Meme Frenzy

I’ve been tagged 3 times this week and I don’t like to be a bad blog friend so I’m doing all three at once!

First off Karin at Cafebebe tagged me with HERE COMES MY FROCK meme to show your wedding dress. I’ll happily show off my wedding dress at the drop of a hat, I loved it.  I actually went shopping on my own for it, as I didn’t have any girlfriends at the time and my Mum lived 100 miles away. So the nice ladies in Debenhams helped me and made me feel like less of a ‘billy no mates’ even eight years later I thank them for their kindness.  So here it is and the bloke next to me looks pretty good too!

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Next up…

This is the Shiny Happy People Meme from the lovely New Mummy tips and the rules are

1. Name a song that makes you happy – a song you would listen to if you needed a sudden injection of happiness;

2. Post an image that makes you smile. It can be anything – a silly photo, an image taken from the internet, It just has to make you smile

Okay this is a tough one….my favourite song to make me smile is Building a Mystery by Sarah McLachlan (not the cheeriest song ever!) but it reminds me of living in Vancouver in 1997 and having the best time ever.

The picture that always makes me laugh is this and it’s awful!

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This was taken 14 days after Miss L was born, we’d both nearly died, I’d not slept for 2 weeks and I didn’t even know how to hold her – as you can tell!  Seriously hilarious! But it makes me smile, we’d gone through so much and survived – I look like crap and I don’t care 🙂  Hard to believe it was less than a year from my polished wedding photo above!

Third and final Meme..

New Blogger Meme

Blogging is so hard when you first start and I swear I was writing to myself for the first two years I was blogging over at Geek Mum before I moved here.  So I was delighted to be tagged by Sandy Calico at Baby Baby for the You’re Welcome Meme started by Sally at Who’s the Mummy?.

These are the rules:

Recommend three new blogs you’ve discovered and loved

Tag three other bloggers and ask them to do the same
So here are my three or maybe four!:
Kitschy Koo – uber cute designs and kids
Urban Mums London – making motherhood in London super stylish
21st Century Mummy –  Great blog for mothering advice, especially in those early years
Mummy from the Heart – she’s a Mum of three a 6 year old and 2 year old twins.  It really is a lovely blog from the heart
not in the rules but I had to sneak her in, it has to be Crystal Jigsaw – she’s a lovely tweeter and has been so kind.
As always with me I’m making all of these open. I’d love to see your wedding dress, know your favourite new bloggers, or know what makes you smile.  Let me know if you join in.

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{Book Review} Katie Morag and the Grand Concert

Random House sent me an email last week asking if I’d like to review some of their children’s books.  A lot of them weren’t really suitable for Miss L’s age group and then I spotted Katie Morag on the list and knew we had to read it.  Miss L’s in Year 2 so Katie Morag is featuring heavily in her curriculum at the moment – they even made Katie Morag ‘Porridgies’ on Monday.  Frankly as long as it’s not anything to do with Biff and Chip and the blessed Oxford Reading Tree I’m happy!  So last night we settled down at bedtime to read Katie Morag and the Grand Concert.

It’s the first one I’ve read, despite her reading them at school and it wasn’t bad.  I thought it was a little disjointed in places – Katie’s brother disappears out of the house and although he’s found it’s not properly explained how. The illustrations are beautiful with lots of detail for little ones to look at and the story in which Katie overcomes her shyness to sing to the village is sweet. Miss L thought it was hilarious from start to finish especially ‘Song of the Grandmothers’ – which is about throwing your ‘Granny off a Bus’ I must admit I had a giggle singing it to her as well 🙂

Miss L’s taking it into school tomorrow to read to her class so I look forward to hearing how they enjoyed it as well. So all in all a thumbs up for Katie Morag from the Violet Posy household.

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Letterpress

My obsession with stationery started when I turned eleven and went to secondary school.  I blame my Mum for buying me some pencils with my name embossed on them I’ve never been the same again!  I can’t pass a stationery store without popping in ‘just for a look’, so image my delight browsing Etsy of late.   I’ve become a little fixated with the beauty of letterpress stationery and business cards.  Etsy of course has a massive selection and here are some of my favourites. I’d love some letterpress business cards, just need to get that business going!

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The Small Printer Etsy

Picture 99DingbatPress on Etsy

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RougePress on Etsy

Picture 98Letterary Press on Etsy

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Objective Meaning

Tim over at Bringing up Charlie created a new meme ‘My Object’ in the week after watching the BBC programme A History of the World. Running in partnership with the British Museum, this epic series takes 100 (well, 99) of the British Museum’s most important objects and tells the story of human history through each one. A sort of every-picture-tells-a-story but with artefacts.  The idea of the Meme is to share an item which tells the story of your family. I’m putting an open tag on this one, so please join in it’ll be lovely to see what you come up with.

I thought it would be dead easy….turns out I’ve spent the whole week trying to think of something!  We don’t have massive amount of heirlooms and I decided I couldn’t put the iPhone in as our item!  So it has to be my stash of family photos that my Nan left me when she died. I wrote about it recently, it’s an old camera box which still smells like my Nan 30 years after she died.  I love it and get it out to show Miss L regularly who her ancestors were.

In there are our family treasures. As well as photos there is a hand written list of all the items she lost in the Blitz,

A birth card for their son Ernest they lost at 15 days to diphtheria.  Ernest had no headstone, it was during the Depression of the 1930’s and his wooden cross was stolen for firewood, so it was all she had left of him.

There are maternity hospital cards from some of my aunts and uncle births – amazing what you had to have ready for labour in those days, Mackintosh?!?! Not to mention having to pay a deposit for Midwife services!

And last of all the photos which she must have inherited.  Pictures of Grandparents, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins all from over 100 years ago.  These people long gone who struggled so have given so much to me, their aspirations, humour and love made my family and for that I thank them.

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Bloggers for Haiti

As more information comes out of Haiti it becomes apparent how much the country will need help for a long time to come. 2 million orphans and millions homeless, the numbers of people needing aid is just unimaginable.  To try and help Bloggers for Haiti have started a Just Giving page to donate money to buy some of these, I think they’re a great idea

Each box costs an average of £490 including all materials, packing, storage and distribution to individual recipients worldwide. Based on six months use only this equates to 27 pence per person per day.

Shelter
At the heart of every ShelterBox is a ten-person tent. It is custom made for ShelterBox by Vango, one of the world’s leading tent manufacturers, and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, high winds and heavy rainfall. Internally, each tent has privacy partitions that allow recipients to divide the space as they see fit.

A smile
Every box contains a children’s pack containing drawing books, crayons and pens. For children who have lostmost, if not all,their possessions, these small gifts are treasured.

Warmth and protection
In addition to the tent, the boxes contain a range of other survival equipment including thermal blankets and insulated ground sheets, essential in areas where temperatures plummet at nightfall. Where malaria is prevalent mosquito nets are supplied, as well a life saving means of water purification. Water supplies often become contaminated after a major disaster, as infrastructure and sanitation systems are destroyed, this presents a secondary but no less dangerous threat to survivors than the initial disaster itself.

Self sufficiency
A basic tool kit containing a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters can be found in every box. These items enable people to improve their immediate environment, by chopping firewood or digging a latrine, for example. Then, when it is possible, to start repairing or rebuilding the home they were forced to leave.

Fit for purpose
Every item is durable, practical and brand new. The box itself is lightweight and waterproof and has been used for a variety of purposes in the past – from water and food storage containers to a cot for a newly born baby.

A heart to the home
A key piece in every box is either a wood burning or multi-fuel stove – that can burn anything from diesel to old paint. This provides the heart of the new home where water is boiled, food is cooked and families congregate. In addition, there are pans, utensils, bowls, mugs and water storage containers.

Adaptability
We keep a broad range of equipment in stock so we can adapt the contents of a box to a specific disaster. For example, following the Javanese earthquake in 2006, when some resources were available locally or could be salvaged fromone storey buildings, the overwhelming need was for shelter – so we just sent tents, packing two in each box.

Check out the site and see if you can help in anyway, all donations are very gratefully received.

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Open Shelves

Picture 96PhotoCredit: Craft and Creativity Photostream on Flickr

I’m going to replace the upper cupboard on the right with some open shelves, because I’m taking the cupboard underneath out to fit in a dishwasher – Oh yes it will be mine! 😉

On a more practical side, I think it’ll make the room look wider and I’ll have the chance to have lots of pretty display kilner jars and my Emma Bridgewater bits and bobs. I’m just slightly worried as to what’s going to happen to the wall when we take the cupboard down, we have some seriously dodgy plaster in this house and the whole lot could come down.  But it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

I’ve been hunting around on the web and Flickr has been a great source of inspiration.  Lillian Day’s photostream has some wonderful photos of her beautiful home.  Look how she has created these open look from some painted Ikea shelves.

shelves2Photo Credit: Lillian Day’s Photostream on Flickr

On the left hand side of my kitchen we have two upper cupboards which have some really ummm stunning 1980’s faux stained glass in them – nice! So I have considered getting them re-glazed or just removing the doors altogether and painting the insides of the cupboards but on a day to day basis that might just scratch really easily?  But these shelves from House Dreams on Flickr I think they have had this treatment and they look gorgeous

Picture 84 Photo Credit: House Dreams’ Photostream on Flickr

What do you think about open shelves do you like them? Are they practical?

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Georgian London

On Saturday I was on twitter and I saw a tweet about a site winning an award so I thought I’d pop over and see what it was.  I am *so* pleased I did!  As most of you know I have a degree in History, but other than the odd it of family tree work and book I don’t get to indulge it anything like I used to.

But on Saturday I sat and read Georgian London from start to finish. It’s slant is that of social history and covers everything from Tower of London Menagerie, the treatment of children in the 18th Century and the invention of the condom! If you are interested in History or London at all it’s a must read.

Congratulations to Lucy Inglis for such a fresh and well researched blog, I love it.

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Haiti – Where to donate

I’m sitting here in tears watching the news and the scenes from Haiti are just horrific.

If you would like to help you can donate to the British Red Cross here ( UK readers remember to tick Gift Aid so they get the full amount)

Or Médecins Sans Frontières here

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{New Sponsor} – Alex and Alexa

I’m delighted to welcome to Violet Posy, my latest sponsor Alex and Alexa they sell some really beautiful children’s clothing and accessories – they also have a great sale on at the moment!.

Over to them to tell you more…

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Whether it’s princess party dresses, cool denim or unique baby gifts, online luxury retailer AlexandAlexa.com offer only the best in fashionable wears for newborns up to 12 years. Shop the coolest ranges from the world’s most exciting designers, of which some cannot be found elsewhere online. You’ll find luxe labels Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Chloe, Roberto Cavalli and Little Marc Jacobs alongside Europe’s finest contemporary kid’s brands Finger in the Nose, Caramel Baby &Child and Cacharel, creating a dream line-up totalling over 35 designers.

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Be sure to flick through AlexandAlexa.com’s online glossy magazine, which features exclusive photoshoots, practical tips and up to the minute interviews, where you can click and buy off the pages. We also have our own blog with some great ideas on gifts, days out, and homemade recipes.

Come check out our Spring/Summer 2010 range..

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How to Paint Kitchen Cupboards

I have to admit I tried this 2 years ago and I screwed up!  I didn’t sand, or take them off the kitchen cabinets. I used one coat water-based eggshell to cover the laminate which has peeled terribly helped by my dog’s claws – classy!

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So here’s the new and improved ‘How to Paint Laminate Cupboards’ as I’m really pleased with how they have come out and it should cost less than £40 to do. There are many methods you can use spray paint laminate,  but I always get that everywhere! So I used regular Dulux cupboard paint which is made especially for laminate and wood cupboards doors and is very tough (according to the tin!).

You’ll need:

1 Can of Cupboard Paint – I’m using a Dulux in a pale cream

Small 1 or 1.5 inch paintbrush

Spray Sugar Soap

Fine Sandpaper

Screw Driver

Newspaper

Somewhere to dry them in between coats

New Knobs if you need them

Instructions:

1. Take them off from the cabinets and onto a flat surface and remove knobs

2. Clean with sugar soap – you’ll need to do this thoroughly and leave to dry

3. Use the very fine sandpaper and don’t rub too hard – it’s laminate but just key the surface. If you have old paint on there try and get as much off as possible – I’ve learnt that through trial and error!.

4. Go over the surface with a damp cloth and get rid of all dust – change the paper underneath. Dry it off with kitchen roll

4. Paint. Do lots of thin layers leaving an 1.5 hours in between coats to dry and somewhere between 5-6 seems to give a good finish. Follow the fake grain of the laminate.

5. Repeat on all your cupboards and drawers.

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The finished article and a month later they are still unscratched

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4 fronts done another 6 to go and the surrounds – eek!

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Kitchen Makeover the Plan

As you know from all my previous posts on the subject (here and here) my kitchen has been driving me nuts now for about 3 years…..well actually since the day we we moved in. It’s tiny, there’s no room for a dishwasher or a washing machine and well I hate it.

So we were all set to rip it out and do it again….until the full price came in. It turns out that replacing a 8ftx8ft kitchen is somewhere between £4,000-8,000 pounds depending on who’s doing it and no appliances and no knocking down walls, I was thinking more like £2,500 – £3,500!

ALL I WANTED  was 8 CUPBOARDS AND A DISHWASHER…..*breathe*…..

So I’m doing a makeover instead, I had the image of what it should look like

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So what I’m going to do is:

Repaint the kitchen cupboards (started!)

Repaint the whole room cream (paint bought in the sales)

Get a new sink

Get a new worktop

Take out an upper cupboard – replace with open shelves

Take out useless lower cupboard that I can’t get into and replace with a Dishwasher

Re-grout the tile

Replace the orange floor tiles – with fake Limesone?

Maybe get a blind (undecided!)

So I have admitted defeat, in the ‘Next House‘ I’ll have the kitchen of my dreams 🙂  But in the meantime I’m going to blog the progress of this because frankly it’ll make me do it!  Coming up a post on how to and not to paint your laminate kitchen cupboards.

*Update* Here’s how it looks midway through the makeover – click here

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I’ve been Tagged – Favourite Photo Meme

Ellie over at Insomniac Mummy has tagged me to show my favourite photo and talk about why it’s my favourite.

I have literally thousands and thousands of photos and not just since digital cameras. I was always the annoying kid at school and then later as a teenager photographing everything. I got the bug from my Dad who is an awesome photographer, he even did our wedding photos. But since I got my first digital camera in 2001 and then in phones…well it’s gotten a little out of hand.

So where to start?

I have a old box which I inherited from my grandmother full of photos of her family and my ancestors, I have photos in there going back to the 1880’s. 30 years after her death the box is my reminder of her, it still smells of her house and if our house was burning down other than Paul, Miss L & Betty it’s the only thing I’d fight to save.

So I’ve gone through all of those,  the photos in my iphoto and all my scans and this is the one that is my favourite as it was such a magical moment.

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It was taken 24th September 2003 when Miss L was 6 months and 20 days – her first steps. I didn’t know that babies weren’t supposed to walk quite that young, but there she was cruising away hanging on to the furniture and occasionally taking a few steps on her own.  Doing her own thing, despite the fact that she shouldn’t be able to – some things never change.  It’s my proudest moment ever and look at that ‘I’ve done it!’ smile she’s got, just gorgeous!

I’m a bit rubbish at tagging people, so anyone reading this consider yourself tagged if you’d like to join in. I’d love to see all your favourite photos.

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