Friday, December 26, 2008

So how was it for you?

Christmas 2008 is done and dusted. Over in a flash as usual. Tomorrow we are off to my brother's for a couple of nights, so no posts until we return.

On Christmas Day I took a heart shaped wreath to Nigel's grave. The Christmas flowers placed there by his mum and sister, along with mine, looked beautiful in a sad sort of way. The cemetery was very busy, lots of people remembering their loved ones who are not with us any more. I didn't stay long, never do to be honest. I like to show that I am remembering, but not to dwell to long on what could have been...

Signing off for now, have a great few days!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hope all my readers are having a wonderful Christmas! Ours is certainly going very well!
Here's my favourite carol for you to enjoy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wow a week has passed already!

A week since my last blogpost. Busy as ever, fitted so much in this week my head aches just thinking about it! Not much crafting has been done, which is no surprise!

Today, the girls and I took part in a photoshoot for Essentials magazine. We will be appearing in the March edition, which due to the delights of the publishing world, goes on sale in February. Lots of photographs were taken, and this time I will be getting them all to keep on a CD. We enjoyed taking the photos most of the time... Alex was not impressed with one of the tops she was supposed to be wearing, so following negotations she wore the one sent for Sophie which was too small.

Whilst talking to the journalist who has compiled the article from this blog, the conversation turned to what the future holds. Did I see myself having a relationship with another man? I have room in my life for someone else, yes, just haven't met him yet! Whoever it is will have to realise that Nigel still is and always will be a big part of our lives. The girls talk about him in some way every day, even if it is just in passing.

Being ready for someone else in my life doesn't change how much I miss Nigel. I know I will love him forever. Not a day doesn't go by when I don't think about him. Christmas time is more poignant without him. Just to ask his opinion on things for the girls would be great. I suppose wanting his input will be something I will always miss. I know he would have boiled over with pride last week when the girls were in their school plays.

Anyway, I have presents to wrap tonight... wish me luck, I may be some time!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In pursuit of happiness

As I've said recently, life is pretty hectic at the moment. However, hectic this year has brought me massive happiness as I have thoroughly enjoyed this week. First came the performances of Scrooge by year 5/6 at the school I teach at. I played the piano for the songs the children sang, and the script was written by my very talented colleague Debs. I really enjoyed being a part of it this year. I mean, I have enjoyed previous years, but for some reason this year was my favourite Christmas production to date. The children worked hard to achieve the fantastic end result, and I was very glad to be part of it.

Then today was the first performance of Scrooge at our church, Abundant Life in Bradford. Sophie and I arrived at church at 9am this morning, after having been at rehearsals until 11pm twice this week. We were raring to go, and after a run through before lunch, the cast were buzzing in anticipation for the first performance at 2pm. Wow, it was so much fun to be on stage! Sophie loved being Harriet Cratchitt, and I found being a party guest to be an absolute delight! Admittedly I did have to wear a frock made from curtain fabric, but I definitely looked the part.

Both Sophie and I are absolutely whacked, we will sleep well tonight that's for sure! Tomorrow we will perform Scrooge again, at 6pm, to a full house I believe. Back in September, when I auditioned for Scrooge, I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone to go along and sing and act in front of a panel of people who I didn't know. Now I am very glad to have done it, and will hopefully be involved in future productions at ALC.

Being involved in Scrooge has also helped me get to know more people at ALC. The girls and I have been welcomed whole heartedly into the church, invited along to all sorts of events, and included in working as part of the team in a very positive way. I ummed and ahed for an absolute age about switching churches, and am now certain it was the right thing for us as a family. Amazing how trying something new can have such a positive effect on my life.

These last few months have been busy, enjoyable, and full of new experiences. The end result has been a feeling of happiness, unlike anything I have experienced in a long while. So long may this feeling continue!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Personalised message from Santa!

Get your own personalised Santa greeting!




Apologies for the lack of posts, I am massively busy atm so I am finding it difficult to fit anything in, never mind blogging!

Anyway, at the weekend, Sophie and I will be appearing in Scrooge! It is at our church, but it is way more than just a church production. I have really enjoyed doing it, Sophie has adored being Harriet Cratchitt, and we'd love anyone who is in Bradford or around the area to come and see it.

The website is here and tickets can be bought online, so do come along!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Day 2: Winter Weather

I don't think there could have been a more fitting prompt for today's page in JYC. I woke this morning to discover that snow had fallen overnight, and it had settled! I had to clear the windscreen before we could leave, as the snow had frozen into ice on the bottom layer. The journey to work was a little hairy, as there was black ice a plenty on the roads.
My journalling talks about how I would love to have a true white christmas, having only experienced one, whilst skiing in Bulgaria in 2000. I have vivid memories of snowy days as a child, including my gorgeous brown snow suit which I inherited from my brother!
Pics to follow, once I have uploaded them from my camera onto here!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Day 1 : Journal Your Christmas

So far so good, I completed my page for my JYC. No photo yet as I did it once the girls were in bed, so an awful time for taking pics. The first page had to be a manifest, setting out what I want to achieve in doing JYC, and also why I am doing it.
In short, I am doing JYC because Christmas is an important family time, and I want to record how important it actually is. Family is so very important to me since Nigel died, adjusting to being 3 instead of 4 has been themost difficult journey I have ever made. I feel more comfortable with it now, but it has taken a lot of work. Even now, I still find myself experiencing hiccups. Certain situations remind me so much of how things could have been, but now never can be.

I want the girls to be able to look back over my journal and remember how we enjoyed our Christmases together. Three or four, there are happy memories to be mulled over. The Christmas before Nigel died, 2005, we had just had a conservatory built onto our house, so we made the most of the newfound space in the living room that year. Alex had been very ill just before Christmas, with a blue light ride to hospital early one morning, so family time together was very precious that year. Poignant now, looking back.

It is late and I am working tomorrow, so time to sleep. I wonder what tomorrow's JYC prompt will be...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

December already

As I'm writing this, December is about to arrive... it was 11.54 when I started to type and it will no doubt be after midnight when I finish!
I have my box of advent goodies to open each day, chosen for me by Tracy, on of my team mates over on UKScrappers. I am very excited about what is in it, as I know Tracy has great taste... I hope! I hope Annwen, who I sent to, enjoys the goodies I chose for her.. the present on December 4th is a personal favourite...mmm.
Today (or yesterday if you go by pre midnight) was the Christmas launch at our church. The decorations are out of this world, the girls were wide eyed with wonder as we entered the Youth and Community building, which has been transformed into Whoville from the Grinch story. It is only a couple of weeks until Sophie and I will be appearing in Scrooge, so if you are local to Bradford and fancy coming along to see it, let me know!
I had a tooth out on Friday, and it seems to have healed very well so far. I have managed to land myself a nasty cold though, so healing vibes please.
Other than that, nothing to report so I will sign off for tonight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas is coming

Journal your Christmas
Well it's not long til Christmas now, less than a month. Am I organised? Am I heck! Not doing too badly so far though.
I've decided to do Shimelle's Journal Your CHristmas class this year. I am aiming to do as much as I can on the right day, wish me luck! Christmas is an emotional time of year for everyone, especially if someone you love is missing, so I figured doing this class would be therapeutic almost!
We are counting down to Scrooge now, performances are on 13th and 14th December. Sophie is very excited! Me, I'm looking forward to it all, just need to get through everything without passing out from exhaustion!
Enough for now, time to sleep.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wonderful weekender!

Got back at lunchtime from our weekend at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest. We've been to Center Parcs several times now, this has to be our best holiday yet! We packed in loads of swimming, bowling, climbing, puppet making, dinner at Rajinda Pradesh, an encounter with owls and a morning at the Spa for Jo and I. We also cycled lots too, and were blessed with wonderful weather. Never have I seen such beautiful blue skies in November.
Back to reality now, as I have loads to sort out, and a hospital appointment with opthalmology for Alex. Tomorrow we collect her first pair of glasses!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pamper party time!

This evening has been Sophie, my eldest daughter's seventh birthday party. She is actually seven tomorrow, but as we are off to Center Parcs for the weekend, the party was today. My friend Becky, who is a mobile beautician, came to do a pamper party, and each girl had their finger nails and toe nails painted, and some glittery makeup and lip gloss on. Not too much makeup as I am not a fan of it but it looked just right.
The cupcake is one of a batch that I made for the party guests to take home. I decided not to bother with party bags, as ultimately the contents of the bags get binned. I'm certainly not willing to fork out a small fortune on gifts for the guests, so I decided a cup cake and painted nails was plenty.
Tomorrow we are off to the Nottingham site of Center Parcs. My lovely friend Jo, who I have known since we were 11 (eek, that's a long time lol), is coming to join us. For Sophie's birthday dinner, she has chosen to go to Rajinder Pradesh, the Indian restaurant at Center Parcs. My girls will eat korma now, and enjoy going out to restaurants, so we are off there! On Saturday, the girls are going to the kids' club while Jo and I spend a couple of hours in the Spa, Aqua Sana. No treatments, just relaxation in the various rooms which will be much needed given the amount of stress I am feeling lately. Then Saturday afternoon we will swim in the Swimming Paradise, go bowling, and then have a bit of a cycle no doubt. Sunday is owl watching and puppet making. And more swimming! Then Monday we come home. Busy but also relaxing which will be great. We will also be washing it down with plenty of vino, always better to drink with friends than on your own I find.
I will post again after the weekend, so have a good one, whatever you're doing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Good news from bad news

Unfortunately Alex's glue ear is definitely back. Her hearing is considerably diminished because of this, so the consultant we saw today (a different once from last week thank goodness) approved Alex's grommet surgery. She may also be having her adenoids removed, they are planning on having a look at them once she is under the anaesthetic. I was ready for another horrendous appointment like last week, so it was a massive relief for the appointment to go so smoothly!
However, my car decided to pack in on the way back, it is now in the garage and I have a hire car until it is fixed. If I'm lucky, it will come back valeted which would be a real bonus, and save me a job too.
Feeling better mood wise for having got Alex's op sorted. Now I hope she gets to the top of the list sooner rather than later. Unless there is a fairy godmother out there to magically produce the money for her to have it done at Bupa! Anyone offering? LOL.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Always look on the bright side of life...

Am finding it a bit difficult to look on the bright side atm. Life is busy, being on my own is feeling very lonely again. It will pass, I know it will, and feeling like this is par for the course.
So apologies for the short post. Here's to a better day tomorrow...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Evan!

My friend's son is 6 today, happy birthday Evan!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alternative ways to solve glue ear

Tried them all unfortunately. Alex has had cranial osteopathy, altered diet, used the nasal balloon thing that I can't remember the name of. Even with perseverance,I have not seen any change in her symptoms. Hence my keenness for her to have another set of grommets fitted. Putting my daughter through surgery she doesn't need isn't something I would never do.
So if anyone can sort Alex's glue ear for me, please speak up now!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A day at the hospital

Well, several hours to be precise.
Alex was screaming in agony last night. Looks like the glue ear is back with a vengeance. I barely slept all night, and kept Alex off school today. I rang ENT in desperation, and managed to arrange an appointment this afternoon.
The policy on fitting grommets in Leeds appears to have changed, so despite the fact that grommets helped when Alex had them fitted in 2006, she will have to jump through hoops to get another set done. And in the meantime I get no sleep and get closer and closer to the edge. I am tempted to video Alex when she is screaming in agony,and play it to the silly SHO who suggested that I just grin and bear it, offering calpol and nurofen to help with the pain. Grrr.. I have 2 children and know how to manage pain in children, alas the pain meds available did nothing to help Alex last night. SHO strangling session anyone?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ink and Rubber challenge

Here's my take on the Ink and Rubber challenge 2. The instruction was to use a punch from Stampin' Up, so I have used my scalloped edge punch. The stamp is from the Christ is Born set, stamped in old olive. Patterned paper from the Holiday Treasures set, ribbon is always artichoke, and the brads and ribbon slidge come from the hodge podge hardware set. I was inspired to make this card after seeing how Julie used this stamp on her card.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

ATC Swap

Just sorted these out for posting, it is an ATC swap I have been running over on ILWS. All the ATCs have been made using Stampin Up stamps. I mounted them on a canvas and will put them on the wall in my craft room, not sure where yet!
Some members of the swap went AWOL which was a shame, the ones I received are beautiful! Thanks to everyone who participated!

Solitary bottle

Cleared out my bathroom cabinet last night as my ensuite is being repainted. The last thing I took out was Nigel's bottle of aftershave. I have, of course, cleaned the cabinet since he died, I just always put his aftershave back in. I don't think there will ever be a time when I don't keep his aftershave in there. Every so often I take off the lid and smell it. He loved that aftershave for as long as I can remember. I think we chose it together when we went to Amsterdam for a short break in 2000. He always like to buy a new bottle when we went on holiday, and he had been planning on buying some on the way back from Portugal in 2006. Fortunately he had some left, otherwise I think I probably would have bought some,just so I could remember how he smelled. If ever I drove his car, I always ended up with the smell of it on my hands, as he was generous when he splashed it on in the mornings. It would then rub off on the steering wheel!
Amazing how a smell reminds you so much of a person...

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Wedding

Finally I get round to sharing a couple of photographs from Trudie and Mark's wedding. Note to self, must get them printed and give them to Trudie! That has to be the worst part of having a digital camera, actually remembering to get them printed. I got lots of compliments for the invitations and associated stationery which was lovely. I enjoyed being child free that day!
The wedding was held at the Otley Chevin Lodge country house hotel, which was a beautiful setting. All the rooms are in log cabins, and the main hotel overlooks a lake. The food was good, I could be tempted to go back for a nice meal in the main restaurant.
Nothing else to report, other than my heating was broken and is now fixed, and I have lovely new Roman blinds in 3 bedroom windows. I could lie and say I made them myself but alas, I did not!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

When were you born?

Just been browsing UKScrappers to find a thread asking which decade I was born in.
Well, I am a seventies child, having been born in 1975.
This was me when I was at nursery school in 1979, aged 4. Check out those glasses! I did this LO a while back now, but the thread on UKS reminded me lol. It was made using a Scrapagogo kit I bought on the marketplace at UKS, before I started subscribing to the monthly kit. How life has progressed since then!
Bit of a drama this morning when I attempted to call out British Gas to fix our central heating. Sorry, we can't come til Monday. My mind was filled with horrific images of us freezing over the weekend. We all went to bed last night in many layers, and extra blankets on the girls' beds. I was cold, so today I have bought me a new duvet, I am looking forward to snuggling under that very soon. Fortunately, my brother in law was able to fix my heating, so the house is much more bearable tonight! My boiler is on it's way out though, so now I need to sort out the money to pay for that.
Tomorrow we have a swimming party, fortunately I can sit on the side and watch! SO what are you all up to this weekend?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en pumpkin time

My first ever carved pumpkin! Not a great photo, but all I had with me was my phone. We went to a Hallowe'en party at a friend's house, and we had lots of fun. The girls did a short tour for trick or treating, nothing major. Alex came back because she was frightened, bless her!
We spent the day at an open farm today, the girls loved it, and the rain held off! It was very cold, but copeable with. Tomorrow we are staying around the house, mostly because we need to clean out the guinea pigs and do a few bits and pieces. Plus the girls have been very busy this week, so it will be nice to just chill out at home.

Might get some crafting done tomorrow night... fingers crossed...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Can you hear it?
Yes, that's right, it's the sound of silence... my house is blissfully quiet as the girls are still at my mum's! I do miss them, but have got loads done while they've been away. I am going up to Durham this afternoon to get them, in my beautiful new car.
So, this morning is my last chance to get some final jobs done, so enough for now.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Off to a wedding!

Remember the wedding invitations I made a few months ago? They're here if you missed them. Well, today is the day of the wedding! I am so excited, first wedding I've been to in ages, and I'm going without the girls too. Chance to let my hair down and relax completely.
I'll be back tomorrow with some craft projects I hope, as the girls are away until Thursday.
Bye for now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Getting over it

I still get asked from time to time if I have got over Nigel's death. Hmm. Then I have to explain that no, I haven't got over Nigel's death, and that I never will. To me, I explain, it is more about getting on with my life in a different way to how I'd planned it. It is hard to explain the disappointment I feel that my life is not how I had hoped. However, I am working hard to make my life something more than full of sadness because Nigel has died.
It is easy to let sadness overwhelm my life, but I must admit that I feel I am getting better at controlling such sadness. Different dates are hard, like birthdays, anniversaries, etc, so I have to prepare myself mentally about looking positively to the future.
I wonder how life would be if Nigel was still here? If he had survived his heart attack, he probably would have had to have had major heart surgery, so he would have had to make some changes. It would have meant changes for us too, but to what extent we'll never know.
We would most probably still be living where we are now, with me working at the same school, Nigel still at the council, and the girls settled at their school. Nigel would still be enjoying a pint at the New Inn, just round the corner.
Easy to wonder how life would have been if it wasn't for the events of August 10th 2006...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Five more sleeps

Til half term hurrah! Then on Saturday I am off to Trudie and Mark's wedding. I made their invitations and am making the place cards on Wednesday night. It is only a small wedding, 25 guests to toast the newly weds. The girls are off to stay with my parents, as I am going to the wedding alone. Plus I am staying overnight at the hotel, which has a spa attached to it. Note to self, ring hotel and see if I can go and have a bit of a relax on Saturday in the spa before the wedding at 3.

I am then having a couple of days to myself at home, time to get some bits and pieces sorted in peace and quiet. I am also planning on getting some extra sleep, during the day if necessary. I think that is possibly one of the most taxing aspects of being a lone parent. If the children wake in the night, there is only me to deal with them. My parents are down at weekends, but not every weekend, and also not during the week. Alex was poorly during the night on Saturday, and I was on my own with the girls that night. She screamed and screamed in absolute agony. Her grommets have come out now, so it is looking as if she is starting with ear problems again.

Coping with a child in pain, no sleep, and then a full day afterwards is hard. I am feeling almost drunk with tiredness tonight, so I am off to my bed shortly. Two more working days for me, then Becky,my beautician friend is coming on Thursday to get me ready for the wedding, which is always nice. Friday I am meeting with Clare Hooper at church to discuss how Love Bradford can help WAY. I am also hoping that my new car will be registered by the weekend!

Craft wise, I made 20 Christening invitations today, for my lovely online buddy Gwen. She's had a rocky ride over the last year, so I was honoured when she asked me to make the invitations for TK's christening. I forgot to take a photograph of them, doh! I will make another one similar, as it is handy to have as a christening card tbh. I need to build up some stock cards for me to send, as more often than not I end up buying one at the last minute!

And on that note, good night!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wii Games for sale

Shrek 3 £12.50 inc p&p

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption £17.50 inc p&p

Trauma Center: Second Opinion £14.50 inc p&p

Super Paper Mario £16.00 inc p&p

Paypal preferred, but am willing to accept cheques too. Once your cheque has cleared I will post the games. P&p is first class recorded.

Interested? Email me annajahead at yahoo dot co dot uk

So this is what I planted

The flowers in the pot on the pedestal of the headstone are from Nigel's mum. In front of the headstone, you can see the ornamental cabbage and the two cyclamen plants that I planted. I have put plenty of slug pellets down as there are so many of the little beasts about just lately.
I don't go up to the cemetery that often, I will be there more often from now on, need to keep an eye on my cabbage!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Birthday boy

This was taken in December 2005, two months after Nigel's 40th birthday. I have a photograph of Nigel which was taken on his birthday, but I can't find it just now, so this one will have to do.
So, 3 years ago, amazing how life changes, isn't it? There was no way we could ever have imagined how things would change the following summer. Really, it is the stuff of nightmares, no-one ever thinks it will happen to them. People still think that it won't happen to them, and while it is a little extreme to spend your time worrying that it could happen to you, I also think it is blinkered to think that it definitely couldn't. No need to think negatively, by any means, just never ever presume that it won't be you!

That was then, this is now. Today Alex has a birthday party to go to, her buddy Katie is 4, so we are off to a playgym to help her celebrate. I get to drink coffee while she plays, which suits me fine! Then later we will take some flowers to Nigel's grave, which I tidied up yesterday. Weeds a plenty were growing, so I hacked them away. I also cleared the grave next to Nigel's, as I felt sad that the couple whose ashes are there had clearly not had anyone to visit in a very long time. I don't go up there that often, as I find it very distressing, but when I do, I have a little mental chat with Nigel. Nigel's grave has a lovely sunny position, so it is always sheltered and warm there. I need to wash the headstone at some point, the base is a little dirty and needs cleaning. Also, the heathers which the girls and I planted for his birthday 2 years ago have died, so time for some new plants.

Time to crack on with the day, so raise a glass to Nigel later if you will. Here's to all the fabulous birthdays we celebrated in the past.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sunshine on a rainy day

Spent the day at Skelton Grange with one of the year 3/4 classes I work with.What a fabulous place! We had a great day,the kids were enthralled by it all. We went pond dipping, mini beast hunting, played games with sorting animals by habitat, assembled food chainns and used keys to help identify the creatures we found on our searches.

Can you see the waterboatman we found? We also found newts, bloodworms, dragonfly larvae and lots of other teeny critters.
I must admit I was worried on Wednesday evening, it was absolutely siling down with rain here, but the rain abated while we were at Skelton Grange, only drizzling at the end which made it a much better day than I'd thought it would be! I am planning to take my girls there at some point, need to work out when we can get to one of their open days!
And so to the weekend...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Birthday time again

It should be Nigel's 43rd birthday this coming Saturday, 18th October. I always feel worse as this time approaches, seems harder to be without him as I get older but he can not. Missing him more comes and goes in waves, I have mentioned it before, and just now I seem to be swamped by the waves.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog candy over at Julie's blog

Julie is about to celebrate her blogoversary. Check out her blog here to see the gorgeous blog candy she is offering!

Been to the dentist today. I have a crumbling wisdom tooth which needs to be extracted, but other than that I got a clean bill of health! I have a bit of a phobia of all things dentisty, so to go to my new dentist today was a breath of fresh air! I felt completely comfortable, and so came away feeling much happier about it all.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gardening and card making

Could there be two activities which are more diverse? Finally took some pics of the CHristmas cards I have made recently. They are fairly simple, as I am thinking about postage costs. The bulkier the card, the higher the postage cost. I want all my cards to be able to be sent with an ordinary stamp, and not pay extra because they are too fat. Since the new rules came in, I have been caught out a few times, so I have been conscious of making cards which I like but that are also nice and thin once in the envelope!

These cards are made with Stampin Up Dasher papers, and the Perfect Presents stamp set. Nice and simple, easy to make lots of them!

Sophie made these with help from my buddy Julie. Gorgeous, aren't they! Sophie loves to craft, and is keen to do some altering.I bought some greyboard recently, so Sophie has decided she wants to make a little house. Maybe next weekend...
I've been busy in the garden, cutting new borders into the front lawn. I decided the border across the front was too narrow, so have widened it. During the week I will turn over the soil, and then get some new mini fence panels. Once those are in I will cover the soil with anti weed membrane, plant up some winter pansies and decorative cabbages, and then put gravel on top of the membrane. Alongside the box hedge, I am just planning on putting the gravel in, to make it look neater. The lawn had grown right under the hedge, so I couldn't cut it neatly. I spent ages digging the turf up, and pulling the really long grass out of the hedge. Needless to say, I am very proud of the end result! I have left the geraniums in there for now, so will pull them up and store in the garage over winter, ready to be replanted in the spring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Time to get off the rollercoaster?

Cor, life is hectic again! I seem to be busy non stop from morning til night just lately. I am working my way through some Scrapagogo kits which I have stockpiled and I must say I am loving working with the kits! I will take some pics in the light tomorrow.
Sorry for the short post, I will be back tomorrow with photos I promise!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Can anyone help?

As the October half term approaches, I'd like to make some Hallowe'en cards with the kids at craft club. Trouble is, I haven't got any Hallowe'en stamps!
Here's where you could help.... have any lovely readers got some suitable stamps they could stamp me some images from to make Hallowe'en cards with? I'm thinking along the lines of Spiral Whisper, Sugar Nellie, Hanglar StAnglar etc.
Please? Pwetty please? I need 18 images, to cover one each per child and a couple for me and Jules to demo with!
If you can help, please email me annajahead at yahoo dot co dot uk (avoids me getting spam if I put it like that!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Great North Run, how proud am I?

So my brother was running th Great North Run today. I was in awe before he even started. I am rubbish at running, so to even contemplate doing it was amazing!

Well, I heard this afternoon that Richard completed the course in 2 hours 4 minutes. Pretty impressive given it was his first time. And, he also raised £645 for the BHF.

Well done Richard, and thank you for running in memory of Nigel.

And to everyone out there who sponsored him, thank you from me and my girls. Here's hoping the BHF can carry out research to help prevent people dying from heart problems quite so often.

How long til Bermuda?

A little something to keep me going until we head to Bermuda in April!

That and the fact that I have ordered me a new car! Alas I have at least two weeks to wait til t arrives :(

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The perfect rubber stamp!

Ha ha I was sent this in an email today, looks like the perfect rubber stamp for anyone who is a littleoverwhelmed and stressed!
No craft to share today, although I did take a photo of one of my craft club kid's work, as it was just fab! We did paper dolls this week, with the boys making super heroes and the girls making mermaids. Turned out beautifully, the kids loved it. Thanks again Jules for helping me make the club run so well!
Time for bed now, I am tired lately. I did, however, have the most amazing night's sleep last Wednesday... amazing what setting someone straight can do for making you feel altogether more relaxed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Do not be alarmed

but I've been gardening lol. Mowed the lawns and did a load of weeding on Saturday. Then today, one of my lovely neighbours (I am blessed with lots of very kind neighbours), David, came over to cut my box hedge in the front garden. So once he had worked his magic, there were lots of clippings to clear up. Tomorrow the garden waste bin is due to be collected by the council, so I also had a quick whip round the garden to check for other waste. They are very strict about what can and can't be put in there, some of the items which are excluded seem a little odd tbh. I mean, the garden waste is going to be turned into compost, so why are they turning down things like raw veg peelings? I have a lot to do in the garden over the coming weeks, so I will be making a trip to B&Q and also the garden centre later this week. I need to replace the low fence which runs along the front of my garden, and also widen the border as it is too narrow to plant anything more substantial than a geranium. I've never been into gardening, but as there is only me to do it now, I have no choice!

Thought I'd share a couple of layouts I've done this week.

This one features a photograph taken on our first day in Turks and Caicos earlier this year. Check out the ukelele with only 2 strings! It's a photograph to remember tho, that holiday was completely amazing and I'd love to go to the Caribbean again.

This layout features photographs taken in the summer of 2003. I was just pregnant with Alex, and Nigel and I took Sophie on holiday to Scotland that summer. We made our base in Aberfeldy, at a friend's holiday house, and took in some of the local beauty spots, including Stirling castle. The girls and I returned to the same house in July 2006, literally days before Nigel died, so it is interesting to remember the first time we went there when we were still a family of 3.

I've started with my Christmas cards now, so watch this space for some soon. They're nothing fancy really, as I want to be able to send them via ordinary post, and not have to pay extra because they are bulky. I'm planning on getting them in the post as close to December 1st as possible... will I manage it?

Adios for now

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Great North Run 2008

On Sunday October 5th my brother Richard is running the Great North Run. He is running to raise money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of Nigel. If you would like to sponsor him, the link to his Just Giving page is here.
I hope he hits his target of £500, maybe even go on to raise more. So dig deep. The money he raises will go towards further research into causes of heart attacks. I know this research can't help Nigel, but it can help many others, save lives even. I know Sophie and Alex will benefit, as both girls are being regularly monitored by the Cardiac department at the hospital. Sophie's murmur is still worrying me a little, but she is being checked regularly which is great.

Dig deep, go on, you know you want to!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Proud of my friend

Today I am very proud of my friend, Lou. To cut a long story short, Lou ended up in a position no-one would want to be in financially. Today she has sorted this out and is ready to start afresh. She is one amazing lady, fabulous mum to her 4 kids, and one of my best friends in the world.
Lou, you rock! Here's to a fresh start, your life is all yours now, I wish it could have been different, but hey, that's life. Time to start over, put the bad times behind you. It is hard to do, but you're facing it head on and going for it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Craft club for kids

Started a craft club after school where I teach. Decided to do it for year 1 and 2, as most of the clubs we run are for the older kids. Got 21 kids wanting to come, when I could only take 16. I will run it again next term if this works out!
Yesterday was the first meeting, and we made foam animal bookmarks. The kids loved it, I came home shattered! Alas I forgot to take my camera to record it, and even then I wouldn't have been able to share the pics. Not sure what we will do next week, watch this space!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I will say this only once

This blog is open to all. I know that. But for someone who made my life difficult to bother reading it? Why? I honestly think you (and you know who you are) need to take a step back. Stop analysing my life and take a closer look at yourself. You might wonder how I know this person is reading it. Well, over on the right is a little tracker, and when someone from outside the UK reads the blog, it logs it, as well as all the UK locations. So I know they are reading at least once a day.
If you are genuinely interested in how me and my girls are doing, and possibly hope for the odd bit of crafty work, keep reading please!

**ETA** if you've emailed me asking if I mean you, then you indeed are right. I won't be replying, you have said things to me which I can do without, and I have no need for people like you in my life. Please don't get in touch again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Been out for a ride

Hooray, we took the bikes out today along the Spen Valley Greenway.It was great fun, the sun was shining for once, and the girls thoroughly enjoyed pedalling along. Alex did struggle a little on the way back, but I have now managed to fit the trail gator bar to my bike (ran out of time this morning), so I will tow her back next time.
Tonight is time for more sorting out in the craft room, wish me luck!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Birthday cards

Been meaning to share some pics of the lovely cards I received for my birthday last week. Thanks so much to everyone who sent me one!
Busy few days as usual here. Mum and dad are in Majorca so we have a weekend without visitors. Off to the circus tomorrow, which should be interesting.

The saga of the bead...

So let's set the scene... I was working this morning to make up the hours missed when I wasn't needed on Tuesday. Covering biographies with year 5/6. In comes one of our lovely office staff, saying Sophie's school was on the phone. Nipped down to the office to take the call.
"Sophie has a bead in her ear, she has no idea how it got there.It must be looked at."
Made the arrangements to leave and hot footed it over to Sophie's school. Arrived to find Sophie sat quietly in the school office. Looked in her ear to see a very small fleck of red which was flat, resting on the skin of the ear next to the ear canal.I licked my finger and touched the fleck to see if it actually was a bead. It came out on the tip of my finger!

Turns out the 'bead' was a paint chip from the end of Sophie's pencil. It was flat, and definitely didn't look anything like a bead! Dropped Sophie back to her teacher and went back to work.

Oh well, at least Sophie is ok!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beautiful gifts

So here is the first beautiful gift. My very own bicycle! As I've mentioned in earlier posts, this is my move to get me and the girls out and about together. The trail gater is ready to be attached as soon as I get time, preferably before the weekend!

Now for the second beautiful gift...

I have been lusting after one of these little beauties for quite some time now. I was over at my friend Linda's house during the summer holidays, and her husband let me try his iphone. Wow. It was amazing! I went into Leeds today with my friend Sarah, and decided to nip into the O2 shop to see how long a wait was involved. And hooray! No wait! So I signed on the dotted line, and came home armed with a beautiful 16 gigabyte iphone 3G. Cor it is wonderful. Need some more time to get to grips with it, but that will have to wait til later this week, as we have visitors at work this week... the dreaded Ofsted!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeeeeee

Alas am feeling a little blue, for obvious reasons. Birthdays alone are tricky, even when surrounded by lots of friends. Got some lovely presents, thanks everyone. Am off to La Tasca tonight for some food with WAY. Here's hoping an evening out lifts my mood...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Big day today

Today my youngest daughter, Alex, started school. It seems like it was only yesterday that Sophie was starting, but already two years have passed. I didn't feel sad that I was losing my baby to school, as she was very ready for it. However, I did feel very sad that Nigel was not there to see her make this big step. Other dads were there, and I am so glad they were able to do that. It is times like this that I become more painfully aware that our family is not how it should be. We are a close-knit family unit, but I never planned to be a lone parent, a widowed parent. I work hard for my girls, am always there for them. I know Nigel would be proud if he could see them now. But it's just not the same, is it?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

At last some photos!

At last blogger has let me upload some photos! Didn't want to get greedy, so just two of the girls enjoying the pool at the villa.

Having our own pool was just amazing. The girls swam every day and I am amazed they didn't turn into little prunes! I am on with planning next year's holidays now. The only one we have left this year is to Center Parcs in November. Jo is joining us, and we will all be doing lots of cycling. I have managed to get hold of a gator bar second hand, which will help Alex no end.

Tomorrow I am looking after my neighbour's 8 month old. Wiktoria is a complete darling, youngest daughter of our Polish dentist neighbours. Alex is really looking forward to it which is great. Hope I can remember it all...

Monday, September 01, 2008

A quote

Missing someone gets easier every day because even though it's one day further from the last time you saw each other, it's one day closer to the next time you will. ~Author Unknown

I found this on Quote Garden and in a way it is true. There are days when it is difficult to remember that I will see Nigel again in this life. I do hope that it is a long time until I see him again, as I have so much to do here with our two lovely girls.

Friday, August 29, 2008

14 days and counting

Fourteen days until what? Well, until I turn 33 of course! Birthdays are a bit of a damp squib when you're a widow. Nigel was never great at surprise presents, but I could tell him what I really wanted, within reason, and he would try and get it. But buying your own gifts is most definitely miserable. My girls are not yet old enough to take themselves off to the shops on their own, nor are they aware enough to realise what I would really like as a gift.

Anyway, I digress. Both the girls are loving their bikes at the moment, so I have decided to get myself a bike for my birthday. Nothing flash, just something I can ride without making a complete spectacle of myself. Then we can stick the bikes on the bike rack and go off to explore the cycle tracks round here, of which there are plenty. I've decided to go for a hybrid bike, a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike,so that we can ride on roads and also on rougher terrain, but not full on mountain stuff lol. I am going to get a gator bar for Alex, as she is still lagging in speed!

Can't believe it is the last day of the holidays. Work is beckoning... eek!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Vivid dreams seem to be the order of the day here.Not that I sleep for long, I am averaging 2 hours a night lately! I am dreaming so vividly I could almost reach out and touch Nigel, he feels so close. The dreams are not upsetting, just makes me more aware of his absence when I wake. I can smile about them, in a warm, comfortable way. Last night we were swimming in a beautiful pool, somewhere sunny and warm, the pool was enormous but only we were in it. No idea where it was! It may be a combination of memories from different holidays we had together.

I've had some lovely comments from readers of the Bella article, thank you for those. If you are reading this blog after seeing Bella, do leave me a comment. It is easy to register on Blogger, you don't have to have a blog! Claire, who I knew in Alvor before Nigel died and saw at the Owners' social this year, please drop me an email, would be great to chat a bit more, address is annajahead at yahoo dot co dot uk with the obvious alterations!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Watch this

It's important


Back home where it is cold... well actually it's not so bad, I just miss the sunshine and endless blue skies of the Algarve!

We had a fabulous holiday, returning was the best thing I have done in a while. The girls loved every minute, and have come home brown as berries. Alex's swimming has come on an absolute treat, and Sophie has been diving down the the bottom of the pool to collect the seal sticks which I bought before we left the UK.

So how did it feel to be back? It actually felt really, really good, definitely the right decision. There were moments when I felt desperately sad that Nigel was not with us, but I have felt like that on other holidays, so that was not down simply to being in Alvor. We were in a different room, in the mirror image of the last one, so that felt comfortable. The hotel had very kindly agreed to put an extra bed in the bedroom so that we could all sleep in the same room.

Having Darren and Collette there was good, and the girls enjoyed playing together (most of the time !). We ate at lots of different restaurants, and actually never at one I had been to with Nigel. One thing I could not quite bring myself to do this time was return to the restaurant where we spent our final evening together. We walked past it at the bottom of the cliff, but to go and eat there was not something I felt ready to do just yet.

Anyway, enough drivel for now. I will upload some photographs once I have finished sorting out all the stuff we took on holiday with us!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Afternoon naps a plenty

My girls were so tired today that we all went to bed this afternoon. Late nights and early starts do not make happy children! After a two hour sleep, all was well.

This evening we ate at the Captain's Table restaurant in Alvor. I had sea bass, possibly Nigel's favourite fish. It was a fabulous meal, and we will be eating there again before we go home.

Walking through Alvor tonight, I remembered all the times I had walked the same route with Nigel. This year is my seventh visit to the Algarve, and the 5th to Alvor. Many things are the same here, but equally there are lots of changes. Seeing the changes is easy to cope with, while seeing the things which have been the same since we started coming to Alvor is harder. It is both painful and happy to see these things, I remember so many of the amazing holidays we have had here. Happiness is generally over riding the sadness, but it is there, nibbling away at me at various times. I am glad we returned, and we will keep coming back, as there are plenty more happy memories to be made here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Greetings from the sunshine

Hello everyone

A quick psot, as I must get back to the girls, who are currently swimming like fish in the hotel pool while Collette watches them for me.

Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions, the overall feeling tho was of happiness that I was able to return to the Algarve and remember so many good times we had there before Nigel died.

We arrived here at 12.30, and hit the pool immediately. The girls were like little prunes when finally they got out! In the evening we went to the Pyramide Steak House, and had an amazing meal with Darren and Collette. Nigel would have loved what we ate!

The girls slept like logs, after having been up since 4am. I too slept well, the beds here are very comfy. I wish with all my heart that Nigel was here to enjoy our Algarvian holliday, but he's not, so we're going to continue to enjoy our holiday in style!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

As we approach August 10th 2008

This will be my last post before we head off to Portugal in the early hours of the morning tomorrow. I will actually be getting up at a similar time to when Nigel died, on the second anniversary of his death. I doubt I will sleep much anyway, so there will be many memories rushing through my mind at that point.

The cases are packed and ready to go. If I have forgotten anything, we'll have to go shopping for it once we're there!! I will have access to the internet at various points, so do come back and see how we're doing.

If you're reading this blog for the first time after reading the article in Bella (which will DEFINITELY be published on Tuesday 12th August), welcome, I hope you find my blog both interesting and useful.

I leave you with a song which means a great deal to me. Listen carefully to the words, I often wonder if Nigel is watching us from where he is.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Missing in action no longer

My camera lead has been missing in action for a while now, hence the lack of photographs on this blog. I found it tonight whilst searching for our passports. Found them too so all in all a successful search mission.

This first picture is of a wedding invitation I did recently for my lovely friend Trudie, who is marrying Mark in October. Made with gorgeous Making Memories Noteworthy paper, which took quite some tracking down as it was so popular! Inside the card was a pocket holding another card detailing the wedding. Trudie loved them, and they were my wedding gift to her and Mark.

The next photo is of my recently sorted ribbon racks. The racks are just cheap tie and belt holders from ikea, and I have used two side by side.

I know if I keep my ribbons out on display, I am more likely to use more of them than if they are hidden away. Above the ribbon rack you can see my punch storage bar, which again is a cheapy from Ikea. I am reorganising my craft room slowly but surely, I want it sorted by October half term. Sounds a long way off, but my life is so hectic and busy I have no chance of doing it much quicker than that. Plus I do craft in there in the meantime!

Here's a nice picture to finish off with. My lovely Sophie, complete with many gaps in her teeth these days, on the beach at Bigbury on Sea with my niece Olivia. How cute are they both?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Our family is expanding

At the end of August our family will be gaining two new members. Not human ones though! I decided it was time we got some pets, so after talking about it with the girls, we decided on two guinea pigs. Names chosen to press are Daisy and Brownie, but who knows when we actually get them!

For the guineas to live in, I have ordered them the bee's knees of GP houses! The picture shows a guinea pig Eglu, which I ordered from Omlet. Sophie decided a purple house would be most fitting. She wanted pink, but then changed her mind and plumped for the purple. I have been and expressed an interest in two female GPs at a breeder near us, so fingers crossed some are the right age once our eglu is set up!

Other than that, this week has been fairly ordinary after the drama of Monday. Alex is very bruised and sore, but thankfully the bites are healing well. No sign of infection, so the antibiotics which were on standby are not needed. She has been petting our neighbour's dalmation, Jack, quite happily, so here's hoping she does not develop a huge fear of dogs!

Time for tea for the girls now, and then I am off to Julie's for a stampin up do.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Good day bad day!

Good day- Sophie has learned how to ride her bike without stabilisers! Yay! Well done Sophie!
Bad day- Alex was attacked by a dog and bitten twice. Visit to minor injuries to get sorted, and the police are involved. Just hope it doesn't scar.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The place to be in Devon

Spent a week in South Devon with my parents, my brother, sis in law, nephew and niece. We stayed at Tuckenhay Mill, which is near Totnes. Fantastic place to stay, amazing facilities. The first weekend was glorious in terms of weather. Absolutely roasting, so we spent most of our time at the outdoor pool. Monday was spent at Bigbury on Sea, a little windy, but otherwise perfect.
I have photos, but as yet I haven't been able to locate the lead to upload them. I am on a mission this week to get various things sorted, so no doubt I will find it soon.

Bella have postponed publication of my story for 3 weeks or so, left me with a bitter taste in my mouth as they didn't actually let me know it wasn't going to be the issue they had told me. Watch this space for when it will be in...

Counting down now to our return to Portugal. And the second anniversary... 2 years since Nigel died. I still have no idea how the time has passed so quickly...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Uphill struggle for a few days

Easy to get swallowed up at this time of year. Term has ended, which is always a relief for teachers everywhere. Today I was sad because a colleague I have worked with from the very beginning of my teaching career has taken a year's secondment. I will miss her very much, but the staffroom will be a little quieter without her brummie accent...

Now I am packing ready for a family trip to Devon. It will be nice to get away from it all, chill out by the pool, spend the day on the beach. I am hoping the weather will be kind to us. Sophie and Alex are looking forward to seeing their cousins, and spending more time with my bro and sis in law is always good. After that week away, we have a week at home followed by a our fortnight in Portugal.

I am feeling Nigel's absence more lately. I've posted about this, so I won't bore you with it again. It is so hard to explain to people who are not widows that feeling like this comes and goes in waves. It is very much like the tide. When the tide is in, and the waves are lashing against the shore, I am feeling swamped, feeling like being washed out to sea away from all this would be a good idea. Not to die, just to move away from where everything is so complex.
Then when the tide is out, I feel calmer, I still miss Nigel but it is not weighing down on me as if I am sinking under the weight. At times like that, I may not be as open with talking about Nigel. It doesn't mean I have forgotten him or miss him any less, I just feel that the enormity of his loss is being borne in a more manageable way. I can honestly say, that in the 713 days since Nigel died, there has not been a day when I have not thought about him. Some days happy, some days not so happy.

I think a happy medium would be when the tide is midway between high tide and low tide. Nigel is always with me in my thoughts, never will that part go away, and I don't want it to. Plus he looks back at me through the eyes of the girls, every time they look at me.

So if you are missing Nigel too, make time to come and see us. Make time to see how his girls are growing, how delightful they are even when they drive me to distraction! Pop in for a coffee, just give us a ring. We're around more often than not. Weekends my parents are here usually, have been since Nigel died, amazing support for which I am so very very grateful.

So to finish this post, I say goodnight.

Gotta love the Sound of Music :D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's a funny old world

Strange goings on around here. Everyone is just trying to get through to the end of term without expiring. This time of year is tricky for me, it would be our wedding anniversary on the 29th, and then of course this time I will get to two years without Nigel on August 10th.

Two years without him.... that means that Alex has now had half of her life without her Daddy. Sophie has had a third of her life without him. Me, well it's just 2 years to me. Two long years at that.

There are lots of celebratory events lately, all of which feature happy families. I am so happy for everyone involved, but equally desperately unhappy that my girls and me are missing out on being part of what is perceived and portrayed as 'the norm'.

One thing I have noticed of late, is that there are some people in this world who never quite lose the desire to poke fun, be a bit spiteful. It is a trait I abhorr. And despite the fact that life has thrown hurdles aplenty to people around me, being spiteful still happens.

Shame really, but such is life.

A song I used to have playing on this blog is what I leave with you.

My life has moved on these last two years, but still I would give everything I have to fix you, Nigel.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

An interruption in service

So to speak.
My laptop died a horrible death last night, Alex fell onto it and it has since given up the ghost. I am using my desktop now, so I am thinking a laptop is an unnecessary luxury at the moment. Perhaps I will save up for it in a few months time.

School swimming gala today, organised by me. Ran smoothly I think, enjoyed by almost all the kids. I know swimming is not everyone's cup of tea, so I felt very proud of one child who swam a whole length. It was a difficult task to complete, and they needed encouragement all the way. The whole room was filled with chants for this child to finish the race, even though the other competitors had long since left the pool. Swimming a length like that is a massive achievement, and I felt very proud to have helped them achieve that.

Been out for a curry tonight with some other mums of year 1 at Sophie's school. Very nice it was too.

***Special announcement***

Bella Magazine

29th July release date

My story will be featured!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

End of term approaches...

Thank goodness for that, I'm tired, and the girls are tired, so that makes for much grumpiness in our house! Getting up for work in the mornings is getting harder, as we have to be out of the house for 7.45. I am looking forward to some mornings when we can take a bit longer over getting up and ready!

I haven't been crafting much lately, as I am out of energy past about 8pm, so I am definitely planning on putting this right during the holidays.

Here's to 3 more days before the end of term here!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Greetings from Anglesey!

Alex and I have come down to Anglesey for my friend Heather's youngest daughter's christening. Sophie is back in Leeds, staying with her best friend for the weekend. It was J's birthday so Sophie didn't want to miss it.
Met up with some of my UKScrappers team mates at lunchtime for a bite to eat in a nearby pub.

The last few days I have been working on getting by without imploding. Work is always busy and loaded with stress for everyone at this time of year, so on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I am working, I get home in the evenings ready to go straight to bed. And that's even though I have very little responsibility compared to other teachers at work. I do enjoy my work, and have some plans to use my crafting skills in an after school club from September onwards. I am also going to work on getting my violin pupils ready for grade one. They both have bags of talent, so my job is to get them to practice more effectively and pass the exam with a well deserved grade.

I am also trying to get various things in the house sorted. I have sorted through the various bits and pieces of Nigel's that I had left in our wardrobe. I gave certain items to the British Heart Foundation shop in Morley, amd boxed up his favourite clothes to share with the girls when they are older. In the limited loft space we have after converting the loft, I have a box full of Nigel's favourite Leeds United shirts, all bar one. His absolute favourite, a long sleeved shirt from the season we made it into the Champion's League, he wore on his final journey. Along with his favourite carpenter style jeans he was well dressed.

I am also trying to get storage finally sorted in some areas of the house. Clutter is all consuming at times, and I am working very hard to overcome this!! I know what I want from Ikea, but every time I go to get it, it is out of stock! Arrrrrrrrrghhhh! I have asked my friend Sue to help me put some shelves up for my favourite books in my bedroom, plus I need to paint my room to smarten it up after having new wardrobes fitted.

All in all, life is manic but very mundane. I keep plodding on, trying to keep my head above water as the second anniversary of Nigel's death approaches. Plus what would have been our 8th wedding anniversary. I need to go and look up what gift marks that so I can arrange something for Nigel's headstone.

Nos dawch (Good night for the non welsh speakers amongst us !)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Craft Robo for sale

I have decided to sell my craft robo. I will be listing it on UKScrappers shortly, but thought I would stick it up on here first.

It's a Mark II Craft Robo, and comes with everything you need. 2 carrier sheets, one unused, there might even be another one kicking around somewhere but not certain! CD with software to use on your PC/laptop. You can cut any shape, any font, any size up to A4. It is a fantastic machine, I am just happy with my Cricut.

Yours for £125 plus postage

If you would like more details, please email me

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A funeral today

Two of my online buddies have joined the exclusive club that is widowhood over the last few weeks. Jo lost her darling husband Steve to a brain tumour in June, and MB lost her amazing husband to cancer too. MB's husband's funeral is today, in fact it is going on right now.

Becoming a widow is something you think will never happen to you, but sadly it does happen to more people than you would think.

So, Jo and MB, welcome to the club. I wish with all my heart that you were not entitled to be members, but we all know that we can't change that.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Time to return

This summer we will be returning to Portugal for the first time since Nigel died. When I tell people we are going, I get very mixed reactions. Some of the negative ones to make me want to scream!
We are returning because we own timeshare where Nigel died. I could swap it for another location, but after careful consideration I decided not to. Nigel and I chose to buy timeshare in Alvor for good reason. It is a fantastic resort with so much to offer for a great family holiday, we loved it there, and have taken both girls there for their first holiday abroad.
I feel positive about going back to Alvor. Yes, it is where NIgel died, but equally it is somewhere I have happy memories of too. Portugal generally is a special place for us. We had our very first holiday together in Albufeira in 1998 when I was 22 and Nigel was 32. Then of course we took the girls. We tried other places, but just kept coming back to Portugal. It had everything we wanted from a holiday.
The girls have grown up with Portugal too, and have asked many times when they would be going back. I believe that they too have happy memories of our holidays there, and so I want to kindle that happiness.

When we left Portugal the Sunday after Nigel died, I felt deeply sad that I was leaving him there. Yes, he was dead and so knew nothing about it, but still I felt I should not have left him there alone. In a way, I left part of myself in Portugal that day we flew home, so returning this summer will help me reclaim that. I need to go back, experience happiness there, see how the girls and I have grown together as a more complex family unit.

I am hoping for a fortnight of happiness and good memories.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Legoland Revisited

We have spent today at Legoland Windsor with my brother, sis in law, nephew and niece. Last time we visited was in October 2006 with mum and dad. The weather was forecast to be 23 degrees today, but looked like it could rain when we arrived.

Well it didn't rain, in fact I have ended up getting a touch of sunburn. The girls had a ball with their cousins, and this time it was warm enough to enjoy the water park in Duplo Land. We went on a few of the rides, and enjoyed spotting all the lego sculptures around the park. A picnic in the sunshine made for a nice lunch. Better than nasty takeaway in the park!

Not a lot to report, other than we had a fantastic day. If you're planning a visit to Legoland, check out ticket prices on as I saved loads on buying the tickets at the gate. Cheaper even than with the one child free vouchers tesco have been handing out of late. We got cheap tickets for Chester Zoo from there too earlier in the month, so it is worth a look.

We head home tomorrow, back to reality with housework to be done, school to prepare for. Sophie has one more book to read, she managed Miss Dose the Doctor's Daughter this morning, reading to her sister and cousin.

Signing off, adios for now.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Reasons to be glad

Have I blogged about this before? I'm not sure really, so here goes.

Given everything that has happened to me since August 10th 2006, it is easy to slip into a negative frame of mind. It is too easy to allow myself to become a victim, and to blame everything that goes wrong in my life on the fact that at the age of 30 I became a widow completely out of the blue. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, working on being more positive about my life and things in it. Some days it is harder than others, but it is never a possibility to give up.

Every day of my life, I wish that Nigel was still here, wish that he could see Alex learning to read her first words, wish that he could see Sophie waking up, finding that the tooth fairy had been, and skipping delightedly all over the house. He has missed so many things, but equally he saw so much before he died.

He was there when both girls were born, cheering me on, even when I was exhausted and in agony. He was there when both girls took their first steps. He was there through thick and thin when they were babies. He was there when we took both girls on their first foreign holidays, both to Alvor where ultimately we would say goodbye to him.

Since losing Nigel, there have been many firsts, and there will be many more in the years to come. So focus on the positive I will.

I am glad Nigel felt no pain on the night he died. My GP and also the consultant cardiologist at LGI have reassured me that he felt nothing. He went back to sleep that night at 1.10am and never felt anything more.

I am glad that our girls slept through the events of that night, that they didn't see the paramedics working on their daddy, the mortuary men taking him away in what I hope to be the only black body bag I ever lay eyes on.

I am glad that Nigel made it home so soon, even though we were expecting him to take much longer than the eight days it took for all the paperwork to be completed.

I am glad that over 300 people thought so much of my husband that they came to pay their respects at his funeral.

I am glad that my girls have coped well with losing their father. How do I know this? The girls had some sessions with the Leeds Sad Events Team, Louise in fact, and she was very complimentary about how grounded they both are, and how comfortable they are with talking about Nigel.

I am glad that we didn't have to move from this house. We moved here when I was 11 weeks pregnant with Sophie, and watched it being built before then. It is our home, and I want it to stay that way. Yes, I have to budget carefully, but it is worth it. There are so many happy memories here.

Most of all, I am glad to have known Nigel, to have loved Nigel, to have married Nigel, and that he was the father of our children.

I wish he was still here, but even with wishing as hard as I can on that lucky star, dreams don't always come true.

So for now, I'm keeping going at remembering the good times, and holding so many memories close to my heart.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quick update

Poorly me.
Got a chest infection.
On antibiotics.
Feel crap.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What to call this post

Not sure really as I am just checking in to say hello. I have taken shed loads of photographs lately, but unfortunately I can't share them. They're of the children I teach, and my school has a very strict photography policy. I have been taking class photos, and I am really pleased with how they are looking so far. I enjoy taking photos, and would love a new lens for my camera. Just can't decide which one I want first!

Alex is poorly again. She has a hacking cough, and her tonsils are all swollen again. I am going to have to push to go back to ENT again, I am not happy at all about how poorly she is with her throat. Sophie is doing fine. We spent the day at Chester Zoo yesterday, and Jenn, her best friend, came with us, along with her brothers and mum. We met Heather, Erin and Swyn there, and the weather held out perfectly for us. Nice and warm, not too hot or cold.

Other than that, not a lot going on. Just busy to the point of wanting to stop the world and get off! Managed to ignore the fact that it was Father's Day on Sunday. I did find our wedding cards whilst clearing out my wardrobe, so had a little sob to myself over those.

Ah well. Onwards and upwards!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Cardiology and Genetics

We spent most of Thursday morning at Leeds General Infirmary, looking into genetic risks of heart complaints, and then actually giving the girls a thorough physical examination. Both girls had an ECG and an ultrasound scan. It showed up that Sophie has a murmur, and Alex is borderline for having one. Not anything to worry about at this stage, but they will be having an extended ECG over 24 hours in a few weeks' time.
I am relieved to have discussed my fears with the doctors, who were very sympathetic about my concerns. They will be writing to the hospital where the post mortem was carried out, through the Foreign Office. I could do it myself, but it is more likely to be successful if the hospital does it. We are hoping that a full post mortem report will be available, which should then give more indication as to whether Nigel actually died of a heart attack. It is possible that he died as a result of something which had similar symptoms to a heart attack, so seeing the full report should help to clarify this.

I am struggling just now with misuse of the term 'widow'. I hear people describing themselves as 'football widows', 'exam time widows', 'wii widows' etc etc. I know people do not mean to be offensive, but the reality of being a widow is massively different to being denied a little time with your loved one like this. Yes, it seems enormous at the time, but it is, in the bigger picture, only a very short term thing. Being a widow is something that doesn't go away. Even if I were to find someone new, I would never leave being Nigel's widow behind. Some days I wish I could, but I know I will never be able to fully. So please, find some other way to describe the fact that you can not spend the time you would like to with your loved one. I wish I was a football widow just now... it would definitely be preferable to being a heart attack widow...

I leave you with a quick card I made today, using the May kit from Scrapagogo. It was in response to a challenge set by Sally to case a card using a Scrapagogo kit. So I promptly cased one of Sally's own cards!

I have more stuff to photograph, but the light was hideous by the time I got round to taking the pics!

And really to end with, a song I am enjoying just now. Listen to the words...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Work cut short..

because Alex is ill :(

She has tonsilitis and is running a very high temperature. She is not a happy girl at all.

Here's to a long night...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Cardiology here we come

On Thursday the girls will be having their first round of tests with cardiology at the LGI. I asked our GP to refer us, as I am worried that there could be some sort of underlying genetic heart defect which was why Nigel's heart just stopped that night. Most probably there is nothing, but I decided I wanted to have the girls checked.

I am glad they are being checked, whilst also being a little apprehensive. Fingers crossed all goes well please.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rollercoaster week...

Half term. Time to spend some time with the girls.

Yeah right!

Enter horrid asthma, mega steroid tablets, on the verge of being admitted to hospital and pumped full of all sorts. I haven't felt ill like that since before Nigel died. It was horrid, and I am so glad I feel better now!

The girls have since spent a few days with my parents, and I disappeared off with some friends. I have come back feeling refreshed, ready to give everything my best shot!

So hopefully time for some crafting very soon! Watch this space...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Well Diane awarded me the CIrcle of Friends award, I can't seem to get the image to upload just now tho!

I am veyr lucky to have a very strong circle of friends. Some local to me here in Leeds, and some further afield. Since Nigel died, they have been there for me through thick and thin. I'm not going to wax lyrical and get all mushy over it, but I will say thank you to those people who have done so much for me.

Spare a thought today please for my lovely neighbour Mary. She is currently in St James's Hospital with a possible perforated appendix. Ouch. Get well soon!

Still not feeling great myself. We're off for a nice tasty lunch down at the Mill Village in Batley.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

So Lottie tagged me...

Not had one of those for a while, so here goes!

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog.Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1. Ten years ago
May 1998 I was in the middle of my finals at the University of Leeds. Hoping to get the 2:i I needed to to a primary PGCE at the University of Durham (which I did!). Nigel and I were together, our relationship was just starting out.

2. Five things on today's "to do" list (in no particular order).
1 empty dishwasher
2 sweep living room floor
3 put basket of laundry away
4 do bit of ironing
5 continue tidying my craft room

3. Snacks I enjoy.
crisps, fruit

4. Things I would do if I was a millionaire
Buy a holiday home on the Algarve, and one next door to rent out. If I had a holiday home I would want to decamp there for the whole school holiday, so the other one could be rented out to earn me some income.
I would buy a new car. Nothing wrong with my golf, I don't need a new car but I would like one! I have my eye on a VW Tiguan, a compact 4x4. Droooooooool...

5. Places I have lived,
Durham, Leeds, Enschede (The Netherlands), Pudsey and Gildersome, where I live now.
Nigel and I had planned to retire to the Algarve, so maybe I will do that one day.

That do you Lottie?
Ok so I tag:

Heather (password protected)

Am suffering with laryngitis atm so forgive the short post. The girls are poorly too, so feel free to send us delicious home cooked meals for me to reheat, along with lots of chocolate. And Calpol. Thanks.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Relaxation at it's best

We've just spent the weekend at Scargill House up in the Yorkshire Dales in a place called Kettlewell. Have you seen the film Calendar Girls? If you have, then you will be familiar with the village of Kettlewell.
Scargill House is a mile and a quarter out of Kettlewell, and is a Christian retreat. We went as a group of friends, 6 adults and associated childre from 2 to 7 years old. No Christian affiliation but most of us are church goers in some shape or form. Scargill is in the middle of nowhere really, no mobile phones can get a signal, and all you can hear outside is sounds of nature. Perfect for a nice quiet weekend.
As soon as we arrived, I could feel the stress draining away. I have been feeling very stressed out again lately, so it was exactly what we needed. The girls had plenty of playmates, and as we were the only residents over the weekend, we had free run of the place. The food is out of this world, really delicious, and all included in the price too, so no worrying about cooking for a whole weekend!
I read a whole book while we were there, Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz. Shows how relaxed I was really. No crafting done, but there's time for that this week. I'm on a mission to get my craft room tidy again, it has got very out of control. Time to purge some stuff I think, so wish me luck!
Some pictures of the weekend to share, lots of smiling faces which is great.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reliving my life with Nigel...

I spoke to a journalist today, with a view to her writing a piece about my life since being widowed at 30.
We talked about how we'd met, when we got married, how long after that the girls were born... lots of memories which were good to go over, if a little emotional now, later in the day.
We talked about what happened the night that Nigel died, and I can still remember it so clearly. Every time I talk about what happened that night, I am so very grateful that the girls slept through it all. To have seen their daddy how he was that night is something I am so very glad they did not see. The paramedics who came did everything they could to help, but it was not a sight I ever want to see again. It is all very well to learn first aid skills, but to actually use them like I had to that night is frightening. I didn't think twice about it at the time, and I would do the same again for anyone who needed help. Still makes it a scary thought.

Life is ticking by nicely here. This weekend we are off to Scargill House with some friends, including one 4 year old who wants to know if we eat each other when we die... am I sure I want to go???

Saturday, May 10, 2008

New goodies

A day of new goodies today. Alex has been wanting a cabin bed, but unfortunately her bedroom just isn't the right size for one. So I have been on the lookout for something exciting for her to have instead. As she is a HUGE Dora the Explorer fan, I was delighted when I found a Dora bed tent on Amazon. It arrived yesterday, and I put it together this afternoon. As you can see, she is delighted with it!

I finally got my order from Crafts U Love today. I needed some new cutting mats for the cricut, and a new Whipper Snapper stamp just fell into my shopping cart... I must say I was not overly impressed with the delivery time, having ordered on Monday 28th April, and the goods arriving today, May 10th! In the past when I have ordered from them, delivery has been much speedier. Oh well. Once won't put me off ordering from them again.

For the card, I used my lovely new Whipper Snapper stamp, Craftwork Cards cupcake paper and sentiment, grosgrain ribbon in hot pink. I coloured it with my Derwent water colours.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Good Day

It started well, Alex slept until 7.45, and on waking wanted to watch the end of ET. We started watching it last night, as Sophie was at her best friend's for a sleepover. Once ET was finished we had a quick breakfast and tidy round, before meeting Sophie at Starbuck's with Jennifer, Sarah and Oliver.

After coffee, and a quick mooch round Next to get the girls a summer weight body warmer each, we headed to Showcase Cinema to see Nim's Island.

We loved this film! We met some friends there, and Katie came in to watch the film while Debbie and Patrick headed to Ikea (Patrick is only 10 months so not yet old enough to appreciate the cinema!).

The story is all about an 11 year old girl called Nim. Her father Jack is an oceanographer, and together they live on a remote South Pacific island. Nim's mother had died some years before, having been swallowed by a whale. Jack was researching plankton, and this research took him away from the island for a couple of days, leaving Nim to wait for some turtle eggs to hatch.

The inevitable happens, and a storm means Jack can not get back to Nim in the intended time scale. So Nim ends up emailing her favourite author, Alex Rover, for help after Alex Rover write asking for advice about volcanoes.

To cut a long story short, there is a most happy ending! Definitely worth seeing, a little predictable for sure, but still enjoyable. The scenery is amazing, makes me wish I was on that island right now!

Once the film was finished, we came back here and the kids had a play. Patrick loved exploring our house, bless him! Debbie watched the girls for me while I nipped to the tip with the rubbish that wasn't collected last week because of the strike, plus a mattress we didn't need and was past it's best.

Nothing exciting about today but we enjoyed it. Relaxed fun all round! Here's to more days like that. Shame there was no crafting to be had, will save that for another day!