Saturday, 30 June 2012

Month in Numbers ~ June

Month in Numbers is the brain child of Julie and you'll always find a warm welcome over at her place.  Not to mention entertaining posts about a varied list of topics.  Go on over, stop by and say hello, then come back here.
5: the number of times I went in the pool at the gym ~ twice by myself and three times with The Boy Child.
2: the number of medals The Boy Child won at Sports Day ~ a win in the Egg & Spoon race and a win in the team games.
20: the number of party invitations sent out on The Boy Child's behalf.  His Non-Birthday party is next Saturday.
119.15: the amount spent in pounds Sterling over three visits to Pizza Express. 
337: the number of photos I took this month.  This doesn't include those images deleted straight from the camera.
7: the number of times I drove the car ~ the second highest monthly total this year ... so far.
11: the number of times I went to the gym ~ making each visit cost £5.45, approximately.  I'm on my way to making my membership value for money.

Photo a Day: 30th June

"I'm swimming like a dolphin!"

Friday, 29 June 2012

Photo a Day: 29th June

I was treated to a belated birthday lunch today up town.
It was wonderful just to sit, enjoy good food and talk about all sorts and everything with my friend.
And to enjoy a glass of wine ... in the middle of the day ... on a school day.
When can I do it again?

Summer Concert Video

One of the mums at school kindly sent me a video from last week's Summer Concert.
Some days I really, really love technology.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Lateral Thinking Required

I knew that I wanted to page a double page spread for our 2012 album about the Queen's recent Diamond Jubilee.
I knew that I didn't have anything remotely British in my stash.
I knew that I wanted bunting on the pages.
I did have Union Jack ribbon.
I did have baker's twine in red, white and blue.
In the end, I scanned a left over napkin from our Jubilee Party and printed it out on white card stock.
I then spent a couple of evenings cutting out each pennant shape.
I think the end result was worth it.


Photo a Day: 26th June

~ woman attempting Times2 crossword ~

Monday, 25 June 2012

Photo a Day: 25th June

The Catmint in our garden is looking the worse for wear after several falls of heavy rain.  It's been hugely popular with our urban bees.

This Weekend I ...

Last night, while I was putting together a double page spread about my weekend, the lovely Carrie was blogging about her weekend and invited people to share what happened in their world.
This weekend I took The Boy Child and the pooch to the park, both days.
This weekend I made peanut butter cookies.
This weekend I took The Boy Child to play with a neighbour's son, while she and I drank tea.
This weekend I took The Boy Child to Family Swim at my gym, both days.
This weekend I emptied the ironing basket.
This weekend I watched 9 episodes of ER, Series 6.
This weekend I watched The Boy Child reading quietly.
This weekend I wore my wellies ... in the last week of June?
This weekend I scrapbooked a double page spread about my weekend.

You can link up with Carrie by checking out her post here.

Hello Monday

I read this post last night and Amy ended it with an invitation to play along ...
Hello week of rescheduled Sports Day.  Here's hoping the weather is good to us on Thursday.
Hello Maeve Binchy.  It's been a while.  Tara Road is one of my favourite books ever and over the weekend my neighbour lent me Scarlet Feather.
Hello exercise and to working out a timetable that gives me the most benefit from my gym membership.
Hello belated birthday lunch at the V&A.  If the plan holds.
Hello friends.  Time to stop thinking about contacting friends and actually start contacting said friends.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Photo a Day: 23rd June

~ supper at Pizza Express ~
The Boy Child was starving; we'd come from Family Swim at the Gym, where we were in the pool for 45 minutes.

This Moment

This is what I found when I went up to bed at 10.55pm last night.  I think this just might be one of my favourite ever photos of The Boy Child.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Photo a Day: 22nd June

~ The Brainy One, just about to leave for his boys' weekend in France ~

In the Swim

I did it.
I went in the pool at the gym this morning.
I swam 12 lengths.
No matter that I stopped a lot.
No matter that I was in the slow lane.
No matter that my swimming style leaves a lot to be desired.
I did it.
I did it wearing a super stylish violet polka dot 2-piece tankini.
There is no photo of that.
You'll just have to believe me.
And I've signed The Boy Child up for junior membership ~ family swim at weekends and 4 hours per day in the creche included in the price.

Shimelle's Sketch of the Week

Shimelle's sketch looks like this ...
My layout looks like this ...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Photo a Day: 21st June


31 Things: A Conclusion

Dear Ali,
In the six years I have been scrapbooking, I have taken a number of on-line classes.  Most of the time, you pay your money and you take your chance.
However, in the case of 31 Things, I found a class that was truly and honestly speaking directly to me on a deeply personal level.
~ Faith ~ Watch ~ Listen ~ Think ~ 
These four words in particular made me dig deep about how I felt, both with life itself and about my own life.  On April 17th, our son was diagnosed with Autism and I had been struggling with how to allow Autism in to our lives without being consumed by it or defined by it.  I know that this is something that touches you and yours deeply, too.  
When I blogged about Day 21| Think, my friend Sian commented,  "A favourite quote of mine came to mind when I read this. Maya Angelou's "I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it".  
That was exactly what I was trying to say; I just didn't have the words. 
31 Things gave me my words and so much more.
So, thank you, Ali, for such a wonderful class.
I'll see you at the next one.
With thanks,
Ruth
All my 31 Things posts can be seen here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Photo a Day: 20th June

~ Summer concert ~
The little people sang Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes ... in French.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Photo a Day: 19th June

~ after school fun in the park ~

Move More, Eat Well: June

Here's May.  The monthly report is always a month in arrears:

May was a fairly reasonable month.
I went to Zumba eight {8} times.
I took the pooch on twelve {12} one hour walks.
I missed a whole week of structured exercise because of my trip to New York City.  But given that I pounded the streets of the West Village while exploring the area where my relatives had lived, I don’t think I did too badly.
I’ve learnt a few things about Zumba this month.  The main thing is that one style does not fit all.  I attend up to four classes a week, taught by three different instructors.  The Monday class at the gym is so popular, booking is required twenty-four hours in advance.  The instructor is a guy who favours high energy and high impact Zumba.  It’s not for beginners.  The other classes combine high and low impact routines, with some toning thrown in.  The classes attract women of all ages, all shapes and sizes; I’ve yet to see a guy take a Zumba class. 
The biggest surprise this month is that I am seriously considering taking up swimming.  I can swim, but I am of the doggy-paddle-head-out-of-the-water type of swimmer.  I also have a fear of being ducked under or splashed, which stems from when I nearly drowned as a nipper.  The pool at the gym is 1.4m deep all the way along and I am 1.7m tall.  It’s only about 15m in length. 
There is a lifeguard.
Something tells me that swimming as part of my exercise routine should be a no brainer.
Three things this month that represent the life I want and am pursuing from a health and fitness perspective:
1) greater fitness levels
2) healthier eating
3) more outdoor exercise

Monday, 18 June 2012

Photo a Day: 18th June

I picked up Mr Churchill's Secretary last month in Barnes & Noble in New York and read most of it on the flight home.  I enjoyed it, although there were a few basic errors such as describing climbing the stairs to the door of 10, Downing Street ~ there aren't any.  Because it's an American edition, the language is slightly off from a UK perspective.  The author has characters saying things that the British just wouldn't say, especially during the war years.  Other than that, it was an likeable, light read and I will probably read the next one in the series when it comes out.
The Memoir Project was recommended by Sian and Twyla Tharp has been plugged on several blogs I read.  I'm open to reading both of them.
Bring Up the Bodies is the follow up to Wolf Hall and I can't put it down.  (I seem to remember that with Wolf Hall as well.)  I'm about 3/4 of the way through and am reading far too late at night.
What  are you reading?

31 Things: Day 31

Day 31 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.    
Day 31 | Joy:
Joy from travel.
Joy from the mere prospect of travel.
Joy from meeting our American cousins.
Joy from watching The Boy Child.
Joy from being with family.
Joy from finding 10 minutes to read in the middle of the day.
Joy from scrapboooking.
Joy from blogging.
Joy from Happy Mail.
Joy from completing the Times2 crossword.
Joy from lunch out with The Brainy One.
Joy from seeing a West End show.
Joy from going to the cinema.
Joy from meeting blog friends.
Joy from early morning sunshine.
Joy from hearing The Boy Child unexpectedly say, "I love you, Mummy".
Joy from eating supper outside.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Photo a Day: 17th June

~ little boy legs are always covered in bruises ~

31 Things: Day 30

Day 30 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.   
Day 30 | 3.35pm:
Friday afternoon.  I am outside The Boy Child's school waiting to collect him. I was the first parent to arrive.  I speak to several mums and au pairs about the usual small talk, the weather and the upcoming PTA Summer Fayre.  I watch a pupil put Summer Fayre posters in the windows.
The weather is changeable.  One minute the sun is shining and it feels quite warm, the next a grey cloud blocks the sun and a blustery wind picks up.  I am wearing layers.  Too many layers, probably.  Flat summer sandals in tan and mink (an off-white/cream colour), three quarter length tan trousers, a pink and white striped t-shirt, a purple cardigan and a brown velvet jacket.  I am carrying my red handbag, satchel style.  I have an Alpen bar in there for The Boy Child.  He's always hungry when he comes out of school.
The road outside school is fairly busy and almost every spacing space is taken.  A traffic warden is lurking.
The Boy Child's teacher opens the door and I can see the children lined up. She calls out The Boy Child's name first.
    

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Photo a Day: 16th June

Part of the Trooping the Colour flypast carries on over our house.  I wasn't quick enough with the big lens to get better shots.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Photo a Day: 15th June

~ just checking that Mummy really has finished her latte ~

Shimelle's Starting Point Challenge

I haven't done a Shimelle challenge for a number of months; I haven't done any scrapbooking proper since my FiL died.
These photos are just your ordinary run of the mill type, but I wanted them to have a place in our 2012 album.
The Boy Child made a friend during our many visits to the park.
He doesn't live near us, he doesn't go to the same school, he and his mum are often leaving as we arrive.
But, no matter, because he is The Boy Child's friend.
He doesn't see that The Boy Child is different.
He sees his friend.
And for that, I'll be forever grateful.

31 Things: Day 29

Day 29 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.   
Day 29 | Smell:
Smells I love: piping hot garlic bread, freshly brewed coffee, Johnson's baby shampoo and talcum powder, the air after rainfall, Yankee Candle Company candles in Granny Smith and Apple Spice Potpourri, The Boy Child after a shower, flowers, Chanel No.5, fish and chips, baking.
Memories: The perfume Paris reminds me of my first love.  He broke my heart and I haven't worn it in over twenty years.  The perfume Opium reminds me of Saturday nights out at the NAAFI bop in the late 1980s.  The scent of roses in a garden opposite my mum's house remind me of my Nana.  She must have had the same roses in her own garden.
What I wear now: I wear Chanel No.5.  The Brainy One gave me the first bottle via duty free at the airport.  I stock up each time one of us passes through duty free.  The first time I sprayed it, I knew it was the perfume Nana had worn, the memory that was that strong.
Over the years, I've tried headier perfumes ~ Opium, Paris, Eden ~ as well as lighter ones like CKOne.
The Brainy One wears Hugo Boss.
The Boy Child wears Johnson's baby shampoo and soap.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Photo a Day: 14th June


31 Things: Day 28

Day 28 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.      
Day 28 | Drink:
Morning: tea
Day: tea, water, coffee
Evening: orange juice, tea, Pimm's, Champagne, pear cider.
These days I am a tea drinker ~ decaffeinated tea, white, no sugar, not too strong.  That wasn't always the case.  I used to be a coffee drinker, from my early teens through to my early 30s.  For some reason, I went off coffee and have never really gone back to it.  Today though, when visiting a coffee shop, I drink a decaff, skinny, gingerbread latte.
I'm no longer a big drinker of alcohol.  In my early 20s, when stationed with the RAF in Germany, where booze was cheap and spirits automatically served as doubles, I drank regularly.
I drank a lot regularly.
Double Asbach and Cokes. Halves of Warsteiner beer, known as Wobbly because of the effect it had on your legs if you drank too much of it.
One too many hideous hangovers after a few lost hours made me see sense and I cut back drastically.
These days, I hardly drink alcohol at all.  Champagne on special occasions (this is my all time favourite tipple), Pimm's and pear cider in the summer months.  I can go weeks without drinking alcohol.
I don't drink carbonated drinks as a general rule.  I don't like how they make my teeth feel as though they are covered in sugar and they tend to give me terrible trapped wind.  I drink a glass of orange juice with my supper every day.  I drink water during and after my Zumba classes.  I drink filtered tap water at home, when I remember to.
The Brainy One drinks tea, coffee, apple juice, Ribena, red wine and Pimm's.
The Boy Child drinks milk, tea, The Brainy One's coffee, apple juice, fruit smoothies and water.  He's never had a fizzy drink. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Happy Mail 2012: #8

Five parcels were deposited with Royal Mail this morning.
Two recipients are in the UK and three in the USA.
One recipient will be receiving her second parcel ~ that's the nature of random selection. 
If you'd like an chance to be a recipient of the next round of Happy Mail, just send an email with your address to: roo1968ATyahooDOTcoDOTuk with Happy Mail 2012 in the title. 

It would be nice if you left a comment here as well.
There is no catch.
You don't have to do anything in return.
Stalking the Postie, one of my favourite past times. 

Photo a Day: 13th June

~ New tiles for the kitchen floor ~  
In the store, we were leaning towards the gold, but now that we can see them actually on the floor, we are leaning towards the beige.
Love how the pooch likes to get in on the shot.

31 Things: Day 27

Day 27 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.     
Day 27 | Hobby:
Scrapbooking is the hobby I didn't know I was looking for.
On honeymoon in Australia in December 2005, we visited the X family*.  K showed me a scrapbook about her brother S's life and I was blown away by it.  The next destination on our trip was New Zealand, where D gave me a 12x12 album from Creative Memories.  I don't think it could have been any more obvious that I was supposed to start scrapbooking.
And it turns out that scrapbooking and I are having a love affair.  One that I hope will never end. 
Scrapbooking is a daily part of my life now.  I make pages for various albums, I work on project Life, I take online classes, I make mini-books.  I've had a page published in a magazine.  I've attended several weekend workshops and met wonderful people along the way.
I always made scrapbooks when I was a child ~ an A4 album for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, a mini-book of our family holiday to Belgium in 1981 ~ I just didn't know it was a proper hobby.
The hobby that I would love to have is dancing.
When I worked at The Royal Ballet School, I used to think I should take up ballet.  How hard could it be?  I mean, I saw children do it every day.  When I started watching Strictly Come Dancing (nine months pregnant and beached on the sofa), I thought, "I could do that".
Every new year since then I have made learning to dance part of my New Year resolutions.
I still haven't done anything about it.
* My family has known the X family since 1974, when the mums became pen friends.  Sadly, Mrs X died just 6 months after my dad, without ever having the opportunity to meet my mum.  S died in a car accident a few years after his mum's death.  He was 21.
When we knew that we would be visiting Australia, I knew that there was no way I could go all that way and not meet them. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Photo a Day: 12th June

The daily ritual that is sponging The Boy Child's blazer.  It's astonishing how he manages to get so many marks and stains on it.  Most weekends I put it in the washer on a delicate cycle and it goes to the dry cleaners every half-term and end of term.

31 Things: Day 26

Day 26 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.    
Day 26 | Covet:
I'm not materialistic, so there isn't much that I might covet.
Then I thought about the people that I admire and the reasons why I admire them.
Seems I might be coveting things after all.
I covet my sister's sense of style.  She has the knack of looking thoroughly put together without even trying.
I covet the scrap booking ability of the likes of Ali Edwards and Shimelle Laine.  Not specifically their scrap booking style, but more their ability to create amazing and original pages from nothing.
I covet women who make motherhood look easy and seamless.
I covet an undisturbed night's sleep, followed by a wake-up time of later than 06.30am.
I covet a close circle of girlfriends.  I have never had this and for some reason, making friends in London is hard.  I have plenty of acquaintances but few friends.   
I covet patience.  Patience is not one of my virtues.
I covet more time for just me and The Brainy One.
I covet a house that is also my home.  Chosen in partnership with The Brainy One.
I covet the arrival of summer.  Flaming June is something of a damp squib and I am tired of the cold and wet weather.
  
   

Monday, 11 June 2012

Photo a Day: 11th June

~ Rained all day ~

Move More, Eat Well: April

I'm a little bit behind in posting about my Move More, Eat Well campaign.
Here's May.  The monthly report is always a month in arrears:
In April I continued to do well in my aims to improve my overall fitness.
I went to Zumba a total of eight times {8}.
I took the dogs on a total of twelve one hour walks {12}.
One thing I hadn’t factored in to Zumba classes at the gym is what happens when The Boy Child is on school holidays.  I know that there is a crèche, but it’s not the turn up and drop off kind ~ I need to investigate how I can make best use of it, while ensuring that it will be a place where The Boy Child is content, happy and above all, safe.
Also, as I spent a week with my sister in Scotland, I did not attend a structured class of any kind.   The local Zumba class clashed with my nephew’s karate, so my sister was unable to mind The Boy Child for that hour. Dog walking was my best effort at daily exercise.
I have not been buying chocolate and biscuits as much and we did not have any Easter eggs.  I think it’s a simple case of re-educating myself about not eating in the evenings after supper. 
I am not hungry; it is a habit ~ a habit that I need to break.  I’m not even sure why it happens. 
Does my blood sugar drop, causing a sugar craving?
Should I opt for a bowl of fruit instead?
Should I just ride it out and go cold turkey?
Four months into my yearlong plan of improved fitness and I can see that I am more aware of the workings of my body.  As I wrote in my Statement of Intent, an overhaul of my eating habits is required. 
Five things I learnt in April:
1) It doesn't matter that I don't know anyone at Zumba
2) I am drinking much more water
3) I don't weigh any less, but I feel less flabby
4) I can survive evenings without chocolate
5) I enjoy it {the exercise, not the evenings without chocolate} 

Photo a Day: 10th June


31 Things: Day 25

Day 25 of Ali's latest class at BPC ~ 31 Things.  Ali describes the class thus: 31 Things is about capturing life right now but will be much more in-depth on a single daily subject than the documentation you might be used to with projects like Week in the Life or Project Life. This workshop is an opportunity to get specific pieces of your story told with the simple goal of telling more.   
Day 25 | Outside:
A large amount of my childhood was spent outside.  Our back garden wasn't very big so we played "in the front".  Like all the neighbourhood children, we played outside on the streets.  There weren't many cars in the road; only old Mr S. and Mr M. had cars.  The mums kept an eye on all the children, not just their own.
We played hide and seek, hopscotch (chalked on the pavement and washed away when we'd finished), hit tennis balls against garden walls, we played marbles, we held running races.
Mum and Dad didn't own a car until long after I'd left home.  This meant we walked everywhere.  Half an hour across the Docks to see Gran and Auntie B, (and then hours playing on X Hill), twenty five minutes to school, all uphill (and twenty five minutes home again).  Summer holidays were spent outside, with day trips to the nearby cities of X & Y, weeks spent at Auntie S.'s house in X, on the edge of the Lake District, weeks at camp with the Air Cadets.
Even though I have been able to drive since I was 18 and we own a car, I still prefer to walk.  Both from a life-long habit and from the practicalities of not taking a car on to London's streets. 
In warmer weather we spend lots of time in the garden.  Both The Brainy One and I love a beautiful garden, but sadly neither of us are what you might call gardeners.  My Nana J. was a wonderful gardener and looked after a large garden until her early 80s.  I regret that I didn't inherit her green fingers. The best I can do is the weeding, when the sun is shining and the radio is playing in the background. 

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