Thursday, 22 June 2017

Photo 23

It's rained today, the fine drizzle kind. It doesn't seem to have cleared the air though and it's what I call jungle weather. Not that I've ever been in a jungle but I imagine this is what it feels like. 

There have still been bright spots though -  weather wise and during the day in general. 

Little Miss Sienna, grown up enough now to sit in the trolley while we shop. She's probably been able to do this for weeks, but Granny and Grandpa only had the lightbulb moment today. 
My Rose! I am ridiculously happy that this has flowered and the colour is gorgeous. 
And a rather bright poncho has been finished. I just need to add a tassel.  
Hope you've all had a bright and cheerful day. 


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Photo 22

Sometimes plans, ideas and life are just a process of elimination and we've certainly found this today with Amy applying for university.

She's been advised by college to apply to several so she has the chance of more offers. And so the process began.

She definitely wants to move away from Greater Manchester so already some have been written off by her determination to do this. 

Then there's the question of courses. I assumed they would all offer the 'basic' English, Maths, Sciences, but I was wrong, so a few more have been crossed off the list.

Distance is a factor - she wants to move away but not to the other end of the country, so everything south of Bristol and north of Cumbria has been eliminated.

Then you get into the realms of grades. The top ones require 3 A's regardless of what you want to study, while lower down the ranks, grades of ABB, BBB or BBC are accepted. She's a predicted A student in English Lit and Creative Writing but teeters on the A/B in psychology leaning more towards the B, so to save herself the stress and worry a few more have had a cross put against them.

According to UniRank there are 152 universities in the UK. After we've taken everything into account I think Amy is now looking at around 6 of them! 

If I understand correctly it will cost around £9,250 per year for 3 years and she should get a student loan to cover this. I've no idea what this actually pays for as I haven't delved that far yet but I sincerely hope some of it is accommodation!

According to the information I've read the loan is only paid back when you've graduated and are earning £21,000 per annum. A £21k wage would mean you pay back £26 per month. If you've not paid back the loan after 30 years it's written off. 

I didn't go to university, circumstances led me down a different route, but I suppose I'm very old school about them. I basically tend to think the degree needs to be worth getting into debt for. Otherwise I strongly veer towards apprenticeships and think there should be more of these on offer. 

I don't want to get into whether university should be free or not, but I would just say I'm grateful education is gratis for all our children up to the age of 18. At the moment we find ourselves in a 'not free' era where uni is concerned but when paying it back gets broken down, it doesn't actually seem that bad. 

Yes, it would be a lot better not to have to pay back any loan but if it's enabled you to get a decent job that pays well then surely it's worth it. 

I know a few people from abroad read my blog and I'd be interested to see how our costs at degree level compares and whether you think yours and ours is value for money or not. 

If anybody has or has had a child in Uni where they've had to pay fees, I'd be really interested to hear whether you think it was worth it or not and also any other basic information you might be able to help with, such as hidden costs. 

Amy, the possible uni one, who really prefers to do an apprenticeship but doesn't know 
how she could do this as she wants to study English Literature. 



Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Photo 21

I got the sewing machine out again this morning and made two dresses with the butterfly t-shirts. For the skirts I bought a set of plain pillowcases from Wilko and I'm really pleased with how they've matched up. I might pop into Primark tomorrow for a couple more tops. 

So far each dress is working out between £2.00 and £2.50 to make which I think is really good. I watched a real time video on youtube and the woman sewed her t-shirt dress up in just under 20 minutes but I'm no professional and as easy as they are they can take me a couple of hours - although there's a lot of stopping and starting to do other things as well. But equate those 2 hours to the money spent and it's a nice little hobby for the cost. 

I'm thinking I might get Mark to take me to Abakhan next week to pick up some patterned material but I'm not sure. It's a real faff parking in Manchester these days and all he can do is drop me then hang around in the car in case a traffic warden appears. I always feel under pressure to be quick and as you know that's not as easy as it sounds in a fabric or wool shop! There's a stall on Bury market which I'll try tomorrow but he doesn't have anything priced up which I don't like. I think he just makes it up as he goes along and some of his stuff seems ridiculously expensive.

I just need to add a pocket to the the dresses and they'll be finished. Personally I think they look better without but the little girls like pockets so pockets they will get. 

Can you believe rainy Manchester made it in the top 10 hottest places yesterday. Apparently it's not been as hot today but you wouldn't know it. The water in the paddling pool is warm after being out there for a couple of days and me and Amy keep standing in it to cool our tootsies off. 

Stay cool my friends :) 



Monday, 19 June 2017

Photo 20

Another hot day! I've had all the windows and doors open and there's a fan whirring around in the lounge to keep me cool. Amy and Thomas' bedrooms were stifling last night because the sun is on them all day, so I went to Argos to buy 2 more for their rooms.

When I handed the sales assistant the code, she took one look and said "a fan", which made me laugh. I bet she's keyed that number in a fair few times over the weekend. I managed to bag the last one and found the other in Wilko so the bedrooms are a lot cooler now. 

The garden is suddenly full of flowers and colour so I decided I'd gather myself a little posy for the table. 

I would love to have a garden where I could take a basket and stroll around snipping flowers off here and there for the house while wearing a big straw hat, but I don't. It doesn't stop me though and even a small posy makes me happy. I can't do it very often or the garden would be bare but when my sweet peas blossom I'll be in my element because I can snip away quite happily every day. 

So, another question. Do you have gardens and do you cut flowers to bring into the house? Or are you more a grow your own food type of gardener?

Hope you're enjoying the weather and managing to keep cool. 





Sunday, 18 June 2017

Photo 19

Oh My Goodness! It has been HOT today. Even the 3/4 trousers I pull out of the wardrobe to acknowledge summer has arrived have been replaced by shorts.

We had loosely discussed going out for the day - I fancied seeing some countryside after looking at the photos Rachel and Jules posted on Instagram, but we both decided sitting in the car, possibly in traffic queues, would be a waste of a lovely day, so we stayed put.

I got the paddling pool out yesterday. I wasn't sure if anybody would get in it, but who can resist a bit of splashing about whatever age you are. 

Amy and Thomas spent the first 15 minutes bickering - Thomas wanted to splash Amy, Amy didn't want him to,  so I gave them half a pool each! It wasn't long before Amy got into the swing of things and her glasses came off - a sure sign she was about to give Thomas as good as she was getting. 

Then they played forfeits, where one had to sit on a chair and answer questions about the other. Get it wrong and you got a bowl of water poured over you. As well as being funny it was really interesting to hear just how much they actually know about each other. Questions ranged from favourite colour, food, pokemon characters, friends and special dates to the more bizarre just so they could tip water over each other.

Amy eventually got out and left Thomas playing a game of trying to throw the bowl up and get it to land on his head. He must have spent a good hour doing this. Funny what keeps them entertained isn't it. 

I got up this morning and they were already back in it. In the afternoon I dipped my toes in. It was so warm that I couldn't resist lying down in it to cool off. Lovely and much better than sitting in a hot car. 

Hope you've all enjoyed your Sunday. xx 



Saturday, 17 June 2017

Photo 18

Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary. According to the anniversary list that means copper. As the only copper things that spring to mind are saucepans and pipes I'm glad we don't tend to bother with presents. We haven't even bothered with cards this year. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. I could say that we don't need cards and presents because we say 'I love you' to each other every day, but that would just be a big fat lie!

We are, I suspect, a typical married couple who've known each other for 25 years. We bicker, argue, have very different points of view on a lot of things and the sun usually goes down on our arguments before they've been resolved -  we tend to make up in the morning over a brew.

But having said all that I wouldn't change Mark for the world and I hope he feels the same about me. 

We've decided to acknowledge the day by going out for a curry tonight minus the children which I'm looking forward to, mainly because it means I don't have to cook.

I'm sure there's plenty of you out there who have been married or with your partners for a lot longer than Mark and I have been together and I'm being unashamedly nosy now by asking how long?


Friday, 16 June 2017

Photo 17

I'm crocheting a poncho. I stumbled across a charity that wants them and I couldn't resist. I really enjoyed making Sienna's and they are so easy to do but one poncho is more than enough for a little girl who has the wardrobe of a super model.

Actually, I'm not sure I should be making this as I already have some projects on the go which I could be getting on with, but today I want to make ponchos and have even chosen the colours for the next one. I seem to have fallen into a habit of having several things on the go at once. I was never like this in my younger days. Back then, I would start something and finish it before moving on to something else, but these days, I seem to dip in and out of things on a daily basis. 

In a couple of weeks having so many unfinished things will start to get on my nerves and I will make a concerted effort to finish everything, parcel it up and send it of to the relevant people.

Then I will tell myself that's it for a while. I will be fed up of seeing balls of wool on the coffee table and fabric stacked on the shelf. I will be glad I don't have to look for my crochet hook or the sewing needle (both are always found in between the sofa cushions), and I will be determined that no more projects will be started for a good few weeks, instead my energies will be focused on the house and the garden. 

Of course, the house and garden don't stand a chance when competing with wool and fabric so it won't be long before I'm picking up my crochet hook, knitting needles or getting the sewing machine out again. And the cycle will re-start. Variety is the spice of life as they say.

Are you a starter and finisher or do you have several things on the go at once?

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Photo 16

Sienna arrived bright and early this morning. Mark is the early bird in this house so he receives her ladyship then they both come upstairs to wake Granny up. It's rather lovely to open my eyes to a smiling baby who's already dressed and being held by somebody else. I wave from my bed, get a big toothy grin for my efforts, then haul myself out of my pit to begin the day. By 8.30am she's generally got a couple of episodes of Teletubbies or In the Night Garden under her belt and has eaten her cereal and fruit for breakfast. 

The plan today was to go shopping, then take her to the park to feed the ducks but she had a sleep between 9am-10am so shopping was done later than usual and by the time it had been put away it was her lunchtime. Then she slept for 2 hours which was lovely but it meant there was no time to get to the park and back before picking Thomas up. 

I've no idea how I used to fit play centres, walks, parks, visits etc in when Amy was little but I did. Maybe I was a lot quicker at doing things back then and I know for sure I was definitely fitter. I suspect it was more to do with the fact she would mither so much to do things it was easier to just do them rather than listen to her go on. She was definitely a live wire when she was a toddler so when Thomas hit that stage and would only go out under duress it was a bit of a shock, but if I'm honest a big relief as well 

Anyway, Sienna has been a joy to have today, which isn't the case every week I can tell you. I'm hoping the weather is nice again next week and I'm going to try and re-arrange the day a little bit so we can get out to the park, as long as she doesn't sleep and eat the day away. 

Edited to add: it looks like we've given her a dirty mop head to cuddle, but it's a sheep and she takes it everywhere with her. It's bedraggled, full of holes and has had the legs sewn back on more times than I can remember, but she loves it. 

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Photo 15

Although I don't have specific washing/ironing/housework days, I am a creature of habit and my week definitely has a routine to it. 

Monday is generally housework although this is not set in stone, Tuesday is my day where I try not to plan anything, Wednesday there is a trip to Bury, Thursday is the weekly shop and Sienna, Friday more often than not is Middleton with Mum to stock up on a few bits and Saturday and Sunday are whatever comes along. 

I like routine but sometimes doing things on specific days means the week seems to fly by and I find myself in Bury or Lidl or Middleton again before I know it. 

Anyway, it's Wednesday so today was Bury. I didn't need much this week. A few t-shirts for some more dresses, a little trimming which I thought would look nice and some bits and pieces from the £1 shop. I popped into The Works but nothing took my fancy. 

I also bought some bug spray - my poor rose is covered in greenfly and blackfly. After blitzing the little blighters and hanging some washing out I spent a little time fixing the trim around the neck of the dress just to pretty it up a little bit.  

Before I know it, it's 3pm and Thomas time and from then on my routine is very much entrenched in food and kitchen duties. Do you have a strict routine or do you take each day as it comes? 



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Photo 14

Yesterday we had a massive sort out and tidy of the Xbox room. It helped that Mark was here because quite a bit of stuff in there belongs to him and if he's not around to ask whether he still needs it I end up putting most of it back. 

We managed to fill 3 bags with rubbish and 2 bags for the charity shop.

While I was tidying my shelves I touched the fabric box and suddenly had a hankering to do a bit of sewing again. So today, I decided to make a dress. Dress A Girl prefer t-shirt dresses these days, something I've never made before but I thought I'd give it a go. 

While I was in the charity shop I bought a quilt cover that I thought would look nice made into dresses. Then I popped into Peacocks for a white t-shirt. I came home and spent a nice hour making a fairly easy dress which hopefully will bring a smile to a little girl somewhere in the world. 

So today, it feels like everybody is a winner. The YMCA got some things to sell and £1.99 in their till. Peacocks made a sale. I got to do something I enjoy and a little girl will receive a dress in the not too distant future. 

Happy Days.



Monday, 12 June 2017

Photo 13

Today has been dry but windy and I've managed to get 3 loads of washing on the line. No idea where it's all come from as the basket was empty on Friday but I suspect Amy cleaning her room has something to do with it. 

Her floor was ankle deep in clothes and I told her that in future there'll be a weekly room inspection every Sunday. If I can put one foot in front of the other without standing on anything she passes and gets her allowance. If not she can kiss goodbye to it.

I can't possibly show you a photo of what it was like before I read her the riot act and to be honest apart from the floor being cleared it's not really that much better even now, but I managed to find a couple of nice little corners in there.

She always been a cuddly toy girl and likes to light a candle every now and then so I've focused on these better aspects of her pig sty! 

I am not past naming and shaming though so next week there might be some less savoury photos on here!


Sunday, 11 June 2017

June Week 2 - Photo .12

Photo 12 - my healthy breakfast of yoghurt, strawberries and blueberries. This week has been a get up and go kind of week energy wise and I've been paying more attention to what I've been fuelling up on. It won't last, it never does, as you'll see further down, but all I can do is embrace the energy and the healthy eating while I can. 
So, what's been happening this week. 

Well, as you probably know there was a bit of slime making going on in the kitchen. I think Thomas got cold feet about taking it in though in case he was caught with the contraband so after all that mess it stayed wrapped on the windowsill for 3 days until I binned it. At least he had fun making it. 
I got another Works voucher for my birthday which I love receiving and bought a new book. It's full of handy little tips which I expect we all know but it's a good book to pick up and flick through.
A surprise parcel arrived in the post - they really are the nicest ones aren't they.  This was sent by the lovely Liz at lovethosecupcakes. She probably won't remember but not long after the HA I posted something about it always being on my mind and she wrote a comment that helped me deal with it more positively. You really should visit her blog if you haven't done. She posts lovely photos and goes off on the most exciting adventures for her holidays. I feel truly blessed that I've made so many lovely friends in bloggy world. 
It was Mark's birthday yesterday. He spent the day in Manchester drinking real ale under the guise of attending a watch meeting. The meetings often happen around his birthday so it was an added bonus it was on the actual date. We're not precious about things like that. Sometimes we make plans and celebrate, sometimes birthdays just come and go quietly - unlike Mark who made a noisy entrance last night staggeringly drunk!

On Friday just after school pick up there was a break in the wet weather and the sun popped out, so I quickly took myself out in the garden for an hour to do some more crochet. 
The granny square blanket is growing nicely.
The jigsaw has been finished, photographed, added to my jigsaw page, broken up and put back in the box. It will go in the charity pile now. Once I've done something I rarely go back and do it again. I generally don't re-read books, re-do jigsaws or re-watch films, although I did put Braveheart on yesterday but I was crocheting and getting up and down pottering around while it was on. 
Matthew and Sophie popped round earlier on. They'd taken Sienna to a cake smash photo shoot. I'd never heard of them but apparently they're the in thing at the moment. Basically you put a big cake in front of baby and let them do their thing while photos are taken. It's usually done to celebrate their 1st birthday. Cute but messy and it seems like a waste of a good cake to me! This is a photo off the internet to give you an idea. 

Related image
I've made my own cakes this afternoon. No smashing these though. Every crumb will be eaten. 
Parklife is on at Heaton Park this weekend and we can hear the music even with the doors shut. Amy said they did a roaring trade in wellies yesterday and had sold out by lunchtime. It's all good fun if that's your thing.  

Hope you've had a lovely weekend. 


Saturday, 10 June 2017

Photo 11

It's Mark's birthday today. I can't believe it's a year since we were over at Lytham with Matthew and Sophie, it only feels like yesterday. 

He's probably having a great day. Not that we're a part of it. Every so often a watch meeting will be organised in Manchester where under the disguise of discussing technical details and specs (yawn), they will have a bit of a session on the real ale. Today is that day. It's not a problem, sometimes we do birthdays, sometimes we don't. As long as he's enjoying himself that's the main thing.

Meanwhile at Number 38 the jigsaw has been finished, more granny squares are on the go and the TV remote is under my total control. In fact I'm just wiping a few tears away after watching Braveheart.

Hope you're all enjoying your Saturday.



Friday, 9 June 2017

Photo 10

I can't recall why, and I suspect there was a good reason for it, but when we were little we went to a primary school outside our catchment area.  Of course when it came to transferring to High School it meant watching all my friends go off together while I was literally the only pupil to go to my new school. Back then prior to moving schools there were no meet and greets, no taster days and no tours of the school. On the first day, I walked to school on my own, through the gates on my own and into assembly on my own. 

Thankfully things have changed a lot since then. Thomas went for an 'interview' at his High School last night. It was just a basic 10 minute meet and greet while the teacher went though their rule book/expectations with him. It was very friendly and covered the usual uniform, homework, bags, PE kit, mobiles etc. There is also a taster day on 4th July when pupils spend a day at the school getting to know their form teacher and their way around. 

One of the rules for boys is no haircuts less than a number 2 in length. At the end of the interview the teacher asked Thomas if he had any questions. All he wanted to know was would the haircut rule apply if you've not got any because you've been ill - a little boy has just returned to his school having undergone chemotherapy.

I love my boy. He's not bothered about the uniform, bags, mobile phones etc. He's just bothered that a child, through no fault of his own, might get told off for not having long enough hair. 


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Photo 9

Just a quick one today as Little Miss Sienna is here. I went to Bury yesterday and bought myself a lovely new book called Wonderwoman. There's a lot of stuff in it that most of us probably already know and do , but it's nice to pick up and look through.

I have 3 hardbacks on the coffee table at the moment which is something I've never done before because I thought it would look too cluttered, but actually it adds a bit of character to the room and makes it feel more homely.

The books are Vintage Roses, The Handmade Apothecary and my new one. They are mostly full of pretty pictures with a bit of text to go with the photos. When I have a sit down with a brew for 10 minutes I've taken to choosing one and flicking through and I can't tell you how relaxing this is. It's 10 minutes of pure unaldulterated visual bliss with little snippets of information should I care to tax my brain. 

The books are strategically placed next to the truffles so if I'm feeling particularly indulgent I'll pick one of those up as well. 

I'm finding it a very nice way to unwind and I highly recommend buying what is basically a grown up picture book that interests you and losing yourself in it for a few minutes each day.