Tuesday, 20 November 2007

All work and no play!

This weekend I decided to try to break the back of reports and do what UCAS references I could. ALL DAY Saturday and most of Sunday was spent doing just that. I managed to write 5 references and complete 2 sets of reports. How come that is all I managed to do?

Monday and Tuesday are the final groups tests so after I have marked them, I can complete their reports. I am determined to finish them before the weekend so that I don't have to spend another whole weekend working on them. The references of course are another matter. We have about 25 references still to write and they will be done before we break up for Christmas come what may. At least we have more people writing them this year which takes some of the pressure of Sheila and me!

Thursday is again my scrapbooking evening. I still have to find time to finish the challenge but I WILL do it!

And there are only 3 weeks work left until we break up for Christmas! How good is that.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Scrapbooking crop

Thurdsay was another evening crop at Coleman's warehouse. I tried to put the extra pages in the scrapbook I am using for our Croatian holiday but the extender posts don't fit the posts in the book. This is really annoying as they were sold specifically for that album. That wasted quite a while as I then had to put it all back the way it was before I could start any scrapbooking.

I took the Chinese Whispers page home this week so now I have to use this as inspiration for a page of my own (not copy it, just let it inspire me). This is the page on the left! I will take my page into the next crop in two weeks time and this will then be taken home by someone for them to use as inspiration.

As I am busy with UCAS forms, references, tests and reports at the moment I cannot imagine me having much time to do any scrapbooking over the next two weeks, except this Chinese Whispers page! Only 4 more weeks until my Christmas holiday begins!

Monday, 22 October 2007


We were invited to a murder weekend! We have been to 4 before, all run by the same people - Padwick and Ball - and they are such good fun. 3 times we have been sleuths and this is the second time we have been involved in the storyline.

We were sent a brief description of what we were going to do on Friday evening in the post a week or so before hand so we know a little of what was going to happen. We travelled down to Guildford on Friday afternoon as we had to meet Peter and Christine (Padwick and Ball) at 6.30 so we could meet the other 6 participants.

The meal started at 7.30 and after most people had finished their meal someone died. Shortly after this a second person died and then everyone met in a conference room to discuss possible suspects and clues. On Friday evening, neither Frank nor I were suspects. After a little more discussion everyone moved into the bar to continue questioning suspects. I chatted to another Maths teacher called Lawrence who picked up on something I said, which he connected with something mentioned by someone else that evening.

Saturday morning we all had breakfast and met again to discuss suspects. This time I was added to the suspect list! Christine then gave a very interesting talk about hanging and various murderers who had been hanged - Ruth Ellis who was the last female to be hanged (1955), Timothy Evans and John Christie - both from the famous 10 Rillington Place and Derek Bentley. A fascinating talk, it has to be said.

This is a picture of Christine!

We were then free to do what we wanted for Saturday afternoon so went to Wisley Gardens. It is so beautiful. There is a fabulous glasshouse which is divided into different areas - Tropical, Desert etc. We wandered around the various different gardens, looked at the fruit festival that was there that weekend and tasted some apples. Here are some of the pictures from the glasshouse - orchids and cacti!

In the evening we met again for our evening meal at 7.30 pm and after dinner we moved once again to the conference room. Christine and Peter entertain the guests with some jokes, some music and songs before the final interrogation of suspects. A third murder had taken place during the coffee break in the morning and just before the show started there was a fourth! (Klara on the left was victim number 4).

After the show there was another discussion about who should be suspects and the final four surviving suspects were questioned by the guests. At the end of this round of questioning Frank died and so became the fifth victim.

And so to bed for our last night. Breakfast on Sunday morning was followed by Peter's talk about 'The smallest room'. As we expected this was very interesting and very funny! While this is taking place, Christine is reading all the solutions that were handed in that morning and deciding on who to give prizes to.

The final part of the weekend is the explanation of the plot and the murderers are revealed to those who have been totally baffled. The final three suspects had to stand out at the front of the room and help Peter explain what had happened. Frank had, in fact, murdered 4 of the victims and Klara had managed to murder him using poison, even though she too died by his hand. John decided it was my fault that his wife had died and tried to strangle me - but then Gary shot us both as he blamed both of us for his wife, Klara dying!

Over the weekend more of the story is revealed to us, bit by bit, and we are told what information we have to impart to our guests. It is fantastic fun and we love every minute of it!

Almost a month!

I really must concentrate on writing stuff on here more often! It is almost a month since I updated my blog!

Since the last entry, Frank, Lizzie and I have been to London to see Joseph which was fantastic, and Lizzie and I have also been to London to see Hairspray.

'Joseph' was brilliant and Lee was good at the role. I think he was the right choice from those that auditioned. Unfortunately one of the people we particularly wanted to see was not in it! Lizzie used to dance with Lucie Downer at Kilburn Dancing School in Wellingborough and Lucie then went off to Italia Conti in London. She has just graduated from there and is playing Dan's wife in 'Joseph'. Typically of our luck, Lucie was on holiday for 3 days in September and one of those was the day we went!

As I mentioned, Lizzie and I also went to see Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre. We went to the opening night and the lead guy is played by Ben James-Ellis who was one of the 'Joseph' hopefuls. He was 4th I think in the 'Joseph' competition but they did him a favour voting him off. In Hairspray he is terrific. Much more suited to the role which includes a lot of dancing and singing. I wouldn't hesitate to see this show again as it had the whole audience totally immersed in the show. Michael Ball and Mel Smith are also starring and as you might imagine, they are also fantastic.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Scrapping Crop

I went to my first all day crop last Saturday and managed to complete a couple of pages! One of them was for the kit which was provided. It was using Tim Holtz Distress Inks but it didn't quite work out for any of us! I have been able to make the inks bleed at home so I think maybe the card we were given was too absorbant, or even the inkpads could have been too dry. As I have a few of these myself in my small amount of stash (LOL) I will probably have another go at this technique sometime. The rest of it worked ok though! We had to cut around images to make them go over the border and I chose to do the same over the photo. The photograph I used was of Frank, sitting on the terrace at Hotel Sipan in Croatia.

The other layouts I did were of our trip to DLP last October.

This first layout used some paper that I was sent from US. It has ghosts on it, so I thought it was ideal for Halloween. I thought the grey was a good background for these photos and the orange pumpkin was a die cut that another lady in US sent me. One of the ladies at the crop gave me the orange ribbon/fibre which seemed to really go well with this layout.

At Coleman's Warehouse I found some other Halloween paper and also some embellishments - these are what I have used on the layouts showing the Halloween Parade.

The next crop is Thursday evening! Watch this space to see if I finish anything else!

Back at College

Term has now been started for one week. It is good to be back and see all the students again, but I do miss being at home and being able to do some scrapbooking, crafting, messing around etc..

The students are, as usual, lovely, but it has been very hectic trying to get them the options they want. I am in charge of all the AS students (year 12 to the folk in UK and aged about 17/18 to those of you not in UK!). The college I work at gives them a free choice of subjects and we construct an individual timetable for each student. When they arrive at college they have already chosen what subjects they want, but often these are not exactly what they thought they were! Sometimes their English skills are just not up to what they have chosen so they want to change to a different subject (We have students from 22 different countries!). Needless to say the first couple of weeks is a bit of a nightmare, but then things settle down and it all runs smoothly.

After these AS students are settled, then I have to start on the UCAS references. The Vice Principal writes all the references for the Oxbridge entries (those wanting to apply to Oxford or Cambridge) and all the medical applicants as these have to be completed within 4 weeks of us returning. There are usually about 25 of these and then the rest are divided mainly between myself and the lady in charge of A2 students (those one year older than mine!). We usually write about 35 of them each and it takes up most of our time between now and December 7th when college closes for Christmas.

Hopefully, this will still leave me time for some fun!

Disneyland Paris

We had a great time as usual! We decided to go into Paris for two evenings and eat there rather than in Disney, so that was good. The first evening we were there we ate at a Mexican restaurant near our hotel (in a small place called Torcy) and that was very pleasant. Our first meal in Paris was at Le Petit Bofinger (at Bastille) and I had exactly the same meal as I had last year on our anniversary. It was SO delicious. Calf's liver served in a raspberry sauce and Rum Baba for dessert. The dessert is huge and overflowing with rum! Lizzie and Frank both had snails for starters and then their main course was Duck served in a peach sauce. The following evening we went to a restaurant that specialised in mussels. This was also at Bastille! As I am allergic to fish I went for steak but Frank and Lizzie tucked into a bucket of Moules each. French food is wonderful!

At Disney we were able to get into the park early with our Annual Pass, so were able to ride all the Fantasyland rides before the park opened to the public. It was really lovely with hardly any people there. Needless to say at 10am when it opened properly it got much busier. We still didn't have to queue for very long. We have been so often now, we have it off to a fine art. The only time we did queue was in the Disney Studios, for the new ride Crush's Coaster. There is no fast pass so we had no choice but to join the queue if we wanted to go on it! 90 minutes we queued! It was a good ride and I would go on it again, but not until the queue has got to a reasonable length.

There is a small show based on High School Musical at the Studios Park and Lizzie managed to tape most of it on her camera. We knew there was a girl from Northampton in this show and since getting home we have discovered that it was a girl who used to dance with Katie and Lizzie. She went to Kilburn School of Dancing in Wellingborough. Apparently, before joining this show she has been several of the characters at DLP!

We had to come home on my birthday which was a shame, but it was an enjoyable trip.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Longer time no blog!

It is ages since I wrote anything on here!

Since my last entry, Lizzie and I have booked tickets to see the first night of Hairspray in London, and we have also got tickets for the three of us (Frank, Lizzie and me) to see a play at the Derngate and Royal in Northampton in about 10 days time. It apparently takes place in the whole theatre. I believe the audience moves around - the Derngate, the Royal and the bar! Should be interesting!

Katie has finally got her computer and is now able to update her blog on Life in Purdue, so if anyone reading this wants to read what she is up to, the follow the link on the right!

We (F, L and me) are off to Paris tomorrow and will spend some of Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Disneyland and then we will return home on Monday. Hopefully there will be an update on that when we get home!

Friday, 17 August 2007

Long time no blog!

I cannot believe it is almost two weeks since I wrote on here! Where does the time go?

A lot has happened since my last entry. Katie, Lizzie and I went to see Hairspray, which was a very funny film. We want to go and see the stage version which has Ben from the Joseph show on BBC playing the lead role and Michael Ball playing the mother!

Katie flew out to Purdue on Monday 13th August and arrived safely at the university on Tuesday. We are having great problems buying her the laptop she needs as there is a problem with the Apple website not accepting UK credit cards, but this is a long story which I will not go into!

Lizzie got her A level results today and she is thrilled with them. She had been told she would fail her Geography but she got a D and that included a B in one of the papers! Her other A levels were both grade C - one was Drama and the other was Philosophy and Ethics. Her AS Music was a grade D too (another long story as the Music teacher was new to A level teaching and didn't prepare them properly for the written paper!). She is really pleased with all her results as she now has 3 A levels grades C, C and D and 3 AS levels, also grades C, C and D. She will now start applying to universities for next September to study Performing Arts. She is especially pleased with her performance grade in her Drama exam as she was given 83 marks out of a possible 90.

Tonight I went to a scrapbooking crop for the second time. Last time I managed to stick 3 photos on a sheet of paper in 3 hours and that was all. At least tonight I managed to complete one page which was an achievement!

I have also completed the second page of my journal (I know - I am VERY slow) - Things I love. Now to decide which prompt to follow next!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Name page

I finished my name page in the sketchbook today! I decided I didn't want to do much too it as the lettering took up quite a lot of the page.

Now to think about the next page!


Yesterday was our 23rd Wedding Anniversary. Frank bought me some wonderful earring and I bought him some binoculars. Katie and Lizzie have something coming by mail but it has been held up with the strikes - so we get a second day of pressies so that will be good!

We went to London in the afternoon as we had tickets to see Lord of the Rings and before the show we ate in Carluccio's restaurant at Canary Wharf. Really lovely Italian food!

If anyone gets the chance to see Lord of the Rings on stage in London, it is brilliant. It has had mixed reviews but we thought it was excellent. Get there early because there is pre-show entertainment by all the hobbits and at several points in the show the cast intermingle with the audience. Naturally most of this happens in the stalls, but a couple of the cast did go up into the circle.

The way the stage moves is very clever with different levels rising and falling and rotating. The guy who plays Golum is also really good. A really good evening's entertainment.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Name Page

I only had 4 letters to find adjectives for! I thought it would be easy! In the end I decided on Broadminded, Right!, Encouraging and Nosy.

So far all I have done is add the words to the page. I now need to think of something else to add to the rather plain page!

Tomorrow is our 23rd Anniversary and all four of us are going to London to see the stage show 'Lord of the Rings'. I have heard mixed reviews but I am expecting it to be good. I will get back to the sketchbook Monday evening, hopefully, as I have to go back into work on Monday!


Last night I went to my first ever Scrapbook crop. It was a fun evening and in 3 hours I managed to stick 3 photographs to a sheet of paper. That was it! Nothing fancy, not even matted because I thought they looked better straight onto the paper. I looked around the craft warehouse where the crop was held (20% off everything while you are there) but couldn't find any letters that would go well on the page and nothing else that took my fancy either. Back to the computer I guess for a title and then try to find some suitable embellishments to decorate what is a very plain page. My excuse is that I had an awful headache and when I did get home I went straight to bed. These crops are held every two weeks and I will definitely go again but I know to go better prepared with exactly what I want to do, rather than just some odd photos and a few bits of paper. I have also signed up for an all day crop at the same place on 15th September, which will be just before the new term starts at college. I know I have to have lots of stuff prepared to do that day!

This morning I got a couple of magazines that had been sent me by the Gay Switchboard in Colchester. I had contacted them to see how an old friend of mine was - I had lost touch with him a couple of years ago and sadly I discovered he had died in December. The magazines contained photos of him and an obituary written by one of his many friends. Such a shame!

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Sketchbook Journal

Trish has suggested a sketchbook challenge!

After buying a sketchbook we were to colour one side of the first five pages in different colours. I decided to use different techniques for the colours.

The first is Twinkling H2Os in two shades of light blue.
The second is DTP using Pearlescent Crimson Brilliance inkpad.

The third is brayered using a rainbow Big and Juicy pad in Waterfall colour (blues and greens).
The fourth is simply two shades of brown acrylic paint.

The fifth is DTP using Tangerine Chalk inkpad.

Now we wait to find out what we need to do next!

Monday, 30 July 2007

Abstract ATCs

Frank left for Wales again early this morning and for once it was sunny outside. Unfortunately the sun was streaming through my window to such an extent that I couldn't get back to sleep again. I decided to get up and get a cup of tea instead of just lying there!

Here is my abstract ATC for the swap on CCSwaps. The colours don't seem to have come out well on the scan but it gives a general idea of what it looks like. Hopefully I will get these and the ABR ATCs finished today and then I need to work on some backgrounds for Pea's swap! Then it will be time for some more scrapbooking I think!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Hanging ATCs

I finished Harry Potter on Monday evening! What a fabulous book. It tied up some loose ends and had some nice twists to it.

Anyway, back to some stamping! I decided to have a go at Adrienne's Hanging ATC swap. It is ages since I had used the alcohol inks that I have here so thought I would start with those as a background.

I used the brown collection of Caramel, Ginger and Latte with just a little of the gold added. I tried to keep a lot of the white background showing as I wanted to overstamp with a brown image.I am not very good at getting a good image with photo stamps but decided to give it a try and I used three of the images from the Brick Artishapes sheet of Chapel Road Artstamps. The ink was sepia and I finally got three fairly good images that I could use.

I then added some brown raffia which I attached using eyelets and my new Crop-A-Dile, and then a fringe and something to hang them by.

Now to get back to the Anything but Rubber swap.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Harry Potter

I cannot imagine getting much of anything done today! I have even asked Katie to cook me dinner tonight! I have read just over 400 pages and have 200 left to go. I decided to take a bit of a break to check emails but after lunch I will read some more!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Anything but Rubber ATC

I started this last night while I was waiting for my husband to get back from Wales and Katie to get back from the Harry Potter book launch in Milton Keynes.

Frank was stuck on the motorway just outside Wales as many of the roads were cut off due to flooding. He was stationary from 6pm until just after midnight, when the police, who had opened up a gap in the central reservation in order to turn the cars around, got to where Frank was. I went to bed after Katie had told me about the party, which was around 1am and Frank finally got home around 3.15am.

I started the ATC and then as I was on my own, decided to finish it. One down, eight more to go! I don't think they will all be identical but as similar as I can make them.

The picture on the left is after laying down the pale blue wash for the background.

The right hand picture now has the yellow added to give the cala lily some colour.

The left hand picture here has had the green added to the leaves and to the flower and the final picture on the right has had brown accents added and the ATC has been matted onto some gold paper and then put onto cardstock.

I used watercolour paper for this so that the twinkling H2Os would give a proper watercolour effect.

Thursday, 19 July 2007


We have been back from our weeks holiday in Croatia almost two weeks now! It was really quiet and relaxing with beautiful weather. We stayed on a small island (one of the Elafiti islands) called Sipan and our hotel was a converted olive oil factory.

Hotel Sipan

The population of the village we were in was 300 and that is the most populated of the villages on any of the islands. Cars are allowed on Sipan and there is a car ferry that goes from Dubrovnik to Sudarad (village on the other side of the island) each day. Lots of people use wheelbarrows to carry stuff, so if you get off the ferry with luggage and you are being met by someone from your hotel, they will meet you with a wheelbarrow!

We went into Dubrovnik one day and walked to the old town (one hour walk, up hill and then down again in hot sun at about midday - foolish or what??) but it was well worth it. We went down this little alley lined with shops and then at the bottom we entered this huge courtyard which was spectacular.

We could have spent much longer there but needed to get back to the ferry as they only run a couple of times a day!

There was no swimming pool at the hotel but the Adriatic sea was literally a few metres from the front door of the hotel and it was crystal clear, so swimming in it was not a problem.

Here are some other photos of our holiday!

These are views from our bedroom window. It is looking over the harbour and you can see how green and undeveloped the island is.

And here is a picture of my husband, Frank. He is sitting on the hotel terrace, reading a book and waiting for his beer to arrive. There was no problem with the sun as the terrace is covered with plants which offer natural shading.

And here is a picture of one of the old buildings in the village. We think it was an old chapel as there are pews and evidence of an alter there, but it may well be used as the schoolroom now.

Holiday from work

I am now into my third week of the school summer holiday and Katie has just got home from her 5 week tour of Europe. Lizzie is in Turkey and flies home in 5 days time and Frank is in Wales, working for Welsh Water.

I am trying to catch up with some of the scrapbook pages that I wanted to do, to document our Anniversary last year. We went to Paris for 3 days!

This year we are going to see Lord of the Rings, the musical, in London on our anniversary. All four of us are going as it will be the last chance we get to do anything as a complete family until Christmas as Katie flies out to Purdue University in Indiana, USA on 13th August to begin her year of study abroad.

It is now half past midnight and time I retired to bed. Maybe I will have another go at this tomorrow and even post some pictures (maybe!)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

First attempt

So - I have finally started a blog! I am not sure how a lot of the stuff on here works but it will be interesting to find out.

I have got a couple of pictures uploaded so I guess that is a good start!