Sunday, 31 July 2011

Jemma's Blogiversary Hop

Hi everyone and welcome to the blog hop organised by Jemma over at Just Jimjams to celebrate her blogs first birthday..... congratulations Jemma xxx

As you go from blog to blog you need to collect a number from each of Jimjams' Blogiversary friends, putting them in numerical order and then e-mail her with the number which is missing from the sequence. What fun!

You should have come to my blog via the lovely Sandie at Itchifingers.

I am actually writing this at the end of my holiday and hoping it will autopost on time (so sorry if I have run late or early!) Would you like to guess where I am with some clues????

It took about 8 hours to fly here direct with British Airways

The temperature here is pretty constant between 80 and 90 degrees but we have had quite a lot of rain too! We are using factor 50 especially after my skin cancer last year!

The first language is English, though French, Dutch and Spanish are in the top 4 languages.

We are staying with friends in their lovely apartment with a great pool. It is more expensive than the UK with lots of prices in US $ though we are not in the USA.

There is an amazing variety of wildlife including mongoose, geckos and lizards, land crabs, humming birds cockroaches and mosquitos (I have been bitten a lot!) on the land and the sea is teeming with marine life... ideal for snorkelling.

Ok time for some easier clues...

We are 5 hours behind the UK here

The currency is EC $

There is locally brewed beer and rum readily available.

I am on an island with 365 beaches allegedly!

The capital is St Johns.

I think you have it now....

I am in Antigua!! What a beautiful place to be holidaying we are very lucky, especially as whilst we have been away we have had a shower rebuilt and lots of work done at home!

I just wanted to add that before we came away I was able to see my Dad and he is making an excellent recovery after his surgery and has been a star patient. He is due to see the consultant today for the results and to plan the future (ie see if he needs chemotherapy etc etc) Thanks again for all your best wishes, thoughts and prayers.

So thank you for visiting my blog on this Blogiversary Hop. My number is 23 and you need to head over to the wonderful Sian at From High in the Sky to collect the next one. Enjoy your hopping, meanwhile I need to get back to this.....

EDIT ...... I am very sorry that this post has gone out early .... whoops! Jemma's blog hop starts in the early hours of August 1st but blogger has misbehaved and posted this at the wrong time! So please come back and join in the hopping tomorrow morning instead!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

ten things on the tenth

I have been thinking about what to write for my 'ten things' for a couple of days as so much is going on in my life at the moment and I have lots of things on my mind with loads happening! Then it struck me, I could simply share the ten major things that have happened in the last ten days!

1. As many of you will be aware, my darling Dad had an important hospital appointment this week (see this post). I thank each and everyone of you that have held him, the family and me in your thoughts and prayers it is really appreciated. The diagnosis of cancer was confirmed but initially they were unable to say if there were signs of secondary cancer in the liver. We had a tough 24 hours waiting for the radiologists/oncolgists/surgeons joint expert opinion saying the liver was fine (hurray some good news!) He had to go to the hospital 4 times last week, has 2 medical appointments this week and then admission for about a week. Please continue to pray, send positive vibes and thoughts and think of him thank you xxx I am grateful for health care professionals and access to technology and treatment.

2. Today my Dad's best friend passed away unexpectedly. A huge shock for us all as he was a wonderful man who had been through a lot healthwise. When he had been in hospital and in the rehabilitation unit my dad visited regularly and played cards with him. He is now in Heaven and I have asked my Dad not to plan any card games with him any time soon. I am grateful for having him in my life as I grew up and that we shared a holiday with him and his wife last year.

3. Following the post about my dad I was sent a 'hug' through the mail.
How cute is that card and a lovely surprise from K. I am grateful for hugs.

4. DH, DS and I had a great day out to Leith Hill the highest point in SE England. On a clear day you can see Gatwick and Heathrow airports and even the English Channel (though we didn't manage it despite trying!)

I am grateful for days of sunshine and time together.

5. DS took part in his first 'Bikeathon' and completed 12 miles easily (plus the miles to and from the race start/finish) I was very proud. I am grateful for DH taking him cycling.

6. I received a Pay it Forward gift from my cousin in law with a beautiful card. I love brown so the bracelet was perfect. I am grateful for family, especially the crafty ones (see her blog here)

7. I attended a 4 hour beginners photography course a cheap deal from Groupon. I think full price would have made it rather expensive but at the reduced rate it was a real treat, I used the DSLR and now understand F numbers, ISO, apertures, shutter speed and can even alter them according to conditions! I am grateful for cameras and making new friends (2 lovely ladies who both scrapbook attended the course, I have photos of them as I practised my shots but they may not wish me to publish them here!)

8. A package arrived full of crafty goodies and even some sweets, something else to brighten my day, from Craft Fairy (very talented crafter found here) I am very grateful for blog candy and blog friends.

9. DD celebrated her birthday early, inviting 20 girls for a 'water party' in the garden followed by a BBQ. Luckily the great British weather (predicted to be heavy rain) only contributed a slight drizzle and the party went ahead without a hitch. I am grateful for sunshine and foam machines.

DD and I had a great time making lots of cupcakes for her birthday coffee, vanilla and chocolate they were really yummy, though not very good for my diet! (I am grateful I lost 2 lbs this week)

I also put together little party bags with presents, which were fun to make and looked cute. I am grateful for handmade goodness and a cupcake making daughter.

10. Handmade Hannah not only stocks some amazing scrapbook supplies but she sends them promptly, beautifully packaged with a handmade card. I cannot wait to use some of my lovely new supplies so watch this space and I will share more soon from the grab boxes. I am grateful for the personal touch and for new crafty stash.

In the ups and some major downs of the last 10 days, there are many things to be grateful for. I am grateful for the internet, for blogs and for you. Thank you for visiting my small part of the world and joining in my rollercoaster ride, which I think is continuing for the next ten days, but that is a whole other story...................... xxx

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Pass the book

So it is definitely my turn to 'Pass the book'. Have you been following all the books transversing the globe?? This 'novel' idea (did you see my play on words there???) was started almost a year ago by the fabby Sian, From High in the Sky and many people have benefited from a book dropping through their post box, read all about it here.

I received Creative Wildfire by LK Ludwig back in May, then promptly forgot all about it! Sorry everyone, but finally and somewhat belatedly I am offering the book to the next person! I received the book from Quicksave, she is one of those crafters who seems to be able to turn their hand to anything crafty and produce amazing creations. Her blog is always full of new ideas that she has tried and I love finding out what she has been up to.

Me, well I don't actually consider myself that crafty at all! I love the idea of trying things out and might even get as far as buying some materials for a project, but they are often just left neglected on the shelf! So Creative Wildfire 'an introduction to art journalling - basics and beyond' was totally new to me and I wasn't sure what to expect.

I read the book with an open mind, probably having some pre-conceived ideas about art journalling. I have seen some amazing art journalling on blogs but have often thought it was 'out of my league'. Now I think there are some aspects of art journalling that I could probably do and some that I actually want to try! There are many different styles and I think I might be able to find mine, as I really liked some artists work in the book and definitely didn't take to some!

The main thing I want to try is really simple, I just want to try using the scraping technique with acrylic paint on paper and to look at different sources of paper and mix and match them as I glue them to a page.

After reading the book I wrote 'I loathe some styles of art journalling and makes me think it isn't for me but I do like some styles. Some basic ideas could be incorporated into paper arts that I would use eg scrapbooking and possibly cardmaking. I have lots of acrylic paints that I have never used! So I will look at them and definitely try scraped paint technique'.

So if you would like the chance to read this bok please leave a comment and a random name will be chosen. I will chose a name on Sunday 10th July and hopefully post out the book the next week. Thanks xxx

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Story Telling Sunday

Welcome to my third time taking part in the epic adventure that is Story Telling Sunday courtesy of the now legendary Story Teller herself Sian from High in the Sky. Visit her amazing blog to discover the other eloquent tales that await your perusal.

Today's story is true, heartfelt and is written with tears and love, so you may want to skip this tale today, as it is not a funny one this month!

I have been spending a great deal of time thinking of someone special to me recently, they are without doubt one of the major influences in my life, and always have been. He has always been there for me and growing up he was a great role model of how a real man should be in every sense of the word. I particularly admired his self control, rarely shouting, remaining calm when I had done something outrageous and naughty (yet again!) and obviously having a real sense of love and family loyalty. I remember being totally shocked to see him cry when his best friend had passed away.

A few years ago, whilst on holiday, he had a massive heart attack completely out of the blue. He is pretty fit as he doesn't drive and walks everywhere, has never smoked, is a minimal drinker and has a healthy lifestyle generally. Unfortunately you cannot change your genetic make up. He was given a 20% chance of surviving a year and we were all shocked and stunned as his heart was too badly damaged for bypass surgery to even help. He is a survivor and nearly 5 years later he is still with us and still very active especially in his massive garden.

This special person is my Dad, I saw him in June and we took him and mum out for lunch to celebrate fathers day and my mums upcoming birthday. In the end the meal for 6 became a meal for 14 which was perfect! My dad usually cooks Sunday lunch so it was good for him to have the day off and enjoy the company without all the work.

On my mum's birthday, my dad had a colonoscopy following an abnormal result on a screening test. They found a tumour, which is believed to be malignant, biopsies were taken. He is having a CT scan on Tuesday and seeing the consultant on Wednesday. Yet again my world has been shaken and their is so much uncertainty and waiting.

My parents are both Christians and have tirelessly supported their local Baptist Church despite the numbers decreasing and not having a minister, over many years. I attended their Church, when I was last home and my Dad was preaching, lowering the average age of the congregation by about 30 years!!! I love to listen to him especially if he shares stories of his childhood to illustrate a point. Their faith is really really important to them and my Dad knows for sure where he is going and is calmly facing whatever the futures holds. I rarely go to church now, though I do still believe, but sometimes I get angry that such a good man has to suffer in this way, and it is really tough on my Mum who has her own health problems to deal with.

My immediate family know, but I have only really told one friend, I haven't wanted to speak about it with anyone else. But I think it is good to share it with you, when I heard the news I actually wanted to contact one particular blog writer as I knew she had been through a similar experience and I keep thinking of her, she may read this and I hope she will know I empathise with her. I hope I can be supportive to my parents as she has been as I really admire what she has achieved. I hope you know who you are. I am grateful to blog friends, sharing stories and experiences with them, even the more difficult ones.

Thank you xxx