Monday, 30 June 2014

Challenge Update - June 2014

My 2014 challenges are:-

1) Knit one hat each week for The Innocent Big Knit.

2) Do something nice for me.

3) Choose a non fiction book from the library.

I've found two little hat patterns which I'm really happy with, so I'm using them over and over again, two of each this month. The Innocent Big Knit Hat With Brim can be found on The Creations of Crazy Dazy blog and Innocent Big Knit Garlic is by Juliet Bernard and can be found on Ravelry.

I used to take lots of home video of the children when they were young, more of Daniel before Eleanor was born actually. I don't know what happened, I suppose I was just alot busier once I'd got two children, and by the time Eleanor was toddling, I was seriously ill and out of action for a year, so we don't have quite as much of Eleanor. It was all transferred on to VHS video tapes, but as they were phased out, DVD's taking their place, we got rid of the video recorder and haven't watched them for years.

I looked in to getting them transferred on to discs, but the cost was around £20 for each tape so we left it. Then, a few weeks ago, I saw an offer on Amazon Local to transfer five videos on to disc for just £19, less than we'd have paid for one doing, so we decided to go ahead. They've now been sent off and we're waiting for them returning, but first of all, Mick borrowed a video player from work so that I could go through the tapes and see which five were to be transferred.

My nice thing for June was spending a Sunday afternoon, and it took hours, watching the videos. There were also family holidays on them, and seeing my sister again after all this time was very special. It will be fifteen years on Saturday since she died and I miss her so much. There was also our wedding video, so many of the guests are no longer with us either, in fact, one of my uncles, my mum's brother, passed away this Thursday just gone. Having these videos transferred on to disc will mean that I can watch them whenever I feel the urge. It was fabulous seeing Daniel and Eleanor again as babies and toddlers, you forget so many things so it's wonderful having these memories recorded.

The non fiction book I borrowed from the library this month is The People's War by Felicity Goodall. It's quite a hefty book, but so very interesting. It contains photographs and first hand accounts from those left at home during WW11. There's so much information about those who kept the country going, digging for victory, knitting for victory, being evacuated, taking in evacuees, those who were bombed, those who were struggling on rations and much more besides.

It's a pleasant day today after a few unsettled days, though rain is forecast again for tomorrow. I really wish the weather would make up its mind, it's supposed to be summer for goodness sake. The baked goods stall at yesterday's gala raised £200 for Eleanor's drama group, and the company which one of the volunteers works for have said they'll match whatever was raised, so that's £400 to be added to the coffers. I think that's a decent result.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

A Batch Of Buns

It's the local gala tomorrow and Eleanor's drama group is having a bun stall to raise some much needed funds. Each year, they stage a show over three or four nights at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds, however, the money raised from ticket sales alone doesn't come anywhere near to covering the costs so they need to do lots of fundraising to help.

I thought I'd better get my baking gear out, so Eleanor and I set to work. We've made fifty six buns.

Butterfly Buns.

Chocolate Cornflake Buns.

Chocolate Frosted Buns.

Mick's auntie has dropped off some baking she's done.

Chocolate Caramel Shortbread.

Iced Buns.

Butterfly Buns.

Fingers crossed that they have better weather for the gala than we've got today, and that the stall raises some much needed funds.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

It Was Wicked

Eleanor and I went to see Wicked at Leeds Grand Theatre last night and I can report that it was wicked.

I didn't know very much about this musical at all, other than that it was about the two witches from The Wizard of Oz. I thought the time line was prior to what happened in the well known film, however, part of the story runs parallel with it and other characters such a the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow pop up too. The story is about the friendship between Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, the Good Witch of the North. Nikki Davis Jones and Emily Tierney who took on these two roles were fabulous together with great on stage chemisty. The whole production was a spectacle, a brilliant story, incredible acting, wonderful dancing, fabulous costumes and an electric atmosphere.

This isn't a show that I've looked forward to seeing. The tickets were bought over a year ago but only because it's a production which Eleanor's wanted to see for a long time. I often enjoy things more when I haven't been looking forward to them, and that applies in this instance. The Wicked tour is continuing around the country and if you can get hold of tickets, I can thoroughly recommend the show. I wish I was going to see it again.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

True Blue

This is Eleanor before her trip to the hairdresser's this morning.

She decided that she wanted her hair dip dyed blue. This is the after photo.

The blue is only semi permanent so will fade eventually, but in order for the blue to cling, the hair first has to be bleached blonde. This is permanent, so if Eleanor doesn't keep refreshing the blue, the bottom part of her hair will fade to blonde.

At least it matches her bra straps.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Let's Picnic

While we were in Leeds last weekend, we popped in to BHS. I wasn't supposed to be looking in their homewares department but I think they do really lovely things so I couldn't resist a little peek. I found these gorgeous melamine tumblers.

Each tumbler carries a different floral or butterfly design and they're so colourful.

They were on a 20% discount so I couldn't resist buying them. They'll be ideal to pop in the picnic bag. I'm not sure any of them are quite Mick or Daniel's colour, but Eleanor and I will enjoy using them.

Of course, they're ideal for using at home too.

There's plates and bowls in the same range which I'd love but I'll have to save up for them first.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

My Gorgeous New Sandals

I'm not someone who owns or buys many pairs of shoes, in fact, walking in to a shoe shop fills me with dread. I've had problems with shoes rubbing against my skin and causing blisters since I was tiny so I've tended to break in whatever I'm wearing and then stick with them until they're just about falling off my feet.

In winter, I wear a pair of ankle boots and in summer, I usually wear open backed shoes or flip flops, not the ones which go between your toes I hasten to add, they rub me.

This year I decided that I wanted a pair of proper sandals. I wondered what style to go for. I'm no fashionista, anyone who knows me will tell you that I go for comfort above looks every time, so when I thought back to my childhood and remembered the Jesus sandals I used to wear, I decided they would do nicely. They didn't rub me and they were really comfortable. Of course, at the time, I thought I was being very badly done to being made to wear them above the trendy sandals my friends were wearing, but now I realise that my mum was acting in my best interests.

Mick's cricket match was cancelled again on Saturday, he's hardly played this season because of the rain. As soon as we heard, we hopped in the car and went to Leeds. You wouldn't believe the trouble we had finding a pair of these. The only place we could find any resembling what I was after was good old Clarks, the shoe shop of my childhood. They always measured children's feet and offered different width fittings so that shoes fit perfectly so it was the place my mum headed to first and it's been a tradition to take my own children to this shop for their school shoes too.

The sandals I found came in black or white and I had a bit of a problem deciding but opted for black in the end. I absolutely love them.

They're not exactly what I was looking for, but very close. The sole is much thicker than I wanted but I don't actually mind this now as the extra thickness means that they're really cushioned which makes them extra comfy.

I've worn them a couple of times now and there's no indication that they're going to rub. OK, I'm not going to win any fashion awards, but I am going to be comfortable and that's all that matters to me.

Friday, 13 June 2014

It's All Over Now

That's it, finito!

The end of Eleanor's GCSEs. She took her last exam this morning, Maths. Now we just have to wait patiently until the 21st of August for her to get her results.

There's a big end of exam barbecue party happening later today at her friend's house which she's going to and then a bunch of girls are sleeping over. Happy times.

Eleanor's been on study leave since the 21st of May but has been going in to school for revision sessions or when she's had an exam. Uniform has had to be worn on these occasions but today is the very last time she'll have to wear a school uniform, something she's not sad about at all. When she returns to the sixth form in September, she has to wear smart business attire, not that many of the students do, they turn up wearing all sorts of things. One thing's for sure, she's happy she doesn't have to wear a tie again.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The List Of My Desires

You may remember The Night Rainbow post which I wrote last year. It was about a book I'd heard about from Anna at Green Tapestry. She'd done a post, Reading Matters, and mentioned some books she'd read whilst on holiday and The Night Rainbow was amongst them.

Another book she'd reviewed in the same post was The List Of My Desires by Gregoire Delacourt. Don't you just love the cover, all those pretty buttons. When Anna mentioned that the main character, Jocelyne, ran a haberdashery shop and had a craft blog, I knew this was a book I'd enjoy, particularly as Anna also said that there are unexpected twists as the tale unravels.

I found the book on Ebay, however, the seller sent me an uncorrected proof copy which shouldn't have been sold. I don't think there was any difference from an actual paperback though, and I enjoyed it very much. I agree with Anna though in that it wasn't long enough. I only read a book when I go to bed so it usually takes quite a while to get through one, this one took me three nights, though I probably read more than I usually would in one go as I wanted to see what happened next, the sure sign of a good story.

I can recommend this book but it you're a quicker reader than me, which wouldn't take much, you'll probably have it read from cover to cover in one sitting.

Friday, 6 June 2014

A Tour Of My Filofax Crimson Malden

I've mentioned my Filofaxes a few times on my blog. The first time was in my Diary Love post back in 2012 and then in February 2013 I bought a new Filofax, a Malden in crimson which I blogged about in my It's Here post. After mentioning my Filofax again in my last post about journaling, I thought you might like a bit of a tour.

Unfortunately, Filofax Malden's aren't available in crimson any longer. I bought mine from the Filofax Italy website as this colour wasn't available in the UK when I bought it. It's a shame as it's a gorgeous colour.

I use dividers which have side tabs, Diary, Notes, Projects, Information and Financials and you'll get to see the designs as we go along.

Within these sections, I use top tabs to enable me to get to a particular subject more easily.

So let's open it up and see what's inside.

The inside cover has credit card slots where I keep lots of bits and bobs such as business cards, stickers, receipts etc, a small full length pocket at the front and a large full length pocket behind the card slots. There's also a small zipped pocket at the front.

Here are some of the things I keep in the front card slots and pockets, stickers, a lovely postcard sent to me by my special blog friend, Lisa from Jumble And Jelly, a little drawing done by Eleanor when she was very young, it says "We love our family", and a key to the colour coding I use in my diary.

My Diary divider. Can you see my cute little magnetic paper clips?

I use two diaries, the first is a month on two pages. I jot down all our dog walks on this. My main diary is a lined week on two pages diary. As I've mentioned, I colour code my diary, red for appointments, green for things which Eleanor's doing, black for general etc. I find it much easier to see things at a glance doing it this way and you soon get used to which colour is for what. The week photographed was the first week of the Easter holidays so it was very quiet, my diary pages are usually much fuller than this. I decorate each page with a little piece of washi tape and sometimes stickers if there's anything special going on, I like to make it pretty as well as functional.

As I colour code my diary, I need to use lots of different coloured pens. I've found the easiest things to use are two Bic 4-colour pens. I carry the one I use most often in my Filofax and the other one stays at home. If I need to write something in the diary when I'm out and about and I don't have the colour I need, I write it on a sticky note and transfer it to the diary when I get home. It's only ever happened once or twice.

The next section is Notes.

The first thing I have in my notes section are a couple of pages with sticky notes stuck to them. I use lots of sticky notes. Anything I need to remember gets written on a sticky note, and they can be lifted and moved to other sections if I need to.

The top tabs I have in this section are; To Do, self explanatory, lists of jobs I need to complete; Shopping, a list of things I need to buy as well as a list of things I'm waiting to receive if I've ordered anything online. I also keep a list of all the cards I need to buy throughout the year here; Books, lists of books I've read as well as a list of books I want to read; School, anything I need to jot down or keep track of about Eleanor's school; Uni, notes about Daniel's university. I also jot down anything I need to speak to Daniel about here to remind me when we Skype.

The Projects divider is my favourite. I just love that cute little pig.

In this section I keep notes about my blog, there's a list of ideas for posts. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I set myself fun challenges each year which I blog about on a regular basis, I keep a list of these in this section. I also keep notes here about my healthy eating challenge and notes about my weight and the exercise I'm taking.

I also keep a track of my knitting and crochet projects in this section and the yarn which I'm using.


I only have two top tabs in this section, Holidays and Wish List, but other than these subjects, it contains a lot of random information. Wish List is a list of things I'd like. People often ask me what I'd like for my birthday or for Christmas so it's handy to keep a list. I also keep lists of things I see for other people, again, handy when it comes to birthdays or Christmas. Holidays is a list of the holidays we've taken and what they've cost. There's also ideas for days out, I come across lots of recommendations on blogs, so they get jotted down. I also keep a list here of the holidays Mick's taken from work. In the information section I also keep track of all the concerts, plays, exams etc. which Eleanor's been involved in with her singing and acting. There's also bits of information about what I'm growing on my allotment as well as lots of other random information.

Financials divider.

I'd seen these dividers on Etsy and asked Mick to buy them for me for Christmas. I'd actually asked for this divider to be Finance but this is what came. Never mind, it does the job. I don't keep much information about finance here as I have an A5 Chameleon Filofax which I use for my household finance, but I jot down some personal spending, such as what Eleanor's prom has just cost me, or what I've spent on birthday presents. There's also information here about Daniel's student loan and his accommodation fees. These finance pages came with the Filofax, I don't use them but I keep a few in this section as they may come in handy one day.

The last section is addresses. I have A-Z tabs so I keep a list of people's addresses here.

Right at the back of the Filofax is a clear pocket. I keep coupons in here. The 'Just to Say' card came from Sue from Our New Life In The Country. The doggy's so cute, a little like Sue's Rosy, so I tucked it in my Filofax.

The back cover of the Filofax has a full length pocket where I keep my driving licence, can you see, it's still a paper version, I've never gone over to the photocard licence. I also keep my optical record card here as well as my repeat prescription request. There's also a pocket for a pad but as I don't use a pad I use the pocket for my Tesco Clubcard coupons and there's also a little note in there from Flighty from Flighty's Plot which came with some seeds he kindly sent me.

So that's it. There's some personal bits which I've left out but I think this gives you a taste of how I use my Filofax. I hope you enjoyed the little tour.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Do You Journal?

I've always wanted to keep a daily journal but I find it so hard to keep up with it. I've bought many diaries with the date pre printed but so many of the pages were left blank after I'd forgotten to write that particular day's events that I got disheartened.

Back in 2006 I bought this notebook. It's nothing special, just an A4 size ruled book but I thought I'd give journalling a go in this. There's no dates printed in it so I just write the date before I start. I can't say I've fared any better at keeping up with it, sometimes I've gone months without an entry, but because it's not an actual diary, there's no empty pages so I haven't become discouraged and lost enthusiasm for it.

I have my Filofax which is used all the time, all my appointments, lists, notes and information gets jotted down in there, but it can be really useful to keep a journal too. I find that writing down my feelings, fears or anxieties can help me to work through them and it's a great way to record things too.

What about you, do you keep a journal, how long have you been writing in it, do you keep up with it every day? Is it a diary or just a book like mine? Nosey, aren't I?

Monday, 2 June 2014


Eleanor had her Music exam this morning. While she was in school, the yearbooks were handed out.

I know that it's common in the US for schools to publish yearbooks, but it's a relatively new thing here. Eleanor's yearbook shows each pupil's school photos from Year 7 and Year 11, a photo of each class in the school year and messages from the form tutors, head of year and deputy head (as they had a substitute head at the time the yearbook went to be published). Next to each pupil's Year 11 photo, it gives their name, their nickname, their most memorable moment and their final message.

Daniel's yearbook was a slightly different format to this one so I suppose it changes from year to year, however, it's a nice reminder of  the people they went to school with.