Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Fancy a coffee at mine?

On Wednesday morning at about ten past 8 I caught one of the first Macmillan Cancer Support 
TV adverts for this years 
'worlds biggest coffee morning'.

By 8.15 I had decided I would hold one at my house and by 8.20 I had invited all my 'local ish' blogging friends. By 8.20 I had decided 'what the hell' and invited everyone on Instagram too.

By 8.30 I was having a small panic (and wondering if I should have checked with Cleggy first) and by 8.40 I was late for the school run!

However, I knew deep down it was a good idea and that if I spent longer than 2 minutes thinking about it I would never do it.

So, if you are remotely local 
(we are about 10 miles south of Manchester in a town called Timperley)  
and happen to be free on 
 Friday 27th September 
please pop in and say hello.

I will, of course, be making more plans nearer the time and thinking of ways we can raise more money by sharing our crafty wares/cooking skills.

Incidentally  Cleggy thought it was an ace idea, although didn't seem too concerned that he was working that particular day! If you can't make it maybe you could join in the virtual coffee morning by sharing a photo of your coffee (and cake) and making a donation on the day.

NB: I only 'invited' anyone for whom I had an email address readily available...you do not need an invite, not do you need to be offended if I didn't contact you!! Nor do you need to be of a crafty nature!

Other nice things going on here lately - we spent Father's Day taking a walk and a picnic in the beautiful Peak District with Emily and her family. It's an area we have never really explored and I can't believe we haven't - it's stunning.
We parked in the picturesque village of Edale, which is the start of The Pennine Way, and walked for a couple of miles before stopping for lunch and some sort of Lord of the Flies type play by a stream.

The Teen was initially reluctant to join us (his brothers and Emily's boys are younger - so why would he want to remove his headphones and actually PLAY with them?!) but soon found himself having great fun organising the games and losing himself - I sense these days are precious!!

The younger boys had no such qualms and at the sight of water stripped down to their pants and....got in!
Then played Frisbee - as usual.
 We finished the day with a pint and some chips...and a little sunshine. Bliss.

At the end of last week we all visited Cleggy's home town of Newcastle to run another 

It's ages since we've been to the city and I had quite forgotten how ace it is. It was a bit of a weird trip as we hadn't planned to take the boys but needed to at the last minute. Unfortunately we couldn't all get in the same hotel (Rhianna in town at the same time - it was the place to be) so while Cleggy and a couple of the boys lived it up in a lovely central hotel me and Kenzie were in THE roughest travel lodge I've ever stayed in on the outskirts of roughsville. 
(notice how I didn't Instagram THAT!!)

We did manage to meet in the middle for tea
before Kenzie and I took the opportunity to walk back along the quayside and have a look at the bridges
We thought we would be clever and take a photo of us in front of the Tyne bridge but after at least 10 attempts this was the best we got:
not much bridge and not much us!
We couldn't go home without a quick visit to see Great Granny Long who had just come out of hospital and is a marvellous 93 years old. I think we wore her out in the 15 minutes we were there but it was lovely to see her home 
(and wrapped in such a tasteful crochet blanket!!)

Back at home we've had the little people in the family over again this weekend and have all enjoyed their company. Wilf is just a big fat ball of squeezable boy and Mabel is funny and full of 2 year old charm. She's also great for Cleggy to try out new ideas on - this weekend it was a new play dough recipe involving shampoo (see here for blog post with recipe)
The garden has really started to bloom over the last couple of weeks - and there have even been 1 or 2 opportunities to sit out in it, as if it was really summer.

My shop is finally back open for business - although I've limited my products as commissions are taking up more and more time.

Here are some of the things I've made recently
Ruby Wedding blocks
 Blocks using a well known comic, for male teachers 
(email me if you want one, chippernelly@hotmail.co.uk)
 and more 'words to live by' blocks (with a photo of someone else's special Grandma)
I also 'made' a new home for towels. I say made, but Cleggy made it for my birthday a couple of years ago and it's been waiting for it's rightful home. The photos don't do it justice but the outside is covered in Pip wallpaper and the inside postcards and old photos of my family.
 I love it.

Run update:

The couch to 5K is still going well - although I made a BIG mistake a couple of weeks ago and decided I would try a much longer stride. I felt like my running was barely faster than walking and wanted to increase the distance.
My ankles, however, did not agree with this new strategy at all and swelled up like balloons. Despite ice,heat,ibuprofen and raising they took a week to feel normal so set me back a bit. Since then I've gone back to my original style and have decided to keep working on the stamina - I'll work on everything else when I can actually run 5K.

Have I lost any weight? Not really, but I feel much much better. Stronger and more energised.

Yesterday my run included a 20 minute run - I was convinced I couldn't do it - but did. I still can't believe I can run for 20 mins. Especially still I essentially still weigh 12 stone and (surprisingly!) am still 5ft!!!

fee x

Friday, 7 June 2013

Lost a pound and gained a year!

Last week I thought I was turning 43 - turns out I was 'only' 42! 

Maths has never been my strong point but I was thrilled to find myself younger than I thought! 

Most bizarrely when I went for my annual eye test my eye sight had improved too...
what are the chances??
(apparently reasonably high - the lovely optician told me it was fairly common in one's 
'middle age'. Goodo)

Naturally my day was special as the boys all still love making cards and helping to wrap presents. Well, they love it for 5 minutes, leave Cleggy locked in the dining room for hours... then take all the glory during the grand opening!

Cleggy has earned himself the unenviable reputation of being a 'good wrapper of presents' (see here, herehere and here and here for wrapping ideas!) and this year was no exception. It was an eclectic mix of print and charms finished with my new obsession - little vintage ceramic dolls called 'frozen charlottes'.
Apparently so called because Charlotte refused to wear a coat when going out in bad weather and froze...a lesson in vanity. 

(Little bit sinister)


We did of course manage to sneak off for a cheeky night away (thanks Granny) and drove further South into our own county (Cheshire) to part of the world we don't visit often enough. It's a very pretty part of England and has castles galore.

The weather was less than promising but who cares...a night away is a night away right?!

We stayed at The Cholmondeley Arms, a converted school with a separate B+B in the original Headmaster's house. 

I chose it for 2 reasons...the garden (complete with games) and the gin. 

The weather was SO grim we didn't even see the garden but the gin was brilliant. They have 130 different types and do a 'gintroduction' which is three very different varieties with a range of mixers and garnishes. I had no idea they would taste so different - lush!
Rubbish photos - had drunk a little too much already!
It's a great place to stay and the pub is lovely - 
good food and service too.
I share my birthday with Cleggy's Dad who turned 70 this year! 
As a surprise we all travelled to The Lakes to spend a day together.
The village was called Wasdale and it was 
THE most beautiful scenery.
We found a good spot for a picnic and a couple of hours of football, Frisbee (natch) and paddling in the stream.
 It was lovely to catch up with everyone - 
the boys love seeing their Edinburgh cousins....
  ...and Cleggy doesn't see nearly enough of his big brother.

We have made some big decisions recently 
(around swapping work for time!) 
and it was really good to discuss it with him and my sister-in-law Alice, who then posted me a book about 'finding time' (which I haven't had time to read yet - ha ha)
Thanks for organising us all Alice - you are a very special lady.

THEN, as if that wasn't enough excitement for one week we celebrated The Granny's 67th birthday with a family tea in the garden. I can't actually believe we had 2 sunny days in a row!

This time all the little local cousins came...Cleggy had made some dens and created some 'water exploration stations' 
(you can take the man out of teaching.....) and it was lovely to see them all playing together. My big boys even managed to part with their screens for the day!
 WHO in their right mind would give a hose to a 2 year old!!?
GB still loves bubbles...who doesn't?
My little brother and his wifey Janet
On the work front I've been back in the workshop for real for the first time in months. Unfortunately I haven't yet tidied it but I have found my desk...a good start.

Here are some of my recent makes:
crochet coasters for Teachers 

some 'words to live by' blocks
 Single blocks for teachers using Cath Kidston papers
 Christening blocks using Beatrix Potter images
 Lots of wedding blocks
A christening box
(I no longer make these :(  
The blanks and postage are just too expensive)
Some blocks for a little girl called Emily Brown, using images from an Emily Brown book!
and some new designs for the shop when it reopens next week
Lastly - the couch-to-5K run update. I am on run 11 and can't believe I'm still doing it. 
Any hopes of losing weight have been dashed by....THE SHEER AMOUNT of food and drink I've consumed over the last fortnight!  But I have lost ONE POUND!
The runs are now much harder (intervals of 5 minute runs) which I'm finding very challenging - but still kind of enjoying it and hoping to see some results in the reduction of my lardy arse in the near future. 
Thank you again for all the encouragement (and on Instagram) 
I'm glad I went public!!
fee x