{Book Review} Beginner’s Guide to Reading Music

Let me preface this with, I literally don’t know a thing about reading music. At my 1970’s  junior school we were only taught the triangle. In my secondary school there was a music block mostly there for impressing parents, but you weren’t allowed to use it unless you had out of school music lessons and could be trusted. That pretty much ruled my friends and I out of going anywhere near it!

So when Miss L came home from her new school last year, telling me about her ‘Theory of Music’ lessons and Band Classes, I was made up for her. In September she’ll start learning the Cello and it’s dawned on me that she might actually have some music homework and need support at home for learning music, not something at the moment we can really provide!

At the begining of the summer holidays Flame Tree Publishing offered to send me Beginner’s Guide to Reading Music, so I jumped at it, because I will actually have to learn some of this alongside Miss L.  It seems to me with my albeit limited knowledge a comprehensive, well illustrated beginners book which explains what all those funny squiggles are. I now know what all the types of Clef are *proud face*.  If you’re one of those people who actually know a Clef from your elbow, you can look inside the book on Amazon and it’ll give you an idea of what it’s like.

Miss L and I have had a look through it, and she already understood a lot of the early basics in the book. But as the book goes on it builds on the basics, and gives you lots of diagrams to tie in where the music is on the page to where you’d need to place your fingers on an instrument – this is going to come in very handy!  I do think you need an instrument to use with this, or at the very least a piece of software like Garage Band to simulate having an instrument, to help with the exercises.  But it’s a good starters reference guide and I suspect we will be using it a lot in the coming weeks.

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Tesco ‘Back to School’ Voucher Giveaway

Yesterday I received a huge box of ‘Back to School’ goodies for Miss L from Tesco, which was very nice of them – the pens and the pencil case have already disappeared into her school bag.

Of course none of it was as interesting as the box it came in, especially when you’re watching ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and you’re playing at being a pirate.  It really doesn’t matter what age they are does it?  Kids and boxes!

Tesco’s have given me a £15 voucher code for one of my readers to use on their onlineBack to School’ range (I don’t think you can use it on anything else, like groceries – sorry!).  At the moment if you buy a school uniform from them they will donate one to a child in either Sri Lanka, Kenya or Bangladesh and they are now selling ‘Fairtrade’ items too.

If you’d like to win the voucher leave me a comment below between now and midnight Tuesday 30th August and I’ll enter you into the random number to  pick the winner and email the winner on Wednesday. (UK ONLY)


And the winner is …

Number 4 which is Angela M – Congrats I’ll send you an email now.

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Shabby Chic at House of Fraser

I am a huge fan of Rachel Ashwell, her books have really influenced me and how I decorate my home.  So imagine how excited I was when it was announced she was doing a collection with House of Fraser.  It was released this week and there are some cute affordable things in there, the crockery and glasses especially stand out for me but I really love the white spice rack, which is now on my Christmas list – nothing like planning in August is there?.

The furniture is on the other hand is lovely but rather expensive, more Laura Ashley prices. If you love the look and can’t afford it (I know I don’t have £2,500 lying about to spend on a sofa) Ikea is carrying some very similar items but for a fraction of the price. Like the Shabby Chic version the covers are washable but you can also buy extra washable slip covers for the Ikea range, invaluable if you need to wash or change the covers.

If any of you have a house like mine and you’ve ever chucked red wine over the sofa, the dog vomited on it or your child eats chocolate on the sofa and then sits in it – washable cover are a good thing!  I also quite like the idea and I blame all American blogs and magazines I’ve ever read for this – changing the covers in the winter and summer for different room looks, can you imagine?.


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{Review} Clarks Shoe Shop

Now I get offered all sorts of weird and wonderful things to review on Violet Posy, but occasionally I get a product I can’t refuse because I love what they sell. Last month Clarks asked me if I wanted to review their school shoes and they would pay for them so I thought why not?

I wore Clarks shoes as a kid, Mum and I would have knock down, drag out, screaming matches in Stead and Simpsons as to what my school shoes would be. It’s only as I head towards 40 without bunions and perfect feet that I can thank my mother. She made me wear them until I was 15 – oh yes you can imagine the shame – 80’s wedge heal anyone?. Thankfully they are now far more stylish and even my little fashionista will wear them without complaint, and trust me that doesn’t happen often!.

I normally get Miss L’s school shoes from our local independent shoe shop which is excellent and there is always a choice of Clarks or Start Right. The ladies in there have known her since she was a baby and they are excellent at measuring and getting just the right shoe, but it can be bit of a bun fight at ‘Back to School’ time.

We went to the Store in Bury St Edmunds which is about a 45 minute drive from ours, for about 9.30am as we walked in we were greeted by the manager who gave Miss L a 3D mini magazine (with glasses) to keep her occupied and me a number to wait in line. He wasn’t expecting us and looked a bit blank when I told him why I was there, but fair enough I had a voucher so I wasn’t that bothered. The magazine came in handy while we were waiting to be served and we only had to wait a few minutes before the fun began.

They had a fancy machine to measure her feet rather than the plastic ‘foot’ and measuring tape we’re used to, it said her feet were just over size 1.5 and nearer a 2. So the nice fitter, asked me what kind of shoes we wanted and listened to the fact that I didn’t want any with dolls in, the one and only pair we’d ever had last Easter didn’t even make it to half term, the inner soles disintegrated – I wasn’t best pleased!

He came back with 3 pairs for Miss L to choose from, all of which were suitable for school and she chose a cute pair which should last into November/December when no doubt her feet have grown again. As she’d gone up a full size, I also asked for some trainers (which were on special offer £5 off) and he duly listened to what I wanted and bought me back the right thing, her school are incredibly picky about them being white or blue . It was very sweet as he was fitting Miss L he was asking her about school and she was giving him a full rundown of everyone in her class LOL! Thankfully were were done in record time, and could get out of the shop which was by now really busy.

The shoes and the trainers came to £57.00 (I had a £50 voucher and I paid the £7.00), which was less than I usually spend as the trainers were on offer. We had a great experience and it wasn’t anything like as stressful as some school shoe shopping trips I’ve been on. Most importantly Miss L loves her new shoes to death – thank you Clarks!

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Summer Holidays

We’re enjoying our holidays, nothing like being able to sleep in everyday, but we’re getting a little bit bored now. So this is what we’ve been up to:

Watching Ice Road Truckers and Bear Grylls all the time – seriously we can now survive anywhere!

I’ve started painting a dining room chair blue – this seemed like a good idea at the time…

Spellings…we’re trying to break the spelling phonetically habit – works for reading, not so great for spellings.  Trying to make spellings fun isn’t easy – teachers you are saints!

Lego Wii Games – we’ve done Harry Potter and we’re now in the middle of Pirates of the Carribean

Planning outside jobs to get the garden and house ready for Autumn, so far I’ve managed to not get the drain covers, or shed paint we meant to and went into Wilkinson’s with good intentions but came home with Pez and various other sweets – how did that happen?

But I have bought enough cheap stationary to open my own shop, we have enough, pencils, rubbers and sharpeners to last to at least Christmas – I swear she and her friends eat them!

And swimming update – she’s nearly off floats, I’m so proud of her 🙂


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Relaxing Weekend?

We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to help my parents move a few tonnes of firewood. They are having the ancient bakehouse at the back of their house repaired as the walls are going one way and the roof another and they needed some help clearing it.

Now I love my Dad, but seriously the man needs to stop buying wood for his retirement. No one – unless they own a forest – should have that much wood stashed!  The whole 10×10 room was packed to the rafters with Firewood, so my parents, Miss L, Paul and I cracked on with moving it all to the garage. As you can image there were a lot of very large spiders hiding in there, and poor Miss L was quite scared for a while, but soon overcame her fears to help her grandad restack the logs at the other end.

The funniest thing was as Paul moved the second to last log he came a across a rat – ick!! Now frankly I have NEVER seen him move that quickly across a room!  I don’t know who was more scared him or the rat? 🙂  I’m just grateful we found it at the end or I don’t think we would have been so gung-ho about moving the wood as quickly as we did.

This is the bakehouse after we’d emptied half of the wood……

And here is the garage about halfway through the move…

But check out the beautiful brickwork in the Bakehouse that has been exposed, as you can see it needs some work but it will soon be restored to it’s former beauty and then we have to move it all back again!.

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I’m amazed at how far along our blackberries are already, they seem to be about 4 weeks ahead of where they normally are.  We’ve already started pie making and freezing them for the winter.  In fact if you’re local and want some, let me know I’m giving them away!  Check your hedgerows and gardens, might be surprised to see what’s there.

**Update – just been over to Homebaked and there are some lovely Blackberry recipes – Blackberry and Apple Curd and Blackberry and Apple Jam**

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Smiley Dog

My little rather large black shadow has been even closer at my heels than usual this week. I’m not sure why, but she’s being very cute. So I took advantage of this as she was sitting still for once, I managed to get a decent shot of her. Normally it’s just a back blur running up the garden.  So here is a smiley Friday dog for you all – Have a great weekend!

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This was the temperature when we got out of the school pool today. I’m still waiting for our threatened thunderstorm to start. It’s such a hot muggy evening I can’t wait for it to start so we can get some sleep. Hope its cooler where you are, night! x


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Wow August seem to have come round quick!  This month is a special one to us as our brilliant friends Suki Lou and her family are emigrating to New Zealand in a few days. We are going to miss them so much, but looking forward to hearing about their new adventures, not to mention we can go and visit!.

Other than that, the Violet Posy household hasn’t been up to much to be honest. We’re in the middle of our summer holidays and now finally we have some decent weather, which means we’ve spent a lot of time at the school swimming pool.  Miss L has been practicing everything she has learnt in her swimming classes, as she like me, isn’t the most confident swimmer (I swim like a brick!) but she’s worked really hard to get more confident in the water and I’m very proud of her.
The other news is that Miss L has decided that she would now like to be back on the blog – hurray! Because frankly it’s really hard not writing about my mini partner in crime, so I’m happy she’s back 🙂


Anyway not much else to report from here other than we have some really gorgeous butterflies in our garden at the moment and I managed to grab a snap of one this morning. Isn’t it pretty?

**Quick Update – I’ve turned the Facebook commenting off because I couldn’t tell when people had commented on old posts and so I wasn’t seeing them at all – sorry about that if you liked it **


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