracle grow seeds and fertiliser. We have planted them in some troughs and a few flower pots. They are starting to come out now and look pretty impressive.  I have no idea what is in them but they all seem to look good together and are just starting to flower.

I was watching Country file on TV and they were sending out wild seed mixtures. I applied for a packet and when it arrived I planted up another big flowerpot. This time they have listed the possible flowers, it includes Corncockle, Corn Poppy, Red Campion and Buttercup. I can't wait to see what we get!!

The roses are all coming into flower and in the front garden we have a brilliant Dublin Bay Rose. It is the deepest darkest red, it seems to glow. We also bought a climbing rose in memory of Mum, I researched roses because I wanted one with a fragrance, pink and disease resistant. I settled on a climber called Aloha. Dad has planted three in his garden and we have one. It is growing well and has a few buds, so I am hoping that will be out shortly.

Laura seems to be enjoying herself in Japan. She has stayed in contact via facebook and her blog. They have an action packed trip, with lots of travelling and up to three different tours each day. If you combine that with jet lag she is finding it all totally exhausting! I am enjoying hearing what she is up to.

Beth is still not right, she is on day three of the anti-biotics and is still doing the red hot and freezing cold thing. The bonus is that she no longer has the headache, so that's progress at least.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


I can see from my visitor counter, that I have had a visitor from Japan!!! Hello Laura!!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Another Busy Week.....

Its true what they say about time flying as you get older, I can confirm that it really does. In fact it seems like you blink and its the weekend again. (which in itself is not a bad thing, I love weekends!!)

So whats happened this week? it started badly when a friend sadly lost her Mum, she had been poorly, but was undiagnosed, it was very sad that she never made it home and my friend is now facing the same problems that we had at the end of last year. I really feel for her .

Last Wednesday I went to a Welfare Conference in Devon. We stayed at Croyde Bay, which is a rather lovely place, but its a long way away, a good five hour drive, which by British standards is
We arrived Wednesday afternoon and of course it started to rain, it continued raining until we left to come home, every time we have been its rained, its doomed!!

Of course by the time we headed home the sun came out!!! It was still pretty nippy though.

Laura headed off with her friend Hayley, for a trip of a lifetime to Japan. I am so pleased for her that she has been able to make the trip. Tom took them to Heathrow airport on Friday night, they got as far as St.Albans when Laura realised that she had forgotten some of her medication! At least they hadn't hit the dreaded M25 before they had to turn back. Anyway we tracked Laura's flights and she sent me a message around midnight last night to say they had landed. (Carl, the super trip organiser had found them cheaper flights if they flew via Helsinki, so Finaire to Helsinki followed by Japan Air to Tokyo) Laura hopes to update her blog with the trip, so if you want to look at what she is up to, check HERE

I have for sometime liked the work of a local artist called Jean Picton, she paints the most beautiful poppy pictures. So when my friend Jane and I spotted that she was going to do a one day taster session, we saved our birthday money and booked a spot on her course. I was fantastic!! We learnt such a lot!! She is such a character. She didn't start painting in any shape or form until she had retired. She took a fine art degree and hit upon a style that people liked.

She has painted poppies in all sorts of colours, I would love to be the owner of one of her paintings!
We started the day off by experimenting with ink and water.

We started off laying water on the paper and then adding ink. We didn't use a brush, we used a twig! It gave a great effect.

It so easy to draw with a twig, much easier than a paint brush! You can look at the marks and see all sorts of different shapes, its like seeing pictures in the clouds.
We moved onto laying water on the paper and allowing the ink to bleed into it, we tried some poppies!!

Part of Jeans style is to add small dots, so although I felt that the poppies were half reasonable (not brilliant by a long shot!!) I felt I messed it up by having dots that were too large! It will be a case of practice, practice, practice!

We then had to have a go at copying a piece of dried grass. The picture above was done by using the trusty twig to make all the strong black lines and the 'fluffy' bits were made by allowing the ink to run and achieve different tones. 
Finally we ended up trying to copy a picture of poppies using water colours. Jeans style is to work fast and get the paint down, she thinks if you take too long it looks over worked and looses the fun and flow. This is a hard concept for frightened novices to get a grip of. So we copied the picture and then she cracked the whip and told us to get it finished!!! 

So here is my interpretation of the picture, I am fairly pleased considering I was rushing and trying to be creative and get the colours right and get them mixed all in a very short space of time!!

At the end of the afternoon, I was talking to Jean and she was telling us about her days working in 'The Windmill' theatre as a dancing girl in the 50's, she has had a very exciting life! On the way out she signed the picture she had painted during the session and gave it to me!! So I now have a black and white Jean Picton Poppy painting!!

I have another busy week a trip to Cambridge and two days in London. I hope you all have a good week.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Loving Bank holiday weekends!!

With Easter being late this year we have the benefit of two Bank Holiday weekends within a couple of weeks of each other, I am loving the four day weeks!!! Today the sun is out and I am sitting in the conservatory with the door open, all I can hear are birds singing in the trees, its perfect!!
May is going to be a busy month, lots going on and lots to do. Towards the end we have two big events, the wedding of my eldest God daughter and our cruise. I am really excited about both!! Before then I have a trip to Devon, a couple of days in London and a trip to the theatre to see my all time favourite musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. Its years since I have seen a production of the musical, I was at secondary school and we went on a trip to the West end, I love all the songs and know them all word perfect!! I decided to treat Tom and I to the trip when I spotted that a local group were doing their own version of it, I can't wait. 

I have had another productive weekend, I have finally got around to recovering two foot stools that I have been meaning to do for a while. Both were charity shop finds that I liked the shape of but the covering was not to my liking.

Despite having had the second one for some time I forgot to take a before photo!!
I did get an after though!!

I repainted the legs and added some new fabric, to match the cushions in the living room. I am rather pleased with the results! I have been really pleased with the fabrics, I bought them back from USA last year, I still have 'some' left in my secret store for when inspiration hits me again!

This week I also wanted to try my hand at making paper roses, I have seen quite a few around at the moment so a google search revealed several different types and styles so I tried out a few and finally decided on this simple version. All you do is cut paper into 3 inch squares.

Fold the paper on the diagonal,  three times. 

They cut out a petal shape. When you open up the paper you have a fluted circle shape, you then fold and stick the circles to make the roses. 

I then stuffed a plastic bag with screwed up newspapers to make a ball shape, which I stuck into a pot. I then used my trusty glue gun to stick the rose heads on. I am very happy with the result, which is now on  my dressing table!!

Its amazing what you can make out of three sheets of double sided paper and a hot glue gun!

Today we made a start on cleaning out the loft, I have not been able to get up there for quite a few years, from poking my head into there, its clears its stuffed to the gunnel's with all sort of rubbish. The trouble with the loft is that you put things in there that are too good to chuck out, but not really good enough to sell, so into the holding bay they go, where they stay for the next fifteen years, when you have to make the decision to chuck them away anyway. We have bought out all sorts of treasures including an ancient Amiga computer that actually weighs a ton!! along with the giant monitor and and equally old printer, We found boxes of clothes from when the kids were babies, all sorts of treasures/rubbish!! So stage one has started, we have loaded up the car and Tom will go to the dump with it on Tuesday (avoiding bank holiday Monday when everyone in WGC will be there!!). We are going to do another few hours tomorrow and hope that we can break the back of it, fingers crossed.

Today I stupidly decided to install the new internet superhub, the last one had a knob issue, in so far as I pushed the connection knob and it fell off in my hand!! so Virgin (the money grabbing barstewards) sent me a new one to install. I followed all the directions and set it up, only to find that the broadband was so slow that pages timed out, so I phoned them and spent a fruitless hour while they checked out everything and had me doing the modem okie cokie, in out shake it all about. After an hour of that they gave up and have decided to send out an engineer on Tuesday to sort it out, just as you might expect as soon as they were off the phone it started to pick up, they can still come out and give everything the once over, part of their 'free' service, I want to get as much as possible from their 'free' anything!!!! 
I hope you all have a lovely short week.