Friday, 27 July 2012

Week 1 - Summer Holidays 2012

Saturday - Oscar went off to Corby Skate Park. To say he loved this outing is an understatement. Plans already afoot for a return visit, I may just have to take him to see what all the fuss is about. 

Sunday - Tag rugby at the park followed by picnic. Lovely family day out.

There were little rugby players.
There were medium size rugby players.

And there were big rugby players!

 There was also a wonderful cake stall which sold these amazing cream teas.

The rest of the week the boys have been at Tennis Camp in the boiling heat and sun. Luckily our friendly farmer is quite happy for us to call in on the way home to cool off in his pool ... bliss this week pure bliss. Fingers crossed the good weather continues into next week.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Monthly Photo 2012

Lovely to see the wheat turning a lovely shade of ripeness .... not quite ready but after the sun we've had for the last few days then very nearly. The next photo will hopefully be of a stubble field but as I'm not driving past at 8am for the next few weeks I hope I remember to go and take a photo at about the right time of day. I don't hold out much hope for 8am though!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Could someone please return the last 6 years

How can the time from 5th January 2006 to 20th July 2012 have gone so quickly?

Today is Archie's last day at primary school and come September I know that he will have that same confident "I can't wait" smile on his face as he follows his big brother out the door to secondary school.

A friend with younger children asked me recently, with a worried look on her face, how I will feel when they've both left our primary school. Her eldest only has one more year and I know she's already thinking about the changes ahead. The thing is you can't stop them growing up and neither do you want to. We will all miss our primary school of course we will and all the lovely people that work there but we are ready to move on. I don't think I will shed a tear in sadness but I might bite my lip a bit when I think of all the school plays, sports days and good times.

It IS sad but it is also a time to look back very fondly at all the very, very happy memories we have.

And tonight I've organised a disco for all the leavers which will be noisy, happy and a final memory of their wonderful primary school time. Most of the children there tonight we have known from the very first day which is lovely. A lot of Archie's very good friends are going to the same secondary school, in fact quite a lot are the same tutor group, and he's even got one of his friend's mum as his tutor so I think he will settle in very quickly.

I've just reminded myself of one poor little girl who, sadly for her, has always been alphabetically the next in line to Archie. She said to me recently in a very resigned, dejected voice "My entire school life I've had to sit next to Archie." She's off to another secondary school and will finally escape from him .... I think she might be glad.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Teacher Thank You Presents

The year is the final time for me to do Teacher and Teaching Assistant Thank You presents as both boys will be at secondary school next year.  We really wanted to thank a lot of people for making the past eight years so full of happy memories so this year we also did reception staff, caretaker and head teacher! My theme was loosely based on a Great British Olympic type present with little extras for the very, very special people. It's not just the teachers who encourage and inspire and both my boys have been very lucky to have come into contact with some wonderful school staff who really deserve far more than the present I've given them but I hope the Thank You will mean a lot to them.

It feels very odd not giving Oscar anything to take in but he assures me it is not the done thing to take thank you presents into secondary school. I hope he's right?!?

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Charlotte's Chocolates

I think I can safely say that I have the loveliest, most generous and kind customers, just look what I received in the post today from quite simply my favourite customer.

Charlotte and I have become very friendly since her first order back in February and when she recently asked for some bunting that incorporated her logo colours and font she mentioned that she'd send me some of her hand-made chocolates so I could see and taste for myself exactly what her chocolates are like. I hoped she would send me some but knew I shouldn't really expect a customer to send me a gift so you can imagine my delight when I opened up the package (especially as I thought it was a return) :-)

Please go over to Charlotte's Facebook page and have a look for yourself. Charlotte has the most amazing photos that will make you drool and I can now categorically state they taste even better than they look ..... they are delicious. So delicious in fact that I will not be sharing them!

Don't you just love her tagline
number 6 of your 5 a day?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Build A Business From Your Kitchen Table

You may have seen/heard that the founders of Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker have recently written a book called "Build A Business From Your Kitchen Table". I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a copy in the post the other day, a signed copy no less.

As a seller with notonthehighstreet, and as I really do run my business from my kitchen table, I soon abandoned Mr Grey (I know ... I know) and started avidly reading. Imagine my delight to find not just one quote but two quotes from me. In print. In the book. From me!

The first quote is just simply the truth about why I do the hours that I do. My boys do have endless (mostly totally undeserved) faith in my capabilities and when someone was having a bit of go at me recently Oscar came up to me and whispered in my ear "Just prove them wrong Mum". They are the reason I'm doing this so that I can be at home and not have to endlessly worry about childcare and so that I can juggle my hours to suit me and go and see them in various sporting/musical events.

The second quote was because I've found that when dealing with other female business owners the truth is simply the best way and you get such support and help that I never experienced in a mainly male workplace. Obviously that is just my personal opinion and I'm sure lots of men are very supportive but I find this "world" very different from my previous experiences.

So how about the book? Well, I found it really interesting and helpful. I thought I knew most of the Sophie/Holly story but you get much more insight into their struggles to make this a success. Their honesty is to be applauded as sometimes I think you imagine that every successful company just happened and that it was easy for them. The book is also very helpful without getting into the American self-help way of talking to you and as I've only read it quickly I need to re-read it giving it time and taking note of their advice.

Most of all this books confirms what I keep thinking that if you want to be successful Work Hard. If you know anyone who is just starting a business, or even thinking about it, I would strongly recommend this book.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

No New Clothes Challenge - Month 5

June completed and no problems until .... I started thinking about what I'd like to wear to go and see the Olympics. I thought I would buy the boys a Team GB t-shirt and when I was browsing I came across this rather tasteful and practical sweatshirt.

navy <em>team GB</em> print <em>hoodie</em>

I might buy that I thought but then Hang.On.A.Minute I can't. Ummmmm feeling a little deprived that I won't be buying any Olympic items of clothing but then hopefully I won't need a sweatshirt because come August it will be blazing sunshine and I can just wear something I already have, right? At this moment sitting here in July with socks, boots, long jeans, jumper and a scarf round my neck it all seems a bit impossible. Oh British Summer I really, really hope you are going to make an appearance soon for the Olympics because it's getting very boring.

It is particularly boring for me because I have a variety of fresh, hardly worn summer things to wear and at the moment I'm not getting the chance. My long jeans are going to wear out by the end of 2012 a this rate!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Olympic Torches, Village Fete and Cake Making

We arrived early, parked easily and wandered in front of Newport Free Grammar School listening to the school band as we went. Good spot found we met up with friends, had a cup of tea and basked in the glorious sunshine. We got the freebie noise makers, chatted to all around us, smiled and laughed and did high fives with the passing policemen and had a good time.

It was an amazing sight to see this small village street packed with people but everyone could easily get a good view and no one was jostling for prime position. It was all going  so well. 

Then the heavens opened and it didn't just spit with rain it absolutely soaked us! Luckily another coach in the convoy came along handing out plastic macs.

The excitement began to build and we could hear the music blaring. More police came along high fiving the crowd as they passed.

Then we saw the torch! We had heard some rumours about who might be running the leg we were watching and thought he would probably run past his old school. Sure enough Jamie Oliver ran past us with the torch. We wouldn't have minded who we saw but it was good to see someone we recognised.

I'm so glad we made the effort to go because it was a really lovely thing to be part of and now I just can't wait for the Olympics to start. Then after that excitement we raced back home to our local village fete. They hadn't had the rain and looked at us slightly perplexed that we were soaked from head to foot.

I stood for a long time admiring the bunting my mum and I made and it was almost (?) worth the time and effort it took to make it when people started coming up saying "Did you really make all this bunting?".

As usual at the Fete the adults stood around chatting and the kids started games of football and man hunt and generally ran amok.

They excelled themselves in the "running amok" stakes this year when I returned to the house to find a number of boys in my kitchen "improving" a traybake and also making a Lemon Drizzle Oreo cake! This is the sight that greeted me .....

There are times when you really just have to laugh especially when one of the lovely boys asked me "Would it matter that we got muddled up with tablespoons and teaspoons with the baking powder?".

Yes, it was a good weekend despite the rotten rainy weather and the wrecked kitchen :-)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Rambling Rector and an Invitation

Our garden fence is yet again groaning with Rambling Rector blooms and looks simply stunning.

Every year we declare that we will have people over as the garden looks so gorgeous but yet again other organised people have booked the weekends for their parties. By the time we get round to invitations it will either be grotty weather or the roses will have finished.

So I'm inviting you instead. 
Is that OK? Look at the photos and pretend you have the sun on your face, a glass of something cool in your hand with the smell of a barbeque, children playing nicely and general chatter going on. You can even get up from your seat and wander over to the fence and breathe in the heady aroma and think how pretty it looks.