Friday, 29 September 2017

Photography Scavenger Hunt | Link Up #3

is hosting the third 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.) 

You can see the full list here.

Here's what I was missing:
4) A zig zag.
6) A pipe.
9) A kite or balloon.
14) Someone fishing.
 17) Circles or crosses in architecture.
18) A fan.
20) Something found under ground.
23) Something powered by wind.
I was able to find everything on the list, although some items 
required a little artistic licence.

How did you get on? 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

On a Random Mission

Yesterday, I did something completely out of character.
I approached two well-dressed young men and asked if they would like me to take their picture.
I even suggested how they might like to pose.

Let me explain ... 
I follow Heidi Swapp on Instagram and via her blog. 
As well as being what you might call a big noise in the scrapbooking industry,
she is also a Mormon and the mother of a son currently serving a Mission in Japan.  
Although I am not a Mormon, some family members are,
and having come from, and served in the military,
it's all too easy to imagine how much you miss someone when they are away.   

But I digress ... bottom line is this, Heidi frequently suggests that if you meet 
a couple of Missionaries (they're always in pairs)
 when you are out and about, stop them, chat to them and then take a picture ... 
to send to their parents.
(During a two-year Mission, the Elder/Sister Missionaries are only allowed
to contact home, via email, once a week.)

So that's why I did what I did yesterday.
And I feel pretty good about it, too!   

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

LSNED | Days 16-20

16 September:
A gift to myself is permissible.

17 September:
Beginning a new notebook presents endless possibilities.

18 September:
The answer to life's dilemmas, quandaries and worries is a cup of tea.

19 September:
Don't forget the obvious.

20 September:
"Don't count the days; make the days count."
{Totally inspired by reading this quote from the late Mohammed Ali}

Days 11-15 here.
Days 6-10 here.
Days 1-5 here.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

What Would You Save?

Like many people recently, I'd followed with horrified fascination the footage of the carnage and devastation wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma et al.  It's difficult to imagine losing your home and all your possessions in such a savage and immediate way.  It's difficult to imagine losing your home and all your possessions full stop.

But watching the footage made me think about what I might save in the moments prior to an emergency evacuation.  My initial thought was, "the scrapbooks", which sounds both a little precious and self-indulgent.  But it's neither really.  All our marriage life and every inch of The Boy Child's life are in those albums.  Future generations might be glad to have a period of life recorded in every detail.  In reality, saving the scrapbooks wouldn't be practical. At the last count I have 46 (yep, you read that correctly) 12x12 scrapbooks.  Not to mention the smaller December Daily albums and assorted travel journals.  They take up a lot of space and taken as a whole, are extremely heavy.  In order to take them, what would I have to discard?

Obviously, it makes sense to regularly back up photos onto an external hard drive (I've been doing that for a number of years), USB or in a 'cloud', but there is still no way I could ever reproduce 42 albums worth of layouts.  While I don't envisage ever living in a place that has an annual hurricane season, floods and worse can happen in anyone's home, and that thought spurs me on to put together an 'emergency exit' package - passports, birth certificates, marriage certificate, house deeds, copies of our Wills, details of all financial accounts - right alongside that external hard drive.

Let's suppose that your loved ones are safe and accounted for; what would you save, prior to an emergency evacuation, if you had the time?

Becky Higgins recently wrote a long and detailed blog post on Memories and Natural Disasters, sharing stories from those who lost tangible memories in a natural disaster, tips for prevention and tips for recovering memories.    

Image via

Monday, 25 September 2017

This Weekend I ...

We began the weekend with another early start,
this time for Autism | Early Birds at the Science Museum. 
We followed that visit up with our usual tea and toast in a cafe,
but this time, I persuaded them to walk through South Kensington first
in order to admire the multi-million pound houses.
{Yeah, so, that was more for me than them ...}  
With the weather improving as Saturday turned into Sunday,
we were in the park for a few hours,
  before ending the weekend with friends, a dog and a BBQ.

Friday, 22 September 2017

For the Love of Books | Currently Reading September 2017

September's seen in a drop in how much reading I've managed.
Just one finished, with one on the go and two waiting.

The novel I finished (on Kindle) was The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh.
Imagine a place populated by criminals - people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who've been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits ...
The plot was unsettling, as all the characters are not what they initially seem,
including the 'good guys', but it was still engaging and I wanted to find out what happened to them.
The Blinds doesn't appear to be available in print in the UK until 2018,
 which is why I read it on an e-reader.

(the BBC's North America Editor).  I heard Jon Sopel on the radio discussing this book and I knew it
would be one I would want to read.  Many of us (millions of us?) are currently fascinated by what's happened in American politics over the last few years.  In this insightful portrait of American life and politics, the author sets out to answer our questions about a country that once stood for the grandest of dreams but which is now mired in a storm of political extremism, racial division and increasingly perverse beliefs.

Conclave by Robert Harris is set in Rome after the death of the Pope, with 118 Cardinals gathering
to elect a successor to lead the Roman Catholic Church.  This is one of the two I have waiting to be read and I'm hoping it will be as good as previous novels I've read by Harris (Fatherland 
and The Ghost to name two).   

Diary of a Wartime Affair by Doreen Bates is the second of the two books I have waiting to be read, and is the story of a long and, at times, complicated 
love affair with an older, married man.  Who also happened to be a work colleague. 
 The diary came to publication through the endeavours of Bates's children and sister,
 and I'm curious to know how things worked out for her.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Hard is Hard

Right now, we have a lot going on.  Just like any other family.
  Just like you.  But it does feel like there's more than usual.
  Probably because there is.
Many years ago, a counsellor told me that comparing my/our difficulties to those of others was pointless.  Who's to say that my/our struggles are in anyway less, or more, than someone else's?
How do we even measure struggle?
Struggles are hard; they're meant to be.
That's why they're called struggles.
Well-meaning family/friends/acquaintances tell me, "Chin up!  It could be worse!"
Well, yes, of course it could be.  I know that. 
How come when you're happy, no-one ever says, "Chin up!  So-and-so is happier than you are!"?
Sometimes I find myself woe-is-me-ing - I can't do this any more.  I don't want to do this any more -  
but I should be thinking, "why not me/us?" instead of "why me/us?"

Hard is hard.  Struggles are struggles.
Experiences are different for everyone.
Comparison is pointless.   
Perhaps we should all compare and judge less.

Wouldn't that be nice. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Scrapbook as a Gift

We wanted to give the friends who'd invited us a Marrakech
a personalised thank-you gift.
Which meant a scrapbook.
I chose a 6x8 album and filled it assorted sizes of page protectors,
some of which I trimmed down to get the exact size I was looking for.
 I kept the journaling to a minimum, letting the photos speak for themselves,
and I added opaque envelopes filled with smaller prints, just to mix things up a little. 
We handed the gift over at the weekend,
 and I forgot to take a single photo of the occasion. 
But I can tell you is that it was received very happily.
Which is always good. 

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

LSNED | Days 11-15

11 September: 
The arrival of Season 3 of Outlander on Amazon Prime makes me happy.

12 September: 
Sometimes, all you need to be is a good listener.

13 September: 
Sometimes, showing up is what's important.
The Boy Child turned out for the Year 6 football (soccer) team trial,
knowing in his heart of hearts that it was highly unlikely
that he would be selected.

14 September:
It's not too early for planning and issuing invitations to a Christmas party.

15 September:
How you gift wrap a present can make a difference.
The humblest of gifts look a million dollars when paired with tissue paper
and cellophane.  (Basket optional, but I counted it as part of the gift).

See Days 6-10 here.
See Days 1-5 here.

Monday, 18 September 2017

This Weekend I ...

Saturday began early with a visit to Dawnosaurs at the 
Natural History Museum in South Kensington.  
If only all early mornings began with views like this.
 We took our first glimpse at Hope, the newly installed blue whale
in the museum's Hintze Hall.  While impressive, we didn't feel
as though she had the same impact as Dippy used to.
 The boy Child blended in with the background.
And he's found a way to let us know when he's reached his full level.

How was your weekend?

Friday, 15 September 2017

Time Flies

When The Boy Child returned to school,
it came with the knowledge that he was beginning his 
final year of primary education.
 Ahead of us lies countless meetings with countless professionals,
each with their own opinion and agenda, over the decision
 of where The Boy Child goes in September 2018.
But for now, I'm revisiting Shimelle's 4x6 Photo Love series from 2011,
 placing seven photos from seven Septembers onto one 12x12 page.
 and wondering where the years have gone.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Camp Nou

Earlier this week,  I mentioned that we had visited Camp Nou recently.
For those of you who may not know what it is, it's the home of Barcelona Football Club.
As it's the largest football stadium in Europe, it's a tourist destination in its own right.
 There's plenty to keep the non-footie fan interested, and although parts of the tour
were incredibly busy, I'd say it's worth an hour of two of your time.
 The Boy Child loved it and rated it 5*.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

LSNED | Days 6-10

6 September:
Going to the hairdresser can be like a therapy session in reverse.
All I have to do is listen.
I'm used to him talking for 45 minutes of more, barely pausing for breath
or allowing me to get a word in edge-ways.
Strangely, I find it quite relaxing.

7 September:
Five years can go by in a flash.
How can I be applying for The Boy Child's 3rd passport in ten years?

8 September: 
Accepting the offer to test drive a new car for the weekend can be fun.
There's no cost involved us and it doesn't commit us to anything.  

9 September:
Spontaneity can be over-rated!
Checking that someone is home when you find yourself near their house
is probably the best way to proceed.

10 September: 
Attempting to match up a pair of wardrobes
 twenty years apart was never going to work.

See Days 1-5 here.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Weekend Retreat | What Did I Make?

Aside from all but finishing the Traveler's Notebook about our exploits in Sapin,
I managed to make a whopping 11 scrapbook pages over the course of two days! 
Four were 12x12 pocket pages, three were 8.5x11 (a size I'd challenged myself to produce) 
and the remainder were 12x12
(three were double-page spreads and one was a single-page spread).
 That's what I call a productive weekend. 
Jemma, the brilliant organiser of the weekend, issued challenges throughout Friday evening 
and Saturday.  They were great icebreakers and allowed us all to admire each other's work. 
I'd turned up with approximately twenty sets of photos that I naively expected to adhere
to cardstock during the weekend.  It really had been a long time since my last weekend retreat,
as I'd forgotten to factor in the time spent chatting, drinking tea and eating cake.  Doh.
But that amount gave me plenty of scope to match photos with each challenge. 
  I knew that The Boy Child would love a double-page spread about our visit to Camp Nou,
and I was right.  He said it was best thing I did all weekend! 
And in case you were wondering, the title is in Catalan and translates as More Than a Club

Monday, 11 September 2017

This Weekend I ...

... spent a lot of the time in a car.
Not our car, I might add, but one that we were offered the use of ...
for the whole weekend.
We took advantage and headed out of town
to the beauty that is the Chilterns.
If only the weather had played ball.
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