Sunday, 30 June 2013

Horticultural Heaven

Oh my, oh my what a beautiful garden.

MrG and I took Guy to Newton Rigg College for his interview as he will be starting a horticulture course in September.

and we were invited to a tour of the gardens

Bursting with colour

everywhere you looked


I'm actually quite envious.  I would like to join the course too.


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♥ 52 Weeks of Happy (26/52) ♥

A tour, a walk, a climb and a trip.  My four happy moments this week...

1.  A tour round Newton Rigg College.  I will write a separate post as we took loads of photos of the stunning gardens.

2.  A walk along stone jetty at Morecambe.  MissG took some photos so I'll add those in a separate post too.

3.  A climb in to the attic.  The actual process of emptying the attic wasn't a happy moment but it does mean we're a step closer to moving so that makes me happy.  The whole house is littered with boxes and it looks like the home of a hoarder.  I can't wait to have everything in its place in the new house.

4.  A trip down memory lane.    While up in the attic I found a box full of old exercise books from primary school.  This one is dated 2003 - when MissG was 5.  She's now 15 (going on 25!) and will be celebrating her 16th birthday later this week.  Happy memories of my little family.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

♥ 52 Weeks of Happy (25/52) ♥

My happy moments of the week include - 

1.  A lovely lunch with my sister followed by a trip (only a 5 minute car trip from my sisters house) to Talkin Tarn Country Park.  The tarn is set within acres of farmland and woodland and is a great place to enjoy a leisurely stroll.  

There were lots of school children walking round the tarn, limping and looking totally exhausted.  They were halfway through a 50 mile sponsored walk - 36 laps of the 1.3 mile track around the tarn!  Ouch, I did feel for them.  One lap was enough for us.

2.  My sister then mentioned that just up the road in Brampton, there was a shop with a half price sale.   She mentioned Cath Kidston so we just had to go and check it out!  These two pretty mugs came home with me.

3.  MissG went to her school prom.  All dressed up and looking glam!  A proud moment.

4.  MrG went to Holland on a business trip - it was on the same day as the prom so I couldn't go with him this time.  He came back with the most enormous cheese bomb.  This photo doesn't quite capture the size!  He has a bit of a 'thing' for cheese so he was very pleased with himself.

He brought me back some chocolates - because he knows I have 'thing' for chocolate.  It was very nice of him but I wish I had a 'thing' for something a bit healthier as it's not helping me waistline!

4.  And finally... on the home front.  We have finally signed contracts and have a date for moving house. Yippee 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

vintage fair

A cold, grey and blustery day.  What's to do?

Ah, yes I can go check out the Vintage and Collectors Fair at Heaves Hotel.

And that's just what I did.

I could imagine sitting on the lawn with a Pimms and/or a bowl of strawberries and cream.  I can but dream!

Heaves Hotel - photo from internetRoom after room of stalls.  I had to do two rounds just in case I missed something!

This Lloyd Loom basket came home with me.  I was really tempted to buy the orange vegetable rack too but I'm not sure if I will have room for it in my new kitchen.

I also bought this basket for my crochet

and two jugs for my dresser

and some postcards from this stall

and some pretty ribbon, buttons and felt from Cool Crafting

If you are in the Lake District this summer you could pop into the Coniston Institute where Vintage & Collectables are opening a pop-up shop.  They will be open 7 days a week (9am-5pm) from 6th July to 26th August.  I will definitely swing by and take a look.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

♥ 52 Weeks of Happy (24/52) ♥

Still joining in with Jen at LittleBirdie. Here are my four happy moments of the week...

1.  Making birthday cards.

Oh the birthday season is upon us - it all goes a bit crazy during June and July for my family. At the start of the year I challenged myself to make every greetings card I need for the whole of this coming year.  I started off well (as you usually do with a challenge) but have had to let things slip because most of my craft supplies have been packed ready for the house move (good excuse).

With limited resources I made a card for my sisters birthday and one for my Mum-in-Laws birthday. I'm afraid I then purchased 3 Father's Day cards, one for my Dad, one for MrG's Dad and one for my children's Dad!  Oh well.  I'll pick up the challenge just as soon as I get settled in our new home.

Happy 45th (sshhh) Birthday to my little sis

and Happy Birthday to my Mum-in-Law, Antonietta

My sister is also trying to make all of her own cards so I bought her this fab book for inspiration.  It really is a good one, packed with ideas.  I went back to get myself a copy but they were sold out.  I've just found it on Amazon this morning so I may have to treat myself.

2.  MissG had her final exam on Friday and I was able to collect her at 11am.  I sang a little ditty about it being the last ever school run I'd ever have to do (until I maybe help out with my Grandchildren - which I hope is a looooong way off) until she reminded me that Guy has his last exam on Monday and I'd have to do the school run again with him.  Oh well, I'll save my little ditty until then.  I've been doing the school run since 1997 when Ben started primary school.  That's 16 years worth of school - I think I deserve a medal.

3.  MissG will attend her end of school Prom next week so we have been doing all the usual prep for that.  Both my boys refused to go and so I'm really pleased that MissG is going to hers.  She has always said that she wouldn't go but she has really matured over the last year or so and she has developed an interest in clothes, shoes, make-up etc. like most 16 year old girls.  I imagined a long floaty dress with long floaty hair but she's a bit edgier than that and wants something a bit funkier.  I'm hoping she will let me post a photo next week!

4.  Stripy blanket and granny squares.  I have come to the conclusion that it's best to have a few crochet projects on the go at the same time.  Sometimes I get a bit bored when doing my stripy blanket.  I am enjoying the fact that I have mastered 'crochet' after so many failed attempts and I'm chuffed that I am actually making something useful (and pretty).  I love the colours I've chosen for my blanket and can imagine it being a very handy 'sofa' blanket in the autumn/winter months.  I love being able to make the stitches without having to watch my every move - I can watch TV at the same time - woah.  But sometimes I question why I have made it so wide as it takes me about 25 minutes to complete just 1 row.  

Last night I didn't feel the usual urge to do a couple of rows so I looked through my wool stash and settled down in fron of the TV to make some granny squares - they are so quick and simple that I made 7 in just one evening.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Pigeon English

I'm reading Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman.  I bought the Kindle version from Amazon for only £1.99.  

Amazon Book Description

Newly arrived from Ghana with his mother and older sister, Harrison Opoku lives on the ninth floor of a block of flats on a London housing estate. The (second) best runner in the whole of Year 7, Harri races through his new life in his personalised trainers - the Adidas stripes drawn on in marker pen - unaware of the danger growing around him.

But when a boy is knifed to death on the high street and a police appeal for witnesses draws only silence, Harri decides to start a murder investigation of his own. In doing so, he unwittingly breaks the fragile web his mother has spun around her family to keep them safe.

Harri will come face to face with the very real dangers surrounding him. A powerful, unforgettable tale, importantly relevant for young adult readers of today.

Have you read it?  What did you think?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

♥ 52 Weeks of Happy (23/52) ♥

I think summer has arrived - we have been enjoying the most glorious sunshine this week.

My four happy moments...

1.  I met my friend Helen at Catch23 Cafe.  Catching up, chatting and chilling - an indulgent couple of hours sitting out on the patio in the sun.  

2.  The sun has gently teased out the petals of my peony roses.  They look like giant pom-poms.  The flowers don't last long but they do put on a fantastic show.  This plant came from my Mums garden so I hope to take them with me to my new house.

3.  Yesterday I went over to the north-east to collect my son from Uni.  He's moving to new digs after his summer hols so we had to pack all his whole kit and kaboodle and bring it home to add to all of the boxes we've packed ready for our house move - what a mess!  I am pleased to have him home for the summer holiday though as he hasn't been home since Christmas.   

4.  Today to celebrate his home coming (and the fact that the sun shone all weekend) we had a BBQ.  It was soooo lovely to have all five of us round the table.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

managing stress

It's a pretty intense time in our household at the moment, what with the house move pending and our two youngest taking their GCSE and A'level exams.  Oh, I can feel the stress levels steadily rising!

I am a bit of a worrier at the best of times so I'm feeling particularly anxious at the moment. Is our house sale going to go through?  Is our house purchase going to go through?  When are we going to move?  Will it all go smoothly?  Will the bedrooms be big enough?  Will we notice the traffic noise?  Will MissG settle into her new school?  Will Guy enjoy his college course?  Will they make new friends?  Will they be happy?   Will we be happy?

Last Monday, while walking to my office, I noticed a poster advertising a Managing Stress course and thought maybe I should take a closer look.  The one day course was being held at Mind, just round the corner from my office, and the poster said "learn and practice skills to reduce and manage stress in your life".  "I need to find a way to reduce and manage my stress" I thought so I booked myself a place.

I'm quite shy when it comes to meeting new people and attending social events so felt quite daunted about joining the course but it was very informal and everyone was friendly.  It really was very informative and we discussed stress, what is stress? what causes it? and ways in which we can reduce stress by being more conscious of the things that cause it, and learning to handle them better, using relaxation techniques and well as other lifestyle changes.  Some things that make us feel stressed are things that we can't control so we need to balance them out by doing things that make us feel relaxed and happy, whatever that may be - a leisurely walk, a jog, a good book, a bit of me time.  I left feeling much more positive.  I'm going to introduce much more me time, more happy moments, into my weekly schedule.  I'm going to counterbalance my stress level!

And to start as I mean to go on... I collected MissG from school and we went for an impromptu picnic. She had just finished an exam, the sun was shining and we had a free afternoon.  The fields around Kirkby Lonsdale are covered in buttercups and look beautiful and golden.

I bought some British strawberries and they tasted of summer.  They were the oddest of shapes though - a real rouges gallery of strawberries!