Well, sometimes at the age of 14, life can be pretty hard. Especially for a girl. You know the issues....friends, clothes, make up, exams, etc. Luckily I'm quite a sensible girl and my friends and I are not the sort to go out drinking and do all the things you may expect from some teenagers! Oh, and in case you haven't realised, this is Alice :)
Ok, so here is the start of my story. I was standing awkwardly outside my school hall, greeting parents as they carried their tissues, sad about their 16 year old children growing up and having their last day at secondary school. I was very fortunate to be asked to be a prefect for the duration of the service as the year above me were on work experience. I heard my name being called by one of my favourite teachers. He pulled me to one side and told me about this retreat that is happening on the 1st of June for 4 days at a lovely mansion in Kintbury.
"It helps you to understand yourself better, feel more confident with yourself and to get in touch with God and your faith."
Suddenly my eyes lit up. I was beaming with delight to think I could experience an opportunity like that. And when I went home to tell Mum and Dad the first thing I decided to say was 'it's free' then my Dad's eyes lit up (:
"But," I interrupted, "it's £30 for the travel costs."
Then the smile on my Dad's face turned upside down. I have recently been on quite a few trips so it took a bit of persuading, but in the end Mummy managed to change his mind. I will have to do a crazy amount of chores though, but I am so happy about going on this retreat. My friend Caitlin will be sharing a room with me as all the rest of my friends do not want to go. My teacher said,
"That might not be a bad thing Alice, as all you'd do is talk, so it really wouldn't be like a retreat; more like school lunch times but for 4 days straight!"
I smiled and agreed with her, as that was probably very true! I decided to go onto the website of this retreat to show you some of the pictures. I found....
My retreat starts on Monday, in 3 days. I'm quite nervous as I have never done something like this before but I am also very excited. Mum and Dad say they would love to go to a retreat so I am very fortunate. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my blog today (: I wanted to give mum a break as she has been away staying with Granny (who is not too well) in Salisbury but she back now. So have a lovely weekend and I hope to blog again soon.
So, I found myself wandering through the little, narrow streets of St Ives. Heart beating faster as I turned a corner not knowing if that would be the last corner or would I have many corners to go before I found the shop.
And suddenly, I spied it in the distance.
I quickened my pace...
..and there it was in all it's glory. Very tiny, but still glorious.
I humped my trolley up the steps and stood there until Anth caught up with me.
I went upstairs.
And back down the stairs..
I didn't take any photos of downstairs as it was very crowded and very tiny - but lovely just the same.
And what did I buy?
Some knives and forks..with, yes you've guessed it, flowers on them..
(Firstly, thank you for all your comments about my mosaic. I have answered some of your questions at the end of Saturday's post so if you had a question do follow this link.)
On Friday, Anth suggested a little road trip. Just the two of us, leaving behind the stresses and strains of the last few days.
"Where were you thinking?" I asked.
"St Ives," he replied.
With my eyes alight I asked him, "Do you know that there's a Cath Kidston in St Ives?" and then waited for the 'we can't afford it/I'm not hanging around shops all day, etc' comments that have been known to come out of his sweet mouth when shops are mentioned. They didn't. And fortunately, I didn't want to hang around shops all day given that there is Tate St Ives and the most beautiful of beaches to discover.
So, off we went down to Cornwall stopping for breakfast on the way. We have never been to St Ives before but felt it must be special seeing that Cath had decided it was good enough for her to open a shop down there (there aren't that many outside of London) and the Tate had a Gallery. I had been told that that part of Cornwall had a different sort of light to the rest of the country so it has attracted many painters and artists over the years.
I'll let the pictures confirm that.
View from the Tate - Porthmeor Beach.
We wandered the narrow streets and found Cath's shop (more about that tomorrow) and then went to The Tate.
It is a modern art gallery - smaller than as I expected, but wonderfully designed with lots of curves and symmetry. I'm not a big fan of some modern art and had to stifle a few giggles when a group of serious arty sorts came into a room to watch a scratchy projector film (with odd music) of pictures of screwed up tissue paper.
My favourite piece of art was this vision that I came across whilst looking for him after I had been to the ladies.
He looks so serious and sensible but the groovy trolley kind of lets him down! Oh I love that man for looking after my trolley whilst I go to the loo, despite it not being good for his macho image.
I think for both of us it was the colour of the sea and the sand which we loved the most - something I have never really seen in the UK before. So the different 'light' of St Ives must be correct somehow.
And tomorrow it's a little visit to Cath's shop. Hope to see you there.
P.S I have many requests for instructions on how to make mosaics. This I can totally identify with because until last week I had no idea either and boy did I feel inadequate! Desperate, me!? Well, help is at hand. The way I do it is through Flickr at Big Huge Labs on Flickr Toys. I'm not sure if that is what others use but it is very straight forward to do and I get very excited when I create one! I'm sure you don't have to be a member of Flickr to use it as it gives you the option to upload from your own files.
I have decided to do one each Saturday with photos from my Flickr pages and will try and give you more information about each photo as some of them are quite old. The beach in the above mosaic is Blackpool Sands in Devon (not up north!)
I hope this is of help to you and Happy Mosaic Making!
Yesterday, due to that recurrent bad head from the day before; I had to give in and take to my bed. In fact I slept all day and when I awoke I took a little air outside and went to check on my 'soon to bloom' foxglove.. only to discover it had bloomed..and not just a little bit either. It was actually a white one rather than a pink one. White or pink I don't mind I just love them all. Very much.
And talking of blooming flowers - my Irish Rose crochet is blooming away too.
I'm on my final round of roses, then I've got to do the edging. I'm not quite as in love with it as I was in the beginning - not sure why, but will finish it because I am hoping it will look better when the ends are all sewn in and it's backed in black (like the photo) to show the contrast. But it's getting late now and my nightly date with the hose pipe is a little overdue. I'm hoping I can share some 'interesting' photos with you tomorrow or Saturday. Can't wait!
..the tough (or the not-so-tough in my case) get...
changing their pillowcases.
cutting their lawn. (before)
Yes, after my rather stressful week last week, this one from yesterday, had gotten a little worse by (a) my mother being taken to hospital in Salisbury (approx 2 to 3 hour drive away). She is feeling unwell and could do with some prayers and positive thoughts if you feel so inclined to send some her way: and (b) waking with a bad headache: (c) still trying to write a letter of application for a promotion (I hold Higher Level Teaching Assistant status which enables me to plan and take lessons when the teacher has time out of the class - it's the job that I'm doing now really, but it will be an 'official' position and hopefully a little more money. Oh but the letter is taking so long in writing and I can't wait to finish it! and be able to crochet again) and as I've said before, it's exam time for all my children and my husband. Oh, and our boiler needs replacing etc..etc..Yikes, at least the cats are OK at the moment!
So when I was driving home from school yesterday, I came up with a plan to help me feel a little better. Firstly, mowing the lawn. The family laugh at me because despite my love of the informal cottage garden look I obsess about having the lawn cut really short and like it cut at least twice a week but I don't like the stripes - not that we've ever had a lawn mower that does the stripes. I start having palpitations when I see the daisies poking their little heads up and the growth looks a little uneven. When it has been cut it just makes the whole garden look so much tidier and I love to look out at it - green, smooth, tidy and even - just like it has been ironed..mmm I do sound a little unhinged don't I!? No, don't answer that!
And what else gives me pleasure? Clean bedlinen on a Tuesday. But due to our washing basket's contents already overflowing onto the floor I didn't want to add to it, so decided to just change the pillowcases instead. I've never used these ones before either so it's double excitement.
Do tell me what little things you do for yourself when you have had a bad day. Do you share my lawn cutting and clean pillowcases passion? Somehow, I think I already know the answer to that one...
That's just how my weekend has been..good, bad. But mainly good. The bad parts were the rather blustery, wet weather which meant no car boot sales (which was good for Anth because that meant I wasn't bringing back more 'stuff'!) and the fact that I spent the entire weekend on my laptop - yesterday I didn't even manage to get dressed and stayed in my pyjamas all day. We are also in the midst of exam season and some of us are on a heightened sense of alert! I'll say no more. But the good things were that I did spent the entire weekend on my laptop because I was able to finish a couple of writing commitments and have a play around with the look of the blog. I re-did my banner, made a mosaic, and added a search facility on my side bar.
I have still got more to get on with so I'll love you and leave you for today. I did a short interview on Dawn's lovely blog, ART of Humungous Proportions over here if you are interested. Thank you Dawn for thinking of me.
Happy Monday, everyone..
That has to be the 'quote of the week' for me - no, quite probably the month! These words were uttered to me late yesterday afternoon by Anth and the moment he said them I knew that I had to share them with you. I'm still laughing at his reply, and wish that you could hear how he said the words in his sweet New-Zealandy-accent-sort-of-way.
It all started about 2 weeks ago when Anth became inspired by Jamie Oliver (the British chef) and decided he wanted to buy this book and do some recipes from it.
[note the grotty, brown cabinet it is sitting on - but more about that soon.]
I certainly wasn't complaining given my total aversion to spending time in the kitchen. So his Jamie journey began.
I photocopied the page at his request where it lists all of the essential store cupboard ingredients and he ticked the ones we needed to get. He is gradually working through each recipe - we had Pasta Week last week and this week it is Meat week.
It has been so lovely for me not to have to cook (the best gift you could give me). Well, it isn't actually just the cooking is it? It's the thinking of a meal that most of the family will like and doesn't cost too much; shopping for it; bringing it home; putting it away; preparing it; cooking it and then washing up after it. He has been making some lovely things but the kitchen looks like a bomb has hit it afterwards much to the dismay of whoever's turn it is to do the dishes.
So, we came to yesterday afternoon. He had had a busy day and wasn't going to get home until 7.30pm.
"Look Anty, I don't expect you to cook tonight, that's just ridiculous, I'll do it (thinking I've got some buy-one-get-one-free, frozen fishy things..(yeah, I push out the boat don't I?!)
"..ahh but I have got some pork in my briefcase, Jane"
Well, apart from roaring with laughter I was lost for words for a minute.
"How have you got pork in your briefcase?" I enquired.
He had actually done the very thing I often point out to him about working mothers. He had gone grocery shopping in his lunch break. Most mothers I know will use that time to run errands for their families and yesterday, he had joined their ranks. I love that man.
So what happened last night? I duly shoved my frozen fishy things and some frozen chips into the oven and went off to pot up another Geum, hoover the sitting room and water the garden and play a quick game of 'Flight Control' (my new obsession - it's absolutely fantastic! My top score is 62!! How that happened I don't know as I can't get above 32 now.) on my iphone.
When I returned to the kitchen most of the chips were so brown and crunchy they were inedible. I tried to cover them with peas and the fishy things which had shrunk to the size of a small Mars Bar. Perhaps the pork in his briefcase would have been a better option after all!
Every Wednesday at my lunch time Crochet Club, there is always a new face or two. Most become regulars and some come when there isn't anything more exciting to play on our school field. I give out hooks and let them choose yarn and then get them started on a chain. I have some who want to knit which I find so time consuming (we only have 30 minutes) as once I've cast on some stitches, shown them how to do a row, turn to someone else and then a plaintive cry fills the air..."Mrs Goble, all the stitches have fallen off.." Again. And again.
Anyway, last Wednesday I had another new face; she wanted to try crochet. She sat by me, I gave her a hook and got her started on a chain and then helped someone else. Five minutes passed.
"I think I could get obsessed with this."
My heart quickens..she has used the magic 'O' word.. 'obsessed.'
"I don't think I will watch TV again. I never want to stop."
A huge smile spreads across my face. I am beginning to recognise all the signs, even after 5 minutes, of a fellow crochet addict. I made sure she took a hook and some yarn home.
The next day she came to find me. She proudly held up the longest chain I have ever seen.
"Oh, that's wonderful! Are you enjoying it?"
"Yes, I can't stop." she laughed.
She then went on to tell me that she was unable to play Rounders in her P.E. lesson due to a sore foot; so she sat and crocheted by the side of the field whilst her other class mates played. I saw her mother shortly after and she told me that the night before she had been sitting up in bed, crocheting. Oh the joy. Mrs Goble had damp eyes after she had gone.
I think some extra lessons are in order, don't you?
What should you be doing when your house looks like this?
And your 'to-do' list is growing by the minute (I'm so overwhelmed at the moment I don't know where to start!) plus you are having a visitor to stay for the weekend?
Well if you are me you decide to do this.
Yes, you ignore the horrendous mess (and believe me upstairs was un-photographical!) and do something totally impractical and unimportant like putting up some hooks to hang tea cups on.
I've been dithering for ages as to whether I should hang some under the plate rack. So I took the bull by horns, so to speak, and did it.
I think I'm glad I did and am spending ridiculous amounts of time changing cups and the order of how they hang so as to get the full benefit of their beauty.
Alice was the first to arrive home from school later that day.
"Thank goodness you're here. Good day at school? Yup. Right, can you go and change the sheets in your bedroom, tidy it up, and hoover the stairs and see what else needs doing."
Yep, I'm very good at 2 things beginning with the letter 'D'....Distraction and Delegating!
I couldn't resist buying this magazine when I happened upon this page. It's the two top pictures make my mouth water not the bottom two. It is taken from Home & Antiques (June edition). Styling and feature by Selina Lake (one of my favourites) and photos by Sussie Bell.
Want some more?
There, that's made you feel better hasn't it?
Hello all. Due to life being a bit hectic at the moment I will be spending the rest of the week posting daily photos but with few words. I need to catch my breath as well as fulfill some other commitments. But before I do I wanted to show you my new mug. I adore mugs and have found my choice of mug changing over the year. It's old roses that are doing it for me at the moment and I surprised myself the other day as I very nearly bought one of those mugs that have the name of a seaside town on it (as well as the roses). I contemplated it for a moment as I loved the flowers but couldn't get excited about the Great Yarmouth bit - so I put it back... I haven't ever been to Great Yarmouthfor goodness sake! I did think it would be very 'flea market/eclectic' but wasn't brave enough. Have you got a favourite and do you rotate them every few weeks like me? Perhaps you have a seaside mug or do you leave them on the shelf like me?
Maybe next time I'll think differently..
Goodness me I'm sitting here all 'car-booted-out!' I have been to 5 in the last 3 days rising at 5.30am each morning and am exhausted. Pulling, or should I say dragging, my trolley through the long grass of 4 of the sales has been a bit of an effort; and my trolley has now developed a rather loud squeak.
I haven't found much but what I did find I'm pleased with. It's really about being in the right place at the right time - which became quite evident when I missed a wonderful opportunity to snap up some lovely Tala Ware even though I was one of the early-birds. But there we go, there's always another time (I hope!)
I very nearly didn't buy the above beaded flowers. Yes, you did read that correctly. I saw them on a stall and they had been pushed into a round, rather smelly, lump of clay and placed in an small, nondescript (read:: hideously ugly) brown pot. I picked them up, found out the price, 50p, umm'd and ah'd for a bit and then, sort of unenthusiastically, agreed to have them - but 'only if they kept the brown pot to re-sell' ...very tactfully. I then came home and with the help of a chisel and hammer got the clay off (why would it smell so bad??!) I then plonked them in the small jug on our mantelpiece; stepped back and my mouth fell open. What a vision of beauty - and to think I nearly didn't buy them. I just love them and the colours are so vivid.
My second favourite treasure I spied peeping out of a cupboard and again nearly didn't buy it. What's going on with me at the moment? I think I'm trying to be mindful of (a) my budget and (b) filling our home with more 'stuff.'
But here it is - a sweet little quilt and as I'm so weary here is another view of it -
with me under it. Yes, on a rather chilly Bank Holiday Afternoon what have I decided to do? Go to bed. No Bank Holiday high jinks for me. And on that note I need to rest my head on my yellow rosebud pillow. See you tomorrow.
Yes, I know it looks out of control and, in my opinion, also reflects the state of every room in the house at the moment; but I am in the process of sorting my stuff out. Stuff. I have far too much of it and it is beginning to get me down, all this managing of stuff. I was complaining to Anth the other day that I can't just put things away simply and quickly because each item has to be stacked or balanced or squeezed into a minute space. I noticed today that I have 9 sugar bowls. Yes 9. I know I like to rotate them, but 9 is a bit excessive don't you think? And I don't know quite how to break the latest news to you as I can hardly let myself think of it, but last night, 2 hours after washing them, lovingly drying them and then stacking my lovely tea cups like the picture on this post - I went and opened the cupboard and 2 fell out and smashed into pieces. Yes, my sweet pink lace one and my 2nd favourite. I'm not sure who to blame (as if that will really make any difference) but I am so upset as I think it is very unlikely that I will ever find another like it...oh why didn't I buy the other one that was with it when I had the chance...
But enough wallowing, let's talk about bird tins.
I now officially own a tin that is not predominately a floral one; and I'm still coming to terms with it. It has birds on it though and is very appealing seeing I don't have any in our garden. I got it from Utter Clutterin Leominster (which is worth a visit if you are near there). I haven't put anything in it yet and as my tin collection is actually worse than my sugar bowl collection, I think I will have to give some away so I can find a place for it.
Can you believe it's Friday again? Where does the time go. Thank you for all your comments this week - I loved reading your cheerful lists and have to agree with Lucy of the Antidote about Jack Bauer. The thought of Jack saving the world and the 3 new episodes of 24 to watch tonight is getting me through the boring stuff today. Oh and I have a new blog to tell you about - my friend Yvonne has started a blog and it's called Joharo at home - do pop over and say Hi. She is a such a creative, and talented lady.
Have a good weekend my friends.