Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Gallery - Door

This is me around 1974. I'm sitting on the doorstep of my Nan & Granddad's house in East London. I remember that door so well because it was still on Nan's house right up until She passed away in 2011. I loved it and I swear blind its the reason behind why my favourite colour is red.

The front of my Grandparents house was always kept so immaculate. So neat, so tidy. Granddad's red roses would stand to attention as I skipped up the drive. Desperate to pick one of the bright red velvet blooms, I tried so hard to resist them. Instead, I would sit on the doorstep and admire their beauty. I knew that one day my garden would have roses just like Granddad's.

I think back to 2011, the last time I walked down Nan's drive, away from that red door. I glanced back and felt sad that Nan wasn't standing there waving me off like she usually was. I felt my eyes sting with tears as I knew it would be the last time that I ever saw that door, or my Nan again.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Win A Family Ticket To Blackpool Tower

Win a family ticket to Blackpool Tower (up to 2 adults and 2 children or 4 people) which gives access to 4 fabulous attractions:

The Blackpool Tower Eye - Enjoy breathtaking uninterrupted views across Blackpool and beyond!
The Blackpool Tower Ballroom Dating back to 1894, The Blackpool Tower Ballroom is world famous for its unique dance floor and spectacular architecture and remains to this day a destination for dance fans from across the globe.
The Blackpool Tower Circus -  Join The Blackpool Tower’s famous clowns as they take you on a fabulous journey Around the World with Mooky and Boo. Incredible acrobats and hilarious comedy capers make this the must see circus show for 2013. The main season circus runs from 29th March - 10th November.
Jungle Jim's (For Kids) -  Experience the UK's ultimate indoor adventure playground for kids, set within an amazing themed 'Lost City'.
  • Huge four lane Glide Slide
  • The Black Slide
  • Sports Area
  • Ballpools and slides on our lower level offer softer play for your tiny adventurers

For your chance to win this great prize just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
Open To UK residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Magpie Monday - A Retro Sideboard

I've had another great week collecting retro goodies for my lounge makeover. A couple of weeks ago I found a retro dresser, and this week a retro sideboard. I paid £15 for it on Facebook Sales and I absolutely love it. We will be upcycling it, by painting it with chalk paint in white.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Another hot week here in Essex, like really, really hot, so hot it felt quite tropical, especially after walking outside from an air conditioned room. I cant actually remember it being this warm, for many years. Love it, although I'm glad I have an air con unit that cools me down.

1. It was my birthday and I got a butterfly tattoo. I had some work done on my sleeve by a tattooist who I used to babysit back in the 80's. I'm very pleased with it. Lovely birthday treat from Papa Syder.

2. We caught a privet hawk moth. We found it at the bottom of the garden along with a small swarm of them. At first we screamed a bit, as they were massive, at least 6 inches long. We managed to catch one so we could get a better look at it. Fascinating, and very pretty in an ugly kind of way. 

Privet moth up against an android tablet
3. I picked up another retro bargain. After decorating our lounge we were in need of some new furniture and I wanted 1960's retro furniture. Last week I managed to get my hands on a retro dresser and this week a sideboard. I love it. Bargain for £15. It really made me smile.

4. It rained and the garden loved it! We had a noisy, thundery storm and the following morning the back garden felt lovely and refreshed. It was so needed and cooled the air down beautifully.

How has your week been?

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Low Fat Trout With Watercress Sauce

I'm not a massive fish eater. I don't like fish that's too 'fishy' so a bit of trout is perfect for my taste. After a recent trip to the doctors I need to keep a close eye on the ole ticker, so I'm making sure my diet is full of 'heart happy' food stuff. Oily fish is is good for us as they are an excellent source of protein, are high in iron, Vitamin A and contain omega 3 fatty acids. From now on I will be trying to eat fish three times per week. I'm back on my weight loss journey and this recipe is a Weight Watchers one, so it is low in fat, delicious and really easy.

Ingredients - Serves 4 

  • 700g Raw Trout
  • Spray Oil
  • 200g of Light Soft Cheese
  • 2 tbs Lemon Juice
  • 150ml of Skimmed Milk
  • Rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 750g New Potatoes


1. Put the potatoes on to boil in salted water
2. After ten minutes, spray a baking sheet with oil and place the trout on top. Sprinkle with lemon juice and some pepper. Cook for ten minutes under the grill.
3. In a saucepan melt the cheese with the milk. add the watercress and simmer gently for 2 minutes.
4. Drain the potatoes and serve with the potatoes. Garnish with rosemary and watercress.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Magpie Monday

Following last weeks purchase of a 1960's dresser, I have been looking out for bits & bobs to dress it once it has been painted. We went to a car boot sale yesterday and I came home with some lovely kitsch finds.

I found this fab retro typewriter at the booty for a fiver. I love it. As I am in my forties, typewriters were still very much in use when I was younger, although they were big electric ones, not like my retro find. A lot of my Friends left secondary school and went on to a special typing school, so that they could progress onto office work. It was something that never appealed to me and even though I loved to write I did struggle to concentrate on typing lessons at school.

My 22 year old Son, had a little go on this yesterday and said "Mum, how the hell did people use these things The keys are really hard to type on!" I laughed and told him him that people would type very well on them back in the day.

During the 70's I remember everyone had these orange animals. I have no idea where they came from or much about them at all, but I was instantly drawn to them and grabbed this Mummy and baby deer super fast, when I spotted them for 50p.

On the same stall, I found this 1960's cat ornament for 50p. I think it is really cute and will fit in nicely with my retro themed dresser.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Its been a scorching week in here in Essex and I've even caught the sun from spending all my time in the garden. Every now and then I've been forced to retreat into the house to cool down. I don't like to feel too hot and I keep splashing my feet with water from my red watering can as I water my baskets.

1. The lovely weather - This means the garden is thriving and I get to spend lots of time outside gardening, eating and relaxing. The sunny weather invigorates me.

2. Bargains - I picked up a gorgeous retro dresser for my lounge for £50 last weekend. I plan on painting it white with Annie Sloane chalk paint and dressing it with vintage finds. I also found Lavatera for sale at a car boot sale for £2.50 each and some wicker hanging baskets - a fiver for 5!

3. Family History - We travelled out to Stisted in Essex to research some Syder family history. It is a beautiful village in the countryside and I was blown away to meet people in the local church who knew Hubby's Great Great Grandparents. Whilst there we visited their graves of my children's ancestors and the cottage where Papa Syder's Great Grandmother was raised. It was such a satisfying experience.

How Has Your Week Been?

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

How Does Your Garden Grow - Lovely Lavatera

The Lavatera stands proudly in the garden, her hot pink blooms make me smile as I recall the first garden that I ever planted one of her varieties. It was 1993 and we had just moved away from the hard concrete streets of East London and into a  town in mid Essex. A better life for our two boys, away from the big smoke and noisy streets of E6. I craved open green spaces for them to run free, somewhere safe with a nice garden.

We found our safe haven in Essex and after spending our first night sleeping on our king sized mattress that had been hastily dumped on the floor, I find myself surrounded by brown boxes that have 'Bedroom' scrufferly scrawled across the front with black marker pen. The bare window is open and sounds of bird's singing emulate from the tree's that line the street of yellow brick, 1960's semi's. I feel like I'm on holiday and I lay there for a moment, enjoying my new found tranquillity. Blissfully, I listen and I hear no car alarms, police sirens or music pumping from the speakers of a car stereo. Just birdsong. Peaceful birdsong. I become suddenly, very aware of my surroundings and I feel baffled that I had never noticed the lack of birds singing in London before.

Eagerly, I jump out of bed, excited to spend the first day in our new home. The smell of bacon, coffee and pancakes fill my senses, and entice me down the stairs and into a bright yellow kitchen. A twenty two year old Papa Syder is busily frying our breakfast, the crunchy sizzle urges me to lean over his shoulder and inhale the mouth watering aroma of crispy bacon. He turns to me, places a tender kiss on my forehead and asks "Coffee?". As if he even needed to ask. 

Making Plans For our new garden (1993)
I take my red cup and head for the wide open back door. A gentle breeze cools the hot kitchen and I grin as I can hear our children playing on their red & yellow 'little Tykes' car. I sit down on the back step and survey the garden, admiring the pear tree that dominates the lawn. I get up and walk over to it, and put my hand on the trunk.

The tree offers a welcome shade from the morning sun and I know it will be perfect to hold a swing for my two blonde haired boys. I begin to make plans for our new garden, A garden that will be filled with Lavatera and many memories to come.

Mammasaurus - How Does Your Garden Grow?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Gallery - Into The Archives

Mum & Uncle T

When my Nan died in 2011, I received no family photo's from my Aunt & Uncle. They sorted through Nan's many family albums and shared them out between three siblings, forgetting there was once a fourth, my Mum. I know Nan must have had lots of photo's of our Family, but we received not one.

It hurt that we were so easily pushed to one side, but I guess because my mum was no longer around, her children were not in their thoughts, we were no longer important.

Thankfully though, my Mum's sibling (Uncle T) who was not in charge of distributing photographs, did think of us and he sent me some of his fabulous photo's of a family holiday, taken during the 1950's.
Mum looks so happy and was obviously enjoying her holiday.

Nan, Grandad, Mum, her siblings and the family dog (Mum in the middle)

Mum Front right

Mum on the right with the big cheesy grin - She always did like a holiday.

Mum with our Aunt Pink (Nan's Sister)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Researching Our Family History - The Syders...Or Are We?

Being raised a Mormon I have an ingrained interest in genealogy. Growing up, everyone around me was researching their Family history, so wanting to know more about my family roots is a natural yearning to me. My side of the family are predominantly from London with ties from Ireland and Wales, and I even had  a Great Grandmother who was a blind florist in London, incredibly she could put together beautiful bouquets from the scent of the flowers. I found out a few years ago that my lot, did at one time originate from Barnstaple in North Devon, which really freaked me out because I have a real emotional connection to that area and I see it as a place of healing. The things we discover from our roots is sometimes quite uncanny.

The Syders started off as a bit of a mystery to us. The Family are a bit disconnected as my Hubby doesn't speak to his Dad, and his Dad had a very strained relationship with his own Father, so asking for information was quite difficult, in fact it was impossible. The main mystery was that Hubby's Grandfather has no father named on his birth certificate, so he was given his Mothers surname 'Syder'. 

We have often thought that really our surname should be something else, but what, we had no idea. We became more and more intrigued and then we discovered a photo of Hubby's Great Grandmother, Minnie Syder. The photo was taken on her wedding day in 1929 and as soon as I saw her Husband, the mystery was solved. It suddenly struck me that he had a strong resemblance to my own Hubby. His eyes, his stance, his broad shoulders and his mouth are exactly the same as my Man's. I think he is Hubby's Great Grandfather. His name is John Pipe.

They married when Hubby's Grandad was 3 years old. John was a bit older than Minnie and was previously married to a woman who passed away shortly before his marriage to Minnie. So, my theory is that maybe they were having an affair when Minnie fell pregnant with Hubby's Grandad, the reason for not naming him on the birth certificate. I could be so wrong, but the close resemblance to my Husband is just too strong to ignore. So possibly, maybe my blog would have been 'The Pipes' instead of 'The Syders'.

Anyway, going back to Minnie Syder, Hubby's Great Grandmother. Over the weekend we made our way over to Stisted, a quintessentially English village in the middle of North Essex. We wanted to visit the house where Minnie was raised and the village where the Syders had lived for hundreds of years previously.

As we sat in the car, outside the house of my children's ancestors I felt a huge surge of satisfaction, peace and tranquillity. I was overwhelmed at how beautiful the area was and as I looked across the road I could see the church where Hubby's Great, Great Grandparents were christened, married and buried. I felt excited as we walked into the church grounds, eager to walk the same steps that the Syder Family once had, years before us.

We have been told by a distant Syder relative that Hubby's Great Great Grandparents, William & Alice Syder were a big part of the local community, keen church goers and Alice was heavily involved in the village 'Womens Group', which I'm guessing was some type of Women's Institute.

Alice Syder Circled
As we stood at the graveside of William & Alice, I felt really emotional as these relatives suddenly become very real. I looked down and as I read the tombstone, I thought to myself "Wow, here is the last resting place of my children's Great, Great, Great Grandparents, and what a stunning setting it is!"

We walked over to the church, and a group of locals were sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. A lovely Lady approached us and asked us if we had travelled far. I explained that we were here researching our Family history and when I told her the name she said "Ohhhh, Old Man Syder! I remember him!" She proceeded to guide us into the church, and introduced us to another lady who also knew the Syders very well. I was so thrilled to hear from people who actually knew them. 

As I stood at the same alter that our ancestors had once stood, probably many times before, I felt a connection to this beautiful place. I felt so at peace. Visiting the village of our Family ancestors was an amazing experience and one I would so recommend.

A special mention to Hubby's cousin Roy who provided us with our family tree, documents, info and photo's. A massive Thanks for all his hard work in searching for our roots. Precious documentation that our future generations will appreciate and enjoy.

Do you know your Family History or have an interest in finding out where your roots are?


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