Friday, 21 December 2012

A Segway Tour in Paris

We were in Paris last weekend for a bit of Christmas shopping. Initially we wanted to go to Germany for their famous markets but since A could get Eurostar tickets on discount ( from work ), we decided to go to Paris. In the end, we didn't buy a lot but it was fun nevertheless to see a Parisian Christmas market.

The market we went to is on the Champs-Élysées. We were first taken there on our Segway tour.  It was mainly food. Well, maybe we noticed these most as it was lunch time.  We didn't have time for lunch during the tour so H settled for a waffle. He couldn't resist all those Nutella jars lining up the stall.

We had a half hour training session on the Segway before we set off.  Jonnie, our tour guide made it looked so easy when he demostrated.  When a guy from our group jumped at the chance to be first to try and promptly performed a split, mounting the Segway, we were crestfallen.  Then H had a go and made it looked easy again so we were encouraged.  Fortunately I only wobbled the first time I mounted though stepping off took a few goes before I can stop the Segway running over my foot.
Jonnie had to run along with me, this first time because I was going too fast LOL.
Our first stop was the Military School and Champ de Mars.
During our tour, we visited quite a few monuments that I haven't seen such as the Invalides, the Golden Dome Church, even the Grand Palais. Here was our group waiting to cross the road. Fortunately we only encountered one French motorist who begrudged us using the crossing and decided not to stop for us. I am pleased to say hundreds others did, and this one car was not sporting a Parisian number plate.
We took the tour with City Segway Tours, based near the Eiffel Tower. It lasted approximately 3.5 hours.  We used pavements and cycle paths and I was amazed how we managed to control our Segway even around pedestrian. Apparently you can go up to 10 miles per hour though I am doubtful we achieved this but you can also go at walking pace.
When we finished the tour, we walked back to check out the rest of the market. We stopped off at Hagen Daaz for some ice-cream. H and A shared a fondue.
H and J both would want a Segway for Christmas.  H reckons he can go to school on it.  LOL...I am not sure our pavements are big enough. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Sarah's Cards December Challenge

There is a new sketch posted on Sarah's Cards Blog, hosted by Tracy. I hope you don't mind, but I have gone with some summery photos;  I am desperately trying to counteract the cold spell we are having.

This is called "A tail from Cromer".  No, I know tale should be spelled tale and not tail but this is intended...H was playing the part of being a mermaid or should that be merman ?
Do join us for a chance to win £20 to spend at Sarah's Cards.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Something Blue ?

Emilie at Merly Impressions challenged us to use Blue on a layout for their November challenge.  I have been meaning to join in but my good intention stayed intention due to other commitments.  But I couldn't excuse myself seeing as this challenge is so broad and flexible.

I have decided to create a LO just using just blue.  Quite strange for me, I missed the splash of yellow or red that I would normally add.

This layout uses a photo from many years ago, when the boys were tiny, on our trip to Morocco.  It seems appropriate to use blue, to suggest a calm oasis and the pool area that this photo was taken in.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Coming Home

We live in a village just on the outskirt of a big city. The city ends, the street lights stop and a field is all we have before a road sign announced our village. On some evenings, returning home from the school run, I might see the full moon, low in the sky, a windmill in the foreground.  A left turn and you are greeted with a row of Conker trees. I always feel a gladness when I see these signs of the village.

Do you remember this photo of the village ? This is actually the view when we leave the village. Can we expect more cold weather this year ?

The temperature has plumetted in the last few days. I hear they are expecting the worst winter in 10 years. What do you think ? I thought that weekend in February half term this year was bad. The car displayed -10 C one morning.

I am sharing this story with Sian on Storytelling Sunday.  You can find more wonderful stories here. This layout was made for Scrap365, Sparkle gallery.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Watch out, he's on the road

Watch out...he is moving off the dirt tracks. My J is seventeen today.  I have booked him a driving lesson during ones of his free period at school.  You might not want to come into town.

Friday, 23 November 2012

A Christmassy December Scrap365

Have you got a copy ? Did you see me ?  I wrote about my signature style.  This is the layout I produced.

It was quite difficult to analyse and write about your own style.  As you get used to doing certain things on your layout, you cease to recognise those features that to a third person is what make your layout distinctively you.  So if you read it, what did you think ?  Did I make sense ?

I scrapped an old photo of me with my boys. Now that the boys are teenagers and preferring not to be photographed, I am loving delving into the boxes of old photos. You might see more cutesy photos soon.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Sketchbook 365 December Challenge

The December Sketch is up on Sketchbook365. I have taken this opportunity to scrap our trip to Wembley to Olympic Football in the summer with that regulation photo in front of the stadium.  Can you spot a couple of Mexicans in the background ?

Monday, 5 November 2012

UKS Cybercrop Layouts

Did you take part ? I had every intention to but didn't get a lot of chance to sit down and do something. 

I only managed the very first class by Suzy.  I use to do some patchwork and (not some much) quilting so the idea really appealed to me.  Definitely much quicker with paper!

And this is the sample layout for my class. My dearest used to call me Fuzzy Wuzzy when we were dating, on account of my frizzy hair.

My journalling says,
This photo was taken in Paris many years ago when we took our first trip together.  So you see, even if this story is about me, it is also about you. You would mention this time whenever you try to convince me that I could leave my hair to dry naturally. I don’t buy it! You used to call me Fuzzy Wuzzy too. But the reminder of this time always brings back the fondest of memory.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Happy Birthday to UKS

UKS is celebrating the tenth birthday by having a cybercrop. Are you joining in ? I have a class scheduled for 5pm on 30th of October. Will I see you there ?

Friday, 12 October 2012

Our Harry Potter Studio Tour

Like all you Harry Potter fans, we were excited to see that they were opening a studio tour in London, we promptly booked tickets to go.  We were not dissapointed.  The details from the exhibits were amazing. I didn't think you'd need such good details for the films. I am probably still basing my thinking on how badly the models for Star Wars were made. But that was the 80's right and they were good for then.
I have made a few layouts from the visit. I am grouping all my Harry Potter Studio tour layouts here. Sorry if you have seen these layouts as some might have appeared in other blog posts separately.

I was so excited to see large posters of film scenes on the walls outside, I just had to snap the guys from the back. I drew and cut out some owls, broomstick, hat etc for my own magic scene.
The flying car was one of the first thing we saw when we got inside.  I shot maybe 10 photos of it but as it was dark and there were a lot of people around to spoil the shots, I didn't get a very good photo.  I was delighted to find another, outside, in the backlot. I let the boys drive.

In the wand room, all the wands are indivually boxed, labelled and neatly stacked up. Each one "belongs" to a cast from the films. One of the visitor at the time was a crew member and she very kindly pointed out her wand from the thousands in there.
Did you get a chance to taste butterbeer ?  I thought it tasted just like rootbeer...we used to have a lot of this from A&W when I was growing up.  Diagon Alley was perfect in every detail...especially the book shop...I could spend many hours browsing in there if it was a real book store. I still have a few Harry Potter layouts planned that I will continue to add to this post.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Dark Side of the Moon

You know those first day of school photos that I religously take every year...not all of them make it on to a layout. This year I am delighted to say, I have made a layout for each of my boys and all before the end of September! Honest, it was all done before the weekend but I didn't get a chance to take some photos to share with you till now.

You might be wondering about the title of this post and the layout ?  

In the first week of term, the school hosted a parents' social to welcome us to school. H joined middle school this year.  The Headmaster in his speech introduced the school counsellor, pointing out that this man might be useful for this age group. He described the age as going to the dark side of the moon whilst orbitting the moon.  There was reference to Apollo 13 mission as well but I paraphrased. 
Hence the title of the layout. What is more appropriate than a moon and a few owls to complete the night scene ?

Next I have J's to share with you. I have so say, J has definitely come out to the light side.  He is now very pleasant and also very helpful...I nearly fainted when he came into the kitchen and said, "Do you need any help, mummy ?". He did help before but only if asked so him offering was a new thing for me.
Have you seen the Bits from Amy Tangerine ? They are really cool. Go get youselves some.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Cambridge Croppers September Workshop

Are you coming ?  I have made these for this Saturday.

We are using a mixture of Studio Calico Heyday and Amy Tangerine Ready Set those Bits!

You need 1 6"x4" photo in landscape for "Awesome Photo Soc". Mine is a black and white school photo of the photo society committee when I was actually at school too long ago. You also need a 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" photo for "Sixth Form". Mine is a headshot of my eldest. There is a lot of scope to tailor the layouts to suit your own photos, different sizes of photos or even go your own way.

You will need normal tools such as scissors or trimmers, double sided tape or glue, foam pads. You can expect to get messy fingers.

So see you Saturday, 29th September at Trumpington Pavillion from 10-4.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

September Scrap365

Did you see me ? I was in September Scrap365 with my first article.  I was jumping up and down when the magazine landed on the door mat...I guess the thrill of being published will always be my main motivation! I said to H, "Do you want to see a layout about you ?".  "Huh, NO!", was the reply.

H went to sailing school a few years ago and I've just got my new 400mm lens...I had fun observing the little ones from far. We had a week of outstanding weather too! Love those flat bottom boats against the beautiful sky.

Monday, 10 September 2012

You know what I did this Summer ?

The summer holiday started off with a camping trip. This is a layout about how I don't like late night campfires.
We were at Alton Towers.  This is our favourite ride but we have a few others ( very gentle ) rides that we always go on.

The following weekend, we went to the "Best 80's party ever" at Audley End. There were plenty of pink leotards and tutus but I was in fleece and boots, fearing the mightest downpour.  We were lucky, the sun shone throughout before a full moon took over.

Rocking the 80's was done using a sketch by Sian Fair for Sketchbook 365.

This is followed by the trip to the Olympics.  We started our Olympic adventure in Hyde Park, watching the Triathlon ( I always struggle to spell this word! ). Weren't we lucky to see the Brownlee brothers win ?  I am particularly proud on my swimming man cut out on this layout. What do you think ?

The triathlon layout was done for Sarah's Card's Challenge. Why don't you have a go for a chance to win £20 e-voucher to spend in store ?

ps:  I am sorry to report, the low slung suit trousers made its appearance on day 2 of school!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Back to School

I've just dropped the boys off at school.  They went on Monday for a half day induction, stayed home yesterday and after that false start, school in definitely back on!

I snapped these photos of the boys on Monday.

H was acting up and refusing to smile. A said, "How come you managed to make them smile ?" LOL. I was shouting out to H, "Say cheese, Happy Monday, Come on" whilst he was adamant, "No". So when I was jumping up and down to make him laugh, he thought I couldn't possibly be ready to take a shot. That's when it went "SNAP".  He conceded a half smile.

J is in the sixth form this year which means they get to choose what they wear.  He is wearing his suit this week but no doubt the smartness will degrade over the year. Can you ever wear a suit trousers low slung, I wonder ?
So what have you got planned for the day ? I have some scrappy projects brewing in my head so let's see how they translate to paper. Whatever you do, enjoy yourself.

Incidentally, I have something to let you know.  I am having a one day workshop in Cambridge on Saturday 29th September 10-4. Maybe you'd like to spend a day with some lovely Cambridge Croppers ? Why don't you look our group up on Facebook.

Friday, 24 August 2012

GCSE Results

The first installment of J's results came last Thursday and we heard about the rest yesterday.  It came in two batches because IGCSE results were published the same time as A Levels.  He scored 390/400 for Greek.  It is over 400 because they had 4 papers with 100 mark each. I am one proud mummy.

I made this layout, with a photo of him on the last day of school to celebrate.  The journalling is in the little brown envelope. I went a bit mad with all my old back-to-school supply. More details on how I made this will follow on IACW next week.

Are you ready for school ? My young man is going to be in the sixth form at school.  No more uniform for him and no sewing of name tapes for me...yay.  He went shopping for suits with his dad, I wonder what he looks like with a suit on ?  Watch this space.  Roll on 3rd September.

Monday, 13 August 2012

We were there, at the Summer Games

Wow, what a fortnight it has been!  Did you enjoy it ?

We spent a couple of days in London last week.  The crowd was unbelieveable. 

We started at Hyde Park, watching the Brownlee brothers and Hayes at the head of the pack, cycling for the Triathlon.

Then we head up to Wembley for some football. We stopped off at our hotel to drop our bags before going to the stadium. At the hotel, we spotted the badminton contingent from Indonesia. 

We watched the soon to be Olympic champions, Mexico play Japan in the semi-final.  There were plenty of Mexicans and Japanese holding up signs asking to buy tickets and I was tempted!

The Mexicans won a convincing 3-1, as predicted by H early on in the match. Sadly our Oracle couldn't "see" any more outcomes after that match.

Early next morning, we made our way to Stratford. Yay, we've arrived!

The Stadium is impressive (though not as big as it appeared on tv! ) and you get a very good view of everything.

We saw Mo Farah ran and qualified for the 5000m.

After the morning session at the Stadium finished, we explored the park. I love the large mirrored letters in front of the Copperbox. The wildflower meadow was quite impressive but I won't and can't be persuaded  to have wildflower in my own garden.

We queued to shop at the Megastore, worked out our route to the Basketball arena, sat by the river bank , walked back to the Orbit and sat some more to kill time before our alloted time to go up the Orbit.

We went up the lift, 80m to the top of the Orbit.  Look at all those people! The park was absolutely heaving at this point as the Stadium evening session has not started.

We looked at some weird mirrors up in the viewing platform.

Then we walked down.

And walked very fast back to the Basketball Arena for a Handball quarter final match between the Scandinavians, Denmark and Sweden. I think a lot of neutral spectators were secretly rooting for Denmark but sadly, Sweden won.

When we got out, it was time to go home. 

They were announcing asking people to go to West Ham for the fastest route into Central London.  We were part of a very small group to take this advice. The tube might have been fast but what they didn't tell you was it is over 30 walk minutes away from the gate of the Olympic Park. Very sore and very tired, 3 hours later, we were home.

What an amazing experience.  I wonder how this small patch of East London will fare once the crowd has departed and the temporary stadiums and arena dismantled. It will be interesting to see how the woodland and meadows mature.  I wonder if we can visit next year ? If not, we can get a good view from Westfield.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sian's Storytelling Sunday - We rode on Air

I have been going to Alton Towers for over 20 years. I started going when I was a sixth former at boarding school. Does anyone remember The Beast ?  I remember that ride, I used to ride it but never the Black Hole. Fast forward a few years...I went on Nemesis quite early on but then...never again. Thunder Looper was always being repaired when I visisted and when I managed to summon up enough courage to ride it, it promptly broke down.  No wonder they replaced it!

The kids arrived and we didn't go for a few years.  When we did, our own courage was seriously depleted.

Last autumn, H reached the permissible height to ride these big boys ride and he ended up going on Air alone. Last weekend, we went back on our annual visit. I said I will accompany H this time. Bravely, we went on Nemesis Sub-Terra ( psml...this is of the calibre of Haunted House at fairgrounds ), Nemesis which wasn't as scary as I remembered followed by Air which was truly enjoyable.

All those done, I wasn't brave enough to follow H on the ride to Oblivion.  Maybe next time!  Are you a roller coaster rider ?  Or don't you subscribe to these artificial adrenaline pumping moments ?

Are you storytelling with Sian ?  Come and read more stories here.

Friday, 27 July 2012

A Report from a Camping Virgin

It is NOISY in picturesque Dorset, most of the night with traffic noise and then early morning taken up by animals...cockerel, cow, peacock, name it. So for a good few nights, I couldn't sleep for the noise.

It rained most of time we were there.  The Purbeck Way looked like a permanent mud slide.

And the cow field we camped in...well, it smelt like cows! On the last night, a highland cattle wondered into our field, I think out of curiosity on her part. This was what she found in the Fire section. The dining shelters have already been packed up at this point.

We had a meal rotation where we dine with a different patrol every night. Before the trip, I worried most about this...I had some Immodium packed.  I shouldn't have...this turned out to be my favourite part of the trip.  The food was ok but I really enjoyed the conversations...the kids were A-MA-ZING! The highlight was when we talked about books and films, with amazing insight from the kids!!!

I opted for sleeping in a tent when the kids slept outdoors on survival night.  Come on, it was only my second night camping, I chickened out. We hiked for 3 days that went WET, DRYish and very WET. I was shattered at the end of the 3 days. I found out that even though I am not used to reading OS maps, I should have trusted my good sense of direction more.

We camped and played in the shadow of this castle. We played a "Lord of the Rings" epic wide game that went on till 3am. Doesn't it make a good Mordor ?

We are woken mostly at 7am (sometimes 6.45, sometimes 7.30) by the bugle and have to make our way into the next field for flag break. This was an exceptional photo though, taken on the last day when we were having a whole-of-troop photo session. Usually, it doesn't involve climbing all over the tree.

I found out that whilst I don't mind the early morning bugle, I don't like camp fires, especially as some goes on late into the night. This was our last campfire being lit, ready for a night of cabaret. This campfire is called the campfire of dreams but that's a story for another day.

What a journey of discovery. Watch out for some camping layouts.