Moments to Melt

Last night cuddling Miss L to sleep (she’d had a hard day) and as she was dozing off warm and in the dark. I heard a little voice say

‘it’s moments like this Mummy, that make me love you to death’.

*Happy Sigh*

I hope you all have a moment like that today – Happy Friday!

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{The Gallery} Children

The photo challenge this week at Sticky Fingers is ‘Children’. This week I’m not showing mine for a change, but those in our old family photo box. I love seeing how they dressed, and how the nature of children never really changes. I’ve recently gotten to the age realise now how fast life goes by – where have the last 10 years gone? –  and it never fails to amaze me that all these little children are now elderly. Not too old in my Dad’s case (love ya!) and very old (97) in my Nan’s case.

A cousin - taken about 1924
My Nan aged 2 in 1915
Unknown Cousin - Taken about 1912
Sheila - Taken 1925
My Dad taken in about 1949

If you’re like me you take lots of photos of your kids, and it’s so important to print out the good ones. Future generations aren’t going to be able to read your hard drive or data sticks. I’ve recently been moving images from old data sticks before I have no way of reading them, technology has moved fast in 9 years. I’ve been printing them into books and getting individual prints, I’m terrified my computer will have a melt down and Miss L’s childhood will be lost.

The same goes with old photos they can be lost too. I’ve started scanning all ours and having them reprinted as they don’t last forever. Funnily enough it’s not only the old ‘tin types’ from the early 1900’s that have degraded rapidly but pretty much anything taken in the 1970’s, Polaroids are terrible for losing colour and fading. It’s hard work but well worth it to preserve your family history.

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{The Gallery} Mother Nature

I love the theme this week over at Sticky Fingers this week ‘Mother Nature’ and it was pretty hard to narrow down my choice. Most of them seemed to involve Canada in some form 🙂 But this is my favourite, Miss L standing next to an ancient huge tree in Lighthouse Park, Vancouver.  The tree was there 500 years ago and will probably still be there in another 500 years, we humans really are tiny specs in the scheme of things and we should learn to protect what we have more. Mother Nature is amazing!

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The Dresser is here..

And it looks beautiful 🙂

First off I’d like to say a massive thank you to my Dad and Paul for going to get it!  It’s not orange (yay!) and there are a couple of water stains on it, but you can’t really see them at all as they are on the back. It doesn’t need much work at all, we do need to attach the top to the bottom which would make us both happier safety wise. It’s not wobbly but I am aware that the daft dog or child running into it might make it topple, so it’s worth a little work to make it safe.  I’m unsure of painting it now so,  we’re going to live with it for a bit and then decide. I can’t do it until spring anyway, as I have to take it outside to paint.

What do you guys think?

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Nokia N8 and Ovi Software Review

(Disclaimer: Nokia sent me a shiny new Nokia N8*)

It’s no surprise to most of you that I love testing new gadgets. So when Nokia asked me if I’d like to play with their new N8 phone and Ovi software I jumped at the chance. Up until the iPhone came out in 2007, I’d been a faithful Nokia owner for 14 years. I’m still very nostalgic for my  Nokia 8210 which I saw as a totally game changing phone. It was a fantastic innovation, when other phones were still bricks or horrific flip tops the 8210 was a tiny piece of class.

However my last phone from them was the Nokia N73 and it was an utter piece of crap. The phone itself was ok, the camera was decent but the software….. every time I took a call it ‘blue screened’ and turned rebooted itself – not ideal in a phone!  So when the iPhone came out in 2007, I broke my contract to buy it and I’ve never used a Nokia again.

Fast forward 3 years and I have a new shiny Nokia in my hands.  The phone itself is lovely piece of hardware not huge, pretty thin and very solid, it has a 12 mega pixel camera and video and it’s got a nice bright touchscreen like the iPhone. It’s still using pretty much the same software as Nokia has done for years and if you are familiar with it, it’s easy to use. I was a bit rusty, eventually it all came back to me (after a bit of swearing!).

The phone came with an international Sim Card, which didn’t seem work in the UK – well at least I couldn’t get it to work! So to use the software I hooked it up to my home wifi, so I’ve not been able to test it on phone calls, or texts or use it as a Sat Nav though which is a massive shame.

But onto Ovi – it’s the name of all the interactive software on the phone – Social Media, Sat Nav, there is also an Ovi Store where you can buy games and other applications for the phone.  However some of the games have prices that are much more than the same game sold on the Apple App store, for example Angry Birds on Ovi is £3.00 and on the Apple App Store it’s 59p. I know the prices are set by the developers for converting them to Symbian but seriously that much difference?

However the actual part they wanted me to try was the Sat Nav voice software. You can make the Sat Nav voice commands in your own voice, or have your children do it and it’s lots of fun. Easy to use and there are other voices – Pirates, Singing, etc you can download from Ovi for free.  But because of the Sim issues I’ve not been able to test the actual Sat Nav itself outside the house and away from the wifi.

Things I liked about it and had forgotten I’d missed about Nokia’s:

Being able to back it up via Bluetooth automatically as you sit near your laptop – Apple are you listening? Cables and connecting software are so 1996!

The ability to have changeable home screens so you can set it to work or personal – nice if you have to use your personal phone for work.

Having your diary on your home screen – handy if like me your phone runs your life.

The Camera and Video couldn’t be faulted – excellent quality and an inbuilt flash.

Things I disliked:

The software…’s still the same old, same old.  Ridiculous hierarchy’s for changing the settings on your phone for example. To turn on Wifi  you go through 4 screens, to change the pin number ‘Security’ is now 5 layers in. I had a vague idea of where to look but I think it would really frustrate less techie people.  I’m going to be very interested to see how my Dad who’s getting it copes with it.

So other than my gripes about the software, all in all it’s a nice solid phone if you want an upmarket touch screen phone that’s not Apple related and your used to the Nokia software, but it’s not going to replace my iPhone anytime soon

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Roll on Spring..

Is anyone else feeling fed up with this endless grey cold weather?  Since we took took down the Christmas decorations the house has been feeling dull and drab. So this morning I was at the market and I spotted some yellow tulips which just looked so cheerful and springlike I couldn’t resist!  Hopefully they’ll give me some inspiration for my garden!

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Kitchen Dresser

We’d been thinking about buying a piece of furniture for the dining room for ages to create more storage. But we’d not seen anything affordable or what we really wanted. I’d been looking at painted kitchen dressers but they are really expensive  and from what I’ve seen online upwards of £800.

Then a couple of weeks back I spotted this slightly giant (5ft long by 6ft 6 tall) beauty on ebay at £249

After much talking and a lot of people on Twitter pointing out that if I didn’t buy it we’d regret it, we decided to go for it.  I won it yesterday, we’re collecting it Sunday. I’m a bit nervous as it’s the most I’ve ever spent on something from eBay, but the seller has a good rating so it  should be ok I guess?

I’m going to wait to get it home and see how orange it really is and then decide whether or not to paint it?  But I can hear my Farrow and Ball paint chart just calling me…

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Our Favourite iPad Apps

Caroline at What’s Happening at My House asked me the other day what my favourite iPad apps were as she’s just got an iPad.  Now this is quite embarrassing,  I only have a couple.  I never get to use the iPad, as either Miss L has it watching CBBC on iPlayer or Paul is playing Scrabble on it.  So this is the whole family’s list – Caroline I hope this helps?


RightMove – Property P*rn – I love looking at houses

Martha Stewart – It’s one magazine sadly but beautifully done.

Angry Birds – I have an addiciton

Tunein Radio – Listen to radio through your iPad

Pottery Barn Catalogs – I can’t buy it but it does give me ideas!

Miss L:

iPlayer – CBBC on tap!

Starwalk – see the universe and learn about stars and planets in ‘real time’ you can point the iPad at wherever you like and it tells you what stars are there.

Harry Potter Lego – because we don’t have that in enough formats  – DS, Wii and XBox as well as iPad last time I checked!

Magic Piano – does what it says – it is a piano and it’s very cool.

iBlast Moki – no idea but it must be a fun game!

Build a Bear – there’s games and you can earn money and transfer it to your Bearville onlne account.

Stick Skater –  fun skating game for little ones.


Scrabble – it seems pretty addictive.

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit – but I think he’s only saying that only to look cool!

Twitter App – I agree pretty good but we rarely get to use it.

What are your favourites – can any of you help Caroline out with a recommendation?

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I’m a little bit excited

I was on twitter this morning when I noticed this tweet from @Karamina

‘Ooh, David Tennant and Catherine Tate will make an amazing Beatrice and Benedick. So excited!’

I rushed off to check the news sites and lo and behold David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be in a production of ‘Much Ado about Nothing’  all summer. See them announcing it here

So after much squealing, Mr VP offered to buy me tickets for my birthday which is in a few weeks.  Then came the painful booking process – theatre website down and their phones constantly ringing out. But after much persistence,  I managed to get two tickets for the stalls (5 rows from the front) in July – hurray!!  If  you’d like to get some too, the website is here but be warned it’s struggling at the moment.

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I meant to write this last week but you know life got in the way, like it tends to!  But I’d like to say a massive thank you to my top 10 referrer sites in 2010. All of these blog are fabulous and are on my Google Reader – I throughly recommend checking them out.  I’m honoured their readers have popped over here to visit.


Thank you for your generosity ladies x

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{Update} The Small Kitchen Makeover

We are almost there…well we would have been finished if I hadn’t had the electrician mess us about for the whole of December. He didn’t turn up 4 TIMES so he got fired and now I need to find someone else. But this has mean that we can’t get the last bit of worktop back on as the lead for the dishwasher won’t reach the plug!  So until the new socket is installed, the lovely  – probably live – wire hanging out of the wall everything is on hold.

I’ve also decided that we should have the old halogen kitchen lights replaced with shiny new LED’s which are less likely to burn the house down and will actually work – only 2 do out of the 4 at the moment!  So tomorrow I start the search for an electrician *again*.

But here’s what’s been done so far:

Cupboards – 90% painted. I just need to remove the last 2 glass doors and I think I may leave them off and just have more open shelving? But hubby isn’t as keen, so maybe I’ll paint them too and see how they look?

New Sink and Taps – Installed and just gorgeous!  The joy of having a stainless steel sink which is easy to clean rather than the white plastic one…*sigh* you can’t beat it! And the tap is now high enough to get the kettle/pans anything under it which it wasn’t before and how I think the old taps got broken.

The sink and taps both came from Screwfix Direct and were about half the price of the same thing in B&Q and Homebase.  The plumber who fitted them did a great job and was really reasonable.  He had to make a new hole through the kitchen wall to the outside, as the waste was in a slightly different position – argh!

Dishwasher – We could only get a half size one in the space but installed and how on earth did I ever live without it? It keeps the kitchen clean, we don’t argue anymore well about anything to do with dishes or cooking anymore. I love it, best thing I think we’ve ever bought and I include the Skyplus and iPhone in that!

Open Shelves – They make me happy whenever I walk into the kitchen. I’ve put them above the dishwasher so all you have to do is life the plates out of the machine and then straight onto the shelf above.  They’re called Jarpen from Ikea and were a whole £7.99 plus the fixings which were £10 .  They are in the oak finish and look really chunky and cool, much better than what was there before.

Repainted the Room – I stripped the awful backing paper that was there before and repainted the room in a neutral cream – Slipper Satin from Farrow and Ball. It matches the tiles really well, which saves on me replacing them. they’re cream and can be regrouted. The room looks much cleaner and fresher for it.

Hanging Rail – I now have one for my dishcloths, so I can display them. I have a huge collection of Cath Kidston and Green Gate ones, which are super pretty.

What’s left to do….

The Floor – the current plan is take up the old floor and see if the original floor underneath is saveable and not damaged. We also have the added problem that at somepoint the original floor has had lino put over it. It’s super stuck down and our plumber warned us that it’s possible it has asbestos in it – so to take it up very carefully!

If it’s not saveable/lino is screwing it up I think we’re just going to go for some fake slate tiles.  I’m also thinking about putting in underfloor heating as it turns out it’s quite cheap and we have no heating in there whatsoever which is making the rest of the house cold.

Window – it turns out the breeze coming into the kitchen for years was the badly fitting window as there was a big gap round it. So I’ve filled what I can and now I need to bead the window to seal it.

I’m also going to get a Roman blind to cover the window at night and to try and keep the cold out – the window is huge and we probably should have something on it.

Worktop – Sand and re-stain the wood on the worktop. We would have replaced it, but to get the section off where we put the dishwasher we had to kick the cupboard out underneath it and the bloody thing was still there! It took a lot of hard work to get it out, so I didn’t think our chances were that high unless we wanted to trash the rest of the cupboards!.

Lighting – I’m going to get some led’s under the cupboards as well as a better work light.

How much has it cost so far?

Well I’ve just had a quick tally and we’ve spent the following:

Cupboard Paint – £22

Shelves – £34

Hanging Rail – £5

New Sink – £105

New Taps – £65

Installation of the sink, taps and dishwasher – £110

Dishwasher – £358

Total: £699

Which isn’t too bad, I think the electric work might be about £200 and the floor maybe another £200, which still only takes it to over £1000 which is much, much cheaper than the £6,000 starting price I was originally quoted for the room.  So I’m really pleased and it looks fantastic in person. Fingers crossed it’s all finished by the end of the month! Wish me luck 🙂

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