Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Happy Birthday Mama - 60 / 365

I'm not taking a photo today as my challenge was to take a photo every day for 365 days, not 366. Totally forgot about the leap year!

I am posting a photo today though; one of my Mama, because today is her birthday.
She was born in 1932 and as children we found it really funny that in 1984 our mama was celebrating her 14th birthday!

She died in 1985 when I was 9. I don't have many memories of her but I do know her family meant the world to her. We all felt truly loved and always looked forward to visiting her and Granddad.

One of the few memories I have and can still picture in my mind, is of her walking back from the shops with a packet of best butter (best butter being Lurpack), putting it in the butter dish, then on to the hearth to speed the softening process!
I also remember her giving us tinned fruit with bread and butter and back then it was normal to dip the bread into the fruit juice.Don't know if I could bring myself to do it now!

Happy Birthday Mama. We all love and miss you xx

The Gallery - Friends

From Left Jackie, Ian, Jo, Ian's brother, Neil and me.
My best friend, Jo, got married about 12 years ago I think, the day before my birthday. At that time we'd only known each other a short while but we became best friends very soon after we started work at the factory.

We first met when the job centre made us both attend a job club because we'd been out of work for 6 months. It was the longest I'd been out of work and I must confess to not liking job club at all. It was full of men/boys and I was the only female until Jo walked in. I was so relieved to have another girl there that I just grinned at her like a nutter! She came and sat next to me and we started chatting.

It turned out I didn't have to go to many job clubs because I soon got a job in a factory.
Jo and I didn't keep in touch but we'd see each other down the street (the affectionate term for the main shopping street in Belper) and say hi.

Not long after, Jo got a job in the same factory and we got on really well.
I was, however, quite surprised when she asked if I'd be a bridesmaid at her wedding in the summer. She'd got one other bridesmaid (her brother's, now ex, girlfriend) and wanted one more. I was pleased she asked and we started discussions about the kind of outfit she wanted her bridesmaids to have.
She had decided on lilac as her wedding colour and was getting married at a hotel.

It was a really lovely day and it sealed our friendship. We became best friends and have remained so ever since. They were my first choice for godparents when Aiden was born, along with another friend from the factory, Yvette.

Living in different counties means we don't see each other as much as we'd like but we both know that we can count on the other for anything we may need.
We can spend ages on the phone and Ant knows when I'm talking to Jo because there's always lots of laughing!
She adopted my family; my mum and dad class her as a daughter and my sister and brothers treat her like a sister :) She comes to all our family parties and it wouldn't feel right if she didn't.

I'm hoping to see her soon when I go to my nephews birthday in March and we're supposed to be arranging a weekend for me to go and stay with her. Hopefully that'll happen soon but I'm not sure if I'm going to get to go alone because our girls adore her and also keep asking if they can go and stay at Aunty Jo's!

We all love you Jo and hope to see you very soon :D xxx

For more photos and stories, head on over to Sticky Fingers :)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

59 / 365

This photo makes me a little sad. I was taking the photo of KayCee licking the lid from the ice cream carton and didn't notice the way Ella was looking at her.
They'd made banana and strawberry ice cream milkshakes after dinner and because Ella's been off school with a tummy bug she wasn't allowed any.
Her little face on this picture makes me want to scoop her up and give a big cuddle.

We'll be making lots more banana ice cream milkshake when she gets home from school tomorrow!

Schedules and Stickers

After being at secondary school for 6 months and after having to nag him every day to make sure homework and chores are done, I finally had enough and printed out a schedule for Aiden.
It details the things he needs to accomplish each day to keep him organised which will hopefully put a stop to me and Ant having to nag him all the time.

After doing Aiden's list I figured it wouldn't hurt to do one for me, KayCee and Ella. I saw a pin on Pinterest and it inspired me to get more organised and spend small amounts of time every day keeping the chores down rather than letting them build up and having to spend whole days doing cleaning, laundry and ironing.

Today was our first full day working on the list and it was a great success. Everyone knew what they had to do and got on with it.
Once all the jobs are done and dinner is over we have activity time.
We did painting today at Ella's request and we had a really lovely time together. Ella hasn't been to school today because she was ill in the night. She's spent the day on the sofa watching tv. She was a bit sad that she couldn't have banana and ice cream milkshake because of her upset tummy so the painting helped cheer her up. Hopefully she'll be better tomorrow and back to her normal happy self.

It amazed me how calm and relaxed the evening was. The girls were bathed, had story time and were in bed by 7.30pm and Aiden was in bed by his usual time of 8.30pm with the difference being that all his chores were done!
After getting the girls to bed and finishing off my last few jobs I was able to sit and relax with Ant without being all stressed about things the children had 'forgotten' to do!

When they've filled in each the chores for the day they can choose a sticker to put at the bottom of the list and as an extra reward for completing all their chores everyday they're going to be able to pick an outing or activities to do as a family on the weekends they stay home.
I do feel a bit guilty though because the stickers actually belong to KayCee! She has hundreds and I didn't see the point of buying more; she doesn't mind though because she's in charge of giving them out when they've been earned and she loves being the one in charge and organising people!

Monday, 27 February 2012

58 / 365

KayCee, Ella and Aiden had a giggling session tonight after story time. Instead of a nice, calm, relaxed evening, they started shouting, running and generally getting excitable!
I sat on the bed watching them and taking photos. It was lovely to see them all playing nicely together, even if it was a bit noisy!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Saturday, 25 February 2012

56 / 365 Crochet #pinaddicts

I taught myself how to crochet and I have no idea why I thought it was so hard! I've tried before and just couldn't get the hang of it.
I chose learning to crochet as one of my day zero challenges and finally decided to go for it the other day when I kept seeing lovely crochet projects on Pinterest.

I bought a kit from Ebay that included a plastic crochet hook and everything needed to make the caterpillar you can see in the picture.
I didn't do very well from the instructions that came with the kit so I checked out some of the pins I'd seen on Pinterest and with the help of Vanessa from Do You Mind If I Knit? and some videos on You Tube, I picked it up really easily!

Now I'm not saying I'm any good yet which is why I'm not going to try and show you how to crochet for this pin addicts post! I've only done basic stitches and haven't followed a proper pattern but I'm looking forward to learning and getting more adventurous :)

I went on to make some hearts and a flower which have all been claimed by the kids!
Pattern and video


For my next project I want someone I know to have a baby so I can make these adorable baby boots!

I'm linking up with this months Pin Addicts :)

Fairtrade Fortnight - Take a Step #takeastep

...It can be a simple step like swapping your tea to Fairtrade, or a bigger step, like asking everyone in your office to do it too.
You'll be joining thousands of others all over the UK when you take a step for Fairtrade. Make it as inventive, daring, funny or messy as you like. Every step counts for millions of farmers, workers and their communities in developing countries who urgently need a better deal from trade.

The above is taken from the Fairtrade Facebook page. 

Follow Fairtrade on Twitter for all the latest news and to let them know the steps you'll be taking for Fairtrade.

Friday, 24 February 2012

55 / 365

The girls baked pecan and apricot muffins tonight after school and they are absolutely delicious.
The kids have gone to Aiden's dad's for the weekend and I sent the muffins with them, except for two that I kept back so Ant and I could taste them and now I'm wishing I'd have kept more back!

I'll be putting the recipe on the next Fruity Friday post :)

Fruity Friday - Week 5 Frozen pineapple and berry slush

Welcome to week five of my Day Zero Challenge to cook my through a cook book. You can find the details on the original post, Fruity Friday.

Our fifth recipe is:
Frozen pineapple and berry slush
Serves 4
8 ice cubes
250g (9oz) hulled strawberries
250g (9oz) fresh pineapple chunks, frozen
120ml (4 fl oz) pineapple juice
2 tbsp dried skimmed milk powder
1 tbsp vanilla sugar or caster sugar, or to taste
sprigs of fresh pineapple mint to decorate
1) Put the ice cubes in a food processor or heavy duty blender and process until they're finely crushed.
Alternatively, crush the ice cubes in a freezer proof bag, bashing them with a rolling pin and then put them in the blender or processor.
2) Add the strawberries, pineapple chunks, pineapple juice and skimmed milk powder and process again until blended but still with small pieces of fruit and ice visible.
3) Taste ans sweeten with sugar if necessary. Process briefly with the pulse button.
4) Spoon into tall glasses, decorate each with a sprig of pineapple mint and serve with long spoons.
Each serving provides:
95 kcal
3g protein
0.3g fat
22g carbohydrate of which sugars 22g
2g fibre
Family verdict:
Ella LOVED it! It didn't last more than a couple of minutes and I think she finished off KayCee's as well!
It was very nice and would make a lovely refreshing breakfast drink on a warm summer morning.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

In the garden

Sunshine, warmth, compost and seeds; these are the things my afternoon comprised of and a very nice afternoon it was too!
I didn't get any bulbs planted because I have to sort all the planters out and figure out which ones are going to be used for which flowers but I got all the seeds planted that can be started in February.

I've sown some Lavender seeds,

Photo Credit

Night Phlox seeds,

Photo Credit

Tanacetum seeds,

Apple Blossom,


Photo Credit


Photo Credit


and Mesembryanthemum seeds.

I've taken photos of the whole garden so I can compare the growth over the next few months.
Last year we planted quite a few different kinds of flowers, shrubs etc and I'm looking forward to seeing if any of them have survived the winter. I have loads more flower seeds to plant so I'm not too worried if the plants don't grow in the border because I'll have plenty to fill it.

I had planned on putting all low maintenance plants in the border that would give colour all year round but I'm quite liking the idea of being creative with it every year and growing lots of different types of flowers.

I've got loads of jobs to do to get everything ready for the spring. The raised beds need digging over, the shed needs emptying and reorganising and lots of the pots/planters need emptying, cleaning and replanting.
The waterfall needs sorting and we need to get more plants for the rockery. Some that we planted last year are doing really well but a couple didn't make it.

I'm looking forward to getting all the jobs done and seeing the garden coming back to life after what seems like incredibly long winter!

54 / 365

The latest addition to our garden ornament family! :)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

53 / 365

A little fuzzy but I love it because she looks a bit wild!

The Gallery - Landscapes

I knew I was going to use this photo as soon as I saw the theme for this week.
It was last weeks 'favourite of the week' of the ones I took each day for my 365 project and I have to confess that it's one of my all time favourites.

For more landscapes photos, click on over to Sticky Fingers :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

51 / 365

I took the camera off of auto today and with the help of a video tutorial on DSLR Tips I managed to get the background blurry while keeping the subject sharp.
It would be fair to say that I got totally excited when it worked! I can't wait to get some portraits of the kids using the same technique :)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

50 / 365

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Trip to Hubbard's Hills, Louth.

The kids have been at home this weekend so we decided to take them out today. We wanted to go somewhere we'd not been before and somewhere that would give me plenty of opportunity to get some photos using Joe's Nikon D3000. We decided on Hubbard's Hills.
I'm absolutely LOVING this camera. I've been on the auto setting all day but I'm slowly reading and learning more about it and soon I'll be able to move from auto to manual.

Anyway, enough of the camera and back to the family day out!

It was freezing today and even though we tried to be prepared, taking dry clothes etc, I forgot to put clean socks in the bag and Ella only packed one and a half pairs of gloves so she had to keep sharing hers with KayCee!
We stayed for about an hour then the cold got the better of us. Ella got was the first to get wet so Ant went back to the car to fetch the clean clothes. We got her changed then she got wet again on the way back to the car when she didn't quite make it over the stepping stones!

It was a lovely day and I got some great photos, even though I do say so myself!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Throwback Thursday


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