Tuesday, 22 August 2017

For the Love of Books | Currently Reading

I find it more difficult during the longer days of Summer
to get stuck into a page-turner of a good read.
That said, two recent gems have been Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley
and The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne.  
 Hidden Figures was initially recommended by a friend,
but as a film I should see.  So I watched it and enjoyed it
(even if some of the topics covered are shocking by today's standards). 
I wanted to know more.  I've been fortunate enough to visit NASA
at Johnson Space Centre several times and also Cape Kennedy,
but none of those visits informed me about the contribution of African American women
as mathematicians and engineers to the space race in the USA.
I understand that NASA has now rectified that huge error. 
Parts of the book are technical and I didn't quite grasp some of the finer details
(and The Brainy One informed me that the equations shown in the film version 
were, to quote him, complete rubbish).  There's also more scope in the book to tell individual stories (some stories have been amalgamated in the film version).
It's a well written and interesting read.
    The Heart's Invisible Furies has been unputdownable.
I've read it far to late into the night ... on far too many consecutive nights.
The story is told through the eyes of Cyril Avery,
a boy who was adopted as a baby in 1940s Ireland.
To say that his adoptive parents are dysfunctional would be an understatement.
It's not always an easy read and I described it on Instagram as 
"a powerful read ... disturbing, funny and sad, all at once."
Some of Cyril's actions throughout his life make him a difficult man
to always like, but I found myself rooting for him and cried when I got to the end.
John Boyne, who also wrote the superb The Boy in the Striped Trousers, brilliantly captures
the ignorance surrounding the advent of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.
There's also some humorous dialogue between Cyril and his son's father-in-law 
about homosexuality; the type of conversation you can clearly imagine between 
an openly gay man and a bigot.
The Heart's Invisible Furies is easily one of the best books I've read in a while,
and one that I highly recommend that you read.

Next up is The Blinds (on Kindle, as it doesn't appear to be in print in the UK just yet).
What's on your Summer reading list?

Friday, 18 August 2017

Design Your Life 2.0 | Week 4

In Week 4 of Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life 2.0 class, we looked at
the principle of Emphasis/Contrast.
There was also a look at Type, but as I don't make many hybrid pages,
I've merely skimmed that section. 
Assignment One was, you've guessed it, about contrast/emphasis through the page design.
Another simple design, but one that works well. 
Assignment Two was to continue the theme while creating 
a design that had both unity and space
I'm thinking that perhaps I should have backed the journaling card
with some pale blue cardstock for added 'umpf', and maybe the palm tree
embellishment should have been placed at the side of the photo, rather than behind it.
No matter.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

West End Theatre

Throughout August, selected theatres in London's West End
offer free tickets for children.
We chose to see 42nd Street and it was amazing!
With more than 40+ dancers on stage at times,
all heel-toe tapping in perfect synchronicity, the show was a feast for the eyes.  
We also got to see the stage adaptation of Gangsta Granny.
which wasn't included in the Kids Go Free scheme.
The Boy Child loved it (the book is a firm favourite)
and he especially liked the part when Her Majesty f**ted!
(Oh, to be 10-years-old.)

Do you like the theatre?
Do you/did you take your children?
Musical theatre or straight play?

Monday, 14 August 2017

Traveler's Notebook | Marrakech | Complete

Having gone to Marrakech with a Traveler's Notebook
most of the photos have now been added 
and I've reached the stage where I consider it finished.

I love how the corners are already beginning to curl,
and that it's already achieved a slightly battered look. 

Friday, 11 August 2017

Design Your Life 2.0 | Week 3

In Week 3 of Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life 2.0 class, we looked at unity and space.
Unity suggests to our brains that everything is, in a purposeful way, where it should be.
Space suggests restfulness on any given design.
Where a design lacks content, space creates a bit of calm.
Assignment One was to create a page featuring both unity and space.
And while I like the look of the finished layout above,
I think it's a little too spacious.  
Assignment Two was to continue in the same vein.
Although incredibly simple in design and materials used,
I rather like the overall finished look,
but I think it's mainly because I love these photos of The Boy Child.    

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Four-Legged Friend

We have a dog!
But only temporarily ...
We are looking after my SiL's pooch for a few days
and very much enjoying the love, fun and companionship
that he's brought along with him. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

One Photo | Twenty Words

Athletics Camp - the stuff of dreams.
With Mo Farah and Usain Bolt as role models,
he's having the best time!  

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Design Your Life 2.0 | Week 2

Week two of Cathy Zielske's Design Your Life 2.0 class
introduced the idea of repeated elements.
I loosely followed the suggested design for Assignment 1
and really like how the finished page looks.
Those palm tree stickers from Echo Park are perfect 
for my Marrakech photos.
There isn't any journaling on the page, because I plan for its sister page
to be a divided pocket one, giving me plenty of space for extra photos 
and room to tell the story of our visit to the beautiful Majorelle Garden.

Monday, 7 August 2017

This Weekend I ...

On Saturday, we made the trip out of London and up to
It was a trip The Brainy One and I have talked about making
for a number of years.  We were always put off by how long
we would be leaving Max alone in the house for.
But now ...
We arrived 15 minutes before opening and left 10 minutes before closing.
That's what I call value for money. 
The Boy Child's favourite was his beloved B17 Flying Fortress,
Sally B.  She is the last air worthy B17 in Europe
and starred in the 1990 film, Memphis Belle.
 The weather was mixed during the afternoon, sunshine and showers,
but we did get to see some terrific flying.
Watching a Spitfire going through her paces and performing
her legendary signature manoeuvre, the Victory Roll, never loses its appeal.  
If you can afford it, you can even take a flight in a Spitfire.   
Outside the American Air Museum is a memorial, Counting the Cost.
It's by artist Renato Niemis, and each aircraft etched on its glass panels
represents a plane missing in action in operations
flown by US air forces from Britain during the Second World War. 
There are 7,031 aircraft depicted.
There's plenty of hands-on stuff for the Small People to explore, 
and when the weather isn't as good as you might have hoped 
for in England in August, there's plenty to see in the hangars. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017


We were fortunate to spend the last week of July
with friends in Marrakech, Morocco.
 Having never been to North Africa before,
I didn't quite know what to expect.
 But, as it turned out and taken as a whole, I loved it!
Parts of Marrakech are an assault on the senses,
with grinding poverty existing next to unimaginable wealth.
The Moroccans we encountered were almost all unfailingly polite
and keen to present their city and country in the best possible light.
And what light!
The clearest of skies every day (we didn't see a cloud the entire week)
and temperatures hitting more than 40C.  
Which is quite a contrast to London this week.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Photography Scavenger Hunt | Link-up #2

is hosting the second of three link-ups today for this year's
Photography Scavenger Hunt.
(As she lives in Canada, you might want to wait until afternoon
here in the UK before heading over there.) 
Here's this year's list:

1) Something fuzzy
~ Velour sandals ~
2) Bubbles
3) A web
~ climber in the playground ~
4) A zig zag
5)  A seasonal relaxing space/item
~ you can't get more seasonal and relaxed than Wimbledon ~
6) A pipe
7) The inside of something
~ the inside of a District Line Tube train ~
8) Rust or something derelict
9) A kite or balloon
10) Something yellow
11)  A toy only found out during June to September
12) A wedding
~ I spotted this newly married couple having their wedding photos
taken in the park (which is just across the road from the Registry Office) ~  
13) A dome
14) Someone fishing
15) Something crafted from wood
16)  A baby (human or animal)
Pequeňo, newly woken from a nap ~
17)  Circles or crosses in architecture
18) A fan
19)  Feet of man or beast
20) Something found under ground
21)  A plaque
~ one of many, many blue plaques found across London ~
22)  A dial
23) Something powered by wind
24) Seasonal food or drink
~ large Pimm's, cheers ~
25)  A hat
~ that's my hat, enjoying a day out at Wimbledon ~

(Items in blue mean that I've already posted them here.)

Are you joining in this year?
How are you getting on?

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Month in Numbers | July

July was joyful!
Let's see how it turned out:
41C: the highest temperature we encountered this month,
but then it was in Marrakech.
11: the amount of Happy Mail sent this month.
8: the number of days we spent in Marrakech, 
thanks to a kind invitation from friends.
{Marrakech will be appearing on the blog throughout August}
327: the number of pages I read as part of the 
A novel that I'd never heard of until I came across
a copy in the recycling bin at the tip.
And what a thoroughly good read it turned out to be.  
21,533: highest daily step count.
7: we saw seven sets of tennis over the same number in hours
at Wimbledon.  We were lucky to secure a pair of tickets for #1 Court.  
Month in Numbers is the brainchild 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.
You can see my previous Month in Numbers here.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Summer Break

Dear friends,
Summer holidays are here and we'll be off on adventures, near and far.
Making memories for me to share with you
and to scrapbook, obviously.
I'll be posting occasionally during August and will be back with 
more of my usual schedule early in September.
As well as making those memories,
I'm going to use this time to work out how I see the future 
of my small space in the blogosphere.
Maybe I'll change a few things, maybe I won't.
But whatever I decide, I'll see you back here soon. 

Friday, 21 July 2017

End of Year Five

School's out for Summer.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Little Things

There are a number of things in my house now that were once in Mum's house.
A piece of furniture, an ornament or two, this and this.
But which thing of hers brings me most comfort?
This key ring.  
Once Mum's estate had been wound up, I remembered to ask
 if I could have it, and it arrived yesterday.
When my siblings and I left home in the 1980s, 
Dad said we could keep our house key until we got married.
I don't believe he ever imagined that I would be well in to my thirties before that happened for me.
The day before The Brainy One and I were married, we hosted an Afternoon Tea
for the bridal party - parents, best man, bridesmaids and ushers.
We gave out the traditional gifts and I threw in a surprise for Mum.
I returned my key on this self-same key ring, packaged up
in a box and a big bow.
She used it everyday for the rest of her life.
And see that Yale key with the green cover?
It opens Mum's front door.  I borrowed it during the time Mum was ill, 
and I was back and forth, somehow forgetting to leave it behind.
When I did eventually come across it (in my jewellery box, for some reason),
I asked if it was needed for the new owners and was quietly pleased to learn that it wasn't.
I can be trusted not to startle the new owner by letting myself in.      

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Design Your Life 2.0 | Week One

Design Your Life by Cathy Zielske is up and running,
and Week One introduced the idea of symmetry and asymmetry on scrapbook pages.
    The first assignment was to produce a symmetrical layout using a grid design.
I used recent photos of The Boy Child to tell a story from over 
twenty years ago. Isn't it great when a photo from today sparks  
remembrance of a story from yesterday?
Clicking on the first image should allow you to read the story.
{Look up Cockney rhyming slang if you're not sure of the title.}
Assignment two was, as you've probably guessed, to produce an asymmetrical layout.
Hybrid and a ton of white space is not my usual style but I think it works.
My text could be better spaced and larger, but those will come with practice.
This isn't the sort of layout I would usually put together,
so I feel I've already put a tick in the box just by attempting this assignment. 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

What Constitutes a Scrapbook Page?

When you're done with sticking down photos, adding embellishments 
and composing the journaling in your head, 
does it still count as a scrapbook page if and when you realise
 that you haven't added any patterned paper?
 I have photos and (will have) words.
 I have plenty of colour on the page.
And I have a dog.
So, I'm going to say that yes, it counts as a scrapbook page.
What say you? 

Monday, 17 July 2017

This Weekend I ...

As the weather this weekend was cooler than of late,
we chose to spend a little more time inside,
with a visit to the National Army Museum at the top of our list. 
 It reopened in March of this year, after a major overhaul of the space, 
 and like the Design Museum, the space has clearly been well thought out
 and the whole museum appears to possess a layer of peace, 
two things autism-parents are always on the lookout for.
 You can combine your visit with a stop at the Royal Hospital Chelsea next door,
home of the much loved Chelsea Pensioners.  We had lunch there.
The museum is free to enter, so coming and going is not a problem.

As Sunday saw much brighter weather, we were back outside
and catching up with old friends.
Last Summer, The Boy Child's best friend, The Good Friend, moved with his family to Spain.
Something requiring much more planning when we want to meet up.  
And I may, just may, rounded off the weekend with making a start
on week one of Design Your Life
How was your weekend?