Monday, 5 December 2016

Memorandum Monday

Joining in once again with Sian's plan for sharing things we've learnt or done for the first time over the last weekend.

Well for starters, this is the first time

I've typed up a blog post with a baby on my lap

(And it's not the most comfortable of things I can assure you)

Young Leo is here for the day today while his Mummy and Daddy move house.  He was here yesterday too, with his mum popping back every couple of hours to escape the packing chaos feed him.  I had forgotten how totally time consuming a 3 month old baby can be!  And his Mummy and Daddy had slightly underestimated how time consuming packing up a house can me (of course the words 'I told you so' or 'maybe you should have started earlier' did not leave my lips'!)

However, the real first thing for the weekend was that we have

Booked a holiday for somewhere we have never been before

We've been trying hard to decide where to go next year - we totally love Italy and have a stack of brochures but we've been to several places in Italy now and our wish list of areas to visit has got smaller and smaller.  I'm not a great one for going back to the same place, no matter how much I loved it - I prefer to keep a happy memory and not risk a 'it's not as good as last year' comparison.

So we started looking a little further afield, somewhere near to Italy with Italian influences but somewhere we haven't been before.

So we investigated Croatia.  Everyone we know who has been there has said how lovely it is and so we've taken the plunge and booked a week at the end of May/beginning of June.  You can see that already the brochure is looking like it's been used for a lot of research!  (You may also notice a small person photobombing in the background.  We have his play mat inside a travel cot to keep Coco well away from him when he's here!) The hotel looks lovely and has good reviews and we're both looking forward to it.

Short and sweet today, a bit like my guest, hope everyone else has had a good weekend, I look forward to clicking on some links over at Sian's to read what you've all been up to.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Memorandum Monday

I've just popped over to Sian's to see what she was up to over the weekend to report back on for Memorandum Monday. To quote a very old joke, she's spent the time watching men in shorts play with their odd shaped balls ...
 
We however, have had a much more sedate time of it, in a tenuous link to that old TV show The Generation Game.  No Larry Grayson innuendo or a conveyor belt in sight for us though.  This was the weekend that, for the first time, we ...
 
... had four generations of family around the table for Sunday lunch.
 
With an ages ranging from 89 and 10 months to 12 weeks and 6 days.  I would show you a group shot of us in all our glory but the cute one was hogging the limelight.


 
I suspect he may be enjoying being the centre of attention!  Needless to say, a certain small white fluffy dog is feeling a little bit as if her place as 'leader of the pack' has been taken.  A tiny bit of attention seeking has been going on - I'll say no more!

 

Monday, 21 November 2016

Memorandum Monday

The one in which I realise that the lines, dark rings under my eyes and wrinkles are not the result of some nasty photo filter.

I'm not a great one for selfies.  I blame it on short arms and the inability to know where on the phone I'm supposed to be looking while trying to press the photo taking button before I blink.  But my friend Denise introduced me to Snapchat as a bit of fun and we randomly send each other funny photos ofourselves now and again.  You can add all manner of weird and wonderful filters to your photo, flower crowns, vampire teeth, rabbit ears, silly hairstyles - you name it, it's on there.  But I noticed that no matter what silly filter I added, I couldn't help but see the sad state of affairs that my skin had fallen into.

We went out to dinner with friends last weekend and it came up in conversation that my friend has a salon treatment nearly every two weeks.  No wonder her skin looks so good!  It helps that her sister owns her own salon so she doesn't have to pay the full price, but she was surprised to hear that I never go anywhere to have a professional facial.  So I decided to address this and popped into a local salon when I was in town to book an appointment.  The lady on reception looked at me and asked what kind of facial I wanted as she flicked through their brochure.  I was expecting her to diplomatically suggest one for dry skin but oh no, she turned straight to the page on anti-ageing treatments.  I've never felt more in need of a bit of pampering! 

So this week I had my first anti-ageing and rejuvenating facial. 

It seemed a bit extravagant but oh my goodness, after I had spent an hour in that spa treatment room  having all manner of creamy goodness massaged into my skin I felt amazing.  It was the best money I spent all week.  The products were by a company called 'comfort zone' and I've been sent home with various free samples to use.  I'd never heard of them before but I'm a convert.  My skin, even after one treatment and 2 days of using the products at home, feels so much nicer and I'm already on the point of booking myself in for another facial pre-Christmas.

But I'm not the only one trying something new this weekend.  Oh no.  My husband has gone above and beyond the call of duty to join in with  Sian's idea of sharing something new on a Monday.  Unlike my spa treatment, it's not a very glamorous subject but one I think is still worthy of sharing.
 
For years now I've been complaining about his snoring.  Now, I know that it's quite a common theme between couples of a certain age, but this snoring had been getting worse and he had started to hold his breath in his sleep too.  So he reluctantly made a doctor's appointment, just to shut me up for once and for all.  We live fairly close to a Sleep Disorder Clinic at Papworth Hospital and he was referred there for tests.  He had to use two different monitors while sleeping at home and went back on Friday to get the results.  It turns out that on the night he was tested, at one point he actually stopped breathing for 17 times in one hour.  Now, that's not good is it?  It wasn't the first time I've been tempted to say 'I told you so' but it certainly was the time I felt most justified in saying it out loud!
 
There are no lifestyle changes that he can make; he's not overweight, he doesn't smoke and is not a heavy drinker so the first thing they will try is for him to have CPAP therapy which is basically a small mask to cover the mouth which continuously pumps air while he sleeps.  So this weekend he tried it for the first time.  All I'm saying is, it isn't silent but a heck of a lot quieter than the snoring was!  However, there is a serious message here too, there's fine line between annoying, noisy snoring and sleep apnoea.  We honestly did not realise how bad his sleeping was or the implications of not treating it - so if you suspect that someone you know (or maybe even you yourself!) may be at risk, it's easy to check out and could drastically improve their health.
 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Memorandum Monday - the Festive edition

Every Monday Sian asks us to put our thinking caps on and blog about something we've learned or done for the first time over the weekend.  Sometimes that is easier than others, and this is an easy week, because this weekend
 
I bought my very first Christmas jumper
 
I know.  I must be the only person who did not own a Christmas jumper.  It's become a bit of a school tradition now to have a Christmas jumper day at the end of the Autumn term and every previous year I have worn a 'home styled' jumper - an old red jumper of Rachel's that we customised with a pair of reindeer shaped mittens.  This year I decided that the time had come to jump on the jumper bandwagon and buy a 'proper' one.  I didn't want to spend much on it because let's be honest - it's not going to be worn much.
 
Whilst doing my weekly shop in that classy well known boutique, 'Tesco', I saw this jumper and after a lot of deliberating, brought it home with me.  It lovely and soft, and lightweight and I do think the little characters are kind of cute so I feel like I've finally embraced the craze.  Which means that next year there'll be a new 'thing' and Christmas jumpers will be so last year.
 
Update on last week's post where we thought we had found 'the dress'. 
 
I'm a firm believer that before you buy something expensive or arrange for something expensive to be done, you need to try three places.  So, last week we went to two bridal shops - one dress was shortlisted but when we got home, Rachel just had the tiniest of reservations.  It was stunning, it made us all go 'wow' and it brought a tear to my eye.  But it was very unusual and that was her concern, was it too unusual?  It's going to be the most expensive dress she ever buys  I ever buy her, so she's got to be 100%.  So she made an appointment to view some dresses at a very small local shop in town.  The owner told her to look at the website before she came and give her an idea of designers and styles that she liked.  Rachel was slightly underwhelmed by the dresses on the website and didn't hold out much hope that it would be a successful mission and was already looking to visit somewhere further afield next week.
 
After a brief chat about likes and dislikes, asking Rachel to stand up and turn this way and that, putting her hair up and then letting it down, the owner flicked through the dresses on the rails (quite different to the other shops where we were left to our own devices to pick and choose).  After a lot of swishing of hangers and umming and ahhing she gathered about 5 dresses that she thought were right.  We were ushered through to the back, Rachel was taken into a large changing room behind a crushed red velvet curtain and after a few minutes the curtain flicked back and ... WOW.  Oh my goodness, that lady knew exactly what was needed.  The first dress just fitted and suited her perfectly and whilst still the same silhouette as last weeks, was just so classy and the fabric just hung so beautifully.  It's unusual without being too quirky and despite trying on the other dresses, we all knew that the first one was THE one. 
 
So maybe that's another new thing I learned this weekend, that sometimes other people seeing you for the first time know better than yourself what is right and what will suit you.  I must be honest and say that I've felt for a while that I want to change my style a bit but it's hard when you keep getting drawn back to 'safe territory'. (This in no way relates to my Christmas Jumper purchase!)  So I'm now thinking that when it comes to Mother of the Bride shopping, I may actually try going somewhere that has a personal shopper service.  Just to see what someone else thinks will suit me.  Because I know that I will keep returning to styles and colours that I already have.  I don't have to take their advice but it would be interesting to see what they say.  Has anyone else out there used that kind of service? 
 
 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Memorandum Monday

I'm thinking that I may need to be asking advice on the best waterproof mascara people recommend following this weekend's 'first' that I'm talking about in this week's Memorandum Monday.   (As instigated by Sian over at High in the Sky. )  Because this weekend was the one in which
 
 I went shopping for wedding dresses for the first time with my daughter and her bridesmaids. 
 
Emotional? I had no idea just how emotional I would feel.

My friend's daughter does modelling for a wedding shop at wedding fairs and I can imagine that seeing her walking down the catwalk in wedding dresses may have taken away that moment when you first see your daughter as a bride.  Because I can tell you now, that there is an absolutely breathtaking moment when your daughter comes out of the fitting room wearing something that makes everyone hold their breathe and say 'wow'.  The look of happiness on her face as she turns to see herself in the mirror and says 'I love it'. The proud tears of joy that appear from nowhere and cause the chief bridesmaid to ask 'has anyone got any tissues?'

Would you like to see the dress? Only teasing.  Oh come on, do you really think I can share that? All I can share is a few close ups of features of some of the dresses she tried on.  (The chosen one may or may not be included in the collage!)  She tried several different styles to see what suited her and what didn't. Some were absolutely beautiful dresses, just not for her.  Simple styles, classic styles, hooped  skirts, long trains. There was netting and beading, and satin and lace, boning and ribbons and veils and embroidery. It was like being backstage in the wardrobe department at Strictly come dancing! 
All I can tell you is that it is unusual and she looked radiant in it.  And it's bringing a tear to my eye just writing about it, so If anyone CAN recommend me a totally tear-proof mascara between now and July, I'd love to hear from you! 

Monday, 31 October 2016

Memorandum Monday

Don't come too close fellow bloggers, there's germs aplenty over in Deb's World today.  But nothing to stop me joining in with Sian's Memorandum Monday.  Let's just say that my husband is enjoying the side effects of me having laryngitis this weekend i.e. peace and quiet.

Last week I was at the beginning of revamping my son's bedroom.  Which, as requested, I am most definitely not turning into a craft room {ahem}  When I left you  I think I had just realised that the tin of paint left over from the dining room was not going to be enough to cover over that hideous dark royal blue endurance paint and had gone to Homebase to have some Dulux paint colour matched. 

I have to say that the matching was pretty good, the Dulux wall is on the opposite side to the one which was covered with two coats of Farrow and Ball so you don't see them next to each other.  But, whilst we are really pleased with the finished room, my husband still maintains that the F and B paint is superior to a colour matched Dulux one and 'well worth the extra money'.  It's definitely a thicker consistency and the coverage is better so less hard work getting a good end result.  So that's my product comparison done and dusted! 


I keep going in there to look at it as it looks so much better than before.  In an effort to totally overhaul the room we decided to dismantle the old dark wood chest of drawers that were in there and replace them with some of the Kallax cube storage from Ikea.  Hadn't been to Ikea since J went to uni so that was 8 years ago.  We started off with the 'oh look at that, we could do with one of those' impulse buys, working our way round, and round, and round.  We had also gone to buy a picture ledge to go in the newly decorated dining room - I am happy to say that this is now a finished project! 

Why is it though that whenever I do go to Ikea, what I am looking for is always at the end of the building and I've clocked up 10,000 steps trying to locate it?
Anyhow, mission accomplished, we returned home and spent the afternoon building units and finding homes for the things which are going to be stored in it. 

Totally not going to be craft related things though if anyone asks.  Never.  Absolutely not.

However, buying something new in Ikea wasn't my main subject matter for this Monday.  Now, it's Halloween tonight so it's only right I come up with something a bit scary.  I have something to share which may be horrifying to some of you scrapbookers out there.  Sit down if you are easily upset. 

This weekend I have thrown away the vast majority of my scrapbooking papers. 

OK, I'll give you a moment to gather your thoughts.  Truth is, I haven't scrapbooked for many a month.  In fact those months have spread to at least a couple of years.  Whilst I still enjoy looking at other's work and love looking at the albums I have made I just don't feel the urge to scrapbook any more.  Maybe it's to do with the empty-nest syndrome, I don't have so many people to take pictures of to make into pages and there's only so many cute dog pages you can make.  Yes I know we have an adorable grandson to fill a dozen books already but in reality I'm just as happy making online photo books to display photos.  We've done them for the last four holidays we had and keep them on the coffee table and I look at those far more than I do my scrapbooks.

So here's my first for the week -

This is the first time that my scrapbooking tote bag has been neat and tidy since I first bought it. 

I have put a selection of papers and thickers together to give to a lady at work who has a young daughter who enjoys making things so I know it will be going to a good home.  But boy had I held onto some stuff that was never going to be used!  Little scraps of scraps, too tiny to do anything constructive with.

off to a new home
I've held onto whole sheets of letters and numbers, and buttons and pearls and glitter glue etc as I do still enjoy making personalised gift tags and the odd card but on the whole, all my scrapbooking 'stuff' like punches and stamps and the like now fits into one square 20" x 20" holdall.  Which definitely won't be stored in that spare bedroom we've just decorated.  Absolutely not. 

Just like those drawer inserts in that new white furniture won't be filled with balls of wool and fat quarters of patchwork fabric.  As if. Oh wait a moment.  Too late.   

 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Memorandum Monday

It's the first day of the half term holidays over here in Deb's World and a busy day it's been too.  But never to busy to join in with Sian's Memorandum Monday.
 
But before I tell you the new thing I tried today, we need to first set the scene.  Let me take you back to the summer of 2007.  It wasn't a good summer for my son, in fact it was a summer he's probably pushed to the back of his mind.  AS exams had been taken, results would be arriving at the end of the summer holidays.  His first serious girlfriend had broken up with him and he failed his driving test.  Things were looking very bleak. 
In an effort to cheer himself up and make some changes, he asked if he could decorate his bedroom.  After a week of being totally despondent and just sitting around moping, we were happy to let him choose his own colour scheme and do his first bit of decorating, a nice project to do over the summer and keep him busy.  He went off to Homebase and came home with two tins of paint.  One a neutral cream and one blue.  One dark blue.  Very dark blue.  Endurance paint - with a shiny surface which you could scrub ('they didn't do it in any other finish and I liked the colour')  I loathed it.  But he loved it and he had such enthusiasm I didn't like to suggest maybe we return it for another colour. 
 
The plan was for friends to come and help him and to give them their credit, they rallied round, painted a first coat on all walls then went off with him to Subway for lunch and never returned.
 
While they were gone I looked at the patchy cream walls and quickly ran another coat over those.  Jon returned for dinner, declared himself thrilled with the lighter walls ( I kept the information about their 2nd coat to myself) and promised to finish off the darker ones the next day. 
 
Which he did.  Well, he did one of them but it's not so much fun without your mates to help out and then someone rang and asked if he wanted to go into town and ... you can guess the rest.  I finished off the 4th wall, put the furniture back and it's stayed that way ever since. 
 
Time came and went and so did he.  Three years in Sheffield at Uni, home for a year then off to Edinburgh for two years, home for six months then setting up home in London 18 months ago.  He's always joked that I was not to turn his room into a craft room or rent it out to a lodger as you never know when he might want to come back. 
 
Every time I go into that room (which is gradually turning into a room in which I store my craft equipment, which is not the same as turning it into a craft room is it?) I look at those dark walls and reach for the paint charts.  I said to him at the weekend 'You're getting married next year, you're living in London, you are clearly not coming back here to live, I'm going to decorate your room in half term', he smiled, gave me a big grin and said 'ok then, just don't make it pink'.
 
Now it just so happens that we had half a tin of the paint left over from the dining room and it would be a shame to throw it away so ...
 

Before
During
Only problem was, there wasn't enough paint left in the tin.  That blue?  Horrendously difficult to cover up.  The word 'patchy' doesn't even come close.  After half a wall it was blatantly obvious that one cover up coat was never going to be sufficient.  But Farrow and Ball paint doesn't come cheap and doesn't some in small tins.  I didn't want to spend out on another 2.5 litres when I only needed 1 litre at the most so I tried something new.  Well it was Memorandum Monday after all, I needed to try something I hadn't done before so
 
I had some Dulux paint colour matched to copy the colour from the F&B colour chart.
 
 
 
It was all very high tech with scanners to copy the colour from the paint chart and squirts of various shots of colours added to the base, seal the tin, give it a good old shake and voila we had a cheap copy of an expensive paint.  It will be interesting to see how it compares when we come to put it on the wall tomorrow.  Watch this space.

Have you tried anything new in the last week?  Why not pop over to Sian's and share it with all the Memo Makers?