Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Gallery - Animals

We love our Dog Luna, she is definitely one of the family and has been for the past nine years.

We knew her Mum's (Flower) owners and when she gave birth to our Luna the kids drove me nuts nagging day and night for us to have one of the puppies. I was a little hesitant, in fact a lot hesitant as I know what hard work puppies are and that a cute puppy boxer grows into a big bouncy hyperactive dog.

Of course the kids managed to twist my arm and we took one of the puppies home.

I was right...She did grow into a big dog but she isn't actually all that hyperactive. Considering she is a boxer that is quite unusual.

Everyone loves Luna and she leaves a real impact on people who have gotten to know her over the years. Friends who I haven't seen for ages will always ask "Hows you and the kids....and Luna?"

Luna is a bit grumpy when she first meets new people and growls under her breath. It often takes her quite a while to get to know strangers but once she is your buddy she will be for life and you will love her to bits.

She can often be found under my feet, tripping me up, pulling manky stuff out of the bin, drinking water from the loo, trying her hardest to eat my hens or climbing up onto the sofa when she knows she isn't supposed to. You will often hear me yell "For God sake Luna...pack it in!" and the kids telling me off for shouting at her

but I do love her and would feel lost without her, Our loopy Luna.

Linking up to Tara Cain's Gallery

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Garden Makeover Competition - Includes my first ever Vlog

When I received the email asking me if I would be interested in taking part in a Garden Makeover competition I absolutely jumped at the chance. I must admit I nearly peed my pants with excitement as most of you know anything to do with gardening is right up my street and totally rocks my boat.

The Bosch Lawn and Summer Garden Makeover Competition is running from now until October 31st. Eleven Bloggers have been asked to take part and we have each been very kindly provided with £100 voucher for some Bosch Garden tools, two lawn treatments from Green Thumb and a further £100 voucher for Coblands Nurseries Best 4 Plants to help us make a real difference in our gardens.

My lawned area is in desperate need of treatment. It isn't wonderfully green like I dream of it being and it has lots of weeds so Green thumbs treatment is so welcomed. Their website is fab and really fun with lots of hints and tips for a lush lawn.

My mind has been spinning with ideas for planting and the main areas in my garden that I would like to concentrate on for the competition are my huge conifer hedging, my lawn and the kids play area at the bottom of the garden.

I cant remember the last time I spent £100 in one go on plants so I was really excited to begin browsing on Coblands Nurseries website Best 4 Plants. They stock a whole range of different plants and I really struggled to make a decision so I went with plants that are some of my favourites and that would do well in semi shade. The website is really reasonably priced, easy to use and I love how it has clear symbols underneath the title showing you the conditions the plant is best suited to. This feature was particularly useful, so if you are a complete novice in the garden this website will be really easy to use. I also spoke to the lovely people at Coblands today on the phone and they were really friendly and helpful offering lots of advice and suggestions.

From Bosch I have ordered a hedgecutter for my lovely large conifers and a cordless line trimmer for my edges and around my deck and raised beds.
So its all very exciting and I would love it if you could follow my progress over the next two months and then on the 31st October 2011 I will post my final photo's of the makeover and hope you will vote for me if you like what I have done to the garden.

The winner will be a given a full day with leading gardening expert Helen Yemm who writes for the Daily Telegraph. The winning participant will also receive two tickets to RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012, an exhibition I have always wanted to attend.

Here is my first ever Vlog showing you around my garden before I begin my work on it. Hopefully it will give you a good idea of what the garden is like at the moment.

How to keep a five year old entertained on a rainy Day...

Give her some headphones and tell her to learn the words to a Justin Bieber song...hours of fun and fab entertainment for Nanny and Grandad!

Love him or hate him...You cant help but love the way our Granddaughter sings along to The Bieber.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Flashback friday - Two weddings, Two Cakes, One Baker

As this is my Blog I tend to write mainly about my side of the family, my Parents and Grandparents but that doesn't seem fair as the kids will want to read stories about their family on Papa's side too. So for Flashback Friday this week I would like to share with you papa's Grandparents on his Mothers side.

Unfortunately I never got to meet Papas Grandad Bert as he passed away years before we got together. I have been told he was a lovely man who absolutely adored his wife, Papa's Nan May. May was a wonderful cook and made beautiful cakes and I remember tucking into her delicious meat pies on quite a few occasions. Papa definitely inherited his baking skills from her.

May baked the wedding cake for Papa's parents back in 1969

And then again twenty years later in 1989 she baked an almost identical wedding cake for Papa and I.

I loved the fact that Papas nan made our wedding cake and that is was the same as his Parents. It gave the cake an extra special meaning and was so delicious too.

Linking up to Flashback Friday over at Cafe Bebe

Thursday, 18 August 2011

School Summer Holidays - Mum I'm Bored!

We are just over halfway through the School summer holidays and you might be starting to run out of stuff to do. Are the kids driving you doo-lally with "Mum, I'm bored!" every five minutes?

To be honest my lot haven't been too bad this year as the first two weeks we had our Granddaughter staying with us and she keeps everyone entertained also we have been lucky with the weather this summer as it has been quite dry and any rainy days we have had the kids have been happy to play in Bertha. Not forgetting to mention my lovely Cousin took my youngest away to Cornwall for a whole week...I know, I know isn't she a lucky girl getting to go away with her cousins...aren't I a lucky Mum to have such a wonderful Cuz!

One or two days I've had the "Mum, I'm Bored!" sentence thrown at me so out come the old jars that I stash at the back of the kitchen cupboard "How about some bug collecting?" I ask with an excited voice "Oh Mum, do we have to?" is their first response "Can't we go out somewhere?"
Going out 'somewhere' usually costs and by now I'm skint, school holidays can be expensive... the food shopping bill doubles, popping to the local shop for a pint of milk ends up costing an arm & leg because with kids in tow you can't leave without buying sweets, ice creams or magazines, new school uniform this time of year always breaks the bank and on top of that I've spent my spare cash on their day trip out to Clacton Pier. So no, we have to entertain ourselves for the remainder of the holidays.

So bug collecting it is then...

 We popped lots of holes in the lids of our jars and filled with leaves and grass

Armed with jars and a notebook (for drawing bugs and jotting down descriptions) they collected all sorts of wild & wonderful things from around the garden. If the kids are a bit older they can do this all by themselves leaving Mum to get on with the washing up or to relax in the garden with a cuppa, bliss.

As a kid I was a keen bug collector and even had dreams of becoming an insectologist. I would draw pictures of every bug I found and then look them up in my insect encyclopedia. Nowadays kids have digital camera's and google to look up their  insects but encouraging them to draw what they find stimulates their creativity and interest.

There are so many things to look out in the garden, when you really look and my favourite find has to be Mr Frog. Before you know it bug collecting can pass away a few hours, is totally free and encourages a love of nature.

Happy Bug Collecting!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Gallery - Black and White

When I spotted the theme for this weeks Gallery I instantly knew which photo's I would be sharing. My parents 1960's wedding. I remember as a child I would flick through their wedding album any chance I could and think to myself how much my Mum looked like a princess and my Dad a prince. These photo's sparked my desire for a white wedding when I grew up and I would wonder what my Prince would be like.

My Parents and both sets of Grandparents, sadly only one Grandparent is still here with us.

I remember thinking as I turned the pages of the album how handsome my Dad was and Mum would tell me stories of how she adored him, even knocking back a date with The David Essex! He asked her out for a drink one night after a gig in a Dagenham pub, She was sitting at a bus stop alone after a row with my Dad and David Essex was leaning up against the bus stop with his guitar over his shoulder. He chatted to her while they waited for their bus then asked her out. Mum knocked him back because she already had a boyfriend. Years later we laughed over this story.

They were married on a cold January afternoon so all the photo's were very dark and a bit gloomy looking but it didn't stop Mum looking beautiful. As I look at my Dad in his youth I see my own Sons looking back at me. Its strange because my boys look so like their own Dad but also resemble my Dad, a Grandfather that they have never known.

Sadly the marriage wasn't to last and they divorced about 12 years later. Mum told me just before she died that she still loved my Dad and always would...She told me this as she handed me her engagement ring that Dad had given her forty years before. I was stunned as I had never seen the ring before...I never knew she had kept it all those years. Mum asked me to treasure it and eventually pass it down to my Daughters. That night I cried silently into my pillow as I wished that Mum could be here to pass the ring down to her Granddaughters herself.
Pop over to Sticky Fingers for more Gallery entries

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Listography - My Guilty Pleasures

This weeks Listography is five of our guilty pleasures, but I actually have six...

1) Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and Jared Leto from 30 seconds to Mars

I have a real weakness for them both and it is safe to say I literally drool over them and have done for years. If I had to pick one I would really struggle but would probably pick Chester (ABOVE).

Hot or wot!

2) Tattoos - I have always love tatts, I have loads and Papa is covered in them, even all over his head. To me they are an artistic expression and I would have tons more if I could.

3) Red Shoes - I have a panic attack if I don't have a red pair of shoes in my wardrobe. To be honest I can't remember the last time I didn't have any red shoes to wear.
4) Black Russian cocktails - This is a rare treat but at birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries out come the black russians...Yum, Yum, Yum!

5) Bagels - I am soooooo greedy with bagels and when I'm dieting I cant buy them because I'm not happy with just one...I can easily demolish a whole bag full of them. It was the one thing I loved about living in London because at the bottom of my road was a bagel van with the most gorgeous homemade bagels ever...I have never tasted any others as good as theirs since.
6) Perfume - I have always said that I would rather go out with no knickers on rather than no perfume and my favourite is D&G By. Its one of those scents that make me want to eat whoever is wearing it. Strange I know but I love the smell of it...Lush!

Pop over to Kate's place and check out the other Listographys.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Bertha, My Retro Caravan - Update

We have worked really hard on Bertha, our retro caravan over the past couple of months. Papa has been painting, fixing and doing the 'man' jobs with a screwdriver and drill while I've been sewing curtains and cushion covers plus helping out with some of the painting. Bertha is slowly coming to life.

Everyone loves her and passes by often poke their noses in the door for a quick look and a chat if we are out there. The kids play in her and she has become a God send during the school holidays on rainy days. She has even had her first guests as Our eldest Son and a few of his friends come to stay for the weekend. Bertha just adores being a guest bedroom. So here's a few snap shots of our progress....





If you can remember a few weeks ago I found some retro 1970's fablon on eBay and just knew it would be perfect for Bertha's kitchen...



Papa worked hard paying special attention to the Kitchen area lightly sanding over the brown melamine worktops before carefully applying the fablon.

The trick is trying your hardest not to get any creases or air bubbles. At first it takes a bit of time getting it just so but as Papa and I fabloned a whole kitchen in our old house 20 odd years ago we knew exactly how to apply the fablon. the key is to just take your time with it.

We decided for an extra little touch to fablon the two drawer fronts too...

Once the original handles were added it looked very effective.

I then decided to cut out some of the flowers and stick them on the top cupboards, again a very effective little touch.

So that's Bertha's renovation so far. We still have lots to do...more painting, wallpapering and accessorizing, but I hope you'll agree she certainly is looking very pretty?


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