Friday, August 28, 2015

Result Day

All week I have toyed with publishing this post. In the end I've gone with it as it's something I wanted to record. It might eventually find it's way tucked into a layout for future reading.

Last week was a long week. I'd been in a bit of a state. Trouble sleeping, headaches, and welling up whenever someone mentions exam results. I blabbered when I met the girls. They all laughed at me. They told me I was worrying over nothing.  And you know what? they were so right.

I don't remember being like this when I waited for me own exam results. I just wanted all his hard work to pay off for him. And you know what? It did.

We couldn't be more prouder. I just hope he knows it. He has always been such a lovely boy and is growing into a wonderful young man  (maybe, a little too laid back at times, but hey ho you gotta have something...right!).
I'm still looking for year 1&2 photos :( 

We are a long way off from when he started secondary school and we had our first parents evening. I remember it well - in fact I don't think i'll ever forget it. He had been chosen to attend a special english trip with a handful of others from his year group, the hubster was working so it was little ole me at parents evening, all on my own.

I visited all the teachers in turn. Reports were glowing and he was on or exceeding all his targets. The teachers thought highly of him and said I should be proud of him. All the things you want to hear.

Then...oh yes...then... I get to the English teacher. I sit down and in a rude tone, her opening words to me were... "He is silly, not a disruptor but gets encouraged and goes along with the disruptives, he is an under achiever who really should not be in my class...."


Needless to say I was flabbergasted. My first words to her were..."...are we talking about the same child?" - Bearing in mind not one of the previous eight or so teachers I'd seen, had a bad or negative word to say about him (and neither had any of his former primary school teachers).

Well you can imagine how the conversation went from then on. I bombarded her with questions, I said I would be talking to my son and at that point asked her why he had been selected to take part in this english project...considering he was such a silly under achiever! She couldn't answer me. I asked her what she was going to do to bring him up to target. She said nothing! (she actually did say the word "nothing") She said secondary school did not offer any help to children who fell behind target.

Well....I was all of a tizz, I can tell you. So much so I forget my appointment with the last teacher and had to email him when I got home to apologise. His email back to me was glowing.

At home, I spoke to my boy, his first words to me when I mentioned her name was "I don't think she likes me". And you know what. I think he was right. We discussed the class, his behaviour and his work. He asked me if she said anything nice about him (Sob!).  I spoke to the parent of the boy he sat next too and she had exactly the same experience as me.

After stewing on this for a few days I eventually typed a really nice email to the head of English. I'm not one who thinks my children are perfect. I'm not one to complain and moan to the school. But this really was eating away at me. I sent my email about ten pm on a Sunday evening and she telephoned me at seven am the next morning to say she would be looking into it.

I had several telephone calls from her throughout the day. After airing my concerns and speaking to her I felt better. Him not so much. As he now knew for sure his teacher did not like him. It's not a good relationship to have.

All went calm, he kept his head down and came home a few months later to say...someone asked her if she would be teaching the same class next year. Her answer was "yes..some of you but I have asked not to have certain people in my class" Well we all knew who that meant.

So for year 8 he was moved class and down a level. She left the school later that year. Thankfully.

Where is she now I wonder? On the day he receives his English GCSE results and achieved both an A in English Lit and Language. I say... where is she now!!! Would you believe he has chosen English Language for one of his A levels.  I'd like to think maybe he wants to prove her wrong too, although I think it's more to do with the fabulous english teachers he had after her.
Sorry for such a long post. I wanted to record this. This is my only negative experience with any teacher with any of my children. Personalities clash I get that. But it could have gone so wrong for him. He could have lost faith. I think it is important for children to have a good relationship with their teachers. It really cannot be an easy job and I admire anyone who decides to teach.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sticky 9 Balls

On Monday I did manage to make a couple of cards. 
A little set of sports fun using a mixture of stamps and a grass die. 

I had lots of ideas running around in my head but once I'd made a few that was it. 
Nothing else came together. 
Don't you just hate it when that happens? 
 The pink card was made last week and I was looking at it, to see if I liked it enough to actually send it to someone. I'm funny like that. If I make a card I have to really love it to pass it on. 

The mess I made in the process. 
 Recently, there seems to be much more card making going on than scrapbooking. In my need to change this I sent some recent photos for printing (....even though I have tons here that I could scrap). I uploaded them straight from my phone and instagram using an app called Sticky 9. 
They arrived packed in the cutest little box. The photos are 4x4 in size and are printed on card. With a matt finish I really like the look and feel, and hope to be sharing some layouts very very soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Me on Monday

 Hello Hello Hello.. Happy Monday to you.

Gosh it feels good to be at home today. And I feel so much better than I did last Monday. Maybe because I've been able to spend a couple of hours cutting and sticking. That was after the hubster left for work dropping No1 son off on the way, for his day of fund raising while I took the other two for long overdue haircuts.

We have had another lovely weekend, No1 son received his GCSE results in the week so it was one for relaxing and celebrating. My boy done good and we couldn't be prouder. He's been accepted for his chosen A Levels so he is happy.
The Web Ellis Cup made an appearance at our local shopping centre and the boys weren't passing up an opportunity to go and see it. I wasn't passing up an opportunity to get some photos. It was win win all round.

There were two other local clubs we spotted handing out leaflets and our rival club tried to hand No1 son a leaflet. It did make me smile when his face of disapproval told them, no thanks I play for MK.
Saturday was a day of reminiscing. We drove down to my brothers and headed into Windsor for the afternoon. Note to Self: Remember to never go via the M25 ever ever again!!!!

Before the boys, Windsor was a regular weekend visit. Walking within the castle grounds (yes, it was free back then to wander around the castle) Picnic's by the river, taking a paddle out, a stroll around the shops. The evenings were spent in one of the quaint pubs or trendy (we thought so then) bars, there were occasions when we took the river boat disco in the evenings. I think the last time we were there No2 son (or it may have been No3 son) was a baby, most definitely over ten years ago. I had forgotten how lovely it was.

We ended the day with a trip to the Nike outlet where No3 son purchased a new pair of trainers. Oh to be eleven again. He's had them on his feet ever since...even with his PJ's.

We wrapped up the weekend with pre-season rugby training (and you know what, I'm slipping...I forgot to take photos) and a bar-b-que in true British style...the rain.

Enjoy your week as we head into a long bank holiday weekend x
This post is brought to you as part of Sian's Me on Monday meme.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Me on Monday

I'm a little late in joining Sian's party...another weekend has flown by and I haven't had time to catch my breath yet. worst day of the week ... really. The weekend is over and i have an early start at work.

What's worse than a Monday in work... is a Monday in work knowing everyone else has a day at home. Especially when they send you a photo to show they are out enjoying themselves!!!

At least they are thinking of me:)

The weekend was off to a good start when I picked No1 son up on Friday afternoon, he told us all about his fabulous week. He enjoyed it immensely, he was with a great group of kids and had a brilliant group leader. The work...well, he said they did do some.

No 2 son was at his friends foot golf party, I've not heard of it before but he enjoyed it and No3 son was with his best buddy who stayed for a sleepover.

Saturday came and they all chilled out. The hubster was working and No2 and No3 son were out playing with their friends. No1 son spent most of the day very horizontal. Me...I caught up on all the household chores and worked my way through a suitcase of dirty clothes.

On Sunday we attended the BFoM, Brackley Festival of Motorcycling.
The BFoM started in 2008 by one of my husbands colleagues, who's heavily into his motorcylcing, to   raise a little money for Autism and the Air ambulance.

His idea was to gather a few bikers with their bikes in the town. I really don't think any of them imagined it to take off like it did. It has became an annual affair and one of the biggest bike festivals in the UK drawing in people from all over the country. The high street is lined with thousands of spectators watching the showcasing and bike racing.  They have attractions, live music and stunt shows.

I like to have a stroll around the thousands and thousands of bikes and take some photos, watch the events...while my husband admires all the bikes and dreams and plans which ones he'd like to have.

My dad and brother joined us and we all went back to mum and dad's for some dinner and darts.

Enjoy your week, I hope to be back soon with something crafty.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

When did you start?

I started to write this post some months ago and never got around to finishing it, taking the photos or sharing it. Recently Julia shared, how she started to scrapbook, with photos of her very first album. So... now I've been reminded (and I've taken some photo's) here it is.

A while back I was reminded of how I started scrapbooking and thought it might be fun to share with you some of my early pages......

It was July 1999, I remember it well. My first born was two months old. I'd taken lots of photos already which were sitting on the side in the developers envelopes. I sorted out a handful of bath time photos and at 7.30pm hopped across the drive to my neighbours house. She was a creative memories consultant and she'd been scrapbooking for a number of years already.

She helped me create my first page, picking out colours from the photos. The photos were cut into shapes, yellow triangles were placed in the corners of a 12x12 page and baby stickers were scattered about the page. I am sure there are many of you out there that can relate to this. Sadly I pulled this page apart some months after to create something a little more "exciting".

I went home that evening and couldn't sleep (in fact that still happens now after a crop) too many ideas going around in my head. The next day I found an empty notebook and began to keep notes of the dates I took photos. I'd record the who, what, where and when. These were pre-digital days remember. These notebooks went on to hold milestones, events, comments and conversations made.

The once a month evenings were something I began to look forward to, immensely. Who'd have thought, certainly not me, that recording those memories would become a way of life!

After my very first page (the one I pulled apart) I made this one. The first page of my very first album. Tracing the letters with a pen because I had no Alpha stickers.

sorry for blurring the journalling.
As I started scrapbooking not long after No1 son was born, I scrapped in chronological order, taking photos and developing them ready to scrap at the following month's class. I planned the kind of pages I wanted. Like this double page where over months a took at photo of No1 son with each family member.
oval shaped photos cut using fancy edged scissors 
Then there was the grandparents pages. Bath time. Food Time. First things. First steps. First holiday. Day trips, birthdays, Christmases.

When I look back I do wonder what I was thinking - why would you cut your photos into funny ...flames for bonfire night.....

This was before we had access to the world wide web. We never had a computer or internet connection until after No2 son was born (and then it was dial up). My scrap stash consisted of only Creative Memories items. We had no local craft shops. CM patterned papers were rare and usually sold in kits, their cardstock was 8x12 in size. I always wondered why? Maybe so we had to use those corners.

Although this album is dated it holds so many memories not only of the occasions scrapped but also of how this pages were created. With such limited items I used to get an idea and then cajole my husband into agreeing to draw it for me.

If you wanted a black and white photo you had to buy a black and white film. I only done this the once.

Gosh I remember having palpations over the number of animal stickers I used on this page.

One thing I notice looking back is that the majority of my pages were double layouts...and somewhere within the double layouts is a block of journalling....written with my CM acid free fine tip pen :) 

So there you go, my very first album  - my second album for No2 son isn't much different and he was born three years later.

Although our albums date due to trends and styles, the one important thing they all share is a story.
And for many of us it's the story that matters. This chest holds all my earlier 12x12 albums with my mini books laid on top - Imagine the stories it holds.

So.... as Julia said

"Will you share your first page and your discovery story? (Warts and all!) I'd love to read about it."

Monday, August 10, 2015

Me on Monday

Waving to Sian and you Me on Monday Morningers.

Last weekend we returned from our camping trip and after catching up on the endless washing we packed No1 son off for the week last Monday. Our week felt complete again when he returned home on Friday evening (with a case full of dirty clothes to be washed, ironed and re-packed ready for his second week away this morning). He came home exhausted, struggling to string a sentence together. From what he's said about his trip and the few photos i've seen there's no doubt he had a blast.

Our weekend was one of entertaining. It started early with an impromptu evening where our camping partners popped in. It was a lovely warm evening so we all sat in the garden and cracked open the wine for us girls and the beer for the boys. Many hours later, many drinks consumed and marshmallows cooked.....the boys all agreed to catch the early showing of Fantastic Four in the morning. We had the best evening. It's these impromptu times I love the most, they always turn out to be the best.
The next morning I was nursing a slight wine induced headache. The boys left for the cinema and I spent a couple of hours with paper and ink.  Later on, mum and dad arrived for dinner.  A roast dinner for taking up some school trousers was a fair trade me thinks.

No 2 son treated himself to a new pair of trainers. He knew exactly what he wanted and wasn't prepared to settle for anything less. In the end we found a pair more reasonable priced on the internet and they arrived in time for the weekend.

Saturday saw me catching up on household chores and photo wall organising. It's only taken me the best part of the year.  The easy part was planning where to hang the frames. The hard part was deciding what photos to display.
 You can see the display slightly differed from my original plan. I like how it turned out though ... and  the best bit is there's room for more.

While I was organising my wall, hubster was jet washing the patio...and the garden furniture...and the BBQ....and anything else in sight I suspect. The windows were cleaned and the grass cut all ready for our Sunday visitors.

One of my oldest school friends travelled to us with her family for dinner and drinks. It was lovely to see her and catch up. We moved house when I was six years old and I started a new primary school. This girl has been my friend since then. 
The weekend flew by and before I knew it I was back here today..... 

Think my keyboard needs a dusting :) 
....catching up on nearly three weeks worth of work and emails. I wish sometimes I had a job where while you are away someone else covers your work. Sadly this doesn't happen - so I know I have a busy few days in store. 

Whatever your plans for the week, enjoy them x

Sunday, August 09, 2015

One Photo and Twenty Words

 I so wish I had a photo from when I first met this girl.
We were just six years old.  

Friday, August 07, 2015

2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt

For the past three years our summer holidays has meant searching out subjects on 
Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt list. This summer holiday was no different. 

We camped in Devon in the rain, wind and sunshine with friends,

and for the first year I managed to get all photos within the week....with a little help from my young partner in scavenger hunting.

When I first saw the list I knew straight away there would be one or two photo's I'd be able to take without any fuss. 

#no.9 A Tent.
 Our home for the week. We arrived, the sun was shinning and we set up a lovely little camp. We had a gazebo in the middle of the two tents for eating and entertaining. 
The view from our tent, through the gazebo into our friends tent. 

The forecast predicated rain all day Sunday and it wasn't wrong. It rained and rained and rained.
In true British style. 
We sat in our tent looking out of our window... 

...for what felt like hours. Eventually we did brave the elements and had a lovely day. 

The weather wasn't much better the next day. So we picked a film that suited us all Ant-Man (we really enjoyed it) and made our way to the cinema. Catching the ferry across the sea.

#no.6   A Metal Bridge

Two hours later the rain has stopped. Thankfully and I captured 
#No.B Someone holding an umbrella.  
my substitute for #no.2 An Ornate Door Knocker. 
We were staying in Dartmouth and passed the Naval college most days.
#no.10 A college or University
Dartmouth is a lovely quaint town to have a wander around. On our stroll we found: 

#no.5 Architectural Columns 
#no.19 A Ticket booth (or booths)
#no.3 A person walking a Dog. 
Lots and lots of people were walking their dogs. I was spoilt for choice and settled on this photo where I managed to capture not one but three people walking their dogs. 

You can't go to Dartmouth without visiting the castle. The route to the castle was along some tiny roads and step hills. 

This is where I took my panoramic shot 
#no.16 A Panoramic view, taken while standing someplace high in the air. 
On the way home we stopped by the supermarket to get some supplies for dinner. They had some lovely bouquets of flowers #no.1 was too checked of the list. 
It's no mean feast cooking three meals a day for ten people on a camping cooker. Fairly fed up with BBQ food we decided to use up the remaining sausages in a curry. Here's me dishing it up. 
#no.A People Eating Outside. 
I realise now that this is a substitute photo... I'll think of it more of a bonus. 
At the end of the week the weather improved and we planned a day on Bantham Beach. The Beach was beautiful. It's one of the reasons I love holidaying in the UK. It's just a shame we can't guarantee the weather. 

I don't know about you - when we are camping we are up at the crack of dawn. Our day trip to the beach started early and we pretty much had the beach to ourselves for a while. 

(Another panoramic photo from high up on a rock)
Until the surfing lessons started. 
Photo op #no.17 At least two people wearing matching outfits. 
All day on the beach and you need one of these. 
#no.12 A Public Toilet
There was no sign on the ladies loo, so the men's it was. 
Another day and another beach. Salcombe this time. Rock pooling. 
#no.20. A Natural Body of Water.  
The camp site we stayed on had it own leisure park and the boys...and girls opted to spend the last day there. Ah ha,
 #no.13. A Merry-go-around or Carousel 
Family portrait time 
#no.7 A Turtle. 
His turtle face made me smile. 
Every so often No1 son checked his phone, could it be Instagram, Facebook...more than likely he was chatting to his friends on snap chat. 
#no.8. Someone "plugged in" to Social Media.

On our walk back to our tent I captured a few more.
#no.15 A Flag Pole with at Least Three Flags On It. 
 It's not often you see three chilies flags blowing in the wind. The pole was attached to a caravan. A good idea if you have trouble remembering where you're pitched.

After we passed the flags we walked by the camp wardens van
 #no.11 A Cellular Tower or Television Satellite Dish.    

And would you believe it there was a family playing a board game outside their camper van.
 #no.4 People Playing a Board Game. 
This was a sneaky photo so it's a little grainy. Any board game where there's Pringles involved is a good thing. 

It amazes me what people take away with them. A full size airer. When space is of a premium an airer would be last on my list. Wet towels or bottle of wine - an easy decision. You need drink and plenty of it when you're camping. 

Sadly, all holidays have to come to an end. There we were on our last evening trying to find a pen and paper to make a note of the Scavenger Hunt for photo 
#no. 21 A photograph of you with a sign reading "2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt".

Me with my scavenger partner. I forgot to make a note of the list before we went away and typically I had terrible trouble connecting to the internet. My little helper managed to find Rinda's list and she also remembered the photos we still needed to capture each day.

The dreaded time came when it all had to packed into the car. It all came out so it should all go back in. Really it should (and we were a little lighter without the wine). It's harder than it looks and took several attempts. 
#no.18 An overloaded car.

Settled into our packed car we made the long journey home. 
We made good time, the lights were on our side.
#no.14. A Traffic Signal 

We had such a blast we agreed on the same time next year.

If you made it this far, thank you for re-living my holiday with me.     

If you'd like to take part in Rinda's Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt there's still time you know. We loved it and already we are looking forward to next years list. 
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