Friday, 3 December 2010

Grade One Ballet Exam

In January, I moved Holly to a new ballet school. The main reason was that her last school was in an area than meant navigating peak hour traffic to get there, and we'd had too many days of being late getting there, and one too many days being late in picking up afterwards, that we looked around for a school closer to us.

It turned out to be the best move we could have made, her new teacher is brilliant and the difference was remarkable in Holly's dancing. They had their exam scheduled for this past Thursday, and have been having extra lessons for the past half-term. It was quite an exciting day - after it started snowing on Tuesday, we had an extra 10 cm during the night on Wednesday, and were very worried that the exam would be called off. But, luckily the examiner could get through from London, our roads were clear enough and we all made it to the exam venue with plenty of time.

Holly and her friend arriving at the hall.

Her ballet teacher doing her hair in a very pretty, very neat style!

The last of their group having her hair done.

They thought it was hilarious standing this close for a picture, lol!

Can you see the nervous excitement in their faces?

Here they are just about to go in, making last minute adjustments.

A quick smile, and they were in.

Everyone was very impressed when I brought out my thermos of hot chocolate when the girls came out, complete with a tub of mini marshmallows! I think they deserved the treat, having worked so long and so hard towards doing their exam.

And what better way to unwind than tobogganing down the hill when we got home?

We ended the day by decorating our tree, and I couldn't resist taking a picture of Holly as she hung the decorations. Something about her stance, the way she's dressed, with her hair still done in the neat bun, reminds me of Julia Stiles in Save the last Dance. I love that she enjoys ballet so much. Having done ballet myself until the end of high school, I always wanted her to do ballet. It's a lovely activity for young girls, and I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cake, Cake and More Cake!

Oh my gosh, I cannot believe how long it's been since I last posted. I don't know what happened, or why I stopped posting so much. I've become more regular on my Facebook page, lazy, I know - it's quick and easy to post a quick message, my friends who don't blog see my entries, and it is easier to upload pictures. But, I like blogging. I like how I've made so many good friends over the years through my blog, and I don't like how bad I've become at keeping in touch with them.

So, here's a quick post from me and we'll see how long it lasts. This one is all about cakes - I've been eating and making loads of cakes lately, and I can feel it in my favourite jeans so I'd better stop now! It was my birthday a month ago, and my friend Becky made me some British cupcakes, to go with my Union Jack cushion that she and my other friend Karen gave me. I love it, and as they both laughed - I can stop looking at Union Jack cushions at every store we go to!

Then it was Holly's birthday on Remembrance Day, and she chose to take a few friends to dinner to celebrate. I made her a very pretty, girly cake with a clothespin doll for each friend to take home.
I took her to the fabric store to choose the dress fabric, and I don't think I would have chosen any differently. I love her colour choice, and how her doll contrasts with her friends'.

There's Holly...
... and Katie-Anne...
...and William, in a shirt and shorts!

Then I had an order for a Barbie cake, and when the mum gave me the doll, I just knew it was going to be a beautiful cake - look how pretty this Barbie is!

It was fun making this cake for a sweet little girl's fifth birthday, considering Holly had a very similar cake for her fifth birthday!

And then last weekend I was invited to join Holly on a birthday party weekend-away to Eastbourne, with my lovely friend Karen, her daughter and her two best friends. I decided it was a perfect opportunity to use my cupcake chocolates that my sister gave me for my birthday, and used the pretty cupcake stand she'd given me to display them on. They traveled safely down, but didn't survive til morning to take naturally-lit pictures, so these flash-lit ones are all I have! They tasted divine, and I am now on a mission to find more cupcake chocolates!

Strawberry parfait...oh heaven!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Scrapbook Page

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to join a scrapbooking evening happening at the church of two friends. The theme was to scrap a quote; whether a Bible quote or some other quote that had meaning was up to us. And it's funny how the penny dropped - as soon as Janine told me the theme, my all time favourite boy quote popped into my head. And then I thought of this photo that I'd had printed months and months ago, but never thought of putting with the quote. And yet, how perfectly they go together...
Simple. Sweet. So so true. And something I needed to remind myself of tonight, when we had a bit of a clash.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Liam Turns Five

My little guy turned five today. He's had a fabulous build up to his big day. With it being half-term holidays with glorious weather, he's had long days of playing, swimming, water gun fights and late nights. I've had loads of time to relax and get things ready for his party at leisure, and tackle his Star Wars X-Wing cake, which he practically chose the day of his fourth (Pirate themed) birthday last year. Once again Flickr came to the rescue with lots of images to inspire me, and I made this cake for him...

The best part was when I realised a canneloni tube covered in regalice made the perfect compressor - it meant the whole cake came together and actually looked a bit like a real X-wing.
I also tried my hand at painting the shading with food coloring paste mixed in alcohol (you can't use water based colors on regalice) and I really like the effect, I might try it again!

This is his face when he saw what we'd got him - the Ben 10 Omnitrix we promised him months ago during a melt-down in the toy shop! Glad he still wanted it after all this time, and it hardly left his wrist all day.

For his party we booked the lovely people from RugbyTots. He'd done a session during the February half-term which he loved, so when I saw they did parties too, I just knew it would be a hit for his 5th birthday. All the kids had a blast, and the girls who'd been a bit unsure of a boy-themed party did better than the boys at many of the games!

Blowing his candles out - the cake was a big hit too!

And one last view of the cake - it's all gone now, and it tasted great! And I can say with confidence now that the alcohol does evaporate off leaving just the coloring behind. Oh, and a word of advice, if you try painting with alcohol and food coloring, don't keep licking your paintbrush like you would with artist colors, lol!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Holly's Pink dress photos

I'm such an idiot! A while back we were having glorious weather, so on the Sunday I took Holly out for her 7th pink dress photos installment. Something funky happened and hardly any of my shots were usable - they were mostly out of focus and really grainy. I took a huge knock to my confidence, but I knew I had to re-shoot pretty quickly if I wanted to include the images on a CD I was sending my mum for Mother's Day, and although I had a long list from my mum about which ones she wanted, the pink dress ones were going to be a surprise. Well, that Monday we went back out after school, and I got what I wanted. I processed them, and was itching to blog about them but couldn't as it would have spoiled the surprise.

Would you guess what happened? I burned the CD, made up the parcel, posted it off to my mum, it took three whole weeks to get to her, and then when it did, there were no pink dress pics on the disc. I forgot to include them!! Doh! What an eejit!

Anyway, I promised my mum I would send her a new disc with them, and wait until I've done Liam's beach chair pics to include with it, but in the meantime I'd blog them. I've put the actual photos on my photography blog (link up top there) and here is a PS composite of what they'll look like in the frame. It's a Colin and Justin frame, from Matalan.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My Room So Far...

Years ago I stumbled across Alicia Paulson's blog. I think everyone I know who makes clothespin dolls credits her with their original design, but her creativity doesn't stop there. She is a wonderfully creative and inspiring person, and when I first saw photos of her studio I fell in love. It is bright, colourful, girly, and beautiful. It has turquoise walls with white trim and pretty florals and touches of red and spring colours thrown together in a way that is simply perfect.
I would love to be able to look at my room one day and feel it was perfect, just like Alicia's studio. It's not there yet, but it's getting close...

My prints finally arrived yesterday, five days after they were supposed to, and I love the photos even more now that they are printed and framed and hanging on my blue wall! My bedding is from Ikea - and the curtain fabric too - my sister gave me the cushion for my birthday a couple of years ago, and yes, it's also from Ikea!

My complete spur-of-the-moment-impulse-buy mirror. I fell in love with it when I first saw it. It was on display in B&Q as an isle-end showcase, with wall paper, chandelier and chest of drawers. They didn't have stock, and each time I went in for other things, I'd find a reason to go and look at the mirror again. It was too expensive, and then when they finally did get stock in, they'd changed the mold and the new ones weren't half as detailed and elaborate, so I pushed it from my mind. But one day, when I went in and stood looking at the mirror again, I decided to ask why the design had changed and whether they would still get more in like the display one. They said no, they had changed suppliers and would never get another one in like the display. It was that one or nothing. But then, I noticed a hairline crack. And I asked if a) they'd sell me the display model (yes!) and b) would they discount it, seeing as it had the crack (yes!) so here it is, hanging proudly in all it's gorgeous detail on MY bedroom wall!! A bit of decorator's flexible caulk will cover up the crack, and I haven't done it yet - so see if you can spot it.

The little birdhouse was a £6 impulse buy - it's too pretty to hang outside, and while I didn't know where to put it when I first bought it, I knew how pretty it would look on my blue walls as soon as I'd painted them. My friend Becky gave me the little bird hanging from it - you would think the two came together, wouldn't you?

So, if you noticed the piles of books next to my chest of drawers please ignore them - I have an old bookcase that is going to get painted white and if I put the books back on now it'll never get done, because I'm just lazy like that! And, if you'd like to see Alicia Paulson's studio, click here.

Monday, 17 May 2010

I'm taking a break...

...but I guess you already figured that one out, huh?

I don't know what it is, but I haven't really felt like blogging recently. Maybe because the sun has been shining and it's lovely in England at the moment, maybe because I've been busy with all my odd jobs, but I haven't really missed it and I'm sure I'll be back into blogging when some new hobby or project tickles my fancy!

I've painted my room... it's looking very pretty, I promise I will take photos and show you once all the details are done. I bought two red glossy frames, which I've hung above my bed with a pretty little birdhouse hanging in between. I wanted photos of my kids to go in them, and was aiming for that high-key black and white look. I snapped these with half an hour to spare before dinner yesterday, and I'm thrilled. I think I have beautiful children, don't you?

Having wanted black and white shots, I'm now torn between them and the colour. They do look lovely in colour too. Mm, I guess I'll have to print them both ways and see which I prefer "in the flesh", so to speak.

I still visit all my regular blogs, sorry if I don't always comment, I am really trying to limit my time spent on the internet. See you soon ;-)

Friday, 23 April 2010

The power of word of mouth advertising...

Last week, I had an email in my inbox from Photobox. It was advertising their classic A4 photo book, and after saying they had 1000 reasons to make one, they said 'hang on, 1001 reasons - it's free!" I was given a voucher for a free classic book. I had a week to use it in, so I needed to use existing photos. I first thought of doing a random 'year in the kids' lives' selection of pics, but then had the brainwave of using our holiday snaps from Tenby, Wales. It worked out perfectly that across the 26 pages, I used all my favourite shots, without compromising any. It's great that you can choose your layouts and background colours on each page, so if you want to go for one picture or six, full bleed or with borders, you're in control. It also marks each shot from your album that you've used with a check, so you can instantly see if you've missed one or used it twice by mistake. Because mine was free I decided to pay for the upgrade to premium paper, but actually, I'm pretty sure the regular would be just as good as this paper is really thick.

I've wanted to do a scrapbook layout using these shots for ages, I'm so happy to have been able to use them this well in the book. The full bleed looks great, and the print resolution is fantastic.

A friend exclaimed about this page - "It looks just like a book!" I know what she meant though, it really does look fabulous, don't you think?!

So, proving just how powerful word of mouth advertising is, I've shown this to everyone who sits still long enough to shove in their hands, and quite a few have said, "Ooh, I'm going to make one for my folks" or "This is what I can do with all my holiday snaps!" and I reckon Photobox will sell at least three books as a result of me showing off my book. Plus, I really really want another one for myself now!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

'Scuse the long silence but...'s been Easter holidays and we've been having fun!

Seriously, since the holiday started, I/we/the kids have : visited my sister and a had a great day shopping with her; taken the kids to an indoor play area; gone to Alice Holt Forrest station; had an Easter Egg hunt, gone ice-skating (Holly and me) and swimming (Liam and Tris), taken photos of my friend's baby for a brief I got from PaperCraft Inspirations; gone to our favourite park; built a den with all the neighbourhood kids; played for hours in the sunshine with neighbourhood kids; finished job for PaperCraft Inspirations; made a whole bunch of crafty projects, including a teddy bear Holly got for Christmas; gone shopping and discovered we have an H&M kids close enough to go to weekly (if we wanted!); gone into London to the Natural History Museum; had friends over for lunch and play and built tents, cars, trucks and dens in the living room using every chair, cushion and blanket in the house and that doesn't even include tomorrow, when cousin Michael's coming, and the weekend, for which we haven't made fixed plans yet.

Isn't being a kid fun? And as blasphemous as this my sound, I haven't taken my camera with me anywhere, preferring to just let them play and have fun, and not think about posing for me every two seconds. I have had my mobile though, so while they're not great quality, the memories are there...

About Me

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Mother, wife, photographer, crafter, scrapbooker, painter of murals, dabbler. Sometimes in that order, sometimes reversed! Trying to juggle all of them and having a ball in the process.

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