Thursday, 30 June 2011

Kirsty and Me

Over the past month every spare minute that I haven’t been at work/painting or just plain crashed out I have spent finishing jobs that I have been putting off for ages (such as sewing the neck of that teddy and putting straps on a little top for K’s petal). I’ve also been de-cluttering under the guise of puppy proofing to appease the hoarders (none of them ever read this, they hear enough of my musing). 
Our newest family member - due to come home in 3 weeks - eek!!
You see I am NOT a hoarder (I don’t think this is meant to go with the creative personality but I am what I am and carry on regardless).
I put the whole of yesterday aside to sort the conservatory (not quite there yet – I need a big old trunk like Harry Potter) and eldest Petals room which was so cluttered it was frankly overwhelming.  5 long hours and a tonne of recycling later and I was done.  My hubby noted last night that the house looked ‘Amazing’! (a capital A was implied) and quite right too!  With this in mind and the kids requesting to stay home for the day instead of having a day out (teacher strike-so they were off school) I had a rare and lovely day to do as I pleased.
I started with a short jog (it can only get better from here), when I say short I meant SHORT, but they say every little helps. Next was a lovely looong hot shower with no interruptions. I then sat down with my brekkie and watched Kirsty’s Homemade Home all the way through. I always watch and think ‘I want a homemade home’. However, I had a light-bulb moment a couple of days ago and walked around my house looking in Amazement (with a capital A of course) at all the ‘homemade and quirky treasured' items we actually had. I thought I would share a few of these with you (bear with me there are many and I got fed up of shuffling to blog appealingly).  
Best of the lot - curved shelves made by my own dear hubby
he is very handy.

Handmade shoe rack, by handy hubby again, the racks
in Argos are not big enough for mens shoes!!

dolly cot currently housing build a bear,
made by hubby and painted by me.x
pretty pencil drawings, hand painted letter and
one of our tooth fairy door hangers, plus a headband made by K
Net hammock made by my dad to hold teddies, surrounded by makes
of eldest Petal and his name garland from Paint Pots and Petals, also dinosaur
skull on the left (free with mag - plastic)

littlest petal cannot be held back and
has done some customising of her own.
lovely hat box next two two mini scrapbooks
and the picture frames are getting old but
we still love their style.

littlest petal moved into brothers room and
rather than change blink I decorated it.
old nursery chair - used to be my mums

cheap box I bought in my teens and still love
So today’s viewing of Kirsty and her handy hints was done with a rather self-satisfied air.  Although our homemade has come from a lack of funds rather than any eco-quest.
As the little petals had disappeared into an imaginary world in the newly tidied room, I had time for a spot of blog reading. 

beautiful batik painting by my v.talented sister, so delicious it still has no
permanent home, it needs putting on a canvas and framing.
Xx happy Nikki xX

Oo - One last thing - the five minute breathing - did not go well - kept forgetting, perhaps I would be better with 5 minutes daydreaming, I reckon I could do that! I reckon I do that!!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

5 minute challenge

So my sister has set me a challenge, not a very big challenge......or so it would seem. 

Just for 1 week I have to sit straight backed for 5 minutes and just breathe, focus on the breathing and relax, if my mind wanders? I am to try and re-focus on my breath.  I am to set a timer then I am not watching the clock.  Then next Sunday (last day of the challenge) she will be in touch to see how I've done, how I felt, did it help etc. etc.

Me, effortlessly breathing .... in the most amazing city I have ever visited. Venice. x
(thought it fitted the sentiment)

Today was the first time I did it, so that's:

Monday : fail  (fear not, I do not let these failures fester)

Tuesday : so I had a very manic morning, then an afternoon at work and my head was spinning when I arrived, my job has been fairly manic recently too however, today seem breezy and easy after my mad morning.  This evening I decided I would do my 15 minute yoga workout as I had a bit of free time handed to me from the other lovely Petal. However after a fruitless search for the DVD I gave in and decided that at least the breathing would be at least at start.

I sat straightish backed and closed my eyes...

then I remembered the timer (oops).

I set the timer and started again (it has a very annoying tick and I found myself wishing I had put it in the kitchen rather than right next to me on the floor) but to re-set it would mean starting all over again.

So I stayed, eyes closed, attempting to sit cross legged - is it just me or is this position very uncomfortable? After ooh probably half a minute my mind was wandering to why this was uncomfortable and wondering if maybe I should sit with my legs out straight - that hurt more so I put them back. Hands resting on knees.  Hands resting on thighs?  Hands on floor, aaaand back to knees. 

Just breathe.....

Another minute and it hit me!!  - there is a space underneath the drawers in the conservatory where I could stash some of the padded envelopes that make the computer desk look so unsightly.... ahem BREATHE.

breeeathe in, breeeeathe out.....

ping ping ping ping  - text message.  I wonder who it's from, oh that reminds me I was supposed to reply to mum....


Is my back straight? How am I supposed to know if I can't see a reflection?

breathe! breathe! breathe!!

....Wow that tick is really annoying, maybe I could just push it away a bit with my foot, it's not like I need to open my eyes or anything.

RIIING - Oh thank goodness for that, times up.

Perhaps it will go better tomorrow....


I leave you with one last picture of my favourite place in the world. Except of course for home.
Now that makes me feel relaxed.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

In the words of Joey Tribbiani.....

‘London Baby!!’

This little Petal went to market, this little Petal went to London. x

We were given an offer we couldn't refuse.  K's sister let us stay in her beautiful flat (green! envy! - mostly at what looked like effortless style) a very short train journey from the city centre.

The children had never been and it was 31 December 1999 when we last visited (do you remember the millennium bug??)   Anyhoo THIS time the wheel was working so we just had to have a go.  Now, I love heights, or rather used to love heights, I went on rock climbing and abseiling trips at high school, I even climbed up a waterfall once, not a very big one admittedly and it really was a little pointless as those who chickened out could just walk up the hill to one side.  However, these days I'm having a problem.  I totally get the jitters, and that's just going up the stairs at Botany Bay!!  Well the sign inside the door on our 'pod' (I think that's what they're called) was not helpful at all.

Whatever do they mean?


What on earth would happen should you inadvertently do so?

However, that was less scary than the very inquisitive squirrel in St James's Park.
Yes, yes very cute I know. However...this railing it stood on was a short leap to face height for littlest Petal who is completely fearless and was getting really close to it, and lets admit as cute as they are, they ARE in the rodent family.

We tried to see as many sights as possible. We found Pudding Lane where the great fire started. We visited the Palace where HRH sometimes resides (we did see someone drive in a side entrance in a Bentley – I thought it looked rather like princess Anne with that 'updo’she usually sports) and we took pictures under as many monopoly road signs as possible.  Then we treated the little petals to tea at the Rainforest Cafe, where I am pleased to report the food was actually worth the cash, there were a gang of girls on the next table to us with no children but instead a pitcher full of some scrummy cocktail.  Rather nice idea I thought.
We also visited the crown jewels which were so amazing we went round the travelator 3 times, once to read the labels out to the kids, once to actually look at them ourselves and once to see if they looked the same from the back. When we went into the Jewel House, we were able to walk straight in, however, when we came out this was the queue.
I do wonder - was it luck?
Did we just time it right?
Or did that extra trip on the travelator cause a backup? Oops. ;-D

Lastly, I'm bit of a Harry Potter fan (a bit! tee hee ok rather a lot) and I reckon the Ministry of Magic cars were passing through when I took this shot. Look at the bottom of the Big Ben tower – how cool is that?
Anyway must dash.....I'm still on London speed.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Fifties Fantastic

Before I start can I say, I have been unable to reply to comments on the blog, try though I might I keep going in circles, so sorry to Helen and Liz for not replying. x

We had a lovely day today, even though the weather turned on us once again... blast the unpredictable britishness of it!!

For those of you who didnt get to experience our little fifties fantasy first hand here are some pics for you to enjoy. x

I know the pic overlaps the rest of blog on right but for a one off thought it was nice to a have a big easy pic to look at.
We went with a tea-party theme this time, we also had a prize draw to give away the pretty tea set at the end of the day. Two very helpful young boys who came in to shelter from the rain blew the balloons up for us and got a sweetie for their effort (in the sugar bowl). A helpful little girl drew the winner at the end of the day. >>
Obviously to fit in with our retro tea-party theme, we HAD to dress up, K did our hair expertly and my pretty scarves finished our outfits to perfection.

This made us a tad late (oops).

Worth it? well we thought so. x

We hired the room upstairs this time, which involved much shifting of heavy chairs (left behind from a previous event), but helping out meant we had the chance to set up our stall the day before giving that extra needed time for make-up and accessorising (trust me the before shot was not particularly pretty, but then I do despise mornings, and they seem to feel similarly about me).
K having a good time, as she tends to do whatever she does, wish I knew her secret.
I managed not to over spend this time and only purchased one item which I NEEDED as my keys have been looking a little sad and lonely for months now.
Ok so since typing this last night I remember I also purchased 2 cute cards from Helen Pickup (Helen's blog) 

One last mention, poor While Charlie Sleeps who had a nasty arm break and was in a lovely pink cast, still managed the last two stalls, and took our glammed up pics above.  Here is her stall full of gorgeous bags, the Petals both have one natch:
While Charlie Sleeps Website

Bye for now. XxNikxX

Friday, 3 June 2011

Monopoly Mayhem

Its the school hols again so just a very quick one I meant to post a while back. x

On one of the many bank holidays in April we bought monopoly, feeling that the littlest Petal might now be old enough to cope with the complicated rules....­­­ you know what’s coming next – the older little Petal got ALL the stations and built a plethora of hotels, the littlest Petal got Mayfair on her first turn – shortly followed by Park Lane.  Dad wiped out first and mum hung in there with £43 (or M43) I then put them to bed early to ensure I lasted another day.  A heavily developed Mayfair saw us both off in the end.   I had previously dubbed it sudden death corner and I turned out to be very very correct.

1 week later and they were still playing – this was the view of our dining table.

They tried to keep going until only one was left standing (with me playing referee) but had to admit defeat in the end and the final scores were M10965 and M7385 I’ll not say exactly who won, but safe to say they wiped the floor with the grown-ups!
I mention all this now as 2 days ago we started the quick version (there is now an extra dice and added rules to speed the game up) we're still playing and the grown-ups are once again faring badly – I had decided not to go easy on them this time, I’m not sure where I went wrong but somehow I am still losing.  Oh dear, perhaps we should go back to snap, I’m still pretty good at that.

Oo before I forget, we are at the Coach House again this Sunday, I shall be on  my own (eek) in the afternoon so please come and along and visit me.