Saturday, 31 December 2011

On this last day of December ...

I want to share a few things that have amazed, intrigued and amused me today.

DH went to the gym this morning, so I took the opportunity to take a stroll into town and on my way there, I was amazed to see a cherry tree that already had beautiful pink blossoms adorning it’s boughs. Cherry blossom in December? You better believe it! I even took a photo to prove it ...

It really has been particularly mild this month, with average temperatures rarely dropping below 10oC ... it's such a contrast to last December when we had several inches of snow that lasted a couple of weeks and the temperatures stayed in the minus figures for almost the entire month, bbbrrrrrrr!!!

Anyway, back to today ... as I carried on walking towards town, I passed a house that had a banner hung between the first floor windows ...

The banner read “WELCOME HOME TOM” and it got me wondering, who’s Tom? Where has he been? Perhaps he’s home for the holidays after finishing his first term at university. Or maybe he’s finished his degree and returned home after a gap year of travelling around the world. Or perhaps Tom’s in the armed forces and has returned home safely and back to the arms of his loving family after spending 6 months on deployment somewhere in the world. I’ll never know, but I’m intrigued none-the-less.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of what it was that amused me today and perhaps it’s a little cruel of me to laugh, but I think you would’ve too if you’d been there. Let me explain ... as I was walking home, I passed a little old man. He was on the opposite side of the road to me, but I could hear him muttering under his breath as he shuffled along the pavement. I’ve no idea how old he was, but I’d guess he was in his 80’s and he used a walking stick to aid him as he walked along. As I drew level with him, he stopped, took aim with his stick and made a wild swipe at some litter on the pavement in front of him! It was really quite comical. It took him 3 or 4 attempts to hit it (“it” being an empty plastic bottle carelessly dropped by someone with no respect for their environment!) but when he connected with it, it went flying into the road gutter. Score!!! After I’d got over my initial surprise, I wondered what good it had been with him swiping the bottle into the gutter like that? Surely it didn’t solve anything, it just moved the litter from the pavement to the roadside, but it was still litter. All became clear a short while after; as I carried on my route home, I was passed by one of those little road sweeper vehicles, with the rotating bristle brushes that scoop up all the litter caught in the roadside gutter. It appears he was a clever cantankerous old geezer after all!

Well there you have it folks, that was my last post of 2011. If you’re partying tonight I hope you have fun, enjoy the celebrations and stay safe. As for me? Well, I’ll be staying at home this evening, I’ll share a bottle of bubbly with DH and we’ll probably be tucked up in bed by 11pm (only to be rudely awoken by the fireworks as the clock strikes midnight!) … that is the sad truth of being 40 and relishing sleep over partying, no matter what day of the year it is!!!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

5 things to do before 2011 ends ...

*** edited (01/01/12) with updates in blue ***

This isn't meant to be a thought provoking post my dear readers, sorry. It's more of a reminder of some things I'd like to achieve before the year ends. Let's just call it my "to do list" shall we?

In no particular order, they are:
  1. Start gathering together 52 recipe ideas to try during 2012, one new recipe (that I've not cooked before) for each week - started, this will be a "work in progress" type project throughout 2012
  2. Update blog banner / page decoration / colour scheme - done
  3. Renew my passport (actually this does need to be done as soon as possible if DH and I are to go away for his birthday at the end of January!) - done, well the paperwork's been done, I'm just waiting for my new passport to arrive (I've been advised this will take approx 2 weeks)
  4. List out 12 easy to do (for me and DH) home improvement tasks to be done during 2012, one project for each month - 11 tasks listed so far
  5. Buy a new journal for 2012 - not yet done because I can't find one I like! Just as well my 2011 journal has some extra pages, so I'll continue to use it until I can find a style / size / colour I like.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Last day at work for a week ...

I don't know about you, but when I was at school, the last day before we broke up for any holiday was always a bit of a giggle. We'd take board games into class and generally do very little in the way of learning. Fast forward 30 years and that's what it was like at work today! It was the last day in the office before Christmas and there was most definitely a "school's out" vibe about the place. Probably due in part to that fact that my good friend, Paul was having an early birthday celebration (he turns 40 tomorrow and is having SERIOUS denial issues ... I keep telling him that 40 is the new 30, but he's having none of it!

Anyhoo, with all the birthday celebrations and Christmas decorations, today was a fun-filled, if not particularly productive day. But I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to having the next week off work!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Banter, bubbles and baubles ...

Yesterday, I met up with Selena (aka Bush Girl) and Lorraine (aka Neat Freak) for our bi-annual "Ladies That Lunch" get-together. As usual, we met up outside the Underground station at Bond Street, then slipped down an inauspicious looking alleyway through to St Christopher's Place, where the selection of restaurants / bistros is just brilliant! The last couple of times we'd met, we'd dined at Carluccio's (Italian) and Cafe Rouge (French), so this time we tried out Sofra (Turkish / Mediterranean).

The food was very tasty. Selena had a starter platter (as a main) which was little "tasters" of some of the flavours from the menu ... and they looked pretty too.

I had the spicy prawns, not particularly Turkish or Mediterranean, but delicious non-the-less.

Lorraine had the sea bass, unfortunately I didn't get a photo ... but it did look good though!

We chatted about life, family and Christmas and we toasted our little reunion with a glass of fizz (or water in Selena's case as she had a very busy afternoon / evening ahead of her!)

I'm grateful that the skies were clear and bright, as it meant we were able to snap some photos of the Christmas decorations surrounding St Christopher's Place.

They had these HUGE silver baubles (about the same size as the coloured ones in the photo above) dangling above the alleyway and we all had the same idea to take some photos ... BUT ... none of us had our real cameras with us, so we improvised and each took photos using our mobile phones!!!

We ended up in fits of giggles trying to get images that would focus properly. I managed to snap a couple of photos of Selena & Lorraine (gasp!!!) but I promised them faithfully I wouldn't upload them to my blog. However, I did manage to get our customary "proof" shot showing the three of us together ...

... albeit a somewhat warped reflection in a giant reflective plant pot! And it's at this point, I feel I should just mention that a passer-by very kindly offered to take a "proper" photo of the three of us together, but she must have thought we were very odd when we declined her offer and said we were deliberately trying NOT to be in the shot ... hahahaha!

It was great fun and can't wait to meet up again in May / June 2012, when hopefully we'll have a +1, as Ona (aka wombat146) will be visiting from Australia!

P.S. as I'd never tried Turkish food before, lunch at Sofra is also my NEW52 for week #49. BTW, can you believe there's only 3 more weeks to go?!?!?!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas ...

I jumped in my car today and headed over to one of my favourite shops, which is actually a garden centre but they have THE most amazing gift shop and from mid-November onwards, they have the best Christmas displays of any shop I know! Believe it or not, I actually had my whizz-bang Nikon camera in my bag today, but I felt a bit self-conscious using it inside the shop, so I snapped a couple of photos using the camera on my mobile phone instead ... they're not brilliant images, but hopefully you'll get the gist of how fabulous some of the displays look ..

Now it feels like Christmas ... bring on the mince pies, mulled wine and Christmas movies!!!

Monday, 5 December 2011

I'm still here ...

Remember me? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, after all it's been more than a month since I last posted. My excuse? Well, none really [again]. I can't even blame work this time, because thankfully that's calmed back down to normal volumes. Nope, I've just been keeping a low profile on the blog front and on the scrapping front too really. I wouldn't say I was in the doldrums, I'm just going through a phase where I'm doing the bare minimum of what's required in order to keep up with my CT commitments.

Having said that, I'm thoroughly enjoying Oscraps 12 Days O Christmas! Are you following their blog? You really ought to you know. I'm learning new facts about the festive period every day and the goodies on offer are wonderful! From special one day sales to designer freebies, not forgetting the fabulous challenges to inspire you too!

I used the FREEBIE template (designed by Timounette) from day 1 to create this LO about my "Herman" friendship cake:

click here for credits

Anyone that knows me, knows I love to bake. So when I was presented with a somewhat yeasty smelling batter with instructions on how to "feed" it, I was sceptical that it would result in anything other than a horrible gloopy mess. But how wrong was I??? After feeding and caring for Herman for 10 days, he was finally ready to be transformed into a delicious, fruity, cinnamon infused treat to knock your socks off ... absolutely perfect when served warm with a cuppa tea!!! I my new found friend ... I Herman!

P.S. I haven't forgotten about NEW52 ... I have lost track of the weeks and there are a couple of news I know I haven't [yet] shared, but I guess Herman could be my NEW52 for last week, which I think would make that week #48

Monday, 31 October 2011

All treated out ...

Just a flying post to wish you all a Happy Halloween!

My day is almost over here, but I wanted to show you a photo of some of the treats I made for the office today ... there were toffee apples, krispie ghosts, eyeball jelly, chocolate apples and Devil's food cake cupcakes ... I've been on a sugar high ALL DAY!!!

Sorry the picture quality isn't too great ... it was taken on my mobile phone, with fluorescent office lighting and lots of people waiting to grab a treat (or two!). Oh and in case you're wondering, I wasn't allowed to light the tea-light in my pumpkin due to "health & safety" reasons ... d'oh!!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Wow! What an opportunity ...

Full details on how to apply can be found HERE ... ooooohhhh, I can't wait to find out who'll be joining this fabulous team! Good luck to everyone that applies!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Week #42 of my NEW52 life ...

This week I discovered the sweetest little bakery called The Glorious Bakeshop. It's not a big place and they serve a relatively small selection of cakes & treats, but each is lovingly baked and decorated on-site and they taste ... heavenly!

I had a cuppa tea (from a teapot I hasten to add!) with a Caramel Glory Cupcake (above) and DH had a latte and a slice of traditional Victoria sponge. Both were very, VERY tasty, wonderfully sweet and soooooo moist. I think DH's expression sums the experience up completely ...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Week #41 of my NEW52 life ...

OK, so I'm cheating a little here because my week #41 was all about A Hopping HallOween, the weekend long party that took place at Oscraps and The LilyPad a couple of weeks ago!

My contribution was this cluster frame made from elements of the magnificent mega kit created by the designers of both stores especially for the event.

If you're interested, it is still available for download ... click here for further details.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Week #40 of my NEW52 life ...

The seasons have definitely changed here and autumn is in full swing ... the leaves are all turning glorious shades of yellow, orange, red and gold. There's a chill in the air and I've had to scrape frost of my windscreen a couple of mornings too! And whilst I love all these things, it's the change of seasonal vegetables that I love the most about this time of year. Warming, comfort food is in plentiful supply; fresh soups, hearty stews and stodgy desserts with custard ... yumm!

I'm a BIG fans of New Covent Garden Soup Co soups ... their cartons make the perfect lunch and this time I treated myself to a new flavour ... spicy butternut squash with sweet potato.

Served with a sprinkling of chopped coriander and a toasted bread roll ...

Utterly delicious!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Week #39 of my NEW52 life ...

I'd heard of diaper cakes, but had never made one ... until week 39 of my NEW52 life that is!

A friend at work, Hazel, mentioned she was looking for gift ideas for her daughter, soI showed her a few examples I'd pinned on my Pinterest boards and she was instantly sold on the idea and asked if I would do the honours. Here's my 1st ever diaper cake ...

And here's the proud Grandma taking delivery of the cake, just a few days before the arrival of her grandson ... congratulation Hazel!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

A Hopping HallOween

Welcome, welcome my fellow fright night fans!!!

Are you ready for some ghoulish goings on, some creepy challenges and spooktacular sales? There are loads of freaky fun frolics planned at Oscraps and The Lilypad this weekend, so be sure to check out their sites for all the dreadful details!!!

OK ... so I guess one of the reasons you've dropped by my beastly blog is the Hopping HallOween blog hop, right? If you've been on the train from the start, then you should have arrived here from Karen's blog ... (btw, what do you think of those iPhone covers she's made? They're awesome aren't they?) ... anyhoo, back to the blog hop ... do you fancy a FREEBIE?!?!?!

The designers at Oscraps & The Lilypad have outdone themselves with a GIGANTIC collab kit, A Hopping HallOween and I had great fun creating a cluster frame just for you ... yes YOU!

click here to download

And here's how it looks in my layout ...

I really hope you enjoy using the frame! For your next stop on the hop, you're heading off to Rebecca's blog.

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully I'll see you all again soon!

P.S. if you've stumbled onto my blog by chance, then "hello & thank you!" and if you want to see all the other goodies that have been created by some brilliantly talented designers / scrappers, then you can always go to the start of the hop at the Oscraps blog.

P.P.S. don't panic if you've visited a blog and can't find A Hopping HallOween freebie yet ... we're a wonderfully diverse and international community and all live in different timezones, so please just check back regularly throughout the day ;-)

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Something wicked this way comes ...

Double, double toil and trouble;

fire burn and caldron bubble.

SpOOKy things are a'brewin,
return a in a day or two, for a'viewin.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Remembering ...

I looked out my window this morning and saw a bright blue sky, much like it was on this very day 10 years ago. You may ask how I can remember what the weather was like all those years ago? But my answer to that question is, how could you forget?

This past week, I've watched a lot of TV programmes in the run up to today's anniversary. Yet as I watch, I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief. The plot wouldn't be out of place in a blockbuster action movie, and yet I know this really happened. This was a life changing event. This was a world changing event.

I didn't watch the memorial service from Ground Zero today, but I did hear Paul Simon singing "The Sound of Silence" and as I sat as listened to the haunting melody and beautiful words of a song I've sung many times before, I was moved to tears. Never have those words meant so much, for the sound of silence was all that was heard after the Twin Towers fells on that fateful day back on 11th September 2001. Hello darkness my old friend.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Week #34 of my NEW52 life ...

When I started out along this path of new experiences, I had no idea that so many of them would be food related. Yet here we are at week 34 and once again I'm sharing images of recipes I've tried out for the first time. This week, I have one savoury recipe and one sweet recipe.

First off, Whisky & Chilli Prawns ... finger licking good, right? Well, if truth be told, this wasn't an over-riding success but I think that's because the prawns I used were just too small. The recipe can be found here and is pretty straight forward to follow. Here's how they should look ...

Mine weren't particularly sticky, but again I think this was due to the size of the prawns. Instead of using the left over glaze as a dipping sauce, I cooked up some noodles, added some chopped corriander and tossed everything together ... resulting in a slightly sticky Asian influenced prawn + noodle combo ...

Not bad, but could be better. Note to self: BUY KING PRAWNS NEXT TIME!

Next up and it was Whoopie time! I've been wanting to make these for a while. Even the name "whoopie pie" sounds like a celebration of all things good & sweet doesn't it? And oh boy are they sweet!!!

These definitely aren't for the faint hearted (or those counting calories for that matter) as there's a whole lot of sugar in them there pies! But DH has the sweetest tooth of anyone I know and as far as I can tell, he approved ...

Both recipes are from Lorraine Pascal's Baking Made Easy recipe book ... which just so happens to be my favourite recipe book at the moment!!! Can you tell?

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Week #33 of my NEW52 life ...

When I first sat down to compose this post, I figured I had nothing new to share this week. I've been incredibly busy at work recently, so much so that I've been doing about an hour & half overtime each evening AND I've worked the last 3 Saturday mornings too. I've been too busy at work to be doing any NEW52 things ... or so I thought.

On reflection, I've actually had quite a few NEW experiences this week ... just not necessarily what you'd refer to as good ones. In fact a couple of them have been down right BAD! OK, where do I start?

Monday: it started like any other Monday, with my daily 15 minute commute to the office. As I approached the business park, the traffic began to build and I crawled along at no more than 5 miles / hour ... aaaarrrgggghhhh!!! But this slow speed allowed me to hear a weird grinding noise that I wouldn't otherwise have noticed. I rolled my window down to try to gauge where abouts on my car the noise was coming from, but without luck. The noise wasn't noticeable at higher speed, only when driving in 1st or 2nd gear. Oh joy! I parked up at the office, had a quick look round but didn't see anything obvious, so didn't think much more of it ... until 6:30pm when I went to get in my car to go home, only to find the driver's side rear tyre looking a bit deflated. Crap! I drove to my nearest garage and pumped some air into the tyre, enough hopefully to make it home and consider my options. #badnew52

Tuesday: my tyre didn't look too bad, but when I applied some pressure, it had just a little bit too much "give" for my liking. Crap, crap! I left my car parked up and got a lift to work with DH. Actually we do usually drive together in the same car (we work at the same company) but with all the overtime I've been doing of late, it's been easier for us to drive in separate cars. Anyhoo, the good thing about going into work with DH, meant I left the office "on time" for the first time is a couple of weeks. Yeah! #goodnew52

Wednesday AM: carefully drove my car to the local tyre sales garage and watched intently as the mechanic whipped off my tyre and check it over for defects. Turned out the valve was leaking and that's what was causing the tyre to deflate; it was also the cause of the weird grinding noise I'd heard on Monday's drive to work. Anyhoo, £16 and 20 minutes later and all was well with my little Ford. #goodnew52

Wednesday PM: whilst I stayed on at work, DH + DB decided to go food shopping. Our fridge / freezer and cupboards have been looking woefully bare of late and there's only so many times you can eat cheese-on-toast for dinner. Anyhoo, more fool me that I hadn't written out a shopping list. The boys did an OK job of getting the basic food supplies (bread, milk, fruit etc), but there were a couple of unexpected items too ... a couple of DVD's to be precise! DH is a bit of an impulse shopper and he'd bought the movies Source Code and Paul. #badnew52 or #goodnew52

Thursday: nothing much happened today, other than at the age of 40, I got my very first cold sore. Crap, crap, crap! Hey, nobody said all the NEW things had to be good did they?!?!?! #badnew52

Friday: left work a couple of hours early so I could pop to the salon to get my hair cut. Yeah! My stylist is a lovely lady called Tracy and she's an absolute hoot!!! I'd go there every 8 weeks just for a natter ... the fact that I get my hair done at the same time is a bonus! #goodnew52

And there you have it; my week filled with some good and just a couple of bad NEW things too. So how was your week?

Monday, 15 August 2011

Week #32 of my NEW52 life ...

S'mores ... or s'more pops to be more precise! That was my NEW52 for last week.

I'd read about s'more pops on Amy Atlas' Sweet Designs blog (I ♥ this blog btw!) and thought they looked pretty straight forward to assemble and would be a fun little treat to make.

Here's what Amy's looked like ...

And here's what mine looked like ...

Aside from the fact that mine weren't professionally displayed as part of a dessert table, and that I could only find flat wooden lollipop sticks (rather than the thin round white style), I think they look pretty similar ... don't you?

They tasted pretty darn good too!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

An unexpected visitor ...

Yesterday evening, I was sat on the sofa, minding my own business and catching up on a few of my favourite blogs, whilst my brother was in the kitchen ironing a shirt for work the following day. All of a sudden I heard "meeeeeeooooowwwww" ... what the heck!?!?!?!

"Who are you?" my brother asked ... "meeeeooowww". Kitty then wandered into the front room to meet me. "Hello" I said, "where did you come from?" ... "meeeeooooowwwww".

Having said hello, he proceeded into the hallway and promptly trotted up stairs to have a nose around the bedrooms. Oooooh, the cheek of it ... we'd only been introduced a minute earlier and already he was making himself at home and peaking through every open door and cupboard!

"Here kitty, kitty, kitty" I chimed ... "meeeeeoooowwww". "Who do you belong to?" ... "meeeeoooowww". Kitty flicked his tail in my direction, licked his paw and washed his face. Well I never!

As he bounced down the stairs, my brother had wisely closed off all the doors to other parts of the house and the only option kitty had was to either go back up stairs (which I think he seriously contemplated for a moment) or out the front door.

Bye bye kitty. Thanks for stopping by ... "meeeeeeooooowwwwww!!!"

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Week #31 of my NEW52 life ...

Cue the cheesy 1970's disco music because my NEW for this week is all about the car-wash ... whoa, whoa whoa, I'm talkin' about the car-wash girl ... hahaha ... now this may seem hard to believe, but in all my years as a car owner / driver, I've never actually driven through an automatic car-wash. Not ever! But that changed this week.

I bought a gold service wash & wax for the princely sum of £6.99. I drove round to the tunnel(?) then carefully edged my car into position ... forward a bit ... back a bit ... perfect. Windows up? Check. Radio aerial retracted? Check. Here we go ...

The first pass was just like driving through a heavy rain shower ... but without having the wipers going at full pelt.

Then came the rollers. Eeeeeeeek ... those things are scary! Just when I thought they were going to squash my car, they lifted, parted and pummelled the top and sides with their rotating bristles instead.

You can't really see the next part in my photos, but it was basically like going through a giant hair-dryer! The blowers sent warm air over the car bodywork and windows and basically blasted away the surplus water, whilst at the same time applying a fine mist of wax ... very clever.

Now, because this was my first time going through the car-wash, DH came with me to make sure I lined my car up correctly. He assures me that he wasn't actually worried, despite the expression on his face in this photo ... tee-hee!

I realise I don't actually have a photo of my car to share but that's because I forgot to take before and after the wash photos. Oh well, maybe I'll remember the next time!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Week #30 of my NEW52 life ...

Not one ... not two ... but three NEW things to share this week!

Firstly, I discovered this quaint little gift shop today ...

Isn't it charming? I've lived in this town for 18 years now and never realised this shop was only just a mile or so from my front door. It's right next door to a farm shop that sells locally grown produce and where you can PYO (pick your own) fruit, and whilst the produce selection wasn't that great when I visited, I was pleasantly surprised to find this little treasure trove of a gift shop. I'll definitely be going there again!

Secondly, I made linguine carbonara for the first time ...

This super speedy recipe was ready within just 15 minutes and made for a wonderfully tasty lunch, and as the weather was good, we decided to eat al fresco and enjoyed it with a glass of chilled white wine ...

Thirdly and lastly, did you know today is National Cheesecake Day in the USA? And although I don't live there, I couldn't resist the temptation, so I thought I'd try my hand at a recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy cook book ...

This is a non-bake cheesecake dessert made with a Digestive biscuit base, mascarpone and double cream filling, drizzled with dark chocolate sauce and fresh tart raspberries ... delicious!!!

All in all, it's been a very tasty week for me and I now have two more easy peasey recipes added to my repertoire. Love that!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Week #29 of my NEW52 life ...

The more observant amongst you, my lovely blog readers, will no doubt have already noticed that weeks 26, 27 & 28 appear to be missing. Well, yes they are, but no they're not. Confused? "Yes" in as much as they're not published and "no" in as much as absolutely nothing new happened at all during those weeks. I'm not kidding you ... no new recipes, no new purchases, no new adventures ... no new anything!!!

But instead of feeling guilty and beating myself up over this, I decided that life goes on, as do the weeks. So I've decided to skip straight over to week #29 ... and here's my NEW52 for last week ...

Very yummy HOME MADE(!) mini chocolate eclairs ... and even if I say so myself, they look pretty good don't they?

They tasted even better ;-)

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Week #25 of my NEW52 life ...

Hhhhhmmmmm ... let me think, what NEW52 thing happened in week #25? Oh yeah, I remember ... I joined a new age decade!

And so far, I'm happy to report that being 40 doesn't feel any different from being 30 or even 20 for that matter! So to anyone reading this post who may be worried about turning the "big 4-O", I say remember this ... age is only a number and whilst growing older is mandatory, growing up is most definitely optional.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Week #24 of my NEW52 life ...

Week 24's NEW52 post is actually more to do with my brother than me ... but heck, seeing as he lives in the same house as me, it all counts ... right?!?!?

My brother is 2yrs 8months older than me [insert mental image here]. He's a quiet chap who pretty much keeps himself to himself. He likes his own company and isn't much for socialising. He'll admit it himself, he's a bit lazy and would prefer to sleep all day and stay up all night ... we joke that his ideal job would be as a professional game player for World of Warcraft [insert updated mental image here].

He's not had the best of luck, but than again some might say you make your own luck in this life. He's been laid off a couple of times, most recently when the company he worked for went into administration and had to get rid of all its employees, my brother included. Now I say recently, but in fact, that was back in October 2007 ... just as the global financial crisis was beginning to take effect here in the UK. Suffice to say, being out of work at that time was tough ... any job advertised was inundated with applicants and getting an interview was really challenging. Where we live is next to a large business park and unemployment had never never really been an issue, but even this area was hit hard during the worst time of the crisis.

Anyhoo, roll forward 3yrs 8months and finally, after LOTS of applications and LOTS of rejections, by dear brother has finally got himself a new job!!! Woo-hoo ... and I couldn't be happier for him.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Week #23 of my NEW52 life ...

Do you keep ticket stubs? You know, boarding card stubs, train stubs, cinema stubs, dry-cleaning stubs? OK, not dry-cleaning ticket stubs perhaps, but all of those other bits of paper you have let over whenever you've travelled somewhere?

I do. I have LOTS of them and DH thinks I'm slightly bonkers for keeping all these little bits of paper with "meaningless gibberish written on them". Ah, but that's where's he's wrong, isn't he? Ask any scrapbooker if they keep ticket stubs and I bet the answer will be "Yes!" ... after all they're not meaningless bits of paper, they are in fact memory makers, thought provokers and reminders of days that might otherwise be forgotten.

Even though I've more-or-less completely converted to digital scrapping now, I still retain all my ticket stubs, but I no longer regularly create pages in which to incorporate them. Instead, they languish, seemingly unloved in drawers, boxes and suitcases. Each time I bring the case down from the attic in preparation for another journey, I say to myself that I'll collect everything together in one place, in a journal, so that on cold rainy day, I can read through it and remind myself of warmer, sunnier, more exotic distant lands. A journal with pages to write about my travels and with little pockets to hold all my ticket stubs together ... a travel journal no less, like this ...

And so my journey down memory lane begins ... the dates, the places, the hotels, the journey, the sights, the sounds, the smells ... all to be recorded in my new travel journal ...

With all the little ticket stubs safely stored alongside the memories themselves ...

Now why didn't I think of this years ago?

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Want to see more?


Wedding, a set on Flickr.

By popular demand, I've uploaded 50 of my favourite images of Jemma & Ian's wedding day to Flickr. These are all SOOC images as I haven't had the time to run any kind of processing on them yet. Feel free to take a peak.