Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Happy Birthday To My DH!

My lovely husband is 48 years old today! (Mind you, I can't quite get my head around the fact that I am married to a man who is nearly 50!) Here he is at 21 years old, graduating from the University of Durham with a First in Physics. (I'm not quite sure, either, how I managed to meet and marry such a phenomenally intelligent man!) Happy birthday, DH. x

HSMSHS on Facebook: Flora

Today's prompt on the HSMSHS page on Facebook is flora (and/or flotsam but I'm ignoring that bit). This sunflower shot was one of the very 1st shots we took on our new digital camera a few years ago and I must give credit to DH for it ... he's the one who captured this gorgeous image. Sadly, the sunflower grew too big and too heavy, resulting in it toppling over and all the seeds being scoffed by the local squirrels! Mr. Nutkin and family all had beautiful shiny coats (or is that pelts?) that year!!

Edited for Leann - HSMSHS stands for Her Space, My Space, His Space. It was a photographic prompt blog until recently and they now have a page on Facebook. You can view the blog by clicking on the link in my list of blogs I follow. Hope that helps.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Winner Is ...

This week's Pink Saturday GiveAway winner is Cynthia K ! Congratulations! I've left you a note on your blog. Thanks to all who took the time and trouble to stop by, especially to Liz, Martha and Diann who all featured my blog as one to visit.

HSMSHS on Facebook: Duck

Today's word prompt on the HSMSHS page on Facebook is duck. Here you can see Mr Duck on our local pond. I love how he appears to be paddling! I know that the light is all wrong but, you know what, I like the shot!

Monday, 28 September 2009

SLYMI: Week 39

A nice and easy one this week: scrap with your own handwriting; something I do a lot of already.

Recipe For Gnocchi With Pesto & Tomatoes

My new bloggie friend Martha (you can find her at A Sense Of Humour Is Essential) requested the recipe for the gnocchi dish I mentioned last week. Here it is:

Serves 2 adults (or 1 adult and 3 little people servings).

500g pack of ready-made gnocchi
250g mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
cherry tomatoes, as many as you like
2 generous tablespoons of green pesto
juice of half a lemon (or tablespoon of Jif lemon)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil

Heat oven to 180C.
Put gnocchi in a pan of boiling water and cook until they float to the surface. Scoop them out and transfer to a large bowl. Add the cheese, tomatoes and pesto to bowl and stir through. Add the lemon juice and olive oil. Season to taste. Transfer mixture to ovenproof dish and cook for 20 minutes. Serve immediately with green salad or crusty bread or on its own. Can be frozen, if desired.

The "Average" British Soldier

They are doing their bit.....please do yours by reading this:
The average British soldier is 19 years old…..he is a short haired, well built lad who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears and just old enough to buy a round of drinks but old enough to die for his country – and for you.
He’s not particularly keen on hard work but he’d rather be grafting in Afghanistan than unemployed in the UK. He recently left comprehensive school where he was probably an average student, played some form of sport, drove a ten year old rust bucket, and knew a girl that either broke up with him when he left, or swore to be waiting when he returns home. He moves easily to rock and roll or hip-hop or to the rattle of a 7.62mm machine gun. He is about a stone lighter than when he left home because he is working or fighting from dawn to dusk and well beyond. He has trouble spelling, so letter writing is a pain for him, but he can strip a rifle in 25 seconds and reassemble it in the dark. He can recite every detail of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either effectively if he has to. He digs trenches and latrines without the aid of machines and can apply first aid like a professional paramedic.
He can march until he is told to stop, or stay dead still until he is told to move. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation but he is not without a rebellious spirit or a sense of personal dignity. He is confidently self-sufficient. He has two sets of uniform with him: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never forgets to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes and fix his own hurts. If you are thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food is your food. He'll even share his life-saving ammunition with you in the heat of a firefight if you run low. He has learned to use his hands like weapons and regards his weapon as an extension of his own hands. He can save your life or he can take it, because that is his job - it's what a soldier does. He often works twice as long and hard as a civilian, draw half the pay and have nowhere to spend it, and can still find black ironic humour in it all. There's an old saying in the British Army: 'If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined!'
He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and he is unashamed to show it or admit it. He feels every bugle note of the 'Last Post' or 'Sunset' vibrate through his body while standing rigidly to attention. He's not afraid to 'Bollock' anyone who shows disrespect when the Regimental Colours are on display or the National Anthem is played; yet in an odd twist, he would defend anyone's right to be an individual. Just as with generations of young people before him, he is paying the price for our freedom. Clean shaven and baby faced he may be, but be prepared to defend yourself if you treat him like a kid.
He is the latest in a long thin line of British Fighting Men that have kept this country free for hundreds of years. He asks for nothing from us except our respect, friendship and understanding. We may not like what he does, but sometimes he doesn't like it either - he just has it to do. Remember him always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood. And now we even have brave young women putting themselves in harm's way, doing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation's politicians call on us to do so.
Please stop for a moment and if you are so inclined, feel free to say a prayer for our troops in the trouble spots of the world. Remembrance Day is a mere 6 weeks away and, since the ending of The War To End All Wars on 11 November 1918 at 11am, governments and politicians seem to have learned nothing.
(My thanks to Robbie for sending me this in email form.)

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Who Knew?

Yesterday I popped in to one of our local churches for the first time, as it was hosting an Open Day as part of the Anglican Back-to-Church campaign. Now, I knew that the church had a reputation for having a beautiful interior and, indeed, I'd seen some of it on a BBC Songs of Praise program earlier this year. Even so, I stepped through the door, my mouth dropped (which wouldn't have been a pretty sight!) and I said, "Wow!"
Pretty impressive, isn't it? Did you notice that the clock is only visible to the Vicar??

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Pink Saturday

Hello and welcome to Pink Saturday. Thanks are due again to our wonderful hostess Beverly at How Sweet The Sound; do stop by for links to much more pink! This week I'm showcasing a beautiful embroidery stitched by my sister as a gift for me many years ago. By my reckoning, it must now be nearly 20 years old but the colours have never noticeably faded. I've moved home many times in the last 20 years and in each new home I've always made sure that it has hung on a wall near my desk space because I love it so much.
I have another Give Away this week, you can see what's on offer here. To be in with a chance of winning, please leave a comment to show that you dropped by; become a follower of this ordinary, run-of-the-mill blog if you'd like a 2nd chance of winning. The random number selector thingy will choose the winner at 12 Noon (GMT) on Tuesday, 29 September.
Last week, for the 1st time, I visited Mimi at Our Family Attic, stop by and tell her I sent you!
Happy Pink Saturday!

Friday, 25 September 2009

HSMSHS on Facebook: Cake

Today's word prompt on the HSMSHS page on Facebook is cake. Here you can see DS experiencing his first ever taste of a chocolate muffin on his 1st birthday in January 2008. He wasn't that overly impressed!

Happy Birthday To My Sister!

Happy birthday, Sib. Love you lots. x

Thursday, 24 September 2009

A Mini-Book For Autumn

Back in May, for my birthday, BF gave me a paper stack by DCWV called Latte - really bright, vibrant greens, browns & purples in large patterns. If truth be told, I found them a little overwhelming to use as a whole sheet, but just look at how great they look when cut down for a 6x6 mini-book. I kept the same type of design throughout and each of the pages has a pocket; I simply folded the 12x6 sheet in half width ways and glued down 2 sides, thereby creating an automatic pocket. Does that description make sense? I don't think I'd be any good on a Design Team, where I'd have to write down instructions for people to follow!
Anyway, I like how it turned out and have decided that it will be this week's GiveAway on Pink Saturday.

Autumn Skies?

Just look at the sky here today! Mind you, I've not had that much time to sit and enjoy it, as I've been a busy little bee. Here's a summary, in no particular order, of what I've been up today: took DS to nursery, food shopping (my least favourite past time), waved off DH as he left to take his dad to Derbyshire for the day, rashly decided to tackle sorting out the downstairs spare room (up for grabs re usage now that DH has his office in the loft, most likely to end up as DS's playroom) and ended up moving furniture from room to room, decided to tidy up and sort out my own office while I was at it (photos later, maybe), collected DS from nursery, fed DS lunch, hung the washing out, put DS down for his nap, washed down the artificial lawn with Dettol and hot water after clearing up some doggie accidents (a truly smelly job), sorted out the recycling (which is rapidly becoming a full time job in its own right!), made Pesto, Tomato and Mozzarella Gnocchi for DS's tea and my supper (recipe available if anyone would like), emptied the dishwasher while drinking a cuppa ... and then blogged about my day! Still to come: playtime with DS, teatime for DS, bath time for DS, story time for DS, bedtime for DS, glass of fizz for Mummy ...
And to think that DH asks on a regular basis if I'll ever go back to work! My hat off to those of you who go out to paid employment and run the family home.

HSMSHS on Facebook: Surprise

Today's word prompt on the HSMSHS page on Facebook is surprise. Here you can see DS popping out from the cupboard under our stairs; he used to think it was such fun and played at it for hours. As DS got older and became more investigative, DH had to put door catches on ... we're such spoilsports, aren't we? Ignoring the amount of dust on the cupboard door is optional!!!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

More De-Cluttering

Who knew that Charity Shops looked so smart and trendy these days? A far cry from the ones I remember from childhood! Anyway, slightly off track there ... another car boot of "stuff" left the house today, destined for the local tip and I also dropped off 2 bags at the charity shop pictured above. Two of my mini-books are on their way to the States (how cool is that?) - Gibraltar, Michigan and Bend, Oregon to be precise, so that's a start to shrinking my stash mountain. I've also found a willing recipient for a few unworn things that somehow I never got around to dressing DS in; the recipient is a girl but add a girlie pink t-shirt and girlie shoes next summer and you'd never know she was in boys' clothing!
Realistically, this household is never going to be like Dave Bruno's with his 100 Thing Challenge, but that really isn't the aim. Our aim is quite simple - less clutter and use the things we have!

HSMSHS on Facebook: Tower

Today's prompt on the HSMSHS page on Facebook is tower. I opted for a slightly different take on this, as this photograph was taken from our hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Stamford Hotel in Singapore. My sister would have loved it ... not!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

HSMSHS on Facebook: Fungus

Todays's prompt on the HSMSHS page on Facebook is fungus (!). This shot was taken at Kew Gardens last October.

And The Winner Is ...

The winner of last Saturday's give away is Llyn M - congratulations! (I'll stop by your blog with the news) Not as many participants this week but still enough to make me smile; and a new follower, as well - welcome, Charo, all the way from Lima, Peru! Check out her blog here.

Monday, 21 September 2009

A Quiet Kind Of Day

And just lately, these are the kind of days I like! There were no exploding nappies, no missed nap time and not too many mini-tantrums (you know the kind, where the little people rev themselves up over the slightest thing). DS is continuing to make progress with using cutlery, although he's not adverse to resorting to his fingers when it all gets too much. He's very funny because he tells himself that he's a good boy when he's successfully manoeuvred a forkful of food into his mouth!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

HSMSHS on Facebook: Wisdom For The Weekend

Over on the HSMSHS Facebook page, the Wisdom For The Weekend challenge is to be inspired by the last line(s) of He Wishes For The Cloths Of Heaven by William Butler Yeats.

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
This photo of DS was taken by me in February of this year when we had blizzards for a few days and everything in London came to a standstill. (Pah! London kept running throughout the long, dark months of the Blitz but these days we have to stop for snow?) I love the dreamlike quality of it. In reality, DS didn't like being out in the snow at all!

Arty-Farty Shots Of Fruit

We popped over to Maidenhead this morning for a flying visit. DH went off with his dad to visit his mum, DS played with 25-year-old toy cars (and had a blast!) and yours truly amused herself by photographing the fruit growing in SIL's garden - fig, pear and apple. I know how to live the high life, don't I?!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

SLYMI: Week 38

This week's challenge was to scrap a lesson learned: that there isn't really much different between a flower and a weed, it's all down to preference!
A flower is an educated weed ~ Luther Burbank.

Pink Saturday: Another GiveAway

In the continuing spirit of looking to de-clutter my life and recognising the generosity of fellow Pink Saturday devotees out there in Blogland, I've another give away this week in honour of Pink Saturday. On offer this week is this cute photo frame (3.5" x 2.75" approx) and this gorgeous mini-book (5.5" x 3.5" approx and full of lots of things to make you ooh and coo - a perfect size for your handbag/purse). In order to be in with a chance of winning, the same "rules" apply as last week. Leave a comment to let me know you stopped by and become a follower for a 2nd chance to win. The random number generator will choose a winner at 12 Noon (GMT) on Tuesday, 22 September.
Thanks, as always, to our wonderful Pink Saturday host, Beverley, for all her organisation. Do stop by her blog, How Sweet The Sound, for more links to lashings of pinkness. Last week, for the 1st time, I visited Martha at A Sense Of Humor Is Essential; stop by and say hello!

Friday, 18 September 2009

A Better Day

I'm pleased to report that day was much better than yesterday. DS and I had our YMCA class this morning and were surprised when DH decided to join us (I think, in part, because he doesn't actually believe me when I tell him how DS behaves some weeks!). So, of course, DS loved having his daddy there and did indeed behave better then recently. Lu, the lady who runs the class, suggested another class that we might like to try, much more rough and tumble. My 1st thought was, "Oh, no, she doesn't want him in her class anymore!" But then I remembered that she takes the other class as well, so it's obviously not that! You know what? I think I'm going to book DS a trial class for next Friday (it's the class before the one we do already). He and I don't have anything to lose, do we? A few of us stayed for coffee after the class and all the little people got to play (rather nicely, mostly!). On the way home, DH remarked that he could handle a morning of childcare if that's what it entailed!!!
DS had a lovely 1.5 hour nap after his lunch, with no exploding nappy or destruction - hooray! The weather had perked up considerably this afternoon so I took him out onto the Common around 3.30pm. DS really does love it there, he spends ages looking at all the buses and aircraft spotting!
And tonight? Steak, chips & Bearnaise sauce for supper followed by Strictly Come Dancing ... ah, yes, the saga of the steak ... basically, M&S said tough. That their policy is not to do anything about shopping left behind if it isn't noted in their diary. Fat chance of that when there's never a member of staff available! The Foodhall manager was a spotty-faced youth, to add insult to injury. I'm contemplating writing to the store manager and to Head Office re their policy but part of me thinks that I should just take it on the chin. The excellent customer service for which M&S used to be known for is obviously a thing of the past. Most disappointing. We will be eating steak this evening from the Tesco Finest range!

Strictly Is Back!

Tonight sees the return of Tess Daly & Bruce Forsyth as hosts of Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1! How excited am I, even if I don't know who half the "celebrities" are?! I've entered the random ballot for 2 tickets for the final in December, watch this space.
Note to the BBC's program schedulers - do not put Strictly on at the same time as The Tudors on BBC2! Oh, yeah, you did.

HSMSHS on Facebook: Busy

Today's prompt over the HSMSHS page on Facebook is busy. Here you can see Teguise Market, Lanzarote in full swing. Sunburned holiday makers being persuaded to spent their hard earned Euros on complete tat!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

A Up And Down Kind Of Day

Today started off fairly well, with no hint of what was to come... I dropped DS at nursery and headed straight around the corner to the Post Office for 9am opening. Imagine my delight at finding no queue, almost impossible these days! I can now report that my Pink Saturday give away mini-book is on the way to Diann in Michigan - how cool is that? From the PO, I nipped into M&S because I'd noticed earlier in the week that they'd had offers on for spring bulbs and I am a wee bit behind with my planting this year. A lovely selection was purchased - various types of tulips, crocus, aliums, narcissus, something called armeniacum and hyacinths - and I also picked up 2 fillet steaks for tomorrow night's supper. On my way home I was appalled to see that M&S is already selling Christmas stuff!!
After lunch, once DS was home and down for his nap, I decided to make hay with the bulbs and get them planted. I had a lovely 45 minutes or so pottering around at the front of the house and the whole time I could hear DS chatting to himself. Just as I was coming in, there was an almighty crash and a beep-beep on my mobile (mum, asking how went the day). I shot up the stairs to find that DS had surpassed himself this time in the poo and destruction stakes. A poo-filled nappy greeted me on the landing carpet and a peep into DS's room found that he was covered in poo (again!), every available surface, bedding and wall was covered in poo and he had managed to pull the shelf from the wall. I'm afraid that it was all too much for me and poor mum had to listen to me wailing down the telephone!
And, oh, remember the fillet steaks? They are not in the fridge or my shopping bag so I can only deduce that I left them behind in the M&S Foodhall ... can you hear me screaming??
But to end on a positive note, DS did eat his tea, I found an unopened bar of Green & Black's white organic chocolate in the fridge and Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars" was played on the radio...

Scrapbooking Kit Swap

I'm taking part in the Scrapbooking Kit To Suit Swap over on UKScrappers and here's what I've sent off to my swapee this morning.
  • 3 x cardstock
  • 8 x patterned papers
  • 8 lengths ribbon/rik rak
  • selection of flowers, various sizes and colours
  • selection of buttons, various shapes and sizes
  • selection of brads
  • hinged cardstock frame with tab
  • 1 pack coaster tags
  • 1 pack mini alphas
  • 4 large paperclips
  • bulldog clip
  • 4 date spots
  • 1 flower stamp
  • 1 minibook kit

I'm hoping to receive a decent amount back ...

HSMSHS on Facebook: Soft

Over on the Facebook page of HSMSHS, the word for today is soft. As in, just look at all that beautiful, soft snow! This image shows the church at the end of our road in early February this year. And proper soft snow it was too. None of that yukky, mucky, sludgy stuff I remember from childhood!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Julie & Julia

Yours truly is managing another trip to the cinema tonight, this time to see Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep. And you never know, it may even spur me on to bigger and better culinary delights in the kitchen ... or not!
Edited at 11.15pm - go and see this film, absolutely brilliantly funny!

HSMSHS on Facebook: Curve

Over on the HSMSHS page on Facebook, the word for today is curve. Here you can see part of the stunning Reading Room at The British Museum, London. Well worth a visit when you're in town.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Battle of Britain Day

Lest We Forget : Per Ardua Ad Astra

And The Winner Is ...

I was pretty chuffed to see that I had 29 entries for my Pink Saturday mini-book random draw; thank you ladies for all your kind comments and an extra thank you to those of you who signed up to follow my ordinary, run-of-the-mill blog. I found a random number draw thingy (that would be the technical term) on the Internet and I'm pleased to announce that the winner is .... Diann at The Thrifty Groove. (I'll stop by your blog with the good news.)
There'll be more scrapping related giveaways over the next few weeks; all part of my plan to declutter ... I get to use to stash to make something lovely and then get to give it to someone who also hopefully thinks it's lovely! Got a lovely one lined up for this coming Saturday!

Patrick Swayze

I heard on the 8am radio news that Patrick Swayze died after a 2 year struggle with cancer. For me, his film Dirty Dancing will ever cause me to remember the long hot summer of 1988. I'd just arrived in Germany, barely 20 years old, and all you ever heard coming out of the WRAF block windows was the sound track of Dirty Dancing. Truly the tracks of my years; halcyon days.

HSMSHS on Facebook: Craft

I was going to go for the obvious choice - a photo of my scrapping space - but then I remembered a photo I took last July. We had a European Food market for a few days in our shopping area and one of the stalls belonged to the Dutch Cheeseman. Check out his collection of hand painted clogs, aren't they fab?!

Monday, 14 September 2009

HSMSHS on Facebook: Storage

The word of the day over on Facebook's HSMSHS page is storage. These 4 images show just how much stuff we took out of our loft last August prior to the conversion beginning. It was all dumped in our spare bedroom and by mid-September it was driving me nuts! One afternoon, during DS's nap, I cajoled (that's wife-speak for nagged) DH into helping me make a start on sorting it all out and we ended up with 3 categories: Skip, Charity Shop and Keep. A year on, the spare room is habitable again, the loft space is now DH's office and I'm still prowling around looking for stuff that somehow evaded the Skip and Charity Shop categories!

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