Silver Crow Project

Rocking My World Friday...

 Click the picture to head over to Virginia's to play along :)

Oopsie - I kinda lost last week didn't I? In more ways than one! I don't know where my time is going. I seem to swing between bouts of extreme exhaustion/achiness and extreme creativity frenzy.  I reckon my first positive should be that my mojo is indeed back and I am getting those (admittedly short) bouts of creativity inbetween my long zombie moments ;) And grateful I really, really am.

I've taken on board an idea I 've seen that a few of you use to write down what I have signed up to and promised people. And, although I am still behind, I'm creeping up with everything and it feels good to be getting on top of things again. I'm hoping to be well and truly ahead of myself by the time bubba comes so I can just concentrate on getting up to date with those blimming classes!

Talking of classes, I really want to do this workshop. It looks AMAZING!

However, pennies being a bit short and what with the supplies you need as well... although it's been suggested,  I really can't sell the bubba to fund it! And... he really does need a pram and all the other bubby bits. But now, coming to the positive bit of this, I've been saving some money for Craig to choose what he wants for his birthday which was earlier this month. I've given up trying to just get him the perfect present so now I just hold the money back till he see's something, usually a bird, that he wants. He told me to use the money to pay for the course, which I thought was really lovely. Of course I wont do it, I'm not THAT bad but I thought it was a lovely gesture on his part. I will do the workshop, just means I'll probably do it later, after I've been driven insane with jealousy when I see what everyone else has been doing ;) But it's a lifetime workshop so I'll just sign up after bubba is here and do it then.
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Talking of bubba, you might notice I've been referring to him as "he" and not "it." Yes, at the last scan we had a third person tell us he's a boy and they showed us...ahem... proof. So although there is still always that chance that three seperate scanner peeps are wrong, we are now erring on the side that we are having a little boy :)

The man doing our scan was doing all these arty farty angle shots, he got told off by his collegue in the end but I was glad in a way because we got this extreme close up of the face to take home (the eyes are in shadow if that helps you decipher it any better.) That mouthline, it's a perfect replica of my Mum's smile. I really needed to see that as was having a bad few days missing her, it really made me smile. 
Craig is over the moon that a boy will be arriving. Much as he loves our three girls, I think he feels outnumbered at times. He's already planning whether Scalextrix and Meccanno are an essential baby purchase! (No, they are not!)
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Various baby club freebies. You know where various supermarkets get you to sign up to their baby clubs? So far we have two full size packets of newborn nappies, assorted packets of wet wipes and cotton wool, a couple of cuddly toys and assorted nappy rash creams. All helps ;) All brings it home how fast it's creeping up too - we're over the six month mark now! Ooer! Also - Craig's mum! Charity shop (thrift shop) super star! You set her a challenge to find something and within days we get an email saying she's got it, usually in mint condition and for ridiculously bargain prices! So far she's found us a vibrating, musical baby bouncer and a sleep bag/grow bag (whatever they're called.)
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Still loving the Summer of Colour challenge and all the lovely encouraging comments from people that have been visiting as well. I also have some Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook pages to upload, the photos are on my camera, just need to get them to the PC!
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I am positive there are many more positives in the last couple of weeks but brain is a bit cream crackered lately, I should write these down throughout the week! Hope you've had a good week.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Summer Of Color - Baseball Nut Crocs, not a crocodile, though that might have been more interesting.

The colour prompt over at Kristin's this week is Baseball Nut. This is an ice-cream flavour that consists of  black raspberry ribbons, vanilla and cashew nut.

I decided to play in my journal sketchbook again, it's turning into a record of my pregnancy at the moment - I didn't intend that to happen but it's nice for us to flick through - I never recorded much about my other pregnancies and I so wish I had now.I will try and get some non-bubba related pages in there too.

Apologies for the picture - shaky hands. When I have writing on a page it shows up how bad my photography skills are!

So - the vanilla comes from the gouache I used as a base, I'm finding it's good to mask over where my Copics have bled through the page from previous entries on the other side. The brown (cashew) and raspberry (red) are on the plastic monstrosities. I've used watercolour and fineliner there.

Am really loving how Summer of Colour is getting me working in different colours and styles, making me practise my drawing... it's certainly making for an interesting sketchbook.

This is my Raler Downey sketchbook which I now know is heavy weight cartridge paper. (Thanks JB) Explains why it sooks the ink right up when I do use Copics.

If you get a late comment from me on your Mint Choc Chip entry - I'm not going daft, I'm just playing catch up. I don't know who stole my week last week!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Summer of Color - Mint Choc Chip Zombie

The colour prompt over at Summer of Color was Mint Choc Chip this week. My instant thought was... ZOMBIES! Come on - it was all your first thought too wasn't it? Well? Wasn't it?

I had hoped to get two things ready for this post but I'm running short of time so am uploading my painting... hoping to finish a little zombie/monster softie too.

I have used one of the techniques in the book Atmospheric Watercolours for this. The idea is to create a figure. (Hey, zombies were people once too!) I found it really hard, much harder than I thought I would, to be loose and not try to fill in all the little details. The effect I was aiming for is kind of a loose abstract but sort of realistic at the same time. Jean Haines actually says in the book "now STOP." In fact she says it several times. It's hard to tell your brain that though. It's a start... and I enjoyed my play.
Plus, this is me using my watercolour Moleskine. This is momentous. I have been coveting it for so long for fear of ruining it. I think I'm becoming less precious about my sketchbooks.

Apart from finishing my softie, I may also add a journal page this week. I'm having very vivid zombie dreams at the moment... may have something to do with my bedtime reading matter!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Rocking My World Friday...

...On Sunday :)
Click the picture to join in :)

So, what's made my week rock? Well, this video for a start... click and listen while you read. I promise you wont be disappointed.

Alice Cooper 'does' Lady Gaga ;)

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Return of the mojo. Am so pleased. It's made such a difference in how I feel, daft really. Got so many ideas I'm itching to do - my only trouble now is not enough time in the day :) Am really enjoying taking part in The Summer of Colour prompts and am surprised at how different (so far) the ideas I'm getting for each colour combo are.

Towards the end of last year and first half of this year I had a real rough time creatively and got so behind on commitments I had made because I literally could not do anything. Part of me was even a bit scared it was gone forever. I think it was perhaps stress related. I do thoroughly believe in creativity as therapy though which is why I still blogged, (thanks for sticking with me)  still read art & craft books, still visited all my favourite sites... I am working hard now to make it up to those people I've got behind with.

It feels good to be back.
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Artists & Illustrators magazine tweeted a link to my recent sketchbook page. Chuffed to bits - I know it's only a tweet but it really made me happy!
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My new book - the Atmospheric Watercolours one, really enjoying it. Hugely motivating and inspiring. The author, Jean Haines, is so very generous with the techniques and I can honestly say it's one of the better art technique books I've read. I must admit I dithered at the price but now I think it was cheap. I have to warn you that the review is probably going to be gushy.
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Bubby is moving lots now and everyone has felt movement this week... including Cooper the Piddly Pooper. He has taken to sleeping draped across my tum of an evening which is unusual in itself because he's not the most cuddly of dogs. Very hyper usually and the closest you'll get to a cuddle is if  he's cold and wants to sleep in the crook behind your knees. 

 We are going for another scan this week, only 3 weeks later than we are supposed to have it and on a day when the doctors have announced they might go on strike... so, let me re-phrase that. I might be going for a scan this week. Really looking forward to this one as bubby is so much bigger. Hopefully we'll see if we are having a he or she for definite.
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Can't believe I'm saying this but... the footie. Didn't think I'd like it and started off staying in the living room because it's a novelty for Craig to relax and come in and watch something for that long without leaving to do more work. Then I stayed for the football cuddles and now I'm actually watching the games... can't say I understand all the rules or that I would watch if Craig wasn't here. (I so wouldn't.) But it's not been the nightmare I thought it would be. Even though I am now behind on Holby and Once Upon A Time.
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Warm weather and less rain than the weather man predicted... at least in our area. Which leads me to be thankful for a warm, dry house and a healthy(ish) family who I love to bits.

And I think that'll do me for today. I'm eyeing up my sketchbook and I still have dinner to do before I can dive in.

Hope you had a lovely week! Thanks for stopping by :) 

 p.s I'm hearing that it's harder to follow blogs now if you aren't actually a Blogger user. If you'd like to see regular updates from me you can now follow my blog with Bloglovin :)

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday

Morning all :) Wednesday already - how did that happen?

Ready for a quick perusal of my working area? Here we go...

Tidy desk inside the house... another book I'm reading at the moment - Realistic Abstracts. I promise I don't strategically place them there to tease people. I just dump them there when I come to use the PC. My OH is a terrible tidier but he knows he's not allowed to tidy away stuff on my desk ;)
Messy desk outside in the workshop. I've been playing in my sketchbooks and this is one that I started splashing in at the same time as the one I journal in - there's not much in this one except random colour washes or collaged bits of paper. I keep intending to journal in it but at the moment it's just a place to try techniques. (You can see the journalled one I did the same time as this one, if you have time/are interested, in the post below.)
Those rectangular canvasses at the side there are not actually canvasses. I got all three at a bootfair this week for £1. They are actually suede (or suede effect fabric) stretched onto wood. I thought at that price they would be fun to bring home and paint on.
I'm coming to a frightening conclusion... I'm turning into a tidy creative! Whaaaaa? Look at that desk - I haven't touched it since I finished my seriously, seriously messy page the other day! No tidying apart from to put my drawing inks away, out of reach of little hands. Am thinking it must be where I have such a tiny space to work in now, literally the length of that desk. 6' - forcing me to... *gulp* be tidy!

Craig wishes I would just be like it with the rest of the house now! Ahaha! Fat chance!

Thanks for stopping by - I'm off to link up with Julia now. Follow me over if you fancy a root through many, many more peoples play areas :)

Summer Of Colour - Sherbet Sketchbook

I've been wanting to try the Gouache over Drawing Ink technique in June's issue of Artists & Illustrators since it plopped through my door. When the colours were announced over at Summer of Colour  I had the perfect excuse. 

Firstly, I completely messed up the technique. Amongst other things, you are supposed to do an under drawing. I forgot. You are supposed to do a wash of drawing ink similar to a watercolour wash - I forgot and did it straight from the bottle on to a dry, unstretched page. You are supposed to use distilled water in case tap water reacts with the ink - I forgot to buy some. All this with the magazine propped up in front of me. Idiot.

Am having a devil of a job getting a good picture, the light is fading fast here so I've included two - neither of which are a true representation of the colours. Just try and imagine a middle ground between the two.

The colour prompt at Summer of Colour was Rainbow Sherbet - bright oranges, pinks and a splash of white. Done, done and done. Just had to include some purple in there too.

Under kitchen light ^
Under natural but fading light ^ 

Somehow, despite it being wrong, I still kind of love this page. Even more so since I journalled onto it - am so glad I did it in my diary sketchbook. I will definitely try this technique again, properly.
The gorgeous original picture by Chris Rigby

There is still time to take part in this weeks prompt at Summer of Colour - any creative medium accepted and you have until midnight Sunday to link up. In the meantime the new colour combination for next week has been announced - Mint Choc Chip! Hmm. 

Thanks for stopping by :)

Rocking My World Friday...

Click the picture to pop over to Virginia's and play along :)

Blimey where did that week go? What's been positive about my week? Quite a lot actually. The weather has been atrocious this half term but we have been fairly lucky in squeezing in what we wanted to do between showers. The rain stopped long enough on Sunday to hold Craig's BBQ and only started again as the girls were finishing up toasting some marshmallows. We then went to Leeds Castle in the week to make use of our annual ticket. We had a lovely, if somewhat breezy, picnic there and the girls ran themselves ragged in the parks. The rain came belting down just as we were getting home, not stopping for the rest of the day and night. Then, yesterday, we had to do some essential shopping for the girls before they went back to school and we were rewarded with a warm day while we were trudging around town. Again, just as we were heading to the car for home - the Heavens opened. All in all - can't complain at getting everything done that we wanted to do this week.

Plus - whilst out shopping yesterday I found myself near a Works so picked up a box of the £2.99 Gouache paints that I had been tipped off about. Perfect for a play.
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My new book. I discovered a new (to me) artist over on Peter's blog. Jean Haines - I bet you can tell straight away that I was pretty gobsmacked when I saw her work. It really struck a chord and when Peter said she had a new book coming out, I pre-ordered it straight away. (It helped that an Amazon voucher  I had been waiting for pinged into my account the same day! Serendipitous or what!) I'm glad I did as it's now gone up in price!
I can tell you right now, having only flicked through it, it was worth every penny for the gorgeous art work alone. A review will definitely follow my reading it. 
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My friend Caroline popped in for lunch and a natter this week. Like my sisters, she lives really close but where we are both so busy we rarely get to see each other very often so it was lovely to have a relaxed catch up and chat.
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My mojo is back! I might only be doing half an hour a night at the moment but that's purely because the girls are off, I'm really looking forward to them being back at school next week (in the nicest possible way!) so that I can get stuck in to something on a larger scale than my sketchbook :)
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Laughing Cow Blue Cheese Triangles. I am so missing proper, stinky, flavoursome blue cheese. These have just enough of the taste to take the edge off, I'm getting through two packets a week (with the help of little monster) I cannot wait for October when I will have the squishiest, gooiest, stinky blue cheese toasty EVER!
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The littlest little monster is really making himself known now. I've started saying "him," we may yet be wrong. But seeing as my next scan, which I'm supposed to have had by now, is not for another 2 weeks - I decided we can't keep calling him 'it!' Anyway - movements are really strong now - Craig actually felt some tiny kicks. Tiny to him, acrobatics to me :)
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I'm going to finish up with being grateful for our health, minus a few aches and pains. Grateful for good friends and family, for a roof over our head and food when we want it. Bit of a biggy which I am grateful for all the time - it just needs saying now and again, especially when you watch the terrible things happening on the news.

Have a good week everyone - thanks for stopping by :)

Summer of Colour

I really enjoyed seeing Jo's Summer of Colour creations last year... and now Carolyn is talking about joining in. I've been holding off signing up for any other challenges but now that I'm setting aside creative time each night this seems a perfect challenge to help me along.
Click this picture to play along.

Kristen posts six weeks of prompts, one a week, based on yummy ice-cream combinations. You can play along in any creative format you could possibly imagine so no excuse for anyone to not play!

The first prompt is up  - Rainbow Sherbet - yum! (Funny I always thought sherbet was spelt sherbeRt but I just got spell checked. Poor Bert!) You can start sharing your creations from this coming Monday. 

Hopefully see you there! Thanks for stopping by :)

Peek In My Sketchbook...

For Jo :) 

This is what I've been doing of an evening. Sort of retrospective catch up entries. It's a great way to spend 10-15minutes sketching, practise my drawing and also jot down some things to look back on. This is the book I'd started doing my "What I Wore" drawings in so it all kind of follows on. (Why do I find the need to have my sketchbooks in subject order?)

 I'm using the large A4 sized Daler-Rowney sketchbook my sister got me for Christmas. I can't claim to know what sort of paper it is inside - I can't find it online. The pages are protected by a sturdy brown  leather type effect cover. I do know that the pages are lovely and thick and stand up to substantial abuse with an eraser. It also holds watercolour paints well with not to much buckling.
However when I use my Copic pens in there it sooks up the ink like a sponge. I have to be careful as this causes feathering around the edges with some colours, it's lucky I like to outline these quick sketches in black fineliner.

You can see on the backside of this page where I've used watercolour paints and Copics on the front. The pens have bled through quite a lot making the back of that page unusable but the watercolours are barely noticeable.
This book is turning into a cross between a sketchbook to practise my drawing combined with a daily diary/journal/scrapbook. So where I was initially a bit upset that I was only getting to use one side of the paper when I use the Copics... or not use them at all, now I'm thinking I can just use the back of those pages to stick in ephemera.

Am really loving how this sketchbook is turning out :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Dithering... WOYWW

Hello fellow desk snoopers. I really dithered about joining in today because I always seem to show you a boring clean desk. And guess what? I just tidied! Makes me look such an organised person when really I am possibly one of the most dis-organised people you could ever meet ;) Ah well, I missed last week so am going to bore you anyway...

Inside - squeaky clean. Sorry. I promise I was being creative last night and working in my sketchbook journal. Pictures to follow in another post. What you can see is a book that just arrived. One that I pre-ordered. It's by an artist that I've just discovered and am quite excited by. She paints very loosely and with lots of drips. (Sound familiar to those who know my stuff?) So where I have been calling myself a grungy painter - it might actually be 'expressive and loose.' Nah. Think I'll always be grunge.

That gorgeous painting on top of my desk is not one of my creations - it's by the so, so talented Cameron. You can see it closer up on her blog here.
Outside at my messy desk - the declutter continues. There's a pile of books where I'm pruning my shelves. A pile of magazines that have been sorted - these ones are keepers to be put away...
My zombie doll has also made her way outside. I'll finish her one of these days. Then she can eat Barbie's head as a treat.
Well, believe it or not this is me trying to keep my post as short and sweet as possible.  I'm going to link up with Julia. If you'd like a rummage through some creative desks, studio's, floor spaces... head on over with me. I can promise a veritable snoop fest.

Thanks for stopping by :)

Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya

 By Kaori Tsutaya. Translated from Japanese by Amy Hirschman

The book says:
Are your favourite sweaters covered with cat hair? Do you love to make quirky and one-of-a-kind crafting projects? If so, then it's time to throw away your lint roller and curl up with your kitty! Crafting with Cat Hair shows readers how to transform stray clumps of fur into soft and adorable handicrafts. From kitty tote bags and finger puppets to fluffy cat toys, picture frames and more. These projects are cat-friendly, eco-friendly and require no special equipment or training. You can make most of these projects in under an hour - with a little help, of course, from your feline friends.

I say:
Quirk Books. Who else?  How you live up to your name and make me smile!  

With this book you are shown how to make the puppet on the cover and there are various cat shapes inside that you can use as templates to felt into. The rest of the book is showing you ideas of things to add these things to, how to felt with cat hair, how to gather it and care for it  - the finished felted item is extremely delicate and prone to falling apart if handled to much. It's not advised, for example, to wash scarves and things with cat hair felted motifs in the washing machine. Allergies are addressed and it's not advised that if you are allergic to cats to even try and make the projects (though where you would be stealing the hair from I have to wonder...) 

The starring cat models/fur donaters are gorgeous and all introduced properly at the end. It's a cute book all be it, in my opinion, a gimmicky book.  I think a cat lover would like it for the pictures alone and like I say, it's quirky and fun. However, I must admit I am a cat lover (though don't have a cat.) I wasn't remotely tempted to make any of the projects at all... but I don't like shedded fur everywhere, it annoys me with our dog and as the author quite honestly says, it's going to get everywhere whilst doing this.

Crafting With Cat Hair will be winging it's way to a cat bonkers friend very soon :)
Many thanks to Quirk Books for sending me the book.

Kaori Tsutay (Unfortunately, I can't get the link to Kaori's site to work.)

Thank you for stopping by.

Box Clever

I thought I'd show a couple of bits I've made at two separate Pickleberry Crafts workshops. I was thinking about them after Donna said she was off there this week (Lucky mare!) and I realised they hadn't had their own post yet. I've mentioned them in passing on a couple of Rocking Friday posts before so they might look familiar.

The first workshop I went to was with Donna. It was taught by Jennie of Artistic Stamper. (Just popped over to grab her link and she has a giveaway on at the moment, go leave some love!) We were creating Christmas keepsake boxes. I still love mine, I always get comments on it when it's out on display. Everyone's boxes turned out so differently too.
We made the little gingerbread men and candy canes in the melt pot and the little board book in the bottom corner (with the star on) is a  tiny altered childrens book.

The second workshop was last year in June as it happens, can't believe it's been nearly a year. I met up with the Bristol Girls from UKScrappers.
 L-R: Debbie, me, Jayne, Cheryl, Lynne & Joy
The class this time was with Jane Dean to create a wooden treasure box. Again, all our boxes turned out so differently. The rose is from a bracelet and stained with ink, the dress form and bird cage, if I remember rightly, are Tim Holtz die cuts. (I might be wrong - am rubbish at product names)
I love this box, this one stays out all year - you might have spotted it in my WOYWW posts, it sits on it's side on the shelf above my desk so that it's on display :)
If you can get along to a Pickleberry workshop I really recommend it. There are a couple more I hope to attend when funds allow. Kate who runs the shop is just lovely and keeps you well supplied with tea and chocolate biscuits. The shop itself is tiny but crammed full of goodies, it's amazing how much is actually there when you start looking around. Both Jane and Jennie were great fun and so generous with the supplies (as was Kate when I couldn't find papers to match my colours.) I learnt so many new techniques and it was a great way to meet up with some online friends too.

Thanks for stopping by :)

p.s I just reread this and realise it reads like an advert for Pickleberry Crafts. It's not, I just wanted to post a crafty post for the first time in ages and Donna mentioning she was going there this week got me remembering a couple of great days out :) No-one at Pickleberry knows I'm posting this or is paying/coercing/bribing me in any way.

Rocking My World Friday...

Nearly forgot!

I have an excuse! I slept for 12 hours straight from 7pm Thursday night to 7am Friday morning so am a bit confuddled on which day it is. My first grateful, giving in to sleep... even though I only intended to go up for an hour! And to Craig for leaving me there. (Probably wanted a bit of peace and quiet!)
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Unexpected presents from naughty people. I had a package arrive the other day. It was a book, The Zen Of Seeing, which I had literally put in my basket the night before. I had not continued through with the purchase as I had no Amazon vouchers left but was so close to buying it. This close. Imagine my surprise when I opened it the next day. I thought crap, not only have I finger slipped but I've paid for next day delivery. And it's going to come out of the bank. So I can't sneak it in. Not that I would. (But I so would if I could!) I'm in sooo much trouble! ... Then I see the invoice, or what should be the invoice. It's a lovely note from my friend Sue. I must admit to a moment of dumbfounded shock and a bit of a wibbly wobble. Thank you Sue :)
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Some good friends giving someone else advice which I am going to adopt myself. We were talking about setting small tasks and goals to get started again when you feel like you have no energy - so that's what I'm going to do each day to crank up my creativity again. Set myself a small goal each day - write it down somewhere, may dig out a notebook or do some post-its, and aim to do it at some point during the day. Even if it's something tiny. Starting today. Which is to work in my sketchbook/journal when I get home from Craig's Mums. I am.
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We managed three days again this week without using the car. Noticing a real difference in the pocket. 
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Little monster Ruby took part in her nursery catwalk show. They did this last year where they each design a t-shirt and then put on a show modelling them. She wouldn't even come out from behind the screen last year. So shy. This year they did it even bigger, moved it to the school hall, had flashing disco lights, long catwalk, pounding music - the works. She did it - looked nervous as anything and practically ran down and back but she did it! So proud of her. Not so much of me who only remembered the camera when I was halfway to the school. Aargh! Am hoping I can get a picture off of the teacher who was taking photos or one of the Mums. 
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Ice-poles and Calippo lollies. Mmmm.
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Our day out last week was lovely. We went to the Historic Chatham Dockyard. I think the highlight of the day for the girls was spotting The Tardis... well, almost. It was a police box outside a police museum but it may well have been the proper one. Who knows? The Doctor wasn't in - Ruby knocked just to check :) She and I spent a lot of time in the play parks while the rest of the rabble explored war ships and submarines. She wouldn't go on board for fear they would drive off with her and I wouldn't for fear of getting stuck in doorways and man holes or whatever they're called! Including this piccy because it kind of shows my emerging bump even though it's quite a loose top. A few people asked for a bump update last week :) We are 20 weeks now - halfway through! Ooer!
That's my "just take the picture already" clenched teeth smile. 
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The Walking Dead, Once Upon A Time, Holby, One Born Every Minute, The Big Bang Theory, Rules of Engagement and Lewis. I don't generally have 'must watch' TV and am quite happy for every one else to hog it but while I potter about. At the moment though, I'm feeling so lethargic - and these shows are keeping me amused.
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Looking forward to the half term. Are you planning anything for the Jubilee? We aren't really but it just so happens that Craig's birthday falls on the same day so we're hoping the weather holds as he wants a barbecue as his birthday meal and we're just going to have a chilled out day together. We're also hoping to make use of what's left of our annual day out tickets to go on some picnics with the girls over the holiday. Fingers crossed.
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That's going to do me for this week - I hope you had a good week. I'm going to link up with Virginia, why not join us? You'd be surprised how much positivity happens in a week when you look back on it.
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