Thursday, 31 March 2016

Recording The Tough Times

Scrapbooks should tell the whole story; the good and the bad.
Otherwise, what's the point?
I'd end up with scrapbooks full of a sanitised version of my life.
It wasn't easy putting this page together, though.
I went large on the photo and ultra minimal on everything else. 
And somehow, it seems to work.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Snap #7

Helena has a new photographic theme for 2016:
 Snap, a visually linked group of 2 to 4 images.
We recently discovered the Conservatory,
hidden away on the third floor of the Barbican Centre in the City of London. 
It's free to enter, but has restricted opening times,
so it's best to check prior to visiting.

You can see more Snap images here.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

London Through My Lens | Chelsea

If money were no object, Chelsea would be in my Top Three 
of places in London where I'd like to live.
 As it is now, it's mostly families who have been there for generations,
bankers spending their bonuses, Premier League footballers or overseas buyers.
All these properties are a stone's throw from the King's Road,
and yet the peace and solitude as you walk down these streets is astonishing.
 Of course, you have to surrender any idea of a front garden,
and the rear space is little more than a patio courtyard. 
 The blue corner house is quite sweet, but obviously has no room for a bike.
Do you think these three houses were painted that way 
especially to look like the Irish flag? 
 The house in the middle there is currently for sale at a cool £2,250,000
 There's no missing this row, is there?
Shame about the bin having to live at the front of the property.
And sometimes, British Racing Green on the front door, potted shrubs
and window boxes are all you need.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Memorandum Monday

Monday has rolled around again, and that means it's time to
join in with the lovely Sian and
 share something that I've learnt over the weekend.
It dawned on me this morning, after a very quiet Easter weekend,
that there is no need to over think things or to try and reinvent the wheel.
The Boy Child doesn't need to be entertained, per se.  
He just requires a plan.
And if that plan should go, erm, as planned,
then all to the good.
If not, there's always another day.

You can see what Sian discovered over the weekend here

Friday, 25 March 2016

What Caught Her Eye #4

Continuing my new series for Fridays: 
the contents of that Smythson notebook,
one page at a time.
"No spring, nor summer beauty
has such grace,
as I have seen in one autumnal face."
John Donne

Thursday, 24 March 2016

London Through My Lens | Bayswater

Bayswater is one of those bits of London that no-one is exactly sure where it is.
You'll find it between Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch.  
It makes up part of the Hyde Park Estate and there's no denying 
that it's an expensive part of town. 
Lots of properties are owned by people who live elsewhere for the biggest part of the year,
which can make the streets feel empty and neglected.  But those locals who live here all year
do their best with what limited outside space they have.  
The City of Westminster does its best as well.
 We don't have hanging baskets on the street lamps out in the suburbs.
A former Prime Minister lives here, and his house is easy to spot
 by the number of heavily-armed police officers outside the property. 
The TV presenter Claudia Winkleman also lives locally, but there was no sign of her.
Which was a shame, as I'd have quite fancied a chat.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Hand Made Postcards

I'm still bashing away at the Happy-Mail-that-is-anything-but;
I think the end is in sight.  However, I've run out of what I call 'suitable' cards,
and was all for popping into the Store of Utter Gorgeousness for a resupply.
When I had a light bulb moment ... make my own.
I'm a scrapbooker, not a card maker, so I took the middle ground
and produced a stack of photo postcards. 
The photos are themed London in Spring and I took them last week.
I added a 6x4 journaling card to the reverse of each photo,
 a strip of washi tapeacross the top of the journaling card,
a corner rounder and a vertical line in red ink to separate the 
space between the text and the recipient's address. 
I'm using up Mum's supply of stamps; she would approve.

This post also links in with Helena's new photographic theme for 2016,
Snap: a visually linked group of 2 to 4 images.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Smart Recipes App

The Brainy One likes to tell people that I hate cooking.
I don't hate cooking at all.
I hate having to decide what to eat for dinner,
particularly when neither The Brainy One nor The Boy Child are
very forthcoming when asked, "What shall we have for supper?" 
 A friend pointed me in the direction of the Smart Recipes app. 
Why was I even surprised that such an app exists?
 The app is easy to use and has a whole range of ideas
 for breakfast, lunch and supper.
I chose Chicken Couscous to start on.
Something not too far away from ingredients we eat regularly,
 as I wanted all three of us to eat the same.
Couscous, tomatoes, cucumber, roast chicken, cranberries, 
seasoning and chilli flakes {for The Brainy One}. 
Three clear plates and a super easy recipe to follow.  
I even felt confident enough to tweak the recipe as I went. 
I recommend this app to anyone who feels that some extra 'zing' 
when meal planning wouldn't go amiss.   

Monday, 21 March 2016

Memorandum Monday

Monday has rolled around again, and that means it's time to
join in with the lovely Sian and
 share something that I've learnt over the weekend.
What the end result looks like doesn't really matter,
as long as you had a good time.
{The Boy Child attended his first ever free jumping party
yesterday.  He was completely uncoordinated, but loved it.}

You can see what Sian discovered over the weekend here

Friday, 18 March 2016

What Caught Her Eye #3

Continuing my new series for Fridays: 
the contents of that Smythson notebook,
one page at a time.
"A friend is someone
who understands your past,believes in your future
and accepts the way you are today."

Thursday, 17 March 2016

London Through My Lens

With the arrival of Spring in our part of the London suburbs,
I have been consciously choosing to take my big camera
with me when I walk the pooch.
And to use it. 
 There is an abundance of magnificent Magnolia trees locally,
which, coupled with brilliant blue skies
 and the white render of period houses make for stunning images. 
So much of this city of mine is beautiful; 
I just need to remember to look for it.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Unfinished Business of the Hooky Variety

Mum was crocheting a blanket.
I'm not sure of the size of it,
 because I haven't felt able to take it from its storage bag.  
 The choice of colours complement each other beautifully
 There are reminders about stitches and patterns tucked away.
 Even the bag it's in is lovely.
Just look at that scalloped edging.
I think it's Mum's work, but perhaps my sister made it.
I don't crochet myself, but I have a plan ...

{And if you are of the hooky persuasion, you should check out Attic24

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Taking Time to Live Well

"Make sure you look after you."
That's something I've heard a lot since the beginning of the year.
It's also something I'm trying to be mindful of
and something that I'm reinforcing since
the discovery of The Simple Things magazine.
 Each and every page is a visual delight.
With articles that I'll be referencing in the future.
With articles that appeal to my scrapbooker's eye.
With quirky snippets about obscure print titles from yesteryear. 
And if you follow my Instagram feed, you'll have noticed
 the magazine appearing on more than one occasion. 

{This is not a sponsored post in any shape or form}

Monday, 14 March 2016

Post Funeral Small Talk

I should perhaps start by saying that this is not intended as a criticism of anyone.
Heaven knows, I'm sure I know I've been guilty of saying something crass 
to someone recently bereaved.
Desperate to fill an awkward silence with something.
And then spending the next twenty minutes wishing that I could quietly disappear. 
A lot of people attended Mum's Celebration Service
 and most remained for a cup of tea and a sandwich or two.
I don't have any clear memory of those 90 minutes,
of how I got through them or who I spoke to.
But what I have had are flashbacks to moments
 where people spoke before engaging their brains.

"How are you?"
{How do you think?}
"You're the image of your mum!"
"She'll be sorely missed."
{I know}
"She was such a wonderful lady."
{I know}

While I know that these people meant well, 
I wish more people could have been like my friend.
He gave me a huge bear hug.
He didn't say a word.
And in that moment, I knew that he felt my loss and grief.

Friday, 11 March 2016

What Caught Her Eye #2

Continuing my new series for Fridays: 
the contents of that Smythson notebook,
one page at a time.
"A friend is a person
with whom I may be sincere.
Before him I may speak aloud."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Autism and the Everyday #8

There are some things about autism that are hard to live with.
  It's all relative because, let's be honest, autism is hard to live with.
Full stop. 
Let's talk chewing.
Now, I know that babies and toddlers chew things;
it's how they learn.
Children with autism, however, chew for much longer.
 Repetitive behaviours help a child with autism.  It’s common to see children with autism who have wet shirts. Biting or chewing on toys or other objects such as pencils is also well known in the autism community. Often, easing the anxieties by chewing or biting helps ward off meltdowns that are a result of too much tension or insecurities.
A major problem that a child on the autism spectrum may have is with proper sensory processing. As the brain receives information from the senses, it sends the wrong messages to the rest of the body. A child who bites, chews or sucks on non-edible objects may be feeding a deep, oral desire. It may feel as if he cannot satisfy the need, causing him to continuously have something in his mouth. 
But as the child grows, how best to manage it?
{Because let's be honest here, I'm fed up with having to darn the chewed cuffs of jumpers,
and of trying to persuade him that chewing the silica nose-pieces on his glasses is not a good idea.} 
We invested in a ChewBuddy, which we are encouraging
 The Boy Child to use when he feels the urge to chew on something. 
 It appears to be doing the trick, as he hasn't chewed his glasses in weeks. 
It certainly looks as though it's taken some punishment.
And just to be on the safe side, we are in the process of changing The Boy Child's glasses 
for a pair with a moulded bridge.  Because, you know, I'd hate for him to end up in hospital with a blocked intestine and we be investigated for Munchausen by Proxy ...

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

One Photo | Twenty Words

Had hoped to be more adventurous
with his costume for World Book Day.
Didn't happen.
Thing 1 for the win. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A Simple Matter of Reorganisation?

It had got to the point where it was beginning to bug the c**p out of me.
The bookcase in the hall had become a dumping ground.
 Hats and gloves.
Maps and books thrown on top of other books.
A windscreen wiper.
Box sets of DVDs that we never, ever watch. 
{Apart from The Sopranos.}
An hour later I had reached a point where I was reasonably happy
to stop.  I have a pile of books ready to go to Oxfam.
  The maps are stored together in the white basket. 
Books on similar subjects are grouped together. 
And yet ... the bookcase might be tidier than before, but it still doesn't
look like how I had envisaged it.  The reason for that is, of course, obvious.
I'm not a picture editor/designer/window dresser.
I still have too much stuff on those shelves.
The bookcase is not the best quality, as evidenced by the bowing in the top shelf.
Which I can't turn over in the hope of forcing the shelf to bend back to its natural shape,
 because the underside is bare MDF.
The Roman writer Cicero said, "A room without books is a like a body without a soul."
A wise man, that Cicero.
So I'll call it done and move on to the next job.
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