Tuesday, 16 December 2008

JYC Day 14

This is my page about opening presents. We always open them on Christmas Day but don't really have any traditions about the way this is done!

The journalling reads:

'I don't remember a tradition about handing out presents when I was young. The presents were given ou and opened as you got them, so sometimes that meant several people were opening them at the same time. It was something that never occurred to me at the time, but we didn't see what each other had received or from whom. We then showed the presents around after we had opened them.

When Katie and Lizzie were little, they took forever to open presents - sometimes the whole of Christmas Day. This meant that we got to watch them actually opening them and playing with them.

Now they are older we distribute presents to one or two people at a time and wait for those to be opened before passing out some more.'

Sunday, 14 December 2008

JYC Days 10, 11, 12 and 13

I have got quite a long way behind but have finally managed to finish 4 pages and photograph them.

'Wrapping gifts' uses some of the paper that we use each year to wrap our presents in. We bought a huge pack of paper from Costco a few years ago and will be using it for the foreseeable future I think. It is nice paper though!

'Our Tree' was almost finished a few days ago, but I wanted to wait for a photograph of our decorated tree to add to the page. The tree is a real one but it is a bit unstable I think! Hopefully it will stay vertical until we take it down again in January!

In the Day 12 entry I compare various Christmases. My childhood Christmases, those of 25 years ago, when I first met Frank, 20 years ago when we had Katie and Lizzie and then again with how we spend Christmas today.

The final page here lists some of my favourite Christmas songs. Not carols, but more popular songs. I love hearing these on the radio as you get nearer and nearer to Christmas!

The girls are home

Early yesterday morning, Frank and I set off in opposite directions to get our daugthers. The weather was AWFUL! It rained all the way to Liverpool and the spray on the motorway made the visibility very difficult. However, I arrivedjust after 11 am, we got Lizzie's things packed up and left her flat at about 12.15. We stopped for lunch at Sandbach services and made it home at around 3.30 pm - not long after Frank got home with Katie. It is good to have them both home again!

Today I think it is time to buy the tree and get the house decorated. And then we have to write the Christmas cards and get them mailed!

Staff party

Friday night was the staff party at college. I left work at 11.30 as I had finished teaching for the day and came home to cook. I made the puff pastry first so that it could rest and then set about cooking the onions and preparing the rest of the stuff. I made puff pastry triangles, which were topped with red onions, stilton and pear and also filo pastry triangles that were stuffed with bacon, pate and chives. They all turned out pretty well considering it was the first time I had cooked them. I had intended to make twice as many but ran out of time, so the rest of the puff pastry is in the freezer waiting for me to make sausage rolls with it!

My Secret Santa was Malcolm - the head of maintenance. I had absolutely no idea who had been buying gifts for me but the gifts were all fantastic! A cookery book - all chocolate recipes; some bath salts; a countdown holiday clock; some chocolate biscuits and a Place in the Sun magazine and the final gift which he gave me on Friday was the book Chocolat, by Joanne Harris and a bar of chocolate.

We were supposed to be having a Beetle Drive after we had eaten but it was decided at the last minute that it wasn't a good idea as people don't want to sit with people they don't know very well! Personally I think that was the wrong choice as we all ended up sitting with those we work most closely with and what is the fun in that! You never get to know anyone else unless someone makes an effort and a beetle drive would have been the ideal way to do this! Hopefully the beetle drive will take place as a stand alone event next term! But I won't hold my breath.

JYC page 9

Traditions! This was a hard one for me as we don't really have many traditions at Christmas! Each year we do most things differently! No traditional Christmas dinner, no routine to where we go etc.

There are just a few things we do the same each year! We decorate the house with streamers and a Christmas tree, we open our presents on Christmas morning and we play board games throughout the holiday period.

Anyhow - here is my page!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

JYC Day 8

I caught up and now I am a little behind again.

Yesterday Frank was staying away for the night and I had planned on doing some scrapping, other than my JYC page. But I developed a headache and after completing my page for JYC decided to go to bed before midnight for a change.

This page is based on how things are changing around us. I decided to go for some simple shots of decorations and wrapping rather than think about things like the credit crunch.

After my early night I woke up at 5.00 and then couldn't get back to sleep until it was time to get up again. Consequently I have still got a headache and I have not given much thought to Day 9. So - that means I will be playing catch up again tomorrow or Thursday.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

JYC Day 7

This is my to do list! I am sure I have missed things off and I might tick when they are done - I haven't yet decided. In actual fact I have already completed the bottom 3 things on the list but felt they were part of the regular Christmas list of things to do. The birthday presents are for Frank (December 23rd) and for Katie (January 1st).

Student's Christmas party

I picked Gill up at 7 o'clock and we headed out to Northampton. We were really lucky and found a parking space near the Derngate. The Guildhall is a fantastic venue and we were greated by a man dressed like he was from a Dicken's novel. It turned out that he doubled up as the magician that wandered around the tables. There was also artificial snow around the building!

When we arrived there were more staff than students but by 9 o'clock it had filled up nicely. There was a rolling buffet of rolls and snacks and staff were allowed 2 free drinks. The decorations inside the building were stunning. Drapes from the ceiling, lots of lighted trees and beautifully decorated tables.

Here's a photo of me ready to go out. I am wearing one of Katie's dresses and I'm wearing Lizzie's shoes too. Having grown up daughters is so nice! And on the right is a photo of me with Rosa Nguyen - one of my Vietnamese students.

A couple of ex students came back for the party but not as many as in previous years. Gill and I left at 10 o'clock as it was getting very cold outside! It was a pleasant evening though.

JYC Day 6

I managed to get up to date before I went out last night and finished Saturday's page.

I found this one quite hard as there haven't been any really bad Christmases. There have been a couple where we have had arguments with the family over trivial things! One in Birmingham when my parents dog stole some of the pieces of the new jigsaw and left his teethmarks in them. And then the following year I fell out with Frank's mother. On both occasions it was a case of staying too long after Christmas and just getting on each others' nerves. From then on we make visits shorter or go away for Christmas.

My childhood Christmases were not great fun as we ALWAYS had to go to one or other set of grandparent's houses or they would come to us. And that always meant getting up early and rushing to open presents before driving to Worcester or Bournemouth, or opening them before they arrived at our house. I can't ever remember a Christmas when it was just my parents and me - but I can't write all this in the journal as they would be devastated to read it!

Good Christmases have been most of them, so again choosing just one was not easy! Anyway - here is my page for Day 6!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

JYC Days 4 and 5

I have spent much of today playing catch up with my Christmas journal. I must say it has been so nice not to have to spend time on college work which is the first weekend in about 6 weeks.

I have talked about my perfect Christmas and about Advent and the tradition we now have in our family. I think the journalling is clear enough to read so I won't repeat it here.

And this evening is the college student Christmas Party. It is being held at the Guildhall in Northampton and I am hoping that it will be a good evening. I hope lots of students attend and I know full well that most of the evening will be spent having photos taken with them all. They like to take photos of their teachers home to show their families!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

JYC Day 2 and 3

Today I managed to get the pages finished for the 2nd and 3rd day of the journal. Weather and Cards! It was parents evening at college last night so there was no time to complete my journal page yesterday. The first parents evening that I have been a teacher at for 22 years!

I really enjoy the journalling part of it which is quiet a surprise to me as I am not used to writing much on scrapbook pages! My pages usually tell the date and the place and not much else. I know I need to expand on this so that future generations can read about life in the early 21st Century and maybe this journal will give me the confidence to carry it over onto scrapbook pages.

Here are the two pages for Days 2 and 3.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

JYC Day 2

Today I finally got my page complete for yesterday's prompt. I toyed with several different papers and then decided on something quite simple. I also played around with several photos and then had trouble with the colour when printing, but this is my completed page!

Today's prompt is about the weather and this is what I have journalled about it. As it is parent's evening tomorrow I don't imagine I will get chance to create my page until Thursday. And I can't find the photographs I want either - I think they are in the loft so I may have to think again about what photos to include!

"Christmas Weather!

Winter in England – A white Christmas is something many of us dream about. As a child I’m sure we used to get more snow than we do now, but still not on Christmas Day I guess!

We have actually experienced snow on Christmas Day twice – the first time was back in 1993 . We were on an 8 day holiday to EuroDisney (as it was called then!) and were spending the day in the park. During the afternoon it started to snow and that was such a magical feeling – Walking down Main Street, USA, looking at all the fantastic decorations, listening to the singing and watching REAL snow fall. The next morning we awoke to find thick snow and some boys were building a Mickey Mouse snowman outside our window.

The second time it snowed on Christmas Day was in Wales in 2001. We were staying in a log cabin just outside Carmarthen. We had a lovely log fire and the cabins were nestled in a wood. And on Christmas Day we looked out of the window to see snow falling. What a wonderful way to spend Christmas – sat in front of a warm fire watching the snow falling all around.

In 2005 we went to the other extreme and celebrated a warm Christmas. This was the year we went to Florida. Christmas was spent in an apartment on the west coast of Florida in a little place called Anna Maria Island (near Bradenton). The weather was not that hot but it was warm enough for Frank and I to stroll along the beach wearing just a cardigan or jumper.

I wonder what the weather will be like on Christmas Day this year and where we will spend next Christmas!"

Monday, 1 December 2008

First Day of JYC

Today I waited eagerly for the first prompt, but all to no avail. Some hiccup with the email meant that I didn't get it first thing this morning, like I expected. But that wasn't a real problem - I emailed Shimelle and she sent it to me, but the prompts are also available on her forum.

So the first prompt is to write a sort of Manifesto - why you are doing the JYC, what is special about this time of year, what you want to get out of this experience ...

So - here goes!

Starting today, December 1st, I will keep a Christmas journal. In it, I will write something everyday (hopefully!) to reflect on the holidays of my past, enjoy the holidays of the present and dream about the holidays of the future. I plan to give at least 15 minutes of each day to this task, no matter how crazy the season becomes. This Christmas I will create something of my own which will be filled with my own memories and my wishes. It will be something for my family to look back on in the future and hopefully it will remind them of the good times we had.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


Tomorrow is the first day of Advent and consequently the first day of JYC by Shimelle. I am really looking forward to getting involved in this and hopefully keeping up with at least some of the prompts.

Today I put all the Christmas stash I have in a box so that it is easily accessible and that way I don't have to hunt around for what I have got. I treated myself to some wonderful K & Co paper, chipboard and tags on Thursday and can't wait to start using it. I have lots of Chrismas scrapbooking paper left from a pad I bought a few years ago too so I have no doubt that I have enough. Enough for several years I think.

I also managed to scrap some more of our summer holiday 2007! It has been hanging around so long now that I am bored with it. But - I have only got 3 spreads left to do and it will be finished. It was the trip to Sipan in Croatia. Here are 4 of the pages I did today.

On the top left is our new bedroom! The one we got moved to after the electricity went in our first room.
The one on the top right is the view from our room - this is the terrace where we ate all our meals and you can see how close it was to the sea.
Bottom left is looking from our room window again, but out to sea rather than down at the hotel. You can see how beautiful the Adriatic is!
And bottom right is a view of the front of our hotel. Frank is outside the restaurant that they use for visitors.

As tomorrow is the first day of Advent, Katie and Lizzie will be opening their first present on their calendar. I hope they like the little gifts I have chosen for them.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Journal your Christmas

Journal your Christmas

I have signed up to take part in Shimelle's Journal your Christmas. I am hoping this will give me something to look back on in years to come and remind me of what we were doing in 2008. And hopefully I will take part in future years too.

Journal your Christmas

Christmas has always been a favourite time of year, especially since having children. And even though they are now adults it is still a special time of the year. We very much enjoy each other's company (well I enjoy theirs anyway!) and have lots of laughs doing things together. Some years we go away for Christmas and other years we stay at home and have family around. This year we are staying at home.

I can't wait till December 1st arrives and I can get started on this project. I just hope that I can keep motivated for the whole time. Some friends on an online group are taking part too so we are hoping to motivate each other!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


For the first time in ages we spent a whole weekend at home!

Frank spent much of the weekend working on his model boat - he will need a new one soon! And I spent some time scrapping some of our US holiday photos. My big problem is deciding which ones to leave out of the layouts, consequently I end up putting most of them in and I think my 2 albums with extra pages won't be enough for the whole 3 week vacation.

The photo on the left is of the Lincoln Memorial from various angles, the one on the right is of the reflecting pool. The bottom photo on this page is of Frank trying to photograph his finger on the top of the Washington Memorial! It didn't quite work out as he planned.

So far I have got to the end of day 2 - 30th March. This was the first of our two days in Washington DC! We visited the White House, Lincoln Memorial and National World War II Memorial.

These two photographs are of the National WWII Memorial. The photo on the left is one of the gateways into the memorial. It took us ages to get the photograph of the fountain without anyone in front of it. The photo on the right is of quotes and carvings. The carvings depict different aspects of the war!

Saturday evening we had invited a work collegue around for dinner, and as he is vegetarian we had a no meat Indian meal. Frank cooked a selection of dishes - Bindi Fry, Stuffed aubergines, dahl, mushroom curry, coconut rice and we had some naan bread too. It was all absolutely delicious.

Friday, 31 October 2008


This evening I went to see 'Jongleurs' at the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough with my neighbour, Jackie and a couple of her friends. I had no idea what it was, other than a comedy show. It was listed as 'alternative comedy' but there wasn't really much alternative about it! It was just pure comedy.

The evening comprised of a compere, Dominic Frisby and two comedians in the first half and the compere and another comedian in the second half. I didn't expect it to be very good but all the acts were very funny and I haven't laughed so much in ages. Sadly I don't remember the names of the comedians but it was an excellent evening of entertainment.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Peter's funeral

This has to be the saddest day that I can remember.

Lizzie travelled down to Southampton on Monday evening with Spencer and Frank and I also decided to stay overnight with Mum. We picked up the flowers from the florist near where we live, had some dinner and then drove down to Southampton.

Tuesday morning we delivered the flowers to the funeral directors and bumped into Frank's cousin Dennis, who was taking a look at the location of the church. Dennis is famous in our family for something called 'Eggs like Dennis'. When he later met Katie and Lizzie and Katie mentioned this, he had to have it explained to him as he never knew Frank's family had eggs like he did!

We went back to Mum's, collected Lizzie and then went to meet Katie at the station. Back to Mum's for a quick lunch, a change into our black outfits and then over to Caroyln's.

It was all ok until the hearse arrived and I then started to think that Peter was in that coffin. That was the start of many tears that were shed throughout the rest of the day. Frank, Simon, Ron and Maher carried him into church and just looking around the full church showed how popular he was. The minister took the service, Frank read from John 14, Anne-Marie read a tribute to her Dad and Simon read a poem. How they all held it together I don't know. Many paper tissues later and it was time to take him to the crematorium. After another short service they played 'The Carnival is Over' by The Seekers which was a very special song to Caroyln and Peter. This was the saddest part as you knew Peter was going to be taken away to be cremated. I think all the women and a lot of the men were crying by now. Everyone had special memories of Peter and there will never be anyone else like him.

The club that we went to after the crematorium was only partly full, and I think this was because a lot of people went home when we went to the crematorium. There were albums of photographs for us to look at and they caused even more tears. I got meet Peter's second cousins - Dianne and Gloria! His young life was so like mine in some ways as these were the only children in his family that he could mix with. My second cousins were the only ones in my life too! One of the sad parts of being an only child and it was that which made Peter and I understand each other so well.

There was still time for a little fun though, and as the immediate family had been driven to the church in a limosine there was no car for Simon to go home in. Jessica came with us and Simon hitched a lift in the boot. Just the sort of thing his father would have done!

I'll miss you Peter.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


I am not looking forward to Tuesday at all, which I suppose is only to be expected. It is the funeral of my brother-in-law. To be perfectly correct he is Frank's brother-in-law but I think that makes him mine too!

The last time I saw Peter up and about was at Anne-Marie's house when we went down for the day to celebrate Simon's 40th Birthday. He was still getting over the treatment he had had for prostate cancer but was chatty and good company as one might expect. Even then though, Carolyn knew he was not well and things got much worse over the next few weeks. Carolyn and Peter, Anne-Marie and Maher went to Greece at the end of August and it was after that holiday, when Peter could hardly walk, that things started to go downhill rapidly.

A short stay in hospital revealed Peter had cancer in every organ in his body (apart from the liver) and that he had a very short time left to live. He went home and Carolyn nursed him, with the help of her family and nurses until he died on October 16th at 11.50pm. He was 68. I will miss him so much as he was such lovely company.

He was brought up as an only child and like me, was used to being with older people for most of his young life. We could take the piss of each other and wind each other up, knowing we were not being serious. We played many games of cribbage together when Frank and I were in Southampton and I remember the games of sardines that the family used to play when Frank and I were first married. So many happy memories.

The holidays we spent together as a family were always great fun. Peter would go fishing but rarely caught anything that I can remember. When we were in France before Katie was born Peter and I would sometimes walk down to the bakery together early in the morning to buy bread for breakfast. He was always an early riser! During that same holiday we took a day trip over to Jersey and we hired a minibus which Peter drove around the island. He showed us all the places that had been important to him as a child and I was sat in such a position that I could see him in the rear view mirror. The look on his face showed just how delighted he was to be showing us all his island. I can also remember the beach at Val-André! That was one of Peter's favourite beaches and we spent quite a few days of our holiday there. There was to be another family holiday next April - the first that we had had since Tunisia in 2000 and I was so looking forward to spending some fun times with Peter again. But sadly it was not to be.

Thankfully we got to spend a little time with him in the few weeks before he died and the cancer did not take away the old Peter. He knew who we were and was still able to joke with us from time to time. Tuesday will be a very sad day for us all. Frank has been asked to do a reading and that will so hard for him! But I am glad he is going to do it. And at the crematorium he is going to be one of the men carrying the coffin. I can't imagine how horrible that will be for them all - knowing Peter's body is in there.

He will always have a very special place in my heart as he was the best brother-in-law anyone could have wished for. If there is an afterlife then I am sure that he will carry on being the life and soul of the party and if he is reunited with his father-in-law then I am sure they are having great fun together again.

Rest in Peace Peter!

Thursday, 4 September 2008


It was a strange 50th Birthday. I'm not one for big celebrations of birthdays, other than for children and 18th Birthdays, as it always seems silly to be making a big thing of reaching something like 40 or 50 or 60. Getting to such an age is not really an achievement as quite a lot of people do and it doesn't take much of an effort! Now special anniversaries are worth celebrating! Being married for 25 or 30 or 40 years IS an achievement. It is something you work at and lots of people give up long before that.

Anyway - my birthday! I was called early (as usual!) by my parents and my aunt. Katie had made me breakfast of chocolate croissant and fruit salad with yoghurt which was delicious. Then I had a call from Lizzie who was at the airport in Newark waiting to come home. It was 5.15 am her time. Frank got home from Wales in the afternoon and I opened my presents. A daylight lamp from Frank, which was just what I wanted so that I can scrapbook later into the night! And jewellery and chocolates from Katie. I had some more earrings from Lizzie when she got home.

We left here at around 6pm and got to the airport in time to meet the 8.00pm plane. At 8.45 itwas announced that the baggage was in the hall, but at 9.30 there was still no sign of Lizzie. She did send us texts to keep us informed of what was happening and at 10.30pm we finally left Heathrow. One of the baggage trolley's had got mislaid in the airport and it took them a while to find it! But eventually they did! It was lovely to have the family back together again after more than 12 months.

The worst part of the day was waiting for news about Peter, my brother-in-law! He has cancer and we were waiting to see how far it had spread. Sadly it has spread to his stomach and his spine and also his brain. We should find out today if anything can be done!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


I have been trying hard over the summer to get some of my albums finished as I want to start scrapping our April trip to the USA. I have been completing challenges on various groups and forums which has given me the push I have needed to get more pages finished. I will try to post more to the blog in future!

This is the most recent page I have completed. It is for the September Week 1 challenge on UKScrappers. I had to include a BeeGees song in the title, use the colour red, ribbon, bling and buttons. They all have some connection with the first week in September - 1st September 1946 was when Barry Gibb was born; 2nd September 1994 Roy Castle died so the ribbon is for this; Dallas was first broadcast on 5th September 1979 so that is the bling; Buttons because that is the name of the group setting the challenge and the red is nothing specific. Here is my layout anyway!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Maze Album

I have created a little Maze album for my mother-in-law. We are going to Southampton next weekend to see the family and will give it to her then. It has 27 photos in it - all of them are her children, grand children and great grand children and some of their spouses. I hope she likes it!

Lizzie and Katie

Katie has been home from the US about a month now. She has had a fabulous time studying in Purdue and then travelling around the States. She managed to visit 47 of the the States and also saw a tiny bit of Canada. Her photos are fantastic and I want to go and see more of the country!

Lizzie arrives home on my birthday which will be nice. She has also been to Niagara Falls so this year we have all been there but all at different times! She is now in NYC for a few days and according to Facebook, she seems to be having a great time.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


I am trying to do more walking! It is not something that I could say I enjoy as I would much rather be scrapping but I know I need some exercise and need to get fitter.

I recently bought some new walking shoes and just over a week ago Frank and I decided to go for a walk! We did a circular walk that started and finished at Welford. We timed it so that we could walk and then finish at the pub in Welford for lunch.

The walk started along the canal bank - along a branch of the Grand Union that only went to the pub!

Then we walked along the main Grand Union towpath for a while before cutting across the fields to end up back at the village.

It was a little under 5 miles in total and a very nice walk.

We stopped at the pub for a lovely lunch. I had some absolutely delicious mushrooms and Frank had a ploughman's lunch that was big enough to feed a family. I chose cider to drink but the beer Frank chose was delicious. I would love to go back there so that I could have the beer. It tasted like butterscotch! Wonderful.

The following Tuesday (1st July) I went for another walk!

This time with Ron Annies (Biology teacher from work). Now he is a big walker and much fitter than me so when he told me we were to go a circular walk that was about 8 miles I was a little apprehensive. We started at Brigstock Country Park and then saw the sign that said the Lyveden Way walk, which was the one we were doing, was actually 9 and a half miles. I did have the option to turn around but after about 4 miles I was still feeling fine and we were nearly at Wadenhoe which is where we planned to stop for lunch, at the pub!

I was really pleased to find that the following day I didn't even ache! The next walk, weather permitting will be next Tuesday (15th July!).

16 week challenge

I finally decided not to carry on with this challenge. The opposites were not things that I would normally scrap and as I have hundreds of photos that need scrapping I decided I could better use my time working on other albums.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

16 Week Challenge - City and Country

For this opposites challenge we had to use the words City and Country. I chose Bath and the two pictures show the huge differences that there are in one city. We can see the old streets of the centre of town and the rolling countryside from just outside the city centre.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Culture Day

Today was culture day at college. It is always an interesting day as we have displays from several countries represented at the college, national dress, traditional food and then a concert of music and entertainment from several different nationalities.

On the left are 3 girls from Eastern Europe - Russia or Ukraine. On the left is a group of Vietnamese students.

The picture on the left shows the Vietnamese student's table. There is information about their country behind them on the wall, a computer showing pictures of their country and there was some lovely pork and sticky rice to eat! On the right is a table from the Indian students.

In the afternoon there was a short concert. This consisted of 5 Vietnamese students singing a traditional song. From left to right they are Yun, Lynn, Christine, Helen and Chloe.

A chinese girl called Cindy sang a solo, another Chinese girl called Stephanie played the piano and a British student, Sunny, representing India played drums.

Sunny and Krishan then entertained us with their version of Signature - they were BRILLIANT! So funny and so entertaining. And they only decided to do this at lunchtime so they had 2 hours to rehearse!

After that we had some groups - Nigerians talking about their national dress and singing the National Anthem, followed by a group of Vietnamese singing their national anthem and finally the malaysian students sang together.

Overall a very entertaining afternoon.