Monday, 31 December 2012

Blog Review: 2012

555 posts this year.
82,000 page views, approximately, in the life of this blog.
132 followers, plus a handful of others who regularly comment but don't actively follow me. 
This blog had its ups and downs, but overall, it wasn't a bad blogging year at all.
Successfully completed were:
  • Project Life ~ none of which was blogged, which somehow made it easier to keep on top of things.
  • December Daily ~ love, love, love this annual project.
  • 30 Days of Thankful ~ a great way to look at life's blessings.
  • One Little Word ~ the word for 2012 was enjoy and, despite personal tragedy for our family, we found much to enjoy.  
  • Move More, Eat Well ~ definitely more of the moving more, the eating well less so, but I'm heading in the right direction.   
  • Photo a Day: 2012 ~ I managed to get to the end.  There was no photo on 12 March, as that was the day of my Father in Law's funeral. 
  • Happy Mail 2012 ~ 34 parcels sent around the world and 122.53 pounds sterling spent on postage.  I didn't keep track of how much I spent on the items I gave away.  It was worth the experience, but the response was perhaps not as high as I might have liked.
~ self-portrait: 31 December 2011 ~
Projects for 2013:
  • One Little Word ~ the third year and the word for 2013 seems to be change.
  • Move More, Eat Well ~ moving in to the second year with the same good intentions.  I've asked The Brainy One to join in with me in 2013. 
  • Me: The Abridged Version ~ see foundation pages here.  This would be a project for The Boy Child, where I completed the foundation pages in November 2011.  I then put the album on the bookshelf and forgot about it.
  • More scrapbook pages.  Plain and simple.
  • Something camera based, but not another year of photo-a-day.
~ self-portrait: 31 December 2012 ~

There's change ahead this coming year for me and my family.  Changes that will lead to differing priorities, especially in regard to how much time I spend in front of the PC.
I like blogging. 
I love blogging.
But I know that the frequency will change.
I'm excited about the coming year and all that it promises. 
I hope you'll join me.

December Daily: Days 22-25

The final round-up of 2012's December Daily.
Day 22 ~ drinks and nibbles with friends.
Day 23 ~ 12 Days of Christmas at Kew Gardens.
 Day 24 ~ a flurry of activity rounded off by the Christingle service.
Day 25 ~ pretty much perfect.
Closing page.
And there it is.
Roll on December Daily 2013.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Photo a Day: 30th December

Photo a Day: 29th December

~ an evening out ~
The Brainy One and I went to a post-Christmas Supper Party at our next door but one neighbours.  My SiL very kindly came over to babysit.

Move More, Eat Well: November and December

It has to be said that finding the energy to exercise these last two months has been fairly difficult.  There's been just too much other stuff going on.
Let's see how I got on, shall we?

November.  The worst month of the year.
It get light late and it gets dark early.
It always feels damp.
It's hard to be motivated.
I walked the pooch a total of twenty times.
I turned up for Zumba at the church hall and the instructor didn't.
I made it to Zumba at the gym just once.
I went to Aquarobics twice.
I took The Boy Child to Family Swim just once.
November was not a good month for gym membership.
For my American friends, this month is all about gratitude and I want to focus on that as well.  Gratitude shouldn't be kept just for November, it deserves my attention every day. Every.  Single.  Day.
I'm never going to be a supermodel but I deserve as much health as I can welcome in to my life.
Now that doesn't mean it's going to come easily.
No, sometimes I'll have to fight for it, but make no mistake: it is something I deserve.
Being grateful reminds me to welcome hope as well.
Hope for better health.
Hope for knowledge.
Hope that I can be really brave and face my worries head on.
This month, I'm saying thank you to my life.
December.  The month of wonder and mince pies.
I walked the pooch a total of four times.
I went to Zumba at the gym twice.
I went to Aquarobics twice.
I went swimming six times, including two visits to Family Swim with The Boy Child.
I found that my days were too full this month.  Christmas shopping, events at school, outings with The Boy Child, gatherings at home, visiting friends we haven't seen in months.
That list sounds like a list of excuses, doesn't it?  But that was my reality.
I look back to January and see how far I've come.
Who knew then that I would be joining the gym in April and still going regularly in December?
Who knew then that I would actually swim on a regular basis, even if I still don't have any style or finesse?
Who knew that I would enjoy it all so much?  Actually, to be honest, I did know this from previous experience.  But it was still good to rediscover.
So I think, all in all, that it's okay to give myself a pat on the back.
I did good.
With 2013 just around the corner, I know that I will continue with the good practices learnt this year.  An added bonus will be The Brainy One joining me to Move More and Eat Well next year (and in the years to come).
There will be ups and there will be downs.
But no matter, failure is only another word for 'get up and start over'.
Twenty thirteen, I'm ready.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Photo a Day: 27th December

~ road testing my new wellies ~
My Christmas gift from The Boy Child.  They've been successfully christened by the mud, flooding and horse poop of the Cotswolds.

Photo a Day: 26th December

~ a second Christmas dinner ~

Photo a Day: 25th December

~ three is the magic number ~
 even if we can't all look the same way at the same time ...

Monday, 24 December 2012

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Photo a Day: 23rd December

~ abstract art ~
We went to Kew Gardens today, taking part in their 12 Days of Christmas promotion.
Meaning we went for free.  
They have an exhibition on called David Nash at Kew: A Natural Gallery.
I thought it all a wee bit Emperor's New Clothes.

Photo a Day: 22nd December

Friday, 21 December 2012

December Daily: Days 15-21

Welcome to week 3 of December Daily.
Day 15 was the day we went to see Goodnight Mister Tom.  You can see that the 15th falls in the album with a sheet of acetate and a chipboard page in the middle.  The reverse of the chipboard page has an envelope The Boy Child received from his wee friend in Australia stuck to it.  The envelope holds his friend's photo Christmas card.
Day 16: the day with the card and paper reindeer:
Suffice to say, I have made any more yet ...
Day 17: the day we went to see the nation's Christmas tree:
The green chipboard tree and flowers (cut in half) were in the Studio Calico kit.
Day 18: a non-Christmassy day.  The most exciting thing to happen was Paddy Bear making an appearance at Street Dance class.
Day 19: another normal day, but an afternoon filled with the sound of Christmas pop.
Day 20: the day we went to see the Blunderbus Theatre Company perform The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark.  This is another day where there is an acetate sheet and a chipboard page in the middle.
The reverse of the chipboard page shows The Boy Child with my life-long friend, who'd come over for supper, drinks and chat.
Day 21: the day we hosted Drinks and Nibbles for nine children and ten parents/grandparents.  It could have been chaotic.  It should have been chaotic.  In reality, it was fabulous.  All nine children were super well-behaved.  There were no dramas, no tears, no fallings out.  Brilliant.
With just four sleeps to go to the Big Day, my album is already looking fabulously fat and chunky.  But there will be room for four more days of Christmas adventures.

Photo a Day: 21st December

~ how to take the stress out of visiting the supermarket four days before Christmas ~ 

Photo a Day: 20th December

~ the magic that is children's theatre ~

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Photo a Day: 19th December

This was the only Christmas-related thing we did today ~ lots of singing along to Christmas pop songs.  Great fun!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Photo a Day: 17th December

~ Paddy Bear tags along on another outing ~ 

Hello Monday

Hello to doing battle with the woman at the Statementing office.  Things have not gone to plan and I hold her responsible.
Hello to meeting up with a friend and taking The Boy Child to see the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and the Christmas Lights.
Hello to making use of Holiday Gym Club for The Boy Child this week.
Hello to the final Street Dance class of the term.
Hello to attempting to deliver two Santa presents without being seen.
Hello to a Boys Own Adventure on Wednesday.
Hello to going to see The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark with The Boy Child and my SiL.
Hello to hosting Drinks and Nibbles on Friday afternoon for a few of The Boy Child's classmates and their parents.  It will be chaotic, but fine.
Hello to attending Drinks and Nibbles on Saturday evening.  The Boy Child is also invited and the final of Strictly will be on the TV.
Hello to visiting Kew Gardens for free as part of their 12 Days of Christmas promotion.  

How's it looking for you?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Photo a Day: 16th December

I turned my hand to making a few reindeer name-place thingys this afternoon.  They turned out to be more time consuming than originally thought, but isn't that always the case?
I printed out the template on Kraft card and the prototype reindeer was covered (one side only) in an old piece of Christmas themed paper from October Afternoon.  I used brown ink around all the edges and used one of The Boy Child's thick felt tip pens to colour in the blank sides of each piece.
I had thought that I might make enough for the table on Christmas Day.  My SiL is hosting Christmas lunch and at the last count, there will be fifteen of us.  I'm now thinking that I'll just make enough for the three of us to have on our kitchen table.
The pattern was seen in the Christmas edition of Red magazine: you should be able to copy the image below and print it out on A4 card.  Failing that, check out their website here.

Simply a Moment

The four of us are standing in the front lobby of the Phoenix Theatre on Charing Cross Road. We are there for the 2.30 pm matinee performance of Goodnight Mister Tom.  We read a rave review about it in a recent Saturday edition of The Brainy One's Financial Times and decided to hang the expense and purchase tickets as our family's Christmas treat.  My SiL was able to step-in at the 11th hour, after mum was still too poorly to come for her pre-Christmas visit.
The Brainy One has gone to the bar for drinks.  I have shepherded The Boy Child in to a corner in front of a banner advertising the play and am trying to get him to smile for the camera.  He is holding Paddy Bear, the prize (on loan) winners of the weekly Lower School Star of the Week receive.  The children get to take him home for the weekend (or in our case, for the whole of the Christmas holidays) and are supposed to record the adventures he has in the Paddy Bear Scrapbook.
"Is that something you could do, The Boy Child's Mummy?" asks the class teacher last week.
No problem at all.
I take three shots before The Boy Child decides we are done.
My SiL laughs. The Brainy One returns from the bar, laden with drinks and a Nibble Box for The Boy Child. The Usher announces that the auditorium is now open and to please have tickets ready.
It is 2.20pm.
Why not pop across to Alexa's blog to see how her moment, and those of many others, panned out?  You'll be glad you did.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Photo a Day: 15th December

I met a fox today.
There he was, bold as brass, out in the daylight.
First he trotted towards me, then he trotted away.
He continued with this little game for a good five minutes.
Then he lost interest.
And trotted off.

Friday, 14 December 2012

December Daily: Days 8-14

Welcome to week 2 of December Daily.
Day 8: the day we went to see Santa at Harrods.
The tag in the middle was made from two of Ali's December Story cards and I just glued them together and punched holes.  The stamp came attached to a Christmas card from the lovely Amy.
Day 9: the day we went as a family to the British Military Tournament at Earl's Court.  It was a real blast from the past for me and I loved seeing The Boy Child so engrossed. He thought it was "really cool".  As you can see, it wasn't a cheap afternoon out.
Day 10: the day The Brainy One and I went to get our tree. The tree embellies were in the Studio Calico kit.
In between these pages is a sheet of acetate and a chipboard page.  Not sure what's going on there yet.
Day 11: the day I wrote to Santa.  Yes, that's right.  I'm almost embarrassed to tell you that.  I thought it important to let Santa know how his actions had made the whole experience so magical for The Boy Child.  And me.  I found the Santa badge lurking in a dark corner on my desk and attached it with foam pads.
Day 12: the day with freezing fog and sub zero temperatures.  It was also the day where The Boy Child won this term's Singing prize and was also awarded the Lower School Star of the Week. Those small musical stars were also in the Studio Calico kit.  The day when I finally posted off the last of the Christmas cards.  The (second) day where I froze after school trying to see parents the PTA calendar.
I like how this page looks in the album, with two photos and small journaling pages.  The design will most likely reappear in the next 12 days.
The advantage of Ali's December Story cards is that they don't have the year on them. They'll be making appearances in the years to come.
Day 13: the day where I made a second batch of Cranberry Sauce.  The day with the Lower School Nativity and Whole School Carol Service.  The day where the Head rang me up just after 9am to ask if I would bring my camera.  (Note that he automatically knew that I would be there.)  Seems the professional photographers have let him down.
I think that I'll print out another couple of templates for the 13th and add a hefty amount of journaling, as there's a lot to say.
Day 14: the first day of the school holidays.  Shockingly bad weather and a Christmas DVD or two. A good afternoon to be at home.
And there's still more good stuff to come.

Photo a Day: 14th December

First day of the school holidays.
Twenty lengths of the pool for me.
Holiday Gym Club for The Boy Child.
Hot chocolate and mince pie for me.
Something wrong with that scenario, wouldn't you say?
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